Posts tagged ‘tips’

Ageing Out

Watching your children turn into adults is an interesting process. I suppose it hits all of us differently and certainly each child is different. While my daughter, Molly, has been independent for some time now, I noticed during this holiday season that she really doesn’t want me to mother her anymore…at all.

She doesn’t want my help in packing her food or vetting the choices when we are guests in somebody else’s home. This is especially hard when the personal and professional collide.

Molly just turned 21 and will graduate from college in only a few months. I am about to schedule her final check-in at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) where she will get her periodic round of blood work and she will visit with the registered dietitian to review her eating habits.

Having a healthcare team that I can put my complete trust into has been such a comfort to me over the last five years since Molly’s diagnosis. I know that I have been blessed with easy access to a great team of physicians, nurses and dietitians. I can only hope that Molly is able to find a new team of doctors that share knowledge without speaking down to her, listen to her instinct (which is usually right) and value her as a true partner in her care.

Ageing Out: Alice Bast Gives Award to Dr. Ritu Verma

NFCA President Alice Bast presents Dr. Ritu Verma with an honoree award at our annual fundraiser, Chez Gourmet.

Thankfully, my professional relationship with the team at CHOP will continue. I have come to rely on feedback from Dr. Ritu Verma, a member of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness’ (NFCA) Medical and Scientific Advisory Council and her nurse Patty Bierly when we develop patient materials, need expert advice on patient questions or need to bounce new ideas off someone in the field who sees patients every day, all day. Their patients are from all walks of life and live diverse experiences with a wide range of personal perspectives.

Ageing Out: Dr. Verma and Temira

Dr. Ritu Verma with my niece Temira

My six year old niece now visits the CHOP team since her celiac disease diagnosis last year. In seeing my family through two diagnoses, and in observing many different diagnoses within my family, from lactose intolerance to cancer, here are my tips to ensure a positive experience with your healthcare team.

1)      View your healthcare providers as a team. Each specialty may provide a unique piece of the puzzle, but make sure you provide your entire health history to each provider. Symptoms may or may not be related, but the more thorough you can be, the better.

2)      View yourself as the captain of the team. Or the most valued player. Ask questions and make sure you fully understand what your healthcare team is saying. If you have a provider that doesn’t have the patience to listen or the vocabulary to respond in a way you can understand, find another provider.

3)      Be diligent. Don’t wait for the answers to come to you. Make sure you know all the tests that are being ordered and when they will return. Call for results – every day if you have to. Review the results yourself to ensure you understand them. Learn when new medications, supplements or dietary modifications are supposed to take effect.

4)      Have a good attitude. Smile therapy works. If you can see the glass as half full you will be more content with the life that you have. It was the only one you were given, so make the best of it for you and for those around you.

When you are an educated and empowered healthcare consumer, you can more easily navigate what can be a treacherous road of obstacles. And you can conquer the course.

– Jennifer

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January 10, 2014 at 4:28 pm Leave a comment

Chef Janet’s Time-Saving Tips for the Kitchen

The following guest post is from Chef Janet, a certified culinarian.

So many of my clients are new to a gluten-free diet, most due to celiac disease. They are people who used to eat out or do a lot of take out, so they don’t have a lot of confidence in the kitchen. Many think that cooking from scratch always takes a long time – but that’s not true. Yummy, interesting meals can be quick and easy. The key to easy meals is simply knowing how to plan your cooking. So here are some of my tips to remember.

  1. If you’re using the oven or the grill turn them on first, so they’re hot when you need them.
  2. To do your preparation, pick a spot that is as close as you can get to the stove/oven and the sink. If you have a small kitchen this is easy.
  3. Bring the trash can to that spot. I know some people use a garbage bowl, but that just means more dishes to wash. This will save you time walking around the kitchen.
  4. Next pull out all the ingredients AND tools you will need to prepare the meal – cutting boards, knives, pans, pots, cooking utensils etc. Take an extra minute to think about it so again, there is no extra time spent walking around the kitchen trying to track down the missing items.
  5. If there is any chopping or cutting to be done, do it all at once. Cut produce first, meat last so you can use the same cutting board – we like washing less dishes!
  6. Start with the items that take the longest to cook. Then while they’re cooking you can prepare the rest.
  7. Always cook more than you’ll eat in that one meal so that there are leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch or dinner. The only thing that I don’t like the next day is seafood, anything else can be eaten again. Items can always be re-purposed with a new sauce or by adding different ingredients. Throw extra veggies on a salad, make curry chicken salad from leftover plain chicken.
  8. If you have one day with a little extra time make an extra veggie dish, some extra rice or quinoa, a big green salad to last a couple of meals. All these items will store well in the fridge.

Remember just take a few minutes every week or every few days to think about how you can cook once and have enough for a couple of meals and meal planning will be a breeze!

