I’m all about healthy eating, but I wouldn’t wish a gluten-free grocery shopping trip on my worst enemy. I know there are plenty of kids out there with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, but after dabbling in the gluten-free waters for just a few months, it’s not for me.
I’m fortunate enough that the choice to go gluten-free or not for my toddler was merely an option. We decided to “try out” the gluten-free diet from the recommendation of a digestive healthcare professional to see if it would help with his chronic eczema as a baby and a toddler.
Shopping gluten free sucks. It’s also really freaking expensive. When you throw gluten-free into the mix as you are learning to feed a baby, it quickly becomes the stuff nightmares are made of. I would also like to add that my son was briefly on a gluten-free/dairy-free diet for a while, again related to his skin, and it was pretty much the worst thing ever.
First and foremost, a picky toddler being introduced new foods doesn’t really like anything. Trying to shove gluten-free bread down his gullet—and watching expensive gluten-free bread get thrown on the floor—made me feel like the worst mother ever.
Sure, there are plenty of gluten-free options in grocery stores today for those with celiac disease or those who are into #cleaneating. But reading product labels is a chore. Dealing with a finicky eater is also a chore. I was nearly pulling out my hair trying to plan some kind of well-rounded, gluten-free, dairy-free menu, while also trying to figure out which foods to introduce to a baby at which stage.
Finally, finally, FINALLY, we got a freaking clue, and we got my son allergy tested, upon the recommendation of our pediatrician. We wanted to try the elimination diet first because, according to research, there are several dietary triggers that can aggravate other health problems, including skin conditions.
When we finally went to an allergist for a not-so-fun round of skin prick testing, we found out that my son was allergic to a lot of crap, but—GET THIS—he wasn’t allergic to gluten and dairy! What the actual fuck. I felt like someone had been playing a cruel joke on me for the greater part of six months.
So the moral of the story is that now my son eats gluten and dairy and avoids eggs and peanuts, and his skin is beginning to clear up as his immune system improves. I know some parents are forced to put their kids on gluten-free diets, and others do it based on preference. I personally would never go down the gluten-free road again without a gun to my head.
(photo: Getty Images)