Holiday Party 2016 – A Fun Day for All

By Francie Kelley

On December 4th, 89 of our families gathered at Brandeis University for our Annual Holiday Party. It was a spectacular event. We had a completely gluten-free catered lunch that included caesar salad with croutons, pasta with sauce, chicken parmesan and meatballs.

We had a DJ with plenty of music, dancing and games for the kids. There was a Kid’s Room with arts and crafts, board games and decorating gluten-free cookies. We also made a gluten-free gingerbread house. The gingerbread house will be on display starting December 15th in the lobby of the Waltham location of Boston Children’ Hospital.


There was a vendor fair with 18 vendors and lots of GF samples to try.

The kids had a great time and it is so heartwarming to see the excitement when they find out all the food is gluten-free. They could work on the gingerbread house, they could decorate the cookies and they could eat all the food without fear of gluten containing ingredients.

During the event member Ariana Mathews was given the Marina Keegan Service Award. Each year we honor Marina by bestowing an award in her name to a child/teen exhibiting charity and service in the celiac community. Ariana and her family have been active members of the group for over 10 years. Ariana is the current author of the “Ask the Teen” column. She has also contributed to the group by volunteering at events and helping to organize programs. Congratulation Ariana!

We want to thank Lola’s of Natick for catering the event, Gillian’s Foods for providing dessert and board member Debbie Ferguson for making the cake. We want to thank Kinnikinnick for providing the graham crackers for making the gingerbread house. We also want to thank those vendors who came out to the event and those that provided samples.

Our donors are; 88 Acres, Bakery on Main, Beanfields, Bob’s Red Mill, Brazi Bites, Canyon Bakehouse, Crunchmaster, Dr. Schar, Edward and Sons, Ener –G, Enjoy Life Foods, Explore Asian, Gluten Free Recipe Box, Kinnikinnick, Lisanatti Foods, Massel, Nature’s Bakery, RP Pasta, San-J and Smart Flour.

Our vendors are; Aleia’s Gluten Free Foods, Arbonne International, Camp Emerson
Camp NJY, Eastern Marketing, Gluten Free Territory, JD’s Best Gluten Free Pizza, Jennifer Lee’s Gourmet Bakery, Nüssli 118, Pixie Dust Gluten Free Chef, Pop IQ, Something Sweet Without Wheat, Still Riding Foods, The Greater Knead, Treat Cupcake Bar, Udis/Glutino and Underscore Baked Goods

I can’t wait until next year’s party.

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Seven Day Gluten-Free Menu

Cooking and eating gluten free is overwhelming at first but it will become second nature for your and your child.
This sample menu is not a comprehensive list of how to eat gluten free. It is intended to get you from diagnosis to your visit with a registered dietitian. And remember, naturally gluten-free foods (e.g.: fresh grilled or baked meats and fish, fresh vegetables, fruit, eggs) are always good choices.

Reading a Food Label

Karen Warman, MS, RD, LDN

Look for the following words within the ingredients list and the “contains” statement” to determine whether gluten has been added to the food or beverage.

  • Wheat
  • Barley
    • Malt (extract)
    • Malt (flavoring)
    • Brown rice syrup (unless stated gluten-free)
    • Beer
    • Ale
    • Malt beverages
  • Rye
  •  Oats (unless stated gluten-free)
  • Brewers yeast (not all yeast, this is a nutrition supplement)
    • Yeast extract (unless labeled gluten-free)
    • Autolyzed yeast extract (unless labeled gluten-free)

    Note: Although natural flavorings can be hidden sources of gluten, it is rare that the natural flavoring is from a gluten-containing grain.  Even more rare if the flavoring agent is not labeled as malt flavoring

    Excerpted from Going Gluten Free, created by Karen Warman, MS, RD, LDN.  Registered dietititan Boston Children's Hospital.

    Hidden Sources of Gluten

    Gluten can be found in some foods that you would not expect. Below are some of the surprising places you might find gluten.

    Food Group Sources
    Dairy Flavored products, yogurt with toppings,ice cream with added cookies.
    Breads Any containing wheat, barley, oats or rye.
    Cereals Any containing wheat, barley, oats or rye. Watch for added malt flavoring in otherwise safe grains like corn or rice based cereal.
    Fruits * Some pie filling may be thickened with wheat.

