How do you help your child when you know something is not right and doctors don't know what's wrong?
This is the case for so many parents. Our particular story ended in the diagnosis of celiac disease and the prescription of a lifetime of eating gluten free. While it may sound daunting, it quite possibly was one of the best things that could have happened. We found out that there was no need for expensive medications, surgeries or doctors. The answer was to simply not eat gluten and our son would thrive. And thrive he does! He's been gluten free for five years now, and I recently went gluten free in June 08.
What is gluten?
Gluten is the protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oats. Okay, oats don't have gluten IN them, but in America, they are on fields where the crops are rotated with wheat and therefore, contaminated.
Why would gluten make me sick?
For people who have celiac disease (an autoimmune disease, not allergy), an amount as small as 20 parts per million can send someone to the hospital. That's in extreme cases. There seem to be different response levels in each individual case.
Can gluten make me sick if I don't have celiac?
That depends. There are many studies done that show over 2 million Americans have celiac, yet many others are intolerant to gluten. What does that mean? It means there are many people out there who don't test positive for celiac, yet they are still extremely sensitive to gluten.
What can I eat at the grocery store that doesn't have gluten?
Gluten seems like it's in everything...cakes, cookies, pasta, bread etc. The following items are all naturally gluten free:
- Fresh fruit and veggies
- Unseasoned meat and poultry
- Seafood and shellfish
- Rice and risotto
- Soy (not tofu)
For more information, check out the Gluten Free Foundation site.