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Brand New Here, Please Help

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Hi Everyone. I came across this forum trying to do some research on finding gluten free food and boy am I glad I found it.

My son (who will be 5 on Oct 7) had all kinds of stomach and BM problems (constipation) since birth. First they said it was his formula and switched him to soy milk, then when he was older they said he was just fighting potty training and holding it in.

Finally after almost 4 weeks of no BM at all this Jan, his family Dr. did some blood work, which came back with a positive for some thing that lead her to believe he had Celiacs Diease, so he had a biopsy thing done in Feb and was diagnosed with the Celiacs Diease and put on a Gluten Free Diet.

Now, I have done reading on it, or thought I had and we caught out foods that had what, rye or barly in it, but in recent weeks we have discovered that foods I thought were safe, weren't.. because of things like "natural flavors" and other words of items that contain Gluten that I had no idea about.

So basically, we are starting over. At this point I serving him only foods that say Gluten Free on the package, or foods I make home made like pot roast with fresh veggies I cut up.

But, he goes to school (preschool) at a private school and I have to back his lunches. I don't want to send the same boring thing every day, so no clue what to send.

How do you manage to remember every single word that may be a gluten item when reading labels? How do you explain to a almost 5 year old why he can't eat all the foods he loved a year ago and how do you eat out?

My husband and I are at such a loss and just really don't know what to do for him. Apparently I've been feeding him wrong all this time...

Advice would be apapreciated.


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Hi There and Hugs,

I am new here too, just posted this morning.

My kids had confirmed diagnoses yesterday.

So I have three children, who're 8,6, and my youngest will be 4 next week, and they have to be stripped of a lot of the cereals they love, the bread they've become so used to, and the pastas.

What I am doing is printing out lists of what on the label you look for that has gluten that you don't buy.

I will put it in a sheet protector, or maybe make smaller lists and carry it with my all the time.

All I can say is we can help each other learn this together?

I am sure others here can be of more help too.

But remember, this is not your fault, you were feeding him the best you knew how, and before the diagnosis, you didn't know what he was eating was bad for him.

Good Luck.

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Call the 800 numbers on the packages or look up info on the brand or manufacturer's website. Look under FAQ's or Contact Us or nutritional info. Many of us have pulled out those cell phone and discretely called while standing in the store. Doesn't always work on weekends though;) Not all, but many companies are prepared to answer "is this product gluten-free?"

Lunchinabox.net is a great resource for packing lunches. There are lots of threads here too with many ideas. Type "lunches" in the search box. It's a topic that comes up again and again. Focus on the things that your kids liked before that were already gluten-free. Don't try and replace everything at the beginning. You'll drive yourself nuts. Aim for non-carby treats.

Applesauce cups, most pudding cups, fruit cups etc. Lays STAXX are gluten-free and made on gluten-free lines and are cheap-$1 a canister at dollar stores and Walmart. Fruit is gluten-free and healthy. P.B. for dipping apples in, cheese cubes + sticks, jellos, fruit leathers...

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Don't feel bad. This is a huge learning curve for everyone and anyone who is, may be, or has children or relatives with gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease. Everyone makes mistakes. I would caution against going strictly by packaging that says "Gluten Free" on it. There aren't really clear and strict regulations put on that type of label so many people have come across things that say it, but when they look at the ingredients list it has forbidden items. In general it is a good idea to 1) read the label, 2) contact the manufacturer, and 3) search for reviews on the product. Some Celiacs seem to be more sensitive than others so while some may be able to tolerate Lays potato chips, some have issues with them. When in doubt, do not trust it. Triumph makes a grocery guide and restaurant guide that they update regularly. It may be worth looking into that if you are starting out or starting over to give you an idea of what is/isn't gluten free.

As far as reading ingredients go...it takes some time and patience to learn. Teaching a 5 year old would be difficult. I would recommend teaching him safe foods by sight. Make a "list" with pictures of foods that he likes and are safe. Divide it into categories like "candy", "chips", "snacks", etc. Add to it as you find more and more items that are safe that he likes. I'm not there yet so this is all in theory and just ideas I'm tossing around in my head on ways to teach my own son as he gets older. Right now we are just trying to teach him that he has a "special tummy" so there are certain things that will make him sick and certain things that will make him big & strong.

Also I want to add that it is also a good idea to check non-food products for gluten as well. Hair products, especially shampoos, conditioners, and hairsprays can easily be ingested during bathing. Also look at lotions and sunblock. Makeup is also another big one. Anything that can be ingested basically. The non-food items are harder to decipher since the names on them are far more scientific so it does take a bit of research and diligence to check those. Anything with Triticum or tritical means wheat and vitamin E/tocopheryl needs to be checked for the source because it can also be derived from wheat. Avoid oat and oatmeal products like Aveeno also since oats are cross contaminated with wheat.

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Sorry you're having a hard time. I imagine packing lunch for a kid that could eat everything would be challenging since most kids are picky eaters - so packing a really good gluten-free lunch can be hard if your kid is used to lots of gluten snacks.

Anywho - this woman blogs about the lunches she packs for her first grader and toddler: http://wendolonia.com/blog/

She puts lots of gluten things in the lunchboxes, but you could replace them with gluten-free things. gluten-free muffins/brownies/breads, dry cereals, rice crackers, etc. I like the way she makes meat/cheese rollups rather than sandwiches, and then adds in some other kind of bread-ish thing.

Hope this helps!

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