Today we choose ... gluten free

by - April 12, 2012


My daughter has been suffering from allergies since she was 3 years old. She is now 6 and in my mind, that's three years too long to suffer. The moment I put myself on a gluten/dairy/sugar free diet, I knew my daughter needed to be on the same thing. She's been dairy free, and while we've definitely seen improvement, there are still many health issues. Let me count the ways.... chronic sinus infections, post nasal drip, coughing, sneezing, itching, hives, irritability, and borderline OCD, which I believe is neurological manifestation of her allergies.

And so today we choose. She and I together chose for her to share my way of eating. She will be officially gluten/dairy free both home and away and as refined sugar free as one can possibly be, as a child in a world of sugar. I know my first hurdle will be a rather large one. A birthday party in just two days. Already I'm trying to plan bringing a gluten-free, somewhat healthy treat as an alternative. But surely she will feel left out. Confused. Angry? This will be a process and I expect she will take her initial frustration out of me.

All of her health signs are pointing to a leaky gut. Being that leaky gut is a precursor to autoimmune disease and a myriad of other scary stuff, I'm attempting to nip it in the bud before it becomes a bigger issue (i.e. take after her mother and end up with multiple sclerosis). How does one heal a leaky gut? With an anti-inflammatory diet, which I talk about here.

This quote was interesting from the Gluten Free Society:

"The average person who identifies gluten as an issue is already sick.  Therefore, removing gluten for someone with gluten sensitivity, removes a food that creates inflammatory damage, removes a food that overstimulates the immune system, removes a food that changes the good bacteria in the intestine, and removes a food that causes leaky gut (AKA – intestinal permeability).  All good things.  However;  replacing gluten based foods with other processed junk food does nothing to help the body recover from years of gluten induced damage.  In fact it stops the healing process in its tracks.  This is one of the major reasons why people going on a traditional gluten free diet do not heal." - Source

This is a very good point given that I've run into some people who are GF, but tend to eat lots of processed (and expensive) junk foods. GF Betty Crocker cake and brownie mixes are an example of this, imo. Just as bad as the regular box mixes, but with no wheat. Even those expensive "organic" GF cereals. They are just as processed and filled with preservatives as their cheaper and more common counterparts, just without wheat. To be on a truly anti-inflammatory diet that HEALS, it is imperative to learn how to cook from scratch and eat a great deal of whole foods (i.e. fruits, veges, nuts, legumes).

I will now have to be "that mom" who makes her daughter bring her own snacks and makes her say no thanks to pizza and birthday cake. Any moms with experience out there want to pass along some advice, I'll take it. Pinterest has been a blessing in the recipe department. No shortage of inspiration, snack ideas, substitutes and helps to make a gluten-free life mucho easier. For that, I am very grateful. It's one thing being GF as an adult, where you have total control and understanding and quite another guiding a child outside of the mainstream.

Tomorrow Avery sees a chiropractor so we'll see where that road takes us. And so our journey begins. Healthy gut, healthy life.

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