Throw Your Own Gluten-Free Baking Parties

     How do you increase gluten-free awareness and make your gluten-sensitive child feel special among his non-gluten-sensitive friends and relatives? Invite company over for baking gluten-free cookies.  His friends will enjoy the gluten-free cookies and can bring some home for their own families. The praise his friends will give over the cookies and the baking experience will make your child feel just like non-gluten-sensitive children. As part of my gluten-free advocacy activities, I host regular monthly cupcake parties, inviting gluten-free families from the community, usually mothers and their celiac or gluten-intolerant children. You can also host a gluten-free party and invite other families, allowing your gluten-sensitive child to meet and bond with other gluten-sensitive children.

Tina Turbin

Events, gluten-free

Hey, Parents, Turn off the TV!

     There are so many reasons to dramatically cut down on television or to cut it out altogether. You’ll find in the end that your children will be much more likely to become avid readers and, as a result, perform better in school and in life. Instead of acting out the drama and degradation on popular TV, your kids will demonstrate the values you seek to pass on to them. You’ll also find your own productivity will increase, and oftentimes, a marriage will be sparked back to life by eliminating television. It may be a challenge at first to get used to your new lifestyle, but soon the benefits will be so rewarding that you’ll be too busy enjoying your higher quality of life that you won’t even think about the absence of television in it.

Tina Turbin

Advice, Children's Author, Helpful Tips, Library Visits, literacy, Media, moms, parenting, reading, Research, television

Planning a Gluten-Free Vacation for Your Child

The trick is planning ahead. Call the local health food stores where you’ll be staying well ahead of your trip and ask them about their selection of gluten-free foods. If there aren’t enough gluten-free choices, usually the store will be happy to order your favorite gluten-free foods for you.

If there aren’t any health food stores around, some grocery stores have health food sections and may be able to order gluten-free foods for you as well. You can always bring along your own supply of gluten-free foods, such as gluten free crackers for the road or gluten-free flour and pasta for instance, or you can order online from your favorite gluten-free sites and have the gluten-free goodies delivered straight to where you’ll be staying. If you won’t be staying with friends or family, I suggest you rent a condo or get a hotel room with a full kitchen for your gluten-free cooking.

If you’ll be staying with family, particularly during the holidays, tell them ahead of time about your celiac child’s gluten-free diet needs so they can stock up gluten-free foods. You can also send them some gluten-free recipes for the family’s favorite holiday foods. Oftentimes you’ll find that your family will be more than happy to make your celiac child feel at home with gluten-free goodies and a generous stock of gluten-free foods for your gluten-free cooking.

Learning how to meet the gluten-free dietary needs of your celiac child has required some planning and a few adjustments, but in the end it isn’t very tough to successfully adopt a gluten-free lifestyle. Similarly, keeping your celiac child well-fed on gluten-free foods during travel and vacations requires some work and planning ahead, but you’ll find that you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

Tina Turbin

Advice, gluten-free

iStoryTime Announces New App: A Book for Deaf Children

iStoryTime, the iPhone App Developer for DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon,” announces release of New App with Sign Language Interpretation of Award-Winning Children’s Picture Book “Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy”

Los Angeles, CA [August 11, 2010] — iStoryTime, a publisher of children’s storybooks for the iPhone and iPad, announced today the launch of a groundbreaking app for deaf children – a vivid audio-visual presentation of “Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy” that includes a sign-language interpretation.  The app is the first of its kind, paving the way for many more cutting-edge products to assist this underserved population.

“We are extremely proud to release the first-ever children’s book app for the deaf community,” said iStoryTime co-Founder, Woody Sears.  “Our goal is to use technology to make children’s books accessible and entertaining and we are delighted to be involved in the production of a book that will provide deaf children with the opportunity to read the popular ‘Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy’ story.”

iStoryTime’s book apps, which can be downloaded directly to an iPhone or iPod Touch or iPad, are simple to use and known for their creativity, illustrations, narrations and animation.  Options for narrations on different stories include voices of adults, kids, and characters.  The narration can also be turned off so that parents can read to kids.
iStoryTime books are available globally for $.99-$2.99 in the iPhone App Store in 80 countries.  For a sneak peak of ‘Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy’ visit

About iStoryTime

iStoryTime is part of FrogDogMedia, LLC.  The company was founded in 2009 by two fathers and an uncle who love to have fun with their families.  Driven by a passion to make children’s books more accessible and entertaining, iStoryTime is the pioneer of children’s book apps for the iPhone.  The organization has created a new medium for established and first time authors to showcase their work at no expense.  The new publishing platform provides parents with a library of compelling children’s books available anytime, anywhere.

Acts of Kindness, Apple, Apps, Books, Education, family, Family Time, iPad, iPhone, Media, Press, Sign Interpretation Available, television

Help Your Child Get Enough Fiber in His Diet

It’s important to realize and meet the challenge of getting enough fiber in your child’s diet, and it’s easy, too.

