Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Join Erica Dermer of Celiac and the Beast for a Twitter Party tonight!!! There will be a bunch of free giveaways and Erica  is always super fun in person and online. I can't wait to be part of this fun event to kick off the Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest next weekend in Indianapolis.

Gluten Free and More Twitter Party
Date: Wednesday August 13th
Time: 5-6pm PDT (8-9pm EDT)

RSVP HERE to join and win prizes!!!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Gluten Free Superstar: Lynn Shuter of G-Free NYC

Lynn Shuter from G-Free NYC is our 1st Gluten-Free Superstar!  In 2011 Lynn opened her gluten-free store on the upper west side of Manhattan and she has been a positive and helpful part of the NYC gluten free community ever since. I got a chance to interview her this summer...

What is your gluten-free story? How did you find out you couldn't eat gluten?
"I started to have stomach issues when I was in college in the early 80s. The doctors said it was IBS but they didn't give me any solutions.  I continued to have problems in my twenties.  In my late twenties I developed blisters on my elbows and face.  I went to a dermatologist and was diagnosed with Dermatitis Herpetiformis.  At that point, I started my gluten free journey."

What inspired you to open G-Free NYC?
"For almost 25 years I have been "gluten free" or as gluten free I could be at the time.  Back then, I had to constantly explain myself at restaurants, the work place and any where else I was eating outside my home.  I remember being glutened many times.  I also had to learn to cook and bake since I wasn't happy with the gluten free products available.  I'd say I've tried 90% of the gluten free packaged goods available today.  I ended up ordering products like Canyon Bakehouse because they were not available in NYC.  My belief was, and is, that I didn't have to eat bad tasting products.  There were ways around it."

What is the best thing about your GF life?
"Well, the fact that I don't need to go far for the best gluten free products is very nice.  Otherwise, I really don't think my life is different than anyone else.  That is part of the G-Free NYC don't have to change your lifestyle.  It's just a matter of adapting it and shopping at G-Free NYC of course :)"

What is the hardest thing about being gluten-free? And how do you handle it?
"When I was in my twenties it was very hard on a social level.  I never wanted to be difficult and bring up my diet.  When I went out to eat I would order things that were naturally gluten free.  If someone offered me a cupcake at work I would just say I wasn't hungry.  Nowadays, everyone knows what "gluten free" is.  When I hear people complaining about how hard it is to be gluten free I laugh."

What food/product would you take with you to a desert island? 
"I'm torn between Laurie's Bagels and Yummari Chia Chargers (these are two products I always have in my freezer and in my purse).  The Chia Chargers are healthier but the bagels are so good.  If the end was near I'd go with the bagels but if there was a chance of rescue I'd go with the Chia Chargers.  You only live once."

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Benefits of Sleep Away Camp

summer, camp, lake, Adirondacks, New York, kids

I am still pinching myself that I have two kids on special diets at sleep away camp--and a much needed break.  My daughter is at her fourth year at a seven week girl's camp in the Adirondacks and my son did his first two weeks at a coed camp an hour south of Montreal. I'm thrilled my kids get to escape the city (and electronics) and sleep in a cabin on a lake with water skiing, tennis, swimming and all the usual camp activities.

Both camps have gone to great lengths to accommodate their special diets and provide gluten-free food.  Rebecca, a unit leader at my son's camp  even made sure that there was gluten-free, dairy-free food available for him “find” during the "kitchen raid" when the campers took over the kitchen! (It's a  well supervised camp that plans all sorts of crazy, fun activities.)

For me, sending them to camp is also a break from cooking and meal planning.

I haven't been blogging. Instead I bought a bicycle and have tried to relax as much as possible. It's been THIRTEEN years since I had this kind of vacation from raising kids.

While sleep away camp is not for every child, for social and independent kids it's a great opportunity. And for parents of kids who are on a gluten free (or gluten-free/dairy-free diet) it is an opportunity to relax and take time off from cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner. Giving kids with allergies  the opportunity to manage their diets with the support and supervision of someone else besides a parent is also an amazing preparation for college and life when they will be on their own.

And while I'm happy to get a break I'm actually even happier to get them back at the end of it!

Related posts:
Wendy in NYC at Camp Experts
2013 Sleep Away Camps for Kids on a Gluten-Free Diet
List of Sleepaway Camps for Kids on a GF Diet