Saturday, May 5, 2018

20 Ways To Raise Celiac Disease Awareness

Y'all, class is in session! I have come up with 20 ways to raise awareness for this May - which many of you know is (or may not know, which is totally ok) Celiac Awareness Month.

Raising awareness for celiac disease is MUST.  Not just during May, BUT any time an opportunity comes our way.

Since starting this journey almost 9 years ago, I can honestly say that more people know about celiac disease. BUT, then I'll turn around and mention "celiac disease" to someone and they will look at me confused, like, "What is that?"

So needless to say, we still have a ways to go. The more people that we can educate about celiac disease and gluten-free living, the better off the future will be for our children. We gotta think POSITIVE, right? RIGHT! (high five)

Until we find a CURE for CELIAC DISEASE, we got a job to do. So, LET'S GO!


1 - When ordering food at a restaurant, ask for the manager or tell the server that you have celiac disease. Don't just say, "without the bun" or "I have a wheat allergy"....educate these folks even if they just say, "uh-huh".
You also know enough about gluten-free living, that you could create a little note card with how to handle your gluten-free meal: WHAT TO AVOID (for example: DO NOT share same deep fryer as GLUTEN foods, wash kitchen utensils, check ingredients for "WHEAT", etc.

2 - To help better serve those with celiac disease while at school, college and/or camps, this website and material is AWESOME. Check out NFCA's GREAT Gluten-Free Kitchens training.

3 - Start or join a celiac walk in your area and raise funds for the Center for Celiac  
       Research -  MakingTracks for Celiacs

4 - Pass out green apples to teachers with a note about celiac disease. 

5  Make awareness bracelets and give them to your friends and family.

6 - Or RAP it, "Let's talk about celiac baby, let's talk about gluten and me, let's talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be...let's talk about celiac, let's talk about celiac..." (Salt-n-Pepa)

 7 - Get a blood test, whether you've done it before or not - get another. Encourage family and friends to do so as well. If a family member tested NEGATIVE 5 years ago, I would encourage to test every 2-3 years whether there are visible symptoms are not. My husband tested negative when Jack was was diagnosed in 2009.  Then after moving to TN and taking on a very, very stressful job, his immunity changed. He tested positive for celiac disease. It's crazy how it all came about - I share my husband's story here.

8 - Car Ribbons/Magnets - these days you can have your own made! Just google "create your own car magnets" or "celiac ribbon car magnets".

9 -  Are you concerned about another child, but don't know how to tell his or her mother? Pass along this link - it warns of "Red Flags"- some pediatricians may overlook certain celiac symptoms. 

10 - Make up ANOTHER song, "I just called to say get tested...I just called, to say how much I carrreeeeeeee, I doooo." (Stevie Wonder)

11 - Visit University of Chicago's Celiac Disease Center

12 Share celiac disease information with a stranger - "Hi, I don't know you, but here's some info. about Celiac Disease."

13 - REPEAT #1 

14 - Read/Share some of my Sweet Faces of Celiac Disease stories. You'll be surprised by some of the symptoms this children had or DIDN'T HAVE.

15 - Check out these AWESOME Celiac Bloggers.

16 - Share this celiac disease symptoms checklist with your friends and family.

17 - Get friends and family to attend a FREE celiac disease screening.

18 - Check out NFCA's site on "Talking to You  Friends" about celiac disease.

19 - Make a donation to the Celiac Disease Foundation - make sure to check out their website as it's full of all types of great information on celiac disease and gluten-free living.

20 - Get a TATTOO! Okay, don't. But this was something I REALLY wanted to do to show my passion for raising awareness and if someone asked me about my tattoo, it's an opportunity to educate them about celiac disease.

There you go friends. 20 Celiac Awareness ideas. 

For more information on Celiac Disease, check out these following links here on Raising Jack with Celiac: 

Celiac Testing
Genetic Testing
School Letter

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Gluten-Free Snacks and Quick Dinners for Your Athlete

Jack in Summer 2016
As a mother trying to balance busy schedules and the pressure of making healthy meals, it can be challenging to say the least.

I'll be the first to admit, we won't be the healthiest on the block, but I will do my best! I mean, we're doing pretty good...Jack eats spinach leaves and hard boiled eggs every day!!

As spring baseball practice begins, I'm back to whipping up quick meals and making sure Jack gets energy before the game and isn't starving afterwards.

Depending on how much time we have, I may just have Jack eat a filling snack before his game. A heavy meal before a game is just not a good thing. So, here are some snack options below that I will suggest before game time.

"Before the Game" Snacks
  • Favorite Gluten-Free Bars - really, whenever you need a healthy bar, grab one - Pamela's, Van's, Enjoy Life Foods and so on.
    Jack's 1st season of T-ball in Fall 2011
  • Peanut Butter and Banana - like, mini banana sandwiches. 
  • Yogurt - add his or her favorite fruit
  • Hard Boiled Eggs - Jack loves them!
  • Almonds, Walnuts and Pumpkin Seeds
  • Apple Slices and Peanut Butter
  • Chex Cereal Trail Mix - variety of chex cereal, add pumpkin seeds, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, GF pretzels and a variety of nuts.
  • Ham/Turkey and Cheese Roll-Ups with strawberries 
  • Pretzels (gluten-free of course) and Peanut Butter   
  • Hummus and Vegetables/Tortilla Chips

"Quick" Dinners

Whether before or after the game, these dinners will satisfy your athlete's taste buds and make your life a little less stressful with easy prep and minimal time to prepare.

  • Hot Dog / Turkey Hot Dogs 
Don't forget the ketchup - Jack loves ketchup!!
  • Cheeseburger - Jack's favorite - he loves it cut up with some ketchup on it. It will give him some protein for the game - serve with veggies and fruit.  
  • Baked Potatoes - Top them with cheese, sour cream, bacon, broccoli...
  • Scrambled Eggs/Omelet 

  • Pizza - serve with carrot sticks and pears

  • Grilled Cheese with apple sauce and veggie  
  • Your favorite GF Chicken Tenders with Ore Ida French fries, fruit and/or veggies  

And don't forget, make sure your athlete drinks plenty of water and stays hydrated! Always have a couple of bottles of water handy for before and after the game.

Enjoy watching your athlete play this season and don't stress about dinner!