Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Beth Hillson Part II: Following Your Gut

By now, I'm sure you all have seen my post, "Beth Hillson Part I - A Gluten-Free Pioneer Living Well".  So here we are, Continuing with Part II!

Beth discusses Jeremy's diagnosis in her new book, "A Complete Guide to Living Well Gluten Free: Everything You Need to Know To Go From Surviving to Thriving".  Jeremy's diagnosis wasn't easy, needless to say, especially when most of his symptoms were behavioral. Below, I've taken some excerpts from Chapter 1 about Jeremy's journey to diagnosis.

Beth was concerned about her son as a toddler, not paying attention, flopping from one piece of furniture to another, austistic-like manner and he also had difficulty relating to school mates.

When Jeremy was born, his pediatrician told Beth that the likelihood of him having celiac disease was not very high. "Today we know that 1 in 22 first degree relatives are likely to have the disease."

"Looking back, I am surprised I did not consider the obvious culprit. I never suspected gluten."

"Like most people, I believed celiac disease was a failure to thrive issue, whereas my son was in the 99th percentile for weight and height. Yet I sensed his behavior deteriorating throughout the day as he consumed more gluten and dairy." 

Beth came across a book about elimination diets and it discussed the connection between food allergies and behavior. Since the gluten free diet was the one Beth was familiar and with, she started with eliminating gluten first. 

After Jeremy's teacher noticed a significant change in Jeremy's behavior after returning to school from winter break and eating gluten-free, Beth knew she was on to something.  "As a calmer, happier child began to emerge, I wondered whether I was on to something. At the end of two weeks, I put him back on a regular, wheat-filled diet. I knew the diagnosis would only be circumstantial unless I had him tested."

A week later, Beth was at school, and Jeremy's teacher said, "You've taken him off that diet, haven't you?" She said, "I can see the difference." Beth knew she wasn't alone on seeing the transformation of Jeremy's behavior when he was off gluten.

Now, the frustrating part...getting a doctor to test him. Beth took Jeremy to a pediatric gastroenterologist and he ran two tests that were inconclusive. Beth asked him to run more specific tests to celiac, but the doctor didn't recommend it. He said, "He's growing normally and he's healthy."

Beth knew Jeremy needed the tests done. She told the doctor that maybe she didn't have him eating enough gluten and if he could just write the tests up, she would wait until the summer to have Jeremy tested. 

Well, she didn't wait. The blood tests came back positive for celiac. And the same GI doctor said, "Well, you give me no choice with the elevated tests and the fact you have it, I have to scope him. But I have to tell you there is not a one in a million chance he has this disease."

I love what Beth said next, "Humor me."

After the endoscope, the doctor came out to give an update, or an apology that is! "I owe you an apology," he said. "Your son's intestine was 'scalloped; I could see the damage with my naked eye."

From then on, the hospital changed its protocol on the celiac profile. In addition, it began working with the ADHD clinic to screen their patients for celiac disease well.

Following her gut is just what Beth did when it came to Jeremy's health and behavior. As parents, we can sense something's not right with our children, it's in our gut, we just know! And sometimes, we have to go against what others may think, to get the answers for our children.

Quite an interesting story! It goes to show, that behavior is a HUGE part of untreated celiac disease. Thank you Beth for sharing Jeremy's story with us.


Stay tuned, Beth Hillson Part III - Raising Jeremy - Q &A

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Beth Hillson Part I: A Gluten-Free Pioneer Living Well

I'm excited to share this post with you and tell you more about my new friend, Beth Hillson.

I had an opportunity to meet Beth a few weeks ago at the Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest in Indianapolis and to receive a copy of her new book "The Complete Guide to Living Well Gluten Free." - we'll get to that in just a minute!

Beth is a fabulous, brilliant, funny lady, who has contributed to the celiac disease/gluten-free community in so many ways. Beth wears many hats, from being Food Editor for Gluten-Free & More Magazine (Formery Living Without) and President of the American Celiac Disease Alliance, as well as Founder of the Gluten-Free Pantry (which has been acquired by Glutino) and she's also an accomplished author, chef and baker. Beth is known for making fabulous gluten-free breads with her BFF, her beloved bread machine.

Being diagnosed in 1953 at 5 yrs. old, Beth is a true pioneer when it comes to living with celiac disease. She also knows what it's like raising a child with celiac disease, her son Jeremy was also diagnosed at 5 yrs. old.

So, Beth has a lot to share from her life experiences with living gluten-free, and it only made sense for her to write a book about it and share it with us!

Beth's book, "The Complete Guide to Living Well Gluten Free" Everything You Need to Know To Go from Surviving to Thriving covers everything from getting tested, food shopping, GF-friendly kitchen, recipes, socializing, traveling, myths and more.

It's a fabulous read and Beth shares SO MUCH information that Beth is sharing two copies with me to give to YOU!  I truly think you and/or your child will benefit from this book. It truly is a helpful guide...maybe some things you might not have thought about, Beth thought of it.

