WNY Family Magazine July 2018 - Page 32

G luten-free might seem like a current buzz- word or dietary trend, but it is a serious matter for many. According to KidsHealth.org, glu- ten is a protein found in the com- mon grains wheat, rye and barley. Around three million Americans have trouble digesting gluten. Eat- ing gluten triggers an immune sys- tem response in people with Celiac disease. The body begins destroy- ing the villa in the intestines, which are responsible with nutrient ab- sorption. When the body is unable to absorb nutrients properly, all sorts of problems begin to occur. Symptoms of gluten sensitiv- ity include anemia, stomach ache, diarrhea, bloating, poor growth, weight loss, loss of appetite, tired- ness and rashes. Testing is typically done through a simple blood test. A biopsy of the intestines is some- times ordered. If you suspect your child might be having a reaction, make an ap- pointment with their pediatrician to discuss your concerns. Children who have untreated Celiac disease or other undiagnosed gluten sensitivities are often unable to heal and grow prop- erly because their immune system can’t work properly with gluten in the body. This can lead to more health issues, in- cluding anemia, trouble concentrating and mood instability.   The cure for celiac disease and other forms of gluten sensitivity is too avoid gluten.  This sounds simple, but gluten is in a vast amount of processed and res- taurant foods. Going gluten-free requires detective work and an entire dietary overhaul.  Though removing gluten from the child’s diet is essential in manag- ing the symptoms of gluten intolerance, most children are not happy about the drastic change to their diet as many of their favorite breads, pasta, baked goods and snacks will be off the menu.   Here are some tips and tricks to help you make the transition easier: Become a Gluten Detective • Be careful of labels. Wheat-free 32 WNY Family July 2018 containing gluten. Consider cross contamination risks when eating out, as well as when preparing food at home if other members of your family still eat gluten. Be Prepared, Creative and Look for Alternatives • Many gluten-free versions of popular food items are now avail- able, including breads, pasta, pan- cake mixes, and cookies. These products are often more expen- sive than traditional versions and you may need to sample different brands before you find one that tastes good to your family. Look for special gluten-free sections in the grocery store and when all else fails, check out online retailers such as Amazon.com and Vitacost.com. How to Manage a Child’s Gluten Sensitivity — by Rachael Moshman doesn’t necessarily mean the prod- uct is gluten-free. It could contain one of the other grains that should be avoided and may have been subjected to cross-contamination. • Look for gluten in unexpected places, such as vitamins. If your child still frequently puts items in his mouth, check the label on play dough or make your own. • The only way to be certain that a product is gluten free is to contact the manufacturer directly. It may contain such small amounts of in- gredients containing gluten that they aren’t required to list it on the label, however, even the smallest amount of gluten can be detrimen- tal to the gluten-sensitive person. • Be on the lookout for cross-con- tamination. Ask manufacturers if the food is processed on shared machines that also produce items • Many resources are available on eliminating gluten. Hundreds of books, cookbooks, magazines, and websites are devoted to the topic. Visit a library, bookstore, or simply search the internet for more information and inspiration. • Pack food when you are going to restaurants, parties, or even just out running errands so your child al- ways has something to eat regard- less of the choices or preparation methods you run into. Send older children and teens with small con- tainers or bags of food that can fit into their purse or backpack. Leave boxes of your child’s favorite glu- ten-free snacks in their classroom, so they can still enjoy a treat when their classmates bring in cupcakes. Focus on What Your Child CAN Eat Instead of What They Can’t Many foods are naturally free of glu- ten. These include: • Eggs • Meat, fish and poultry (be careful of breading, batters, and marinades and check poultry such as whole chickens and turkey that may have been injected with a sodium solu- tion which often contains gluten)