Thank you for reading and for sharing 'Adam' - Helping Others Understand Gluten Free :)
Adam (and I) have been nominated for awards on two different sites - and I would love your support.
There are books that provide awareness about celiac disease, books about the gluten free diet, books for kids, and books for adults. How can there be one better than the other. I wish we could all be lumped into one grouping of "awareness" books and offered to all kids and schools (and other grown-ups who need to understand better for kids' sake. Adam's Gluten Free Surprise (and Hailey's Gluten Free Surprise) is unique in that it looks like a kids' book (giving gf kids someone to connect with and giving them a positive role model) - but the biggest audience I would like to reach with this book is adults - to create empathy for gluten free kids and an understanding of how strict this diet is.
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How do you handle weddings? When attending a wedding reception where a meal is provided - (which is always :) - I get the name and/or contact info from the bride (or mother of the bride, or such) and make that call directly. The bride and family already have so much going on; I don't see it as their job to see to it that I am provided a gluten free meal. (Although it is really cool now that more and more invitations include "any food allergies?" or "any special diet needs?" on the RSVP.
With one exception, I've always had good success. Success to me is being able to eat something - even if its just 2 items. For example - I'm going to a wedding tomorrow. After talking with the caterer (who was very nice and seemingly understanding of what gluten free meant) I discovered that I can eat the pork loin, green beans, and mashed potatoes. She told me she would request that my salad be removed from the large bowl before croutons were added. This kind of offer suggests that there is an understanding that crumbs must be avoided. yay!
One has to hope that food safety is observed and cross contamination is avoided.
Of course it is still risky - just as dining out is always risky. Personally, dining out is one of life's enjoyments I am not ready to give up. But I am very cautious. I was so happy to have so many items available to eat - meat, potatoes, veggie and a salad. Nice. I never even feel bad that I can't indulge in the cake.
The caterer for this wedding tomorrow told me that they use corn starch for the gravy. yay! The thought of being able to include the gravy on my plate was such a bonus! But after I hung up I had a "duh" moment. The thickening agent isn't the only concern. So I called back and asked what else is included as some stock is not gluten free. She told me they use a beef base (but she didn't offer to check) and I said "some are not gluten free so I won't risk it, but thank you so much." *Always be polite when checking with those who prepare your food :)
She didn't offer to check - and I didn't ask her to. Why is it, that after 13 years, I still find it difficult to ask someone to go "out of their way."
But as someone who serves food to the general public, I thought "this should be their responsibility to know what is in the food they serve" (especially with all the food allergies these days.) So a couple days later (today) I sent a short email asking if she could check the label on the stock if she had the time. She got right back and said "wheat" was listed.
Be careful folks. And enjoy!
My husband and I went to Branson, Mo for the recent three day weekend and had a great time. I greatly dislike packing and decided this time not to pack a bunch of gluten free food. I brought a bag of pretzels, a few hard boiled eggs and a couple Udi's muffins. I came back with the unopened bag of pretzels and all three eggs. View from our table.
We stayed at the Best Western, 3 blocks from The Landing. Breakfast was included. They offer the same variety of hot and cold items every single morning. In one of the heated containers were plain scrambled eggs and seasoned potatoes, which is what I chose. I saw the label from the eggs but not the potatoes. (no, I am not recommending eating something without seeing a list of ingredients.) And gosh - really? - why does there have to be a dozen ingredients in PLAIN scrambled eggs? ugh. But nothing with gluten that I saw.
Another heated container included sausage patties and biscuits with one set of tongs. Didn't chance the sausage; so not worth it. Other options that I saw were: hardboiled eggs and yogurt in the refrigerator and a bowl of apples, oranges and bananas. I added a cup of hot tea and an Udi's muffin to my eggs and potatoes and was good to go each morning. (wished I brought a pkg of instant GF oatmeal for something different one morning, but I was fine with what was there. I also took a yogurt and piece of fresh fruit for mid morning snack (or lunch). After eating my breakfast the first morning I watched as the person who was constantly refilling the containers used what looked like the same bowl, first with eggs, then biscuits, then potatoes, etc - and I thought "uh-oh - I took too big of a risk!" because if she was using the same bowl, everything surely had gluten. I hesitated to ask at that point - but I did - and she assured me that each food had a re-fill bowl of its own.
Lunch on day 1 when we arrived: Cantina Loredo on The Landing
. The weather was warm and beautiful so we sat outside with a view of the lake (that looks like a river) and a view of the water show. Very nice! Here's their menu
, gluten free items clearly marked. Their chips are fried in dedicated oil. (at least that's what I was told that day.) The items offered are a bit different and a bit more expensive than Mexican food I'm used to eating, but I was very happy with the enchiladas de avocado that I ordered (which was actually just one enchilada). We also got a cup of the chili de queso (cheese) to share with our chips. Hot salsa is not GF but the mild is, and was very good. Don't like HOT salsa anyway, so that worked for me.
