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Raising a Celiac Toddler

Dearest loved ones.....................

My mom and family are coming out for Christmas. I am looking forward to a big Kucios (Christmas Eve dinner). That was always my favorite dinner/get together; lots of yummy food.

Food has been interesting for me. A little over a year ago, Ricky and I found out that we have a genetic disposition to Celiac Syndrome. It is a strange food “allergy” to gluten (wheat, oats, barley) that degrades your intestinal system; causing multiple and varying complications overtime. I am lucky that I found out now at 30 instead of 50, like my mother, or 70, like my grandmother. We all found out independently, but around the same time.

If I stay on a special diet, I can avoid a lot of nasty health problems in the future. I have discovered that I am also allergic to dairy and corn and Ricky is allergic to all those things plus soy. It was a challenging time, being pregnant and having a toddler, to find out that “everything you know about cooking it out the window” and “you can not eat out anywhere.”

It turned out not to be as bad as I thought. We can eat meats, vegetables, rice and fruit. We just can't eat anything out of a box unless it is from the overpriced health food store. I have found all kinds of great stuff that health food stores (rice noodles and cereals, even the waffles and cookies, yummy) and I am slowly learning how to bake again. We can eat burgers and fries at In-and-Out (they make burgers wrapped in lettuce and fresh French fries). We can eat Chinese food at PF Chang’s (they have a special gluten-free menu).

I never realized how much strange stuff there is in food 'till I had to read ALL the labels. Can you believe they put wheat in rotisserie chicken, soy sauce and canned tuna? I am still on the look out for a gluten, dairy, corn and SOY-free version of solid fat to bake with, but food is getting easier. However, it is like having an extra child, or TWO. If I want to go anywhere I have to pack all the usual stuff for the kids AND food for the whole trip. I miss the luxury of being able to get a hot dog at the zoo or grabbing a sandwich on the go when plans run late.

Ricky is doing surprisingly well with this. He is disappointed that he can't eat some foods other kids can eat, but he was very excited when I figured out how to make special cupcakes he could eat. I got motivated after he came home from school saying, “Mommy, what kind of “pup-cakes” can I eat?” He pretty much knows what he can't and can't eat, and to ask me before eating something if he is not sure.

Ricky is going to mornings a week to a lovely little Montessori school two blocks from our house...etc.
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