Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Celiac Disease, Wheat Allergy or Gluten Intolerance???

"So is celiac disease like a wheat allergy?"  Well yes, Jack shouldn't ingest wheat products, but no it's quite different.

American Celiac Disease Alliance:
"While celiac disease, wheat allergy, and gluten-intolerance may be treated with similar diets, they are not the same conditions. Due to the genetic component, and risk of nutritional deficiencies, other autoimmune diseases, and GI cancers, it is very important for a person to be properly diagnosed."

Here is a quick summary of the differences between the 3: 

Wheat Allergy:
  • One of the top 8 allergens
  • Eating wheat may include reactions in the skin, mouth, lungs and the GI tract
  • Symptoms may include: rash, wheezing, lip swelling, abdominal pain, and diarrhea
  • The branch of the immune system activated is different from the branch responsible for celiac disease

Gluten Intolerance:
  • Food intolerances are not thought to be immune mediated
  • Gassiness, Bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain may occur
  • These symptoms are usually transient and NOT thought to cause permanent damage

Celiac Disease:
  • is an inherited disease
  • an autoimmune condition
  • damage is done to the intestinal villi (small finger like projections in the small intestines)
  • malabsorption can occur due to the damage - loss of essential vitamins, minerals, and calories.
  • activates a part of the immune system that includes the white blood cell - T lymphocyte
  • risk of GI cancers and other autoimmune conditions

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Oh No! I forgot a Special Snack for Jack!

Okay, so I'm not perfect, I forgot a snack that starts with the letter "P" for Jack to share with his class.  My excuses - we just got back from California, we just started the new school a couple of weeks ago and I have no clue where his March calendar is for class - okay, so with that said, I was empty handed yesterday!

Jack's teacher said, "Did you by chance bring a special snack for Jack today?  Each child brings a special snack that starts with the letter "P".  Not only did I forget that, but here comes one of Jack's classmate with CUPCAKES for his birthday!!  Okay, okay, think fast!  Jack's teacher came out with some "Peeps" and asked if he could have them.  I looked on the back and it said "GLUTEN FREE." Awesome!  PEEPS are the fun Marshmallow shaped animals that you usually see around Easter time.  So Jack had Peeps (in the shape of purple chicks) and his two cookies (KINNI-TOOS CHOCOLATE SANDWICH CREME) that he had brought in his lunch. BUT, I still felt BAD!  Not only could he he not have some of the "P" snacks, like Pop-Tarts, but I pictured Jack sitting there with a sad look of his face, wishing he could have a cupcake, so I HAD to go to the store.

SOOO, off I went to Kroger to get Jack a gluten-free snack that started with the letter "P".  He loves peanut butter cups, but unfortunately, there's a little guy with a peanut allergy in his class, so I went with pretzels - not just any pretzels, GLUTINO'S Yogurt Covered Pretzels.  So I grabbed a bag of yogurt covered pretzels and chocolate covered pretzels as well as some BETTY CROCKER CUPCAKE ICING in a can for the teacher to put a little on Jack's gluten-free cookies so he could have something special while the other kiddos ate their birthday cupcakes.

I raced back to school and gave the teacher Jack's "P" gluten-free snack to share with the class.  They thought that was so sweet of me to do, but wouldn't they have done the same thing? I'm sure Jack would have been fine having his cookies, Peeps, and Puffs, but not having a cupcake - that's not fair, right?  It was nice at Jack's old pre-school, the calendar also included birthdays - so I knew when to send a special treat to school, but here, they don't have birthdays on the calendar, so it could be a surprise on any day.  So I asked them to hold onto the icing (it's really more like frosting) for birthdays.  The teachers are very thoughtful and I'm thankful that they had Peeps on hand.  Maybe Jack would've been fine, it's just the vision I put in my head of Jack - you know the face - the one that just breaks your heart!

I'm hard on myself when it comes to things like this, but I'm only human and I will make mistakes along this journey.   But lesson the class calendar - they give it to you for a reason! And secondly, I should've had a gluten-free bag of "birthday" treats for Jack at school.  Lastly, expect the unexpected, you always need to be prepared.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Grammie and Pa are babysitting!

It's always nice having Grammie and Pa come visit - this will be their first visit to our new home in Tennessee, so we are all very excited!  We will have a short visit because my husband and I are heading to San Francisco for a wedding, so Grammie and Pa are in charge!  With that said, there's a few notes I need to leave them for Jack.

First, the KITCHEN - what they need to know:

1)   Which toaster is gluten-free
2)  Which shelf in the pantry is gluten-free
3)  Make sure to use aluminum foil for Jack's pizza
4)  Different tub of butter
5)  Don't use the same utensils from gluten to non-gluten
6)  If you're not sure, don't use it

Secondly, EATING OUT - what they need to know:

1)  It's best to research the restaurant ahead of time
2)  Be prepared, pack a little lunch bag with some of Jack's gluten-free favorites
3)  Since Jack is a french fry lover, we always ask about the fryers - whether they are shared                  or exclusively for french fries
4)  If the server doesn't know the answer - ask to speak to a manager

Lastly, THANK YOU!

