With so much craziness going on lately I sometimes get pulled into the nonsense and get taken from my actual purpose here…to help. That’s all. I don’t wish to argue, beg or plead with anyone anymore for them to understand, have compassion, offer a few moments on their talk show or for a write up in their magazine. It’s become painfully obvious that some just do not want to hear about this disease and what I have to say about it.

And then I remembered my new friend Lauren. One busy weekend I received a call from my friend who asked if I had some time to come and speak with her friend’s daughter Lauren. Lauren and her Dad had traveled into Manhattan from out of town for a visit with a doctor specializing in Crohns Disease. My friend told me Lauren was not doing so well and life for this 12 yr old had been very trying as of late.

She was already dealing with Crohns disease and now celiac was suspected as well. Lauren had been so ill that she was visiting the hospital every 5 weeks for transfusions. To feel empowered by this disease and not defeated she decided to raise almost two thousand dollars (from her lemonade stand) to buy stuffed animals for the other children at the hospital having transfusions as well. Parties in school, sleep overs and every day life was very different then what her friends were experiencing and of course this all made her quite sad.

My friend thought if Lauren could just meet someone who has dealt with a similar illness and had to obey a strict diet and LIFE as well that maybe she would see that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that she was not alone on her journey. Of course I agreed.

cookieLauren, her dad, my friend and me all sat in my bakery and ate some safe treats. Lauren was a lovely, sweet little lady whose legs swung under the table as she gobbled up all the safe treats, the chocolate chip cookies being her favorite. Her dad had seen some interviews I had done on the subject at hand and was very knowledgeable about what his daughter was dealing with.

They had been through a hard time you could tell but his passion for helping his daughter was unbreakable. It was clear he would stop at nothing to help her. He yearned to see her well, to see her strong, to grow and be able to face the still tricky road ahead of her. To make her trip to NY not all about doctor visits, he had planned a kids delight of theater and all kinds of fun activities. The love between them was obvious and wonderful to witness. I felt such a great honor and responsibility to say the right thing to these two special people who came for a visit. Especially to such an smart and compassionate little girl that sat in front of me.

I didn’t want to lie and say everything is going to be great because I knew it wasn’t all the time and even more importantly she knew that wasn’t. I didn’t want to say that eating so restricted was easy because again not true, especially for a child. At that moment Lauren looked at me as the conversation pointed in my direction. She was this open, influential, sincere little being looking at me with such hope and yet I could see that she had witnessed sickness too close for any child to see.

At that moment, this 12 year old and I shared something that age defied. I understood. I understood and I was living proof that she could be okay and not in some candy coated slap on the back way; really be OKAY. With all the sincerity and passion that I had, I told her that no matter what happens she could handle it. She could take this hurdle in life and still keep going and prosper.

I told her that although it gets rough at times and she miss some parties with friends and such it was still something she could still live her life and enjoy. She COULD take her life back. I told her to take some control over her health by learning about what food her body did want and the what food it did not. To get in the kitchen with her dad and get creative.

But most importantly I told her that although I did not have Crohns, I did relate to all she was going through and that she was not alone. She looked at me, still swinging her feet under the table, and smiled.

As the meeting came to an end, I wished them luck on their doctors appointment, gave them treats for the road and asked them to please let me know how it all went.

I questioned my words and truly hoped that I did SOMETHING to ease her heart and give her hope.

A week later I received an email from her Dad saying that the doctor was very helpful and although Lauren had an even more restricted diet and a long long road ahead, she was in good spirits. She had had so much fun in NY and even made a top 3 list. I was moved to hear that I had made that list and placed at #2, right under seeing the play Wicked.

And it wasn’t because she had seen me in movies or tv but because her dad said I inspired her.

Her dad then went on to tell me that he did not have time to discuss with me earlier but he had been following my story for awhile. He referred to the horrendous interview I did last year with Dr. Drew. He went on to say Dr. Drew’s lack of respect for me and this disease and other gut diseases, of which he had no clue about, angered him on his daughter’s behalf.

The callous way I was treated and spoke to made it painful for him to watch. He went on to say that what I was doing was so important, not only for myself but for his daughter and anyone anywhere dealing with these issues. The lack of respect needed to change and If I needed any help on the journey, he and Lauren would be right there.

You just did.

It’s in those words and your encouraging words that make all the other nonsense go away and help me refocus on what’s important again – helping each other.

A sentence from a recent email: “Stop banging on the doors that are shut and walk into the one that are open wide.”

