Gluten Free Kids (and Parents)

Gluten Free Kids

image: LakeMichiganCeliacs.com

Here’s a heartwarming story from Liz, a mom who’s had to change the way her household deals with food due to her son’s celiac disease:

My twelve year old son and I started eating a strict gluten free diet after he was diagnosed with celiac about 6 months ago. If he eats gluten it makes him physically ill for several days. When diagnosed, he was in the first percentile in both height and weight, and for a 12 year old boy, that is seriously ‘uncool’.  Since going strict gluten free, he has moved up to the 10th percentile and we are hoping for a steady increase.

I’ve had a lifelong problem with allergies and stomach issues, so my doctors  started me on an elimination diet as well.  When I found the Fooducate Gluten & Allergy App, I was all over it.  I’d never spent so much on an app before and I have to admit, I was afraid I might be disappointed.  But quite on the contrary, I actually sat giggling with my son in the grocery store when we first ventured out with our iPhones.

He simply (ha!) had to avoid gluten, so he put that into the app on his phone.  I had to start off avoiding all the major allergens like soy, dairy, nuts, gluten, etc.  so my task was a bit more tricky, but I entered all those into the app.  After a few days the doctors added all vegetables to my avoid list because they made me very very sick.  After that, I really don’t think I would have survived without your app.  I’ve slowly been able to re-introduce everything except gluten.  Gluten makes me very ill…even though my biopsy for celiac came back negative.  I can eat a small amount of dairy again, thank goodness.  And your app helped me find GF yogurt!

Shortly after finishing my elimination diet I was referred to Mayo Clinic and am now continuing with tests there.  I feel good for a few weeks, then I almost get a ‘flare up’ type of feeling where I’m almost bed ridden with nausea, vomiting, and severe stomach pain.  It’s almost cyclic and very exhausting.  I continue to avoid gluten and when I shared the Fooducate app with my doctors at Mayo, they were thrilled.

When we started  avoiding gluten it seemed like everything my son liked to eat was now a virtual poison to him.  We slowly made our way through the store scanning so many things.  The doctor’s number one instruction was to get calories in the kid.

Our first jackpot was finding GF hotdogs and breaded chicken breast tenders at Whole Foods.  There were no GF hotdogs or any packaged dinner options like chicken tenders at our local grocery chains for kids.  I usually make chicken myself, but sometimes we need things that are quick and ready to go, particularly when I’m not feeling well.

Our next major find was Lay’s plain chips, Cheeto’s, Dorito’s, and Frito’s.  He’s always been a salty snack kid, so as far as he was concerned life was golden again.  We have a local company that makes awesome chip dips that are GF (AE dairy), so he really was a happy kid and no longer felt cheated.  But I was still on the lookout for VARIETY. He’d eat lots of fruits and some veggies, but I needed to find calories for the kid.

I noticed one day that most of the Chex cereals were gluten free, so I started scanning the whole aisle in hopes that there was at least one other kid friendly cereal that was GF.  And Fruity Pebbles came through!   Then I moved on to scan marshmallows, peanut butters and other items that I could make bars or other treats that he could eat on the go.   With Fooducate’s help your help I found them and now keep a bunch of Chex and marshmallow bars, Chex and peanut butter bars, and a ton of other combinations in the freezer for him.  I add peanuts and almonds to many of them to kick up the protein too.

He still hasn’t found a GF bread that he loves, but Udi’s works o.k. for him.  I think Udi’s bread is awesome, but he was raised on whole wheat that was soft and doughy.  So I’m hoping he will acclimate to it over time.  He also isn’t thrilled with GF pastas, and I think  I’ve now tried all the brands, but I’ll continue on the search.

Our most recent discovery is Contadina pizza sauce in a squeeze container!  He loves dipping GF garlic breadsticks made from GF pizza crust that gets a quick thin coat of butter then sprinkled with a garlic and parmesan cheese (found with your app) mix in the sauce.

My husband now has the app too.  We’ve moved on to rescanning lots of our initial GF finds to see how they measure up with the health grades you give.  And that is now our newest obsession.  We even scan silly unhealthy things like a Hershey Bar and a Hershey Bar with Almonds… just to see the differences.  With almonds is better : )  but still only a C, I think.

So in the end your app first saved us, and is now making us smarter.

You should put posters of your app up at all the GF expo’s that I read about.  I recommend it to everyone.

Best regards and good work!

Thanks for the inspiring feedback Liz!

Fooducate’s Gluten and Allergy App is available for both Android and iPhone.

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  • Melissa

    Great stuff! Schar makes the best g-free pasta we have found so far.

  • Cathy

    My cousin also has celiac. She has found that gluten-free bread can be hard to find, and when you do, it’s often frozen and not so yummy for sandwiches. She has started making her own in a breadmaker. There are 6 recipes in Beth Hensperger’s “The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook” you and your son might like to try :)

  • Chris Kolb

    Yeah, the Schar Penne noodles are my favorite. The Trader Joes brand is also very good and cheaper. Schar makes good french bread too. For pizza we get the GF Trader Joes pizzas, scrape off the toppings and put our own sauce and cheese on and its the best thin crust there is. Soon we are expecting a baby and both of us are intolerant. She found out her intolerance first, then I tried after much reluctance and WOW, now I know what was wrong with me my whole life. Shes got MS. It is huge pain to be GF, mostly traveling, but by far the worst thing is having to explain our intolerance to others especially family members who get offended when I dont eat their desserts. Oh and just incase you didnt know, the Udis makes good french toast, and the peanut butter and jelly on toasted Udis is the best PBJ I ever ate. All the sandwiches on toasted Udis are better

  • Helen

    Despite the fact that I think it’s horrible, my kids absolutely love Trader Joes rice pasta, and will eat in preference to wheat pasta. Might be worth checking out!

  • LowSalEats

    If Mom Liz is looking in, I wonder if you’ve looked at salicylate intolerance as part of your food troubles. That could be why you’re reacting to vegetables. Being GF AND low salicylate is a tough diet to follow. But I feel much better when I stick to it.
    Also, Meuller’s pasta now has GF choices at reasonable prices and tastes pretty good. I found it at Publix grocery store.

  • Jen

    Costco has a GF pasta and is good. Package is clear on the bottom with dark purple on top. I don’t have the package anymore because I place my items in containers or I’d tell you the brand, sorry. My Celiac test came back negative but have had stomach problems for years. So I am not 100% GF but am trying to focus my diet to as much GF products as possible. Along with watching my Carb intake. Happy for your achievement!!!