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12 Year Old
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I have a 12 year old that is scared to eat anything not prepared by me. If we go to a restaurant that offers gluten free options she will not eat for fear she will get gluten which results in nausea, pain and hours of throwing up. I cant blame her but we like to travel. Any suggestions?

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I know the feeling. Gluten isn't an issue for me but I can't tell you how many times I have gotten food in a restaurant only to find something in it that I can't have. Even after I thought I was clear to the wait person.

It might help if you could have the wait person or the manager have a talk with her. At The Old Spaghetti Factory, the manager came to our table, told us she would prepare our food herself and that they used a special pan to cook the pasta. This after my dad told us that the pasta couldn't possibly be gluten-free because they cooked it in the same water. Turns out my dad is wrong about a LOT of things but he talks like he is an expert so people tend to believe him. Actually the gluten-free food there is prepared in a separate area of the kitchen even.

At home we tend to frequent the same restaurants. Ones that cater to people with food allergies and have no problems making special meals for us.

But for traveling? Ah, that can cause a problem. The restaurant is unknown and even though they do have a gluten-free menu, you have no way of knowing how well they get it. We also tend to really limit what we get in a restaurant. Fresh or canned fruit, cottage cheese (for my daughter, not me), hamburger patty, bacon, maybe some form of potato. Potatoes sometimes aren't safe.

One thing you might consider is packing some food and having your daughter eat in the car before or after the restaurant and while in the restaurant only ordering some small thing that is most likely to be safe. Like a fruit cup.

What we always packed when we traveled were small cans of green beans, canned kidney beans, canned refried beans and tortilla chips. That way we could make a meal if we needed to. We also always looked at every stop for things like individual packs of cheese, meat, fresh fruit and veg.

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This is exactly the same as my 13 yr old daughter! While 3 of us have celiac, she is the one who reacts worst to cc, and so she refuses to eat anywhere but home, and it IS a challenge. What we have gotten in the habit of doing is packing snacks for her (kind bars, fruit, gluten-free pretzels, etc- and her trusty pb &j sandwiches. Yes, it is not as good a meal as the rest of us, but it is her choice and what makes her comfortable!

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my son is the same way, but with tree nuts. we have slowly talked to him about it, and have had people we know and people he can trust make him meals....then we were able to move to other places once he knew it was safe...it can be scary for them.

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    • Hi Beachgrl, It won't hurt anything to go gluten-free now, except the possibility of getting a diagnosis of celiac disease.  When i went gluten-free, it seemed like the initial changes were spread over about 6 weeks.  I had gut spasms for that time.  And other changes, all for the better.  Initial recovery from celiac damage can take up to 18 months, so it can be a slow thing.  Some people get better much faster of course, because we are all individuals and not identical. Going gluten-free for celiac disease is a lifetime commitment though, and some people have a hard time doing that without a diagnosis.  Even minor amounts of gluten can cause us to react, so it is best to eat a very simple diet of whole foods at first.  Avoid dairy and processed foods.  I hope it works out for you.  I know some people with Crohns disease eat gluten-free and find it helps them.  Gluten is a tough thing to digest for all people, but most don't have an immune reaction to it like celiacs do.  
    • Honestly, I would not trust the school to provide a gluten-free meal except for fruit, salads, veggies, etc. I sub in a school cafeteria and I swear everything is breaded or on bread. Utensils are shared. They're very clean but unless you have a very knowledgeable person in there, I just wouldn't chance it. I found a slim Jim type snack that says gluten-free on it. If you want to give me your email or FB account, I can send you some very valuable info on 504's though. They carry the student right through college. I kept a copy of what a friend wrote about her daughter being in a sorority and just how the 504 helped immensely. But, I would definitely get one and still be prepared to pack a lunch. All our meals are delivered frozen and we just hear them up. If your school actually fixes food, that's different. 
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    • Hi Nobody, Welcome to the forum!  I noticed you said you have been avoiding wheat products.  That's good, but are you avoiding rye and barley also?  Wheat, rye, and barley are the 3 grains that cause reactions in celiac patients.  About 10% also react to oats. If you haven't had the full celiac antibodies test panel, it might be worthwhile getting that done now.  The ttg is just a basic test and is generally followed up by an endoscopy or the full celiac panel. I wouldn't worry a lot about getting cancer.  That doesn't happen often. It is possible some of the other grains you might be eating are contaminated.  A group did a test on several off the shelf products a few years ago that would not normally be thought of as having gluten and found some actually did have low levels of gluten.  Things like corn meal for example.    
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