Living with Celiac Disease

Good Afternoon,
Today I bring you a guest post from a dear friend living with celiac disease.  She is very involved within the celiac community and has great suggestions as well as product recommendations.  A big thank you to Katie and her family for sharing their experiences and wisdom.

I am a mother that has celiac disease, and I am raising two young boys who at this time do not have celiac disease.  Of course, I realize that it may come on at any stage of their lives.  I was diagnosed with celiac disease 7 years ago and for the last 3 years I have been the VP of Programs for the Denver Celiac Sprue Association.  This has resulted in my planning all of our chapter meetings, gluten-free picnics, and I am the person in charge of the Incredible, Edible Gluten-Free Food Fairs that we put on in Denver each year.  The Denver CSA has a membership of over 700, so I am always around people with Celiac Disease, people living with gluten intolerance, or talking with parents of children with celiac disease.  With my experiences, I know how hard it can be to have the disease.  I believe it would be even harder to have a child that is the only one in the family with the disease.  I am always happy to help, if I can, with your situation.  My e-mail address is vpprograms@denverceliacs.org

Personal experience and tricks to dealing with celiac disease while raising kids 

  • I need to eat gluten-free but my husband and children do not.  We do picnics at the parks often and I have noticed that I have gotten sick more often lately.  The only thing I can think of is that I am feeding my kids wheat at the same time that I am eating my gluten-free lunch.  I have started waiting to eat until after I am done feeding them and have felt a lot better lately.
  • Initially it was difficult dealing with this much gluten on a daily basis but I have gotten used to it at this point.  I always just make sure to make the gluten-free meal first and then deal with the wheat separately.
  • If we make cookies, cakes, muffins, pizzas, etc. I always make them gluten-free so I can eat these treats with my family – we do not even have regular flour at our house anymore.  It makes it easier than making two of everything and I have worked at it and found recipes that everyone likes now.
  • There are so many great gluten-free products on the market now days that it makes things a lot easier.  Some of my very favorites are Rudi’s and Udi’s breads, Pamela’s Pancake Mix, Tinkyada pasta, Schar USA products (can be found at Walmart), Chex cereal, and Think Thin protein barsThe Last Crumb Bakery has amazing gluten-free flour called Cheatin Wheat that I have used for several years with all of my favorite recipes and it works great!
  • It is always great to have support so if you have not already, look at joining the Denver Celiac Sprue Association. We have events throughout the year and it is fun to talk with others going through the same things that you are.

    6th Annual Incredible Edible Gluten-Free Food Fair™

  • If you are a parent of a child with Celiac Disease, the Denver Celiac Sprue Association also has Cel-Kids and Cel-Teens group that puts on gluten-free events for the kids.  Check out the website for more info

Lots of families share Katie’s story and are living with Celiac disease or have a gluten-free diet.  If you have questions, please contact me through this blog or leave a comment below. 

If you know someone who is living gluten-free please share this blog with them. 

Good Luck,

Katherine

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Building a better diet for kids

vegetables

Image via Wikipedia

Good Morning,

I believe that most parents, at some point, have struggled with their child’s diet.  Whether facing a picky eater, allergies, or a child just digging in their heels, everyone has been there.  Often times parents are afraid that their child will not eat.  As a result, they give in and provide whatever the child wants at the moment.

I know that kids need to slowly ease into eating adult foods and that naturally they will have preferences and tastes.  I also know that it is your job as a parent to offer the most nutritious foods to your child as possible.  You are paving the way for their eating habits for the rest of their life.  It sounds like a big job, and it is.  Eating habits are nothing to take lightly or overlook in the bustle of being a busy parent.

Trying to make the most out of meal time with your family?  Desperate to add veggies to the mix on their plates?  Here are some straightforward, easy ideas to put into practice early and often.

  • Offer your child the family dinner.  This is the best possible scenario, so why not start here?  You may not have to go any farther.
  • Some kids like choices.  Give them 2.  Both of these choices should be well-rounded and nutritious.  They can also offer a suggestion, but if their suggestion does not meet your standard then it should not be considered.  If none of the choices are picked, wait and try again in a few minutes.  If a child knows they cannot win the battle they will give up the fight.
  • Set some boundaries around meal time.  Use a timer for a slow or non-eater.  Limit quantities of bread, fruit and drink.  Make sure that eating food is the main goal of meal time, and that expectations can be accomplished within the boundaries.  Set meal times and stick to them.  Cut down on snacking between meals.  If they do not choose to eat at meal time, let them know when the next meal will be offered.
  • Be realistic with yourself.  If they do not choose to eat a meal or stop before they are full, allow them to feel the natural consequences of that decision.  Lots of parents are nervous that their child will wilt away in the middle of the night.  Be honest with  yourself.  You know this will not happen and that the lesson learned is worth a little pain and suffering.
  • Introduce healthy fruits, vegetables and meats early.  More exposure at a younger age will increase the chance your child will enjoy them.
  • Model good eating habits.  Practicing a healthy lifestyle and getting your child involved is a fun way to spend some time together cooking and trying new recipes.  Kids are much more likely to try new things that they have helped cook.
  • Do not engage in fighting or negotiations.  If your child does not choose to accept what is offered, they should quietly sit with the family or be excused.
  • Everyone likes a burger with fries now and then, but save it for a special occasion or as a reward for good behavior in a restaurant.

If you are already struggling to introduce healthy foods, here are a few ideas:

  • Popsicles – add things like fresh fruit, greens, flax seeds, yogurt, and vitamins, blend and freeze.  No need to add sugar.
  • Homemade Sauces – create sugar-free tomato based sauces like ketchup, or fresh pesto, or cheese sauces.  These are easy and can go on almost everything
  • Filled Pastas – wheat pastas that are filled with meat and veggies, covered in sauce, are delicious.
  • Smoothies – similar to popsicles, you can add just about anything and blend it up.  I like to add bananas or peanut butter if I need to mask another flavor.
  • Homemade Breads – grains and seeds are easily added to breads, plus you can use whole wheat and other top ingredients.
  • Spaghetti Squash – easy to make and very fresh, a perfect replacement for pasta in any recipe.
  • Mashed Potato Substitutes – there are several replacements for potatoes like cauliflower, turnips, beets, and carrots.  Just steam or roast, mash and serve.

Setting the stage early helps your child make good decisions about diet later in life.  Explain to your kids why they need to eat healthy and how they can help keep the family on track.  Making food at home is always a great way to watch what goes inside your child’s body.

More great information found on these blogs:

Just one great page of many at Eating Healthy for Kids

Useful ways to develop good eating habits at Healthy Eating

The Homestead Company has some honest answers about kid’s diets

Healthy Lifestyle examines The Clean Diet

Good Luck,

Katherine