Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin April 2012 Meeting

Posted on March 19th, 2012 by Alison | ADD A COMMENT »

gigofmarin1Cold Sores, Grooves on Your Teeth or Gum Recession? Gluten Intolerance Can Manifest in the Mouth

Our next meeting of the Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin will take place on Monday, April 16th at 7:00.

Many people, including dentists, are surprised to learn that gluten intolerance can manifest with symptoms in the mouth such as:

  • Enamel defects, including pitting, yellowing, calcification, grooves
  • Ulcers or cold sores
  • Pointy or crooked teeth
  • Cavities
  • Gum recession
  • Infections

Come learn more about how problems in the teeth and mouths of children and adults can be indications of gluten intolerance. Our speaker will be Micheal Lipelt, DDS. In addition to a degree in dentistry from UCLA, Dr. Lipelt is trained as a naturopath and dental acupuncturist. Dr. Lipelt is the founder of Stillpoint Family Health Service in Sebastopol. Dr. Lipelt will discuss how gluten intolerance can affect the mouth and teeth, and explore common dental procedures, their impact on gut and overall health, and lab tests which use the oral cavity as a specimen source, one of which is testing for gliadin antibodies.

Also joining us will be Heather Hardcastle owner of Flour Craft Bakery. Heather has been gluten free herself since 2000. Her products are sold at gourmet markets throughout the bay area including Whole Foods and the Marin Farmer’s Market.

Please let your gluten free friends and family know about this fun event. The meeting is free; however, we appreciate a donation of $5 or more to cover the costs of renting the meeting room, printing the handouts, etc.

Whether you have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or are learning more about gluten free living for yourself, family or friends, we welcome you to the GIG of Marin. New members, friends, and loved ones are always welcome.

As always, we request that you RSVP to this event by emailing us at: glutenfreemarin@yahoo.com.

The Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin will meet:

  • Monday, April 16th
  • 7:00 to 9:00pm
  • Community Room at Corte Madera Town Center (upstairs at PF Chang’s end) 770 Tamalpais Dr. Suite 201, Corte Madera, CA, 94925

We look forward to seeing you!

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If you carry EpiPens, please read this

Posted on February 27th, 2012 by Alison | Read 9 Comments - Add Your Own »

A friend of mine, who is also a mom of a child with food allergies, talked to me recently about how  she has not been diligent about taking the EpiPen with them wherever they go, and about how her husband hasn’t taken responsibility for bringing the emergency medication when he takes the child somewhere. They know they should, but they forget, or they haven’t totally accepted the fact that the EpiPen might be the thing that saves their child’s life someday. I get it — I was in the same boat a while ago.

We had EpiPens, we had Benadryl, but it was hanging around our house in different places. Sometimes it would go in my purse, or be stashed in a compartment in my car, or thrown into whatever bag we were carrying that day. My husband didn’t know where it was, and how scary to think what would have happened if I wasn’t around in an emergency to find it.

After a few close calls of our own, and a few heart-wrenching news stories of kids who died because the medicine was not accessible, I realized that I may not be able to control everything she eats (though I try!), but I can make sure that treatment is available should an accident happen.

When a seven-year old with food allergies died, it hit me hard, and I had a heart-to-heart with my seven-year old daughter, sharing the little girl’s tragic story with her, and talking to her about taking responsibility for her own safety. I told her how sad I would be to lose her and that she needed to keep herself safe by 1) not eating anything that could possibly be unsafe and 2) carrying her medication with her at all times. Since then, she has been much more careful with food and diligent about making sure her emergency kit is with her at all times.

And that brings me to the point of this article. You can’t expect the child (or other family members) to be responsible about the emergency medication without providing some organization first. You need to have consistency.

First, get a carrier of some kind. When I set out to write this article, I meant to highlight the carriers I use but it turns out that they are no longer available. The ones I use were made by AllergyKids. They are flourescent green with a big AllergyKids logo on it, they zip and they are roomy enough for a couple of epi-pens and other medication like Benadryl. I like that they are brightly colored so anyone who knows us knows that the bright green bag has the emergency medication in it. I also wrote my daughter’s name is black Sharpie pen in large letters on the bag. There is no mistaking this bag for anything else. You can spot it from far away and find it easily within my daughter’s backpack or anywhere else we might put it. If you can’t find a brightly colored bag like I did, at least buy a few bags with the same pattern so that everyone knows which bags are the Epi bags.

Then, make sure you have a consistent place to keep it in your house, ideally near the front door so that it is easy to remember and easy to grab. We keep one of the bags in my daughter’s backpack and we have another one in the house in my daughter’s “inbox.” We know to look there for the pack when we are going somewhere. She knows to look there also, and even her little sister is always on the lookout for the emergency pack.

