Safe Harbor

Our customers truly are amazing people and I wanted to share this story with you because it is such a positive message and it made me cry! On, Friday, some regular customers came into the cafe for lunch.  This family has many serious food allergies and Celiac Disease.

-Mom: Fish Allergy    -Dad: Shellfish Allergy and Celiac   -Son: Allergies to Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Legumes, carrots, coconut and strawberry and Celiac Disease  -Daughter: Allergies to Peanuts, Tree nuts and Legumes.

Dave summoned me out to the dining room to see them.  They were anxiously waiting for Dave and I to come over to chat with them. They presented us with a card. They said it was for their 5 Year “Cafe-iversary “; they have been coming here to eat for 5 years!

The card and message inside said:

Thank you for your kindness, your generosity and your caring. You’re a great example of everything that’s right with the world.

There was a hand written note inside as well:

Maureen and Dave,

It is hard to find the words to tell you what you and your cafe mean to us; I will try my best. It has been five years since we found refuge in the harbor of your cafe. We have been through a lot due to food; just as you have. It was like finally coming in from a storm-tossed sea and finding calm, refuge, safety and those who understood what it was like being out “there”. 

My children saw, for the first time; inclusion. They learned that there are people who do care that they live through a meal! They belonged somewhere outside of the haven of their home and that is everything.  

Five years ago, you helped restore a faith in humanity, helped us feel hope and understanding in what can be an isolating existence. The cafe is open at a cost to your time and energy; but also it hard not to feel the thought behind every sticker, placement of artwork, sign, logo and basket.  You serve not only hungry customers, but the greater good; for every person, especially children, who walk in and think, “whoa, I actually do fit in somewhere, I’m not alone in this after all!”

You open a heart and a world of possibility and are their “safe harbor” in what sometimes feels like a world of storm tossed seas.  These past five years have been some of our toughest; but knowing you has eased that and we thank you. 

Happy Cafe-iversary!

We both teared up and I cried.  As I reflected; I came to the conclusion that Dave and I (and our staff) are immune to the fact that what we do is special; because it is all we do, all day, every day. It was so nice to actually hear their appreciation and read what they had to say. It was also so welcome; it was a reminder to all of us. I shared it with our staff, because without them, we could not do what we do. The staff loved reading the card and note.

We truly have the most wonderful customers. A month or so ago, some regular customers came in and left us a very generous tip…it was so unexpected, but it  definitely lightened our financial burden that month. We are so grateful for all of our wonderful customers.  We want to thank all of you, for being great customers. We are so thankful for the wonderful artwork that the kids leave us on the bulletin board and for all of you sharing our information with friends, family and in your online forums. Most of all, we are thankful for all of you for trusting us to safely feed you and your family.

We are honored and working hard at blazing a trail and making a positive difference.

Thank you all for being so supportive!

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Daiya “Cheese” Ingredient Changes

A few months ago I did a blog post about Daiya removing Pea Protein and Carrageenan from their sliced”cheeses”.  I knew that was most likely what happened as soon as I saw the new design on the packaging because that is when they usually make ingredient changes! So, that has been great.  We were waiting for our bulk shredded “cheeses” to be changed over to the new recipe. The big news is that we started receiving the new  Mozarella “Cheese” Shreds this week!

So, how does this affect you when dining with us? What are the new ingredients?

Here is my review: It melts better, has a creamier texture, tastes better and does not have the after taste! I am so thrilled with the new shreds and the slices. I am finally enjoying eating “cheeses”.

In the Blue Kitchen, (no dairy):

  • all Daiya sandwich “cheeses” are free of pea protein and carrageenan
  • all Daiya pizza “cheese” is free of pea protein and carrageenan
  • the Daiya “cream cheese” still has pea protein in the bakery for carrot cupcakes
  • the Earth Balance Mayo and Vegan Butter still contain pea protein

** This also means we have to completely re-do our labeling for our blue line pizzas and macaroni and cheese. Please understand that we may not have some of your favorite frozen items in stock until we can re-do all of our labels!

