Marla J Gold, MD, FACP, Dean Emerita, Drexel University

“More than a Gluten-Free Diet: Fighting for a Cure” Going Beyond Celiac 1:30 PM, Presentation Area in Rear of Vendor Hall

Marla J. Gold, MD, is Dean Emerita and Professor of Health Management and Policy at the Drexel University. Dr. Gold has dedicated her career to understanding and creating integrated systems of health care delivery, issues of public health infrastructure and health administration and leadership. She serves on the Scientific/Medical Council of Beyond Celiac.

Dr. Gold served as Chief of the Division of HIV/AIDS Medicine and Vice Chair of the Department of Medicine at the former MCP Hahnemann Medical School. Currently she serves on the Philadelphia Mayor’s Advisory Committee for “Healthy Philadelphia” – interventions designed to reduce obesity, diabetes and smoking among the region’s population.

Melinda Arcara, Author

Traveling When Gluten-Free 12:15 PM, Presentation Area in Rear of Vendor Hall

Melinda Arcara a.k.a. Gluten-Free Bebe is a writer who helps people become gluten-free. This is her story:

My name is Melinda Arcara; I grew-up the youngest of 10 children, so naturally my Dad nicknamed me the “Bebe” (pronounced Bee Bee) for being the baby of our big family.

My gluten-free journey probably started when I was very young. I grew up in a very close and loving Slovak/Ukrainian family. Traditional Eastern European foods like pierogis, nut rolls, breads, and baked goods were always homemade by my Slovak mother. Food was culturally a huge part of my everyday life.

It was when I was about 14-years-old that I was told that I had an auto-immune problem, but that was all I knew. The doctor explained to me that I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and that I would eventually have Colitis or Crohn’s disease and perhaps colon cancer. I spent the next six years hiding symptoms from my mom or refusing to see doctors for fear of the embarrassment of the procedure preparations and the mention of a colonoscopy.

Every major life event from the time I turned 20 until I had my daughter at 36 resulted in a weakened immune system. Subsequently, I would have a colonoscopy to determine if the IBS had gotten worse. When I had my son at 34, I started to get migraines in the form of flashing auras. After my daughter, they got worse, and I eventually contacted a neurologist to rule out any brain defects. All tests came back normal.

Shortly before my 40th birthday everything fell apart. Depression set in. My general practitioner suggested I go on anti-depressants to help me even out my mood. Finally, my sister, Sue, stepped in. She found a holistic practitioner who was able to diagnose me with non-Celiac, gluten intolerance and a severe Vitamin B and iron deficiency.

I cried a river of tears of joy that I finally had a diagnosis for the way I felt. It took me 7 days to detox off gluten, but I immediately noticed that I could breathe out of the right side of my nose. I’ll bet I hadn’t done that my entire life.

The first 6 months were up and down. I would go on and off gluten. I would feel sick and then feel good each time I got off of it. In the seventh month, I made the full commitment to stay gluten-free for the rest of my life. I’ve come to the realization that it’s not about elimination. It’s all about substitution.

So, here is where my journey continues and your journey begins. Through my website, , book (3 Steps to Gluten-Free Living), blog, and teaching programs I’m looking forward to helping the newly diagnosed find their way in the gluten-free world. With my help, anyone can stay 100% compliant and on the path to healing.

DANA ZIFICSAK, Magical Moments Vacations

Traveling When Gluten-Free 12:15 PM, Presentation Area in Rear of Vendor Hall

Dana Zificsak

As a travel agent, Dana specializes in destinations that provide a worry-free experience for the traveler with Celiac disease or food allergies. These destinations include: Disney and Universal Resort Vacations, all-inclusive resorts, and cruises. Both Dana and her son have Celiac disease and she travels at least 10 times a year, making her an expert in how to eat safely and stay healthy while away from home. As an agent with Magical Moments Vacations, Dana loves working with clients who have Celiac disease and/or food allergies to help them have a stress-free, relaxing, and fun vacation.

To read reviews of her and her service, visit:

You can also visit her website at:

Jules Shepard, Celiac Advocate, Gluten Free Baking Expert

Seven Ways to Go Gluten Free The Right Way 2:30 PM, Presentation Area in Rear of Vendor Hall

Jules didn’t set out to lead, inspire and advocate for the gluten-free community. But to anyone who knows her, it’s no surprise she does.
As a celiac diagnosed in 1999, and as an indomitable perfectionist with a penchant for equality and fairness, this former domestic violence attorney was simply unwilling to accept the dry, gritty, vacuous foods that were the norm then. Two years in her kitchen later, Jules had perfected an all-purpose gluten free flour blend that enabled her to continue her passion for baking.

Jules has sold more than a million pounds of her unparalleled gluten free flour since she introduced it in 2008, first with her former company, Jules Gluten Free, and now exclusively through her new company, gfJules™.

As the gluten free community burgeoned, the need for accurate information, advocacy and leadership did too. So in addition to running her gluten free flour company and authoring three highly regarded books, Jules took to the road. Jules logs tens of thousands of miles a year speaking to, teaching and encouraging gluten-free consumers, businesses and trade gatherings.

When the FDA appeared stuck in neutral regarding long-overdue gluten-free food labeling regulations, Jules literally brought the gluten free community together and built an 11-foot-tall, one-ton gluten free cake to get the FDA’s attention. The Washington Post, USA Today, Forbes … and ultimately the FDA took note. The FDA not only attended the event, but promised to front-burner the legislation, which it did. The resulting gluten-free food labeling regulations went into effect in August, 2014

This mother of two also hosts a popular GF radio show, personally pens one of the community’s most active blogs (voted #1 Gluten Free Blog 2 years in a row), organizes the annual Gluten Free Cookie Swap, and personally moderates her FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram presences.

She rarely sleeps.