A Teen’s Perspective: Living with Celiac Disease
Living with Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease triggered when a person eats any food containing gluten.
Gluten is a protein that is found in certain grains, like wheat, spelt, barley, rye and malt among others. Carbohydrates like rice, potatoes and corn are safe to eat.
I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease when I was about 12, and have been following a gluten free diet ever since. The transition was a difficult one, as living with celiacs disease is difficult for me and I know how difficult it was for my parents, too. My parents and I had to do a lot of research to figure out all of the products gluten is in, what I would need to avoid, and what products we should buy.
As a parent, support is the best thing you can provide for your child. It was a very sensitive topic for me during the first few months or so after my diagnosis. Every time my parents would comment on how good a food I could no longer eat was, every time I went out with my family and there was nothing I could eat so we had to go somewhere else, or every time I went out with my friends and they all wanted to go somewhere I could not eat so I had to eat beforehand and just sit while they ate foods I could not eat, I felt awful.
The best thing you can do is to be careful what you say, and reiterate your support of your child’s gluten free diet. Don’t make your child feel like you are missing out on anything because of your child’s gluten free diet. I know I felt that way. I kept feeling like I was ruining other people’s plans or making them go out of their way. Make sure your child knows that that is not the case. So, continue to eat products with gluten. However, I suggest you also eat some gluten free products too to make your child understand that you are with him or her.
You can’t really do much about what your child’s friends want, but suggest to your child that he or she talk to her friends and suggest a place where he or she can eat so that your child does not feel left out. Feeling left out during those first few months can be difficult.
After about 7 years living with Celiac, I am used to it. I understand that sometimes people have to go out of their ways or make concessions, but I know that it is not my fault. It is for my own health. Sometimes I cannot be involved in plans, but I have learned to stand my ground.
In addition, over the years, I have found so many restaurants that will accommodate, stores that sell gluten-free food, and great tasting gluten-free foods and products! When I was diagnosed, many of these products did not exist.
Here is a list of some of my favorite products!
Cookies: Pamela’s, Lucy’s, KinniToos
Comment below if you have any products that you love, or anything to share about your experiences with Celiac Disease!
If you have any questions, you can learn more about Celiacs Disease here.
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