Here are the new ingredients in the Mozzarella Shreds:

Daiya Mozzarella Shreds: Filtered Water, Tapioca Starch, Coconut Oil, Non-GMO Expeller Pressed: Canola and/or Safflower Oil, Potato Protein Isolate, Vegan Natural Flavors, Sea Salt, Tricalcium Phosphate, Lactic Acid (Vegan), Whole Algal Flour, Konjac Gum, Xanthan Gum, Yeast Extract.

A few months ago I did a blog post on the changes in the slices and went into detail about some of the new ingredients.   You can scroll back to that blog to see what I had to say.

Please See Daiya Website to see ingredients in all their “Cheeses”:

Click Here for Daiya Website

 

A Tribute to Miss Susan

For most of you, Miss Susan is synonymous with One Dish Cuisine..she has been here pretty much since we opened the doors!  Many of  you have come to know her from her working the front counter on Saturdays, Sundays and some Mondays and other weekdays.  You all got experience her Joy; she exuded joy, all day, every day, 365 days a year. This is who she was, she loved people, and it showed.  She loved being here to take good care of all of you….Maureen and Dave won’t take a day off together unless Miss Susan was at the front counter taking care of all of you.

Maureen and Miss Susan met at an Annapolis Celiac Support Group back in 2008 and became fast friends.  You all know the feeling when you meet somebody and you just know that you will be friends with them forever! Well, that is what I knew the day I met her.

Susan retired from the Post Office where she graciously took care of customers in the Crownsville branch. Even in retirement, she kept busy and worked part time at the customer service desk in Annapolis Mall until they did away with the customer service kiosk. Then; in 2012, when One Dish Cuisine opened the cafe and bakery, she joined us at the front counter.

Susan was a fixture here and everyone who met her absolutely loved her.  Why? All because she loved people. She became one of Dave’s closest friends too. We valued her opinion and her friendship. Susan did much of the prep work here too. She would make the salad dressings, the croutons; etc. The greatest thing about Susan is how she took the young high school kids under her wing and trained them.  She knew right away if we had a winner or not!  Her gentle, but firm guidance led to a productive employee.

She was entrusted with a key to the business and was the only person that could cover the front (other than my son) if  Dave and I needed to be out at the same time! Susan was also a confidant for me. When I was exhausted or frustrated, she always understood because she worked with me and saw everything first hand.

One of her greatest gifts was her ability to get me out to do something other than work at One Dish Cuisine. Even when I was exhausted, Susan could get me out for a quick pick me up. Once, she picked me up on my day off…a warm spring day, and we rode the trike into downtown Annapolis for lunch…somehow Maureen got “glutened” and Susan did not.  Despite the “glutening”, we had a great time and were planning another outing this Spring (no food for Maureen). We had so much fun cruising Annapolis, a town that we both know so well. We joked that it felt like we were in high school, “skipping school” and hanging out in Annapolis. Sometimes after a tough Saturday, we would stop for a glass of wine on the way home and just relax; something that is foreign to me! Susan instinctively knew when I needed this girl time!

There were so many times that she invited me out with her and some of her lifelong girlfriends; but I just could not take the chance on getting sick; because I would be out for 10 days if I got “glutened”.  She always understood that I had to opt out so I could stay safe and continue to work each day.  Susan was lucky, even though she also had Celiac, her reaction to it was not as severe as mine.

When I think of Susan I think of this quote by Mother Teresa:

“Joy is prayer, joy is strength, joy is love; joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls”

Miss Susan caught my heart and soul along with so many others. She died suddenly of a heart attack on Thursday, December 14th. I don’t think One Dish Cuisine will ever be the same without her. I am so thankful for her friendship and love and for her dedication to One Dish Cuisine and the safety of our customers. Godspeed Miss Susan..till we meet again; and yes, I will bring you a grilled cheese and mac n cheese from One Dish!

On Wednesday, the 20th of December, there will be a Celebration of Life at Baldwin Memorial United Methodist Church, 921 Generals Highway, Millersville, MD 21108; all are welcome. There will be a gathering for all family and friends at 10am, service at 11am, immediately followed by a luncheon. The luncheon will be across the street at Baldwin Hall. We hope everyone can make it and please feel free to share this post.

The burial will be a private event for family, at a later date.

One Dish Cuisine will provide some of the desserts at the luncheon.

