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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   04/07/2018

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to Celiac.com's FREE weekly eNewsletter   What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease?  Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet What if my doctor won't listen to me? An Open Letter to Skeptical Health Care Practitioners Gluten-Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes

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My 13yo son was diagnosed by biopsy in August of this year.    We have not had to travel since he has been diagnosed.   I am concerned with holiday travel coming up.   My husband wants to visit his parents this year for our kids Christmas break but, I'm concerned about my son getting "glutened" while we stay at my in-laws.    I already know that they will think I'm being irrational if I insist on bringing a toaster and cookware for my son's meal prep.   They won't understand about him not being able to use the communal butter dish or serving utensils.   Fortunately, my sister-in-law says that there are gluten-free options at their small grocery store.   But, I'm worried about what to do, say and generally how to handle this.   I don't want to ruin my family's vacation.   I want to show my son that his life doesn't have to stop because he has Celiac.    I want him to still be able to travel and visit his friends and family!

Any good advice out there as to how to handle this with my in-laws and how best to ensure my son doesn't get glutened without offending anyone?       

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You can keep down the clutter by bringing a set of Nordicware microwave cook ware, r roll of butcher/freezer paper (makes gluten-free safe prep area on top of counters, tables, and a nice eating mat) spatula, plastic utensils, and perhaps a small griddle. I normally just do stuff that way and bring at home made muffins, cookies, etc to make myself feel good. I tend to stick to whole food omelettes and the premade stuff I bring to keep it simple and easy. PS the nordic ware has steamer dishes, rice cookers and microwave grill plates so you can cook salmon, rice, steamed veggies chicken all in a microwave.  I did a huge post a few years ago about me hosting my families thanksgiving. I even had instructions on how to make the turkey, and dressing.

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Start taking to them now about the seriousness of him staying gluten free. You have to get them past that point of thinking you are being irrational. Send them articles talking about what it's like to be glutened. You've got to make this normal and you have the time now to do it. Be firm.  I've had too many dinners in the past with my husbands family that doesn't care or care to even understand about my issues where they actually told me things were made without flour, but I reacted. Badly. They still don't care but now I just don't believe them, lol. But with a child hopefully they do care and do want to understand. You have to make them realize he is going to SUFFER if he gets glutened. And you don't want your son to hear little snide comments either. You've done a good job normalizing it for him in your environment. Hopefully you will be able to prepare them now so you aren't walking into a war zone then.

 

 

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You are a mom with a child who has an autoimmune disease that fortunately can be managed with diet.  It is your family's job to protect your son.  Most of that responsibility falls to you, your husband and your child.  It is very hard to completely understand the gluten free diet unless you are living it every single day.  But there are things that you can do.

Send them some information via email about celiac disease and the diet prior to your arrival.  Hit the ground running the very first day to obtain food and the necessary tools to prevent cross contamination.  Keep those items in a storage bin located out of the kitchen.  Have a family meeting on the first day.  Tell them nicely and with love that you need to do all of these things to keep your son safe.  

If they are not supportive, well, for me, it would be our last visit home.  It is that simple.  

Luckily, my family has been supportive.  We go home for weeks at a time.  I have a bin, systems in place and hubby and I are kept safe.  I watch all food preparation and we hit the buffet first and only once.  We manage well at my parent's house and even at the family lake house where there are tons of gluten eaters.  We have a few others in the extended family who have allergies as well.  So everyone is careful.   Do they think I go over board?  Of course.  But I am an adult and my health and hubby's comes first.  it has taken some time, but they now feel comfortable with us just ordering a drink if they occasionally choose a restaurant that is not safe us.    After all, it is all about relationships and not food.  

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Reusable toaster bags....get them on Amazon.  Makes for easier travel.  Squeeze bottle for condiments are best.  Once a bag of chips are opened in the pantry, we are done.   

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3 hours ago, Kristi626 said:

Any good advice out there as to how to handle this with my in-laws

To add to the good advice above. I think your husband has to take it on himself to communicate with his parents that this is a serious, medically diagnosed condition that their grandson has to live with for the rest of his life. He needs them to back you up, be supportive etc. On no account should you be cast as the fussy daughter-in-law who has to have her crazy notions indulged - they need to know that their son is 100% on board with this and that the pair of you are united.

Just one other point. It's very difficult for most people to conceptualise celiac, they tend to think of it as they would a problem with spicy food say. Something that you should probably avoid but a little bit now and then won't hurt. So without getting scientific, it would be good if your husband could get that key point across. That a little is just about as bad as a lot when the body's immune system is involved.  That there can't be any compromises or cheating. Even the suggestion will be harmful for your son in adjusting.

Also that you understand that their house cannot be a gluten-free environment and you don't expect them to change their lives whilst your there - but that you need to take reasonable precautions to keep your son safe. 

I think as long as people understand there's reasons for all the precautions etc its easier for them to accept. They may not agree with it or understand it but they can at least understand your thought process. 

Finally, get as much of this communicating done in advance so you, your husband and your son can just enjoy himself without constant references to his diet. 

Hope it goes well!

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Everyone here has had great advice!  Celiac has made me a stronger person in standing up for myself and my family.  I HAVE protect my children as their mother, so I must stand up and do what is best for them.  We travel to visit family often, and while we get lots of questions and people who don't get it, I bring our own pots/pans, utensils, cutting board, etc.  Meal planning is a must when we're away and we've invested in a nice Yeti cooler that practically lives in our trunk.  We bring our own ham, sweet potatoes, green beans, etc to holiday functions even when family has insisted what they are making is safe.  It's just easier for me to relax and enjoy family when I know my kids have safe foods to eat.  

Good luck!  The first times traveling are really hard, but you'll soon get into a groove.

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    Jefferson Adams
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    Connie Sarros
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