Monday, May 23, 2011

Day in the Life of a Kid with Celiac

Kid #1 was diagnosed with Celiac Disease at 17 months.  He was so sick.  He was up to 20 diaper changes a day and vomited at least once every day for 2 and a half months.  He was so sad.  He lost 4 pounds (he weighed 22 to start)  The diagnosis seemed like such a big deal (until we had Kid #2 to put things in perspective!).  Gluten free food wasn't everywhere.  Most people had no idea what I was talking about.  But not now.  Even the most conventional grocery store has a gluten free section.  I thought I would write about what a day as Kid #1 looks like.

When he wakes up in the morning he has a gluten free bagel.  He has his own toaster slots and his own cream cheese. (and butter, peanut butter, and any other spread that could be contaminated with the "double dip" of a knife)  I keep it all clearly marked for everyone's convenience.  I found some squirt bottles to make buying in bulk (and avoiding the expense of smaller squeezable versions) easier for all of us. 

We pack his lunch everyday.  This doesn't break my heart.  It was a real shock to find out how many of the school lunch options have gluten (wheat).  Taco meat and french fries just to name a few.  I tried to let him buy his lunch a couple of times, but it was usually a hamburger or a hot dog without the bun and a vegetable.  For us, it was not a value and he was still hungry.  It also wasn't the nutrition I thought he needed.  He also packs a snack.  This gets tricky as schools crack down on nuts in the classroom.  (Get it, crack down?)  In years pasts we have had a written plan to allow him to have nuts in the classroom.  This year he was placed in with a student with a nut allergy.  Fortunately, it is just peanuts, so we try and avoid those when choosing a school snack.  (Nuts often are used as binding ingredients in gluten free products.)  I prefer the idea of each kid bringing their own snack.  It was always a bit more stressful when one student brought snack for the entire class.  And don't even get me started on cupcakes!

Once he gets home snack is easy.  He has fruit, vegetables, crackers and hummus, or yogurt.  Most of our dinners are gluten free.  If not, there is a gluten free substitution (like 2 different pastas).  I have found this a more economical way to shop for stuff, since gluten free items are so expensive.  We have 2 pizza cutters, multiple cutting boards, items labeled in the pantry.  I really think this has been a blessing to our family.  I was forced to start reading labels.  Once I started reading them I became shocked by what I was reading.  Kid #1's Celiac Disease got me on a plan to feed my kids healthier, less processed foods.  We did it at first because we had too, but now we do it because I can't imagine eating those fillers and chemicals. 

Recently, I put Kid #3 on a gluten free diet to see if her tummy trouble (which was different from Kid #1's, but not exactly) would go away.  It did! 

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