To some people, being gluten free must seem like a new diet fad. I get that, I do. For a while I was like "how can people have a gluten intolerance? Bread and Wheat have been used for what seems like a millenia!"
Okay, but I learned. You see our son has some really nasty behaviors sometimes. And I needed to find a cause. One day I thought, well, lets look into this whole gluten thing. It was then that I discovered that gluten can cause severe behavioral reactions. Honestly, I did not even consider the physical reactions that gluten can cause in children.
Lets move on. I drew the lines with my imaginary pencil from point A (the behavior) to point B (the symptoms). So for a while we would experiment, but we weren't really sure if going gluten free was working and the towel was thrown in. That was months ago, and I realize now that we were very naive!
Months go by, and I again revisit the realm of gluten free living. I learn more about grains, and how ridiculous it is that we consume them at all. But by this point I've discarded any notion of gluten intolerance. I'm not sure why, but about a month ago I decided that we needed to try again. So I became further educated in the art of gluten-free kitchens, and plunged in with two feet.
The difference was immediate. Our son stopped having violent temper tantrums within two days. Suddenly began to eat with a bigger appetite, he is becoming much more social, complains not at all of tummy aches and headaches. When he has had an accidental gluten exposure we know right away because our son becomes very emotional, will develop a persistant dry cough, has a difficult time sleeping and for two days Mommy and Daddy are on edge never knowing when the next outburst will be.
What grinds my gears, is trying to explain this to other people! I have heard vast responses when it has been neccessary to explain our sons gluten intolerance to them.
"Oh, he'll outgrow it."
"Is there anything you can give him to counterbalance it so he can still have wheat?"
"Back in my day if a child was being bad it was a good swift kick in the ass, that solved the problem."
"That is so limiting/hard/inconvenient/etc" (for them, because they feel offended and like they can't feed him)
"I don't understand, I just don't get it." (after explaining often - not bad, but I will explain again)
First, no he probably will not. Second, I would rather remove the source of the problem rather than cover it up with a pill or a bandaid. That is like a lactose-intolerant person taking pills so they can have dairy. The food is HURTING YOU inside. Covering up the symptoms doesn't mean that the damage is not there! Also, really?! I don't even know what to say! If a child was having an asthma attack, or their face was swelling up from a peanut allergy, would a good kick in the ass solve the problem then, too?! Fine, the next time a child can't breathe due to an allergy I'll just beat it out of him. I'm sure that will do the trick.
Uhm, yes it is hard. Imagine just for a moment, how hard it must be on us, and on our son! All the foods he adores now have to be different or eliminated! It breaks our hearts, but we have to do it to protect his health and our sanity. It is difficult, it is limiting. We have to learn a whole new way of cooking, as though we've never so much as turned on the oven. It's back to basics, baby. It makes our son feel left out, isolated, jealous, sad. It is expensive. Pregnancy is hard. Should we just not do it? Bee stings are painful, do we let the bee sting us anyway because it's easier than getting away? This is a human beings health we are talking about! He is a 5 year old little boy who has been given a difficult hand of cards. There are others who have it much worse than he does. He'll survive. Again, would you give a peanut-allergy kid a peanut butter and jam sandwich because it was too hard to find the allergen-free nut butters?
Last, "I don't get it." Let me explain it to you again. Though as I have noticed, sometimes it does not matter how many times you explain something - if a person is unwilling to listen or unwilling to learn, you are wasting your time. I hope if you are gluten-curious, you take the time to educate yourself.
GLUTEN is a protien found in WHEAT.
WHEAT is what most people know as FLOUR.
FLOUR and WHEAT is in almost EVERYTHING.
Wikepedia: (edited to take out irrelevent information)
Gluten sensitivity (also gluten intolerance) is a spectrum of disorders, including celiac disease and wheat allergy, in which gluten has an adverse effect on the body. It can be defined as a non-allergic and non-autoimmune condition in which the consumption of gluten can lead to symptoms similar to those observed in celiac disease or wheat allergy (other conditions which fall under the gluten-related disorders spectrum).
Symptoms of gluten sensitivity include bloating, abdominal discomfort, pain or diarrhea, or it may present with a variety of extraintestinal symptoms including headaches and migraines, lethargy and tiredness, attention-deficit disorder and hyperactivity, schizophrenia, muscular disturbances as well as bone and joint pain.
Celiac (SEE-lee-ak) disease is a digestive condition triggered by consumption of the protein gluten, which is primarily found in bread, pasta, cookies, pizza crust and many other foods containing wheat, barley or rye. People with celiac disease who eat foods containing gluten experience an immune reaction in their small intestines, causing damage to the inner surface of the small intestine and an inability to absorb certain nutrients.
Celiac disease can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea. Eventually, the decreased absorption of nutrients (malabsorption) that occurs with celiac disease can cause vitamin deficiencies that deprive your brain, peripheral nervous system, bones, liver and other organs of vital nourishment.
No treatment can cure celiac disease. However, you can effectively manage celiac disease by changing your diet.
Also from MayoClinic.com...
Changes to your diet to avoid gluten
To manage the disease and prevent complications, it's crucial that you avoid all foods that contain gluten, including:
- Graham flour
- Spelt (a form of wheat)
Once you've removed gluten from your diet, inflammation in your small intestine will begin to subside, usually within several weeks, though you may start to feel better in just a few days. Complete healing and regrowth of the villi may take several months, or as long as two to three years. Healing in the small intestine tends to occur more quickly in children than it does in adults.
If you accidentally eat a product that contains gluten, you may experience abdominal pain and diarrhea. Some people experience no signs or symptoms after eating gluten, but this doesn't mean it's not harmful. Even trace amounts of gluten in your diet can be damaging, whether or not they cause signs or symptoms.
Gluten intolerance is not a syndrome, it is not misbehaving, it is not the flu, it will not just pass by. It is a real medical problem for some people. One of those people happens to be my son. So before you brush what I tell you aside, consider how you would feel if you had a serious medical condition and I told you to slap a bandaid on it because you are over reacting. "Do you want a bandaid with that peanut butter?" Come on now, think first. It will not damage you to listen and understand.