Earlier this month I had the honor of touring the Celiac Ward of the Children's National Medical Center. And I have to say it truly was an honor. This hospital exceeds any expectations one could ever have for the care of their child. From mind-blowing research projects and technology to simple touches like stickers to decorate the children's oxygen masks, this hospital thinks of everything.
Children's National has been consistently ranked among the top pediatric hospitals by U.S. News &World Report. I understand why after my tour. Some of my highlights were witnessing a 3-d printer in progress and holding a miniature printing of a child's heart that was made for surgeons to plan their approach in a surgery. In a research and technology lab, I saw them building physical therapy robots that will help children practice their exercises at home and a facial recognition program that will be able to determine from a photograph of a newborn child if they will have any markers for a disease later in life. I felt like I was walking through some science fiction world and yet these amazing people were making these fantastical ideas true to life.
I felt immediately at home during my time spent in the Celiac Disease Program wing. We were cooked an amazing lunch in their beautiful kitchen and were walked through the comprehensive services a newly diagnosed patient would receive. They treat each child with a five part approach which consists of 1. Treating the child's medical needs 2. Meeting their psychological needs 3. Educating and training healthcare providers to better diagnose and treat celiac disease 4. Providing community outreach and advocacy and 5. Conducting research to better diagnose and treat celiac in the future. By addressing all of these components the program takes a comprehensive look at the disease and the needs of the children and their families.
The Celiac Disease Program has developed an expansive collection of resources for the children and their families. They have nutrition and cooking classes which help improve knowledge and compliance of a gluten-free diet. The classes consist of topics like Gluten-Free 101, Nutrition and Gluten-Free Baking, School Lunch Safety, and Traveling while Gluten-Free and more. For more information and to view a schedule of classes go to www.ChildrensCookingClasses.org.
They also provide a Getting Started Handbook and Kit to each newly diagnosed child. The handbook and kit walks the families through every aspect of managing the gluten-free diet including preventing cross contamination, going to school, taking medications and much more. They also have educational forums for schools, mentorship programs, support groups and an annual Gluten-Free Expo. Through these fantastic outreach programs the Celiac Disease Program has been able to not only build a supportive community for their patients, but they also provide valuable information for enriching the children's lives moving forward.
I was beyond impressed by all the Celiac Disease Program does. To be diagnosed with Celiac will never be a pleasant experience, however by the great work and support of the amazing staff at the Celiac Disease Program, it no longer needs to be a frightening and depressing experience. They demonstrate every day that life will go on and you can even still thrive.
For information on how readers like you can support the Celiac Disease Program continue reading below.
Some fun ways you can make a difference.
Check out my article on food allergy research for Allergy Awareness month!
All about The E.A.T organization
When it comes to living with allergies, there can be nothing more frustrating then trying to navigate the candy world. During Halloween, school or birthday parties, trying to read the ingredients on a candy package can feel like playing a game of Russian Roulette. But there is an easy answer that will not feel like a sacrifice.
I would describe Sun Cups as an allergy friendly Reese's cup. However, they even beat out the Reese's cup by coming in FAR more fun flavor combos. Made with chocolate and a roasted sunflower seed butter they mix in a number of additional flavors ranging from caramel to mint chocolate. The result? A tasty nut-free, gluten-free treat for everyone! Some are even dairy, egg, soy and corn free as well. So load them in your purse or send them in to keep in your kid's classroom and next time there's a questionable allergy scenario there's an easy answer that will still end in a smile.
Flavor Offerings: Milk Chocolate, Milk Chocolate Caramel, Dark Chocolate Mint, Dark Chocolate
Go to http://suncups.com/ for more information and to find selling locations near you.
One of the food items I find myself missing the most being gluten-free is a good old fashioned meatball. Unfortunately, meatballs are also one of the most difficult gluten-free items to find. Almost ALL meatballs seem to have bread crumbs in them.
So imagine my excitement when I stumbled across these all natural, nut free, gluten-free pesto meatballs from Nature's Promise. Perfect for most food allergy sufferers! They come in other flavors as well, but ALL of them are gluten-free. I immediately scooped them up and treated myself to some meatball sandwiches this week with some fresh mozzarella and pasta sauce. Not quite as good without the usual sub bread, but a gluten-free bagel sufficed. Might not look the prettiest, but they definitely hit the spot. Bon Appetit!
Were you aware that May is Food Allergy Awareness month? In 1998 the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network now nicknamed FARE created Food Allergy Awareness Week to educate the public about food allergies and how they are potentially life threatening conditions. This year's awareness week falls this week on May 10th- 16th, but I will be celebrating it with special posts for the rest of this month. Here is the link to the FARE website for more information on their organization and ways you can become involved and celebrate with them. 2015 Food Allergy Awareness Week (FARE)
So to launch off our educational fun here is a delicious dessert recipe to enjoy this summer.
For the crust:
1 cup pitted dates
1 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Sliced fresh fruit - 1/2 cup each of strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, blackberries and kiwi
1. Blend all crust ingredients in food processor at high speed until a paste forms
2. Press into pie pan and chill until ready to add fruit
3. Arrange fruit on top of pie
4. Cool for one hour before serving
Picture of what the crust should look like.
It's the most exciting time of year for the DC gluten-free population. Sunday JUNE 7th is the fifth annual Gluten-Free Expo- a time where gluten-free vendors from all over the world come to offer their newest goodies to the DC gluten-free population. Last year's expo brought over 2,200 visitors, and with more vendors than ever before, this year will be even bigger and better! And even more exciting- I was asked to be a featured blogger at the event! Which means you as my readers get to benefit by getting discount tickets to the Expo. So make sure you save the date and click the link below for more info about the event and to save 25% off the price of a ticket with this coupon code: GFREENOVAGIRL25OFF.
Update for anyone having difficulty with the code. There was a mistake before. I updated the code and it should work now. Please try again. Sorry for the problems and thanks for your patience.
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