You need to find a system that works for you, but have a system!

I found many companies that sell Epi-Pen bags of all styles and colors. Here are some of them:

Allergy Apparel

OneSpot Allergy

BlueBear Aware

Moxie Pouches

Etsy

Let me know if you have a system that works for your allergic child!

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Valentine’s Cookies (gluten-free, allergen-free)

Posted on February 8th, 2012 by Alison | Read 2 Comments - Add Your Own »
Gluten-free Valentine's Cookies

These are the gluten-free allergen-free Valentine’s cookies that my girls and I made last year. This picture makes me happy because of the beautiful imperfection created by their little hands!

After years of experimenting with different people’s recipes, I finally have had success. For roll out sugar cookies that maintain their shape and taste good, I recommend two recipes. One is Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom’s Cut-Out Sugar Cookies. I followed the recipe for the cookies exactly, except for almond extract due to nut allergies in my house, and I just use regular powdered sugar to make the icing, but if you need to be corn-free, she has a great recipe for powdered sugar without the cornstarch. The other recipe I recommend is Cybele Pascal’s Allergy Free Rolled Sugar Cookies. Note that she uses rice milk for the icing, but I personally don’t like the taste of rice milk and think it makes frosting taste “off.” You can use water, milk or coconut milk instead if you are like me and prefer something other than rice milk.

Remember when decorating cookies that you want to put the sprinkles on right away because the icing will set and then the sprinkles won’t stick. Also remember that you really can’t go wrong if you put out little bowls of sprinkles and let your kids exercise their creativity (I do recommend frosting them yourself however!) If you use sprinkles that complement each other, the cookies will look great no matter what and they will be so proud to serve them to their family, friends, and classmates.

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Two California summer camps for gluten-free kids – register now

Posted on January 29th, 2012 by Alison | ADD A COMMENT »

Treat your child to a week of gluten freedom at a special summer camp! There are two California camps – Camp Celiac in northern California, and the new Children’s Celiac Camp in southern California.

CAMP CELIAC

In northern California at Camp Celiac, “campers, counselors, and volunteers eat delicious gluten-free food and do camp activities such as a ropes course, rock climbing, ziplining, boating, swimming, and outdoor sports. Three meals a day without having to ask if any of the foods are gluten-free is life-changing for many campers and staff!” Ages 9-17.

There will be two weeks (each with a different group of campers):

Week 1:  Tuesday, July 24 – Saturday, July 28, 2012
Week 2:  Saturday, July 28 – Weds, August 1, 2012

To register:

Priority is given to campers from Northern California. All campers from Northern California who register between Feb 1st and Feb 14th will be given equal priority if all four registration steps (see below) are completed by February 14 (and received if paying by mail); i.e. there is no advantage to registering on February 1st rather than February 14th. After February 14th, available space will be allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis after all four registration steps are completed (and received if paying by mail).  At all times, space availability will depend, in part, on the camper’s age & gender since cabins are segregated by sex and age. For more information about how to sign up for this camp, visit the registration page at CeliacCamp.com.

CHILDREN’S CELIAC CAMP – New!

In Southern California’s San Bernardino Mountains near Big Bear, campers will enjoy “a week with their peers, filled with fun activities and adventure in an environment dedicated to their dietary needs. Attend Camp Nawakwa in the beautiful Barton Flats area of the San Bernardino Mountains and enjoy archery, arts and crafts, canoeing, cookouts, drama, hip hop dance, nature lore, swimming and wall climbing.” Ages 7-15.

There will be one week:

July 30, 2012 to August 3, 2012

To register:

Spaces are limited…Plan ahead…Reserve now. Call the CDF office at 818.990.2354 or follow the registration steps on the Celiac Disease Foundation website.

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Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin February 2011 Meeting

Posted on January 29th, 2012 by Alison | Read 2 Comments - Add Your Own »

gigofmarin1Our next meeting of the Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin will take place on Monday, February 6th at 7:00.

What Does a “Gluten Free” Label Really Mean?

Products labeled “gluten free” fill supermarket shelves in ever increasing numbers, but the lack of standardized labeling laws means that shoppers cannot be sure of what exactly the label “gluten free” means.

At our next meeting on Monday, February 6, I will discuss the current issues surrounding labeling and then we will learn from the manufacturers themselves what it takes to produce a gluten-free product.

