I decided to post about something that I deal with on a daily basis and many parents are now becoming aware of as well. Last year I found out that I was allergic to gluten. This is also known as Celiac Disease.
“Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate a protein called gluten, found in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten is found mainly in foods but may also be found in products we use every day, such as stamp and envelope adhesive, medicines, and vitamins.”
From: The NDDIC
I was shocked, stunned and horrified, but as I cut gluten out of my diet, I never felt better. In fact, my studying got better, my concentration improved, my sleep was deeper and I felt more rested and…I lost 30 pounds.
So what does this have to do with you? Many schools in the Los Angeles area are now banning gluten cupcakes, donuts and other foods for birthdays and holiday in-class parties. They are doing this because many teachers reported that after kids ate gluten they were much more rambunctious and hard to handle for the rest of the day and with gluten-free foods the kids remained more calm!
Overall, gluten is now in almost every meal that we eat, lines ice cream containers, lurks in dry roasted peanuts, salad dressings and even marinades. If you think about it, I bet you and your kids do not go one meal without having gluten, and I think nothing is good when you have it all the time!
If you or your kids are having trouble paying attention in class, doing homework, sitting for long periods, trouble sleeping or really any kind of odd health problem, gluten might be a cause. Gluten intolerance has many, many symptoms and can be hard to diagnose, but if you feel like a challenge, try to do a week without gluten and see if you notice any change in your kids issues or behaviors.
Here are a few websites if you want more information:
Here are also some suggestions for your week-long gluten break that will even be appealing to your kids (if you do not mention it, they might not even notice the difference)
There are great pre-made substitutions for bread, pasta, cereal, muffins even pancake and brownie mix. Many of these are available online or at your local health food store (In Los Angeles many regular markets are now also carrying gluten-free substitutes.
-Use fruit and veggies for everything:
I make a quasi-pasta by peeling zucchini into think strips like noodles and sauté it with meat sauce (I think it is tastier than pasta)
-Load up on protein:
Make lettuce wraps with stir-fried chicken, instead of a sandwich or a wrap, just skip the bread part and roll the lunch meat up with a little bit of mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato. Skewers of meat and chicken with rice is also a fun dinnertime option that does not include bread.
-Don’t forget dessert!
There are great gluten free pudding mixes, yogurt with fruit, chocolate covered bananas and smoothies with whip cream are super fun!
I want this post to raise awareness that gluten intolerance can be an issue that contributes to behavioral problems. I also think lots of variety for anyone’s diet (gluten intolerant or not) is really important to a healthy body and mind.
Try it for a week, even a few meals and see if you notice a difference!
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