I thank you!

My friend Lauren LOVED the choc chips we make at the bakery and although she can not eat them right now, due to many food restrictions, I created a really close #2 :))

I hope you enjoy!!!!!!!

The Lauren Cookie – Chocolate Chip, Banana, Nut Cookies

What you need-

1/4 cup Nut flour ( I used hazelnut flour, feel free to use another nut if you like) Soaking nuts aids in making the, more digestible
1/4 arrowroot starch
1 very ripe large banana
1 tsp honey
2 Tbsp sun butter or pecan butter or almond butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp fresh vanilla
dash of himalayan sea salt or celtic salt
1/4 cup Choc Chips – I used Enjoy Life brand
sprinkle of nots-optional

Preheat oven to 350


-mush Banana between hands and place in bowl
-add nut butter and mix
-combine all dry ingredients in separate bowl and whisk through lumps
-add a little dry mix to wet at a time and mix with fork until all combined and a dough forms
-take a tsp full of dough and place on parchment covered baking sheet. Dip a fork in water and press down cookie

Place in oven and bake 12-18 min depending how crunchy you would like your cookie.

EAT UP!!!!!!

Be Well.

~ Jennifer

This Post Has 45 Comments

  1. Jill Werschin

    I found your blog through Gluten Dude. Your posts are really thoughtful and helpful to all of us dealing with gluten, etc issues. I am waiting for my copy of your new book. Can’t wait to read it!

  2. Susan Boyko

    There are days when I feel so sorry for myself because I can no longer go to just any restaurant or pick up a pizza on the way home – then I read something like this and want to slap myself! There are so many people (particularly children) that have it worse than me. Thank you for reminding me to get rid of the self-pity and move on. I hope to visit New York one day and meet you in person (and maybe try a treat or two). Keep up the good work!

  3. Laura

    Jennifer, This story is sweet and perhaps you are doing everything you can.. your voice and honesty is helping those who do need the help. The big lights and camera don’t have to be the avenue that you get your message out. Thank you for sharing this story..I can’t wait to read your book.:) keep smiling and making those wonderful treats! Cheers..

  4. Lindy

    I just watched the Dr Drew interview. “I’m a Dr” infuriates me. I don’t have celiac but I am gluten intolerant. In the last year I have been to 8 dr’s trying to figure out what has been wrong with me (not related to gluten). I thought you handled yourself great despite his stupidity. You were so sweet to Lauren and I hope you continue your journey with strength and hope!

  5. charis

    Interesting thing about that horrible interview you mentioned. I was so inspired by how well you handled yourself Jennifer that I’ve watched it more than once. You were poised and in control of yourself, and that only made him look more like a fool.

  6. Linda Germanetti

    Just received your book! Love it! Also loved the article about Lauren. I believe there are no coincidences in life and you were meant to be in hers. Thank you for sharing that beautiful story!

  7. Wanda

    Jennifer, thank you for all you do. The world needs more Jennifer’s!!
    I’ve noticed the only time celebraties take an interest is when it involves them. They should all take a lesson from you. G-d Bless you and all your wonerful work. I hope to meet you one day at your bakery!!

  8. Marie

    Ok now that I stopped crying let me go on to say Thank You. With your inspiration for little Lauren she had to feel 100xs better after meeting you. The work you are now doing brings Joy and ease to others with this condition. It’s you that will help others and 100s of Lauren’s today and in the future. I tip my hat and say Thank you. Preparing to become a Health Coach I’m studying different ways of eating and getting educated to help people with diseases and health concerns. We need more Jennifer’s to get the movement going to be mindful and aware of foods that are not good for us or sorry to say but could be deadly. This country is changing and we need to get with the program, especially all of the Dr.Drews or news media people to wake up! It’s not all about who’s wearing what or who’s marrying who or who’s #1 at the box office. It’s about real life! Marie

  9. Adam

    Lauren’s dad here. I have to comment on this blog post. More importantly…on Jennifer. When Lauren and I went to Manhattan from Dallas we had no idea what the trip had in store for us. I knew we were going to have fun (I was going to make sure of that) but I had no idea what a simple meeting in a bakery would turn into. As Jennifer said, a mutual friend brought us together…and as said by another commenter, there are NO coincidences.