    Some vegetables with added sauces or those with flavoring added such as french fries or breaded vegetables such as onion rings.
    Condiments Some sauces (barbecue, steak sauce, mustard).
    Snack Foods Some potato chips, multi-grain chips, corn chips.
    Candy Some have added malt flavoring or wheat.
    Cake frosting Some have added wheat for thickening.
    Soups Some have added wheat for thickening, pasta added, or in the stock.
    Pasta All pasta, unless made from a gluten-free grain. Only purchase those labeled gluten-free.
    Cookies, Cakes All except those made from gluten-free grains.Only purchase those labeled gluten-free.
    Beverages Malt flavored milk, soy and rice milk can have added malt flavoring.
    Meat Imitation seafood, some processed meats.

    Extra options...

    * “Some” means that not all products of this category contain gluten, but the ingredients in these products must be reviewed each and every time they are purchased.

    Excerpted from Going Gluten Free, created by Karen Warman, MS, RD, LDN. Registered dietititan Boston Children's Hospital.

    Packing a School Lunch

    By Francie Kelley

    There are a lot of options for ensuring that your child receives a safe cafeteria meal at school. But no matter how great a job your school does at providing gluten-free options, some kids prefer a lunch that comes from home. They can get exactly what they want and many parents like knowing that the food is safe.

    We packed lunch for my daughter every day from kindergarten all the way through high school graduation. She preferred it. The lunch offerings in her middle school were fine. But, in elementary school the selection was grim. And that is grim for everyone, no matter if you had a special diet or not. In high school the lines in the cafeteria were long and waiting for cafeteria food took up more than half of the lunch period. Packing a lunch just worked best for her and most of her friends also brought lunch from home.

    My approach, to make this simple, was to pack the same thing every day. No, I did not pack peanut butter sandwiches every day. The selection of food varied but the components I included in the lunch box stayed the same. Including multiple components ensured she had variety and plenty of food for both lunch and snacks. I assembled the components. Ran a check that all the components are included, tossed it all in the lunchbox and we were good to go.

    The components I included were:

    • A bottle of water
    • A main dish
    • Cheese
    • Yogurt
    • A “crunchy”
    • Dessert

    I also included plenty of napkins, one of those blue ice packs to keep things cold and a spoon for the yogurt. Depending on the food packed I added other utensils.

    We had lots of different lunch boxes over 13 years. But my favorites were the ones that had 2 compartments. One compartment had the blue ice and anything that should be kept cold. The other compartment had the napkins, anything like a napkin that needed to stay dry and food that was were best kept at room temperature.

    The main dish might be a sandwich on gluten-free (GF) bread, a wrap on a GF tortilla (we prefer corn), a roll-up of meat and cheese, last night’s dinner leftovers, cold GF pizza, anything in a thermos (she loved mac and cheese), a hard-boiled egg, cold GF chicken strips or a panini on gluten-free bread (I wrapped this in tin foil to keep it warm). I also made “lunchables” I would include deli meat and cheese with GF crackers. If your child has access to a microwave there are a lot of GF frozen meals that you could include as the main dish.

    The cheese might be string cheese or cheese I cut up in to cubes or strips. She preferred cheddar and mozzarella but any type of cheese works.

    The crunchy was the thing that varied most. Generally it really was something that added crunch to the meal and is why we called it a “crunchy”. It could be a snack bag of GF cereal, GF crackers, chips or GF pretzels. This component was often fruit, especially apples or cut up vegetables.

    Dessert of course was her favorite part and most of the time I included GF cookies. But, anything that your child thinks of as a treat works.

    If you are preparing lunches for multiple children and not all of them are getting a GF lunch, you need to be careful to keep the food preparation of the GF lunch box items free from any contact with the gluten containing foods. You will need to keep your hands clean. You will need to use separate cutting boards, knives and other utensils.

    Packing a lunch can seem like a chore, especially in the early hours of the morning. But if you have a plan and rhythm to assembling the components of the lunchbox it can easily become part of your routine. And it does not have to be part of your morning routine. Food can easily be prepped and assembled the night before.

    My child has been diagnosed with celiac disease, now what do I do?

