Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gluten Burger And Gluten Fries For The GF Kid

It is extremely upsetting to me to hear or see adults act like children.  Celiac Disease is serious.  In children, CD affects growth.  It is imperative that anyone, and more specifically children with CD maintain a strict GF diet.  Children at young ages are not yet able to maintain and research a gluten-free diet, much less anything that advanced.  Your children are leaning on you to get them out of the woods.  Help your children build these tools.  It is your job as a parent to protect, and if that means GF Diet, so be it.

Almost a year ago I found out that one of my friends daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  She was under the age of 7.  She was diagnosed after only 1 blood test.  Just one.  For some it can take years.  She called me and told me on a sunny day, that ended up being a rainy one because I had a frantic mother on the other end of the phone connection crying...more like panicking.  I responded with Congratulations!  She didn't understand my positive nature and was confused by my response.  I said darling, now your daughter can start to live her life.  Now the healing and the journey begins.  

I'm not going to say that having Celiac Disease or a Gluten-Intolerance is an ice-cream sundae with a cherry and hot fudge on top, but it's not the end of the world.  It really isn't.  It may feel like that for a long time, but know that you can adjust your lifestyle and make this work.

Work and Panic from Parents.

Panic from the parents who think it's all over because of this diagnosis. (Please listen to me when I say it's not the end of your world-Trust me)  Panic then gets relayed to your children and then they panic.  There are many forms of panic, some obvious and others latent.

Work.  Work is the keyword at the beginning stages of getting diagnosed.  Everything you have ever eaten or made/bought/given to your child has to now be completely re-evaluated.  You as the parent has to learn to read labels, ask questions, be verbal and strict (until your child understands the severity), with your children, restaurant managers, hotel managers, friends who cook, pharmacists, doctor's etc.  This part is no longer easy, I will not lie.  But like any lifestyle, it takes time getting used to something new.  Besides food limitations, there are medical limitations.  I can say in the beginning the list will seem like it's forever long.  I compare it to going from eating anything and everything to going Vegan.  Lifestyle change no doubt.  But in you or your child's circumstance, this is forever lifestyle and medically necessary.

When I hear Parents say they don't have time to deal with CD and sometimes they cheat and let their children eat gluten anyways, I always cringe.  Not only cringe, I usually am screaming in my head saying OMG, and I honestly want to bitch slap anyone/parent who says this! Shake them uncontrollably and say get with the PROGRAM!.  (But I obviously don't).  Ignorance.  I hate it.

Most recently I had a phone conversation with that same friend.  Her daughter was home from school because she wasn't feeling well.  My friend was telling me that she was giving her daughter a burger and french fries from a fast food joint.  I asked her if it was gluten-free, and free of any contamination ( I knew it wasn't in my mind).  She said no.  I couldn't believe that she was letting her daughter diagnosed with CD eat a burger (filled with many fillers, thickeners) and french fries that were most likely fried with all the other breaded options.  OMG.  Upon speaking further with her she told me she didn't have time to deal with this, because she wasn't home enough etc and had been busy.  I told her flat out that her daughter would get really, really sick if this continued.  She said she knew, and knew she was acting like a bad mother.  She said it was just too hard to adapt, and that she gives her daughter gluten and thinks it doesn't seem to bother her, despite the blood test diagnosis, constant problem symptoms, her doctor telling her to keep a strict GF diet and even watching her daughter constantly get sick or complain she "doesn't feel well".  Later in the conversation she mentioned she was worried about her daughter, that she wasn't doing well.  OMG, even more reason to keep the diet strict!  How can a parent who has all of the tools to lead a GF diet for her daughter, say she's worried about her child while simultaneously feeding her child the gluten (poison) that makes her feel so ill???.  It makes no sense.  Selfish, I thought.  Selfish to risk your daughters health.  And cruel.  I told her that I absolutely could not entertain this conversation, because she was making me so angry.  She then mentioned that she knows a few other parents who also let their children with CD eat gluten because their doctors have recommended this and have confirmed it is ok!  She mentioned even they had the same response.  If they don't notice the symptoms, why keep a GF diet.

You are the parent.  Use your voice.  Be responsible.  Take action.  If your doctor isn't making rational decisions, get a new doctor.

Excuse #2 came along with, "I don't want my daughter to get singled out at school".  This is not a reason to risk your child's health.  On this topic, I cannot imagine that the kids at school make fun of other children about dietary restrictions and diseases. And if this is happening, it is unfortunate, but not unfortunate enough to risk your child's health. 

My point of telling you; my readers about this true tale is because I want you to be aware.  Only 1/8 of a tsp. affects someone with CD.  This can lead to an ARRAY of symptoms from stomach problems to hair loss to bloody stool, fatigue, internal damage, rashes and...EVERYTHING in between and around the block.  The symptoms might not even be visible, which is worse.  They may even be silent.  And silent inflammation KILLS.  Your child might "fine".  But inside, the gluten, which acts as poison is destroying your child's body.  

Repair and Rebuild

Once your body is destroyed, you have to then repair, rebuild and replenish your body.  It takes a full 6 months to excrete all of the gluten out of your system before your body can heal.  A doctor I know mentions that it takes anywhere from 4 months and on to start to feel better after following a strict gf diet.  Start.  But certainly don't count these months if you are cheating.

Please pass this on to anyone you know that may be dealing with a similar situation.  Spread the gluten-free word.

xoxo Julie

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