The first month of the year brings my thoughts to the fact that so many people think being "gluten free" is a choice and we are doing it to be in vogue. The reality is that living a gluten free life isn't easy, just like with any other lifestyle disease that can be tough. The challenges are never ending. Just the other day my son got a rash, which is a sign of gluten allergy. I was surprised. How could it be? What could have caused it? My kitchen is a 100 percent gluten free kitchen. The first thought that came to mind was packed food like chips (that can't be replaced for a 9-year old even though some brands are certified gluten free, but is the facility actually gluten free?). Or was it some food that came in some box that went unnoticed? Or perhaps the sponge used to clean the dishes? And the list is never ending.
Consuming gluten has its consequences for some and they are real. It is mandatory almost to get a blood test done once a year. When you see your child suffering from allergies and other discomfort from consuming gluten, you know you need to make strict diet changes. You go on a cleaning spree of your child's gut! You check every grain you put in your mill. You ban all packed goods and have to monitor your child so that he doesn't try eating junk food. Five years ago my life changed when the blood test called TTG and IgA came positive and the biopsy confirmed that my son has an autoimmune condition that is fed by gluten, a protein. Did you know that 10,000 years ago everyone was on a gluten free diet?
Preparing for every birthday party, school event and every time you step out your brain can only think of the food you might find. I walk into restaurants, cafes and check so what's gluten free. The other day I had suggested to a restaurant that I'll help them make a great gluten free pizza base and the person just insulted me and said it isn't rocket science. Days like this I wish everyone was gluten free. Everyone wants to put something gluten free on their menu, but without caring much about the person with Celiac Disease whose health depends on it.
When did gluten free became a trend, I am unsure. But for some people, it is a tough reality. You may wake up one day, feel a little discomfort in your stomach and decide to switch to a gluten free diet because we have all heard that gluten is bad for us. But this isn't the right way. Many people start a gluten free diet without getting an investigation done even though in days to come they feel better and start believing it was the right decision. Sure, without gluten you will lose weight, reduce fatigue and remove brain fog. But the truth is that you are sitting on a time bomb that will blow up, if not checked and treated correctly.
My request to all who read this is if you have any signs of Celiac Disease, please consult a Gastroenterologist and not to a nutritionist/ dietician. Facing it early is the best thing that can happen to you or your child. I'll end by quoting the person who inspires me the most, ex-President Barack Obama, "If you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress."
About the Author:
Aarti Sarin Jain is an avid baker and runs an exclusive gluten-free test kitchen. She discovered the joys of a gluten-free living after her elder kid was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. She often experiments with new forms and varieties of gluten-free food without compromising either on taste or quality. You can read more on her blog, www.bakingfrommyheart.com.
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