The short version is that we are the Healthy Gluten-Free Family because of this sweet boy. Seven years ago this month (ironic that it’s Celiac Disease Awareness Month), our youngest son was diagnosed with Celiac Disease just weeks before his fifth birthday.
Celiac is an autoimmune disease whereby the body cannot digest any amount of gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. In fact, if gluten is ingested, the body responds by attacking the small intestine and inhibiting the absorption of nutrients. The only treatment is to adhere to a strict gluten-free diet. And so our journey began…
Flash back to 2010, when gluten and celiac were not household names and there were not nearly as many gluten-free products on the market as there are now. My son was barely five years old, and his favorite food was pasta (yikes!). My first response was there was no way he was not going to eat pasta!
While pasta was his favorite food, and still may be, he was also my little foodie. And that may be the single biggest driver that started this blog. He loves to try new foods and flavors and really enjoys the entire dining experience. Even at a young age, he was always the last to leave the dinner table, savoring every bite. He is the child who asks to try food off your plate at home or at a restaurant. He is the child that likes to help in the garden and eat kale & cucumbers right off the vine. He’s also the child that prefers real food over snack food any day of the week. I was determined that Celiac would not stand in the way of my little boy’s joy of food.
I decided right then and there, that if my son wanted to try a food and we couldn’t find it anywhere, I would make it. So with all the passion of a mom, and a trained marketer, I threw myself into the gluten-free world. We tried every product we could get our hands on (and remember in 2010 some of them really did taste like card board) and experimented with endless recipes. My son would look at my cooking magazine and point to dishes he wanted to try.
Ultimately, we learned to cook and live gluten-free. Our house is 90% gluten-free (there are bagels, bread and a separate toaster for my gluten-eating, older son but more about that in another post), when we cook, bake or grill it’s 100% gluten-free, we entertain gluten-free, when we dine out I always eat gluten-free so he can try food off my plate. And thus, to support him, we became the Healthy Gluten-Free Family.