About Chef Janet

Chef Janet

Chef Janet applies her culinary knowledge into creating gluten-free dishes that rival your favorites and will satisfy even the fussiest eaters.  She is a Certified Culinarian with the American Culinary Federation and is ServSafe Certified with the National Restaurant Association.  Janet has a Master’s Degree in Education from UCLA and more than 20 years of experience as a teacher and trainer.  She combines all her skills as a teacher and chef to design customized gluten-free recipes and menus and teaches clients to prepare them for their family and friends. Chef Janet has been gluten-free for 10 years.

September 6, 2013 at 3:26 pm 1 comment

3 Tips for Making Gluten-Free Food Better Than the Original

The following post is from guest blogger Annsley Klehr, owner of Gluten Freedoms, a gluten-free consulting business. Annsley is a teacher, a mom, and a volunteer with NFCA.  You can read more on her blog, Gluten-Free Food and Fun.

Some people have the misconception that “gluten-free” means “taste-free.”  Here are 3 tips to make your gluten-free dishes delicious:

Choose the Best Tasting Brand

Try as many gluten-free products as possible, and choose the one that reminds you of the good old gluten-days.  Remember that quality matters.

Choose the Naturally Gluten-Free Ones

So many foods are naturally gluten-free, and so are plenty of recipes.  Focus on those for best bet recipes like Catch-All Roasted Root Vegetables.

Pay Attention to Other Cultures

Choose the gluten-free foods that other cultures eat as part of their everyday diet.  That way, you know that you’re not just “substituting,” but rather using foods that have been loved and enjoyed for hundreds of years.  Quinoa was considered the mother grain to the Inca and cultivated by the Bolivians over 5,000 years ago.  It’s been tested for a lot longer than some of the other shelf products!  And the Brazilians make a tapioca cheese bread that is just heavenly.  You can find it on the table at the Brazilian steakhouse chain, Fogo de Chao.

Don’t give up on your diet or your belief in gluten-free!

–  Annsley

December 17, 2012 at 9:59 am 2 comments

5 Ways to Get Your Kid Excited About the Gluten-Free Diet

Starting a gluten-free diet can be challenging for anyone, but kids can have an especially tough time when faced with social situations.  It’s hard to tell your little one they can’t have the cake at their friend’s birthday party or that Play-Doh is off limits.  With a little imagination and creativity, though, you can get your child excited about the gluten-free diet.

Set Aside Time to Cook Together

Dedicate a few hours a week to trying new gluten-free recipes with your child.  The recipes don’t have to be complicated or take a long time to make.  Not only will this give you some quality one-on-one time with your little one, but you’ll also teach them how to manage their own gluten-free diet and identify possible gluten sources.

5 Tips for Getting Your Kid Excited About the Gluten-Free Diet: Gluten-Free Recipes

Look for this logo on Kids Central to get started with your gluten-free creations!

Visit NFCA’s Kids Central to get kid-friendly recipe ideas.  Kids Central is also home to the archived webinar, Cooking with Kids, featuring ideas and tips from Jessica Hale of Gluten Freeda.

Get Them Involved

Depending on how old your child is, they might be embarrassed about the gluten-free diet or having special dietary needs.  Get them talking about celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity and help them meet other gluten-free kids.  Social networking sites can help them connect with their peers, and you might even get a few new gluten-free recipe ideas from other parents.  Miranda Jade Turbin shared tips for social networking in NFCA’s September e-newsletter.

5 Tips to Get Your Kid Excited About the Gluten-Free Diet: Social Media

Social media offers lots of opportunities for your child to connect with other gluten-free kids.

In-person meet-ups can be beneficial for kids because they give them a chance to meet others on a lifelong gluten-free diet.  Groups like Raising Our Celiac Kids (R.O.C.K.) host meetings and activities across the country.  They’re another great place to get activity ideas.

You can get them talking about the gluten-free diet through NFCA’s Awareness All-Stars fundraiser.  Awareness All-Stars gives kids the opportunity to share their experience with celiac and help raise funds to support NFCA’s free programs and services.  Plus, every All-Star earns prizes for participating and the top 3 fundraisers (we call them MVPs) get an extra special gluten-free prize.

Gluten-Free Show and Tell

Many kids have special show-and-tell days at school.  Why not send them to class with delicious gluten-free cookies or cupcakes to share with their classmates?  This will give them a chance to tell all of their classmates about celiac disease and show them how a gluten-free diet can still be tasty.  Plus, this lets kids become more comfortable with talking about celiac disease and their dietary needs.

5 Tips to Get Your Kid Excited About the Gluten-Free Diet: Rachel Begun's ChocoCoconut Cookies

You can get the recipe for these ChocoCoconut Cookies from registered dietitian Rachel Begun on Kids Central.

