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Help Kids Make the Transition to the Gluten-Free Lifestyle
A diagnosis of celiac disease or another gluten-related disorder is life-changing at any age. A child, however, faces different challenges than an adult who receives a diagnosis. As parents, it’s hard to tell our children that they can’t play with their (gluten-containing) Play-Doh anymore or that they can’t have cupcakes at a birthday party, no matter how tempting.
While there can be challenges to raising a gluten-free child, with a few lifestyle changes and a positive attitude, we can make the transition as smooth as possible for our kids. Since founding the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), I have met so many people who are raising gluten-free kids. Based on their stories and my personal experiences, here are three tips for helping your kids make the switch to a healthy gluten-free diet:
Maintaining a gluten-free diet is hard work, especially right after a diagnosis, but remember that many good things come from taking on a challenge. If you stay positive and upbeat, your child will follow suit. Instead of focusing on what they can’t eat, show them all the delicious foods they can eat. Try new foods with them and make one new recipe each week with them so they (and you) never get bored with the same old meals.
Teach them the way.
This advice will vary based on your child’s age and maturity. For children who are a bit older, get them involved in the cooking process. Have them help you read labels in the grocery store. Show them how to cook their favorite meals. Let them order for themselves in a restaurant (while keeping a watchful eye, of course). Give them the opportunity to ask their doctor any questions they might have. By offering a degree of independence in managing their gluten-free diet, you’re giving them the confidence they’ll need to stay gluten-free in the future.
Get them involved.
It’s natural for us as parents to want to shelter our children forever, even though we know this isn’t possible. What we can do, however, is arm them with enough knowledge to take control of their health by getting them involved. Encourage them to join a gluten-free club or get involved in local awareness efforts in your community. Attend conferences or seminars so they can learn more about the importance of living gluten-free. Send them to a summer camp where they can have the chance to manage their diet on their own. (If you’re nervous about letting them go away to camp, check out NFCA’s upcoming free webinar, Kids Central Special: Planning for Gluten-Free Summer Camp.)
How have you made the transition to the gluten-free lifestyle easier for your child? Tell me your story in the Celiac Central community on Inspire.com. The conversation will be happening at 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 7!
To your GREAT Health,
P.S. – Check out Cooks Corner below for more tips on cooking gluten-free for your little ones!
With Easter right around the corner, I’ve shared two of my favorite recipes for this season.
LITHUANIAN SWEET EASTER BREAD
SWEET CHEESE MOLD A.K.A. FLOWERPOT CHEESE
About Chef Oonagh Williams
British-born award-winning chef Oonagh Williams has a culinary arts degree and was trained in London and Switzerland. Based in New Hampshire, Chef Oonagh began adapting meals to gluten-free versions after her son was diagnosed with gluten and lactose intolerance two years ago. To learn more, visit Chef Oonagh’s website at www.RoyalTemptations.com or ‘Like’ her at Gluten Free Cooking with Oonagh on Facebook.
By Silvana Nardone
Get your gluten-free cooking and baking questions answered by the expert! Have a question for Silvana? E-mail Alicia at [email protected] and your question could be answered in a future NFCA newsletter.
When a child is diagnosed with a gluten-related disorder, parents can be nervous or intimidated by the need to safely cook gluten-free food. What are your tips for parents whose child was recently diagnosed?
Attitude is everything.
Give yourself a break.
Be inspired by other moms.
Watch out for cross-contamination.
Believe in the impossible.
Visit Silvana’s Kitchen for the recipe for my gluten-free, dairy-free version of Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies.
About Silvana Nardone
By Amy Jones, MS, RD, LD
Maddie is 16 years old and is worried about her weight. She’d like to lose at least 10 pounds. It seems like all her friends are on diets. She also has bloating and diarrhea after she eats. Her mom takes her to the doctor who diagnoses Maddie with celiac disease. She is told to go on the gluten-free diet. Suddenly, Maddie is even more concerned about what she is eating. She finds she is spending almost all her time thinking about food and weight. Is this a healthy way to live?
In the U.S., an estimated 20 million women and 10 million men develop an eating disorder (i.e. anorexia, bulimia) at some point in their lives. And, even more people struggle with extreme dissatisfaction with their bodies, and exhibit disordered eating behaviors and attitudes. We know that eating disorders have many causes and triggers, including genetics, media pressure to be thin, frequent dieting and low self-esteem. Research also shows that having a chronic medical condition (like celiac disease) may also increase your risk of an eating disorder.1
How does your favorite gluten-free pasta brand stack up against the rest?
