We're approaching that time ----- "The Holidays."
And first in line ----- Thanksgiving.
I love all the smells and I love having my family around the dinner table. And I love tradition.
Its "tradition" that is the issue that grabs most of us when we first transition from our regular diet to gluten free. We want aunt Sally's pumpkin pie and grandma's stuffing. We want our mom's dinner rolls and green bean casserole. And we want to pour gravy all over everything. It can be extremely depressing ----- literally. The holidays are often difficult enough, but throw in a medically required special diet? We have to re-train our thinking and we need to make a plan.
Thanks - Giving. Giving Thanks. We sometimes lose the meaning of the holiday when we focus on the "can't haves." (understandably) Let yourself mourn a bit, its normal. But then work really hard at finding a way to make it OK.
I was diagnosed in September of 2000 and I was determined to make Thanksgiving the holiday we were used to. I was now "the" Thanksgiving cook for my family--just my family--and I wanted my kids to have the Thanksgiving they were used to.
Just four years earlier was the last time I experienced Thanksgiving as I always knew it. My (now ex) husband and I generally took turns visiting our families, traveling to one house one year, the other the next. But in 1996, we went to both. I don't know why. (Well, I kinda do, as I believe in angels who whisper in our ears to guide us.) It was odd in one way, but very beautiful in another. It was a complete blessing that left warm, wonderful memories. Family memories. We had no idea that we would lose both our moms that following year.
Make a Plan
So, when planning your Thanksgiving, whether preparing the meal yourself, traveling, or going out, please (please, please) keep those you love as the #1 importance. I still (after 16 years) struggle with the whole "social thing" when it comes to food----but family and friends have got to be remembered and worked on, and placed as number one when thinking about times together.
Next, make a list of the foods that are important to you. Keep it simple; three to five items at the most. Maybe just one or two (I mean---most items are naturally gluten free; its just about avoiding cross contamination.)
hat do you want on your plate?
Now write them down---and figure out how you can have them in front of you on the table for your Thanksgiving. Google recipes. Experiment.
Is someone else doing all the cooking? Plan ahead. Roast your own turkey (or chicken) earlier in the month and put together a plate (or two) for the freezer to have ready to heat up.
Are you doing the cooking? Of course, this is the easiest --- to have all the control. And let me tell you, the stuffing I make (which is important to me) tastes just the way I remember it when my mom was the one stuffing the turkey, and it was my siblings who sat around the table enjoying all the smells and tastes of my mom's hard work.
Gluten Free Stuffing is a Must for a Gluten Free Turkey
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk (room temperature) (I used almond milk)
1 packet yeast (1 Tablespoon)
1/4 cup oil (I use olive oil)
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
3/4 cup potato starch
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 tsp xantham gum
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling
1 8oz brick cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease or spray 2 8" pie plates.
2) Mix milk and yeast, stirring well. Set aside.
3) In your heavy duty blender, (using the paddle) blend the butter and sugar. Mix well.
3) Add milk / yeast mixture
4) Add remaining 'dough' ingredients. Blend well until dough is soft and spoonable. (with a spoon spoon----I wouldn't suggest snuggling it---not that kind of spooning.)
5) Dollop the dough into the pie plates, evenly dispersing the dough, half in each pie pan (because it really wouldn't make sense to put 3/4 in one and 1/4 in the other.)
6) Set pie plates aside and place the cream cheese, powdered sugar, egg and vanilla in the bowl of your heavy duty mixer. Don't bother cleaning it out after removing the dough. Why mess with that? Just throw it all in. Blend on low until all mixed up, then set it to high while you go to step 7.
7) Gently press the dollops of dough into pie plates. Don't worry if there are empty spaces, they'll fill in when backing. I did use the rubber spatula to bring it up slightly around the edges though.
8) Empty canned cherries on top of dough, half per dish again, of course.
9) Dollop the cheese mixture on top of cherries, and then gently smooth out. (I didn't get a picture of it after I smoothed it out a bit, but I think you can picture it :)
10) Bake for 25 minutes.
To those who aren't gluten free but who seek recipes like this one in order to bake for a special friend or family member:
It isn't always easy to understand, but for the person with celiac or nonceliac gluten sensitivity, a crumb can make a difference. Your efforts in cooking and baking for someone who needs to be gluten free are appreciated more than you'll ever know. It is very important for you to understand, however, that all items used must be free from any possible cross contamination. Just pour one of your cake mixes into a bowl and watch how far that flour spreads, or dip a knife back into a stick of butter after you used it on your Wonder bread. Contamination city!
Is best to just clean all bowls and utensils before starting and use disposable baking pans if your pans have been used for nongf foods. (you know how those corners of baking pans never come clean.) Please use fresh butter sticks, peanut butter or mayo jars. And please don't use your colander that you used for regular pasta. Very difficult to avoid cross contamination with that.
And when you offer your special gluten free someone a surprise gluten free treat, tell them what you did to take care to avoid cross contamination. Its so hard to ask someone who went to the effort and love and kindness of making something special what all the ingredients were or what they did to keep it 100% gluten free. Can we say awkward? If you ever have questions---always ask your gluten free person.
