Saturday, June 30, 2012

Babycakes: Raspberry Scones

When researching g-free cookbooks at our local library, the selection was minimal - 2 cookbooks.  I like to borrow a book before making a decision about purchasing.  So, I requested Babycakes by Erin McKenna based solely on the book jacket.  I have to admit I thought the title was cute, the cover photo even cuter.  I waited for the book to arrive and headed to the library as soon as I got the call that it had arrived!  Immediately, I scanned the book which has delightful retro-style images.  But, as I scanned the ingredients in multiple recipes, I quickly became discouraged.  Although I'm an "avid" baker, I tend to use boxes and mixes that I happily and confidently modify.  I was scanning ingredients such as spelt flour(which is not gluten-free), coconut oil, fava bean flour, agave nectar, brown rice flour, coconut flour and dry soy milk powder!  At first glance I was overwhelmed, closed the book and thought - forget it.  But it sat on my kitchen counter not due back at the library for another two weeks, with that cute cover beckoning me.  So, I opened to the forward and began reading the author's story.  She acknowledges the somewhat daunting list of ingredients, so, I thought, "Well, ok at least she gets that this could be overwhelming".

Now, to find these unusual ingredients.  I checked with my preferred supermarket(25 miles away) for these ingredients with NO LUCK:(  I checked the "local" (20 miles away) organic supermarket.  I was in luck - they had the coconut oil ($8.79 for a 14oz jar) and the fava flour ($5.59 for 1 1/2 pounds).
I decided to start with the Raspberry Scone Recipe.  Unfortunately, it's not a g-free recipe so I had to substitute Bobs Red Mill All Purpose Flour for the Spelt Flour.  This was my first foray using coconut oil and using Agave Nectar as anything other than pancake syrup.
The recipe was painless - actually it was fun!  The baking scones smelled delicious, looked beautiful and tasted (in the words of my 9 year old) "Scrumptious"!







Yum!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

De-Mystifying the Gluten Free Diet

A special thanks to both Gurneys Inn Resort Spa & Conference Center, Montauk, NY for hosting a FREE seminar entitled "De-Mystifying the Gluten Free Diet" and facilitated by Stefanie Sacks, MS CNS.  Stefanie presented a wonderful overview of the difference between gluten intolerance and Celiac Disease held a Q&A and offered terrific information regarding nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle.  Gurneys Inn provided a complimentary and delicious tasting of several gluten-free items from their menu.  Gurneys Inn has an amazing view and is a beautiful place to dine.
For more information on Stefanie including her blog, television show and upcoming workshops, please visit her website!





Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ian's Chocolate Chip Cookie Buttons

My kids and I, yes I tasted them to see what all the complaining was about, are not fans of Ian's Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets.  
However, we decided to take a risk and try Ian's Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Buttons.  My son loves them!  They are packaged in lunch-box sized pouches - making them a fun addition for your childs' lunch box, camp bag or beach bag.  I keep a pouch stashed in my car for "emergencies".  I feel good about giving these to my son as there are no preservatives, artificial flavors or colors.
However, a HUGE disclaimer.  This product is g-free according to ELISA gluten. testing methods as determined by the World Health Organization.  But, the Cookie Buttons are manufactured in a facility that also processes wheat.  So, use your discretion when making the decision to purchase these for your CD child.
I order Ian's Cookie Buttons a case at a time from Amazon.com as they are hard to find on supermarket shelves.
Ian's also has a website with a Fun Station for Kids!



Monday, June 25, 2012

Celiac Momma on Facebook


I am now on facebook! 

Please visit my page for links to resources for parents,  fun sites for kids, upcoming events, links to product information
 and more!

Gluten-Free on a Shoestring

My favorite gluten-free cookbook thus far is Gluten-Free On A Shoestring by Nicole Hunn.  This cookbook has been a huge asset for me.  Cooking and eating gluten free is expensive.  We live in a posh resort town, but live on a modest budget.  "Regular" food here is expensive.  Gluten-free varieties are just outrageously priced.  This cookbook offers wonderful tips and great advice on how to save money while cooking gluten-freely.  There are tips for stretching your food, "piggybacking" your meals, buying and cooking in bulk, etc.  Pre-packaged mixes, boxes and bars are great when you're pressed for time, traveling or caught with an unexpected party, but it's much more economical, and usually much tastier, when you make your own.  

