This week has been a big week for Awareness in our house. We celebrate Multiple Birth Awareness Week (and boy we are sooooooo aware we have twins!) Coeliac Awareness Week also coincides with Multiple Birth Awareness week each year. It is kind of nice that we get to celebrate a week about how unique our children are each year.
I have already written about MBAW here so now it is time to raise your awareness of Coeliac too. Coeliac is an autoimmune condition. When a person with coeliac eats anything containing wheat, rye, barley or oats their gut does not process it the way it would be in a normal gut. Which causes the body to not retain all the nutrients and good stuff from food. A person with coeliac can have a huge range of symptoms anything from diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, tiredness, headaches, malnourishment, chronic iron deficiencies, early onset osteoporosis, higher tendencies towards bowel related cancers. It is a lifelong condition, there is no known cause but it is known that there is a coeliac gene, without the gene a person does not have coeliac but could have similar intolerances as someone with coeliac. Only about 20% of people who have coeliac will display the “typical” bowel related symptoms, in most people their coeliac diagnosis will be as a result of exclusion of other illnesses.
The only way to officially diagnose coeliac in someone is with a small intestine biopsy done under a GA. Prior to this typically there will be some suspicions of coeliac so a blood test for a particular hormone can be run. If this is elevated then a referral onto a specialist will occur. For these tests to be accurate you will need to eat normally for at least 6 weeks prior. Many people remove all the food from their diet prior to getting an official diagnosis and the side effects of putting them back in their diet are too awful so they will live without that official diagnosis. The other key thing is that the onset of coeliac can occur at anytime in someone’s life and they do not know why.
When our eldest was diagnosed seven years ago now I can remember thinking our whole world had ended. I couldn’t think how on earth we were going to cope as a family one person with more than a food allergy. It was going to be a nightmare. I loved to bake and for the life of me I couldn’t think how I would bake ever again. Our son was a very sick little boy at the he was diagnosed. He was malnourished, Vitamin D deficient and chronically iron deficient. His biggest outward symptom was in fact sleep disturbances which are a very common symptom of iron deficiencies. Once we got our head around his diagnosis we have actually discovered that it isn’t nearly as bad as we initially thought.
In the seven years since he was diagnosed the range of food that is open to him has vastly improved (as has the taste!) Unfortunately we are yet to find a really good bread! There is in fact very little that Zac misses out on these days. He can have fast food if he wants it at Maccas he will get the burger of choice without the bun and chips for example. When we eat out we ring ahead and know whether there are gluten free options, if there aren’t anything that we know he will eat then we will go somewhere else.
As he gets older he is starting to hate being different which we completely understand but he also understands that it is the best thing for him.
Here as some photos of the food I make. Mostly cakes as you can see lol. Seriously though we really haven’t had to make huge changes to our normal shopping because we eat mostly fresh foods. As you can see I have found my groove with baking and honestly if you can taste the difference you are doing really well!
Excuse the quality of some of the photos! A food photographer I am not! Everything above is something I have cooked, baked, decorated and photographed.
As far as specific recipes I really don’t have any. I simply just use a gluten free equivalent in place of the “normal” ingredient. Once you get used to reading labels it is really not as hard as you think.