Positive Quotes from Kids With Celiac

I am so excited for this post! Throughout the years I’ve chatted with several children who have Celiac Disease. Each one was bright, well spoken, and empathetic, and they inspired me to create this post. I recently sent out messages on the facebook and twitter-verse asking parents to chat with their kids about the positive side of Celiac Disease and send me what their kids had to say (thanks to everyone who participated!). These kids are the BEST. While I’m stressing about food to eat at a wedding, these kids are conquering the universe! I hope this post will be inspiring to both children and adults. It’s certainly been inspiring to me. 

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What is the best part about having Celiac Disease?

  • “You get to see your insides on pictures after the biopsy”
  • “You feel amazing!” (10 years old, diagnosed 1 month ago)
  • “The best part is you are aware and can fix the problem so you feel better.”
  • “I don’t have to be sick” (9 years old, diagnosed at age 3)
  • “My mum makes me so many different foods I don’t feel I am missing out.”
  • “At class parties everyone else gets store bought cupcakes, but I get homemade cupcakes that are way better.”
  • “I get bigger treats” (4 years old, diagnosed 8 months ago)
  • “The gluten free pizza tastes better than the pizza with gluten.” (6 years old, diagnosed 1 week ago)
  • “You don’t have to share your yummy food as most think gluten free food is not good and has no taste.”
  • “If there is a food that I really don’t want to eat at a party, I can just say – hmmm, I’m not sure if that is gluten free. Sorry I can’t eat it!”
  • “I don’t eat a lot of junk food and other foods that I know I shouldn’t eat that much.” (9 years old)
  •  “I am a kid that likes to eat” (7 years old, diagnosed at age 3)
  •  “Sometimes I get bigger treats than the other kids” (7 years old, diagnosed at 18 months)
  • “I feel special because mum makes everything at home for me, and my brother and dad have to eat the same food! hahaha”
  •  “That I’m like my mom” (8 years old, diagnosed at age 3)
  • “I love going to the Allergy Show in London with my mom every year. I like trying all the different foods – especially pizza! – and also meeting up with my mom’s Twitter friends. Also I love eating out at safe restaurants.” (11 years old, diagnosed age 5)
  • “The best part of having Coeliac Disease as a 17 year old is that I don’t have to share my food! I also love sharing my food finds on Instagram and in Facebook support groups. There’s a community that I would never have been involved in without having Coeliac Disease.”
  • “You are not like everybody else. We are different.”

What is better now that you eat gluten free?

  • “I don’t feel sick anymore” (9 years old, diagnosed at age 3)
  • “Much less pain! More people are beginning to understand what it’s like for me. The ready made food is always improving too.”
  • “I don’t really remember eating gluten containing foods. I’m learning new cooking and baking skills which I love!” (11 years old, diagnosed age 5)
  • “You don’t throw up.”
  • “Everything because I feel better and I can eat cake!”
  • “I always get to take my own food and I always know I will have food I like for lunch in school.”
  • “I’m not sick anymore! I prefer natural gluten free foods to begin with, like fruits and vegetables” (9 years old)
  • “I’m not throwing up anymore and it’s better for my body.” (6 years old, diagnosed 1 week ago)
  •  “More cheese!” (his parents are vegan) (10 years old, diagnosed 1 month ago)
  •  “That I don’t get sick” (7 years old, diagnosed at age 3)
  • “My health. I feel better all around” (4 years old, diagnosed 8 months ago)
  •  “I don’t have any more tummy aches” (8 years old, diagnosed at age 3)
  •  “I’m not so sad” (7 years old, diagnosed at 18 months)
  • “I make healthier choices because I guess I don’t have a choice. It forces me to eat better because I can’t eat the pizza and junk food that kids eat at birthday parties.”
  • “Now I eat gluten free I don’t feel ill at all, I have energy again, and I don’t feel sick constantly. I also know I’m not making my insides unhappy!”

What would you want to tell other kids your age who just got diagnosed?

