Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Finding Support in Real Life and Online (my favorite GF Mom Bloggers)

Having a child diagnosed with a not-overly-common (not sure it can be called "rare") disease can be a bit frustrating, paralyzing, isolating. It is strange, having to make major lifestyle changes, yet not knowing one other person in the entire world personally that is doing the same. No one that can relate to tearful episodes in the grocery store. Or trying to figure out how to protect their three-year-old at school. Or not wanting to go to the church potluck as you can't eat anything, and really don't feel like making an entire meal all afternoon just to take it and watch everyone eat other (better looking!) foods. (and that last one is about the food as much as it is the social aspect of the disease - but again, if you have Celiac or have any food allergies or intolerances, you already understood that!)

In looking for support, it turned out that northeast Ohio has an amazing Celiac support group - though we ended up moving before we got plugged into it. I am still on their mailing list though and even that is nicely done! (their website: http://www.neohioceliac.com/) Sadly, I have not found the same here in Cincinnati. I have some friends that are hoping to change that, though, and I will share more as that develops!

Then, low and behold, I came to find out my son's preschool teacher has two children with Celiac --- so that when I would have to send him to school in September, I would have a mom watching him that would understand and protect him! The teacher, who was also in my neighborhood, invited me over to talk and she really started me off on the right foot mentally. She offered to go shopping with me, whatever I needed. After school started, she was a literal God-send in adjusting to letting my son try and be gluten-free, as a three-year-old, away from home. Both his teacher and I found it funny and wonderful - she would sometimes bring him a gluten free treat from home and he would always tell her "I can't eat that, I'm gluten free!" -- and I love this - she would just give me the treat later. She did not want to confuse him, so she didn't say anything or make a deal of it. He simply ate from his designated snacks that we packed in a designated Rubbermaid. What a blessing to have that as his first school experience.

The best support I have been able to find, though - one that didn't have to change when we moved - has been gluten free bloggers, most of whom are mom bloggers. I wanted to hear from other moms who were dealing with the scary-ness of healing their children from their own kitchens. (no pressure) Or from others who simply have the disease, and could tell me that they were okay. I wanted desperately to keep a good attitude - and wanted to pass that on to my son! Here are a few of my favorites (in addition to the ones yesterday that also have cookbooks):

Gluten Free Mom, http://www.glutenfreemom.com/: Jamie is a gluten free mom, and her daughter (who is now in college) is gluten free too. Jamie shares some recipes, some Celiac research, and some of her life. Her stories about sending her daughter off to college were captivating and very frustrating as the college did not accommodate the daughter's gluten free needs very well - and very inspiring to read how much this mom advocated for her daughter.

Gluten Free Homemaker, http://glutenfreehomemaker.com/: I have Linda, the Gluten Free Homemaker, to thank for my most favorite meal in our house: pizza night. My husband claimed it his duty to make pizza, and Linda's recipe is amazing. It has become the meal of choice for our SuperBowl celebration each year too. Here it is, the best gluten free pizza: http://glutenfreehomemaker.com/friday-night-is-pizza-night/  (My husband does sometimes substitute 750 grams or 5 cups of gluten free all purpose flour instead of all the different flours, and started using milk instead of water and omitting the dry milk as we ran out of it and I haven't bought it since!)
SuperBowl, Valentine's Day, Saturday night - all good nights for pizza!
Linda has a lot of great other recipes. Another favorite of mine is her french bread - I ended up buying a French bread pan off of Amazon, and that pan plus this recipe makes amazing bread! http://glutenfreehomemaker.com/gluten-free-french-bread-recipe/

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures, http://www.lynnskitchenadventures.com/: Another treasure trove for good recipes. She has recipes for several different baked oatmeals - the blueberry one! the peanut butter one! The cinnamon roll one! Oh so good. http://www.lynnskitchenadventures.com/2013/12/15-baked-oatmeal-recipes.html

And her "Oven Omelet Roll" - it is so easy, yet looks really complicated and if you take it to a party everyone will love it and ask for the recipe. Trust me. And then you can share: http://www.lynnskitchenadventures.com/2009/11/oven-omelet-roll.html

Hard to get a good picture - but unique and easy and delicious!
Gluten Free Is Life, http://www.glutenfreeislife.com/: Kim at Gluten Free Is Life has Celiac, and her son (who is now in college) does as well. Kim also writes over at Celiac-Disease.com - but she resposts most of her articles on her site as well.

Kim's blog was the nearest and dearest to my heart when I started blogging. Since my son does not seem to react when he eats gluten, I truly began to trust Kim's blog to figure out if a product or restaurant was "safe" (remember, this was back in 2010, years before the FDA would enforcing a gluten free label - and not much back then was labeled at all). She would talk about new products and when she would find them at Kroger or Meijer, which I found so incredibly helpful as I was trying to figure this whole gluten free world out. (should sound familiar to my Facebook followers - I try to do for others what she did for me!)

Her blog is also one that will talk about the parenting aspect some, and the emotional component of the disease too. Not overly so - but enough to be real.

These bloggers are one of the many reasons I started my blog. I wanted to be able to be that source of encouragement to others, and wanted to help them along the journey - even if it is simply finding a new product on the store shelf or saving a few dollars on the grocery bill. Thanks to each and every one of you that reads this blog and Facebook page, you are also a support and encouragement to me!

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