Below is an excerpt from
Adam's Gluten Free Surprise: Helping Others Understand Gluten Free.
Please share this post, but use of any portion independently requires permission from the author. Thank you.)
being diagnosed with celiac disease - from the first day of school to Valentine's Day.
A positive role model for kids and a great way to help teachers, family, and friends understand gluten free.
She leaned in a little closer to Adam and said, “I talked to your mom and she said she will be sure to bring in a plate of food for you so you can eat with us. I just don’t know how much of our feast you will be able to eat.”
By the middle of November, Mrs. Brown’s class was getting ready for Thanksgiving.
“Boys and girls,” said Mrs. Brown, “be sure to bring this note home to your parents. Everyone has chosen an item to bring for our Thanksgiving feast. This is just a reminder that we need everything tomorrow. We are going to have turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pie, and some other special foods to try.”
Some students chose to bring their favorite foods to share. Mrs. Brown always roasted the turkey. They all decided to try everything even if there was something they didn’t think they would like.
The parents started to talk to Adam’s mom about why she brought his food separately and why she kept the rolls she brought for everyone so far from the rest of the food.
She talked about his special gluten free diet and how careful he needed to be because just a few crumbs could make him sick. She told them that even if he didn’t seem sick on the outside, the gluten hurt him on the inside, causing problems the next day or even a few days later.
One of the moms said, “My friend has celiac. I know how important it is to keep her foods safe when I cook for her. If
I knew Adam had it I could have made the vegetable casserole gluten free.”
Another mom said, “Well, he can have the corn I brought because it’s just plain corn from a can.”
The dad who baked the pumpkin pies said, “And if I knew, I could have put some pumpkin pie filling into a small dish without a crust so Adam could enjoy it too. I would be very careful that everything was gluten free and separate.”
Mrs. Brown put her head down sadly when she realized that many items in the feast could have easily been enjoyed by Adam if they were all very careful.
After talking to Adam’s mom she realized that if she cooked the stuffing in a separate dish instead of roasting it inside the turkey, or if she asked Adam’s mom for some gluten free bread, Adam could enjoy the turkey with everyone else. And she realized that if she made the gravy with cornstarch instead of flour, he could enjoy that too. She knew she had a lot of learning to do.
Adam's mom put a hand on her shoulder. “That’s o.k. Mrs. Brown. It took us a long time to learn about his diet. And we are still learning! As long as you keep being very careful that he stays away from the wrong foods at school, we can do the rest. People with food allergies have to learn that they cannot enjoy all foods that others can. Adam gets a little sad sometimes, but he is great about it because he knows how much better he feels without gluten in his diet.”
Mrs. Brown’s students talked and giggled, in quiet indoor voices of course, while they enjoyed their feast. Most went back for second helpings of their favorite foods.
As Ben took the last roll that Adam’s mom brought, he said, “Wow, these rolls are great! I thought gluten free food would be yucky!” Everyone laughed.