“I have good news and bad news!” That’s what my son’s allergist said when I picked up the phone. His bloodwork was positive for celiac. “What? But that was just a “rule-out” test” -- we never expected him to have Celiac Disease.
Like many parents, when my child was initially diagnosed with celiac just as he was entering middle school, I did two things: 1) read anything and everything about celiac disease and gluten-free foods, and 2) tried to find good-tasting gluten-free substitutes for my son’s favorites so he wouldn’t feel deprived.
My primary mission was to find a gluten-free replacement for everything he liked to eat. I poured over websites, joined every celiac site, read research studies, googled, “the best gluten-free bread,” “the best gluten-free pizza,” “gluten-free goldfish,” and more. How about “gluten-free Philly hot pretzels?” It took a lot of trial and error, but we found delicious, gluten-free items to replace most everything.
As a year-round athlete, my son had to learn to eat gluten-free on the road, at concession stands, and in airports. This was doable then as his dad and I were always there to plan and bring food. We would prepare where to stop when driving, and bring our own stash of GF cereal, GF bagels and toaster bags so we could eat at those continental breakfasts offered by hotels. Eating at concession stands was easy as long as we brought along our GF hot dog and hamburger rolls.
As “gluten-free” got more prevalent, the selection of options increased but things got trickier for us. You see, as your children grow, they drive themselves, dine out and take trips with their friends, drive to their own sporting events, and travel with their teams sans parents. The thought of him having celiac, going away to college, and playing college sports was a bit overwhelming.
I am happy to say my son is now a freshman at an amazing college playing D1 baseball. When he arrived, like most college parents, I received emails and letters asking us to order one of the college care packages offered. Well, I wasn’t thrilled with the scant gluten-free options available, so I went from store to store to gather all the full-sized gluten-free items my son (and even his non-gluten free roommates) would enjoy and made my own care package.
I realized the need for a bigger variety and selection of themed gluten-free care boxes, along with better packages for healthy snacks, vegan and paleo snacks, snacks for athletes and more.
The BeBopAlu Box was born!
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