Why write a Coeliac Survival Guide for Kids? When I looked back to my child’s diagnosis, there wasn’t much to show my child about her diagnosis, what it meant, how we were going to live going forward. She didn’t even get a sticker or a colouring sheet. Just adult conversation. Being talked about and to.
So what is there to help your child when diagnosed with Coeliac Disease? I had a quick look, and there are some story books but not what I would’ve wanted for her. It had to be something different.
So, we, myself and my two teens, one who has Coeliac Disease, decided we’d do something about it.
There are three books when I searched on the big online store. All fab I’m sure, but I wanted something for my child that was a bit different, that would give her clear and simple information in a fun way.
It all started one Friday night about 4 weeks before her diagnosis anniversary. 5 years on the 8th Feb since we’ve been gluten free, living with Coeliac Disease. We’ve learnt a lot, put all our knowledge into my other book Coeliac Disease and your Child – What every parent needs to know, so now we’ve created one to help the kids too! In a fun, positive way!
So we all hit the office to thrash out what we thought we could put into the book. Cross contamination, what it does to the body, how it makes you feel, how to survive parties, food to eat, as well as fun activities. Making Coeliac Disease positive but acknowledging sometimes it’s hard, not fun & a few activities so that they can find a way to talk to you, their parents.
Fun Getting Creative
It started so well. But as ever, there are challenges, just like life with Coeliac Disease. After hitting the computer for 3hrs solid, it looked fab. But, for the first time ever, Canva crashed and 3hrs work disappeared. There were some choice words, and no matter what Canva did (they were very helpful) it was gone. So round two commenced.
What is in it?
Pretty much everything that a child needs to know. I wanted my child to be informed. She was 9 when diagnosed. I had the great pleasure of seeing her questioning the staff in our local Tesco to see if a lolly had gluten in it. She was confident enough to ask the question was it safe, to make sure she wasn’t ill.
There are lots of sections, all light with a bit of humour weaved through it. Such as:
What is Coeliac Disease?
Cross contamination – but they’re words for adults! I cover it under ‘Don’t touch my food’
What is gluten?
How long will I have it?
How does it make you feel?
Why do I have to have blood tests – and key tips about magic cream!
It has space for children to write or draw, to fill in simple information about themselves, some pages to colour, bright colourful pictures to catch their eye, discussion about farts and poo! Hints and tips on how to attend and enjoy parties – as they can be tough especially when others are tucking in around the table and you are eating out of a packed lunch box.
It managed to get uploaded and onto Amazon on Wednesday 8th February. 5 years to the day that she was diagnosed officially by a consultant in Cambridge. I must send her a book! Two blood tests to get a diagnosis, with results of 128 & 238 – my daughter’s consultant said there was no need for an endoscopy, the results spoke for themselves.
We’ve come a long way, we’ve made mistakes, we learnt lots, and we’re glad that we can help others to understand it’s hard, but doable from a child’s perspective.
Grab your copy today – it’s on sale at £12.99 until Monday 13th February then reverts to its regular price of £14.99.
It will help give your child the confidence he or she needs to tackle what is ahead of them. Knowing there are others like them out there, and they’re doing it together.
How do you manage with a coeliac child when they’re diagnosed? It’s all a bit of a shock.
It’s nearly 5 years since we had that one blood test that started this our journey which has led us to this point. Our diagnosis with coeliac disease.
We’d had so many GP appointments, antibiotics, seen consultants, and each time it was “she’s growing, her bodies still fighting off the infection, inflamed lymph glands, she’ll grow out of it”.
OMG, she’ll grow out of it.
In January 2018 I was at my wits end. I’d literally had enough.
We’d battled through September 2017 when yet again she was struck down with another horrendous ear infection. It’d go from one side to the other, antibiotics given that didn’t do the job. She’d then go deaf. Yes, deaf, in one or both ears. For no reason. Her ears would just go pop. Then about 3 weeks later they’d pop again, and she’d have to wear ear defenders to school and in the classroom as she was so sensitive.
We were both exhausted. School pressure, work pressure, family life. We were both at breaking point.