  • “You are not alone. Don’t need to feel different.” (4 years old, diagnosed 8 months ago)
  • “It’s nothing but food so it’s no big deal.”
  • “You can make almost anything without gluten.”
  • “It’s a-ok and you can eat lots of things even cake and sometimes it’s even better than regular cake. Can you tell I like cake?”
  • “It’s okay, you just have to get used to eating gluten free. There’s a lot of great gluten free foods out there. I don’t feel like I miss anything.” (9 years old)
  • “It gets better! I cried at first but it’s really not bad.”
  • “That gluten free foods are good” (7 years old, diagnosed at age 3)
  •  “It feels easier the longer you have it” (8 years old, diagnosed at age 3)
  •  “You’re not the only one and there are other Celiac kids” (7 years old, diagnosed at 18 months)
  • “If someone is teasing you about the food like ‘You can’t eat gluten’ you can say ‘hey stop it!’ If they don’t stop you can tell their parents.” (6 years old, diagnosed 1 week ago)
  • “Don’t be scared, the food isn’t as bad as everyone thinks and in some cases it’s easy for your mum to make your favorite food gluten free.”
  • “Our cupcakes are way better than grocery store cake.”
  • “Don’t be worried. You’ll miss the foods you used to eat, but it will get easier. Always read labels and ask lots of questions when you eat out.” (11 years old, diagnosed age 5)
  • “As a 17 year old, you think it’s awful but honestly it’s not bad at all! There are groups that have events and provide support. Socially, your friends will understand and accommodate you but you have to stick to your guns and be gluten free because it’s what your body needs!”
  • “It’s not as hard after you get used to it” (9 years old, diagnosed at age 3)
  • “Class parties where everyone is eating cake except for you may suck at first, but in a year or so you’ll realize that it’s not a big deal at all. I don’t care now. I can eat a cupcake anytime.”
  • “The most important thing is to understand about Celiac and understanding everything you can and can’t eat so then you can educate others when they ask you questions.”
  • “It’ll be o.k.” (10 years old, diagnosed 1 month ago)

Do you have a child/teenager with Celiac who would like to contribute some positivity? Leave a comment or send me an email, and I’ll add their quotes to the list! TastyMeditation@yahoo.com


The Celiac Project Podcast – Navigating the Holidays & Giveaway

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Do you find the holidays to be challenging as someone who lives a gluten free lifestyle/has Celiac Disease? I understand. That’s why I’ve teamed up with Mike and Cam from the Celiac Project Podcast. In their latest episode we chat about:

  • The five-seven types of people you may encounter at parties
  • Our favorite tips to help you have a happy and safe holiday
  • Tips for non-GF family members listening to the podcast

Click HERE to listen to the full podcast or download in iTunes/Google Play Music.

Celiac Project

Many of us have family members who don’t understand Celiac Disease. Maybe they don’t want to take the time to learn about it, and perhaps some don’t think that Celiac is a big deal. In these cases, my favorite resource for discussing Celiac  is The Celiac Project documentary. The DVD is both informative and highly emotional. It clocks in at 60 minutes – requesting that your family sit down with you to watch a documentary for an hour is pretty reasonable. It’s not like you’re asking them to run a mile backwards in heels. Perhaps the visuals and interviews with others who have severely suffered from Celiac Disease will help your loved ones understand you better.

Limited Holiday Special – purchase the DVD for $19.95 (includes shipping. Normally $29.95). Order here:

http://www.celiacproject.com/the-celiac-project-film/order-dvd/

Order now to have for the holidays!

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GIVEAWAY! The Celiac Project Podcast is giving away one copy of the documentary on DVD. Enter via the rafflecopter link below. Continental US only. Giveaway ends Friday December 30th at 11:59pm EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I, myself, use and love.

Interview with Chef Jemiko L Solo of Senza Gluten

Last week I had the great pleasure of speaking with Chef Jemiko L. Solo in his beautiful Italian restaurant, Senza Gluten, located in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. Senza Gluten is a rare treat of a restaurant in that it is 100% gluten free (“senza” meaning “without” in Italian). With their strong focus on community and creating a safe haven for those with food intolerances, it is no wonder that they have quickly developed a loyal following of customers.

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Thank you so much for agreeing to do an interview with me! I’ve heard wonderful things about your restaurant and cooking. What first inspired you to become a chef?

My father was an executive chef for about forty years. I watched him cook every day, and I wanted to learn from him. I wasn’t really thinking that I would become a chef. I was just a kid. When my father passed away my mother started working at the hotel in Tbilisi, Georgia. I began cooking there when I was around fourteen. They gave me a hat that was taller than me! It was very funny. I started like everyone else – peeling vegetables and organizing storage – and gradually I moved up. The hotel employed the best chefs from all over the world, and for eight years I cooked alongside them. That was biggest inspiration of my life. For the next several years I worked as a chef and managed different restaurants in the city. When I came to the United States, I started cooking in Italian restaurants, which I loved – I love Italian food! I consider myself very lucky that I had opportunities to work under wonderful chefs in NYC. They didn’t hesitate to share their experience and knowledge with me, and I am very grateful to them. And after all those years of cooking, I decided to attend AINYC to study pastry arts professionally. I have a great passion for baking.

 

I know that you do not have Celiac Disease or a gluten intolerance yourself. What inspired you to start a 100% gluten free restaurant?

I have very close friends who have Celiac Disease, and every time we went out to eat they were afraid. So a few years ago I made them a promise – “I will open a little Italian restaurant for you and for others with Celiac so that you feel safe.” They come here and they don’t have to worry about anything.

