Monday, 19 May 2014
Gluten-Free Journey - Week 1
My son has had a diagnosed Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) since the age of 5. I'm sure there will be many blog posts to come about our experiences dealing with that issue and the things that worked (and didn't!) for us. But this is about the gluten.
For the past 18 months he has been having stomach issues. Not just off and on, but 4 or 5 days a week. We assumed (and were told by doctors and therapists) that this was a physical manifestation of the anxiety. Makes sense. Except......3 months ago we moved him to a private school that has been an absolute god-send for him (again, more on that in another post) and although many of his anxiety symptoms have disappeared in this new, healthy, supportive environment, the stomach issues have remained. So, off to the doctor we go. Abdominal ultrasounds and blood work have been ordered to rule out anything further, but as we await those results the doctor suggested we greatly reduce the gluten in his diet to see if that may be the possible culprit. It was no guarantee, but he encouraged us to try it for 2 weeks and see if it made any difference.
And now my frustration kicks in! Because it worked! Which is amazing! Except I'm frustrated that a multitude of doctors who treated my son for stomach issues over the past 18 months never even bothered to suggest this and just wrote the whole thing off to anxiety! Do I believe the anxiety plays a role in the stomach issues? Absolutely. We've all had that "nervous stomach" feeling when something is making us nervous or uncomfortable. But it shouldn't be a daily things for close to 2 years.
As usual, I digress. So, although frustrated, we are thrilled! He has been gluten-free for 10 days with NO STOMACH ISSUES! WooHoo!
Our 10 day gluten-free journey has not been without its bumps.
The first bump - holy crap this stuff is expensive! It saddens me that buying healthier food for my family costs more than buying the genetically modified junk that makes him sick.
The second bump - cereal! According to my son, gluten-free cereal is "disgusting". Lovely! So after 4 boxes of cereal in as many days (anyone want some gently used gluten-free cereal?) we finally found one he likes. Nature's Path Gorilla Munch. The best part? It has a gorilla on the box and the cereal are little balls (think Corn Pops) so we have dubbed them "Gorilla Balls" which he loves! Ha! Oh come on, that's funny!
So we're learning. We're learning that many, many people we know are gluten-free or gluten-reduced and that there is a lot of help and information out there. We are learning that sometimes all that help and information can be overwhelming. We are learning that cereal is not as simple as it used to be and that rice pasta is apparently a fine art to cook correctly. Trust me on this! Yesterday I made a pot of glue for lunch! Blah!
But we are also learning that we have been lax and somewhat nonchalant about what we are putting in our bodies. Was going gluten-free important to me when I realized it could eliminate my son's stomach issues? Of course. But what made this whole journey take on a bit more meaning, was when he was with me in the health food store last week (shout out to Goodness Me!) and was actually reading the labels and ingredients on things before he added them to our basket. I was impressed that he was checking for gluten content and not just picking up the splashiest looking box. When I told him how impressed I was he said, "I like reading the ingredients and knowing what I'm eating. All those chemicals can't be good for us."
And there you have it. Out of the mouths of babes. I'm proud of him for taking such an interest in this process. And being responsible enough to realize that it has made him feel better. He even took a gluten-free hamburger bun and some gluten-free snacks to a sleepover on Saturday night because he didn't want an upset stomach to ruin his fun.
So we're learning. And enjoying the process.
Now, off I go to pour my kid some Gorilla Balls. *wink*
Happy Victoria Day!
~ The Lazy Gourmet