By LYN VANDEBRAKE
AMES – The year was 2010.
After numerous tests at McFarland Clinic, in Ames, and at Blank Children’s Hospital, in Des Moines, medical reports confirmed that Lynette Wuebker, 11, had celiac disease.
Her mother, Eileen Wuebker, said the family began educating themselves about her daughter’s condition.
“We immediately began researching celiac disease, getting as much education as we could,” Eileen Wuebker said. “We met with a dietician, Amy Clark, and then visited with a relative who had celiac disease.”
She said it helped knowing there were other people who had been diagnosed with celiac disease, which led the family to discover solutions and resources that were available.
“From the very beginning we made Lynette part of every decision,” Wuebker said. “This was her life. We wanted her to be able to understand what celiac disease was, and how she could combat the symptoms of the disease by changing her diet.”
Lynette Wuebker’s father, Mark Wuebker, said the family had to change their habits.
“We used to give her toast as a snack when she wasn’t feeling well,” he said. “That is the worst thing she should have been eating and one of the reasons she was feeling so bad.”
Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disorder caused by the body’s inability to absorb wheat products, rye and barley.
Symptoms include, but are not limited to bloating, heartburn, reflux, indigestion, weakness or fainting spells. They can also include tooth decay and discoloration, numbness or tingling in limbs as well as joint pain.
To combat these symptoms, those suffering from celiac disease must go on a gluten-free diet.
Clark, who worked with the Wuebker family, is on staff at Lincoln Center Hy-Vee in Ames.
“I work with a lot of people with celiac as well as other food sensitivities,” she said. “My main focus is to help people make healthy life changes one step at a time.”
“I believe the grocery store is the ideal environment and classroom for education to take place because our health is impacted by foods we purchase and choices we make,” Clark added.
Hy-Vee employs more than 225 dieticians for its numerous stores.
Two dieticians operate HealthyBites, a program offering weekly menus, nutrition information and a monthly nutrition newsletter. Hy-Vee offers a 10-week wellness and weight management program, biometric screenings, corporate wellness presentations and healthy cooking classes.
One of those classes was attended by Lynette and Eileen Wuebker.
That particular class featured Iowa authors Carol, Elizabeth and Marcia Dahlstrom, who wrote the cookbook “Gluten-Free Made Simple.”
Marcia Dahlstrom said she lives with celiac disease herself.
“We wrote this book for real people who need or want to eat gluten-free,” she said.
Carol Dahlstrom said she has always had an interest in nutrition.
“Marcia married my son,” she said. “While they were building their new home, they lived with us for a time. Since Marcia has celiac, I had to learn how to cook gluten-free.”
At the time, Carol Dahlstrom said there wasn’t much information about gluten-free cooking available and no cookbooks on the topic.
“I started developing recipes just to be able to feed the family a gluten-free diet,” Dahlstrom said. “One thing led to another. We taste-tested. We tried out new recipes. Before long, I had over a dozen really good ones. At that point, I knew we could fill a real need.”
It was the perfect partnership of expertise that came together to make this gluten-free cookbook happen.
Elizabeth Dahlstrom, a nutrition specialist, was teaching gluten-free cooking classes at Iowa State University. Carol Dahlstrom was the experienced author with more than 60 published books, and Marcia Dahlstrom was living with celiac disease.
“Becoming gluten-free often becomes a family commitment just so everyone can eat together,” said Eileen Wuebker. “Therefore we were all interested in how we were going to make this life-change for Lynette.”
According to Lynette Wuebker, that meant there were challenges that had to be overcome.
“The problem becomes finding really good tasting foods that are gluten-free,” she said. “I have always enjoyed baking so I began experimenting in our kitchen at home.”
Lynette Wuebker said she acquired a copy of the Dahlstroms’ book, which has become the family’s favorite cookbook.
Wuebker also incorporated her new diet in other aspects of her life.
A 4-H’er who has raised chickens, Nubian goats and taken photography, Wuebker entered her gluten-free bakery items in the Story County Fair.
She came away as an award-winning ribbon holder.
The family, living on a 10-acre Story City farm, also participates in the Ames Main Street Farmer’s Market with their fresh eggs and homegrown vegetables, along with Lynette’s gluten-free bakery goods.
Lucas Wuebker, 10, said his sister’s items are popular.
