Names have been changed to protect the innocent...and my husband...and me...but not the dog. His name is Dexter.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Our Gluten Free Journey...Thus Far...

A gluten free diet has been in the back of my brain for a while.  It has just been that nagging reoccurring thought that it was something I should look into.  For a few years now.  At first I figured that it was just because it was trendy and I was more aware of it now than before. 

Turns out...I should have listened to my brain a long time ago.  Huh. 

My poor baby Babs.  When she was a tiny baby she was lactose intolerant, but she grew out of that by the time she was 18 months old.  She frequently seemed to have stomachaches but I was never sure if they were real or "stomachaches".  On top of that, she has had eczema that would come and go and come and go.  Each return getting worse and worse. 

Last summer I finally brought it up with her pediatrician and asked if the eczema could be from a minor milk allergy.  And that's when I first heard the big "C" word.....Celiac.  We decided to have both girls tested and thankfully they both do not have Celiac. 

But when I pressed my doctor for other reasons that could be causing the eczema he just kind of blew me off (in a nice way...their doctor is a nice guy) saying that sometimes nothing causes eczema.  It just is there.  Um....what?!  How can nothing be causing her entire back to be covered in a red rash?!  That just didn't make any sense to me at all. 

And then I had shoulder surgery.  That was neither the time nor place for gluten free.

A couple months later I decided to put Babs on a gluten free diet to see if that would effect her skin condition.  It wasn't too bad although it was a bit weird to have her eating differently than the rest of us for three weeks.  But it was worth it.  Her rashes started clearing up!  And the stomachaches were gone!  And there were no "stomachaches" for alternative purposes.  But being the ever inquisitive mother that I am (read: complete idiot) I decided to put her back on gluten to see if it really was the diet change or if it was just a coincidence.  Oh dear, it was the saddest thing ever.  Not only did her rashes come back with a vengeance, but they were everywhere!  My poor baby even had rashes on her eyelids!  I felt awful.  And of course a few weeks later I learned that when you remove an allergen and then reintroduce it, the effects are much worse.  So, that got me the worst mother of the year award.  It literally took months for those eyelid rashes to disappear completely.  It's a good thing she is patient with her mother. 

At that time we decided that Babs was definitely gluten intolerant and that it would just be simpler if we all went on a gluten free diet instead of trying to do separate meals, snacks, etc.  And boy was I surprised at the results.  My Lolly girl has had some digestive issues for YEARS that no matter what we did they just would not get better.  We took her to specialists and tried whatever the doctor's told us to....all to no avail.  But since going gluten free, her issues have improved significantly.  And I've felt so much better as well.  My body is much happier on a gluten free diet for sure. I'm still trying to convince CG that he does better on the gluten free diet but he's not completely sold. 

As time went on and we adjusted (surprisingly well) to our new lifestyle, I did more research and found that some studies have suggested a connection between the huge increase in gluten intolerance and Celiac disease and genetically modified wheat.  So after about six weeks I decided to give non-genetically modified wheat a try.  Luckily, there were no side rashes, stomachaches or other digestive issues.  Hallelujah!  This really has made our life so much simpler! 

It's hard for kids to go without bread and many of the other gluten things.  A lack of (affordable) toast was a daily struggle.  Now that we can use the non-GMO wheat, we can have bread and pizza and pretty much anything else we want as long as we use that flour.  That has made our home life pretty "normal" and I think it makes some of the other challenges (at school, parties, etc.) a little easier. 

Officially, we are gluten free as far as school, church, family dinners because there are just not that many wheat based products available that are non-genetically modified and we don't want to have to deal with side effects when we can avoid them.  For this very reason, I would be one happy Mama if they started requiring companies to label products that are made with genetically modified ingredients because then I would have a much easier time finding things for my little family.  But until that happens, we'll just be making it work. 

I saw this on Facebook and thought it was a great checklist if you have been wondering if you might be gluten intolerant.  It's okay to admit it....this is a safe place for the gluten free.

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