But it was Christmas 2017 that things really took a turn. I looked at my child and she looked so very ill. This time I was so worried. She looked like a ghost. Now, she’s a child that is pale, always has been but give her 5 minutes in the sun and she catches the sun like no ones business. She literally gets sock marks!
But this time, I was panicking. She was drinking water (and she hates water) like no ones business. That had me thinking that she was beginning to develop diabetes. But the fact she was as white as a sheet made me think that we had bigger problems. But what they were, I’d no idea.
The beginning of our coeliac journey
So January 2018, we had a doctors appointment. We saw our fabulous locum GP, who she’d already taken a dislike to as he’d swabbed her ears previously & it had hurt. She wasn’t impressed! But he listened. He looked and he agreed that we needed a blood test. The diabetes test was negative, but she was obviously not herself and didn’t look well either.
It was a Monday, so as we were already late for school, we set off to the hospital for the blood tests. I tried to explain the procedure to her as we were on route. But she didn’t listen!
Whilst it was an entertaining blood test “why are you stabbing me”, “mum” “i want chocolate”. After 7 vials were filled with blood, yes for sure our GP was being thorough & one bar of chocolate later we were heading home to await the results.
This was before the pandemic. I was sat in a meeting in London when the phone ran. It was just 3 days after the blood tests were taken. I was told that the tests had shown something and I needed to make an appointment. Ok great, when? 2 weeks time was the earliest phone call. 2 weeks? Really? Receptionists need to appreciate the panic that we go through when we don’t have information & worried about our child.
Two weeks went by, and a different GP dropped the bombshell of Coeliac Disease by phone. What? I’m not sure I remember the rest of the call, but luckily our first GP called regardless as he’d wanted to discuss it in person. We went in & lucky for us he had experience with coeliac disease. Our first blood test TTG results were 128. Depending on your local lab, a normal range is 0-7 (or 0-20). Either way, we were 10x the normal limit. Sufficient to say she had coeliac disease.
Don’t change the diet yet
I’m going to fast track a referral for you
Keep eating gluten until you see the consultant
We left in a bit of a whirlwind, but at least we now had a diagnosis. But what did it all mean. I’d vaguely heard about the disease, it was covered in college when I trained to be a nursery nurse, but how was this going to affect her life or ours? We were going to have to find out.
Official diagnosis with the Consultant
We were lucky enough to have private health care at the time. We were going to have to wait at least 6mths to be seen so on the NHS, so I called them, found 2 specialists based in Cambridge at the Nuffield Hospital and we had an appointment on the 8th February.
The Consultant took one look at her test results & said, I can categorically say you have coeliac disease. As your test results are so high, I don’t need to do an endoscopy but I do need to do a further blood test which will confirm your results, and a gene test to see your markers there too. It will show up if it’s hereditary & you’ll be likely to pass it on. Her blood test results this time were 238 & she’s positive for both markers. The whole family were tested & negative on the initial blood test.
She explained about the villi in the small intestines that shrink. I still have the envelope she drew on in a file. She said that whilst prescriptions for GF items in the UK are being taken away, we’re still lucky in the fact that it’s an auto immune disease that can be treated by diet alone. That’s amazing in itself.
Then we started our journey into coeliac disease. Much is documented on the website, Facebook and Instagram posts.
The first shop of over £100 spent on GF foods failed miserably. She either didn’t like it, it tasted differently, it just was awful.
So we did it our way. I learnt to cook anything and everything gluten free. Whether there was a recipe for it or not – I just converted it to be safe.
I changed everything we’d use as a family – breakfast cereals, pasta, condiments, soy sauce (often forgotten about!), stock cubes. So anything I reached for was safe, I didn’t have to double think.
But don’t get me wrong, it was hard at first. The first pizza attempt was a total disaster. They and the tins ended up in the bin.
It got better & easier. Parties and sleep overs were harder but manageable, the last year of primary school was good at the time, the secondary and upper have been harder. Literally no options for her other than a jacket potato. And she believes potatoes should only be chips!
And the point of it all? To help my child and her health improve. You only learn about the things that affect you. It’s how it goes. When you are at the centre of the storm, it’s all you see, feel & breathe. When you are outside of it, not affected, you can’t see the dangers that I see when eating out, or at family events.
