Everyday Eating with Celiac Disease

Living with Celiac Disease

In response to CNN’s “Is gluten free food a joke?” May 17, 2014

Filed under: Everyday Living with Celiac Disease — Michelle @ 8:36 pm
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People!!!! If you do not have a legitimate diagnosis (from a real gastroenterologist) requiring gluten-free diet, stop following the FAD! Those of you who are going GF “just because” is reducing the perceived severity for those of us with Celiac Disease who have no choice but to go GF! My family can’t eat at restaurants anymore because of the new GF fad! Restaurants claiming a GF menu do NOT understand what GF means! They follow the FAD and claim to have GF menus, when in fact the menu items are NOT GF! For example, processed, pre-packaged chicken broth has GLUTEN, soy sauce has GLUTEN, generic sour cream has GLUTEN, french fries or corn tortilla chips fried in a restaurant fryer have GLUTEN, etc! Sorry for my rant, but this has been so frustrating from the Celiac community!#celiacawareness #realglutenfree

http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/health/2014/05/16/erin-panel-gluten-free-not-needed-by-some.cnn.html

I’m just making the statement that due to the new “influx” of GF people, restaurants are catering to the Fad. Majority of the “gluten free” menu items are NOT GF. Hence, “true” GF folks cannot eat out. Not only the food is not GF, but the food preparation is absolutely not GF.

 

I hate having to defend my diet to ensure that my diet is truly legitimate.  I wish the fad would just go away.

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Emotional Challenge having a Child with Celiac Disease February 7, 2014

My youngest daughter is 7 years old, but we’ve known she’s had Celiac since she was about 2 years old.  Last night, she had a bit of a break down.  We were packing her lunch and she was so undecided what to pack. We had several options– chicken tenders, ham and cheese rolls with crackers,  tuna and crackers, PBJ– all gluten free, of course.  She had a melt down.  She didn’t want any of those choices.  Ugh!  She didn’t want to pack a lunch anymore.  Instead, she wanted to be like the other kids and purchase a school lunch!  That broke my heart– she said she wanted to be like the other kids.

She cried so hard.  She then cried about why she has to be gluten free and how did I give her this disease.  She wanted to know how I got that disease if my own mother does not have it.  I told her that it’s just the way life is.  I decided to take a break from packing the lunch and just hold her and listen to her frustrations.  She begged me to home school her so that she didn’t have to worry about packing lunches or being at school with all the kids having gluten around her.

I told her that I truly understand.  I told her that eating with my peers is hard for me as well.  It’s hard for me to go to lunch and dinner meetings with my colleagues.  I either bring a lunch from home to the restaurant or I simply don’t eat anything with them.  I told her that it is frustrating and I wish it was easier for us.  I empathize with her.

She’s only 7 years old and she already has the passion to make a different to those with Celiac Disease.  She wants to be a doctor and make a medicine that treats people with Celiac Disease so that they can eat gluten.  She may only be 7, but she’s such a hard worker and so passionate, I totally see her pursuing this career.  As she laid with me, she told me she wished she was grown up so she can make this medicine.  Don’t grow up too quickly!!!!

This is just one of many challenges in raising a child with Celiac Disease.  As adults, we can adapt and not care too much about what other people think and say.  We can make modifications to meet our gluten-free lifestyle.  For children, it has to be harder.  Peer influence has such an effect. It’s hard to not be able to control for your environment, but she is learning these life lessons early.  I imagine she will be a stronger person as she gets older.

 

Breaking News– The Gluten Free Girl Scout Cookie!! September 18, 2013

Ok, as some of you may know, I’ve been involved with Girl Scouts for a very long time.  I’m now the troop leader for my daughters’ troop and I’m also Service Unit Director in my county.  When people think about Girl Scouts, they are thinking cookies!  Growing up, I loved Girl Scout Cookies!!!  My favorites were the Tagalongs (peanut butter patties) and the Samoas (Caramel DeLites).  Since my Celiac diagnosis, I obviously haven’t had Girl Scout cookies in a very long time.  My daughter Meghan was diagnosed last year and so she remembers what they taste like and she really missed them this past cookie season.  However, my youngest, Kaitlyn, has never had a Girl Scout cookie 😦  Needless to say, while many girl scouts around the country look forward to cookie sales, my daughters (and myself) have not.  Last year, my girls were not motivated to sell them because they cannot eat them.  When a customer asks, “what’s your favorite cookie,” it’s sad to hear my girls’ response, “I can’t eat them.” Or, in Kaitlyn’s case, “I’ve never had a Girl Scout cookie.”

