Learning to Live With Celiac Disease
You may not know you have it, but celiac disease can rob the body of nutrients it needs to thrive.
Kids With Celiac Disease
"It's a good diagnosis to get because you can get better just by hanging
your hat on it. And there are no side effects to changing your diet," Green
says - unless you are a kid.
"It's such an easy treatment, but if you are a kid and suddenly you can't
have pizza or hot dog buns or hamburger buns, it's a big deal because there is
nothing a kid wants more than to be like his peers," LaPook says.
That's where creative nutritionists like Dana Greene, MS, RD, a nutritionist
in private practice in Boston, come in. Greene says living a gluten-free life
just takes some adjustment. "It requires some lifestyle changes," she tells
WebMD. The first step is learning to read labels and identify culprits that
that may contain hidden gluten. "Hidden gluten can be found in unlikely foods
such as cold cuts, soups, hard candies, soy sauce, many low or nonfat products,
even licorice and jelly beans," she says.
"I like to tell people what they can eat -- not what they can't," she
Eating and baking gluten-free is getting easier and easier. For starters,
commercial gluten-free breads and mixes with easy-to-digest base ingredients --
such as rice flours (white or brown) arrowroot, potato, and tapioca -- are
available in most food stores today, she says. "Other fun 'yes foods' for kids
with celiac disease include: pure cornmeal chips and tortillas, popcorn;
vegetable and gluten-free nut-based chips, gelatin desserts; selected pudding
mixes; and ice cream, sherbet or yogurt (without suspicious additives on the
label)," she says. Harmful ingredients to be on the lookout for include:
- unidentified starch
- modified food starch
- hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
- hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP)
- texturized vegetable protein (TVP)
Some over-the-counter and prescription medications as well as dietary
supplements may contain gluten, states the Celiac Disease Foundation web site.
Talk to your pharmacist.
"In place of wheat pasta, choose potatoes, buckwheat, brown rice, wild rice,
or beans," she says. "Parents are always asking about healthy gluten-free
snacks to put in their children's lunch box and I usually suggest peanuts and
raisins, dried or fresh fruit, a small yogurt or a bag of potato chips for a
Greene also advises parents of children with celiac disease to talk to the
school's lunch staff. "Today school dietitians are very familiar with lactose
intolerance, diabetes, and other health issues, so they know what it takes and
are willing to accommodate special dietary needs without making a big fuss
about it," she says. The Celiac Sprue Association web site offers printable
letters with specific advice on school issues.
"I also tell parents to tell their child's teacher to let them know if there
will be a birthday party or other special snack time in the classroom, so they
can send something for their child to eat so he or she won't feel too left
out," she says.