We walked, and walked some more, including up the hill back to our room (with my very tired legs) to grab a sweater and then head back out for the evening - back to The Landing where a live band was playing. We ventured down to the Paddlewheel Pub
, a new and growing restaurant and pub with a large deck that includes several heaters and fire pits. Before sitting down I asked if they could accommodate my gluten free diet and was told they could. Our server said she'd watch them cook my food. Before I had a chance to mention what was needed, she said she'd make sure they'd change their gloves and avoid the bun, etc because (as she said) sometimes they don't think its as serious as it is (oops - that's not good). I just got a burger and salad (fries fried in shared oil). The burger was thin and not terrific, but just o.k. Salad didn't have any dressing. Good thing I wasn't really hungry to begin with. They did have Angry Orchard cider, and that was yummy.
The piano bar at Ernie Biggs after dinner was fun - but I was exhausted! so we didn't stay long.
We didn't go out for lunch the next day. Had breakfast around 9:00 and I had a banana for late morning snack. Saw an afternoon show and had popcorn with the show and bought plain chocolate fudge after the show (after viewing a list of ingredients). I stopped in at two restaurants on the strip before the show in order to determine where to have dinner. The first, a BBQ place, I passed on. No one seemed to have time to answer questions, finally saying "we're short handed today." I then went to The Great American Steak and Chicken House (HUGE chicken in front of restaurant.) Manager seemed very accommodating and made me feel that they'd be able to serve me a safe meal, checking ingredients. Dinner was "o.k." but nothing fabulous. Manager wasn't around when we returned. I ordered a plain steak, baked potato and beans, staying on the safe side, but of course making my special diet requirements clear.
Lack of reactions should NOT be used as an indicator that a restaurant is safe, but I had no reactions. :) Dining out is always risky.
Best part of this restaurant - Outlet mall is directly behind it - Oh ya! Its a shame my husband doesn't like to shop. Imagine that - a husband who doesn't like to shop, LOL But I managed to get a few things. :)We ended the night at the same place as the first night - at the Paddlewheel Pub, by a firepit, with a couple Angry Orchards. We could see the water show from where we sat and we could here the band that was playing on The Landing. Very nice :)
For lunch on Sunday we stopped at Jimmy John's on the strip. It was 2:00 so no line of customers, so I thought I'd try it. They offer lettuce wraps so I asked if they could use items from new containers. All the tomatoes were already out, but they pulled all other ingredients from new containers. I chose "no tomatoes" and no mayo. The girl making my wrap changed her gloves and got out a new board to prep on, looking less than thrilled with the process. I made a point to tell her how much it meant to me that she was making my sandwich safe - and she finally smiled. I had been craving BBQ so tried another restaurant when we were back on The Landing that evening, Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que. When I asked the hostess if they accommodate a gluten free diet, she said "no,"
that they used to, but it was removed. I'm assuming she meant a gluten free menu. I was trying to avoid chain restaurants, wanting to try something different, but we ended up going to Joe's Crab Shack since they were close and since they offered a gluten free menu. Of course, a menu is no good unless those who prepare the food avoid cross contamination - and of course I asked all the questions and told them how strict I need to be. I had the blackened tilapia, white rice and broccoli - yummy.
And our third and final night ended as our first 2 nights ended. Of course, leaving the fire and having to walk three blocks uphill was not something I liked thinking about while I rested my weary legs at our most relaxing and favorite spot - but I managed, lol
Thank you mom (Chrystal) for sharing Spencer's story :)
This is Spencer, 6 years old. He was the chubbiest, happiest baby until he started to eat solid foods around 9 months old. He would eat his baby foods and scream all night. We went to doctors and ERs and everyone told me he was fine. I was a new mom. He would break out in hives from head to toe and was admitted to the hospital numerous times because his eyes and mouth would swell up so bad. The more food he ate, the sicker he got. He was coming down with pneumonia and upper respiratory infections all year around. He has asthma but the doctors could not explain why his lungs were so weak. He began to lose weight. By 14 months my plump little chubby baby had a distended tummy and was so skinny. He had constant diarrhea and screaming fits for no reason. I felt helpless.
Finally, at yet another doctor appt, his weight was down to 14lb at 14 months old. He was admitted again to the hospital. He would cry when we tried to feed him food. The doctor suggested going back to baby food. It worked. As long as I stayed away from anything chunky, he would eat it and seemed fine, which was the plain veggies and meats. He would not eat the fruits.
