I’ve always been a believer in whole foods, not leaving out a food group, unless there was an underlying cause, such as an allergy or intolerance to a particular food or food group. I for one cannot have milk because of all the lactose (Almond milk was an easy switch!), however, I can easily tolerate cheese and yogurt! Thank goodness I can handle those because they would be so hard for me to give up! I also think that is why I could never go full on paleo… I could not give up my cheeses… pecorino, Brie, Camembert, and my moms Christmas Fondue! No way! Can’t do it! Unless I had to of course.
Gluten (found in wheat, barley, and rye) is another major problem effecting more and more people. Although we were mostly a gluten-free (and grain-free) family, we became full on gluten-free last year after Fourth of July. Celiac Disease hit our home with a vengeance.
It started in January 2015. I noticed my son, Maximus’s stools were loose on some days, not all days. He would also drink a lot of water, twice as much as his twin brother Rocco. At first I thought he just really loved water, and he did eat so much fiber, so I though his stools were just softer on those days. But it progressed.
A couple of months later we were sitting on the couch reading a book, when he went to pass gas and fluid came out. I knew that wasn’t right. I mentioned it to my husband and he agreed, but thought we should just watch it a couple of days. It happened again, and again, each day. When he went to the bathroom, his stomach was hurting and he would complain of pain. I called the doctor.
She asked if we had been out of the country, duh! Yes we went to Mexico in December and the problem started right when we got home. We tested his stool for parasites. It came out clean. Next we removed dairy and added a strong probiotic. It didn’t help. Then, on Fourth of July all the good old American food came out… Pretzels, hamburger with a whole grain bun, he even had some cake! My poor boys was doubled over in the bathroom dry heaving and in so much pain! He had massive diarrhea. I had never seen him so sick!
I started praying and praying for God to show me what was hurting my son. I went over everything he ate that day when it came to me… GLUTEN! Thank you Jesus! We never eat that much gluten and its no wonder he was in so much pain! My poor boy was suffering and I finally found out the cause! We removed it from his diet immediately.
The following week, he had no episodes, his stools were great. We went to a family party that next weekend. I showed up later because I was busy taking pictures for our church. When I got there, I was holding Maximus when he reached for a cracker. I told him, “no Maximus you can’t eat that, it has gluten in it.” We had been talking to him about it all week so he was aware. He replied, “Daddy let me have one. ” I immediately asked my husband, who “forgot” or didn’t realize how serious it was. Fifteen minutes later, so much fluid came out of him. It wasn’t messy diarrhea, but water. He can’t control it. He can’t hold it in.
From that day, we have done everything in our power to heal our boy. That previous year he hadn’t been gaining weight or growing in the past six months. Within the first few months of going gluten-free he started thriving again. Something I didn’t expect was that Maximus’s behavior changed immediately. Maximus is naturally a strong-willed child, but I was having to discipline him so much less! He wasn’t in pain anymore, he was calmer, happier, not having so many meltdowns. He started gaining weight again, and not drinking as much water! Last summer he was 34 lbs, he is now 40 lbs and 43 inches tall!
Eating gluten-free at home was easy and not much of a change for us. Traveling and dinning out is much more of a challenge, which I plan to write about in the future.
We realized, going gluten-free was journey for all four of us. We are all so much healthier and feel good about supporting Maximus with his celiac disease. I do not buy gluten containing items in our home. All of our food here is safe for him eat. I am the same weight since going gluten-free. It is not a diet for weight-loss reasons. However, I don’t feel as bloated, I feel so much better and my energy is great.
We didn’t officially test Maximus to get “the diagnosis.” We were told he needed to start eating gluten again so they could do a biopsy and get an accurate result. There was no way I was going to put my boy through that. We knew the truth. He was finally healthy and thriving.
I have learned so much about Celiac Disease! I learned that it is an autoimmune disease and not an allergy! Your own body produces antibodies and begins attacking itself!
If you or someone you love may be suffering, check out these symptoms from celiac.org It is worth it to eliminate gluten from the diet to see if there is improvement! Going gluten-free is easier than you think! There are so many delicious alternatives, which I plan on writing about in the future! In the mean time, check out these symptoms and start eliminating gluten to see if there in an improvement!
Signs of Celiac Disease in Children
- abdominal bloating and pain
- Chronic diarrhea
- pale, foul-smelling, or fatty stool
- weight loss
- irritability and behavioral issues
- dental enamel defects
- delayed growth and puberty
- short stature
- failure to thrive
Signs of Celiac Disease in Adults
- unexplained iron-deficiency anemia
- bone or joint pain
- depression or anxiety
- tingling numbness in the hands and feet
- seizures or migraines
- missed menstrual periods
- infertility or recurrent miscarriage
- canker sores inside the mouth
- itchy skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis