I love Schar, and I have since I was diagnosed. They were one of the first brands where I found crackers that made me feel like I could eat “normal” again. Their graham crackers are my favorite. And their new Artisan Bread loaves? I can’t tell you how many I’ve eaten since they’ve launched.
This month, Schar is really focusing on celiac disease education. A brand after my own heart! One reason why Schar is a great resource is their in-house dietitian. Aneta is there to answer questions from Schar fans, consult on products, and really be a resource in all things nutrition and celiac for the brand. It was great to chat with her about her, her job, and celiac disease. Sit down and enjoy the chat and make sure to enter the giveaway at the end, which includes a chat with Aneta!
Q&A with Aneta, Schar’s in-house Registered Dietitian with Celiac Disease
Aneta: I’m Dr. Schar’s in-house (Registered) Dietitian. I also have celiac disease myself.
Erica: What has been your experience with getting diagnosed with celiac?
Aneta: I was diagnosed with celiac in 2012, after being misdiagnosed repeatedly by different GI specialists. I was in the first semester of my Dietetic program when I realized I had all the celiac symptoms I was reading about in my study book. I asked my PCP to do the blood test for celiac, and it came back positive. I immediately cut out gluten from my diet, and within the first month all my symptoms disappeared.
Erica: So what do you do for Schar, and why did you want to work there?
Aneta: I have many different functions. It really isn’t a cookie-cutter job. When Dr. Schar started making gluten-free products in Italy in the 1980s, we were solely distributing our gluten free products via healthcare professionals (HCPs) and pharmacies. Only later we spread into retail. We still work very closely with HCPs. And that’s the main role of Dr. Schar’s Nutrition Service Dietitians, to be the contact point for HCPs who work with gluten free patients, but also our consumers and retailers for any nutrition-related inquiries.
Schar has always been my favorite gluten free product line, even before I started working here. I knew Schar products from the U.S. but also Europe (where we have over 200 different products). What I’ve always loved about Schar products is the taste, the goal of our company has always been to make foods that taste like “regular” food while still being nutritionally good – everything is Non GMO and contains no preservatives. Also, having celiac disease myself, it’s very important for me to eat gluten free foods that are safe for me. Schar only makes gluten free products and takes so many extra precautions to make sure there’s no risk of cross-contamination throughout the entire production process. We even work with farmers who grow gluten-free grains especially for us, test all raw materials (including our packaging) before they enter our facilities.
Erica: What does Schar do to support the celiac community, and how does your role play into that?
Aneta: Since pioneering the gluten free market our founder’s mission has been to provide safe, tasty and nutritious products for the celiac and gluten sensitive community. We’ve since been involved in many gluten-related studies. We work closely with healthcare professionals and researchers in Europe and the U.S. and I personally work with many non-for- profit organizations across the country. Some of the main ones include BeyondCeliac.org, GIG, and the Celiac Disease Foundation. I also work closely with local support groups. We participate in many celiac and gluten free events across the country. I try to attend as many as I can in person to provide my expertise. If I can’t, we’ll send over our educational materials, food donations, and coupons.
Erica: What are some ways consumers, and Schar fans can get in touch with you and ask questions?
We have a monthly live “Ask a dietitian” Facebook event, where our consumers can ask me questions and provide comments and feedback. The participants can also win a free 30-min nutrition-related consultation with me. The next one will be held on May 18th . We also have a dedicated consumer support phone line and email firstname.lastname@example.org where consumers can contact us at any time. All nutrition-related questions are forwarded directly to me. I always recommend to stay up to date with us fans should join the Schar Club to connect with other gluten free people, receive coupons and, the latest news. As well as following our social media pages.
Erica: What is your favorite part of the job?
Aneta: I love working for Schar because I get to do so many different things. I travel all over North America and Europe for work. I write nutrition-related content for our website and social media. I’m involved with new product development, working on providing not only gluten free but also nutritious products. I also like interacting with our consumers and hearing how they love Schar products and how we’ve changed their lives, especially since I can personally relate as well. Finally, I get to network with other Dietitians and non-for-profits that work with celiacs and others following the gluten-free diet.
Erica: Could you share some advice with those who are newly diagnosed, or think they may have celiac disease?
Aneta: Do not go gluten free before being tested. The simple blood test for celiac disease can only be accurate if the antibodies to gluten are still circulating in your blood stream. If you’re eating gluten and the blood test comes back negative, but you still believe you may have celiac disease — the next step is an intestinal biopsy. The latter one is an invasive procedure, that’s why I recommend the simple blood test that’s pretty much available at all testing labs now as the first step in celiac diagnosis.
Erica: Finally, what are some of your favorite Schar products?
Aneta: I have so many. Our Artisan Baker breads to start with. I quit eating bread before Schar came up with the Artisan Baker line. As for cookies, the Chocolate Dipped cookies and Honeygrams are my favorites. Sch’nacks, these small individually wrapped cakes are great on the go. Finally, our table crackers taste exactly like a classic saltine cracker and they also come individually wrapped.
Did you see where she mentioned her favorite things? Well, they’re pretty incredible, and we want you to have a taste of those things too! You can enter to win a very cool, very tasty, Schar prize pack with Celiac and the Beast! You’ll win: a Schar Gluten-Free Education Package that includes Schar products, books/resources, and a 30 minute phone session with dietitian! Isn’t that incredible?
**This giveaway is sponsored by Schar and I was compensated for this promotion. I love Schar and this has not affected my relationship with them or their products.**