The Gluten-Free Parent:
A Different Sort of Love Story
Elyn Joy is a Denver-based author and career educator. Elyn has spent a decade researching, testing, and applying tools for effectively tackling the various aspects of the gluten-free parenting experience, including home safety, food and product choices, and (toughest of all) the social and emotional aspects of parenting a gluten-free child.
A member of both the Gluten Intolerance Society and the National Celiac Association, Elyn is certified in "Best Practices" for people with gluten sensitivities and is now working on gluten-free a recipe book entitled Dorothy's Kitchen.
So...where to begin in telling you this tale? Committing to this road--one of helping others raise happy, healthy gluten-free children--has been a practice in dichotomy in many ways. At first overwhelming, it became relatively easy most of the time. At first seemingly tragic, it became a blessing in disguise. And at first nowhere on my radar as a career writer and educator, it took front and center stage without warning, eventually "calling" me to share that wisdom only experience (okay, well, that and a decade of learning and training) can teach.
The funny thing is this (and take note, all you dreamers!): Although this project has been brewing for awhile, it needed time to develop and ferment before it could manifest. We needed to get through the early years, the middle school years--the birthday parties, the family vacations, the teary moments and long nights worrying after my daughter got "glutened" (thankfully not for years, now), and so much more--before I could give YOU my big-picture best. And now that time has come. Below, I'll give you the short version of our story (more on this in my book, The Gluten-Free Parent's Survival Manual).
Feel free to peruse the rest of the site for news, tips, and our "Best Products" awards, as well as the goodies we offer to make parenting a gluten-free child as easy and painless as possible. Please stay tuned for our special "Gluten-Free Parents'" book launch party giveaway in early April!
In the mean time, allow me to share something my late mother, Dorothy Shindler, taught me. In brief: We must always get to the beauty of a thing--be it obvious to all, or hiding inside our greatest challenge. It was like she was reading my family's future with those healing, oh-so-true words.
With love and encouragement,
This is our daughter, Edyth. Here you see her a few years ago, after she had been on a gluten-free diet for around 3 years. What you don't see here is the Edyth who had suddenly, at age 10, complained of headaches tiredness...the girl who appeared pale and weak and who had fallen behind in growth to the point that most of her peers were a full head taller.
Thankfully, her doctor had the wisdom to get to the issue, which turned out to be celiac disease. For me as her mom, the diagnosis felt like a life sentence. I felt unprepared, yet something within me (maybe it was my mom's voice) calmed the fears and turned them into a prescription for action.
This is what I wish for each of you: To transform any misgivings or fear into a renewed commitment to your child and family. Strangely, the challenge wrought more gifts than curses, more love than loss.
Thus, my daughter--now a vibrant and accomplished young adult set to sail to college next year--has provided me with a chance to live a different sort of love story. Prepare to live your own,--you will learn, grow, and smile deeply at the outcome of your efforts.
I know I am.
The Short Version