Looking back…

I remember both of Beth’s diagnosis as clear as day, the Coeliac’s diagnosis was different in the fact that Beth was conscious and nearly 5 years old so she was more clued up by then. We came away from the hospital and Beth asked me ‘ Does this mean I can’t have nice food anymore’ I replied ‘No darling, you just can’t have your Custard Creams anymore’! What do you say in those circumstances? I seem to recall custard cream biscuits a particular favourite of hers at the time so I put it into a context that she would hopefully understand, in other words – things will be different. Her diagnosis was no shock, I’d suspected Coeliacs for 6mths, I recall asking her Diabetes Nurse if insulin played havoc with going to the toilet and diarrhea? of course it does no such thing. My mummy senses were tingling and then one day I walked into the living room to find Bethany with her mouth wrapped around the brick fire place … she was eating the wall! Our fireplace is now a huge feature in our lives and an excellent conversation piece. Google eating brick, you get iron deficiency, Google iron deficiency, you get Anaemia, Google Anaemia you get autoimmune conditions, Google autoimmune conditions you get a list to include Type 1 Diabetes and Coeliacs … 1 in 6 Type 1 Diabetics have Coeliacs. Eureka! That’s why I wasn’t shocked when we sat in a hospital room to get test results with three professionals who each had concerned looks on their faces.

Symptoms…

are a very personal thing to each diagnosed individual, some may never display or suffer any of the typical symptoms, others are awfully sick on them. Beth seems to be somewhere in the middle, although a contamination plays havoc with her blood sugars [I’ll explain this at another point].

Beth’s symptoms were, and apologies for the descriptiveness;

Very bloated tummy

Dissolvable poo that floats on the surface of the toilet water (looked like Weetabix)

Discoloured second teeth; yellow in colour with white spots

Brittle hair that snapped when brushing

Spooning on the toe nails (nails grow in a wiggly fashion)

Peeling nails

Pale skin

Dark Circles under eyes

Tired and lack of energy

Within two weeks of following a Gluten Free diet Beth had colour in her cheeks and a sparkle in her eyes. I remember driving away from my mums one day and heard Beth giggle in the back of the car – it wasn’t until then that I realised that it had been a while since I’d heard her giggle!

Total Gluten Ban…

for the whole family was my initial thought as the first 6 months went by. That’s right, I said 6 months! I could not bring myself to eat something as simple as a cookie in front of Beth, and in all honesty, I still do to a point. Well behaved and successful trips to town were always rewarded with a cake from the bakery. Now I avoided town, in fact 5 years later I’ve only just started this up again with Beth now that Costas have gluten free goodies on the menu. Cheeky Friday night chippies were a thing of the past. Impulsive meals out, popping into the first inviting cafe we pass on our holidays, staying at a Premier Inn and making the most of the kids eat free menu … I could go on for ever!

Those of you in the know, will share my frustration when I say these words;

Salad

Jacket Potato

Chocolate Brownie or Ice Cream (minus the wafer!)

If anyone else walked into a cafe, restaurant or bar and was presented with a laminated menu that consisted of those four items alone they would think it was a joke and ask the waiting staff to point out the hidden cameras!

I digress! The point I’m trying to make, without getting too hot under the collar and going slightly off topic, is that it made sense to me at the time that the whole family gave up gluten and we huddled together within our gluten free bubble called home. May I be so bold to say to anyone reading this who is just starting on their gluten free journey with their child not to do the same. It was not fair on Lewis, it was not fair on my husband nor myself and it was far from reality for Bethany.

Lewis now has a tupperware box with his name on it in permanent marker, in his box he has Penguins, KitKats, Chocolate Rolls and other such goodies. We have our pasta, Beth has her pasta. We have our bread, Beth has her bread. We have our butter. Beth has her butter, however, I do refuse to have double the amount of jams, honey and spreads, we simply learnt to decant these with teaspoons instead!

And finally, the main reason behind this blog, I now bake Gluten Free to a satisfactory level which no longer leads to the need for heartburn remedies or drinking two pints of water to wash down a cupcake! In fact, whenever I try to revert back to cooking with normal flour I fail every time – go figure!