One of the hottest gluten free products showing up in bay area stores are gluten free potstickers from Feel Good Foods. We are delighted that Feel Good Foods will be with us to share samples of their delicious product, as well as other manufacturers such as Kind Bars, The Inspired Cookie, Attune Foods, and Mary’s Gone Crackers. Other vendors will be represented with samples.

Please come, find out more about the foods you buy and show your support for manufacturers’ efforts to meet the needs of gluten free shoppers. This meeting is sure to be informative and delicious!

Please let your gluten free friends and family know about this fun event. The meeting is free; however, we appreciate a donation of $5 or more to cover the costs of renting the meeting room, printing the handouts, etc.

Whether you have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or are learning more about gluten free living for yourself, family or friends, we welcome you to the GIG of Marin. New members, friends, and loved ones are always welcome.

As always, we request that you RSVP to this event by emailing us at: glutenfreemarin@yahoo.com.

The Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin will meet:

  • Monday, February 6th
  • 7:00 to 9:00pm
  • Community Room at Corte Madera Town Center (upstairs at PF Chang’s end) 770 Tamalpais Dr. Suite 201, Corte Madera, CA, 94925

We look forward to seeing you!

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Gluten-free donuts in 5 minutes

Posted on January 24th, 2012 by Alison | Read 13 Comments - Add Your Own »

The other day I had a gluten-free donut emergency. There was a birthday in my daughter’s class and the kid brought donuts to share. I am always prepared for birthdays with cupcakes in the freezer and I can make a fast brownie, but donuts? That is not in my repertoire.

But then I remembered that my mom had just given my daughters a Babycakes Donut Maker. At the time I wasn’t that excited about another appliance in the house, but now I was ecstatic!  All I had to do was come up with a batter that was gluten-free and egg-free (daughter is allergic to eggs) and I would have mini donuts in about five minutes! I decided to use a pancake and waffle mix as the base and work from there. I always have The Cravings Place All Purpose Pancake and Waffle Mix on hand because it is a mix that does not call for eggs at all and somehow the waffles always defy gravity and come out fluffy. I sort of used their recipe (on their website) for Shortcake to make the donut batter. I can’t be certain I followed it exactly, because, like I said, it was a donut emergency and I was in a hurry! You can probably use any gluten-free batter with success.

When I brought the mini-donuts to school, I peeked in the donut box that held the “regular” donuts and to my pleasant surprise, there were donuts with vanilla icing and chocolate sprinkles, just like I had made! My daughter and another allergic girl in the class that I brought donuts for were very happy, and I have to admit that I felt like Super Mom that day!

Here is (approximately) how I made the gluten-free dairy-free egg-free donuts:

Ingredients:

Directions:

Cut the butter or shortening into the dry mix, using a pastry cutter or knives until the the butter or shortening is blended in, or resembles small pebbles. Add the sugar and water and mix until fully blended. Batter should be somewhat thick.

Take a ziplock bag and cut off one corner so there is 1/2 inch hole. Spoon the batter into the bag, and following the directions on the donut maker, squeeze the batter out of the bag into the donut rounds when the donut maker is ready (hot). Fill it pretty full (even though the directions say to fill each with two tablespoons, don’t bother measuring). The bottom side of the donut will brown more than the top, but if you turn the donut over before icing, no one will see the less-cooked side.

Let the donuts cool a little bit before icing them or the icing will melt down the sides. For a quick icing, I mixed a little Pamela’s Vanilla Frosting Mix with a little water until it was the consistency I wanted, but you can also just use powdered sugar and water or milk, and add some vanilla too if you like. It’s up to you how you want to ice them — you can dunk the whole thing to get a glaze all over, or ice the tops like I did. There are also several frosting recipes in the recipe booklet that comes with the donut maker.

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Living Gluten-Free Class in San Francisco January 24th

Posted on January 18th, 2012 by Alison | ADD A COMMENT »

Have you or has someone you know been diagnosed with celiac disease?
Do you or does someone you know have gluten intolerance?
Are you looking for possible answers to your health problems?
Would you like to find out more about the gluten-free diet?

If the answer is yes to any of the above questions, please come to a class I am giving called “Living Gluten-Free” on January 24th in San Francisco. I will be speaking at California Pacific Medical Center from 6-7:30 pm. This class will provide you with invaluable information about the gluten-free diet. Topics include symptoms, diagnosis, shopping, cooking, labeling, product information and more!

