Sometimes health care professionals are reminded of what it is like to receive health information instead of give health information. I was the recipient of unfortunate yet not surprising information when I was told my 7 year old daughter has Celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that is triggered by gluten (found in wheat, rye and barley.) The immune system of those with Celiac disease attacks tissue in the small intestine if and only if they eat gluten. The symptoms are very diverse and range from hair loss and itchy palms to stomach pain. It is estimated that 1 out of every 133 Americans have celiac disease. Check out celiac.org for more information.
We had been eliminating gluten from my daughter’s diet for a few months due to stomach aches. Her father is gluten intolerant so when she complained of reoccurring tummy trouble gluten was the first possible irritant we eliminated. Her symptoms completely vanished when we eliminated gluten so I asked her doctor to order the panel of blood tests for celiac disease. The gold standard for diagnosing Celiac disease is a biopsy of the small intestine. We feel that the blood test and the lack of ANY symptoms with a gluten free diet is enough confirmation for us. We are choosing to not subject our daughter to the scope and biopsy at this time. This is a very individualized decision and one to discuss with your doctor.
I am very proud of my daughter’s resiliency and maturity regarding her new gluten free lifestyle. Most foods we cook and eat at home are naturally gluten free with a few specialty gluten free products. This helps by keeping processed foods to a minimum, allows everyone to enjoy the same foods and saves money on groceries. Eliminating gluten is not as hard or depriving as it may appear. If you are diagnosed with a wheat allergy, as gluten intolerant or with Celiac disease then come visit with me at Banister Nutrition. If I can please a 7 year old I know I can also help you with the transition!