An important way to provide enough fiber in your child’s diet is by feeding him lots of fruits and vegetables. A simple salad, containing spinach leaves, broccoli, carrots, and tomatoes, adds seven grams of fiber to your family’s dinner. Apples make a great, high-fiber snack for your celiac child at school. For dessert or along with a meal, a fruit salad can add three to five grams of fiber. I also recommend dates, which have around four grams of fiber per serving.

So how much fiber is recommended for your child? Your child needs daily the number of his age in years plus 5 to 10 grams. For example, a 5-year-old would need between 10 and 15 grams of fiber (5 years plus 5 to 10 grams).

Tina Turbin

Children's Author, Children's Health, healthy eating, Helpful Tips, Research

The Negative Health Influence of Loneliness: The Importance of Friendship

     In studying women’s health issues and meeting women in my work, it’s clear that loneliness is not only not fun, but it’s actually unhealthy. Researchers have recently asked if people who are alone are at greater risk of dying, and studies are showing that they are—if they feel lonely.

     Recent studies are confirming the negative health indicators associated with loneliness. One study found that drug use among young people was higher among those who said they were lonely. Older lonely people tended to have higher blood pressure and poorer sleep quality and were found to be more tense and anxious. Another study found that college freshmen with small social networks and who claimed to be lonely had weaker immune responses to flu vaccinations and higher levels of stress hormones in their blood.

     “People with social support have fewer cardiovascular problems and immune problems, and lower levels of cortisol—a stress hormone,” says Tasha R. Howe, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Humboldt State University. Why is this? “We have always needed others for our survival. It’s in our genes. Therefore, people with social connections feel more relaxed and at peace, which is related to better health.”

     Loneliness can be painful, but you can take steps to begin to widen your social horizons and feel connected to others in no time. Not only will you feel better emotionally, but you’ll be able to enjoy the positive health advantages that good friendship brings. 

Tina Turbin

Children's Author, Children's Health, Friends, Research, women

What to Look for in Healthy Friendships

What should you look for in a good friend whose companionship will bring health and happiness to you instead of just raising your blood pressure? There are a few things you should ask yourself before befriending someone. First of all, make sure to choose a friend who has positive things to say to you. Every once in a while, a good friend may need to tell you something that might be tough to hear—“hard truths”—but these remarks should be very infrequent and you should generally walk away after spending time with them feeling better about yourself.

Also, look for friends who are living life in a responsible manner. Otherwise, the stress of their own lives due to their bad habits and poor decisions will surely stress you out. Nobody is perfect, but avoid befriending people who are making bad life decisions such as abusing drugs, having extramarital affairs, and engaging in criminal activity, for instance. Every once in a while, a good friend may make a bad decision; this doesn’t mean you should abandon the friendship, but help them instead. However, my best advice is that if you meet someone and find right off the bat that his life is out of control, it’s best to refer him to help and save your energy for friends who are overall positively contributing to society.

Having lots of friends can boost your immune system, help you survive longer after a heart attack, fight serious illnesses such as cancer, and increase your life span. With such positive advantages, you should make sure to increase your number of friends, but also keep in mind the importance of avoiding stressful, low-quality friendship and seeking out positive companionship.

Tina Turbin

Children's Author, Children's Health, Friends, moms, parenting, Research, women

Eat Better, Sleep Better

     How much sleep you get can make or break your day and also your health. Read on for some tips for how to get a better sleep by some simple changes to your diet.

     Eating more plant carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains, can have a significant impact on your slumber. These foods help to produce a gradual, steady rise of blood insulin, helping the entrance into the brain of the amino acid tryptophan, a neurotransmitter that helps induce sleepiness and improve mood. (This explains why a glass of warm milk before bed can help to improve sleep, as it provides a dose of tryptophan while also inducing a release of insulin.)

     It’s important to eliminate the foods and drinks that can disturb sleep. Caffeine—found in soda, coffee, some teas, and chocolate—will interfere with sleep if you ingest it within four hours of bedtime—sometimes even within six hours. Alcohol can cause drowsiness, but metabolizing the sugar can disrupt slumber and also cause body temperature to rise too much. Sugary foods eaten right before bed can also raise body temperature and leave you restless during the night.

     Diet can also indirectly affect your sleep. If you’re overweight, you’re more likely to experience sleep apnea and its symptoms of heavy snoring and interrupted breathing. Eating a lot of simple carbohydrates (sugary treats) and refined starches (white flour and white rice), which cause blood sugar to spike and fall, may cause an imbalance in the hormones that regulate metabolism, disrupting the body’s natural rhythms and thus disrupting sleep.