Living Gluten-Free
Speaker: Alison St. Sure
When: January 24th, 2012, 6-7:30pm
Where:
California Pacific Medical Center (Pacific Campus)
2333 Buchanan St., San Francisco
Enright Room

To register, call 415-923-3155
or email cpmcchrc@sutterhealth.org

Directions

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People with celiac disease have increased bone fracture risk and other bone problems

Posted on January 9th, 2012 by Alison | Read 4 Comments - Add Your Own »

For anyone with bone density problems, bone fractures, osteoporosis, osteopenia, osteomalacia, bone pain or any other bone-related problems, consider getting tested for celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. This is a common symptom that often gets overlooked.  Two recent studies confirm the negative effects of celiac disease on bone health.

A case study of a 29-year old man with no gastrointestinal complaints came in with back pain. It was discovered that he had a compression fracture in his spine, and he reported that he had several bone fractures as a child. Tests revealed low bone density, but that vitamin D levels were normal, despite villous atrophy (damage to his intestines, often preventing the ability to absorb nutrients).

The authors of the report stated that ”Celiac disease is often a cause of low bone density and patients with celiac disease have an increased fracture risk, a hazard ratio of 1.43 or 43% increased risk when compared to age-matched healthy populations.” They concluded, “We emphasize considering celiac disease in all patients with idiopathic [arising spontaneously or from an obscure or unknown cause] low bone density even if vitamin D and PTH [parathyroid hormone] levels are normal.”

Another study submitted by doctors in Amsterdam profiled a 29-year old woman bound to a wheelchair who had progressive bone pain, short stature, difficulty walking, scoliosis, softening of the bones, low bone mineral density and poor dental condition. Testing showed that she had villous atrophy, antibodies against gluten, and extremely low vitamin D and low calcium, and was deficient in several other vitamins. She had already been diagnosed with celiac disease at age 17, but apparently wasn’t following the gluten-free diet or was at least getting some amount of gluten exposure. The doctors treated her for 14 days with intravenous calcium and vitamin D, and “the symptoms of the patient rapidly improved; the bone pain decreased, muscle strength and physical performance improved markedly, and she was able to walk unassisted.” Incredible! After 5 1/2 months they found that her bone mineral density had indeed improved.

Have you had bone problems as a result of celiac disease or gluten intolerance? Are you looking for answers to your bone-related health issues? Leave a comment so that your experience can help others or others can help you!

Related reading: Gluten and bone health

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Celebrating nine years gluten-free and happy holidays to you!

Posted on December 20th, 2011 by Alison | Read 3 Comments - Add Your Own »

On December 28, 2002 I received a diagnosis of celiac disease and began eating gluten-free. I could never have imagined how that diagnosis would change my health or the course of my life. I knew soon after that I needed to share this information, and I turned to the web.

This blog has been been visited by over a half a million different people over the years — that’s amazing to me! I have been able to help people find a diagnosis when their doctors failed them. I have been able to guide people in how to live gluten-free. Because my own daughter was diagnosed with severe food allergies, I have commiserated and shared advice with other allergy moms. I have gotten strength and support from my readers through their comments, emails and phone calls. I so appreciate your thoughts.

Thank you to everyone who continues to support me in my quest to educate and provide support. I don’t look at my diagnosis as a curse. Instead, I am thankful to have discovered a healthy way to live. Happy Holidays to you all!

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This Week Only: Donate $2 (Or More) To Help Send Children To A Gluten-Free Summer Camp!

Posted on December 19th, 2011 by Alison | ADD A COMMENT »

If you or your child has ever been to summer camp, you have memories of the playing in the outdoors and making new friends. But what if your child couldn’t go because of his special dietary needs? Fortunately, special camps are popping up around the U.S. and this summer the Celiac Disease Foundation is starting a new one in southern California.

In the spirit of the giving season, I am hoping that you will help provide scholarships for children to attend this gluten-free summer camp. This week, giving just $2 will go a long way…

Through Sunday, December 25, Gluten-Free Saver has partnered with Van’s Natural Foods to raise money to send children to next summer’s CDF-sponsored summer camp, and Van’s is matching all donations up to $1,000!

The goal is to raise $2,000 – and when you donate $2, you’re really contributing $4.

You can read more about the fundraiser here: www.glutenfreesaver.com.

The summer camp will be held in San Bernardino in Southern California from July 30 to August 3, 2012, and it’s open to all 7-15 year old gluten intolerant and gluten-sensitive children – not just those diagnosed with celiac disease.

I hope you will join me in giving $2 (or more if you wish) so children can attend a camp where they don’t have to worry about the food, and they can just enjoy being kids. Please help reach the goal of $2,000. Every $2 helps. 100% of all donations will go directly to the Celiac Disease Foundation.

YES! I want to help send a child to a gluten-free summer camp and donate $2 right now!

Thank you!

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