How to Help Your Children with Celiac Disease or NCGS
Did you know that children diagnosed with celiac disease (CD) have a threefold increased risk of dying with or without a gluten-free diet? This is because of the collateral damage gluten does to the brain and immune system resulting in things like suicide, depression, cancer (See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17324126).
Why is this?
Getting a kid or teen onto a gluten free diet correctly can be daunting and is only the first step in the process. The digestion then has to be treated to remove the inflammation and damage there and in other parts of the body which takes nutritional and supplementation interventions over time. Then there is the bigger aspect of life and all its’ social interactions that are lived with gluten dominated foods; pizza parlors, school events, celebrations, family get togethers. Without great knowledge and training, kids will get exposed over and over and most importantly, can develop emotional problems due to exclusion, teasing and not fitting in with their friends. A kid with CD can’t eat “a little gluten”. If children are to be protected, parents and families need help. One place to start is the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG). This organization runs mainstream camps with tasty, expertly prepared gluten free foods where kids can interact together and not feel different than everybody else, cheat to fit in and thus have long term self harm. This organization has many different programs that teach children all aspects of a gluten free lifestyle with children of all ages. It empowers kigluteds to take charge of their condition rather than be a victim of it.
Here are some resources written by the young people themselves to help you get started: Gluten and Dairy – Who Needs Them? A Kid’s Perspective, written by Lexi Kantor, author, blogger, gluten- and dairy-free kid. Lexi’s ebook is available from Amazon for $3.23. I interviewed Lexi about her work as part of the Gluten Summit. Listen now! Lexi blogs here. A Teenager’s Guide to Food Restrictions, written by Erica Brahan, who is also the author of the Edible Attitudes blog. Erica shares practical advice on navigating teenage life while following a special diet, and her eBook is available for $1.99. Erica blogs here. I also invite you to check out the blog “Eat Without Gluten: A Positive Outlook on the Gluten-Free Diet” by gluten-free guru Sema Dibooglu, which contains recipes and tips for delicious gluten-free living.