Now, 5yrs in, we’re winning. And from our journey, helping other mums like me. Helping mums understand what they need to know and do to help their children adjust and adapt to their new lifestyle through my book. First, in 2021, I set up Gluten Free Little Cook, creating baking kits for kids with coeliac disease. Making kids smile, have fun and make safe tasty treats. One family tells me ‘I bring joy to their family’. That’s enough to make me cry!
I wrote the book as I saw that the help given to us mums, parents, is different. You might get a great GP who knows the processes, you might not. You might get information in the form of leaflets, you might not. There’s no overall standard. And I feel that is a huge area that needs a change. You need to have a reference point without searching the internet or Facebook groups.
In the UK we’ve a great charity, Coeliac UK, who everyone should always refer to in the first instance as their guidance is for the UK specifically. They’ve a school pack you can download and pass onto your school. But as a mum, I wanted something different, I wanted to ask questions, talk to someone that had been there, done that, who’d have answers so I’d know what to do, how to do it. I just couldn’t find it.
So, I wrote it myself. Me! Write a book! Goodness. I truly didn’t see that one coming. Would it win a Pulitzer Prize? Nah! But that’s not the point. But, it is doing what it needs to do.
It’s helping give mums confidence, help them not panic, to lessen their overwhelm in the beginning, by giving them simple and clear explanations as to why you need to do what you have to do. The book helps you understand the what, why and how. It makes it easier to get your head round everything. It makes life easier. That’s what it’s all about.
Oh, and remembering to ALWAYS have a snack in your bag as a back up!! And a water bottle specifically for them as they can’t share!!
I can help you too – click here to grab your copy of my book, direct from Amazon today. It will help make your life so much easier and your first steps into your coeliac journey, that little bit less overwhelming. I’ve been there, I totally understand.
Parties, how do you survive a party with a coeliac child? It’s tricky but with a bit of planning it is absolutely possible.
Parties for children are part of growing up. Fun, noise and goodie bags!
To get dressed up, play party games, having fun, dancing. Eating their body weight in sugar!!
But what if you’ve a coeliac child? How are you going to manage keeping them safe?
You want them included, be involved, have fun but how do you ensure they don’t run the risk of getting glutened?
So how can you manage it?
First, speak to the party host. It’s not an easy conversation to start, you feel you are causing a fuss, being difficult, but it needs to be done. And the earlier the better. People are more likely to be adaptable, make the changes to include your coeliac child if they know early.
Keep it clear and simple. Your child can’t eat gluten. It makes them ill. That you’d be happy to supply their party tea on a separate plate or in a lunch box to keep your child safe. What are they having so that you can arrange to have the same similar foods.
But what if they are at a venue? Does the venue cater for your child? Do they understand about cross contamination?
I had this for one party not long after her diagnosis. It was a roller-skating party. One she really wanted to go to. How would I negotiate it? I chatted to the mum when we got the invite as she had to choose what she’d eat – fish fingers or nuggets & chips. I said I’d have to send her with a packed lunch as I didn’t know if the venue could cater for her. But I knew she wouldn’t like sitting there eating a packed lunch when everyone around her was having nuggets & chips.
Contact the party venue
I got the details from the mum & gave the venue a call. I had a surprise. They knew about the disease. They understood and catered for various allergies. GF nuggets, fish fingers and chips were on the menu. They’d need to cook it in the oven as their fryer was used for other gluten items but would serve hers on a separate platter.
They skated their hearts out for an hour or so and then time for tea. Her little face lit up so bright seeing she was having the same as everyone else. Don’t underestimate the difference it makes. Watching her sit round the table chatting to everyone, whilst munching on her chips was fabulous to watch.
Now obviously they can’t have the cake, something that lots of children look forward to so go prepared. I often made cupcakes & would supply one in advance to come out with her party bag, or for to have when she came home.
My Top Ten Party Survival Tips
State that you’d love for your child to come but that they have a special gluten free diet.
Keep it simple. That they can’t eat gluten that’s in wheat/barley in food/drinks (cheap cola)/some sweets/cakes etc.