I want to thank Grammie and Pa for always going above and beyond, not only for my husband and I, but also for their grandchildren.  And when it comes to Jack's gluten-free lifestyle, Grammie is ready to try new gluten-free recipes - this week, I believe it's oatmeal cookies - gluten free oats of course!

That concludes my "What They Need to Know" - I'll be posting when I return from San Francisco next week!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thank you Baskin Robbins :)

Today, I decided to take the kids to Baskin Robbins for an afternoon treat.  I started my order by asking the sweet young lady if she could please scoop his first and if she wouldn't mind using a clean scoop and I went on to tell her about his gluten intolerance, etc.  She said, "I would be happy to look in the back, we may have received a new bin of Chocolate Chip ice cream that hasn't been opened yet."  How sweet of her! She said her nephew was a allergic to peanuts and eggs and would want the same done for him.

So of course I said, "That would be great if it's not too much trouble." So Jack got a brand new scoop of Chocolate Chip ice cream.  She said, "Next time you guys come in, just let us know and I'd be happy to take a look in the back for a new bin." Wow! That was awesome!  

I learned a few of things from our ice cream visit today: 

1) I should have know this already, but a light bulb went off today, that even if they use a clean ice cream scoop for the Chocolate Chip ice cream that has already been used, there is a high chance that it's already been contaminated with an ice cream scoop that wasn't cleaned and was used in the Cookie Dough ice cream right before.  Cross contamination SUCKS!

2) It's okay to ask Baskin Robbins to take extra steps to make sure my son's ice cream is gluten-free.

3) We will be visiting Baskin Robbins way too often. :)

Did I mention it has a drive-thru?? Yea, that's too convenient, but I'm not complaining - I'll take it!

Thank you Baskin Robbins of Hendersonville for being Gluten-Free Friendly for my little Jack.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Jack's Daily Menu

As I've mentioned before, Jack's picky, so incorporating chicken, red meat and fish - is a challenge as well as vegetables!  He is a lover of the potato - but I'm hoping some green veggies will grow on him soon.  Jack told me that, "broccoli has gluten in it."  And I said, "Jack, I wouldn't give you something that has gluten in it."  "Broccoli makes you big and strong."  He doesn't buy it.  

So here we go.  Below is a typical menu for Jack.


Pancakes (Pamela's Products) or PB and toast (Jiffy's PB and Udi's White Bread)
Fruit (Pear, Strawberries, etc)

He does like eggs as well, when I cook them!


PB and Jelly (Welch's Squeezable and Udi's)


McDonald's French Fries
Chick-Fil-A French Fries


Pizza (Udi's bread with Kraft Mozzarella cheese and Ragu Pizza Quick)


Ore-Ida Tater Tots or Fries


PB and Pretzels (Glutino Pretzel Sticks)

All accompanied w/ fruit and cheese and sometimes yogurt
After lunch, he usually has M&M's for a treat

Afternoon Snack:

Any of the following:

Yogurt Pretzels (Glutino)
Cheese and Apples
Popcorn (Cousin Willie's)
Fruit Snacks (Kroger Brand)


Any of the lunch menu items


Baked Potato



Yep, that's it! Jack definitely needs to open his eyes to trying new foods.  Any suggestions?  How do you get your picky eater to try new foods?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Gluten-Free in Tennessee!!

It's been a week and a couple of days since our move (job relocation) from Indianapolis and we are happy to be in our new home and we are enjoying our new town.  Hendersonville is just 30 minutes northeast of Nashville, so we look forward to exploring the Music City.

With moving, you definitely have obstacles when it comes to the gluten-free diet.  Less cooking and more eating out!  Jack is a picky eater so it's not easy at home or at a restaurant to make sure he's eating nutritiously.  When you have a child that doesn't like meat or vegetables, you have to substitute with a gluten-free vitamin and try to incorporate as many gluten-free foods as possible.  Okay, he does like ONE vegetable - POTATO.

Also when moving to a new town, finding the most resourceful gluten-free store is very important.  Our most essential gluten-free item is Udi's White Bread.  I called the Kroger and Publix down the street and they both did not carry it.  So I called the new Kroger Marketplace which is about 15 minutes down the road and they carry it!  THANK YOU!  So of course, I went and purchased 5 loaves at $5.99 each.  A little more expensive here - I could usually get a loaf for $5.39 in Indianapolis.

Besides the food, I'm also in search of a new pediatric GI doctor as well as local celiac disease support groups.  I believe they do have a local ROCK (Raising Our Celiac Kids) chapter, so I'll be in touch with them.  I think support groups are very important - it's a chance to meet other parents and children that understand celiac disease and as my son gets older, I think it would be great for him to relate to other kids that are living a gluten-free lifestyle as well.

One thing I have found, is a pre-school for Jack and his sister Georgia.  They are very excited to start tomorrow and I must say, I am too. :)  They have been great through this whole moving process.  I'm looking forward to settling in and exploring our new town.