    Your child has just been diagnosed with celiac disease and you have been told s/he needs to adopt a gluten-free diet.

    For most of us, this prospect is overwhelming and you may be wondering if your child will ever eat again. Rest assured you and your child can do this. Relax, breathe and follow these first steps towards your child leading a physically and emotionally healthy gluten-free life.

    The Celiac Kids Connection has created this list to help transition to the gluten free diet.

    1. Following diagnosis, make an appointment with the dietitian at Children’s to guide you through the nutritional component of a gluten free diet. The phone number is 617-355-6058, option 2.
    2. Print the document “Week of gluten free meals” on our website to get you started. Click here to view the weeks menu.  We have compiled a listing of products to give ideas for the meals.
    3. Join the Celiac Kids Connection to connect with other families and get information on living gluten free.
    4. Now that your child needs to eat gluten free know there are many options for you.
      You will need to read ingredient labels to confirm gluten free. As a result of the Food Labeling Act and Consumer Protection Act of 2004, the top 8 allergens must be clearly listed on ingredient labels. Wheat is one of the top 8 and is easy to find on labels. If you are unsure of a products gluten free status be to call the manufacturer.
    5. We have compiled a list of gluten free friendly products for you to start. To view the listing click here.

    If you have any questions feel free to contact the Celiac Kids Connection at

    College Students Win Gluten-Free Lawsuit

    By Tara Taft

    Eating GF at college can still present a challenge, according to comments on Udi’s blog post on March 29, 2012 titled, How to Eat Gluten Free (and Healthy) in College Dining Halls.”

    This post describes persisting concerns about cross-contamination and the availability of gluten-free options in college dining halls. A recent lawsuit by a Lesley University student should cause other colleges to take a closer look at their gluten-free food options.

    The U.S. Department of Justice and Lesley University signed an agreement on December 20, 2012, according to a statement released that same day, “to ensure that students with celiac disease and other food allergies can fully and equally enjoy the university’s meal plan and food services in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).”

    “By implementing this agreement, Lesley University will ensure students with celiac disease and other food allergies can obtain safe and nutritional food options,” according to Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of ADA. “The agreement ensures that Lesley’s meal program is attentive to the schedules and demands of college students with food allergies, an issue colleges and universities across the country need to consider.”

    In addition to providing ready-made hot and cold gluten- and allergen-free food options in its dining hall food lines, Lesley University is required to provide individualized meal plans for students with food allergies and to provide a dedicated space to avoid cross-contamination and to pay $50,000 in compensatory damages to previously identified students. According to the Boston Globe on January 9, 2013, only one student is ¬believed to have filed the complaint, even though a number of people are entitled to a share of the cash award.

    While Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires federally funded public elementary and secondary education programs to provide a free appropriate public education and not discriminate against disabled students, the ADA says that individuals with disabilities are entitled to the “full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations” of any place of public accommodation, including colleges and universities.
    For the complete list of Lesley University’s required actions, go to or call the toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TTY).

    If you have a child going to college, consider getting a copy of Children’s Hospital Boston’s DVD, “Gluten Free at College: A Guide for Students, Families and Dining Service Professionals.” Created as part of the Family Health Education Series, the DVD includes two modules, one for students and families and one for dining service professionals, and also includes a CD with textual resources available for download. Watch the DVD yourself; then, share it with your college’s dining service professionals.

    Sherryl Radbil, mother of a first-year college student, says, “After watching the Children's Hospital Gluten Free at College DVD, I set up an appointment with the UMass dietician on the day we moved my son onto campus. She spent over an hour with us giving us a tour of the dining commons and introducing our son to all of the staff. They even showed him the GF freezer and told him he can always go there to get the breads, etc.,that he needs.” The DVD is available on Amazon for $29.95 plus shipping.

    In addition, you can download the school packet from our website, which has information on sending your child of any age with celiac disease to school; the packet includes a copy of a 504 plan.

    Are Communion Wafers Gluten Free?

    Traditional communion hosts are not gluten free. However, if your religious worship includes communion, there are options to fully participate and remain gluten free.

    Many denominations will permit the use of a special gluten-free communion host. There are many brands available. Depending on your church, they may supply the gluten free hosts or you may be asked you to provide them. Other denominations will permit a non-host substitute, a gluten-free cracker or gluten-free bread of some type.

