Posts filed under ‘Nancy’

Woman Power!

In the 60s, Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique, sparking the beginning of “second wave feminism,” better known as “women’s lib.”  In the 70s, Gloria Steinem brought us Ms magazine and a title all our own as she pushed the Equal Rights Amendment.  The 1980s saw Geraldine Ferraro join the national ballot as the first woman vice presidential candidate.  Women’s History Month was added to the US national calendar in the 1990s, with women’s history courses flooding college campuses.  This century has seen women explore space, break sports records, and seek the presidential nomination.  As the saying goes, we have come a long way.

As it turns out, women have had power all along. In fact, in the healthcare arena, women have 80% of the power—or more!

Here’s the story.

On November 15th, I had the privilege of attending a conference entitled Women’s Health in an Era of Change. Hosted by Katherine Keefe, Chair of Dilworth Paxson law firm’s Health Care Group, the discussion examined the impact that the healthcare reform bill is having on women.  Lynn Yeakel of Drexel University’s Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership led the panel discussion that included Dr. Owen Montgomery of Drexel University’s College of Medicine, Anne Morrissey of AmeriHealth and Katherine Keefe.

We all learned a lot.

One statistic that jumped out at all of us is that at least 80 % of all healthcare decisions are made by women. Got that? At least 80%. Women make these decisions for themselves and for their families, including extended families of aging parents and siblings who need assistance– the whole deal.

This means that women have the power to move that mountain that will help keep our families safe. Women can demand better care, more attention, safer products. For those with celiac or gluten sensitivity in their families, this means both an opportunity and a responsibility to seek out that diagnosis that has been overlooked, to insist that the doctors get educated about celiac disease and gluten sensitivity and to get those family members tested, like it or not.

Woman power!

80% of all healthcare decisions are made by women.

Another statistic we learned, and this time a disheartening one, is that 50% of the uninsured population is women. The healthcare reform act will move these uninsured women and their families into being covered.   This means a huge impact on the primary care physicians who will be treating the newly insured.

Dr. Montgomery suggested that reform will initiate a new era with a team approach to family medicine. Right now, there simply are not enough primary care providers in the U.S. to manage the added millions of patients who will enter the healthcare system. The very practical and viable solution is to expand the role of healthcare professionals by adding more nurse practitioners, midwives and physician assistants to the primary care team. Doctors will have to practice in a more collaborative way, which means that there will be more hands available to manage the patient’s health. This approach has been embraced by Drexel and by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

So, it is back to the women. All of this means that women as the key decision makers will have an even more active role in managing the “continuum of care” for themselves and their families.

Here is to your good health and to the best use of the power that is in the hands of American women.

– Nancy

Get empowered! Learn more about celiac disease and women’s health.

December 7, 2011 at 9:37 am Leave a comment

I Did It!

Such a buoyant cry of delight!

This past weekend, I visited my family in Virginia which really means I went to see my two small grandsons: Max, age 2 ½, and Mason, 15 months.  Yes, they are terribly cute and amazingly clever little boys!

To keep Max amused while I was making lunch, I suggested that he work on a puzzle. It was one of those lovely wooden ones with farm animals and tractors.

Max went about his business of puzzle assembly and I turned to the niceties of kids’ lunches. All quiet on the home front.

Suddenly, I heard, “Nana, I did it!” Hands raised as if celebrating a touchdown, Max had a moment of total joy and triumph.

Max

Little Max. Isn't he a doll?

If you can believe it, his accomplishment made me think of all of the folks who have been struggling with undiagnosed celiac disease and, having finally learned the cause of their suffering, are moving into a reclaimed gluten-free life. I guess it was being in the kitchen that brought this association to mind.

We all know that this is not the easiest transition to make. After acceptance comes the search for how best to live happily in a new world. Lots of questions about what is gluten-free, followed by the search for tasty and healthy products.  At first, most women wonder about the hazards of dining out and wonder if they will ever again enjoy a lovely evening on the town. Men want to know what beer they can drink. Yes, these sound like stereotypes, but based on questions that come through our info line (info@celiaccentral.org), they’re true!

