Gluten, Farm-to-School, Life Coaches: Delaware

Salutin’ Gluten

Aaaaaah, gluten. I have heard so much about you and yet I know so little. Readers, there is one thing you should know about me—I tend to attract advice. All the time. I don’t ask for it, people just want to give it to me. As a result, I have received many emails from family and friends about how I might want to consider a gluten-free life since I live with a chronic disease. Yeah. I don’t. I love bread and I can assure you bread loves me in return.

For many, living a gluten-free life is an absolute medical necessity and for others it’s a personal lifestyle choice. Regardless, I salute the people who are making the dining experiences of these individuals pleasant and delicious.

Allow me to set the record straight about a couple of misconceptions about gluten that I came across in my research:

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  • Gluten-free and wheat-free are two different things. For example, the barley in Paul Newman’s Wheat-Free, Dairy-Free Fig Newmans
 contain gluten.
  • Not everyone who eats gluten-free has a gluten allergy found in those living with celiac disease. Many people choose to eliminate gluten to help them lose weight or because they believe it will significantly aid any digestive issues they have.

I spoke with Michael Savett, publisher of the popular blog “Gluten Free Philly,” and author of the e-book Delaware Dining Guide, about living life without gluten and how accommodations can be made. Savett’s 11-year-old son cannot have gluten due to celiac disease.

I asked Savett if the schools had become more accommodating like the restaurants. He said he contacted the Aramark company that holds the contract for dining services in his son’s school district and advocated for a gluten-free pizza option for the school’s Pizza Friday in the cafeteria and the company agreed. This small victory meant his son had the chance to go wait in line “for a slice” like all the others. Once word spread that Michael was able to make this arrangement, other parents of students who cannot eat gluten followed suit for their own school districts.

Michael, a 1993 UD graduate, was vacationing in Rehoboth Beach when he had the idea to create a resource for Delaware. I asked him how our fine state was doing in the accommodating category and he proudly stated, “For a small state, there were surprisingly a lot of great options. Delaware’s own Grotto Pizza is offering a gluten-free pizza which is way ahead of the other well-known pizza chains in the surrounding states.”

I am so proud of Delaware. And now so incredibly in need of a piece of pizza.

For more information about the Delaware dining guide, go to his blog at

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Farm-to-School Dining

Forest Oak Elementary School 5th grade students harvest turnips and tatsoi from their garden last fall.

So this is the year. Third grade. At my son’s school, the third graders get to go eat in the dining hall. This is a very big deal. They wear collared shirts and everything just to be worthy of the dining hall experience. I took a look at the menu he will get to choose from and let me tell you something: I now really want to be in third grade.

You may have heard of farm-to-table dining. It’s getting a lot of attention in the press lately, including this blog. But have you heard of farm-to-school dining? There’s this movement afoot (yes, I said “afoot”) to bring a farm’s freshest to our school lunchrooms and increase partnerships between schools and local farmers.

I am so happy there is an effort that extends beyond Jessica Seinfeld’s just sneak broccoli into their brownies book sales effort.

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Sanford School's recent Sanford Farm Stand event

My son’s school believes in the farm-to-school movement, which means the options he has will be fresher, healthier and supportive of the farming communities around him.

Organizations such as the Children’s Health Partnerships and the Delaware Farm and School Advisory Board have been working tirelessly to increase opportunities for charter, public and private schools in our state to provide these healthier options. The farm-to-school projects are not limited to simply driving a truck of produce from the farm to the dining hall. Projects can include student-run school gardens to farm tours and dining hall salad bars using locally grown offerings.

This whole movement is a win-win for four core audiences.

  • Farmers: Their business can continue to grow and broaden their scope.
  • Schools: They can increase and enrich their partnerships in their communities and deliver on their promises to keep the students learning and thriving.
  • Parents: OK, it really is all about me, isn’t it? Parents can have more confidence in the options available to their children.
  • Students: Says Chef Budd Cohen of Culinart Inc., “For the kids, it tastes better. The fresher it is and closer from where it was grown, the tastier it’s going to be. If a kid grows it, he is much more likely to eat it.”

I am now anxiously awaiting the day when my son asks me if we can grow chocolate.


Life Coaching—What the Heck Is It?

More and more, I keep hearing the phrase “life coach” and it’s made me curious. What exactly does a life coach do? Is it a less expensive therapist? Is it someone like Gwyneth Paltrow, who writes her own blog about how we should all live like her?

I did what I do best. I Googled. And the links that popped up were very enlightening. It’s as if Google was life-coaching me to figure out what a life coach does.

Life coaches state they can help with issues in relationships, intimacy, stress management, small business development, health, career planning, spirituality, creativity, finances, parenting and more.

How can one person be good at all of these things enough to coach about them? Better yet, if you need help with all of the above, perhaps you need more than a life coach?

I wanted to better understand the difference between a life coach and a therapist. The industry literature states that therapy, with its clinical framework, is often used to help deal with issues in the past while life coaching is about meeting future goals and determining strategies to attain them. Life coaching can also take on a more personal relationship than a patient-therapist can have for therapy to be most effective.

Kristen SheehanI spoke with Kristen Sheehan here in Delaware who works specifically with women seeking joy, purpose and perspective in their lives. Sheehan prefers the term, “Happiness and Fulfillment Coach and Mentor,” but she recognizes that is a lot to Google.

Sheehan spoke about the importance of understanding what you are looking for in a life coach, should you choose to work with one. Her advice on what to ask when considering hiring is as follows:

• Ask about accountability. Do your homework ahead of time and seek the type of credentialing you want your life coach to have. Will this life coach have their own evaluation system for their work with you? Do they review their recommendations or set of standards with another coach?

• Ask to hear their story. Why do they do this? A lot of times coaches have overcome their own challenges and want to help others find the perspective they need to meet their goals. Hearing the prospective coach’s story may help you better understand how and if they can truly help you.

• Are they the right fit? Just like with a therapist, make sure you feel you can connect with the coach. You will be doing some hard work with this person and it’s important that you are comfortable with the way they offer support.

So perhaps life coaching is the next big thing in self-care. We shall see. I say to each, his own … just as long as I don’t have to take advice from Gwyneth Paltrow.



Sunday, Sept. 9
The 2012 Mushroom Festival Run-Walk
Location Kennett High School, 100 E. State St., Kennett Square
Time 7 a.m. registration, 8:30 a.m. race
More info (610) 925-3373


Saturday, Sept. 8
36th Gary P. Lister Bottle & Cork 10M/5K
Location Bottle & Cork, Highway One, Dewey Beach
Time 8 a.m.
More info 654-6400,


Sunday, Sept. 9
American Heart Association 2012 Heart Walk
Location Dravo Plaza, Wilmington Riverfront
Time 8 a.m.
More info 286-5722,


Sept. 13
Second Annual Women’s Race for the Pink Ribbon
Location Dravo Plaza, Wilmington Riverfront
Time 5 p.m. registration, 6:30 p.m. race
More info


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