Gluten-Free Summer Camp

     Summer camp is a cherished summertime tradition for children. Just because your child eats gluten free doesn’t mean he has to suffer without summer camp this year. There are actually some camps that specialize in the gluten-free diet, which you can find online; other camps specialize in other restricted diets, such as for diabetic children. You don’t have to choose a special camp for your child, though, as he may want to go to the same summer camps as his friends.

     Just as you had to meet with your child’s teachers and school administrators regarding his diet, talk with counselors and cooks in advance regarding your child’s gluten-free diet. Find out who’s in charge of meals and talk to them, in person if possible, about the details he’ll need to know. I recommend giving them a copy of a gluten-free cookbook and some articles about celiac disease and the gluten-free lifestyle, so that they’ll be able to refer themselves to these resources when they need it. Make sure to allow plenty of time before camp starts to let the camp staff prepare for the diet specifications. Don’t forget to discuss food preparation and serving techniques so they can avoid cross-contamination. Additionally, I recommend sending food along, if the camp’s regulations allow it, so your child has his favorite gluten-free snacks and also some gluten-free flour mixes, for example, which the whole camp can enjoy in gluten-free brownies, cookies, and cakes.

     It’s essential, as much as the camp’s personnel have been enlightened about gluten-free living, that your child understands his own dietary needs as much as possible. This will give him ultimate control in his gluten-free diet. Tell him the questions to ask about food preparation to prevent cross-contamination, make sure he knows how to read food labels, and teach him the synonyms for gluten.

Tina Turbin

Advice, gluten-free
4 Comments

Write Your Goals Down

      Writing your goals down on paper (or on your computer in this computer age) is essential.

     A recent study was conducted recently to find what made Harvard’s most successful graduates so successful. It turns out that the common denominator among these prosperous alumni was writing down their goals. Luckily, you don’t need a degree from Harvard to do that.

 Tina Turbin

Advice, Children's Author, Helpful Tips, moms, women, writing
3 Comments

Understanding the Link between Osteoporosis and Celiac Disease

     Medical researchers have noted for quite some time that osteoporosis and celiac disease commonly appear together. If you have either condition, it’s important to understand this link and to know what symptoms to look for. Being informed on this subject can have priceless health benefits.

     Osteoporosis is a disease that causes the bones to be less dense than they should be, making them more fragile and more likely to break.  Many people with osteoporosis don’t realize they have the condition until they break a bone. Sometimes the fractures are major breaks, or there can be dozens or hundreds of tiny fractures. Loss of height with aging and a severely rounded upper back called the dowager’s hump are usually the result of many small osteoporotic fractures that have weakened the spine.

     It is fortunate that osteoporosis is preventable. The reason why people with celiac disease are at high risk for osteoporosis has to do with the first two of these risk factors—insufficient intake of calcium and vitamin D. When people with celiac disease eat foods that contain gluten, the villi that line the small intestine become damaged. Malabsorption—improper uptake of nutrients by the body—results, particularly of the nutrients calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K, all of which are essential for healthy bones.

     The American Gastroenterological Association recommends that all patients with celiac disease undergo bone density tests, often called bone density scans, bone mineral density (BMD) tests, or bone densitometry, to determine whether they have osteoporosis. These tests are quick, easy, and painless. Your doctor will need to give you a prescription for a bone density test.

      If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis or celiac disease, consult your doctor about getting tested for the associated condition!

Tina Turbin

Advice, gluten-free
6 Comments

School Library Journal is Raving about Danny the Dragon!

 

The renowned and distinguished School Library Journal LOVES Danny the Dragon just as much as the kids do.

A terrific review of the Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy DVD was published in the June 2010 issue.  I’m very pleased to share it with you below.

Tina Turbin

 

Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy. DVD. 21 min. Imagination Publishing Group.2009, 2010 release.