Our family favorite recipes from Gluten-Free On A Shoestring are the pizza dough, Chicken & Dumplings, and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars(pictured above).  I baked the pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars for dessert last Thanksgiving and they were a huge hit!  Happy Cooking!!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Naturally G-Free Steamed Salmon

I tend not to measure when I cook - only when I bake, but I think you'll get the idea.

Pre-heat your grill or oven to 350 degrees.

I took 1 pound of fresh salmon and cut it into thirds.  It tends to cook more evenly this way.
Next, lay the salmon on 2 sheets of aluminum foil(so in case 1 sheet rips - you wont have a mess).
I drizzled the salmon with olive oil.  Chop an entire bunch of organic scallions and scatter across the top and place 3 thickly cut slices of fresh tomato on top of the scallions.
Then I headed to my herb garden and cut a bunch of cilantro, rosemary, tarragon and basil.  I rinsed the herbs and essentially left them whole, laying across the top.
Close up the foil and cook either in the oven or on the grill at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  I grill whenever I can!

We had ours with fresh corn and jasmine rice.

Absolutely delicious!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Nana's Cookie Bars

Nana's Curious George Goodies are a fun g-free snack for your toddler or pre-schooler!  They are certified gluten-free, all natural, and fruit-juice sweetened.
They can be hard to find - I have only found them at an organic supermarket, on-line and believe it or not - at TJ Maxx!
The Cookie Bars come in fun flavors such as Berry Vanilla, Nana Banana and         .
On the side of each box are free give-aways such as The Curious George DVD or Matching Memory Game.  All it takes is 3-6 UPC codes!
The only drawback is that they are EXTREMELY crumbly.  Not great for a quick snack in the car or you'll have a seat full of crumbs.  But fun at a picnic or at the beach where crumbs don't matter!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Gluten-Free Granola Recipe

Gluten Free Granola


Ingredients


6 cups        Certified Gluten-Free Oats
1 cup          shredded coconut
1 cup          brown sugar
1 cup          sliced almonds
1/2 cup       flax seeds
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup       safflower oil
1 cup          dried cranberries and/or 1/2 cup diced dried apricots


Preheat your oven to 325 degrees
Spray a large roasting pan with g-free cooking spray

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, except for cranberries and/or apricots
Pour into prepared roasting pan
Bake for 20 minutes
Stir and bake for another 20 minutes
Stir in cranberries and/or apricots
Cool
Enjoy as cereal, over yogurt, sprinkled on ice cream...
Store in an airtight container

Monday, June 18, 2012

The GF Kid: A Celiac Disease Survival Guide

The GF Kid

The Gluten-Free Kid: A Celiac Disease Survival Guide by Melissa London is a FABULOUS book for kids with CD.  Written by a mom of a Celiac child, this book is entertaining, informative, witty, full of silly illustrations and is fun to read!


I photo-copied a few pages for my son to color and they hang on our fridge and in our pantry!  I will be sending our elementary school librarian a request of a short list of books to purchase for the school library.  This book will be at the top of the list!  Pick-up your copy today!



Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day with Real Gluten Free Beer!

I don't drink beer and my husband doesn't blog, but he is a beer connoisseur.  So we collaborated to bring you this great news!
Since his CD diagnosis, he's been drinking hard cider and the occasional Redbridge.  However, he doesn't truly enjoy either one.  The latest issue of Living Without Magazine featured an article on gluten-free beers.  So, I headed to our local beverage distributor with a copy of the article and asked what they could find.  They were able to get Estrella Damm Daura from Spain.  Daura received 3 international medals in 2011 and was named best gluten-free lager. So, we headed down to the beach on Saturday evening to celebrate Father's Day in the sand.  I offered him a nice, cold Daura from the cooler.  He agreed with the critics - the best beer he has had in over a year!  I'm thrilled that he enjoyed it!


Happy Father's Day!