 

Have all of your friends who inspired you to start Senza Gluten come to the restaurant?

They have – they’re here very often!

 

I imagine they love the food!

Yes, they love the food! And they continue to give me more and more ideas. They tell me what dishes they’ve missed the most since going gluten free, and then I try to surprise them.

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What has been your greatest reward in creating this restaurant?

The people – the feeling we get when customers say they enjoy our food is unbelievable. Sometimes people come here and haven’t had lasagna or tiramisu in ten years because of their gluten intolerance. To see their faces after they take their first bite – that is the greatest reward.

 

How do you handle other allergies in the kitchen? Say if someone were to come in with a lactose intolerance or nut allergy?

The first thing that our waiters ask when they greet a customer is “Do you have any other food intolerances besides gluten.” And even in a tiny kitchen, we really do our best to keep everything separate. We can accommodate many intolerances like dairy, egg, soy, fish, shellfish, nuts, and peanuts. We also use latex free gloves. Everyone here is very knowledgeable – I even send out weekly text messages to the entire staff that includes a gluten free trivia question. It’s a fun way for the staff to bond and solidify important information. Also, if someone has a long list of allergies, I invite them to send us an email or call before they dine so that we can better serve them. Everyone in the kitchen will be aware of what food and equipment to use, and I’ll have time to plan a custom dish.

 

What kind of gluten free substitutions do you use?

The pasta we use is called Le Veneziane. It’s a corn-based pasta from Italy that is diary/egg/GMO-free, and the bread is from Everybody Eats. Unfortunately, we don’t currently have the space to make our own pastas or bread, but I would love to start making them. And of course I love to bake! All of our desserts are made here.

I wish there were more gluten free restaurants like this. We often recommend other safe restaurants in Manhattan to our diners. Of course we want everyone to love our restaurant and come back! But we want the gluten free community to grow and have options. We want to help each other.

 

That’s lovely. It’s nice to see that there are new restaurants like this that are so dedicated to being gluten free, and not just doing it half-heartedly.

Yes, I’ve had experience working in other restaurants that had shared kitchens and no gluten free menu. When a gluten intolerant customer came in we always did our best, but it wasn’t a 100% gluten free environment. Those customers always had to question their food. That’s why I decided that it was necessary for my kitchen to be 100% gluten free. Outside food isn’t allowed in. My customers are safe – that is the most important thing to me. And if customers have other allergies besides gluten, I am always happy to meet them, talk with them, and listen to their ideas. My customers always have such great ideas.

 

That’s wonderful that you continue to draw your inspiration from the gluten free community itself.

They give me the energy to do new things. This restaurant has become one big family – me, everyone in the kitchen, the waiters, the diners – everyone is involved. We are the restaurant we are because of this community. It has become a relationship based on mutual trust and respect. We love our guests. Their safety and happiness is our main focus.

 

For me, as a Celiac, I find that one of the hardest parts about dining out is the cross contamination issue. You always have to do research beforehand and ask questions, even after the waiter brings out your food. So it’s surprising when you go to a 100% gluten free restaurant! You think that you have to question every bite, and then you remember that you can eat all of the food.

Yes! It happens here, too. We put out the bread basket, and so many times people forget it’s safe!

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What is your favorite thing on your menu?

We put a lot energy into testing every dish until it is perfect – we test them until each dish becomes my favorite, so I cannot choose! (laughs)

 

That’s such a great answer!

When you’re testing a recipe, many people may say that it’s perfect, but until you know it here (he touches his heart), you know it’s not ready yet. Then when you finally get it, it becomes your favorite dish….But I do love chocolate a lot.

 

(laughs) Me too! Is there anything that you’re currently working on that we can look forward to seeing on your menu soon?

Yes, actually I am working on a new lunch menu. There will be pizzas and paninis. We are also working on the brunch menu and we’ll have tables set up outside.

 

There is an old stigma that implies that all gluten free food tastes awful. Even today with hundreds of wonderful gluten free options in stores, I still hear people saying this and making comments about it on social media. What would you say to these people?

I would suggest that they come and taste our food! Many people who come to our restaurant are not Celiacs – they come with their Celiac friends. Sometimes they don’t realize that it is all gluten free until their friend tells them. In the end they have positive things to say.

 

Lastly, what do you want the gluten free community to know about Senza Gluten?

This is a 100% dedicated gluten free restaurant. We do our best to give our customers everything they miss. They don’t have to worry. That’s the whole idea. It’s for them, and they become a part of our family.

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You can learn more information about Senza Gluten at www.SenzaGlutenNYC.com.

Visit the restaurant in person at 206 Sullivan Street in Manhattan off the A/B/C/D/E/F/M trains.