That they can’t share due to the risk of contamination – fingers that have been holding a gluten sandwich dipping into the crisps/cucumber sticks etc
Is the party at their home or a venue?
If at a venue – give the venue a call so you speak to them direct.
Ask questions: Do they cater for a gluten free diet.
Do they know about the disease, about cross contamination.
Have they a separate fryer for chips, gf nuggets, fish fingers or can they provide oven cooked ones?
Do their responses make you feel ok about the venue itself?
Is it at the parents home? Ask what is the theme, what are they planning food wise? Is it a typical party spread, pizza or a BBQ? By finding out what they are having, you can plan.
Can you find similar suitably safe gluten free alternatives? Or do they offer to supply them? You’ll need to explain to them about cross contamination. It’s probably easier to send your child to the party with a lunchbag or plate covered in clingfilm & named, to be unwrapped when sat at the table. If your child understands and gets the risks about not eating gluten, that’s great. If not, you may have to stay at the party and watch them like a hawk.
Cake – who doesn’t like a slice of birthday cake. But that’s no longer an option for your coeliac child. So source an alternative. Either shop bought cupcakes or homemade ones – pop in a bag tied with ribbon or a cupcake box/tuppaware & give it to the party host to give out to your child instead. Then they aren’t left out.
Party bags. Now they are a mine field. Most party cones are out, but I’ve had parents make special ones for my child based on the sweets she likes. Ask them to leave the sweets in wrapping for them. Easier for you to trust, and you can read the ingredients if needed! Have a swap box at home too – just in case. Helps avoid disappointment
Always be prepared. Have snacks in your bag, gf biscuits, gf oat bars etc and ALWAYS send them with a named water bottle. Something they know is theirs so they can go back to it when needed. Drinks bottles/cups are always getting muddled up & they always seem to end up all drinking from one cup!!
Need more help?
Need more help? I had to find my way, just like you. I didn’t want other parents to struggle at the beginning. I’m just a regular mum like you who happens to have a coeliac child. It is overwhelming in the beginning. It’s hard I won’t lie and it’s lonely. Friends and family don’t get it. I do as I’ve been there & it will be part of our life forever. It’s second nature now, and it will be for you too in a short while. If you need extra info, help and a gentle guide to getting it right from the beginning, here’s a link to my book on Amazon that I’ve written to help get you on the right path – Coeliac Disease & your Child – What every parent needs to know. Available now on Amazon for £15.99.
Time to find a new restaurant locally that does gluten free & is coeliac safe.
Ahhhh such fun!
It’s approaching my eldest daughter’s 16th birthday. She adapted well to her sister’s diet over the past four years. Keeping any non gluten free items at arms length, eating in the garden in the early days with things that make lots of crumbs!
She dealt with us walking in and out of restaurants so we can eat together. She has felt left out & overlooked. That wasn’t the intention. It’s easy to feed a muggle; someone who can eat normal gluten foods. Food is available everywhere.
Or that sometimes it seems that I go out far more prepared for the gluten free child, than her with snacks, as you can buy anything non gluten free from anywhere without worrying whether if it is gluten free or contaminated.
Time to try a New Restaurant
I’m locating a carvery for her birthday lunch. A challenge to find one that’ll be able to cater for us all & be coeliac safe. But, when it’s your 16th birthday, you should get what you want. And she wants a carvery & lots of Yorkshire puddings. When I say lots, I mean lots!
I have booked a table at our regular safe restaurant, but it’s a drive to get there, and she doesn’t want to sit in the car for ages.
So we’re trying a new local restaurant to us.
After my initial chat, I’m not too sure. I’ll be dropping by to see and chat in person before the big day. The conversation went something along the lines of this:
Me: “Hi, I need a table for 6. Do you do gluten free food. I have a daughter that has coeliac disease”
Restaurant: “Yes, we do gluten free. How bad is her allergy, or is it more of an intolerance?”
Me: “Excuse me?, it’s not either, it’s an auto immune disease”
Restaurant: “Oh. We can tell you what is safe on the carvery, she can’t have the Yorkshire Puddings. Or we can prepare her food in the kitchen if she’s really allergic”.