Please enter below for your chance to win a copy of "The Complete Guide to Living Well Gluten Free". Remember, 2 WINNERS will be randomly chosen to win.

To purchase Beth's new book, head over to Living Without's website or you can also purchase it through Amazon. I promise, you'll be HAPPY you did!

Make sure to enter below and stay tuned for my next post: Beth Hillson Part II: Following Her Gut and Part III: Raising Jeremy. Beth's determination to have her son tested for celiac disease and tips to raising children from socializing, simple kid friendly meals and more!


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Gluten-Free Pan-Fried Pork Chops

Mmmmhmmm, that's right, fried chicken, fried pork chops, fried name it you can make it, with this delicious gluten-free coating mix from Hodgson Mill.

I've never really used their products before, but I had an opportunity to chat with them at the Gluten Food Food Allergy Fest in Indianapolis a couple of weeks ago. They have TONS of gluten-free mixes, pastas, etc. - I was lucky enough to bring some home and try them!

This mix brought back some wonderful memories of my Grandma. Growing up, my brother and I would go and visit our grandparents in southern Illinois during the summer break. I always have a memory of my grandma cooking in the kitchen. I especially remember watching her get her well manicured, hard working hands and nails, messy, covered in flour, as she prepared the squash or green tomatoes for frying.

Well, I didn't have green tomatoes or squash on hand for frying, but I did have pork chops.

It was only a few easy steps before we were happily enjoying our beautiful, golden brown, pan-fried pork chops for dinner.

Following the directions on the back of the box, I simply moistened my pork chops with water, put them in the bowl of coating mix - tossed them, patted them, then into the pan of vegetable oil (use what ever cooking oil you like) they went! Cooked for 4-6 minutes on each side.

NOTE: I would suggest not seasoning your meat or veggies with salt and/or pepper before hand - the mix has enough salt and seasonings. I like salt, and the seasoning was just right!

AND....TA DA! A moist pork chop with a lovely crispy coating. A gravy of some sort would have been delish on the pork chop as well, but it didn't need it necessarily.

I'm looking forward to making fried squash like my Grandma's and of course, some home-made fried chicken!

So 2 thumbs up for this gluten-free coating mix from Hodgson Mill.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Gluten-Free Chicken A La Dressing & Risotto

Chicken ready to go in the oven!
One of the easiest chicken recipes ever, is using your favorite dressing as a marinade. I've fallen in love with a new dressing that we tried a few weeks ago - Roasted Red Pepper Italian Dressing.

I didn't plan ahead (story of my life), so they weren't marinaded, instead, I just poured the dressing over the pieces of chicken and baked for 30 minutes @350. And it was DELICIOUS! 

Tip:  Marinating enhances the flavor of the chicken and makes it nice and moist. With not marinating, I used the left over dressing after baking and poured over chicken, then served.

For the sides, we love having Lundberg's Risotto. Our favorite flavor is the Creamy Parmesan. Sprinkling parmesan cheese on top before serving completes this yummy side.

Then my personal favorite is roasted asparagus. Jack won't touch it, which leaves more for me! Roasting vegetables is quick, easy and delish. I place veggies on a foil lined baking sheet, salt and pepper, drizzle extra virgin olive oil and bake @375 for 15 - 20 minutes. I like my veggies crispy!

This is an easy meal - ready in 35 minutes...including prep time. :)

A labor free meal for Labor Day weekend! Rest up everyone, you deserve it!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Living Without's Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest - Indianapolis

This weekend I'm heading back home to my beloved Hoosier state for Living Without magazine's Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest

I will be sampling yummy gluten-free goods, chatting with vendors and networking with some of my favorite people amongst the gluten-free community.

This Sat. and Sun. from 10am - 4pm, come on out to the Indiana State Fairgrounds - Exposition Hall for some gluten-free FUN!

  1. Sample gluten-free products from over 80 exhibitors - from Udi's, Glutino, Enjoy Life, Pamela's Products, just to name a few!
  2. Check out the list of Presenters! From Physicians to Chefs, these presenters have lots of information to share with you about living gluten-free!
  3. Location. Indianapolis is a wonderful place to visit! Check out the Indianapolis Zoo, the Children's museum, awesome Downtown or biking on the Monon Trail.
  4. Awesome Restaurants with gluten-free menus!
  5. Lastly, and most importantly, I'll be there! ;)

Make sure to check out this great article - "Visit Indianapolis!" - for gluten-free friendly restaurants, places to visit and more - it's a great resource for this weekend when you come to the GFFAFest!

Well, off to get my ducks in row and get packing for the weekend! I'm bummed I'll miss Jack's first baseball game of the season, but I promised him, I would make up for it, by bringing home LOTS of gluten-free goodies for him to enjoy.

Purchase Tickets HERE

Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest
AUGUST 23rd & 24th - 10:00am - 4:00pm
Indiana State Fairgrounds

Monday, August 4, 2014


Jack's 7 years old - WOOHOO! On August 1st, our family was blessed with this sweet boy! Born at 6:20am, weighing in at 7lbs 3oz, this sweet boy has brought our family so much joy.