     It may not require a total makeover of your diet to reap the benefits of good sleep, but even some minor adjustments with these tips in mind can be helpful. The changes you make will not only improve your sleep but your overall health. There’s nothing to lose in making these changes—except your sleep troubles!

Tina Turbin

Advice, Children's Author, healthy eating, Helpful Tips, moms, women

You Can Raise Awareness for Celiac Disease

     How do we get the estimated three million Americans with celiac disease properly diagnosed and adequately treated? The answer lies in increased awareness and research. There are currently 49 autoimmune diseases, and celiac disease is the only one which isn’t supported in research by the government. This needs to change.


     In my research efforts to find out the answer to the painful symptoms I was suffering, I was finally able to get the proper diagnosis. It took a lot of time and determination, and most people aren’t able to devote themselves to this degree. It’s not right that millions of people are suffering from a disease that can treated so easily yet the diagnosis for which is so elusive, when simply educating doctors in its symptoms would bring these people relief.


     While efforts are surely being made to get the U.S. government to fund research and to raise awareness for this disease, there are some things you can do yourself beside just writing your representatives, which I highly suggest you do. If you were to send out this article to a hundred people or speak to the same number of people about this subject, chances are, you would come across a sufferer of celiac disease and you would change that person’s life. Better yet, post it on a blog or forward it to friends and have them forward it themselves. In this way, you may be able to contact many more than a hundred people. The increased awareness will surely lead to increase relief.

Tina Turbin


Stevie Wonder Works toward Pro-Visually Impaired Global Copyright Laws

Children’s literacy is one of the most important issues facing us today. Fortunately, many groups, organizations, and individuals are dedicated to reversing the staggering statistics. However, as hard as people are working to get kids reading, there are some kids—such as the visually- impaired ones—who get left out.  Thanks to Stevie Wonder, though, visually-impaired literacy is getting some of the attention it deserves.

Stevie Wonder recently appeared before the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) of the United Nations urging for global copyright laws to be changed to the benefit of the 300 million print-reading-disabled global citizens, to whom millions of books are inaccessible to them as audiobooks due to the current copyright system.

According to the Huffington Post, the way the system is currently set up requires that many audiobook versions of the same work be produced, which carries a higher cost, the burden of which falls on the visually-impaired public. What’s more, some poor countries can’t even afford to make their own versions of works, so that they’re not available at all to their blind citizens.

Here is part of Wonder’s address, courtesy of The New Yorker:

“While I know that it is critical not to act to the detriment of the authors who labor to create the great works that enlighten and nourish our minds, hearts and souls, we must develop a protocol that allows the easy import and export of copyright materials so that people with print disabilities can join the mainstream of the literate world.”

“According to the AFP,” reports The New Yorker, “aides to Wonder said that just ‘five percent of printed materials and books are available in a readable form for the blind or visually impaired in industrialized nations, and just one percent in developing countries.’”   You may wonder, as I certainly did, how come such a small amount of books get translated into formats accessible to the visually-impaired, such as Braille and audiobooks. Ian Crouch of The New Yorker interviewed Paul Schroeder, the Vice President of Programs and Policy at the American Foundation for the Blind to find out more about this issue.

According to Shroeder, while several developed countries have different copyright laws allowing books to be reproduced in Braille, audio, and electronic or large print, the materials must fulfill two limitations, first that the books only go to those who are unable to read print books due to a disability, and secondly that the books are made by “specialized format producers who work with people with print-reading disabilities.”

In the U.S. the copyright provisions, also known as the Chafee provisions after former Senator Lincoln Chafee, allow these specialized producers to reproduce books in formats that are accessible to people with print-reading disabilities. A problem arises, however, with the fact that the provisions don’t allow for export outside the U.S., a law that other counties have in common with us.

According to Shroeder, “We definitely want to see a treaty or other mechanism that allows books to be shared across borders for use by people with print disabilities.” Stevie Wonder’s advocacy work is in alignment with this goal.

It’s an inspiration to see other artists working on behalf of children who aren’t typically represented in the children’s literacy issue.  After visiting with the bright children of Blossom Montessori School for the Deaf on my East Coast book tour, I released Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy, the first book of my children’s book series, on DVD with a sign interpretation, and the profits are going to the causes of literacy and education. Now the DVD has been released by iStorytime, of Dreamworks and Shrek Forever After, as an app for the iPhone, iTouch, and iPad. I hope to see other artists and individuals follow in Stevie Wonder’s example by championing causes that are special to them, and I look forward to seeing progress in developing a global system whereby the millions of visually-impaired are able to enjoy the books we ourselves are lucky to have access to.

Tina Turbin


New Yorker: Stevie Wonder and Books for the Blind

Huffington Post: Stevie Wonder To UN: Ease Copyrights For The Blind

Acts of Kindness, Book Tour, Books, Children's Author, Children's Book, Childrens' Literature, humanitarian, literacy, Media, moms