Back to School (Gluten-Free Snacktime Included)
It may be December. It may be years since I carried a knapsack. But last week, I went back to school. And it was fun!
On Dec. 8, members of the Methacton School District in suburban Philadelphia held a Celiac Disease Workshop for parents of grade school children. The goal was to raise awareness of celiac disease and to answer questions parents have about the gluten-free diet. Naturally, I offered to help out and share some materials from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA).
Two very energetic and enthusiastic women with a passion for telling the world about celiac disease organized this evening event. Marykay Lojewski and Caren Meyer both have children at Worcester Elementary School.
Marykay has celiac disease and kicked off the evening by telling her very poignant story as she lived for years getting sicker and sicker as she sought a cure for everything from constant nausea to violent stomach pains to anemia. (Sound familiar?) Marykay even shared her Personal Story on NFCA’s website.
Caren is a holistic health coach with extensive knowledge of the gluten-free diet. Caren answered all sorts of questions relating to healthy living and going gluten-free.
Marykay, Caren and I covered the basics of celiac disease, the most common symptoms, what people on a gluten-free diet can eat and what is taboo, and let everyone know about NFCA’s activities and programs so they can find more information and support. Between the three of us, there were tons of handouts that workshop attendees took home.
Most interesting was the response from the folks participating in the workshop. Several of them have been wondering about their own symptoms, from migraines to neuropathy to “brain fog.” This workshop gave them a chance to share their concerns and to get tips on how to move forward.
The workshop wasn’t all talk and no play. Marykay and Caren made sure everyone attending learned that gluten-free food can be delicious and healthy. Thanks to Jacquelyne Rennie, owner of JayBee’s Café of Skippack, PA , we enjoyed fabulous gluten-free treats.
An added treat came from Marykay’s chef sister-in-law: Quinoa Salad! Fortunately, I was able to get the recipe, and I’m sharing it with you fine folks. (See below.)
Marykay and Caren plan to hold another workshop in 2011. In the meantime, we all can make that New Year’s resolution to eat in a more healthy and nutritious way, including those who are gluten-free!
from Chef Helen Lojewski
Gulph Mills Golf Club
1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
1 small cucumber sliced and cut in quarters
1 -1 ½ cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
½ small red onion chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
Apple Cider Vinegar to taste (about 2 T)
Cook quinoa (see below).
When quinoa has cooled, gently mix in remaining ingredients.
Serve at room temperature.
How to cook basic quinoa:
Bring 2 cups water and 1 cup quinoa to a boil.
Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
(Note: Some quinoa requires soaking before cooking. See individual recipes.)