Registered dietitian, celiac disease expert and Allergic Livingcolumnist Shelley Case has created unique and incredibly helpful nutritional comparison charts of the most popular gluten-free pasta brands.
Find out which ones are enriched with vitamins, fiber, iron and protein in the charts found on AllergicLiving.com.
Have a gluten-free recipe to share? It could win you $100 worth of gluten-free products!
Put your cooking and baking skills to the test in the Gluten-Free Spring Recipe Contest! You don’t have to be a cooking pro to enter this contest, sponsored by The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. All you need is an original gluten-free recipe using a product from one of the seven brands of Gluten-Free Choices: Arrowhead Mills, DeBoles, Dream, Gluten Free Café, Hain Pure Foods, Imagine or Terra Chips.
If your recipe impresses the judges, you could win the Grand Prize: a gluten-free prize pack from Gluten-Free Choices, valued at $100! (We’re having not one, but two Grand Prize winners!)
We won’t keep all these gluten-free recipes to ourselves. Click here to sign up for an advanced copy of the free e-Cookbook, featuring the top recipes submitted to the contest!
Get the full contest details: Spring Recipe Contest
Looking for gluten-free products and recipes for Passover? Look no further! Here are some links to get you started:
Get more timely recipes in NFCA’s Gluten-Free Seasonal Recipe Box!
*Be sure to check the label on your Worcestershire sauce, as not all brands are gluten-free.
On the hunt for gluten-free Easter candy? NFCA will be posting an update to the popular Gluten-Free Easter Candy List this month. Created by myGlutenFacts.com, the annual Gluten-Free Easter Candy and Chocolate Lists will be published for two versions: US and Canada. The lists are free to access and print, with information on hundreds of Easter treats you’ll find in stores.
Bookmark this page: 2013 Gluten-Free Easter Candy List
Congratulations to Anna Littlejohn, the winner of NFCA’s Gluten-Free Pantry Raid!
On February 19, 2013, NFCA took Anna on the first-ever gluten-free shopping spree at Walmart. She was accompanied by NFCA Founder and President Alice Bast and registered dietitian Amy Jones, MS, RD, LD. The trip was filmed for an upcoming educational video series on gluten-free grocery shopping!
Back home, Alice, Amy and Anna reviewed gluten-free kitchen safety tips, which will also be part of the video.
In all, Anna won more than $3,000 in gluten-free products and services.
See more photos from the video shoot on NFCA’s Facebook page.
The Gluten-Free Pantry Raid is sponsored by Cabot Cheese, Crunchmaster, Glutino and Udi’s. A big thanks to Digital Cut Productions for their on-set work and to the Littlejohn family for welcoming us into their home!
Our volunteers here at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) are always helping us to raise celiac disease awareness and increase diagnoses. Brittany Kinka is our new Volunteer Coordinator, and we want you to meet her!
Can you provide a brief summary of the role you play as the Volunteer Coordinator?
The Volunteer Coordinator serves as a link between NFCA, volunteers and community resources. My involvement is to coordinate and organize all NFCA’s volunteers, both locally and nationally, and work directly with volunteers to plan, organize and execute all efforts that support NFCA, and meet volunteer needs to help foster a growing community as we continue to raise awareness of celiac disease. With the help of volunteers and the community, my role as the Volunteer Coordinator will continue to evolve and ensure all community and NFCA needs and efforts are met.
Why did you get involved with NFCA?
On November 1, 2011, I was diagnosed with celiac disease. I realized then that my life would change. I was relieved that after the endless doctor appointments and tests, my symptoms finally had a name. It was not all in my head and I finally had an answer and explanation for the past three years of my life. I thought, “I have celiac disease, so now what?” For me, the aftermath left me with so many unanswered questions and very little knowledge. I was starting to face the social hardships of having celiac disease and the lack of awareness there was within my own community, which left me feeling isolated.
Joining the NFCA team has allowed me to become a part of the community and take value in fostering an atmosphere of growth. By cultivating this atmosphere, I have been able to transform my own life. I want to be able to build and strengthen the relationships within the celiac community by providing continued support and furthering education.
What has been your favorite project/experience so far in working with NFCA?
The best part has been seeing first-hand that the volunteers are so eager to have the chance to become involved and work together to raise awareness of celiac disease. My hope for the future is to work together to present and execute our ideas at hand, from hosting more events and fundraisers in the community to creating more outlets for support and resources.
Want to become a part of NFCA’s volunteer force? Learn more about getting involved!
Free Webinar: Kids Central Special: Planning for Gluten-Free Summer Camp