I don’t pack lunch: How we worked with the school district to get celiac-safe, gluten-free lunches.

gluten free lunch #glutenfree #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.comWhen my son was first diagnosed with celiac disease, it never even occurred to me that he could one day order a safe gluten-free lunch from school. But I no longer pack lunch for my son. He purchases a celiac-safe, gluten-free lunch at school and has for the past 5 years. How are we so fortunate? Do I really trust that is it safe? I am asked these questions and more all the time… so in this long overdue blog post, I am finally sharing how we worked with the school district to get safe gluten free lunches provided at the school. Continue reading “I don’t pack lunch: How we worked with the school district to get celiac-safe, gluten-free lunches.”

Our Top 5 Tips for Easy Meal Planning

Our Top 5 Tips for Easy Meal Planning #glutenfree #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com My objective here is to take the overwhelm out of meal planning. We cook a lot. We’re feeding a family of 4, including 2 teen boys with voracious appetites, one of whom must eat gluten-free due to Celiac Disease. But we are also very busy and things get hectic, especially during the busy after school and dinner hours. So I’m sharing our Top 5 Tips on how to meal plan for a healthy and delicious week of eats even, or especially when, you think you don’t have time! Continue reading “Our Top 5 Tips for Easy Meal Planning”

Finding Restaurants when Traveling Gluten-Free

Gluten-Free Travel and Dining Out, Finding Restaurants while Traveling Gluten-Free #glutenfree #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfreeliving www.healthygffamily.comWe just got back from Italy and had the most amazing trip!  We explored some of the most beautiful cities and ate some of the best gluten-free food ever! Throughout our trip, one of the most commonly asked questions I received via Direct Message was “how do we find restaurants when we travel?”.  I answered so many people on Direct Message that I wanted to write a blog post about it. Continue reading “Finding Restaurants when Traveling Gluten-Free”

Glutened at Day Camp

cheeseburger on paper plate4 weeks after being diagnosed with Celiac Disease and starting a gluten-free diet, my 5 year old son started Summer day camp. He left on a bus in the morning and was there all day. Most meals were easy — we packed them — but the camp had “Pizza Wednesdays,” “Cookout Fridays” and made S’mores periodically, so we were instantly thrust into the world of learning how to work with camps and feed my son safely.

It was smooth sailing until one day they called to say he had been accidentally given a hamburger on a regular (ie full gluten!) bun. Silence on the end of the phone. Continue reading “Glutened at Day Camp”

Gluten in Medicine

Gluten in Medicine? It is probably something you wouldn’t think of unless you have Celiac Disease or another medically prescribed gluten-free diet. But, if you have celiac disease, you need to consider hidden sources of gluten in just about anything, including medicine. And if you’re not feeling well and a doctor prescribes medicine, the last thing you want to think about is whether the medicine that’s supposed to make you feel better will make you feel worse… because of gluten. Continue reading “Gluten in Medicine”

Our favorite Gluten-Free pastas

If you’ve followed me a while, you probably know we are BIG fans of pasta! Both my and my husband’s family are Italian, so we grew up eating an assortment of classic Italian pasta dishes, and over the years we have tried so many new combinations of pasta sauces we’ve lost count. Today, pasta makes a weekly appearance in our house for the obvious reasons… it’s quick, it’s easy, it’s crowd pleasing, the pasta/sauce combinations are endless, and it is just delicious!  So naturally one of the questions I am most often asked is… What is our favorite brand of  gluten-free pasta? Continue reading “Our favorite Gluten-Free pastas”

Tips for Dining Out Gluten-Free

I wanted this to be a simple “Top 5 Questions We Ask Restaurants” but realized it’s a bit more complicated than that… so here are my best tips for how we screen a restaurant and dine out.