Obituary for Susan Boyd Caldwell

New Celiac and Autism Research

Every year I get my fundraising letter from Dr Fasano at the Celiac Center at UMass. What I love about the letter is that he highlights some of the studies that they are doing at this time. They are doing some really cool stuff! (what I hate is that it comes on paper in the mail, so I had to paraphrase and type all of this stuff into the computer rather than give you a link to click on) Once again; I am predicting that many of the big breakthroughs on celiac and autism will come from Dr Fasano and the gang at UMASS Center for Celiac Research and Treatment.

-Collecting Diapers for Celiac Research for their  Celiac, Genomic, Environmental, Microbiome and Metabolomic Study. Basically, they are collecting stool, blood and other tissue samples from infants and mothers from the US, Italy and Spain. They have more than half of the 500 babies already enrolled. The goal is to understand why some people who are genetically at-risk will go on to develop celiac disease; while others who are at risk don’t develop it. By studying many factors along with the microbial colonies in the gut, they hope to ultimately prevent celiac disease before it begins. Well, if I was a baby and had a diaper, I would enroll myself in this study.

-Building an Intestine in the Lab where they are using intestinal tissue from volunteers to grow intestinal “organoids”. They use the 3D mini organoids to study the effects of different drugs and pre/probiotics on the human intestine. I am glad to see this study happening because I remember Dr Fasano saying on one of his visits to the cafe that his fear is that pre and probiotics may be overused and we might become immune to them like what is happening with antibiotics.

-Connecting the Mind and the Gut: the “enteric nervous system” is like our “little brain: in our guts and it’s communication with our “big brain” can have enormous effects on our mood and health.  I remember Dr Fasano saying “the gut is not like Las Vegas; what happens in the gut does not stay in the gut”.  Parents of kids with Autism have been saying this for about 20 years!  I am so glad to see this area being really researched. Recent results (Dr MR Fiorentino’s lab) showed an altered blood-brain barrier and impaired intestinal barrier could very well play a role in neuroinflammation in those with Autism Spectrum Disorders. They hope to make significant contributions to discovering a mechanism that could be used for prevention. (The belief used to be that the body and brain have different immune systems and are separate and therefore don’t communicate; but researchers at UVA discovered the link via the lymph nodes. I blogged about this 2 years ago)

-Celiac Education and Outreach: Celiac Symposium last April and outreach and donations for food for hurricane victims.

The Center for Celiac Research and Treatment is dedicated to improving the quality of life for patients with celiac disease, while learning the cause of the disease and finding a cure.  However, due to reductions in the NIH  (National Institute of Health) Budget they are reliant more than ever before on donations!  

This is one cause that I scrape up some money to support each year.  donate here

Learn More Here

 

What I Am Thankful For

Each year as Thanksgiving comes around, I notice that many of us tend to get caught up in logistics. The logistics of where to go, who to invite, what to serve, what to bring and how to get there?  Big planning goes into Thanksgiving. I know; I often get caught up in that part, and don’t really think about what the day is meant for.

As I was making a second batch of stuffing (more stuffing than I have ever had to make for all of you) I pondered Thanksgiving. What am I thankful for?

I am thankful for:

-Our customers who love our stuffing and share it with their loved ones.

-Our Bakery Manager, Melanie, who is into her 11th hour of baking as I am doing stuffing and is so passionate about what she does.

-All of our staff, especially the bakery staff this time of year; Melanie, Jess, Tionni and Alana, you all are incredible!

-The Bank for giving me the loan to open the Cafe, Deli & Bakery (only 22 more months to pay).

-Dave, for giving up his career and supporting my dream. For covering for me as I went through four surgeries this year.

-My Health (it’s not the greatest, but it could have turned out much worse than it did this year)

-For our customers who support us and refer us to others, you all truly have given such meaning and purpose to all of our lives here at One Dish Cuisine Cafe, Deli & Bakery.

-For our family and friends. For my mom, whose nudge sent me down the path of this food business and also for the loan that kept the company going back in the early days.  For Dave’s family who comes in just about every Friday to eat and support what we do and spend time with us. For my daughter in law; Kristin, for bringing my grandson to the cafe to see me; so I can get to know him! For both of our families and friends for understanding why we miss birthdays, graduations, funerals, weddings, baptisms, communions, etc.