With celebrating Jack's birthday this past Friday and starting school today, you know I just had to have a GIVEAWAY!

Originally, it was just a Back-To-School giveaway, but I had to throw in something special for Jack's birthday - so I'm giving away 5 CUPCAKE 2-GO(s)!! These are perfect when bringing a gluten-free cupcake to a party or school.

2 WINNERS will each receive a Cupcake 2-GO Container. 

3 WINNERS will each receive the following prize pack below: the Cupcake 2-GO container, Chex's NEW Gluten-Free Oatmeal, Sistema snack/lunch container, Ian's Chocolate Chip Cookie Buttons and Lucy's Chocolate Cookies.

Alright my friends, you know the drill! REMEMBER, 5 WINNERS will be randomly chosen! 

THIS GIVEAWAY ENDS: SUNDAY, August 10th @10:00pm. Winners will be announced on Monday, August 11th.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 25, 2014

Dear Teacher, My Son Has Celiac Disease...

(UPDATED July 28th) - Since writing this post, I have researched the 504 plan. I feel instead of just writing a letter (which I will still include the letter below in is 504 packet), it is in Jack's best interest to create a 504 plan. Find out more HERE about the 504 plan. Every child is different, every teacher and school is different. It's really what you feel most comfortable with and what you feels needs to be put in place to ensure your child is safe from gluten. 

The most important responsibility for a parent when it comes to their child's well-being at school is COMMUNICATION. Especially when your child has a special need, like living a gluten-free lifestyle due to celiac disease.

Jack's entering 1st grade in just a couple of weeks and it's that time of year, where this momma gets everything gluten-free ready in preparation for a great school year.  Next week at school registration, we find out who Jack's teacher will be and from that point, I will make every effort to make sure his teacher understands his gluten-free lifestyle and the importance of avoiding gluten at all costs.

The letter below, is what I plan to email to Jack's teacher and school principal.  I will also give a
copy to his teacher in person and discuss it in further detail.

Dear Teacher,

This letter is to inform you that our son Jack has celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that when gluten is ingested, it wrecks havoc on his body. For the past 5 years, Jack has been living a gluten-free lifestyle. Gluten-free living for celiacs, is like insulin for diabetics. It’s what keeps Jack healthy.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Gluten is found in a wide variety of foods - from cookies, breads, pastas, cereals, candy, snack foods and more. Because celiac disease is not an allergy, Jack WILL NOT be in immediate danger, BUT if he ingests gluten due to cross contamination or accidentally eats something that contains gluten, he will likely experience stomach discomfort/pain, as well as fatigue, diarrhea and headache.

With Jack only being 7 yrs. old, we are still learning the signs and symptoms of accidental gluten exposure. We just need to make sure that Jack avoids gluten at all costs.

With all that said, I want Jack to have a great school year and I have no doubt, you do as well. I want to just share a few things with you that will help you in the classroom and the information that you provide me, will help me prepare for upcoming school events:

  • First, Cross Contamination - From gluten crumbs, to art supplies/crafts, and Playdoh (which contains wheat) - it is important to be aware of Jack's surroundings and work surface. For Playdoh, I would like to provide some Crayola Model Magic which is gluten-free and some of his own tools/cutters to keep separate from the others. With cross contamination, please be aware of wheat products in the classroom and I encourage a lot of hand washing! (Last year, Jack would come home from school with filthy hands).
  • Restroom Breaks - Jack needs to be excused to use the restroom on a “as needed” basis. Jack may have an urgency to go and when he says he needs to go, he needs to be holding it, when it comes to celiac disease. And sometimes, he may be in the restroom a little longer than most - that’s just how Jack’s system works.
  • Birthdays - Please let me know how you plan to celebrate birthdays - whether once a month or if children will be allowed to bring in cupcakes on their birthdays. This will allow me to prepare accordingly and have something for Jack on the days that special treats are brought in. If children are allowed to bring in treats on their actual birthday, could you please provide a list of birthdays for me?
  • Special celebrations - Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, pizza parties, etc. - let’s make sure to communicate - I’ll always provide something for Jack. I also like to make gluten- free cookies and cupcakes for the whole class when it comes to celebrations.
  • Field Trips - Please provide information in advance of any field trips: What activities will be taking place (crafts, etc.) and if special treats will be had, so I can provide something gluten-free if needed.

Lastly, if you ever have any questions about Jack’s diet or have a question about eating a certain food, please don’t hesitate to call me. (Provide Phone Number)

If you would like to know more about Jack’s story and celiac disease, please visit

Thank you so much for working with me to make Jack’s school year gluten-free friendly! 


Jack’s Mom

This letter is just a start, to open up the lines of communication.  I will be involved as much as possible in the classroom and party planning.  I may take on the task of "Room Mom", which would give me a heads up on upcoming parties and school activities - but we shall see! I don't want to commit to the task just yet.

Here's to a great GLUTEN-FREE school year!