 

Well, Kaitlyn may very well have her first Girl Scout cookie this year!!!  However, there is a preface… ABC bakers (one of two Girl Scout cookie manufacturers) is pilot testing the Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookie in certain markets in the country.  The other manufacturer, Little Brownie Bakers, have not come out with a gluten free Girl Scout cookie product.

 

My troop is part of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Council.  I’m really hoping that our Council contracts with ABC Bakers for our Girl Scout Cookies!!!!!!!!  Stay tuned!

 

For more information about the new cookie, check out http://www.abcsmartcookies.com/gluten-free-chocolate-chip-shortbread

 

There is a petition out in the community encouraging Girl Scouts to produce a gluten free cookie.  If your Council doesn’t offer it, you can go online and sign the petition.  http://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/topic/81658-please-sign-this-petition-for-gluten-free-girl-scout-cookies/

 

 

Top Ten Gluten Free Frustrations September 15, 2013

Filed under: Everyday Living with Celiac Disease — Michelle @ 2:29 pm

I posted this a couple years ago…Here it is again with some changes…

 

I wish I was more optimistic, but there are times when I have negative thoughts.  So, I want to share them and maybe I can feel a little better by having it “out there”.  For each negative thought, I’ll try to find a positive spin.  so, here goes.

1. I can’t stand eating out.  I feel like I’m taking such a risk and I’m such a burden when I’m dining with others.

Positive: There are gluten free-friendly places.  As long as I do my homework, dining will not seem as burdensome.

2. When I go to parties, I need to bring my own food.  This takes time and planning and it can be seen as an insult to the host.

Positive: If I tell the host ahead of time, s/he may be able to accommodate and can be understanding.

3. Traveling is a pain when you don’t know what’s available.  And if it’s a rural area, forget it- eat like a rabbit.

Positive: see #1  Also, there’s nothing wrong in bringing food when you travel.

4. I get a twitch of fury when I hear people say they’re going gluten free because they think it’s healthier, but they’ll cheat if they really want cake, pizza, bread, etc.  Seriously, why would anyone want to be on a gluten free diet, unless it’s medically necessary?  And, why say you’re on the diet if you’re going to “cheat” anyway??  I’m not empathetic to that.

Positive:  Um, let me think on that one…

5: My grocery bill is so expensive with this diet!!

Positive: At least the cost for treatment only involves the cost to maintain a diet.

6.  It breaks my heart when my daughter asks me when she’ll be able to eat gluten.

Positive: There are worse diseases out there; I’m lucky that treatment only involves a diet.

7. Sometimes I crave an extravagant cake.

Positive:  I have the talent to bake my own!

8. When I’m at a gathering involving food, I get irritated when my peers says, “Well, you can always have the salad.”  Ugh, if I hear that one more time….  Seriously, I’d like to enjoy other food besides salad.  And a dry salad (no dressing) can be boring.

Positive: See #2

9a. If restaurants are going to claim gluten-free friendly, then damn it, the dessert menu should include options besides “fresh fruit”.

Positive: Fruit is healthy.  And, if I want to have a GF dessert, then see #7.

9b. If restaurants are going to claim gluten-free friendly, then restaurants need to prepare and cook their “gluten free” meals/foods with GLUTEN FREE ingredients!  There were many times that restaurants say their tortilla chips are gluten free, until I ask how they are prepared.  Oh, they are fried in the same oil as the breaded chicken?  Um, then those tortilla chips are no gluten free.  The same goes with broth.  The same goes with soy sauce, The same goes with crab sticks, etc.