    Most of you probably follow Jennifer and are aware of her passion on this topic. But what everyone doesn’t see is what I saw that day. Jennifer is the real deal. She wears her heart on her sleeve and is driven to make the quality of life better for anyone she can touch. We spent a good amount of time talking that day. And as I have gotten to know her…I know some of the things she has going on in her life. She is one of the busiest people I know. Most everything she has going on has to do with taking this ALL to the next level for us all to benefit. But yet she sat down with us for what seemed like the entire afternoon. She wasn’t rushed at all. She had so many places she needed to be, and so many things that needed her attention…but none of that mattered. It was about connecting to a girl…whose feet swung back and forth under her chair…that was inspired beyond words.

    I do need to make a correction to the post. Lauren said that her time spent with Jennifer in her bakery was definitely her #1 thing to do in NY :) While she did enjoy seeing Wicked…she has seen lots of musicals

    Also I can’t take the credit for being the powerhouse in my family. I will absolutely go to the ends of this earth to fight for my daughter. But my wife is the amazing one. She spends soooo much of her life doing research, trying recipes, talking to authorities on the subject and learning everything she can about treating this disease in alternative ways. Jennifer was impressed by the amount of knowledge I had on the subject…but 90% of what I know comes from Elizabeth. Lauren is very fortunate to have her as a mom!

    1. Kimberly Johnston

      I would like to encourage you to check out http://www.youcanhealyou.com. Virginia Harper has made helping people (including many children) heal naturally from Crohn’s and colitis her life’s mission. I worked for her for several years and can attest that she is also the real deal. When my own son was diagnosed last year with Celiac at the age of 4, she was an invaluable resource toward my son regaining his health. He had been sick for months before we found out he had Celiac. He did not have the typical GI symptoms. Jennifer, I have just recently seen you on a couple of talk shows and so thankful for someone like you to be an advocate for those with Celiac! Blessings and best wishes!!!

  10. Elizabeth

    Thank you Jennifer for thinking of Lauren and remembering to give us the cookie recipe. It is so simple but a new recipe is like a ray of sunshine for those of us trying to feed kids on a restricted diet. I am also grateful to you for taking time with Adam and Lauren. As Adam said you were #1 on her New York list! I only wish I were there to taste all those yummy goodies as I have been gluten free for 2 years! I want to send some encouragement back to you and let you know that we are here to support you in any and every way possible. To those on a restricted diets please know that you are beautifully made!!! May your true nourishment come from time with family and friends, puppy dog kisses and enjoying a sunny day. Know that you need to eat to live and not harm yourself but beyond that just enjoy life and find something to be grateful for each and every day!

  11. Anna

    I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease 4 years ago and my life has been forever changed. The good change – it has caused me to be more present in the now. To learn about nutrition and what foods I put in my body. The bad change – it unfortunately has caused me to lose some friends who couldn’t understand (or didn’t want to understand) my new life. I can no longer stop by any restaurant or bar & be that fun spontaneous person I was before. And that is a drag to them. So now my main concern is my health and happiness. I look forward to stopping by your bakery very soon since I live in NYC. Thanks for all you do!

  12. Sarah

    What you are doing, by using your experiences to help and encourage others, has and will continue to bless so many people struggling with Celiac Disease. Thank you for all of the time and thoughtful effort you have invested in raising awareness. Keep going. You have so many people cheering you on. You are an inspiration to all of us struggling day in and day out with this frustrating and draining disease.

    P. S. The Dr. Drew interview was HIDEOUS, but you remained so poised and classy despite his condescending, flippant attitude and stunning ignorance. Sad that you had to try and convince a “doctor” of the seriousness of CD. Goodness!

  13. susan chamer

    I saw the line passion for helping his daughter jump from the post – there are so many of us trying to help our kids whose health has been damaged by the altered food we have today. Thank you for the work you are doing and will look for your cookbook

  14. Thankful for Whole Foods

    Well, Jennifer , you have very much helped me too. A few months ago I was in a pit of despair due to celiac complications. I was diagnosed and had been eating gf since September and though my digestive systems was worlds better I was exhausted and depleted from probably years of not absorbing nutrients. I just wanted to give up all the effort and just eat whatever processed gf food I could buy ready to go. But your blog told me to cook and make something good for myself. So I went into the kitchen and forced myself to sauté some chicken and cook some rice. I mixed in some cashews I had with Some GF soy sauce. It tasted so good! It’s still hard sometimes especially because I am dealing with all kinds of other food intolerances now. But each time I head to the kitchen and cook, it gets easier. THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP! : )

  15. lucy

    first my husband and I still miss you on blue bloods. sorry they were so unkind to you. I was put on a cd diet 3 months ago and it is not easy but I will make it. keep up the good work. take good care of yourself. you must have a great dad. blessings, lucy

  16. Jillian

    I really feel for that little girl. I can relate all too well, because I too have Crohns disease AND celiac. I can’t imagine being a child and having to deal with both health problems. What a special little girl, and glad you could help her and her father :) I’m wondering how common or uncommon it is to have both Crohns and celiac. I’ve never met anyone else with both.

