Meet Coach Erica

Melissa and Erica sat down this weekend for a chat! It’s so exciting to learn more about these amazing nutrition experts, Registered Dietitians, who are Foublie coaches. Erica has personal experience managing celiac disease. There is no better person to guide a family through a similar situation than someone who has lived it. Here we go, ready for a family celiac coach?!

What do you remember about food growing up?

I always had a positive relationship with food while growing up. My family routinely sat around the table together each evening for dinner. But, when I was diagnosed with celiac disease as a young adult, the way I viewed food changed. I became more thoughtful and deliberate about the way I nourished my body.

Tell us about your personal experience with food

My personal experience with celiac disease was challenging at first, but as I became familiar with foods I had to replace or avoid I quickly became my own advocate. I now view having an autoimmune condition like celiac disease as a way to become more creative in and out of the kitchen.

Standing up for yourself or a kiddo can be hard, especially at first. Any tips for us?

Don’t become discouraged! Over the years I have often become sick as a result of consuming products that were not safe or were cross contaminated. Therefore, I can definitely empathize with the constant struggle it can be to face celiac disease or food allergies on a daily basis. When attending school, visiting a friend’s home, or dining out, asking questions is a great place to start. It may feel overwhelming at first, but if you express that your child has a serious allergy or celiac disease, oftentimes people are willing to help. Never be afraid to ask multiple times to ensure your safety of what your child is about to consume. As your kiddo gets a bit older, teaching them age- appropriate skills to allow them to begin advocating for themselves can also become a great way to empower them. This also can take away some of the stigma often associated with having a challenge such as a food allergy to overcome. They become their very own superhero- taking charge of their health!

Sometimes thinking about a food allergy is overwhelming. Where should we start?

Label reading is a great place to start. Today labels are more regulated than ever with the top allergens being listed, so developing this routine review can only help you in the long run. Taking a look at your pantry and refrigerator with fresh eyes will help you recognize some of the products that you may have to discard and replace with alternate products, while others may be perfectly safe! The good news is that today, that there are many amazing alternative products currently available for those affected by food allergies or celiac disease. Experimenting with different brands and products can be a way for you and your kiddo to cook and/or prepare meals together. I am excited to work with you to help you feel prepared and ready to take on this challenge!

What is your go-to recipe?

Here’s an easy one for any time of day. Try adding some fresh or frozen fruit!

Vanilla Chia Pudding Recipe:

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: Overnight (5-6 hours)

Yield: 1-2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, cashew milk, or coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp maple syrup, honey, or sweetener of choice (can add to taste as well)
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  • 1. Combine all ingredients into bowl. Whisk ingredients together until chia seeds don’t separate from the mix.
  • 2. Distribute into 2 mason jars or glass tupperware containers and refrigerate overnight (or at least 5-6 hours to allow chia seeds to fully absorb the milk and other ingredients).
  • 3. When ready to eat, you can top with your choice of fruit, nuts, granola, or raisins and enjoy!

*Typically lasts in refrigerator for 4-5 days

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