“We have regulars visit us all the time,” he said. “We always sell out of everything Lynette bakes for the farmer’s market.”
Some of the customer favorites are gluten-free Kringla, chocolate chip muffins, chocolate chip pumpkin bread, chocolate zucchini bread and frosted chocolate doughnuts.
“If it’s chocolate, we have customers who will buy every item Lynette has for sale,” Lucas Wuebker said.
Lynette Wuebker’s prize-winning gluten-free delectables may be found at the Ames Main Street Farmer’s Market on Saturday throughout the season as well as the upcoming Story County Fair.
Those interested in more information on Hy-Vee’s gluten-free, food sensitivity and healthy living programs, or those who want to sign up for the HealthyBites newsletter, are asked to contact Clark at (515) 450-0508 or via email at email@example.com.
More information on lifestyle and healthy dietary changes beneficial to those with celiac disease can be found at gluten-freemadesimple.com and whatiscarolmaking.com.
(Editor’s note. The following recipes are from the book “Gluten-Free Made Simple,” and reprinted with permission from the authors.)
Double chocolate cookies
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/4 cups Domata Living gluten-free all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups gluten-free dark or semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
1 recipe powdered sugar drizzle
(NOTE: Be sure to read the chocolate chip package label. Nestle Tollhouse Semi-Sweet Morsels are gluten-free. Not all chocolate chips are. Look for words like “food starch” or “natural flavorings.” These general terms may mean there is gluten in the product.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar and butter with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy.
In another large mixing bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture. Stir in chocolate pieces and, if desired, walnuts.
Using a rounded tablespoon, drop onto a greased cookie sheet and slightly flatten with your fingers.
Bake about 10 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool slightly on cookie sheet before transferring to wire rack to completely cool.
Drizzle with powdered sugar drizzle.
In a small bowl, stir together 2 cups powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla until smooth. Place in a small plastic sandwich bag, cut off the corner of the bag, and drizzle over cookies.
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons Domata Living gluten-free all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened coca powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups water
4 large eggs
3/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 recipe Creamy Chocolate Frosting
Fresh raspberries (optional)
Fresh mint sprig (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease two 8-inch round cake pans.
In large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Add water, eggs, oil and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until just blended, scraping side of bowl as needed. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake about 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the centers. Cool cake layers in pans for 15 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks. If using wax paper, carefully remove. Cool completely.
Fill and frost cake with creamy chocolate frosting.
If desired, garnish with raspberries and mint.
In a medium saucepan, stir together 1 1/2 cups sugar, 6 tablespoons butter, 6 tablespoons milk and 2 tablespoons light-color corn syrup.
Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove lid and boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 cup gluten-free semisweet chocolate chips until melted.
NOTE: When making a two-layer cake that is gluten-free it is important to prepare the pans as directed so the layers do not stick.
TIP: For each pan, cut a piece of waxed paper slightly larger than the pan. Fold the paper in half, in half again, and in half again. Fold in half one more time and place the point in the center of the pan, trimming the paper to fit the pan.
Blackberry-filled cake oil
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups water
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour such as Domata Living Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 recipe blackberry filling
Chopped pistachios, fresh mint sprigs and blackberries (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 15-by-19-inch jelly-roll pan with parchment paper. Grease and set aside.
In large bowl beat eggs with an electric mixer on high speed about 5 minutes or until very thick and lemon-colored.
Gradually beat in granulated sugar. Beat in water and vanilla on low speed. Gradually add gluten-free flour, baking powder, and salt, beating just until batter is smooth. Pour batter onto parchment paper in pan and spread to corners.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean inserted in the center. Using knife, loosen cake from edges of pan, invert onto a clean thin towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Carefully remove paper; trim any stiff or crusty edges.
While hot, roll cake and towel together from long side. Cool on a wire rack.
Unroll cake and remove towel. Spread cake with blackberry filling. Reroll cake and dust with more powdered sugar. Wrap in foil or waxed paper. Chill for at least 2 hours before cutting. If desired garnish with pistachios, mint and blackberries.
Place 2 cups blackberries in a blender. Cover and blend until pureed. Press through a sieve; discard seeds. In a large bowl beat 1 1/2 cups whipping cream with electric mixer until thick. Fold in 1/2 cup powdered sugar and pureed blackberries.
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