Let’s all say it together, Gluten Free Diet. When I first heard about this I thought well here is the latest hipster health trend. It seemed like everywhere I went someone was saying, “Do you have any gluten free options?” or “My family has been gluten free for a year.” I will admit at first I thought it was just something all the upscale, uptight moms were bragging about in their cute little suburban play groups. After all, I have been feeding my kids a gluten filled diet for years and they are just fine. Right?
First of all, what the heck is gluten and why is it so bad for you? After a little bit of research I found out gluten is a protein found in wheat. It gives dough it’s elasticity and helps it to rise. Sounds innocent enough to me. However, as I looked a little further there is evidence that it can contribute to GI problems such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It is also linked to worsening of auto immune diseases, including asthma. Here is one that blew my mind, gluten is linked to brain disorders from neuropathy to ataxia. And of course the biggie Celiac Disease. Even if you do not have full out Celiacs it is estimated that over 50% of the US population has a gluten sensitivity. That got me thinking. Could gluten be affecting Becca’s asthma, Maddie’s reflux, or Nathaniel’s migraines.
Well, can I say my mind set has changed a little these days. After dealing with one child that has out of control asthma, another who was diagnosed with GERD when she was only months old and it continues to worsen over the years, and a third who is struggling with debilitating migraine headaches, my opinion has, shall we say, changed a bit. Over the many years of doctors visits and pharmacy co-pays, I have always been guilty of looking for a magic pill to cure my kids’ health issues. Now, I hate to admit that I am a nurse and preach to my patients that there are no quick fixes and we are an accumulation of our habits, both good and bad. With that said, I never took a hard look at what my children ate on a regular basis.
We coupon at my house and it is quite easy to stock up on a lot of nutrition-sparse, convenience foods. When I looked at my kids’ diet it was full of boxed foods and packaged snacks like cookies and crackers. I started reading labels and everything my children eat contains gluten. It is time for a change. My family needs to start adding some healthy habits to our lifestyle. So, let me join that list of hipster parents and announce my family is going………well not exactly gluten free, but putting a big cut into our gluten intake. I am subtracting a bucket load of processed foods from my family’s diet and replacing it with whole foods. I am going to monitor asthma symptoms and tummy complaints and see if we need to commit fully to a gluten free diet.
And when I say gluten free, I do not mean we are simply going to replace our normal diet with gluten free cookies, cakes, and crackers. Sure, I plan on using some of these items to supplement my kiddos diets every now and again, but for the most part I will be trading in their unhealthy foods for more whole food choices. So today I would like to issue a full apology to all the trendy moms I have secretly rolled my eyes at as they were spouting off about the benefits of having a gluten free household. I can admit when I have been a little (or maybe a whole lot hahaha) judgmental. Wish us good luck and I will keep you updated. You can be sure my girls and I will be trying to come up with some yummy gluten free recipes and when we do we will be sure to pass them along. Feel free to do the same for us.