Eating Gluten-Free: Families with Food Sensitivities

Erynn, a Mom living with Celiac Disease, shares her story and reminds us of the importance of safety and awareness of food issues with other children.

“So we’re not certain my daughter has an issue with gluten.  I have celiac disease so her chances are high which means we’ve avoided gluten for her since birth.  She’s almost 28 months and we’ll continue to avoid at least until she’s old enough to be able to communicate what’s going on when she eats gluten.  This isn’t to say she hasn’t been exposed to gluten.  She’s little, kids share, we’ve had some problems.  Whenever she’s gotten in to gluten she’s ranged from REALLY sick with vomiting to spending 3-5 days not as my sweet, happy, most easy going girl in the whole world but as kind of a hell spawn.  So we don’t know for sure, but we’re, sadly, pretty certain.  I hold on to hope that we’re wrong, I’d love nothing more than for her to be able to eat what all the other kids eat.  Going out is stressful, being around other kids and other moms when there’s gluten food everywhere causes massive anxiety.  She’s only two so she doesn’t understand and often ends in tears when she can’t have what the other kids have.  At a mama gathering a complete stranger started feeding her a muffin.  Who does that?  who feeds anyone’s kid they don’t know?  It’s totally not okay.  I worry about other kids sharing because kids share, it was appalling to have a grown woman who should know better, do this.

But it’s not all bad.  When I’m out with my mama friends and their littles, an effort to bring gluten-free food is always made, when there is gluten food around people pay attention.  I’ve seen mamas leap to grab food before it enters my daughter’s mouth because they’re not sure if it’s okay and they want to keep her safe.  When we go to birthday parties there’s always cake she can eat (although when she asks for “cake”, one of her favourite foods, she means rice cakes <3) I feel so lucky she’s in a community with so much love.
Because I’ve been gluten-free for so long having a gluten-free kid didn’t change our lives.  I guess we’re lucky, or whatever you’d call it, that way.  We keep our house gluten-free to avoid cross contamination. Friends are amazing at respecting that and not bringing gluten in to our home.  With family it’s always a struggle and an argument, and a “what do you mean she can’t have bread why not?”  I started a gluten-free community kitchen so that we, GF mamas, can have more time to spend with our kids and less time to spend in the kitchen.  Not to mention connecting with other GF families.  It’s all one day at a time.
This is one of C’s favourite recipes:

Tamara shares her family’s story in going gluten-free .… There are a growing number of mainstream doctors who are suggesting gluten-free diets as a solution to low energy, chronic fatigue, and chronic pain.  Medical journals are finding compelling evidence about the importance of at least restricting the amount of gluten in our diets.  My family isn’t gluten intolerant (or, perhaps we are ALL gluten-intolerant, it’s just that we aren’t any more intolerant than anyone else).  But, we have noticed a huge change in our energy, lack of little aches & pains and, for me, headaches – since we mostly cut out gluten in March 2012.

 My thoughts on a few musts for those working on cutting out (or cutting down on) gluten.
  • a loaf of Udi’s bread in the house at all times
  • a recipe for a gluten-free multi-purpose flour (make the flour & leave it in a big bin on your counter). The best recipe I’ve found is on GlutenFreeGirl, an amazing blog.
  • a free subscription to two blogs; GlutenFreeGirl and Gluten Free Goddess (the GF Goddess shares how to go GF)
  • a lot of beans (Spilling the Beans is not a wheat-free book but super helpful because if you keep pre-prepared grainy salads with beans & veggies in your fridge you are less likely to reach for that box of crackers!)
  • and a whole lot of quinoa (we use it in place of pasta and couscous)
We have a policy.  If we are out for dinner at a friend’s house or on a rare visit to a fancy restaurant all of this goes out the window.  Because we aren’t gluten intolerant we believe that in moderation it won’t hurt us.  I think it’s all of the excess that has landed us where we are.
Also, we do eat grains that have smaller amounts of gluten such as spelt & kamut.  Our concern is more about avoiding wheat & less about avoiding gluten.
Wheat Belly is a brilliant read that provides useful & compelling insight into the issue with wheat.
The word Paleo is one that you will come across more and more. I just learned it a few months ago & now it’s everywhere.  It means “primitive” eating and focuses on fruits/veggies & meat. I follow some Paleo blogs & have a Paleo cookbook (Paleo Comfort Foods) and they are a fantastic resource.
And just the other day, I discovered this amazing blog by a Kamloops mama!
Another fabulous resource is 100 Days of Real Food.  Check out their gluten-free resources.  Have you got another resource you rely on?  Link it in our comments or email  What have your experiences been?  Do you have a great gluten-free recipe to share?
There are lots of online resources if you are looking to create a healthy gluten-free school lunch, as well…

Elizabeth is a Kamloops lifer. Born at RIH, she is happy to be raising her family here. Married with four wonderful children, Elizabeth is also teacher and enjoys working with parents as she learns more about this “Mommy gig”. Elizabeth is passionate about parenting and enjoys networking with other parents.

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