We hear the story of one little girls diagnosis…
Sharon is a mum of twins. Hats off to her before even saying another word! William and Emily may have shared a cozy womb but only Emily is a diagnosed coeliac.
Gluten intolerance and coeliac disease in adults is increasingly well understood by GPs. Diagnosing it in children is a bit more hit-or-miss as Sharon and Emily found out in the two years leading up to Emily’s diagnosis.
Sharon is the self-proclaimed defender of Emily’s needs. She explains to me how she calls ahead every restaurant and then cross-examines chefs to ensure food is 100% gluten free. I find myself saying “I wish you were my mum!”. A little awkward first encounter but I’m sure many people wish they had someone to ask the cranky waiters if they can make something without the bread or soy sauce.
Sharon has long been the advocate for Emily, through the journey of diagnosis to now catering for her gluten free diet. The visits to the doctors started when Emily was only four years old. She was having acute stomach pain, chronic constipation and she was vomiting occasionally.
For two years Emily visited her GP, had ultrasounds, X-rays and home visits from doctors. No one ever considered that her discomfort may have been gluten related. Everyone just kept saying to up her fiber and water intake and that eventually her symptoms would resolve themselves.
After a suggestion from a gluten intolerant family friend Sharon and Emily went back to the GP and asked for a blood test for Coeliac disease. The results were conclusive that Emily was very sensitive to gluten. After a referral to the gastroenterologist Emily then had the biopsy test done, this is the most accurate measure of whether a person has coeliac disease or is gluten intolerant. Emily had coeliac disease.
Sharon then had a steep learning curve on the gluten free diet. She joined the Coeliac Queensland community and found they were enormously supportive. There’s also no need to be stuck for recipe ideas with website like Yum Gluten Free and communities like the Gluten Free Village.
Looking back Sharon says she realizes now that Emily was also overly tired and easily agitated before she was diagnosed. Adults with gluten sensitivity or coeliac disease often report they felt tired, angry, anxious or depressed before they moved to a gluten free diet. You can find out more about symptoms and diagnosis methods on the Coeliac Queensland website.
Emily is now a thriving seven year old and feeling much better. If you suspect your child is also gluten intolerant or a Coeliac, the first step is to start a symptom diary and have a conversation with your GP.
We asked Sharon for her top kid friendly restaurant suggestions in the Bayside area of Brisbane:
- May’s Thai – Manly West – Just tell them you need GF & they will advise the choices available & prepare it with the utmost attention – Emily loves their Yellow Curry.
- Marine World Café – Tingalpa – The only place you can get GF crumbed fish, scallops, prawns etc. & chips – Yum !
- Tingalpa Hotel – Talk to Brad the chef – The twins share a GF pizza with veges each along with a kids fun pack each for the price of 2 x kids meals. Great value. Also has a great playground.
She also has a hot tip to make sure there is a gluten free child option (or negotiate one), as many restaurants will only make an adult meal (which is double the price).
You can find lots of kid friendly recipes on our site, here are ten of our favourites:
Paleo Inspired Chicken Nachos
Bianca’s Banana Bread
Baked Sweet Potato Chips with Tomato Sauce
Slow Cooker Meatballs
Baked Popcorn Chicken
Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
Peanut Butter Cookies
Chocolate Quinoa Crackles
Berry Banana & Coconut Muffins
When you join Coeliac Queensland (or in your respective state) you receive a new member kit which includes:
– All the information you need to start eating gluten free
– Ingredient List booklet – easily identify if an ingredient is gluten free at a glance. Over 1000 ingredients listed.
– Handbook – everything you need to know about coeliac disease and living a gluten free lifestyle.
– Recipe Book – over 130 gluten free recipes including full colour photos and nutrition information.
– Gluten free samples – Sample products vary throughout the year.
– Enviro Bag.
Child members receive – Management and Action Plan, a copy of ‘What Now – a positive approach to your child’s coeliac disease’. There’s more membership information on their website https://qld-coeliac-org-au.secure-aus.com/apply-for-an-individual-membership/.