 

PreS-Gr 3–When Jimmy and Sally visit the beach, they find a beautiful shell and take it home with them. They soon discover that it houses a dragon named Danny, wearing red tennis shoes and carrying a yellow backpack, and his navigator friend, Skipper. Danny and Skipper have dinner with Jimmy’s family and stay the night. The picture book by Tina Turbin (Imagination Pub. Group, 2008) closes with a promise that the friendly dragon will guide the children through a series of upcoming adventures. The DVD opens with a message from the author. Interpreter Carol Downing signs the entire story, standing on the right side of the screen as the pages turn. The fun cartoon illustrations by Aija Jasuna are scanned. Sound effects add to the narration, underscoring word meaning and helping children with some hearing identify sounds. Recommended especially for schools and libraries seeking to offer a greater variety of material to hearing-impaired children.

 

–Mary Landrum, Lexington Public Library, KY

libraries, literacy, moms, Press, reading
3 Comments

More Studies Support Health Benefits of Friendship

      Other research suggests the health benefits of social support. One study, published in the journal Cancer, followed 61 women with advanced ovarian cancer. The women with lots of social support had much lower levels of a protein linked to more aggressive types of cancer, and higher levels of a protein that boosted the effectiveness of chemotherapy.
     In 1989, David Spiegel, MD, a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, published an influential paper in Lancet, showing that women with breast cancer who participated in a support group lived twice as long as those who didn’t and reported much less pain. Sheldon Cohen, PhD, a psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University, has shown that strong social support  helps people cope with stress. Other studies have demonstrated that less connected people tend to die sooner after having a heart attack than people with a strong social network and that having a large social network may even reduce chances of catching a cold, even though you’re probably exposed to more viruses when spending lots of time with others.

     “Friends help you face adverse events,” Dr. Sheldon Cohen says. “They provide material aid, emotional support, and information that helps you deal with the stressors. There may be broader effects as well. Friends encourage you to take better care of yourself. And people with wider social networks are higher in self-esteem, and they feel they have more control over their lives.”

     Take advantage of these findings by increasing your social network! There are plenty of people out there to strike up a friendship with and plenty of health benefits to look forward to as your friendships blossom.

Tina Turbin

Children's Author, Children's Health, Friends, Helpful Tips, moms, parenting, women
2 Comments

Finding Great Gluten-Free Cookie Recipes to Bake with Your Celiac Child

     Baking cookies goes back a long way in my family, and I was quick to establish it as a Turbin family tradition with my own kids. When I was diagnosed with celiac disease and adopted a gluten-free diet, I began accumulating gluten-free recipes for cookies and other baked goods so the tradition could carry on.

     I now publish a wealth of gluten-free recipes online, on my gluten-free website as well as on my gluten-free blog. There are plenty of straightforward, delicious gluten-free cookie recipes for everyone’s favorite cookies. Gluten-free doesn’t mean sugar-free, so the kids will enjoy the gluten-free alternatives as much as gluten-containing cookies. I recommend certain brands for gluten-free flour mixes as a substitute for gluten-containing flour: Bob’s Red Mill, Glutino, and Pamela’s Products. These brands have received rave reviews in the celiac community.

Tina Turbin

Advice, gluten-free
8 Comments

Increased Awareness of Celiac Disease in U.S. Brings Increased Support

     In the United States, a slightly increased rate of celiac diagnosis among adults has already lead to increased support. Gluten-free foods and gluten-free recipes are more readily available than ever. The Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program (GFRAP) assists in the mutually beneficial relationship between people diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance and restaurants, resulting in an increase in the number of restaurants which can provide service to people following a gluten-free diet while increasing their patronage. Participating restaurants are able to provide gluten-free meals. As more and more people are diagnosed with gluten intolerance, their list of participating restaurants will surely grow.

