My four boys were fortunate enough not to be born with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, and they demonstrate it by gnawing on bread and slurping up spaghetti regularly. But other kids aren’t so lucky. Every year, thousands of children are forced to give up bread, cake, and pasta for life, when their doctors discover their bodies have developed over-reactive immune responses to gluten. It’s a fact of life when you’re an adult, but it’s pretty darn heartbreaking when you’re a kid being told you can’t eat your favorite foods anymore.
With each child I’ve had to experience the classic hypochondria-by-proxy that every protective mother goes through. At some point when trying to determine a cause for Joshua’s behavior, I became obsessed with celiac disease and read what I could on gluten-related disorders. There’s a “safe” amount of gluten those with celiac disease can consume, but it varies so much amongst sufferers and is based on such volatile factors that it’s impractical to count on it. What became apparent to me was that most families with a child who can’t consume gluten tend to simply ban gluten all together.
That’s a responsible policy, but it wasn’t until years later when a co-worker of mine whose son has celiac disease told me about the day-to-day influence it has on the family, that I started to understand how aggravating it could be. First off, her son is an incredibly picky eater, something I’m certainly no stranger to, and that made it difficult for her and her husband to simply feed their child. Secondly, she told me that they had sought after gluten-free alternatives for years, but they either tasted terrible or were too expensive. Thirdly, her two other children refused to not eat bread because they were just as picky, causing breakfast and dinner table hostilities to grow out of control.
Then she told me about getting a hold of a gluten free bread maker that apparently changed her life. She tried making gluten-free bread on her own before but it was impossible finding the ingredients at the local grocery store and the taste and texture were always off. According to her, this new device is as simple to use as an Easy Bake Oven. The company that makes the machine supplies purchasers with prepackaged ingredients that are added with water and poured in. It’s as simple as that.
Her family got to start enjoying food as an actual family again, and not as splintered gangs of pro-gluten and anti-gluten. Most importantly, her son once again got to enjoy some of the foods he thought he had lost forever. I thought this may be helpful to some of my readers who may have children suffering from gluten allergies, so I wanted to share. I can’t imagine the restrictions this would put on a family, but there are workarounds available to make it easier.