Food Donation

Today we donated just under 200 pounds of food to Manna on Main in Lansdale. This included gluten free, salt and sugar-free and foods free of the top 8 allergens. It also included broccoli and peppers from Ray’s Greenhouse on Morwood Road. This was a mix of food we purchased and that was donated to us from manufacturers.

Volunteer needed to send out letters!


Are you looking for a way to volunteer from home? I need one volunteer to send out letters, emails, fill out forms and make phone calls for food donations. Each manufacturer is different as far as how they like to see a request for donations. Time commitment approximately 2 hours a week. Will train!

Natural Disasters with special dietary needs!

Our prayers are with those in the path of Hurricane Matthew. Please heed the warnings and evacuate! Your belongings are not worth your life!
As another disaster hits I wonder what the people with special dietary needs will do for food! The goal of Garden of Health is to work with the existing system, instead of trying to recreate the wheel.  People who need help should be able to go to their local food pantry and find the foods they need. Our long-term goal is for every food pantry in America to stock special dietary foods.
One of the things I want to be able to do is get the American Red Cross, Feed America, etc. to understand the need for this type of food. The easiest way to do that is by cooking real food. Use frozen vegetables that have nothing on them and season them with spices! Instead of having chicken nuggets have frozen chicken with no breading and no broth injected in it!
Speak up if you are in this situation. Ask for the food you need! They might not have anything but they will start hearing the requests. Educate the volunteers if they don’t get it. The first step towards change is to get the conversation started.
Share your experience with me. I will share it with others to get the conversation started with the American Red Cross and Feed America!

Sample Day

Keystone Opportunity Center

We were handing out samples of Cream of Broccoli Soup, Chicken Corn Chowder, and Apple Crisp today. The broccoli was picked yesterday! It was so good!

Good healthy comfort food!
Good healthy comfort food!

504 Plans

What is a 504 you ask?

A 504 is a legal document for kids with medical issues that affect them at school. It could be because they have asthma, food allergies, celiac disease, cancer, etc.

What you need to know:

When requesting a 504 meeting follow-up your phone call with an email summarizing what you talked about on the phone.

Be prepared with a letter from the child’s doctor or doctors.

It is an individual plan. Don’t let the school hand you a “standard 504”. There is no such thing.

Document every meeting and follow up with an email to summarize what was talked about at the meeting.

I would record the meeting. If anyone objects just tell them that you are more than willing to supply them with a copy of the recording or that they are more than welcome to record it also. This allows you to be able to focus and not miss something because you are busy taking notes.

It is a legal document that the school must follow. Make sure all of your child’s teachers have a copy of the 504 in their classroom and that they understand everything on it.

Your kid should know what their 504 says so that they can advocate for them self. This empowers your kid and when they get into junior high and high school they are expected to advocate for themselves.

Ideas of things that other people have had put in their child’s 504:

  • Extra time to finish work (child suffered from migraines so she needed to take breaks from the computer)
  • time and a half or more to make up work they missed when they are absent.
  • being able to carry water and food with them (child need to eat small amounts all day long because of gastroparesis and migraines)
  • a microwave that is dedicated to that student so there is no chance of cross-contamination
  • use of a backpack in school (high school didn’t allow students to carry them, worried about weapons and drugs I guess)
  • get copies of any missed notes from the teacher. They shouldn’t have to try to get notes from a classmate, what if they don’t take good notes!
  • For anaphylactic allergies, EPI pens should be readily available with at least one adult where ever the child is that knows how to administer it and won’t hesitate.
  • Here is a link for the Office for civil rights which has a lot of useful information
  • Another link to a post on 504 plans information you might find useful

As a parent of a child dealing with medical issues, whatever they may be, you need to go into your 504 meeting as educated and continue to educate yourself so that if need be you can make changes to these plans. Talk with other parents in your school district who’s kids have 504’s. Find out what things they encountered if any when dealing with the school district. You know your child best!

Cross Contamination and Celiac Disease

I posted on a few celiac facebook pages the question: What three things would you want people who are not celiac to know? Over the next few weeks I will be posting about a few of them.

The biggest thing was cross contamination. Cross contamination is when food, hands, utensils, etc. that have touched food containing gluten then touch gluten free food. This food is no longer safe for a person with celiac to eat. A person with celiac cannot take the burger off the bun and just eat the burger.  Picking the croutons off a salad, or eatting the turkey after it has been stuffed will make them sick.  Once a utensils touches food that is not gluten free it can not be used to serve gluten free food.

A person with celiac eats any of these things they will become sick. This ‘little bit’ of gluten will cause celiac patients weeks or even months to get their body healthy again. Symptoms can vary from person to person. According to there are over 300 symptoms associated with celiac disease. Most people think of stomach issues like pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation but some other symptoms might be chronic fatigue, brain fog, failure to thrive in a child, migraines, ataxia (lack of muscle control) and so many more.

I hope this helps those who are not celiac to understand what cross contamination is and why someone with celiac asks so many questions when someone else has prepared something for them. Knowing how the food was prepared is very important to know if it is safe. It is not that they are trying to be difficult it is that they are trying to keep themselves healthy. They don’t want the time out with friends to turn into three days sick in the bathroom or weeks trying to regain their strength. They want to be included in social activities and be with their friends so don’t give them a hard time if they bring their own food or only have vanilla ice cream because it is the only safe thing on the menu. They are there for the friendship and company not for the food.

Shoe Collection Sites

Shoe collection bins are out! Start dropping your shoes off! We have boxes out now at Indian Valley Public Library, Consign for Design Home Treasures, Red Hill Dental Office, BucksMont Indoor Sports Center,Harleysville Savings Bank (Souderton, Harleysville and Hatfield), Lansdale Public Library, Valley Forge Running Company in Collegeville, The Andrea Szlavik Team Real Estate office in Collegeville, Bucks County Wellness Centre in New Britain, Fusion Gyms in New Britain, West Main Consignment in Lansdale, Chiropractic Corner in Upper Moreland, Tractor Supply Co. in Harleysville, Greater Plymouth Community Center in Plymouth Meeting, Klemas Chiropractic & Wellness Center in Plymouth Meeting/Blue Bell area, Ambler Chiropractic and Boulder Camp Ground in Green Lane. 2016 shoe box

Providing special dietary foods and fresh produce to those in need