My son loves to try out new restaurants, and being almost 13 now, he’s starting to go out on his own with friends.  But needing to eat a gluten-free diet, free of cross-contamination, it’s not the carefree experience so many of us associate with dining out.  Each and every time he eats out, he needs to determine if the restaurant can accommodate his needs.  Continue reading “Tips for Dining Out Gluten-Free”

My son doesn’t eat everything I post, and I’m ok with that

One of the questions I am often asked on my Instagram feed is, “Do your kids eat everything you post?” The short answer is no, they don’t, and I’m ok with it. Another common question is “Are your kids vegetarian?” Again, the answer is no, and I’m ok with that too.

The reason I started the Healthy Gluten-Free Family is that my son needs to eat a gluten-free diet (hello Celiac Disease) AND because he’s always loved trying new foods and the dining experience (see The Young Celiac Chef). He’s the kid who always wants to try new foods and flavors or variations of his favorite dishes. But with Celiac Disease, we need to make sure his food is prepared free of cross contamination, so he doesn’t have the option to just walk into any restaurant or deli and try anything he wants.  Continue reading “My son doesn’t eat everything I post, and I’m ok with that”

The Young Celiac Chef

My son loves to cook and I couldn’t be happier. Not only because I love having a partner in crime in the kitchen but also because it will make living with Celiac Disease easier for him.

My son has always been interested in food and always wanted to try everything. He’s the kid who eats for pure enjoyment, not just fuel. He’s the kid who would rather enjoy 5 bites of his food than scarf down an entire lunchbox during a short school lunch.  He’s the kid who even at a young age wanted to sit at the family table and have good conversation over food. Continue reading “The Young Celiac Chef”

All things Celiac

Happy Celiac Disease Awareness Month! For the Month of May and hopefully beyond, I am going to share a number of blog posts on my website with a behind-the-scenes look at our experiences with ALL THINGS CELIAC.

Those who know me personally know I am passionate about All Things Celiac. I get easily worked up about food labeling, drug labeling, restaurant cross contamination, awareness within the medical community, self-diagnosis, reluctance to be tested, screening and testing, ability for my son to socialize easily… are you getting the picture?  Continue reading “All things Celiac”

You can never assume…

 It’s National Gluten-Free Day and it seems like the perfect time to share our experience dining out last weekend because there were two valuable reminders: first, never assume and always ask questions, and second, there is always an opportunity to educate others. Here is the back story…. Continue reading “You can never assume…”

Sisters Spin for Celiac

I’m starting a series featuring incredible kids bringing attention and awareness to Celiac Disease.  I couldn’t be more excited to start with this amazing young woman: Tori Bergstein, a high school Senior in Vermont who created Spin for Celiac, a fundraiser taking place on September 17th in Vermont with all proceeds benefiting the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. Continue reading “Sisters Spin for Celiac”

Papa John’s: Almost gluten-free doesn’t cut it

I generally try to keep the Healthy Gluten-Free Family space positive and upbeat but the recent flurry of news articles surrounding Papa John’s launch of a “Gluten-Free Pizza” has me all worked up.  It’s not the first time I’ve felt this way, and unfortunately it probably won’t be the last, but it’s the most recent, so here goes… Continue reading “Papa John’s: Almost gluten-free doesn’t cut it”

How we learned our son had Celiac Disease

Seemingly random complaints finally explained 

I am often asked how we learned our son had Celiac Disease. We figured it out in the most random way, but in the hope that telling our story will help other families, here’s what happened to us. At age 4, our youngest son was generally healthy. He met his pediatric milestones and was consistently in the 75th percentile for height and weight. He did however have some random complaints that seemed just a bit “off.” He constantly had a mouthful of canker sores. He seemed to have a low grade virus (i.e. cold) quite often. When he was tired, he said his legs hurt. He didn’t sleep well.  He had a long history of fluid buildup in his ears. Continue reading “How we learned our son had Celiac Disease”

Why we are the Healthy Gluten-Free Family

How we rally behind our son with Celiac Disease

The short version is that we are the Healthy Gluten-Free Family because of this sweet boy. Seven years ago this month (ironic that it’s Celiac Disease Awareness Month), our youngest son was diagnosed with Celiac Disease just weeks before his fifth birthday.

