Practical food tips for parents from a RD and mom of three

Monday, October 4, 2010

Information about celiac disease

Over the summer, one of Lila's 4-year-old friends was diagnosed with celiac disease. I have watched her mother learn about gluten-free food preparation and struggle with serving different foods to a sensitive preschooler who just wants to eat the same food as her friends.

This is why I've started labeling any recipes on my blog as gluten-free or offering specific gluten-free modifications. I know how hard it is to prepare healthy, fresh food for young children. Adding a serious food allergy or condition that changes their diet makes meals that much harder! I hope I can offer recipes and ideas when I have them.

In case you're curious, here's the scoop. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, barley, and some other grains.

Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune condition. When a person with celiac disease eats foods containing gluten their immune system kicks into overdrive, causing damage to the small intestine. Nutrients from food are absorbed from the small intestine -- damage causes nutrient deficiencies that can affect growth and health.

Symptoms of celiac disease include:
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Fatigue
  • Joint Pain
  • Itchy skin rash.

I have heard people avoid gluten for many different reasons. If you think a member of your family has celiac disease it is important to go to your doctor or pediatrician for tests that confirm it. A registered dietitian  can provide tips for feeding your family in a safe, gluten-free way.

Pink birthday cupcakes are still possible with a little careful ingredient selection! We enjoyed these treats at a party (baked using a Betty Crocker gluten-free cake mix and homemade frosting).

For more information check out:
Celiac Disease Awareness Campaign
Celiac Disease Foundation

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