    It is important to make sure that the gluten-free communion host is handled properly to avoid cross contact. Some churches have many worshipers who need a gluten-free host and will have a gluten-free communion line. Other churches will keep the single gluten-free communion host separate and ask you to receive communion first or last to ensure you receive that particular host. It is best to sit down with your priest or minister to talk about how gluten-free communion is handled to ensure that you are safe from cross contact.

    Many churches receive communion in the form of a host and wine. Where receiving communion wine is an option, this avoids any issues of finding a gluten-free host. But, there are also cross contact concerns to be addressed.

    Some religions put a piece of the host in the chalice. Clearly, receiving from this chalice would be a cross contact problem and if it is the only source of communion wine, receiving the wine is not an option. But, often there are multiple chalices and the host is only in one. Therefore, you should make certain that you receive from a chalice that did not contain the host. Some churches offer communion in a shared chalice while others offer individual cups. With a shared chalice, you are at risk of contamination from the other people who have used that chalice.

    Another source of cross contact in receiving from the chalice is the practice of intinction. Intinction is the dipping of the communion host into the chalice. This practice is considered more sanitary and encouraged by a lot of churches. For those with celiac, intinction is a method of cross contact. If your church practices intinction, you will need to talk with your priest or minister to develop a means of receiving communion that has not been contaminated by intinction.

    Catholics have a unique concern. Cannon Law has requirements for communion wafers. And a part of those requirements is that the wafer contains wheat. For many Catholics, this means skipping the communion host and only receiving communion from the chalice. But, for a lot of families, the idea of giving children wine is an issue. In addition, in the old days only the priest received from the chalice. Even though today it is perfectly acceptable for all Catholics to receive from the chalice, more traditional Catholics may have an issue with skipping the host. That said, receiving communion from the chalice alone is an approved option for Catholics.

    For Catholics who do not like the idea of skipping the host or have issues with alcohol, there is a low gluten host option. A Benedictine Sister, who is also a scientist, came up with a way to make a host that satisfies Cannon Law in terms of a host that contains wheat. But the amount of wheat is so low that the final product tests to less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. There are several sources for these hosts but you can purchase them directly from the Benedictine Sisters where the host was developed. Click HERE to visit site. Many physicians in the celiac community have said that the amount of gluten is so minimal, that the weekly consumption of a low gluten host should not be an issue for someone with celiac disease.

    Just as with a gluten-free host, the low gluten host should be handled carefully to avoid cross contact. And, talking with your priest to determine the best practice is advisable.

    On a final note, most churches have a lot of people involved in the preparation and celebration of their services. And a significant number of these people are volunteers. Therefore, it is really important that you understand the practices and procedures that are followed in your church and that you educate all those that could be involved with the worship about your need for gluten-free communion.

    Surviving a Gluten Attack at College

    You thought the food in the cafeteria, in the restaurant or at your friends apartment was gluten free...

    No matter how hard we try, we all have those times when we accidentally ingest gluten. When you are away at college this will be no different; you will need to be prepared to take care of yourself if you have a gluten attack.

    1. Stay calm and give yourself time to get better. While this is uncomfortable and no doubt inconvenient, you will get better
    2. Colleges have provisions for being sick and making up work. A gluten attack falls into this category and your professors should work with you to ensure you do not miss a beat. If you have problems making up work, see your school’s office of disability services or dean of students for assistance.
    3.  We all have our comfort foods, movies, books and such that we turn to when we are ill. Make sure you have them with you when to pack for school. Having these items will help make you feel better.
    4.  We also all have our favorite medicine when we have a gluten attack. It may be pain medicine or a heating pad for cramping, anti-nausea or anti-diarrhea medicine, etc. You know what works for you. Again, make sure you pack it and take it to college with you. Your roommate is unlikely to make a 3 am run to the drug store for you. You want to have what you need in the room before you get sick.
    5.  Think about where you were exposed to gluten. If you suspect it may have resulted from contamination in the school kitchen, advocate for yourself. Talk to the dietitian and/or the dining hall manager to ensure this does not happen again.
    6.  Don’t be afraid to call or text home. We all need a hug from our parents/loved ones when we are sick. Reaching out for comfort when you are away at school is totally acceptable.