The Gluten-Free Struggle is REAL: One mom's journey with her daughter

When you know better, you do better! 
 Submitted by Nina Bradley Clarke

Approximately 18 months ago my daughter Blaine, went gluten free at the age of 5. Before her diagnosis, she complained of a tummy ache every day on the way to preschool. And every morning, she was eating carbs (gluten) for breakfast.  There was no throwing up or intestinal issues; she just had a constant, dull stomach ache.

The pediatrician and I had several discussions, and ultimately decided to try the gluten free diet.  He said Blaine most likely either had a senstivity to gluten or a sensitivity to dairy. We initially tried a gluten-free diet for 60 days, and her tummy aches improved dramatically. I couldn’t believe it was that easy to help her feel better!  But remember – if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
What no one warned me about was how bad some gluten-free food really is for you.  Just because it says “gluten free” on the packaging, doesn’t mean it is good for you.  It often means that the wheat has been replaced with some sort of rice flour blend, with plenty of sugar added to account for the missing flavor and texture. Corn is also often used to replace wheat in numerous gluten-free products and it’s in almost everything (think corn starch, corn oil, etc.).  Keep in mind that corn today is not the corn we grew up eating.  A lot of corn nowadays is genetically modified or otherwise processed. But, this gluten-free diet was new to me, and I was just trying to do the best I could for Blaine, who was adjusting to her new life as a gluten-free girl. I felt badly for her, so I tried to give her as many options as I could find. If I saw “gluten free” on the packaging, I went right for it. I didn’t read labels and ingredients closely, and, before I knew it, I had overdosed Blaine on calories and sugar, as well as corn.
Fast forward to today.  We are now seeing a hollistic doctor who speciailizes in food allergies and sensitivities.  He has found that Blaine has now developed a corn sensitivity as well as a sugar sensitivity.  See the pattern?
We went gluten free, and we ended up overdosing her little body with corn and sugar, without even knowing this was happening.  The silver lining in our journey?  There are many.  We now know how important gut health is, and we’re working hard on healing Blaine’s.
We now eat better as a family.  We are now eating more REAL food as opposed to processed food, and a lot less sugar. (too much sugar is so bad for children, but that’s another blog post!).  We are now better at reading labels and reading ingredients, and understanding how critical this is.  My husband is now gluten free as well, which is helping Blaine feel less isolated in her journey.
I am hoping that by sharing my struggles and experiences with having a gluten-free child I can help others who are on the same journey. It’s a learning curve, but if we do it together, we can make it easier!
When you know better, you do better!  
Nina Bradley Clarke is a wife & proud mom of 2 happy & busy kids in Norwalk, CT.  She is Managing Director at Beautycounter, and keeps it real every day as she tries to live a healthy & clean lifestyle with her family.
Follow her on Instagram @ninabclarke and find her website link here:
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