  17. Carolyn Miceli

    I JUST NOW watched this interview that Jennifer had with “Dr.” Drew. Can I please say that he is the biggest Dick on two feet?! Such a loser who really does need to go back to whatever “Medical school” he attended and sue them for falsely allowing him to become a doctor.

  18. Charis

    You don’t ever want to feel sorry for a child with a difficult situation, you will cripple them instead of empowering them. They can not eat like everyone else. What a great start in life to learn to think for yourself and do what is best for YOU. The “hardship” should be looked at as a beautiful opportunity to not follow the crowd. Feel sorry for the ignorant people who spout off with their mouths when they don’t know what they are talking about. I heard a couple in the grocery store making fun of gluten free products yesterday. I felt embarrassment for their ignorance.
    I really did not like the picture of the girl you featured on this post. It made for negative depressing feelings of hopelessness. Don’t use this little girl’s (sad/depressed) photo as a way to inform. My daughter told me once that she got more freaked out about her health issues (kidney) when I got all worried and sad about it. She was more interested in all the things she could do and control.

    1. Elizabeth

      Charis – I am infuriated by your ignorance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You have no idea what an AMAZING kid Lauren is! If she was portrayed as a sad little girl or if that is your interpretation then it so of so very false!!! She is the so gentle and kind and at the same time the picture of GREAT STRENGTH. I have NEVER EVER EVER met anyone like her and don’t think I ever will. As her parents we would take her sickness away, no doubt, take her pain away but at the same time we are THANKFUL for it because in spite of it she has great faith! We have taught her to focus on what is beautiful and good in life…time with friends, a beautiful day, puppy dog kisses, faith in God…instead of being miserable because she can’t have junk filled cupcakes. And guess what??? She has the best attitude about it. She really hardly ever complains about it. Fitting out, if that’s what it takes to be a difference maker and an example to others is what our family is all about. You have got this one so wrong sister! If you don’t love Lauren’s appearance that is subjective…we, however, think she is beautiful…inside and out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Natalie

    I have recently begun reading the book “Ending the Vicious Cycle” which discusses all sorts of gut diseases including Crohn’s and Celiac, and offers the Specific Carbohydrate Diet as a resolution to these ailments. Maybe it would be a worthwhile read for Lauren’s family. Good luck to you and them!

  20. nancy phillips

    I am off of all Rheumatoid Arthritis meds having gone gluten free, pescitarian (only fresh caught red salmon otherwise vegan). PLUS eliminated all citrus, fresh spinach, all types of peppers, tomatoes, peanuts, soy, potatoes (except sweet potatoes/yams), sugar, all night shade vegetables. I have my life back. I can walk, run, make a fist, hold my grand children’s hands, open doors, … It is very difficult to eat out. I usually order a salad, bring my own dressing, bring my own beans … when we travel I have to get really creative.

  21. Cricket

    Jennifer, I just finished reading your book and I wanted to thank you for sharing your world with the rest of us. Through the last eight years I have had to restrict my diet by trial and error because the doctors couldn’t figure out my allergies beyond Nickel and Carba Mix, which are not food related per-say but require major restrictions of chemical products I can use or be in contact with. I feel like I should be living in a bubble. I then found I am intolerant to soy, it won’t kill me just make me so sick I regret trying to eat. So I had to learn what had soy in it and how to avoid it. Not an easy task, so I can completely relate to lack of social outings and depressing holidays when the family gets together and there is nothing safe to eat… I usually bring a side dish now of something safe for me and a cooler with other alternatives. After reading your story I believe I need to look again at my diet because there are many days that I still feel “not right” and itchy. I only sleep when medicated with Benadryl and my nails are kept very short. So I will be going gluten free and see how that goes. Looking forward to buying your goodies online as I’m from the west coast and may never travel to the east side! Again thank you! You made my world a little brighter!