10. It’s a big tease to go the grocery store.  I visualize the store without the gluten items, then I’m slapped back to reality when I go through the bakery area.  The small of fresh baked goods is such a tease!

Positive: See #7

 

If I think of more, I’ll add them.  Do you have any to add???

 

New School Year– Some Tips for Parents of Celiac Disease September 13, 2013

Filed under: School Tips — Michelle @ 2:43 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Ok, so, it’s been a while since I posted!  Many apologies!!!  Well, we’ve started the new school year and with that comes the meetings with the teachers. I’ve a had a couple parents ask for some tips in helping their children have as normal learning environment as possible.  Well it can be done!!!

1) As soon as you can, meet with your child’s teacher(s).  Educate them about Celiac Disease and what it means to the child and to the teacher.  Remember it’s not just about the gluten free diet; if you have young children, it also involves their activities and what they use in the classroom.

2) Do you need a general Health Plan or do you need a 504 Plan?  This is a conversation with the child’s teacher.  The Health Plan is more of action plan for how to handle concerns if there is an accidental ingestion or exposure.  It also can provide guidance of how to handle classroom activities (such as using Play-Doh, having cupcakes in the classroom, using food as counting manipulatives, etc).  The Health Plan is not enforceable and has very little teeth. But, if you have a good communication network and relationship with the school staff, a Health Plan may be the solution.  On the other hand, the 504 Plan is enforceable and is a formal agreement on accommodating the child to ensure a safe learning environment.  Schools are not the biggest fans of these because they are enforceable and requires accountability.

3) Be prepared for the unexpected celebrations.  As with any new school year, there will be a continuous stream of friends’ birthday party invitations.  If you have a Health Plan at school, this is where the unfortunate isolation may begin.  At my home, we freeze a dozen or so cupcakes.  When there is an in-class celebration, just pull one out and have the child bring it to school.  For outside-the-school celebrations, it’s easy to pull out a cupcake and bring it along.  Also, having gluten free frozen pizza comes in handy when there is a pizza party.  Heat the pizza and bring it with the child.

4) School lunches are not impossible!!!  There are always stumbling blocks on what to pack for lunch.  You can do sandwiches with gluten free bread, but that may get boring after a while.  My youngest daughter is really into crackers and cheese, or crackers and hummus, or crackers and tuna.  You can create a gluten-free version of the Oscar Meyer’s Lunchables!  My oldest daughter prefers wrapping a slice of ham with a slice of cheese.  And, we always pack a piece of fruit and a veggie!  If packing lunches are still daunting, but  you have a 504 Plan, then the school is required to provide a gluten free lunch for your child.  In that case, communicating with the lunch staff is essential.

Well, these are the top items to be familiar with as you start the new school year!!!!  Next week I’m meeting with my daughter’s school district re her 504 Plan! I’ll let you know how that turns out!

 

Coconut Lime Squares July 4, 2013

Filed under: Michelle's recipes — Michelle @ 10:35 pm
Tags: ,

So this summer, I wanted to try something fruity and very summer-like.  So, I had some limes and some coconut and figured I make a dessert with these.  It’s like lemon squares, but more “tropical”.  It was very tasty and full of real lime flavor!!!

For the Crust:

1/2 Cup Almond Flour

1/4 Cup Coconut Flour

1/3 Cup Flaked Coconut

1/4 Cup Confectioners Sugar

1/4 tsp Salt

For the Custard:

4 eggs

1 Cup Sugar

1/3 Cup Coconut Flour

1/4 tsp Xanthum Gum

1/2 Cup Fresh Lime  Juice (about 3 large limes)

1 Tbs Lime Zest

1/3 Cup Flaked Coconut

 

Make the Crust:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and butter and flour a 8 inch square pan.  I used rice flour to flour the pan.  In a bowl, blend together flours, coconut, confectioners sugar and salt until it looks like a coarse meal.  You can use a pastry cutter or your own fingers. Pat the mixture onto the pan.  Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown.