Well of course, by 16 months I was terrified; his weight was still too low and he looked sick. Finally, I started making phone calls and fighting with doctors to find out what was wrong with my child because it was not normal.
Just weeks after his diagnosis - making our first gluten free play dough. His tummy is still swollen here.
Looking a little better here :)
A handsome, healthy boy
on his 6th birthday this summer.
Happy Birthday Spencer :)
After months of testing and hospital admissions, by 18months, we had a diagnosis, Celiac Disease, which I had no clue about. I had never heard of it, even after years of working in hospitals myself. So we were thrown into a world of the unknown and scary. I was devastated to feel like my child would never have a life he deserved. So he and I went gluten free. It was SO hard for me!
He began to gain weight and loved food again! The screaming at night, holding his tummy, stopped. The hives stopped and he felt better and he slowly put weight on. It was a long road but I am thankful they finally found out what was causing him to be so sick.
(before diagnosis) I feared he would die and no one would listen to me that he was inconsolable in pain. He was 10months old and crying, bent over in pain, and they didn't believe me. It was horrible to be so helpless and have doctors tell me over and over nothing was wrong with him, that he had viruses and "toddler diarrhea" from putting stuff in his mouth, he was teething, he was gassy, the hives were viral! I was over reacting. It was absurd.
Spencer has Aspergers as well, so life is complicated for him at times. He's extremely smart and high on the spectrum, so I am very thankful for that. He does often wish he were like other kids and could just eat whatever he wanted but he knows when he eats gluten he has what he calls brain fog. He can't think clearly and his stomach hurts for days, sometimes weeks, and his mood is awful. He has fits now when he feels something isn't fair or plans change but I am noticing as he gets older its a little better and at times he's flexible but he has very rigid thinking and concrete when you make plans or when it comes to his schedules. This helps with his Celiac though. He even questions me if its gluten free if its a new food, LOL. Its all he has ever known, basically. He will tell people "you have to wash your hands, you touched gluten, you'll contaminate me!" And "I can't eat that, it has gluten." Now that he can read he reads every thing he can get his hands on in the store just to check if its gluten free.
He has read his book every night! He loves it. He understands he's not the only one with celiac because he used to say he was the only one in the world. He would actually tell me at 4years old, "mommy you're just saying other people have celiac to make me feel better!" He knows now he's not the only one. We have met a few people with Celiac, so its been helpful. He has all the special treats he wants that match what others have, so he's accepted it and is okay with being different as long as he's what he calls "still the same." Having the same kinds of foods and goodies is important to children.
I love the book! Very well written and its so nice to relate to someone. So that's Spencer's story! He is now healthy and doing great. His lungs were damaged due to numerous pneumonias but he only had it 3x last year, so that's an awesome improvement. He is a trooper and a fighter! The love of my life!
For more kids' stories click HERE
.Click Here to see how you can receive a personalized book for your child.
Its that time of the year. Apples, apples, apples.
I make this several times every fall. I love apple pie but don't like making the crust. This works for me! And so easy!
Below is the recipe I normally use on one side and changes I made for today's apple crisp on the other. Don't ever be afraid to alter a recipe.
6-7 apples (preferrably Granny Smith or Jonathan…..but doesn’t have to be)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup water
1 stick butter
1 cup GF flour (2 parts rice flour, 2/3 part potato starch, 1/3 part tapioca flour)
1 cup sugar
Butter 9 X 12 baking dish
Preheat oven 350
Peel and slice apples and put in bowl. Mix in lemon, water and cinnamon. Spread in baking dish. Mix butter and sugar in bowl until smooth. Add flour and work in with fingers until fine and crumbly. Sprinkle over apples. If you like cinnamon, sprinkle a bit more on top.
Bake for 45 min to 1 hour.
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3 pound bag granny smith apples
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons cinnamon (divided)
1/4 cup water
1 stick butter (minus 2 Tablespoons)
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup GF flour blend
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup GF oats
1 cup sugar
Butter 9 X 12 baking dish
Preheat oven 350
Peel and slice apples and put in bowl. Add water, lemon, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Pour into baking dish.
Mix softened butter, coconut oil, and sugar in a separate bowl until smooth.
Add flours, oats and 2nd tsp cinnamon and work in until fine and crumbly. Sprinkle over apples.
Bake for 1 hour.
Vote for your Gluten Free favorites in GFREEK.com's annual Gluten Free Awards
.Kids' books are included this year! - category #28 :)
Hailey earned enough money from her lemonade stand to purchase 10 more books to share with local elementary schools.
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Read about Anthony here.
Doesn't he look GREAT!?!