Me: “It’s not an allergy. She doesn’t like a carvery, she likes chips. Do you cook chips on a Sunday?”
Me: “Are they gluten free?”
Restaurant: “Yes they are”
Me: “Do you have a separate fryer for the chips, or are they cooked with other items that contain gluten?”
Restaurant: “Yes. They’re cooked with other items”
Me: “Then they aren’t gluten free. Can you cook her oven chips?”
Restaurant: “Yes, would you like to make a booking. I’ll make a note of your requirements”.
So do we risk it?
Infuriating isn’t it. There is gluten free and there is gluten free that is coeliac safe. That takes extra care, precautions and thought.
To summarise, Coeliac Disease isn’t an allergy. It’s not a food fad or an intolerance. It’s an auto immune disease. It means that your body’s immediate reaction is to go into fight mode. That it attacks her body from inside.
One tiny crumb could gluten my daughter. That means she’ll have eaten gluten. And the longer that she’s off gluten, the more severe her reaction could be. She hasn’t been glutened in ages. I certainly don’t want that to occur, to make her ill in any way, so I have to ask these kind of questions & have these conversations on a regular basis, especially when we try new restaurants.
Before, she would have a sore tummy & then sleep. For a long time.
Coeliac Awareness Week 9-13th May
This week isCoeliac Awareness Week. A week to raise awareness on the wonder & challenges of a coeliac diet. A coeliac sufferer isn’t being difficult. They just don’t want to be ill from something so simple as one tiny crumb.
Gluten is in many things, not just wheat. Which is why it is hard for someone with coeliac disease to eat out. It’s in Barley, Rye, Oats & Wheat. It could be in anything. Drinks, food, sweets, crisps. Everything has to be checked & evaluated. Including the item it gets served with. If the tongs serving the gluten free chips were used to serve gluten items, that’s cross contamination.
Eating out is a risk. But we have to try so she learns its possible. I’m going to drop into the venue & have a chat so that I’m more comfortable that they do understand. If after that conversation they don’t show a level of understanding, well, it’s fair to say, I’ll be looking to find another venue this weekend!!
You’ve got your child through the blood tests & now the results are in. But what do you do next?
You’ve had the call from the GP to say they have results & for you to book an appointment.
You’ve a further 2 week wait.
Finally, you find out the results. Your child is positive for Coeliac Disease, and you’ve to be referred to a consultant.
Don’t give up gluten yet!
You’ll need to see the consultant and for them to run their tests first. Please, don’t give up gluten. They’ll want to run a second blood test to confirm the initial diagnosis, and potentially an endoscopy. This is a procedure where they put a camera down the child’s throat whilst under general anaesthetic to look at their intestines to see if there is damage, and how much.
Once the consultant has completed their tests & they say to cut out gluten, you can begin your gluten free journey.
Getting diagnosed & the next steps – how & what to do?
You’ll be given leaflets by the consultant if your lucky. Read them.
You’ll be referred to a dietitian to help with your child’s diet. You should have regular checks in the first year. I think ours was 3, 6 & 12 months.
Coeliac UK are the main charity and you should consider joining one of their subscriptions – you can choose from a digital option or have a handbook sent to your home. Subscribing gives you access to their 2 apps. One to check food and one to find venue.
Getting diagnosed & the next steps – how can I help?
5 years ago I didn’t know about the disease in any great detail.
Now, I can stand up and speak about it quite happily for 30 minutes if I had to.
I’m mum to two teens; one was diagnosed as having coeliac disease in 2018.
It was still so very overwhelming & quite frankly a little lonely. I remember my first food shopping trip. A hundred pounds on very little in the Free From aisle. There had to be an easier way. So what do you do once diagnosed & the next steps?
I found a way to make it easier for you. And as of December 2022, it’s even easier. I wrote a book to help you. Yes, a book. They say everyone has one in them, and nowadays, I’m an expert in an average room for Coeliac Disease.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, lost and a little confused, then you need my book. It will help you get confident in what you need to know, what to do and how to do it.
I found everything focused on adults. Not alternatives for children.
Where would you even start.
It’s confusing in the beginning as there’s much to take in. Things to sort, and to make changes. Changes for you as a parent, the child and the wider family. Getting everyone on board and to understand is key. Just one crumb could cause problems.