And today, I received an email from one of those nurse that made me cry---literally.
With her permission, I am sharing Connie's email, and a picture of her son. I remember her coming up to talk to me after my presentation. It was great to hear back from her with an update about her handsome, active, nearly sixteen year old son.
Celiac is the most common genetic autoimmune disorder, yet the most under and mis-diagnosed. And to make it even more complicated, there are over 300 symptoms. And, as you can see in Aaron's case (and my own son's case) results on a gluten free diet are often just as powerful even when tests are negative. I worry that many who test negative don't follow through and understand that they could possibly be one of the many, many with non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Materials are available through the website (and heck, if you are within an hour or so of the St. Louis area, I'd love to come talk to your school nurses.)
TOO MANY are sick when a "simple" diet change can change (and save) their life.
Adam is Free to download Aug. 7th-9th and 18th and 19th.
Every child who needs to be gluten free
deserves to have a
teacher who understands.
Both books are always free
with Kindle Unlimited
(or only $2.99).
Kindle not required.
Amazon has an app that allows you to view Kindle books on your computer, iPhone, and other devices).
Both books are also
available in paperback.
Your child complains that his feet hurt. He cries and limps, so you take him to the doctor. The pediatrician sends you to a pediatric podiatrist. The pediatric podiatrist gives him an anti-inflammatory. Nothing. He gives your child other pain pills to take. Nothing.
He continues to cry.
A few weeks later, his limp is not only more profound, but he starts to complain that his knees and sometimes hips hurt. He starts to act out. He's unhappy and miserable and his behavior reflects this.
You visit another doctor.
She puts in orders for x-rays.
You go to another doctor.
He suggests physical therapy.
Another physician suggests a behavior therapist.
By now, your child doesn't want to go to school. You start to notice that his school work is declining and your frustration level is increasing over a lack of an answer.
This is your child who you love with your whole heart and soul and you'd do anything to relieve his misery.
You take him to yet another physician and he says, "His shoes are too small."
All this time, all your child needed was a pair of new shoes.
Imagine having to live in shoes that are one size too small - for a week.
- for a month.
- for a year.
How about 40 years! This is where my passion comes from. A lifetime of just needing a different pair of shoes (a different diet).
And this is why I want those who hear our children's complaints and who see our kids on a regular basis, to start seeing "shoe size" ("celiac") first -- not last.
School Nurse Celiac Education
School Nurses care about our kids. Let's help them detect the signs and symptoms.
Please share. Please make a difference.
If you've had a challenging experience, I beg you to write the head of your hospital. Describe your dietary needs, describe your experience, and describe your expectations.
There are a couple programs that I am currently aware of, that train restaurants, hospitals, and other facilities on how to safely prepare food for those of us who are gluten free (because we HAVE to be.) Please share these with your local hospitals:
Food Training Programs:
*National Foundation For Celiac Awareness’ GREAT Gluten-Free Foodservice Training
*Gluten Intolerance Group of North America (GIG) Food Service Training
(Know any others? Please let me know and I'll add them in.)
Just a few experiences from others that I have collected:
*Personal experience*: After a horrible automobile accident, one of my son'ts first meals was broth, which was taken away when I questioned whether or not it was gluten free. Nope, it wasn't. He was actually given gluten in the rehab facility, even after I was assured they could feed him safely. I included our struggles with safe gluten free food along with his remarkable recovery in The Syrup Maze: An Inspirational Journey Through Recovery From a Traumatic Brain Injury.
*L*: I am a nurse aide and saw a nurse give a celiac patient Saltine crackers because her stomach was upset. It was too late for me to do anything because she had already eaten some. I kindly reminded him that her life was in his hands, literally now. He was more careful after that but the damage was already done.
*A*: While on both IV pain meds and oral ones too, following surgery, they fed me a gluten bun! Something in my brain tried to warn me, but I could not make a decision (think pain meds) so I ate it! Bad decision! My reaction to gluten is inflammation, quickly effects breathing. I started coughing and wheezing. Had to have chest x-ray, nebulizer breathing treatments, and use an inhaler. None of which should have been necessary except the dietary mistake!
*R*: I have 2 stories for you, two separate hospitals. Hospital A: Had to call down to the cafeteria to place meal orders. Every phone call a different person answered and what one person said was gluten free the next person said wasn't. The cafeteria staff basically had no clue, ended up having family members bring me food so I'd know I was eating safely. Hospital B: After having surgery the nurse brought me some toast to munch on, asked if it was GF, she said no. There was a sign on the door to my room stating I had Celiac and an allergy tag on my wrist stating the same. Guess she couldn't read.
*N*: I recently had a hysterectomy, told them I was gluten free, had gluten free written on my food ticket, but had mac n cheese on my tray, saltines, and bread. I asked the nurse if they were all gluten free and she laughed and said certainly not. I asked her if she was prepared to deal with my projectile vomiting had I eaten any of it and she looked at me like I had a third eye. Ugh!
