“They’re gluten intolerant… What do you have that’s gluten-free? But not too much dairy either. And nothing too greasy, please.”
It’s the stuff sketch shows are made of and I never thought I’d ever be one of THOSE people. Yet here I am baking a batch of gluten-free, dairy-free, oil-free brownies, sweetened with only honey and molasses and moistened with apple puree.
An Apology to THOSE Moms I Used to Judge
I used to sit at birthday parties internally rolling my eyes as I heard Moms grumble about the inevitable pizza offering. I watched them scrape off the cheese and desperately try to convince their kid that hummus and celery were also delicious.
I’m not saying I didn’t believe in allergies. But there was no way that many kids were allergic to wheat, right?! I, like many others, believed most were jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon… but I hoped the fad would pass and we could all go back to enjoying a deep pan soon. I did not believe in gluten ‘intolerance’ and thought everyone should man up a bit and stop excluding large food groups from a healthy balanced diet.
Then my boys got sick, and a year later they are still sick. Despite testing negative for all food allergies, I have scrubbed my carpet and upholstery clean enough times to know my boys can no longer tolerate gluten, and they also have to take it easy on fatty, dairy-rich foods. So I’m sorry for being judgmental… because I am one of THOSE moms now.
When Happy Turns Pooptastic
When the Twins first started eating solids there wasn’t much gluten on offer. Veggie and protein-rich foods went down a treat. It was only when they got a little older and started increasing their intake of classic ‘kid food’ we started to experience problems. Mac n cheese, sandwiches, breaded everything. We tested for food allergies and parasites and everything was clear, and we were doing OK until the household came down with a tummy bug.
When the gut is inflamed everything is worse.
While the rest of the household recovered normally from stomach flu, the Boys never did. Food was going in one end and straight out the other. When I’m sick I often stick to plain toast… but this only seemed to make things worse. Something was definitely wrong.
Despite the negative tests and multiple doctors visits I decided to start cutting out food groups… clutching at straws to try and help them. We started with dairy and after endless googling even tried cutting out random things like bananas and artificial sweeteners. After three months of daily diarrhea, I finally pulled gluten from their diet. And I have never been so excited to see an actual turd.
Who Needs a Diagnosis?
We have ongoing monitoring with the gastro specialist, and it is still to be determined if the boys have Celiac’s Disease or are gluten intolerant. Even some doctors do not believe gluten intolerance is a thing… they have obviously not seen what a tuna sandwich can do to my kids’ behind.
We stripped the Twins of gluten for three months before trying to slowly wean them back on. If it’s an intolerance, we may be able to do that. But if it’s Celiacs we will not, and unfortunately there are often false negatives in young children for the Celiac’s blood test. What’s more, you need to be actively eating gluten in order to test for the allergy, because it is looking for your body’s immune response to the allergen. The weaning process didn’t go brilliantly and after another recent tummy bug we are back off the gluten.
Next step may be an endoscopy where they will push a camera down their throat and take a biopsy of their intestines. Who wants to put their 3yr-old through that? If gluten-free works I’m not sure I need an answer. We will see.
What it’s Like Being One of THOSE Food Police Moms
I now read the ingredients on everything I buy. I check restaurant menus in advance to see if there is something the kids can eat. I thanks a Higher Force for the creation of corn tortillas, rice cakes and Udi’s gluten-free bread. I have to supply daycare with special snacks and lunch, and I’m pretty much a poop expert.
Going gluten-free was quite the shock to the system but over time we’ve got used it, and I’m thankful we live in 2018 and not 1990. The grocery stores are now packed with gluten-free alternatives, and restaurants are generally understanding of special dietary requirements.
We’re just another statistic in a World of increasing allergies:
Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.9 million children under age 18. That’s 1 in 13 children, or roughly two in every classroom. (foodallergy.com)
For now, I’m getting used being one of THOSE moms. You know, the type that cares for their kids’ well-being and will do whatever it takes to keep them healthy and safe. One of THOSE moms that cater to their childrens’ needs because they love them. Essentially, I’ve always been one of THOSE moms.