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    Do you have questions about celiac disease or the gluten-free diet?


Newly Diagnosed 16 Mo Old

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Hi parents out there. My daughter was diagnosed with Celiac a couple of months ago. I am having a hard time trying to figure out if i make my 4 year old go gluten free or not. Up to this point i have not completely. Not sure what to do when he wants something that is not gluten free that i dont have the same thing that is gluten free for my daughter. Just wondering how others deal with this situations.

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I don't think I follow the norm on this topic, but I'll tell you I do with my kids. Five food allergies spread between the three of us. There is just no possible way that I can justify making perfectly safe meals and snacks everyday that 100% safe for all of us. Just too hard and in my opinion, it sets a bad example. Maybe not bad, but definately a difficult mindset. What do you do when they go to school? Not everyone in the class will be eating gluten-free snacks just because of one child.

So to me, if you do not have Celiacs, you do not need to be on this diet. They can eat gluten-free at home and gluten when they go out and that will not cause any harm. And, my kids get similar, but NOT the same foods. Everybody gets a snack, but one might have Oreos and the other might have a gluten-free/CF donut. Everybody eats a hot dog for lunch, some have bread and some do not.

Oldest child developed nut allergy at 2. It is anaphylactic (big believer in MedicAlert bracelets from young ages). She is not a celiac. But turns out dairy was causing her significant problems. We found that out after she continually left yogurt out, which her sister ate and she is allergic to. Third time the baby ate the real yogurt the older child lost the right to have yogurt in the house. Same reason milk left. Shockingly the older child was severly lactose intolerant and we didn't know it. She is much better off without the milk and she does not leave ANY unsafe food around anymore :)

Youngest started having health and growth issues under 1 yr old. At 2, I demanded testing for Celiacs. After many arguements with Dr...eerrrr..it shouldn't be this hard......she was finally made gluten-free and CF and she no longer goes to that DR. She will be three soon. Happy, healthy, and doing good. Within 5 mths of being on the gluten-free/CF diet and being a toddler, she knows she cannot eat all foods and asks if a new food is safe for her. She tells people that offer her food that she needs special food. I love it.

The rules that work for us:

Buy everything possible that everyone can eat.

Lable all boxed foods so the kids can easily pick safe snacks.

No unsafe snacks at low levels that toddlers can reach.

No foods contain nuts in the house.

Some shared equipment with nuts food is allowed if no other options are available. The nut allergy child does not eat these foods.

All baking is gluten-free/CF/nut free.

Almost all dinners are 100% gluten-free/Cf/nut free. Pizza, pasta, and school lunches may or may not be gluten-free.

Strict no sharing of food rule.

Strict no double dipping rule.

Strict no food anywhere except at the table. (Eliminate the house of crumbs issue.)

Actually assigned seats at the table has been helpful. (Crumbs and germs from that child stay with that child. Yes, table are cleaned after each meal)

I've told the kids since they first got the diagnosis that certain foods hurt their tummy. They learn that for some people their bodies just don't like certain foods. Not everybody is a Celiac, not everybody has a nut allergy. But that is just food. They are healthy and so what if they can't eat EXACTLY the same as everyone else. We make safe chocolates that I can't buy for them. They go trick or treating and exchange Valentine candy, but they do not eat it. Safe candy bags are provided and I take out what item they can eat and bring the resat to work. We make and frost cakes and donuts. We make most things they want. As we go grocery shopping they learn to identify harmful foods/hidden foods like nuts. As they got older they learned to read labels. even my 2 yr old runs her finger along the ingredients list and then tells me it is good for her. She can't read!

As I said, I don't think I follow the norm in this mindset, but it works for us and that is key. Take what you can from above and see what works for you and your family.

Best of luck and your kids will figure it out pretty quick. It does get easier.

PS: the best bribery is paying the older child every time he/she is asked to give a food to the younger child that is not safe. As in the older child has to learn to read labels and spot the unsafe foods for the younger child. This happened once accidentally for us and the older child read labels aggressively every since!

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we are working on this as well. dd (15 mo) has Celiac and ds (3) only has seasonal allergys. While I dont mind gating gluten-free (I am also a vegetarian), Dh isnt a fan of it so we are woring out the kinks as we speak!

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