He wasn't always this healthy looking.
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Read about Greta by clicking here.
Each of these books is available on Amazon (click on a book for a direct link.)
Personalized books are no longer available at this time. Check back in January.
To have your child's story shared, send stories and pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org
Adam's and Hailey's Gluten Free Surprise are both also available for kindle download.
for Spencer's story.
These personalized versions are also temporarily available on Amazon.
| || |Click Here for more Before and After pictures and stories. Amazing!
Pre-planning can help prevent a child from having to look on while the rest of the class enjoys a special treat. And that's what this book is all about.Click here for a sample preview
of Adam's Gluten Free Surprise
(and Hailey's Gluten Free Surprise
) to see how this book can help a teacher understand gluten free. You will also
see how friends and relatives of the gluten free adult
can also benefit from reading this "kids'" book . After all, the person who brings the naturally gluten free cheese on the same plate as the crackers that are not gluten free doesn't do this because they don't care - its because they don't know.
Anthony was featured in the "Before and After Pictures
" post in May. This healthy little boy who was once below the 5th percentile for height and weight is now above the 97th percentile. A-mazing! As shared by mom:
"Anthony was a sickly child, visiting the pediatrician's office over 34 times in his first year of life. He broke his arm at 8 months, was hospitalized with pneumonia at 6 months and then again at 3 1/2. When he was 6 months he weighed a whopping 21 pounds, then his growth was stunted. At 3 1/2 he only weighed 24 pounds. Every time he got sick with an upper respiratory infection he would vomit about once a day. He had the blood work for Celiac done at age 2 1/2 and it came back negative. The doctor treated him for cyclic vomiting and GERD. He actually went a stretch of 60 days one time vomiting once a day. He was life-flighted to Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh at 2 1/2 for pneumonia and a plural effusion. Sick, sick sick! He was always sick. Having Celiac myself my mother's instinct kicked in.
Enough was enough. At his pediatrician appointment I tore off his shirt (when he looked like he did in the picture) and said, "I don't care what your blood work says....Look at him! Look at my child, he looks like a child with Celiac disease!"
So we then got our referral to a GI doctor.
Diagnosis still was not easy even though these doctors knew exactly what they were dealing with. The reason his blood work came back negative was because he has a rare IgA absence. A complete absence of the component of his blood that could tell us if he had celiac and the reason he was always sick! He was scheduled for the biopsy 3 times. The first two times he was too sick to go under anesthesia so the procedure was canceled. The second time we still drove the 2 hours knowing he was still probably too sick. My husband and I lost it. My husband is a mild mannered person but he started screaming at the nurses and doctors, "My son is going to die and no one is doing anything about it!" I was crying hysterically. The doctor sat us down and calmed us down and talked to us. He put him on some supplements and got us scheduled again pretty quickly. Before the procedure the doctor talked to us saying that we won't have any answers today because the biopsy had to go to a pathologist...yadda yadda yadda.
When he came out from the procedure he said that "I am 100% sure you son has Celiac disease" and he was the worst case he has ever seen!!! and he's seen thousands. Finally! We got the answers we so desperately needed. I saw the worry in his face. So he got us some vitamins and supplements to get him feeling better and put some weight on my poor baby's body! I didn't sleep for 3 1/2 years! No lie. Every little cough we were at his side because we knew vomiting was a split second after. It was horrible. I am making it my life's mission to spread the word so that NO family has to go through what we went through. I am hoping to start my non-profit within the year."Anthony's Gluten Free Surprise is also available on Amazon :)If you would like a personalized book like Anthony - Click Here.
Meet Greta, an adorable 6 year old girl who is starting first grad this year. At age 15 months, Greta began to wake in the night with abdominal pain. This was also around the time that gluten was introduced into her diet in a substantial way. Greta's grandfather and first cousin were diagnosed with Celiac disease, so her mom did a trial of a gluten free diet. No more gluten - no more night time abdominal pain. At her 18 month check-up, Greta's doctor encouraged her parents to keep the gluten free diet. He didn't feel an endoscopy was worth the "trauma" and the wait to get into a pediatric gastroenterologist was over a year where they lived in Canada. Complicating the matter more, Greta lost all her verbal skills. She was diagnosed as Autistic at age 2 years, 2 months. She is now on a gluten free, casein free, soy and corn free diet and is thriving - and even beginning to talk again! She loves music and her big sister Audrey who always thinks to ask if food is safe for Greta.
Do you have a story to share? Please email Debbie at email@example.com
| || |Greta now has a copy of her own book with her name on the cover and throughout the book.
For more information on personalized books, click here.
Greta's Gluten Free Surprise
is currently available on Amazon