We have been a gluten free household for about 2 years now. And it has NOT been easy! Lets start with how we found out Claire has Celiac.
Celiac is fairly common in Down Syndrome and therefore should ALWAYS be tested. But did you know that it is genetic? So, if someone in your family has Celiac, you are more likely to have it.
EVERY ONE SHOULD BE TESTED!
Even if you do not think you have any symptoms. I highly recommend that you and your family get tested. This is a serious disease and sometimes you do not even recognize the symptoms.
What does “being tested” mean?
You can get an endoscopy or a blood test.
Claire had a blood test. I chose AGAINST the endoscopy due to her throat swelling shut when she was under anesthesia previously.
What are the symptoms?
Everyone experiences different symptoms and different degrees of symptoms.
Claire experiences the following symptoms when she consumes gluten: runny nose, bloated stomach, foggy brain, irritability, fatigue, “crunchy” tummy, constipation, always feeling hungry…
Okay, so I have covered how to find out if you have it and what some symptoms are.
But what the heck is Celiac?
Celiac is not an “intolerance” it is an autoimmune disease. My daughter didn’t wake up one day and think to herself “I do not want to eat gluten ever again. Let’s cause hardship to the family by learning an entire new way of living”.
She has had it from the day she was born (it just took 5 years for a doctor to decide to test for a very common disease).
In a nutshell the body can not absorb the nutrients that it needs from food because the body thinks that gluten is evil so the body creates ninjas, aka saliva and snot, to fight the evil. All the while the villi in the stomach continues to shrink because the evil keeps finding it’s way into the body.
How do you transition to gluten free?
When I was in 7th grade my theology teacher told me if someone told you to eat an entire elephant it would be really overwhelming! But if you eat one piece at a time, before you know it the entire elephant is gone! So I have broken it down into steps.
1st: Do you research
Start with breakfast. What are a few things that you can eat for breakfast that are gluten free?
(For ideas please see my new page Gluten Free Recipes).
Once I felt comfortable with breakfast, I started with lunch. What are 5 gluten free lunch meals?
(other than my page, Pinterest and gluten free facebook pages are a great place for ideas and recipes.)
Okay, once I had established that I moved on to 5 gluten free family dinner ideas.
2nd: Change the way you shop
Next was the hard part. I had hear the recommendations “only shop the outer most aisle”, but that was a huge change! So I am not going to lie. I am not perfect. I had a break down in aisle 9 at Walmart and I called my mom crying! Another time I must have looked so distraught, because an elderly woman asked if I needed some assistance! I can tell you it gets a little easier every time.
**Click here for an easy to use meal planner!**
Just remember to use separate cookware, so add that to the shopping list!
3rd: Always have an emergency back-up plan
Okay, I know this may sound crazy and over dramatic, but really it is needed!
You need to have 2-4 back up restaurants that you are 100% certain gluten free.
I am not talking about a restaurant that offers gluten free items. I am talking about a separate area in the kitchen where the gluten free items and the ingredients are not at risk of cross-contamination.
You also need a few go-to meal ideas on the fly.
This could be ham and cheese roll-ups or cereal or GF mac and cheese. But whatever it is, trust me when I say there will come a time when you least expect it that you are in dire need of a meal and are not prepared.
I highly recommend you read this book to learn more about celiac! Below is a review:
"This book was so captivating and kept me interested throughout. As I told her, I was on pins and needles during the chapter titled In the Psych Ward. I couldn't believe that doctors and medical professionals could be so rude to put her through what she went through during that time (and many others throughout her journey). In Jennifer's Way, you get a glimpse of what it is like for so many living with Celiac disease... I was very impressed with Jennifer's willingness to open up and share her story with millions. I would recommend that those with Celiac disease as well as loved ones to those living with Celiac disease read this book. Eyes will be opened and understand built as you tearfully read one woman's Celiac journey."―GlutenFreeFrenzy.com
I also strongly recommend this cookbook! it was the amazon best seller for 2018! Below is the snippet:
"From the New York Times best-selling author of the Against All Grain series comes 125 recipes for gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo comfort food, from nourishing breakfasts and packable lunches to quick and easy, one-pot, and make-ahead meals to get satisfying dinners on the table fast."