Autumn/Halloween GF Newsletter 2010

Think outside the candy dish….

When I first told my husband we weren’t giving out candy for Halloween, he looked at me like I had lost my mind. I certainly didn’t want our house to be one of those places that kids complain about, but I figured a few yo-yos or rubber duckies  might be a nice change from 101 Tootsie rolls. I was a little nervous about my decision, until my first trick-or-treater ran back to his dad and said, “Cool! A slinky!” Last year, a group of girls even told my husband that she looked forward to the “rubber duckie house” every year.  Somehow, I resisted the opportunity to say I told you so.

Oriental Trading Company sells inexpensive toys, stickers, and even temporary tattoos (for children you know well). Another option is mini cans of Play-Doh (though remember, Play Doh has gluten, so if you play, wash your hands thoroughly!) Some are more expensive than candy, but it depends on how you look at it. When you average in the bag of candy you bought on sale in September (and ate), the one in mid-October (which vanished as well) and the one you had to run out at the last minute and buy, it evens out in the end.

Of course I have great memories eating excessive quantities of candy on Halloween, but there are many ways to have non-food treats in addition.  And there are also healthier gluten-free treats, like the  mini Larabars, all fruit leathers and a variety of allergen friendly treats including ones from Enjoy LifeYummy Earth gummy bears, Envirokidz mini-bars etc., too.

Tips for Enjoying Halloween with Food Restrictions

  • Talk to teachers and friends about focusing parties around activities (like pumpkin carving, apple bobbing, costume contest) rather than just trick or treating.
  • Get prepared! Figure out what candies are safe for your child (a list comes out each year through the R.O.C.K. group for gluten-free foods.  The 2009 list is here,I will post this year’s when it is available.). There are also many products through the Allergy Grocer and Enjoy Life Foods that cater to a variety of allergies and intolerances.
  • Pre-stock your Halloween bag with foods that are ‘legal’ for your child (and/or you) so that you can safely snack along the way.
  • Stash safe bags of candy at friend’s houses for your child.
  • Have a trade in. Your child can trade the “problem” candies and treats for “safe” treats, or games, prizes, special outings, etc. You can either stash the “problem” candy somewhere out of reach, or donate it to the foodbank.
  • Plan ahead!  When possible, look online for favorite candies and snacks and see if they are gluten-free.  Some treats that are normally gluten-free or allergen free have different ingredients in the special holiday versions, so always double check.
  • Celiac Family has a 2010 candy list.
  • Kids with Food Allergies has a great resource for safe Halloween activities, games, tips, etc.  Although it’s not directed at people avoiding gluten, a lot of the strategies are the same.
  • Here’s another list from Sure foods Living

Start planning ahead for the holidays:

I know it’s only October, but it’s a good time to start thinking about the holidays.  You can make life easier by just making sure you/your hostess gets a gluten-free brand of turkey or etc.

Celiac Disease Video Project:

Finding out you have Celiac Disease is a big transition. Often it’s a good one that leads to feeling great.  And yet initially it’s a lot of information to take in at once to understand what’s happening in your body and what you need to do for your health.   Much of it is because we’re been eating one way for 15, 30, 50 or more years and it can be overwhelming to to instantly unlearn everything we’ve done and change overnight. As I saw so many people struggle with the transition, I thought, wouldn’t life be easier if you could take a doctor or dietitian home as a portable reminder of the basics? And so the concept for the Celiac Disease Video Project was born.

The video will be of a Gastroenterologist (Dr. John Snyder), Registered Dietitian (me, Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD), and chronic pain specialist (Dr. Gary Kaplan) discussing testing, diagnosis and follow-up, eating a gluten-free diet and a short segment on when it’s not Celiac. We will be filming with a small live audience. The video will be for YouTube and support groups for people with Celiac disease, so people can have an accurate, visual at-home tool to share with family on the medical side of Celiac disease and eating a gluten-free diet.  The Celiac Sprue Association has been kind enough to support the project.

Who: people who are newly diagnosed (in the last 6 mo-year) with Celiac disease and their families

What: shooting a 30 minute video (which will take approximately 3 hours with re-takes) on the basics of Celiac disease, including diagnosis, understanding the physical process of CD and an intro to label reading and a gluten-free diet

When: Friday, November 12th , 1:30-4:30

Where: Kaplan Center in Mc Lean, VA (there is free parking, and directions will be sent)

Cost: Free, and there will be gluten-free munchies

If you are interested in attending the taping, please contact Cheryl Harris or call 571-271-8742.  We have a limited number of spots.

This is a wonderful experience to get great information, get your questions answered and be a part of a project that will help many other people with Celiac Disease, too!

Recipes around the web:

Hot Mulled Cider:

This is a family tradition and one of my favorites!
Serves: 8-10 people. Recipe may be halved or quartered.

It’s perfect for a crisp, cool day. We make this for a party every year and the kitchen fills when the autumn smell fills the house…

1-64 oz bottle apple juice
3 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves

Heat apple juice in a large pot over medium heat until barely simmering. Turn off the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy. If there are leftovers, remove whole spices or it will become VERY spicy!

Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD offers individual sessions, family sessions and classes in Alexandria, VA to help people eat healthier and feel better! Whether you are focusing on eating gluten-free, food allergies, pregnancy, breastfeeding, vegetarian and vegan diets, preventing diseases and “whole foods” eating, I’d be happy to help.  Let’s get you on your way to achieving your goals. For an appointment with Cheryl Harris, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, click here or call 571-271-8742.