CD versus the Nut Free Classroom

We reside in a small community within a very small public school district.  Cafeteria service doesn't begin until the 6th grade.  We notified our district when our son was diagnosed with CD at the very end of his Kindergarten year. When school began in the fall we were told that there was a child with a nut allergy in the class and, therefore, no peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, kiwi or any food manufactured in a facility that also processes nuts was allowed.
Well, when you eliminate foods with all additives and preservatives containing gluten, foods naturally containing wheat or gluten, foods manufactured in a facility that also processes wheat AND add all the peanut allergy restrictions - there isn't much left to pack in a 6 year old childs' lunchbox!  It was an extremely challenging and difficult year with my son coming home ravenous each day.  Due to this restrictive diet he didn't gain a single pound for 6 months - and he was already underweight for his age.  
After countless meetings, beginning the FIRST week of school, with the classroom teacher, school nurse, assistant principal, principal, a pediatric allergist and finally the District Superintendent, we came to a mutually agreeable resolution - the LAST week of the school year.  Our son was granted a 504 Plan designed to ensure and protect his rights in the educational setting.  It isn't a completely comprehensive document, but it is a step in the right direction.  I'm hopeful that his next school year, as a 2nd grader, will prove to be more inclusive, more accommodating and full of educational and dietary nourishment.
If your child has Celiac Disease, I highly recommend obtaining a 504 Plan for him/her.  This document will stay with them as they age, protecting their rights in the regular classroom, art room, cafeteria, science lab and on school field trips.
Enjoy Life Foods have a fabulous product line of gluten-free nut free foods!

Friday, June 15, 2012

School Birthday Party Update

It seems that all of my frantic efforts yesterday to deliver something to the school for my son to eat during the summer birthday celebrations - were un-necessary.  The classroom teacher was not correct in assuming families had dropped off cupcakes.  Instead 1 family brought a box of ice pops and the other family brought a box of Italian ice!  Perhaps both she and I jumped the gun in making "false accusations".  I appreciate the effort the other parents made and hope that next year communication between school & home will improve.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

School Birthday Parties





Ugh:(  I got a call today while I was at work, teaching yoga for 3 hours to pre-school camp kids, from my sons' teacher, that a parent sent in cupcakes today for a summer birthday celebration.  Here it is, the last week of school and parent's still don't get it.  Or, they don't care, I'm not sure which.  Luckily, my teenage daughter was home and I called to ask her if she could bring him something.  She suggested Italian ice!  So, she made a special delivery to the Elementary School.  I'm so thankful for her and so is he:)  
I just wish more parents could be more considerate - he's just a little boy and he just wants to be like everyone else.  He is usually a champ - not complaining at all.  But last week there were lollipops that he couldn't have and he was really disappointed.  He said to his g-free Dad, "Dad, don't you wish we didn't be have to be gluten free.  Don't you wish we could just take a pill so we could eat whatever we want?"  My heart broke for him then, and it certainly ached today when I received that call.  
I really hope that through education and awareness more families will do their best to be inclusive of all children.  At the very least, notify us in advance that we can send something special in for him.
Enjoy Life Foods offer a fabulous line of gluten-free nut free foods!

Pamela's Cornbread and Muffin Mix



The best cornbread I've ever had is my home baked Pamela's Cornbread and Muffin Mix.  Not only is Pamela's Cornbread and Muffin Mix gluten-free, it's also Made in the USA making it a *best buy.  
Be careful purchasing any cornbread mix that isn't specifically labeled as gluten free.  If the corn used to make the mix was grown in proximity to a wheat field, or manufactured in a facility that also manufactures wheat/gluten products, then the cornbread mix isn't gluten free.
We were told by our pediatric gastro-enterologist to specifically stay away from the Quaker brand products as they rotate their corn/oat/wheat crops on the same fields.
Pamela's cornbread is my "go-to-staple" with grilled chicken, a nice salad or soup.  I substitute 1 cup of fresh buttermilk to replace the regular milk for a more complex flavor.  
Everyone LOVES it - even my most picky eater!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