The book helps guide you from the start, so you know you aren’t alone, there’s lots of mums out there just like us. How to sort through your kitchen, how to read labels, what you’re looking for and much more.
All written from the perspective of a parent helping a child. Me, helping you.
.You can only really understand what it’s like when you are in the coeliac bubble.
You don’t know unless you are in it. Seeing the problems that my daughter & your coeliac child could face when out and about in normal daily life. It can be a lonely place for your child.Sitting round the lunch table at school.
A friend sitting there, accidentally knocking over the friends pasta bowl, sending it spilling, sauce & pasta flying.
Someone sitting there munching away on their gluten cake, making crumbs, spreading them around as they munch & talk. Normal everyday things to them, but they put my child on edge.
What if that pasta or sauce got into her lunchbox?
What if some of those cake crumbs end up near her, flicked into her crisp packet or anything she’s eating, which could then make her ill.
That they just don’t get ‘it’ however good or bad a friend. It puts my child off her food & raises her anxiety.
Makes her worry more:
if the next time she gets glutened will it be as before or worse?
that her friends whilst doing normal things, have no idea the effect it has on her.
they just don’t understand as it’s normal to them but no longer normal to her.
Unless you live in the coeliac bubble, you don’t and wouldn’t understand.
Why would you.
You don’t need to think about those extra things, minimising crumbs, cross contamination, has this touched that, which spoon did I use, did I wash my hands, again…
But it is part & parcel of my day, as it is yours when you are a parent to a coeliac child. The constant wiping down. Washing hands & remembering you’ve washed your hands…again Thinking ahead, planning, checking. Finding the GF foods they like.
It’s not simple or easy but it is manageable. There are steps & strategies you can put in place, but it comes down to being aware, keeping safe & away from the muggle food & crumbs.
If you have a child at school, check out the school pack on Coeliac UK.
If you’re here, welcome to the club. It’s quite a small club, but as more testing is done earlier on those that have various issues, well, more join.
Your child might have had symptoms, they might not have had any, it’s a tricky disease to determine, but easily done with a quick blood test.
Once your child has been diagnosed with Coeliac Disease, and the consultant has told you to go gluten free, then you can start making changes to your daily lives, their diet and getting everything sorted.
In the early days, it can be overwhelming and quite lonely. Your friends, whilst being supportive, won’t probably get the changes you have to make. I remember mine understanding the cutting out the wheat, but not understanding we couldn’t just grab a bag of chips from the chippy. But they are gluten free….. Yes, but it’s how they are cooked, if they are cooked with other gluten items….. In the beginning it’s a bit like putting a very tricky jigsaw together.
Check everything in your kitchen / storecupboard/fridge/freezer including stock cubes!
Grab my book from Amazonto help guide you through easily – don’t struggle
Where to go for help
There are lots of different Facebook groups for adults and a few for parents of coeliac children too – search in groups to see which one fits best with you.
Coeliac UK – they have a website and you can call them with queries too. Very handy when you just want some reassurance.
Your GP/Consultant/dietitian. As it is your child that is diagnosed, you should be allocated a dietitian that sees your child on a regular basis in the first year of diagnosis, and then ideally yearly. Yearly tests include blood work, height and weight measurements. It’s to make sure that they are growing well, catching up if their body has been malnourished. The blood tests are to ensure that their TTG numbers are dropping adequately and heading to the ‘normal’ range.
When my daughter was diagnosed 5 years ago, I didn’t know what was required, what we needed to do, how it was all going to work. The overwhelm was incredible, but, as ever, I had to find the solution to the problem.
I researched, I read, I learnt. Whilst we had good support, I’ve read so often that there are those that don’t. So many of the groups on FB are adult let, making suggestions that don’t appeal to a child. Adult taste buds are different to a child’s. They don’t want to drink peppermint tea if they are glutened. They want to be normal, be like their peers.
I originally wrote an ebook which has now been converted into a book, updated and published on Amazon to help parents like you. Full of useful information to make your transition much easier.