 

Make the Custard:

Whisk together eggs and granulated sugar until combined.  Mix in flour, Xanthum Gum, lime juice, and zest.

Pour mixture over crust and bake for about 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with flaked coconut and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until set.  Let stand on cooling rack and then chill for at least an hour.

 

Lime Square

 

 

I’m a Gluten Free Beer Snob May 14, 2013

Filed under: Everyday Living with Celiac Disease — Michelle @ 11:40 pm
Tags: , ,

Although I’m mainly a wine drinker, there are times that I’m just in the mood for a good beer.  However, there are very few “gluten-free” beer and even fewer good “gluten-free” beer.  For the gluten knowledge challenged, those with Celiac Disease cannot consume wheat, rye and barley, which are main ingredients in beer.  So, how what is used in gluten free beer?  Other grains- rice, corn, sorghum, just to name a few.  Well, I’ve tasted my share of different beers.  Some are great and some, well, not so much.

 

The most easily accessible is Budweiser’s Red Bridge, a sorghum based beer. Comparing to the gluten beers, it’s like any other Budweiser beer- cheap and weak.  It doesn’t taste bad, but for a more experienced beer palette, it will not suffice as a good beer.  However, it is easily accessible and if I want a beer fix, it’s an easy go-to.  Also, when I go to the Braves game at Turner Field, I can rely on the Gluten-Free kiosk to have Red Bridge.  By the way, I love my hot dogs and beer at a baseball game!!

 

The next step up, for me, is the New Planet brand beers.  There are a variety- pale ale, raspberry ale, and Belgium Ale.  For the most part, they are sorghum based.  But, some of them may include corn or rice as well.  My in-laws make a habit of getting me a 4-pack from the local craft beer store, the Crafty Draught in Cumming.  I like them all!!!  They are relatively cheap, but not as easy to get.  I’ve only seen them at the Crafty Draught.

 

What I don’t like– Dogfish Head Tweason’ale.  It pains me to say that because I have so much pride for Dogfish Head since I lived in Delaware for 10 years.  Sorry Dogfish Head, I tried it and I really wanted to like it, but I really just don’t.  😦  The overall taste is just bad and there’s an aftertaste that’s just as bad.  I’m sorry, but I couldn’t finish the bottle.

 

Now, moving up to more “craft-style” beer– there are a couple that I really like and wish I can find where I can get them besides the restaurant.  One brand that I really like, and I actually found it at the local grocery store, is O-Mission.  I first tried this beer at a pizza place and I liked it. Then I found it at Publix and I got excited. O-Mission is much different than other GF beer.  It’s actually made with barley, but in the process of brewing, the gluten was removed.  Yes, I was REALLY hesitant to trying it since it’s made with barley, but, I didn’t get sick, so all is well!  Since it’s made with barley, it truly tastes like beer. It’s hoppy and I love it!!!  I hope Publix keeps selling it!!!!!

I found New Grist Gluten Free beer.  It’s also relatively cheap, but hard to find.  I actually picked up a pack at the World Market, which is strange since it’s made by Lakefront Brewery in Wisconsin.  It has a decent taste.  I’m not crazy about it, but it’s nice blend of sorghum and rice.  However, if I saw it at the grocery store, I’d buy it.

 

Recently, I was at a SoHo in Vinings and they had a great gluten free menu and choice of beer.  I tried two kinds.  Brunehaut Blond Ale.  It’s an import from Europe and super hard to find here in the US.  It’s really tasty and I want more of it!!!!

 

One of my favorites, no doubt, is Green’s Amber Ale.  Again, another import from Belgium, it has the taste of real beer. It’s got that craft-style taste with a little bitter aftertaste.  But, SUPER yummy!!  I’ve had it twice and I’m looking for more places that carry this amazing import.  I also like it that it is a larger bottle– BONUS!

 

So, it appears that Europeans really know how to craft a good gluten free brew.  I’m going to Germany and Austria in August and I’m hoping to try some more GF beer!!!!

 

So, if you’ve tried something different, please share!!!!  I’m always interested in trying new beer!

 

 

 
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