No More Cupcakes Tummy Aches

From the best-selling author of The Gluten-Free Bible and Against the Grain, comes a sweet tale of a petite young girl who believes cupcakes will help her grow taller. No More Cupcakes Tummy Aches by Jax Peters Lowell, is a well written story, with appealing fancy font and fantastic illustrations.  
This story really touched me as my 2 youngest children were both diagnosed with failure to thrive as infants and with short stature when they were toddlers.  My daughter was born almost a month early and weighed a mere 4lbs 12 oz when we brought her home from the hospital.  She was followed closely for the first 3 years of her life and never broke the 3rd percentile for height/weight.  She also has an insatiable sweet tooth and eats as many cupcakes as she can.  She remains quite petite at 9 1/2 years old wearing a toddler sized 11 shoe and sized 6x clothing.  However, she is "brilliant", happy and loves to dance.  She continues to be followed by both a pediatric endocrinologist and gastro-enterologist.  So far, she has tested negative for CD.  My son was born a healthy 6lbs 15 oz and was in the 78th percentile for height.  However, at 5 weeks old he was diagnosed with iso-immune hemolytic anemia and was hospitalized with an enlarged liver and spleen and required immediate blood transfusions.  his height/weight percentile declined rapidly and by age 3 was down to the <3 percentile.  He also has a diagnosis of short stature.  No More Cupcakes Tummy Aches brought tears to my eyes thinking about my son and any other child living with the heartbreak of being "different".
  
We are avid readers in our house and I love to share lots of different types of stories with my children.  It's important for them to realize they are not alone in their feelings and for my son to understand that there are other kids just like him.  I highly recommend this book for children with Celiac between the ages of 5-10.  I read this book with both of my younger kids and asked for their review.  My son said it was "super, super, super good!"  Super seems to be his favorite word lately.  My daughter thought it was "great" and said it would be "good for all kids with Celiac to read."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bagels, Buddy and Me



Bagels, Buddy and Me by Melanie Krumry is a story for children written by the mom of 2 children with gluten intolerance and she also lives with gluten intolerance.  After reading the book I remain uncertain whether she or her children have Celiac Disease as 1 child had high IgG levels but an upper endoscopy was negative and it seems that neither mom or the sibling underwent an upper endoscopy.  Nevertheless, the story is told from the point of view of a child about his physical symptoms along with detailed descriptions of the diagnostic process.  I have my Masters Degree in Elementary Education and was a pre-school educator for 10 years.  After previewing the book, I chose not to read it to my almost-7 year old son.  Bagels, Buddy and Me is a lengthy picture book, which I believe is intended for children ages 6-10.  It might be appropriate for newly diagnosed 8-10 year olds.  It's worth a trip to your library to pick up a copy.  However, I would recommend a parental review before sitting down to read it with your child.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Gluten-Free Bisquick

We like to make pancakes on the occasional Sunday morning, fresh strawberry shortcake in the spring, and biscuits to complement a hearty winter soup or stew.  Betty Crocker's Gluten-Free Bisquick is an absolutely delicious mix for making these yummy foods.  We have tried a few other g-free pancake mixes, but the versatility and availability of the g-free Bisquick, makes it a winner.  I also love that Betty Crocker supports the Celiac Sprue Association, the Celiac Disease Foundation and Box Tops for Education!  The only downside of this product, is of course, the price.  With a 40oz box of "regular" Bisquick retailing for around $4, a 16oz box of the g-free version retails for about $5!  But, it's worth the price as we can all safely enjoy our pancakes together.  In fact, we all prefer the g-free Bisquick pancakes over the regular ones!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Incredible Edible Gluten Free Food for Kids

Incredible Edible Gluten-Free Food for Kids by Sheri L. Sanderson is the ONLY book for kids about living with Celiac Disease at my local library!  Incredible Edible is a resource guide for families with Celiac Disease.  It was written by a mom of a child with CD, OCD and Autism.  An easy to read format covers basic information about g-free goods, organizing your kitchen and food preparation.  An entire chapter is dedicated to understanding CD, it's history and symptoms.  The recipes are organized by category such as Appetizers and Snacks, Soups and Stews, and Sweet Treats. Each recipe is also marked as EZ, Finger Food, or Less Than 30 Minutes; which is helpful when browsing through the 150 recipes.  Included are 10 yeast bread and 5 bread machine recipes.  
                                                   