  22. Katrina

    You Go Girl!! I just finished your book and where do I begin it made me cry and feel heard and understood it also validated that a lot of seemingly unrelated symptoms I had and have are the result of this disease but after awhile of listening to family,friends doctors ect I begin to question myself.i was diagnosed 4 years ago with Celiac and since then have got my mom to go GF after being extremely ill and diagnosed with follicular lymphoma. Like you I suffer from neurological neuropathy and besides that had hair and eyelashes fall out as well as a lump on my neck we could be twins haha. But seriously I so related to you on all levels including your frustration on how this disease is viewed and treated.the thing I like most is that you don’t sugar coat anything and you advocate a healthy lifestyle. I’m trying to do my part also I went back to school and became a certified health coach bodyfoodconnection .com is my website I’m a support group leader for the South Bay in California and work with the CDF as a chapter treasurer to raise funds to promote our school initiative to raise awareness with school nurses through education and posters. I truly wish I could meet you and give you a big hug! Keep up the good work!

  23. Donna

    Hi am also waiting for a reply for the above recipe on these choc chip cookies for Lauren.
    ?? arrowroot. How much please…. 1/4 what ? Cup, tsp etc…. i made the batter not realizing you did not print 1/4 what, i just assumed tsp, but the batter is far too wet.
    Have not used 1/4 cup of arrowroot before but it seems maybe that is it? again not sure.
    now i sit with this batter on the counter….wondering what i should do…. thanks. Please reply as soon as you are able. Posting recipes are wonderful for us and appreciated but if they are not corrected it becomes very frustrating for us timewise and wasting ingredients. Donna

  24. Nancy

    Just watched your interview on Daily Show and have checked out your web site. I understand now why you departed from Blue Bloods!!! Great works, you are making a difference! I do not have celiac disease myself but eat Gluten Free!!! not as a fad but as a healthy choice!!! I feel better and I think most everyone would feel better if they just even TRIED. Most people don’t realize that they are not feeling their best because they are so use to status quo!! The masses don’t understand, but your works are another step to enlightenment. When people are ready to understand or have an interest in the truth you will be a source and example. YOU GO GIRL!!! You have my utmost respect!!

    1. Rjonda

      Nancy, I’m pretty sure it should be a teaspoon. I’ve used this recipe several times now and quite like them. I do add about 1/4 cup or so of Kasha (toasted buckwheat) to give them a little more texture. I also use raisins instead of chocolate chips, both might be nice.

  25. Joseph Henry

    Dear Jennifer, first let me say I’m a big fan. I was born in the Bronx, grew up on Long Island. I’ve always loved a smart talking Brooklyn girl with an attitude. I’m not sick like you or a lot of your followers, But I am type 1diabetic. Pasta, bread and rice shoot my sugar up. I want to purchass your cookbook to support you , but I need a reicipe for pasta without using white flower and sugar. The same for bread . I am now using almond milk, almond butter, almond and hazel but flower and coconut butter, with limited success . I also need recipes for banana bread and cookies..If your cookbook could help me please let me know and I will purchase it. I worked in Manhatten for 23 yrs. If I didn’t live in Florida now I would visit your bakery. Keep up the good work you are making a difference. I did see you on Jon Stewart and The Chew.

  26. Nikole

    I am celiac and have crowns. My life has been centered around the symptoms and little knowledge of resolution. Thank you for becoming such an astute role model. As a grown woman, I never really knew if one until I read your story. I will be in the look out for more to follow. -Hug-

  27. Heather

    I was wondering if there are any substitutes to bananas for I am allergic to them and eggs so if anyone has a good substitute that would be great. I am GF, Wheat free, yeast free, almond and peanut free, egg and dairy free as well. It’s difficult but when it helps you to finally feel good it what you do. I also personally met you at the bakery and you are so beautiful inside and out. I think I was more in awe of that then you being on tv. I love how you are helping people and getting the word out. Much love and I hope to see you again real soon.

  28. LH

    So proud of you. I don’t know you but feel a familiarity. Exactly I thought while watching some videos: for example the one with doctor (what’s his name…?). He was so rude. Those that judged you simply did not understand the disease. No need to instill this knowledge on them. ~You have spoken & everyone that needed to hear have heard! Others will follow suit. I am a metaphysical healer & I tell you.. I can only speak to those that come to me with questions or healing. ~You have the support of many with Celia & the many without it. I am do not have celiac but have been gluten free for over 20 years due to just feeling a bit tired with gluten. And it changed my life. may you be blessed always! ~ Though I wished you could write a book with baking recipes… !! I am looking for making bagels.. ! I bake & prefer to just buy flour & bake myself… Thanks

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