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CHAT WITH NFCA:
NFCA President & CEO
Giving Our Kids a GREAT Start
If there’s one thing I’m passionate about, it’s raising celiac disease awareness. Pretty obvious for the founder of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), right? I love meeting community members and hearing your celiac disease stories, especially when they involve starting the gluten-free diet, feeling infinitely better and never looking back.
As much as I wish I could say all of the stories I hear have happy endings, the fact is that’s just not true. All of your stories impact me personally but when it comes to kids, I have a special soft spot. Things are so much better for kids living with a gluten-related disorder than they were in the past, but kids face special challenges – especially in social scenarios. School years are the most formative and feeling left out or different can negatively affect kids in both the short and long term.
Yes, it’s our job as parents to help our kids not to feel “weird” about their gluten-free diets and to let them know that being different doesn’t have to be a bad thing. We have to teach our children about food safety and, eventually, let them start to navigate their diets on their own. But, schools need to do their part to help, too.
In my ideal world, kids would be heading off to school and eating their gluten-free lunches alongside their friends in the cafeteria, without having to ask 100 questions and still worry if gluten is somehow sneaking into their food. Does that seem impossible? To many parents, it might. But to me, it’s a very real possibility that’s well within our reach. As parents, it’s our duty to be persistent in our campaign to safely feed our children and, most importantly, educate the decision makers in the school system .
How can we do this? Through NFCA’s GREAT Schools, Colleges and Camps program. It’s an online gluten-free training program specifically tailored to the educational needs of the foodservice professionals working in the education system. GREAT Schools, Colleges and Camps is inexpensive and not overly time consuming, despite the comprehensive information it offers. In short, it’s a program that works.
This month, we’ll be sharing a Back to School Toolkit to help you and your child prepare for the school year ahead. In it you’ll find more information about GREAT Schools, as well as information on the federal 504 plan and how it can help you keep your child safe from gluten exposure at school.
I encourage you to talk to your child’s school about taking GREAT Schools, whether your child is in grade school, high school or college. When used correctly, it makes all the difference in the world for our kids. I bet your child won’t be the only one to benefit from the training program, either.
Has your child’s school already taken the training program to help your child eat without fear? We’d love to hear about it on Facebook!
To our children’s GREAT health,
This cake is easier, quicker and lower in fat than my regular gluten-free chocolate cake that contains a lot of melted chocolate, butter and sour cream.
I was always taught that a three layer cake meant three layers of cake and then filling and topping. Now, I see that lots of recipes and restaurants are adding the numbers of fillings to cake layers to call three actual cake layers, a six layer cake.
Orange curd, as a word, sounds quite disgusting to American ears because they just think of cheese if they don’t know what lemon/orange curd is. The traditional recipe is made by slowly cooking the egg and lemon or orange mixture in a bowl over a pan of hot water until it cooks to a custard. That is such a pain to do and you really need to stand watching and stirring the mix the whole time. I have made my curd this way for many years, very easily in the microwave with a few very straightforward precautions. Please don’t rush making the curd by using high power or continuous long periods of cooking. You will only end up with orange scrambled eggs.
About Chef Oonagh Williams
Chef Oonagh has a Culinary Arts degree and, prior to the gluten-free diet and celiac disease diagnosis, always cooked from scratch with real ingredients. ‘Like’ Chef Oonagh on Facebook at Gluten Free Cooking with Oonagh.
Connect with Chef Oonagh on Skype for coaching in how to cook with a gluten-free diet. Chef Oonagh regularly appears as the featured Chef on NH’s ABC WMUR TV, speaks at Conferences, Corporate Health Fairs and Lunch n Learns.
If you have celiac disease, your biological family members are at a higher risk for developing it, and they need to be informed. You play a key role in talking with your family members so they can learn about the seriousness of celiac disease and the importance of getting screened. However, there is a right and wrong way to talk to them about getting screened. We know it can be challenging to approach the conversation the right way. As part of our Seriously, Celiac Disease campaign, NFCA has created a short video, “Do’s and Don’ts for Talking to Your Family About Getting Screened,” which provides research-tested tips on how to effectively talk to your family members, tell them the facts, and urge them to test.
You can also download NFCA’s Do’s and Don’ts Guide for more research-tested tips!
Important note! NFCA’s research showed that simply forwarding information about family screening via the internet can actually prevent family members from taking action and getting screened. Be sure to have a one-on-one, in-person conversation so your relatives can best understand their risk.
The 16th International Celiac Disease Symposium (ICDS) was held on June 21-24, 2015 in Prague, Czech Republic. Held every two years, the symposium is an opportunity for researchers around the world to share cutting-edge, new research as well as engage in dialogue with other researchers, clinicians, and patients.
Members of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) team attended this year’s symposium, including Kristin Voorhees, MA, Director of Healthcare Initiatives, who shared the findings from a collaborative research project with the Jefferson Celiac Center in the poster presentation “Celiac Disease Management: A Comparison Between a Celiac Center and the Community Setting.”
Over the next few weeks, we will continue to share some of the latest research findings discussed at this year’s ICDS. Here are two important studies that were discussed at ICDS:
By Ishani Nath
Joint, tissue and muscle problems could be signs of celiac disease in children, according to a new study published in Pediatrics.
For more than six years, researchers screened 2,125 children who arrived with complaints such as joint pain or arthritis-like symptoms at the pediatric rheumatology division of New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery. They then analyzed the patient data and, after further testing, discovered that 2 percent of the children with these symptoms had undiagnosed celiac disease – a prevalence that is much higher than the general population.
In these patients, adopting a gluten-free diet either partially or completely resolved their joint and muscle symptoms.
Photo credit: Thinkstock & Allergic Living
By Valerie Stearn, NFCA Communications Intern
Fall is quickly approaching, which means back to school is almost here! If you are a parent of a gluten-free child, we know this time of year can have the added stress of making sure your child’s dietary needs are met throughout the school day.
Do you want to know what to pack for lunch? Or, do you want tips on how to talk to school administrators about your child’s needs? Well, NFCA is here to help make back to school easier for you with a toolkit full of resources. The toolkit includes:
Download your free toolkit today. When you do, you’ll automatically be entered for a chance to win our Gluten-Free Giveaway, courtesy of our sponsors at Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery.
Download for free now!