-For fantastic doctors, nurses and researchers who are spending their time trying to find answers for those with Celiac Disease, Food Allergies and Autism.

-For God. He truly has to exist. I am very thankful for my Celiac and Food Allergies. Because I learned, over time, that my God-given talent for cooking along with my Celiac and Food Allergies are blessings. They are what brought me down this path and were the actual catalyst for me opening up this business; which brought me to my purpose in life. Also, there is definitely someone up there making it possible for us to make ends meet every month when it is time to pay the bills.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope you all can find the time to contemplate what you are thankful for.  Whenever someone says that they don’t know what to do with their life; I say: “Have you ever thought about how you can use your god-given gifts to help yourself and others?”

thanksgiving use your blessings

Am I Having a Gluten Reaction?

I am constantly amazed by the customers who come in after a long hiatus and say they are getting “glutened” all the the time, their antibody levels are up and they need to come here more often!  Wow, you really have to be getting exposed to gluten on a regular basis for your antibodies to go way up. There are 3 major reasons why this happens to people so often.

  1. Cross Contamination
  2.  Eating an item that does not have gluten ingredients in it but is NOT labeled GF and not 100% GF
  3. Eating at a new restaurant or any restaurant the has “GF” offerings but is not dedicated GF.

I read recently that if you are getting exposed to gluten more than once a month, you are asking for problems! Why is it a problem? Gluten affects every cell in your body because Celiac Disease is an auto-immune disease! The problem I see is that people are not recognizing the symptoms when they are having a reaction. There are more than 300 Signs and Symptoms…you can have a few or many.  Click Here for 300 Signs & Symptoms

Recently, a Celiac customer, who lives in Arizona was in town. Yes, she is a regular customer, because she is here every day that she is in town; we see her more than some people who live 5 miles away! Anyway, she told me what happened to her out in Arizona and how sick she was getting…eating anyplace that had a “GF” menu.  As we talked it was apparent that she was not recognizing the symptoms she was having for about one year! She thought she had a “handle” on this GF stuff. Yes, sinus and ear infections, headaches, inflammation, knife like pains, gall bladder attacks, etc are symptoms! She ended up in the hospital. She also said she was eating “GF” Cheeri-Oh-Nos in addition to eating anywhere with a GF Menu! (see 3 previous blog posts on “GF” Cheerios; they are not GF folks!) Stay tuned, I plan to let her tell her story in the next week or so!

Gluten reactions vary from person to person and the amount of time between exposure to gluten and the time of symptom manifestation varies from person to person. However, for the most part, the reactions become more severe the longer you have been off gluten.

That being said, a person who is constantly being exposed to gluten tends to stay the same and not improve after diagnosis. They never will improve unless they get the gluten out of their system…(6 to 9 mos with no gluten exposure).  I have been dealing with this for almost 30  years and I know the pattern of symptoms that appear and how they evolve in me when I get exposed to gluten!

For me, I will get severe acid reflux within 1 hour and then I know I am in for 10 days of hell! I have a racing heart beat and pains in my legs by the time I get home and into bed. I fight the urgent need to vomit. Sometime in the evening or the next morning I have sharp knife like pains in my right side, diarhea and vomiting at the same time, migraine headache, bloated abdomen. I start sweating profusely and prefer to lay on the cold tile floor of the bathroom and quite franly, it is just more convenient for me than running to and from my bed! By about day 3 the joint pain, constipation, DH Rash (dermatitis herpetiformis; it looks like excema and is the skin manifestation of Celiac Disease which can be biopsied for diganosis), brain fog and Ataxia start to set in. For me, ataxia is the inability to speak in complete sentences, stumbling and falling when trying to walk, walking into walls. By about day 9 or 10 I have MS type reactions, with involuntary muscle spasms in my legs and arms.  I takes about 9 months (to the day) for my DH rash (on scalp, arms, elbows, knees, ankles, face and sometimes with sores in my mouth, nose and ears) to clear, and that is how I know all gluten is out of my system.  If I were to keep getting exposed to gluten, the rash will never go away.

With an anaphylactic food allergy, you know right away…you take benedryl and/or reach for you Epi Pen! With Celiac reactions, it is not so easy to know what is happening, especially if you are newly diagnosed or if you are a child, you can’t always communicate it to your parent. Below are some examples of what customers are sharing with me when they come in.