My favorite chapter is:  Just for Fun Craft Recipes.  If you have a g-free toddler,this chapter provides great recipes for g-free play dough(an essential item for any g-free kid under the age of 5), finger paint and slime recipes.  These recipes would be great to copy and supply along with the ingredients, to your childs' pre-school teacher.  There is also a great resource guide for "diagnosing" what when wrong with your g-free baking so you can correct the error in the future.  
Grab your toddler and go create with g-free play dough - better yet - make a mess with some home-made slime!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Peace, Love & G-Free Tie Dye Cupcakes

Recently, my 2 youngest children were invited to a groovy Peace, Love & Yoga birthday party, which party I would be facilitating as a yoga instructor through my yoga business Peaceful Planet Yoga.  The birthday momma is a close friend and although she doesn't have CD is also gluten free.  Our local bakery was creating groovy, tie dyed, peace themed cupcakes.  Unfortunately, they don't have the facilities required to bake gluten free.  So I set out to bake my own tie dye, g-free cupcakes.  I purchased a box of Better Batter Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix.  I had read several rave reviews about this batter and have tried several times in the past to purchase it online in bulk quantities directly from the manufacturer.  However, it has always been sold out.  Then I came across a box in a discount store.  The box, in a discount store, was $5.99 - but what's a celiac momma to do.  I followed the basic directions on the box, but also added 2/3 of a cup of granny smith applesauce to the mix.  After filling each cupcake 1/3 of the way full, I added some food coloring and gave it a swirl.
My 16 year old thought they were "a bit sweet".  The first ingredient listed is sugar:(  My 9 year old declared them "very tasty".  My son exclaimed them to be "super, super, super good"!  I thought they were delicious!


Better Baker Cake Mix is available directly through their website for $7.50 a box. You can also purchase all purpose flour in bulk for $19.95 for 5lbs or $60 for 20lb

Peace, Love and Happy Cupcake Baking!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Kids with Celiac Disease: Book Review

As I began my journey as a celiac momma the book, Kids with Celiac Disease:  A Family Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy, Gluten-Free Children by Donna Korn, really helped me understand and accept my own emotions and provided guidance for helping me to make the right decisions for our family. The chapter entitled, "Panic, Anger, Grief, Denial & other emotions you can look forward to", really resonated with me.  Here was someone else describing my very own thoughts and reactions.  It was somehow oddly comforting to know that someone else had suffered the same grief stricken emotions.  But, as she endured, triumphed and accepted the diagnosis - so have I.
This book offers the perspective of her son, age 11 who has lived with a CD diagnosis almost his entire life.  It provides a nice insight into a childs' state of mind living with CD.  Sometimes, I find myself feeling sorry for my son.  But I quickly remind myself that he doesn't feel any self-pity.  Celiac Disease is just a part of who he is and my pity quickly turns to pride.
Kids with Celiac Disease also addresses the decision of whether or not the entire family should be g-free.  While we initially decided to be g-free as a family, the challenges and costs associated with that decision were soon felt.  One year after the  diagnosis, I would say, that as a family we are close(98%) to being completely g-free.
Kids with Celiac Disease is an easy to read valuable resource for families addressing the emotional aspects of CD, dietary needs and restrictions, menus, eating out, special occasions, and a very important chapter on knowing your legal rights and benefits.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

