How old are you and how long have you been gluten-free?
I’m five and a half. I’ve been gluten-free for one and a half years. It was a little scary when I had to go to sleep so they could see in my tummy, but I got a cool stuffy [stuffed animal] from the hospital and a popsicle!
Are you the only person in your family who needs to be gluten-free?
I’m the only one with celiac disease, but some of my family learned they are intolerant to gluten.
Is everyone in your family gluten-free?
Yes, there is no gluten or peanuts in my house. We threw it all away and got new cutting boards and everything! Our deal when we are outside the house is, if I can’t have it, my mom won’t eat it either. We are a team.
Do you like to cook and help out in the kitchen at home?
I like to help my dad and mom a little in the kitchen. I can do small things. I like to surprise my parents with almond butter on rice crackers and berries on the weekend. I love to put toppings on the cauliflower pizza. And we have a small garden, so I help pick tomatoes and green beans and lettuce to eat.
What is your favorite GF restaurant that you go to? What do you like to have there?
I like to go to the Corbett Fish House because there is no gluten there, and I can have anything. I like the cheese quesadilla or the chicken nuggets. And strawberry lemonade!
What’s one of your favorite GF things to make?
I like when I make mini banana muffins with my mom. Everyone likes them and gobbles them up. My dad makes good gluten-free pancakes every weekend.
What do you do if you’re spending time with friends who are not GF and it’s time for a snack? Do you all have GF foods?
When friends come to my house, our snacks are gluten free because we don’t let gluten in our house. When I go to a friend’s house, my mom and dad bring special snacks for me so I don’t have gluten and my tummy doesn’t hurt. My friends do eat gluten stuff around me at birthday parties or school, but I tell them to wash their hands every single time before we play again or they touch me.
What are some GF foods that your friends have enjoyed trying?
Everyone loves the gluten-free muffins we make and when they tried Brazi Bites. They like my gluten-free graham crackers. They also like Pirate’s Booty, berries, cucumbers, and mini peppers.
Do you have GF birthday cakes on your birthday? Tell us about them!
We make chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles and frosting on top for my birthday! One year, my two grandmas came for a visit and helped me decorate them. And last year, mom bought a really fancy cake that looked like a log with mushrooms on it [it was a yule log from a dedicated gluten-free bakery] and we ate it all!
What is your favorite part about being gluten-free?
We found food-free parties [holiday parties put on by the local Food Free Fun allergy group] with face painting and puppet shows, and one time we went to a big party where there were lots of gluten-free foods to try [the gluten-free food expo].
What do you like to do for fun?
I like camping with my grandma and grandpa and making cocoa and smores with gluten-free crackers. I like going to the beach and putting my toes in the water, but it is cold! I also love playing on scooters and bikes with my sister and my neighbors. And I love singing with my microphone.
What are your favorite school activities?
I love sensory [the sensory table] at preschool because we get to touch cool things. My teacher makes sure they are gluten-free, and my mom brings things for me when they are not. And I love doing art and handwriting. Sometimes we get to play with playdough, and they got special gluten-free playdough just for me!
Do your friends know that you are gluten-free? How did you tell them? Do they act any different around you?
Yeah, my friends know I am gluten free. I tell each person I meet that I have celiac disease. No, my friends don’t act different. They tell their parents when I come for a visit. There are other kids in my class allergic to peanuts and other nuts and things in the soap or lotion. I sit at a special lunch table like my sister [who is allergic to peanuts] and get to choose one or two friends to sit with me every day. Everyone wants a turn. But no sharing food!
What do you like to do when it is just you and your friends?
I like the summer because I can play outside. We get to run in sprinklers this summer!
Do you have any advice for the younger kids who are just starting their gluten-free diet?
Trying new foods can be fun! Sometimes I get sad because I can’t have the special unicorn cake at the birthday party, but I don’t want my tummy to hurt. My mom gives me lots of hugs and I still have fun.
What is your favorite part about being a member of Generation GF?
You don’t have to eat the same foods to be friends, and I still get to do all the activities with my family and my friends. Maybe I’ll meet a new friend in kindergarten that has celiac disease and we can be gluten-free together.
What are some of your favorite gluten-free products?
Mom will help with this one. I like Caulipower pizza crust, Brazi Bites, Jones turkey breakfast sausages, Stonyfield yogurt tubes, Schar honeygrams and ciabatta rolls, Tribali burgers, Hippeas and Jackson’s Honest puffs, Milton’s Everything and Mary’s Gone crackers, Chomps turkey meat sticks, MadeGood granola minis, Stretch Island fruit leathers, Simple Mills muffins, and Bob’s Red Mill pancake mix!