In just the past month I have had several examples that I thought might help you:

  1. A family come in with their child who has celiac disease and they came once when first diagnsoned, but for the past two years they have been eating at any place that claims to have a GF Menu! The child’s doctor said that the Celiac antibodies were very high and they have to stop eating out so much, unless it is at a completely GF place! Well, they came back to see me and Mom said “we need to come here more often”.  The child had the tell-tale signs that I always see in kids, dark circles under the eyes, tired, cranky or mood swings and complaining of stomach aches.
  2. An adult, living in an assisted living facility, has not been feeling well. Family brings her in once a month or so.  She said she was losing weight too. I asked her if they checked her antibodies, she said they don’t really follow it for her. I asked her if there was a change in her diet and she said she started eating “GF Cheeri-Oh-Nos” a few months ago and has them every day for breakfast.  I recommended they run new blood work and go get some knock off “cheerios” that are truly GF.  (search this blog to read about the Cheerio-Oh-nos drama)
  3. A child who eats here once a week was having stomach aches and symptoms. He had started eating Cheeri-oh-nos. They pulled them out of the diet and he is feeling much better.
  4. An adult, diagnosed at least 5 years ago, felt she really had good control of her diet and started eating anywhere that offered a GF Menu. (she lives out of state and comes here a couple of times a year).  She was having intestinal pain, constant ear infections, sinus infections, bloating and just feeling very sick.  It finally occurred to her that it was gluten exposure on a consistent basis. After eating “Cheeri-oh-nos” she ended up in the emergency room. She finally purchased a Nima Sensor and is testing everything.  She said, the trick is to take samples from all parts of the meal, mix them up and then put them in the sensor to test.

Here is a great article on Gluten Reactions: Click Here

What should you do if you think you/your child are getting exposed to gluten? First, get  to your gastroenterologist and get checked out.  Stay safe out there gang and take a close look at your habits!  Look at what and where are you eating.

 

 

 

Jennifer’s Way Bakery Closing

I am sad to say that Jennifer’s Way Bakery in New York City is closing it’s doors. However, from the posts on Gluten Dude’s Facebook Page and on Jennifer’s Way Bakery/Storefront Page, you can’t really tell. It looks like she is closing because she states that she is selling her mixers and cookie sheets, etc. One would not do this if they were simply moving. Many were asking her on her facebookpage if she was moving or closing and she is not responding to that question. So, time will tell. Here are the facebook posts:

Jennifer’s Way Bakery Posting August 26, 2017:

I opened this place 5 years ago with the one goal- help people like me feel safe while enjoying food. It has been a long long road and so hard running my own business. I’ve had some amazing people along the way lend their time and love and some awful soulless individuals who tried to take something pure and make it for their own gain. To everyone’s disbelief and against odds I have remained standing. Only a handful thought I could even stay open for more than a few months, never 5 years. I am so very proud of not only what I managed to withstand here but so beyond thrilled how many of you I was able to help and feed safely. I celebrated birthdays, weddings and holidays with you and served your children their first safe cookie. My heart is full. However it’s is time to move forward now. My lease on this magical little space is up and I must move on now. I am FAR from done with bringing you safe, reliable, TRUST WORTHY delicious food, it’s just time to regroup.
Tomorrow, sun, if you are in the city and feel like coming by bakery I am having a huge sale on everything from baking sheets to baking pans to my very first kitchen aid mixer! I will also be whipping up some treats as well. Hope to see you all and ……….. stay tuned, I am not done.” 

Gluten Dude’s Post 09/25/17

“Hi folks. Not sure if you are aware but the Jennifer’s Way Bakery in Manhattan is closing up shop. It was a great 5 year run, her lease is up and she’s now planning her next location. This coming Wednesday, Jen, myself and Mrs. Dude will be there from 3:00-6:30. Jen is doing a book signing. And if you have purchased my book, I’d be happy to sign it as well. So come on by, say hi and have some gluten-free goodies. We’d love to see you. Address is 263 E 10th St, New York, NY.”

Either way, I hope she is able to stay in business and open in a new location. I know she put her heart and soul into it and am hoping that nothing but good things happen!Jennifer's Way