King Arthur Flour

I am an avid baker and when I began to look for g-free recipes for cake, cookies, muffins and brownies, I quickly became perplexed and overwhelmed.  Almost every recipe called for combinations of rice flour, potato flour, almond flour, tapioca starch, xanthan gum....  I certainly didn't have those ingredients in my pantry and hadn't even heard of a few.  When I looked into purchased them, I was dismayed by the cost.   Although I love to bake, the thought of having to mix my own flour blend was just too daunting.  It's difficult enough to care for the needs of 3 children, manage the dog, keep the house clean, and run my kids yoga business, let along accurately measure and properly mix a combination of ingredients to create my own g-free flour.  
Thankfully, I discovered King Arthur Flour in Norwich, VT.  KAF turned out to be an invaluable resource full of useful articles and tips on g-free baking.  
KAF offers a wonderful assortment of high quality gluten free baking ingredients.  I initially purchased their bread mix, muffin mix, SAF yeast, g-free multi purpose flour, Buttery Sweet Dough extract, Princess Cake & Cookie extract, Cake Enhancer and Xanthan Gum.  
I was impressed with the quality of their ingredients, the overall flavor, and the texture of my baked goods.  
My absolute favorite products that I continue to use with other mixes and recipes are the Xanthan Gum, Buttery Sweet Dough extract and the Princess Cake & Cookie extract.  Each adds a fuller, richer flavor to any bakery item.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Our 1st G-FREE Summer

We were off to a good start!  School ended about a week after our diagnosis, our kitchen was almost complete and we were embracing a new healthier lifestyle.  My son's 2 older sisters, ages 8 and 15 at the time, made the chance to g-free living with enthusiasm and without complaint.  Summer arrived and our kitchen was stocked with Chex cereal, yogurt, ice pops, plenty of fresh fruit and joy for days spent at the ocean and nights by our campfire.  Smores are a favorite summertime treat for our kids.  So, the search began for gluten free graham crackers.  I found some - in Canada!  I ordered a few boxes of Kinnikinick S'moreables Graham Style Crackers.  They were a huge hit with everyone preferring them over the traditional graham style cracker.


So, if you're heading to a campsite, a bar-b-que at the beach, or enjoying a fire pit in your own back yard - be sure to bring some S'moreables!
                                                                                  And don't forget the marshallows and chocolate:0)











Monday, June 4, 2012

Living Without Gluten-Free Magazine

Several weeks after our diagnosis, a friend of my mom's (who has Celiac Disease) passed along an extra copy of a magazine she had called Living Without.  I sat down and read the magazine cover-to-cover.  It proved to be a phenomenal resource full of medical information, personal stories, product information and terrific recipes.  I immediately subscribed to the magazine and even ordered several back issues.  The main focus of Living Without is living without gluten, however, each issue also offers a variety of well researched articles focusing on living without tree nuts, dairy, soy etc.  I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every issue.  A year and a half later and I still love this magazine.  Each issue features articles covering topics such as:  Life Stories; Favorite Products & Books; Ask the Chef; and feature articles ranging from Anaphylaxis to Flying the Friendly Skies.  Some of my favorite feature articles have been Special Diet Romance February/March 2012; Nutrients, Probiotics, Enzymes October/November 2011 and Celiac Disease April/May 2012.  Each issue also has a guide entitled Substitution Solutions to help you modify recipes to make them gluten-free, dairy free, egg free and nut free.  It's also a great resource to share with family members or friends who cook for you on occasion.

I highly recommend Living Without, despite the price($23 for 6 issues), for anyone Living With Celiac Disease.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Creating a Celiac Disease Safe Kitchen

We received the CD diagnosis while in the midst of a major kitchen renovation.  As if going g-free as a family wasn't challenging enough, we were initiated into the g-free world while cooking on an electric plate, in a microwave and with our refrigerator plugged in - in the living room.  Adding to the chaos was the usual end-of-the-school year mayhem!

After reviewing my favorite CD website, books and reading a few blogs, I quickly realized that we would need to have designated g-free zones in our kitchen.  As recommended by many sites, I purchased a new toaster and pots specifically dedicated to g-free foods only.  I also purchased new cooking utensils, all green silicone, for cooking g-free foods.  Silicone sterilizes well in the dishwasher and doesn't hold food particles, so it's a great choice.  Keeping it color coded makes it easier for guest and family members who are using our kitchen.  I also purchased a green cutting board and colander as you should never, ever, under any circumstances use either of which that has ever been in contact with gluten.  It's just not worth the possible risk of cross contamination.  Then, I ordered Gluten Free labels from Triumph Dining.  The labels were expensive so I put the stickers on a bright green index card and laminated them.  I use these labels to label the drawer and cabinet holding the g-free pots and utensils.