Before long, with help, the gluten-free diet becomes routine, and life improves.  And, one day, there comes a moment of realization that, in fact, a shift has been made to a “new normal.” In short, they did it.

Lunch over, Max enlisted me to “play soccer.”  His parents are athletes, so Max has been kicking the soccer ball around since he could walk. He has a child-sized goal and loves it.

So, out we went to pass the ball around and see how we would make out. Within minutes, Max had the ball in the goal.

You guessed it. “Nana, I did it!”

What is your “I did it!” moment?

-Nancy

If you have a personal victory related to your health recovery, whether it’s a new outlook, a change in habits or a successful business venture, share it on the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness’ Celi-Acts page.

If you have a question about the gluten-free diet, submit it to Ask the Dietitian.

March 18, 2011 at 10:02 am 1 comment

1,000+ Brave Snow for Gluten-Free Day

The weather outside’s delightful!

Well, maybe not.Gluten-Free Day

That didn’t deter a band of stalwart volunteers from representing the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) at the first Wheat-Free & Gluten-Fee Day at Weavers Way Co-op on Saturday, January 29th.

Joanne Gallagher, Annsley Klehr and Nicole Seitz slogged their way through snow and slush to arrive at the Weavers Way location in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia. Loaded down with information about celiac disease and gluten intolerance, these three knowledgeable gals set up camp from noon until 4 PM in this lovely new store.

Weavers Way in Chestnut Hill
Weavers Way storefront – before the snow!

What a day!

Well over 1,000 Weavers Way members and shoppers swarmed the store in spite of the weather and the related parking chaos on Germantown Avenue.  As it turns out, a large number of co-op members visiting that day are on special needs diets. NFCA’s information about the gluten-free diet fit the bill perfectly.  Joanne reported to the store manager, “We met so many of your members who live with restrictive diets and were interested in the resources NFCA has to offer.”  Truly gratifying!

Joanne, Annsley and Nicole are all personally familiar with living a gluten-free lifestyle and were able to discuss the “ins and outs” of shopping for gluten-free food in today’s marketplace. The Weavers Way staff was very accommodating and friendly, making it a pleasure to be there.

Gluten-free customers

Who doesn't love free samples?

Store visitors had lots of gluten-free treats to try, with free samples from a variety of suppliers including local Amaranth Bakery from Lancaster, PA, as well as national manufacturers like Glutino, Nature’s Path, Mary’s Gone Crackers and Blue Diamond Crackers. They also offered a selection of wheat-free and gluten-free dips and spreads from Weavers Way’s acclaimed Prepared Foods Department.

Gluten-Free Gift Basket

Check out the raffle prize!

Weavers Way topped off the Wheat-Free & Gluten-Free Day celebration with a fabulous raffle basket full of gluten-free delights from the store. The proceeds went to NFCA to help us meet our mission of gaining a diagnosis for 1 million Americans by 2015. We are most grateful!

The event was so successful that Kim Spelman-Hall, Weavers Way Chestnut Hill Store Manager, plans to hold another event like this in the future. “Our celiac shoppers were very pleased.” NFCA will be there!

It was a GREAT day!

Weavers Way Co-Op has three locations:

  • 8424 Germantown Avenue
    Philadelphia, PA 19118
    215-843-2350
  • 559 Carpenter Lane
    Philadelphia, PA 19119
    215-843-2350
  • 2129 72nd Avenue
    Philadelphia, PA 19138

– Nancy

If you’re planning a gluten-free event, submit the details to NFCA for a free event listing on CeliacCentral.org.

There are a variety of ways to help the celiac cause. Submit NFCA’s Volunteer form today to find out more.

January 31, 2011 at 10:32 am 1 comment

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, memberCeliac Workshop Displays 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.Celiac Workshop Hosts

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.

Celiac Workshop MaterialsMarykay, 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, PACeliac Workshop Attendees , 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!

Quinoa Salad

from Chef Helen Lojewski
Gulph Mills Golf Club

Ingredients:
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)

Directions:
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.)

-Nancy

December 21, 2010 at 12:34 pm Leave a comment

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