      Why is America way behind in celiac awareness? It probably has something to do with the fact that celiac disease is the only autoimmune disease that the government doesn’t support with research grants. Centers such as Dr. Green’s Celiac Disease Research Center are one-hundred percent dependent on charitable donations or university funds. Even though diagnosis is slightly up for celiac adults, this isn’t enough to raise awareness and bring relief for the three million people who suffer from celiac disease, nearly ninety-seven percent of whom don’t even know the cause of their painful symptoms. With increased diagnosis, we will surely see increased support, and soon the celiac community will be able to enjoy the same quality of life and food and cooking options which is enjoyed by, for instance, the lactose-intolerant community.

Tina Turbin

General
6 Comments

Pesticides Are Shown to be Linked to ADHD

As a concerned mother and a children’s author who cares very much for families and children, I found the following article to be both appalling and at the same time refreshing to know that such a critical issue is being exposed. 

While it has been known that pesticides used for our food and vegetable supply pose a variety of health risks, the fact that these same pesticides are linked to so-called ADHD in children is a truth that every parent needs to know about.

Click here to read the full article.   Afterwards, browse through this section of  my website for MANY helpful tips, resources and information to improve your family’s and your children’s quality of life.

I hope the above information helps you.

Tina Turbin

Advice, Children's Author, Children's Health, family, Helpful Tips, humanitarian, moms, parenting, Research
3 Comments

Traveling with Your Celiac Child

     As a gluten-free advocate and mother, I am often asked by parents for tips on how to travel with celiac children. A surprisingly easy task, traveling with your celiac child requires a little planning and a few of the same adjustments you’re already mastering at home.

     First of all, how you’ll manage your trip depends on your travel arrangements—will you be flying or driving? Each airline has its own set of guidelines which you can usually find online or ask a customer service representative about over the phone. Bring extra gluten-free foods, at least twice as much as you’ll think you’ll require, just in case there are layovers. Oftentimes airplane attendants will be happy to store your gluten-free food for you upon request.

     For car trips, bring along a cooler or two with already-prepared gluten-free foods and snacks for your celiac child. Luckily for your child, there are more and more gluten-free snacks available which are perfect for road trips. For instance, you can order online various snacks such as gluten-free jerky, gluten-free potato puffs, and gluten-free popcorn. If you’ll be stopping at restaurants along the way, you can visit a gluten-free restaurant site such as glutenfreerestaurants.org before your trip and plan ahead to eat at restaurants which offer gluten-free foods to its gluten-intolerant patrons. As with flying, I recommend bringing extra gluten-free food just in case there are any delays in your travel such as traffic or car problems.

Tina Turbin

Advice, gluten-free
4 Comments

Studies Show Link between Gluten Intolerance and Autism

     Autism is a disorder that is causing more and more concern in the U.S., provoking much research and debate. Recently, various studies, particularly those conducted in the field of alternative medicine, have suggested that there may be a link between autism and food allergies, specifically to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Researchers are showing that allergies may be responsible for causing or worsening autism.

     Autism is a disorder that affects cognitive development and functioning in children, leading to problems with social interaction, communication skills, and behavior patterns. Until recently, autism was thought to be genetic, but now studies are showing that there may be environmental factors that influence the disease.

      In the studies linking gluten allergies with autism, it has been demonstrated that these food proteins are broken down into smaller proteins (peptides) that function like narcotics in autistic, causing or worsening the symptoms of autism.

     An allergic reaction to gluten can affect the entire body, leading to a variety of both physical and mental symptoms. Many of the mental symptoms, such as “brain fog,” are often mistakenly associated with children’s psychiatric disorders. Studies have shown that whereas gluten-intolerant adults are afflicted more usually with physical rather than mental symptoms, gluten-intolerant children more often suffer from the mental rather than physical symptoms of gluten sensitivity.

     The remedy for gluten intolerance is a gluten-free diet. Parents with gluten-intolerant children find that shortly after cutting gluten from a gluten-intolerant child’s diet, a mental change is quite noticeable. The cognitive difficulties, odd or antisocial behavior, communication problems, and difficulties in school rapidly disappear.

Tina Turbin

Advice, gluten-free
3 Comments