Finally, in a matter of days - yes days - our pantry, fridge, and kitchen were gluten free.  We were now ready to embark on our G-FREE Journey!


                                       

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Transforming My Pantry to be G-FREE

So, after doing my research and deciding as a family to go G-FREE, the 1st task was to eliminate everything from our pantry that contained wheat or gluten.  Any open boxes or containers went into the trash.  Any new boxes, cans or jars went into a bag for our local food pantry.  By the time I was finished, we were left with a bag of rice, a couple of cans of beans, a few jars of pasta sauce, some jelly and some potato chips.  The tears came streaming as I struggled to both comprehend and accept the enormity of of the change that we were facing.
Next, the refrigerator:  condiments, dips, sauces and left-overs all landed in the trash.                        
Armed with my list of un-safe foods, food additives and preservatives, I hit the grocery store.  It took me hours to shop for our family of 5 as I carefully read labels searching for that elusive ingredient that would render a food un-safe.
I left feeling discouraged, with my cart 1/2 full and my wallet $300 lighter, but with my resolve unwavering.

My Initial Research

Immediately following the Celiac Disease diagnosis of my then 5 year old son in June 2011, followed 2 weeks later by the same diagnosis for my husband, I began scouring the internet reading every article I could find.  I completely immersed myself in learning everything I could about this disease.  Initially, the 3 most comprehensive and helpful online sites that I found are The Mayo Clinic, The The American Celiac Alliance, and the Celiac Disease Foundation.  Later I discovered the invaluable Gluten Intolerance Group, and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.  I visited my local library and borrowed every resource and cookbook available.  Unfortunately, our local library did not have many available resources and I had to search for books online and then borrow them through the inter-library loan program.  

I became consumed with learning everything I could about this disease, it's long term health consequences, the dietary and lifestyle changes it would require for him, my husband, and our entire family.  Thankfully, there is a lot of information available and I quickly became satisfied that I was a bit of an "expert" on CD.   I recognized and accepted the changes we would need to make to keep my son and husband safe and healthy.  However, with this recognition came the daunting realization that these lifestyle changes weren't going to be easy.  If you or someone in your family is newly diagnosed, I highly recommend spending a lot of time researching reputable online resources and borrowing every book possible from your local library!


The Start of My Journey as a Celiac Momma

My journey as a celiac momma began in the spring of 2011 when my then 5 year old son was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  Three weeks later, at my insistence, my husband was also tested and diagnosed with CD.  

My journey in diagnosing my son began years earlier, when he was only an infant.  At 5 weeks old he was diagnosed with iso-immune hemolytic anemia and was admitted to the pediatric oncology/hematology department where he received blood transfusions.  Months of regular blood tests followed to determine whether or not he would require further transfusions.  When he was born, my son was in the 78% for height.  By age 3 he was in the <3%, at 4 years of age <3%, at 5 years old he was up to the 5th%, and at 6 years old was up the 6th percentile.  As we head into this summer he will turn 7 and will have been on the gluten-free diet for 1 year.  It will be interesting to see where his growth "stands".As a toddler he was diagnosed with short stature, a speech delay and fine motor delay.  We now know that these speech and fine motor delays are very common in young children with CD.  

My initial responses were varied.  Relief at finally having a diagnosis after 3 years of countless visits with our pediatrician, a variety of x-rays, multiple blood tests, consultations with a pediatric endocrinologist, a pediatric gastroenterologist and invasive blood hormone testing.  However, with my relief also came overwhelming sadness that my son had a "disease", he wasn't "perfect", her would never be "healthy".  I cried tears of relief, sadness, anxiety, guilt and fear.

But then, I got over it and got busy educating myself.  I decided to stop feeling sorry for my son and the life he could never have - the birthday cakes, classroom cupcakes and pizza parties he would never enjoy,  the beer with his college buddies that he could never have - and instead embrace the life he will have.

My intention with this blog is to provide helpful and useful information for families who are also on this journey; to better educate school administrators and school nurses, to raise awareness and to help make life a little bit easier for all those living with Celiac Disease and for the people that love them.