From stories that will resonate with you from other mums, to ideas on how to organise your kitchen cupboards, keep items in the fridge and cross contamination, a coeliac’s biggest risk.
It doesn’t have to be hard. There is an easier way.
Grab your copy to make life easier & with less overwhelm. It’ll help, I promise
Did you survive a coeliac child’s Christmas? How did you make sure your coeliac child had enough to eat, enough treats and avoided cross contamination whilst staying away?
We were lucky enough to be covid free and stayed with my parents over the Christmas period. My parents are geared up to having us, knowing the requirements of my GF child, but it still shows up glaring problems.
Problems don’t occur in your own house (mostly) as you have control over the situation and how food is prepped. This in turn brought up a conversation with my now 13yr old about how she gets anxious eating around others – but that’s next weeks blog.
Whilst I know that I’ve got it in hand most of the time, when you are in someone else’s house or kitchen, you have different worries. Even though my parents (my mother mainly) she has a large plastic box filled with separate equipment for her grandchild, there’s still only one place to cook. And in the most part it’s ok, we manage.
But on this occasion, there were 3 of us around the hob & in the kitchen pulling together leftovers etc. One was making up a regular gluten pasta dish. And another reheating the bread sauce. In a separate frying pan, bacon was cooking for Grace. Contamination is always at the fore front of my mind for my Coeliac Child. You’re used to seeing problem areas, events that will happen in front of you that you need to avoid.
Stirring was going on of both dishes, so I whipped the pan up out of the way & waited until they were finished before replacing it to finish cooking. I get a quizzical look, a “I’m just stirring” which is fine, but to ensure that my child is safe, I want & need to remove the pan up and out of the way whilst that is done. It made me anxious. They didn’t clock it then.
It wasn’t until later that it registered with either person as to why I was moving my pan out of the way. “I was being careful”. That I understand, but, at the same time, one little flick of bread sauce or pasta sauce could easily go in the wrong place. which I can’t risk.
Is there a right or wrong answer, I don’t know. But when your used to spending time in your own house with everything geared up for catering for your coeliac child, I guess it is so much harder to go somewhere else & have to ‘make do’, expecting others to pay attention & second guess themselves when they aren’t used to doing so.
But I saw too that she was bored with food. Fed up of hotdogs or bacon for lunch, wanting to be the same as everyone else if the chance allowed. So this week, she’ll have to adapt further & it may be a shock to her system. She’s got too used to having chips, nuggets, sausages when I’ve been busy or unprepared.
This week I’ve a menu plan. (if only I could remember where I’ve put it!!).
New recipe bookto test
I treated myself to a new book by Dr Megan Rossi who I follow on Instagram. It’s called Eat more, Live well (affiliate link) & we’ll be trying out recipes. I’ve the the Thai salmon fishcakes, Reinvented chicken burger & the baked oat slice on my list. Recipes aren’t specifically for a GF diet but they’re adaptable as are most recipes. The breakfast muffin in a mug needs trying too but not 100% sure I’ll get away with it. We’ll see.
That’s the challenge for the week. Keep your eye out for pictures on Instagram as to what happens & whether the chip eating fiend will eat it! The deadline to subscribe to our baking kits this month to make the best ever Flapjacks is Saturday 15th January. Fun to make, tasty to eat with a little twist to make them just the more moist and healthy!!
A belated Happy New Year, may all your dreams come true in 2022 and the year be AWESOME.
Enhancing & developing your child’s fine motor skills through baking
Baking? What’s that got to do with enhancing your child’s fine motor skills? And what are they anyway?
Firstly, they are turning pages, holding spoons, picking up sprinkles, googly eyes to put onto a cookie, they are all fine motor skills.
In other words, the ability to make movements using the small muscles in your hands and wrists, enabling your thumb and index finger to make pincer movements.
Enhancing Fine Motor Skills
Above all it’s the finger time table at nursery, picking up, holding a pencil like a frog, putting beads on a lace.
Similarly, it’s the turning of pages on a recipe book, a leaflet, a magazine. All the little movements are designed to enhance your child’s fine motor skills through baking.
For instance, our December gluten free baking kit has all you need. Your child will have lots to do that’s fun this month. In addition to baking tasty treats, they’ll be learning skills to encourage those neurons to get fired up and connected whilst making gluten free gingerbread men or reindeers.
