Allergic Living Sneak Peek
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More than Just Almonds
NEWS & UPDATES
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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 the stories I hear have a happy ending, 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 its comprehensive information. In short, it’s a program that works. In fact, Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles California, a GREAT-trained school, was recently recognized for its gluten-free-friendliness on this list of the Top 10 Gluten-Free Accommodating Colleges.
Whether your child is in grade school, high school or college, talk to the school about taking the training course. 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.
I encourage you to start the conversation today. Head to this link to learn more about GREAT Schools and be sure to share it with your school!
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,
It’s still hot and sticky even though September is here already, so it’s time for more cool food.
Chef Oonagh’s son was diagnosed over 5 years ago with no previous symptoms. She has non-celiac gluten sensitivity (‘gluten sensitivity’), but with celiac disease genetic markers, and she has cousins with the autoimmune disease. ‘Like’ Chef Oonagh at Gluten Free Cooking with Oonagh on FB where she posts links to her recipes, her Delicious Gluten Freecooking cookbook (over 200 pages), appearances on the local ABC station, products and her classes. Chef Oonagh will be speaking to the Dallas FW Celiac Support group in September and hosting a cooking class. She spoke as part of the Health and Wellness Forum at Boston GreenFest in August, will do a Chef’s demo at the Boston Local Food Festival in September, and speak at GFAF expos in Springfield MA. October and Dallas November. E-mail at [email protected]. Chef Oonagh is British, has a culinary arts degree, trained in London and Switzerland and lives in New Hampshire.
Back-to-School: It’s All about Your Attitude
Get your gluten-free cooking and baking questions answered by the expert! Have a question for Silvana? E-mail Alicia at
Let’s be honest. When September rolls around, we as parents get a little excited to send our children back to school. It’s nice to get back to the structured routine that the school year brings. But, when your child has celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, that excitement can be accompanied by some worries and anxiety, too.
It’s natural to be concerned about sending a gluten-free child to school, especially if they are very young or newly diagnosed. There are a lot of unknowns and that can cause stress for you andyour child. My very best tip for easing anxiety is being prepared. My second best tip is teach your child about their condition, what’s on and off limits, and what to do if they’re faced with a situation that they are unsure how to navigate.
Kids are resilient. They are adaptable and most importantly, they pick up on the cues of the parents. If you take a look at the positive things, embrace the gluten-free diet and accept it as the new normal, your kids will follow suit. Learning the gluten-free lifestyle is an adventure. If you explore this new territory with your child, he/she will be much more inclined to stick to their diet, even when they are away from you at school (or at parties, sporting events, after school activities, etc.).
Education and attitude are key to keeping your child healthy and happy. But, it doesn’t hurt to have some awesome recipes and lunchbox ideas up your sleeve, either. Send your child back to school with one of these recipes for lunch and all the kids will be wanting what’s in his/her lunchbox!
About Silvana Nardone
Injecting Health into the Gluten-Free Diet
By Shelley Case, RD
Ready or not, school is officially back in session! If you’re like most parents, you might be scratching your head wondering, “What am I going to pack for the kids’ lunches?” We have the answers! (Well, actually, our community members have the answers.)
From September 2-30, we’re asking parents to send in their kids’ favorite gluten-free, lunchbox-friendly foods. No idea is too simple! We’re looking for everything from the classic peanut butter sandwich on gluten-free bread to soups, wraps, salads – you name it, we want the recipe.
NFCA will pick the top 10 recipes to include in a downloadable gluten-free eCookbook. If your recipe is chosen, you’ll win a gluten-free prize pack, courtesy of our sponsor, Thai Kitchen.
Don’t miss any of the back-to-school fun!