My Gluten Free Rant!

I am a wife, mother, daughter, and friend who loves spending time with those I love. I am a stay at home mom and I love my role, I am very blessed. I am not a doctor, I am just a concerned mom and wife who loves to research! I do my best with what I know, so I guess I should start there. I know that my husband and all three of our adorable (I’ll post pics soon and you will agree, they are pretty durn cute!) children have celiac disease. I cook gluten free. I have spent countless hours over the last almost 10 years of marriage scouring over the internet, blogs, books, and numerous other resources, researching celiac disease and gluten free. I pack my children’s lunches for school and ensure each item is gluten free. I do everything possible to make sure that my family is consuming only gluten free foods!

I read almost every single ingredient on the labels of products at the grocery store before I dare toss it in my cart! You would be amazed at how many companies try to weasel gluten into their products, seriously, its in some spices! What?! It is a painstaking chore to grocery shop, its so time consuming because I spend so much time reading labels, its no surprise that my children despise grocery shopping! A big shout out to all the companies who proudly proclaim their gluten freeness (is that a word?! sure, it is now! ha!) in big bold lettering on your product, saving me time! You are the BOMB! I go online and read up on restaurants menus and allergy information to see whats safe for us. There is lots and lots of reading involved!

Why do I go out of my way to ensure my family eats gluten free you may ask? Did you miss the part where they have celiac disease? That is why! You have no idea how many times our gluten free diet comes up in conversations, it just does, and you also have no idea how many times I have had people roll their eyes upon learning of our choice in diet. And I don’t blame them (mostly), so many people just do not know! They have no clue what it is to live with celiac disease. Here’s the deal, I believe 2 things concerning this subject: One, most of the negative comments and dispositions are due to misconceptions or lack of knowledge as far as celiac is concerned. The second, its not your choice what others do! Simple as that! Hypothetically, lets say my family is gluten free because it just makes us feel better or simply because it is the latest fad, so what?! You do not pay my grocery bill, so lest you not worry ūüôā

Back to my first belief, here are some misconceptions that ¬†hopefully I can clear up pretty quick. No, celiac disease is not an allergy, so my children will not go into anaphylactic shock if they consume gluten. There are people who do have a sensitivity and have allergic reactions, that is different. Celiac is an autoimmune disease that is not contagious, but is hereditary. Some people are born with it, some develop it years down the road. People with celiac basically do not have the enzyme to digest the protein found in wheat, barley, or rye, even a small teaspoon can cause major issues. Because the body cannot digest the gluten, it starts attacking itself, causing ulcers in the lining on the intestines which could lead to cancer, among other things. The body also cannot absorb nutrients, leaving the brain and other vital organs without necessary nutrients. My husband has experienced major mood swings, and what is known as heart spasms, basically he feels like he is having a heart attack! Our oldest daughter has also experienced the mood swings, she said her brain is “foggy”. There is such a wide range of ¬†symptoms with celiac disease and they vary with each individual, so many people who actually have celiac are misdiagnosed with another disease!

Here is a link to a great resource that better explains celiac and symptoms:

http://celiac.org/

I recently read a quote in another blog- “Choosing to eat gluten-free because it makes you feel better and having to eat gluten-free to save your life are two very different things.” -Alysa

Here is the blog post I pulled it from, she does a great job explaining how gluten affects someone with celiac.

http://inspiredrd.com/2013/05/what-i-want-you-to-know-celiac-disease.html#comment-89761

This is serious people! My biggest frustration as a mom of kids with celiac is that people do not take it seriously AND the fact that my kids so often feel left out. I get it, missing out on cupcakes is not that big of a deal really, but to a 5 year old, it is! How many kids at that age can see the bigger picture? In their world, it matters! I do not expect people to cater to my children’s gluten free needs, but I would appreciate a heads up so I can at least send them with a gluten free treat or prepare them to do without. In many ways though I have used this as a character builder, to remind them that we all have differences, theirs just happens to be food related. As parents, we do not enjoy when our children are hurt or feel left out, it hurts me! I flat out don’t like it, but I know there are times that this will happen, its unavoidable, celiac or not. Feeling outed is apart of growing and everyone needs to learn how to process and deal with it! I don’t want to be that bitter mom that expects everything to be even steven, but in the same respect, I would at least like others to accept my kids disease and not make them feel inferior because they have disease.

If you could see glimpses of our lives over the past several years, you would know why I feel so strongly about this subject. We have had some pretty scary moments, rushing our toddler to the ER with a 106 degree fever (on more than one occasion) that wouldn’t go down! You would see me comforting my daughter who is sobbing because she has been uncharacteristically¬†unkind to family and friends and doesn’t understand why she is acting that way and why she is suddenly struggling with math that a week ago was so easy. You would see a toddler crying in pain as her body was covered in hives. Theses are just a few of the moments we have dealt with after our children consumed gluten. It is hard enough to watch your child go through an illness, we’ve all been there, stomach bug, the flu, ear infection, maybe strep throat. Don’t you feel so helpless, you just want to take the pain away! Can you imagine if it lasted several weeks? a month? Thats celiac, it takes a while to get the gluten out of your system. But what if you could prevent it?! What if you knew what caused your child to be severely ill?! Wouldn’t you do everything in your power to prevent it, to be their advocate? So please, educate yourself.

 

 

 

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