*D*: The dietician was told that I needed a gluten free and soy free diet. They sent me regular grits, bacon and white toast...and graham crackers for breakfast. I didn't eat...and filed a complaint. For lunch, I received steamed vegetables, FRIED chicken smothered in gravy and mashed potatoes. Oh, and let's not forget about the pound cake for dessert. I didn't eat and filed another complaint. For dinner, I received turkey with gravy, cornbread dressing, corn and pie. I didn't eat and filed another complaint. The next day, the doctor was very concerned that I was starting to run a fever and my blood pressure was dropping. I asked him if it could be caused by not eating. He went bolistic on me. After I let him finish his rant, I told him what happened with my food. Within an hour, I had a bowl full of fresh fruit and a vegetable omlet....and a personal visit from the dietician.
*S*: I work at our local hospital and they know gluten free. I have never had a problem. They offer many varieties of homemade gluten free foods and snacks, as well as UDI's brand snacks and muffins to purchase. We are very fortunate.
*J*: My son was hospitalized for 3 days when he was 7 - with intestinal inflammation (after sneaking an oreo at a friends house) that affected his appendix and almost required an appendectomy. After a few days, they wanted him to start eating toast, broth, jello... when I reminded the nurse it had to be gf, her response was - well what can he possibly eat! Eventually the hospital provided gf toast - but when I examined it, it was filled with lots of toasty crumbs and I new right away it wasn't toasted in a dedicated toaster, I was also told the broth was gf... I wouldn't let him eat either the bread or broth (and if I had, he probably would have needed that appendectomy). Side note... there was absolutely nothing I could get from the cafeteria that was safe, I had to order out
Please comment with your experiences. Would also LOVE to hear the good ones! :)
But on to what this post is really about. My purpose and my BIGGEST passion when it comes to celiac and gluten free is AWARENESS and SUPPORT. And---as an early childhood professional, and as someone who spent an entire childhood and a big chunk of my adult years, with undiagnosed celiac, my biggest target area is kids. They deserve to be diagnosed properly and they deserve to have their diet understood----to be safe and included in school----to be fed safely and appropriately in hospitals.
(The other 2 FREE download days are coming up, as are the 5 FREE download days for the identical boys' version, Adam's Gluten Free Surprise.)
First warm 2/3 cup milk until room temperature. (I've used both reg milk and almond milk--both have worked just fine.)
Add 1 tablespoon yeast and stir until dissolved (I can never get it to dissolve completely)
In a separate bowl combine:
½ cup potato starch
½ cup tapioca starch
½ cup arrowroot starch (I avoid cornstarch, but I’m sure you could use this instead of arrowroot starch)
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 ½ tsp xantham gum
In your mixer (I use my KitchenAid stand mixer) blend 2 tablespoons shortening with ¼ cup sugar.
¼ cup oil (I use olive oil)
1 tsp vanilla
and milk/ yeast mixture
Slowly add dry ingredients, mixing until smooth.
Heat oil (I used a heavy saucepan on the stove) to about 300degrees.
(I keep temp near 300degrees but sometimes it gets to 350)
Add approximately 1 level tablespoon dough to the oil at a time, not crowding. If they are too big they won’t cook in the middle. Keep turning them. They round out nicely and quickly float to the top.
Remove to paper towel covered plate when browned.
Don’t cook too fast or the center won’t be cooked. If you notice them sinking in (not holding their shape once removed) you will know to keep the next batch in the oil a bit longer.
Makes 2 to 3 dozen (depending on size)
Glaze when cooled.
I didn’t measure this real well, so these are approximate amounts:
Approx 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
1/4 to 1/3 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
Blend well. You want it kinda soupy. Roll donut balls through the glaze a few at a time. I set them on a cooling rack over a plate before transferring to a silpat or wax paper covered surface so excess glaze can drip off and be added back to your bowl.
When making a double batch I double everything but the yeast. (1 tablespoon.)
These freeze very nicely!
I take thyroid med regularly and an occasional pain relief med or an antibiotic once a year, maybe. With the ever growing number of us that require the complete avoidance of certain ingredients, shouldn't our pharmacies have access to common allergens (and other ingredients) in medications they deliver?
Today, I needed a couple scripts filled for some back pain. (I feel oh-so-much better now, thank you very much, haha) Before handing the papers through the drive-up window, I checked online with a site I use when purchasing a new over-the-counter or prescription drug, Gluten Free Drugs. Both the muscle relaxant and anti-inflammatory were on the list. But I asked the gal at the window to please ask the pharmacist to check and make sure they were gluten free.
Ummmm....I take drugs very seriously! I want to be able to trust my pharmacy to be able to check on ingredients I cannot have --- for MY HEALTH and well-being! ---Or at the very, very least, to be able to offer a telephone number of the manufacturer in order for me to be able to call for myself. But those numbers (not at the fault of our pharmacists) are not always so easy to find either.
Am I wrong that this is a challenge----and shouldn't be?!
A Child's Life Changed
Before And After Pictures
Gf Wedding Recipes
Gluten Free A Life Changed
Gluten Free--A Life Changed
Gluten Free In Rehad - Not
Gluten Free Recipes
Gluten Free Wedding
Rehab - Make A Difference
The Syrup Maze
Tragedy In My Family
What Is This Blog About?