In addition to the Fine Motor Skills
There’s Math – weighing the butter and golden syrup, counting how many gingerbread men or reindeers you get from the dough.
Hand & eye co-ordination from mixing, wrapping up the dough, rolling and cutting it out. Lots to get those little brains and fingers connecting. Learning about time – how many minutes to for them to cook, how long to cook before the decorating. That’s where the fine motor skills come into play.
From squeezing the icing pen tube, to picking up a googly eye or a red sparkly sphere sparkle to put on as a nose. Help keep those sprinkles in one place by putting them onto a plate. Helps not stepping on them later!!
As a child you learn to do this so you don’t have to think about it as an adult.
For instance, I’m not thinking about where my fingers go as I type. My fingers learnt (having been dragged to typing school) where the keys were as I bashed upon an old typewriter, returning to the home keys .
We don’t realise how much we need our children to master these skills when little.
Playing with the dough, squeezing it into a ball, it all adds up to their neurons firing up and connecting.
Who knew baking could be so much & more!
Have you got your bake on? Ready for Christmas?
Get your Christmas spirit roaring with fun and creative gluten free baking kits, delivered direct to your door. All you need to have some easy fun. Just add butter of choice & some golden syrup. No eggs required. Sorted. The smell alone is enough to get you feeling Christmassy!
It’s coming up to the crazy time of the year. But you know what is safe. You’ve bought it a hundred times. But why do you or your child have a reaction this time?
Yes, the manufacturers have changed the ingredients. It happens so often, with little or no notice. It’s time to check your labels.
It’s hard work being coeliac or having a coeliac child. We start off well reading the labels, but then as its something you buy on a regular basis, you don’t double check. And we need to especially at this time of the year!
It’s always good to check your habits this time of year, to double check the ingredients on the label, just in case that they have changed. Better to check in advance before eating than find out afterwards and be stuck at home near a bathroom or in bed.
But what are you looking for?
Check your labels. You are looking for anything that contains gluten.
A great acronym to remember is B.R.O.W.S which is for Barley, Rye, Oats* , Wheat or Spelt.
Any of them can be put into ingredients for food or drinks and are to be avoided at all cost by an individual on a gluten free coeliac diet.
For instance, barley can often be found in own brand supermarket colas or wheat can be in soy sauce.
Oats* are safe as long as labelled gluten free. However, even gluten free oats can cause a reaction in some Coeliacs. They contain a protein called Avenin which mimics gluten.
Learn to read labels
You know what you are looking for and you know that you need be able to read labels well. This can save you a fortune, as not everything you eat needs to be labelled Gluten Free.
Reading labels is key to managing this disease.
Here’s a link to a more detailed info on how to read labels. A label is there to tell you what is in the product & what it is made up of. Do remember that whilst you can scan a label, the scanners are normally behind a few days/weeks/months. A label ‘should’ always be accurate, uptodate & says what is on the tin (literally!). For further details see Coeliac UK advice on food shopping.
Some products use ingredients that are made up of other items too. They will always be stated on the label and their ingredients will read after them within brackets. Think of it like a book. There’s a title, a chapter title & the chapter itself to tell the story.
Sushi was being discussed yesterday in a Facebook group. Sushi has a long line of ingredients, with lots of components making up each sushi roll. So how do you read those?
Break it down
The label states everything that is in the product. The ingredients work from the most to the least.
Starting with the Cooked White Sushi Rice. In the brackets afterwards you have ‘water, white rice, rice vinegar’. That is what is in the rice. After anything that has more than one component to make it there will always be brackets showing what is in it. Further down the list shows that the soy sauce bottle is safe as it’s made of ‘water, soya bean, salt & vinegar’. But since the rice has wheat flour in the whole product, it is a big no.
I know that we will all be busy rushing around in the coming weeks, gearing up to get ready for the big day but do get yourself into the habit of stopping, checking and double checking before you put your usual into the basket. Far better to check in advance or before you or your child have eaten something that could ruin the next 24hrs, put you on tender hooks, or see you missing out on something that you were looking forward to.