When Bubba was 3 we had to put him on a Gluten Free diet. He had been sick with what we thought was a tummy bug for longer than we liked. After some very NOT fun doctor visits and allergy testing he showed some mild allergies to wheat, soy, and egg. You try finding things that DON’T have at least one of those as an ingredient! To boot it was sad to have to tell your 3 year old that he couldn’t have chicken nuggets…they are breaded after all with wheat based breading. We went to whole food stores and bought powdered egg substitute, special bread, special pancake mix, etc. After a few months his tummy was fine again and we started introducing those things back into his diet. Since then we haven’t had any problems.
Fast forward to this past year and Monkey’s JA diagnosis. I’ve had several people suggest trying a gluten-free diet for Monkey. Apparently it helps with all the inflammatory diseases. I would always thank these people for their care and suggestion but I never even gave it a second thought. Why? Because of fear. Fear of the changes I knew we’d have to make as a family. Fear of Monkey missing out on yummies that he’s gotten used to and loves. But when his JA flared again in the other leg I really started thinking more about it. I got to thinking that it may be worth a try. Even if we don’t go completely GF maybe cutting it out where we can will help. He doesn’t have Celiac’s Disease so I figured we could cut out little bits at a time and he’d still be okay.
After doing some quick Google research I found that when you’re eating GF you can eat all the fruit, veggies, and meat (not necessarily red) that you want….that it’s really the grains that are the ‘bad guys’ you want to avoid. Doesn’t sound so bad does it? Then you go to the kitchen to get something to eat and realize…there’s not much there that is GF. I scanned our shelves…cereals that weren’t GF, bread that wasn’t GF, flour tortillas aren’t GF, crackers, pretzels and baked goods aren’t GF. What were we going to eat? So I went shopping.
Thankfully things have changed a lot in almost five years. There are a lot of people out there who are eating GF and therefore food companies are producing products that are specifically GF…what a blessing! What’s better is that I don’t HAVE to go to a whole foods or specialty grocer to get some of these items! Double blessing!
Today I picked up some Honey Nut Chex, Rice Krispies, Bisquick mix (my Monkey LOOOOVES pancakes!), some corn tortillas, quinoa and kasha. Quinoa and kasha are both rice substitutes. I know there are a lot more GF options out there but honestly it’s hard to detail shop with three boys in a busy Walmart.
I know it’s going to be an adjustment so we’re taking baby steps. I’m not going to tell Monkey he can’t have a pretzel or toast. We’ll just start incorporating little things here and there and substituting as we find good alternatives. I hope that by doing this that it will help hold off another JA flare and give my little Monkey some more time before having to be on meds again.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor or a Gluten Free expert. I do not know much about GF as I am just learning. I am writing about our steps to being somewhat GF in order to help others who are considering this option. Please, if you are seriously considering going GF take the time to do some research. Check out all the amazing sites on the web and all the great books that are available. Here are just a couple that I’ve found so far.
This site was recommended by a friend who has Celiac’s disease. She has been GF for 2 years and says that she uses this site often.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck has two books that are supposed to be great. My library didn’t have The G Free Diet but they did have Deliciously G-Free and I like what I’ve read so far.