Arts & Crafts

Traditional Play-Doh contains gluten, but that doesn’t mean your gluten-free kid can’t enjoy the fun.  Spend a Saturday afternoon making gluten-free Play-Doh with them.  You’ll be giving them a safe alternative while showing them trying out new things can be fun!  Check out this recipe for gluten-free Play-Doh from Parents Magazine.

Give Them a “Pep Talk”

5 Tips to Get Your Kid Excited About the Gluten-Free Diet: Pep Talks

Look for this logo on Kids Central to find the Pep Talks section or click on the link below.

Kids Central has a section dedicated to Pep Talks, which features tips from gluten-free kids and NFCA’s staff and Athletes for Awareness.  The Pep Talks cover everything from “Being Gluten-Free and Confident” to “Awesome Things Done by Gluten-Free Kids.”  In short 5-tip segments, your kid is bound to get a major confidence boost from Pep Talks!

So how do you help your child maintain a positive attitude about the gluten-free diet?

– Alicia

September 26, 2012 at 12:39 pm 3 comments

Celebrate Celiac Awareness Day

Celebrate Celiac Awareness Day

Today is National Celiac Awareness Day, and I for one am incredibly excited.  Our mission at NFCA is to raise awareness of celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders, so a day dedicated solely to our mission is pretty exciting.

We are celebrating Celiac Awareness Day by announcing the Grand Prize winner of our first-ever Gluten-Free Pantry Raid.  (Meet the winner here.) Our friend Jehangir Mehta who was a finalist on “Next Iron Chef” and will compete again in the upcoming season, is hosting a Celiac Awareness Day dinner at his New York City Restaurant, Mehtaphor.  You can join in on the celebration, too!  Stuck for an idea?  Check out these ways to do your part to raise celiac awareness.

Share the Celiac Disease Symptoms Checklist

This one is simple.  Head to NFCA’s website and download the Celiac Disease Symptoms Checklist.  Print it out and give to your friends and family, or share the link through e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or whatever social networking site you prefer.  An estimated 3 million Americans are living with celiac disease, but 85% of them remain misdiagnosed or undiagnosed.  By sharing the symptoms checklist, you can make a huge difference in the lives of people who may still be undiagnosed!

Bake a Gluten-Free Cake

Or cupcake.  Share your gluten-free creation with your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, whoever!  Your delicious cake will be a big hit and will open up the door to talking to people about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet.

Wear Green

Green is the official color for celiac disease, so sport a green shirt, tie, dress, shoes, or whatever green accessory you can get your hands on.  Be sure to tell everyone why you’re rocking your green gear.

Change Your Profile Pictures

Change your Facebook or Twitter photo to the NFCA logo (you can grab it from our Facebook page) or upload a picture of yourself decked out in your green gear.  Then…

Update Your Status

Tell all your friends that it’s Celiac Awareness Day by updating your status and telling them so.  You can even toss in a few facts to help people understand the autoimmune disease:

  • Celiac disease affects 1 in 133 Americans, but 85% of them are misdiagnosed or undiagnosed.
  • There are no pharmaceutical cures for celiac.  The only treatment available is a gluten-free diet.
  • On average, it takes 6-10 years for a person with celiac disease to get an accurate diagnosis in the United States.

Get more fast facts here.

Buy a Ticket for Appetite for Awareness

Appetite for Awareness is NFCA’s signature gluten-free event hosted at the Historic Strawbridge Building in Center City, Philadelphia on September 23.  The event is packed with gluten-free food, live chef demos, giveaways and free samples from local vendors.  If you don’t live in the Philly area, you can still support NFCA with a donation (even a dollar helps!) or sign up for the newsletter so you can stay on top of all the latest celiac and gluten-free news.

Make a Celiac Advocate a Health Hero

Our founder Alice Bast is a semi-finalist in the Be Well Philly Health Hero Challenge.  It’s a voting contest from Philadelphia magazine’s health blog that honors people making a contribution to health in the Philly area.  Even if you don’t live in Philly, you can still vote.  A win for Alice would help launch celiac into the spotlight even more.  Voting only takes a minute and you can vote for her once daily until Monday, September 17.

Experiment with New Gluten-Free Ingredients

Think outside the box with your recipes and try using a different ingredient that you’ve never tried before.  There are a lot of delicious and nutritious gluten-free recipes out there that go beyond plain ol’ chicken and veggies.  NFCA has entire recipe boxes dedicated to giving you some gluten-free cooking inspiration.  Invite your friends over to share in the cooking experiment and use it as a chance to talk to them about celiac disease.

So what will you do for Celiac Awareness Day?  Leave a comment or tell me on Facebook.

Happy Celiac Awareness Day!

–          Alicia

September 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm 1 comment


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