crunchimomma- Heather Spergel

Author, Mom, and Creative Nut!

Free To Be…Gluten-Free! … with older children!


When I first wrote, “Free to Be… Gluten-Free!” My son was a couple years younger and my daughter wasn’t yet diagnosed with any gluten (or corn) issues.  I wrote the book with the younger age group in mind.  The children can identify with the boy in the book feeling ill on the potty, crying or having fits, and laugh at the gluten monster.

In truth, older kids are often diagnosed with a gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease.  These children need a book.  (Yes, of course I started writing one!).  They need support in the meantime.

The depth of sorrow my 6 1/2 yr old shows about not eating gluten is often heart-breaking.  He brings home challah made at school or cupcakes from class.  He looks at me with those sad eyes.  “Can I eat this?  PLEASE?!”  This is a typical conversation when the teacher sends something home (and I wish she wouldn’t).  Then when I tell him he cannot eat it, he often accepts this.  However recently, that is NOT the case.

“WHY?!  Just this once?”  I felt like I was reading from a recent book for gluten-free kids where the mom reminds the child what he felt like when he ate gluten.  My son not only has the response in his gut, causing the runs and bloat (plus the sleeplessness and emotional reactions)- last time he had a contaminated meal, he started to get an itchy mouth and tongue- allergic responses.  So I drove on in the car that day and reminded him how he felt eating gluten- when he stomach was all messed up.  I reminded him that Gabi and I also eat gluten-free and miss the foods we used to eat too.  That link shows the digestive system and the path of food in the body.  THIS is what older children need to see.  What happens to the food once it goes into the body?  How does your body respond if it does’t process this food well?  THESE are questions my new book will answer- for future publication.  … and YES, it isn’t FAIR that you have to eat differently.  However, it is what it is.  Life handed you lemons, so let’s make lemonade (oh and let’s do REAL lemonade without corn syrup and all the chemicals?).

rolling raw cookie balls

In the meantime I roll raw cookie balls and keep him (and his sister) interested in delicious foods.  We make our own sushi and bake our own bread.  We clean veggies and they stir and measure!

I involve them in cooking and kitchen tasks as much as possible (make note, cooking with kids takes 3x’s as long, so put on your patience hat).

My emphasis with older children is education, empathy, and action.  Here’s what you CAN eat, I’m sorry you Can’t eat all those foods you wanted to eat, and let’s go cook together!

Oh, and if you didn’t order your advance copy of  “Free To Be… Gluten-Free!”, click here–

Here are more things we’ve created in our kitchen!

Soft and doughy GF challah with NO corn products

Soft and doughy GF challah with NO corn products

raw cookie dough balls close up


Quick veggie and chicken stir-frysushi gabi



  1. The goodies look yummie!


  1. Turn the Page Publishing | Independent Publishing | Print and eBook Publishing

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