Celiac is an autoimmune disease whereby the body cannot digest any amount of gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. In fact, if gluten is ingested, the body responds by attacking the small intestine and inhibiting the absorption of nutrients. The only treatment is to adhere to a strict gluten-free diet. And so our journey began… Continue reading “Why we are the Healthy Gluten-Free Family”

Dining out in Napa

What we ate while in Marin for 36 hours

Before heading to The Big Island of Hawaii last month we spent an action packed 36 hours in Napa with a large family group attending our cousin’s wedding. We arrived late on a Thursday evening and had only Friday to show the kids a taste of Napa before the ceremony. It rained, or rather deluged, the entire time, but that didn’t dampen our fun! We showed the boys the rolling hills of Napa, visited the Mondavi winery, and dined out at several delicious restaurants with gluten-free options. Continue reading “Dining out in Napa”

Dining out on The Big Island of Hawaii

A gorgeous location with gluten-free options all around

We just returned from an amazing vacation to The Big Island of Hawaii. It wasn’t just that we were traveling with great company (my parents and my brother’s family) or that the weather was perfect, or that the island is absolutely gorgeous. The icing on the cake is that it was really easy to dine out and eat well gluten-free! As anyone with food restrictions knows, dining out on the road can be a real challenge. Menu options are often limited, and many restaurants aren’t able to prepare food safely at all. Continue reading “Dining out on The Big Island of Hawaii”

Nima goes to Hawaii

Love me a smiley face!

If you’re unfamiliar with the Nima, it’s a portable testing device that detects gluten in food. It’s a bit like a small chemistry set: you put a pea-sized sample of food you want to test into a capsule, place the capsule in the Nima sensor and about three minutes later the device signals if it does or does not detect gluten. A cute little smiley face on the screen means “no gluten,” and that’s a great thing to see when Nima-testing your food! Continue reading “Nima goes to Hawaii”

The joy of dining at a gluten-free restaurant

Worry-free eating out: what a treat!

Dining out is something my son loves and something I love to do with him. It has become our “thing” whenever we get some extra one-on-one time. He loves the entire experience and he loves trying new foods and different versions of old favorites. However, his having celiac disease makes dining out a little less of a spontaneous experience for all of us as it requires some planning. Whenever we travel, even day trips, I research restaurants offering gluten-free fare and call ahead to ask about menus and preparation to help me decide if the food is safe enough for our son. Continue reading “The joy of dining at a gluten-free restaurant”

What we’ll be eating in January…

Cheers to fresh, flavorful and simple food!

If you’re like me, you ate a lot of food over the last few weeks. While there were definitely some sweets involved, it wasn’t so much that it was “bad” food (I personally don’t believe in deprivation or good and bad foods), it was that it was A LOT of food. After a month of holiday get-togethers, cooking and baking, we sat down to the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, which, as it sounds, includes many courses. Then we woke up the next morning and after our favorite Christmas morning Cranberry Bread, began the task of setting out appetizers: an antipasto course and a lasagna course for 12 of my favorite family members. Continue reading “What we’ll be eating in January…”

Surviving the Holidays, Gluten-Free

Our Top 10 Tips

If you’re like my family, food is a big part of any gathering, but especially over the holidays! There are tons of holiday food traditions, and being celiac and having to eat gluten-free can pose a whole set of potential stressors. Being the mom of a celiac child, I go above and beyond to make sure my son never feels left out and can participate and enjoy any gathering. The key is being organized, planning ahead — and being proactive! Last minute and winging it do not always work so well if you want to enjoy food at an event or party. Here are some tips we’ve learned along the way, and live by… Continue reading “Surviving the Holidays, Gluten-Free”

Holiday Cookies!

It’s beginning to look a lot like…

sugar cookiesWhen Christmas and Hanukkah are around the corner, I look forward to sharing our special holiday cookie recipes over the weeks leading up. They are all family recipes that we’ve been making forever. Some date back to my grandmother and her great-aunt — and each has a story. We also have an annual Cookie Baking Day, and it’s one of my favorite days of the holiday season! Cookie baking with longtime friends and family on this special day has been a tradition since I was a kid. Continue reading “Holiday Cookies!”