Gluten and Eczema
Gluten is a personal topic for me as 4 out of 5 of my immediate family are gluten free. I just can’t seem to convert my middle child who has no symptoms from gluten. She has put up a gluten fight - take a look at her grocery list below:-0
Gluten Family Saga
Our Gluten Family Saga began when my youngest child was 3 years old. She started spitting up bile. I first noticed at the swimming pool in June. Everyday she got a little worse. My pediatrician, whom I have now left, was clueless (I love my new pediatrician so don't be afraid to switch if your child's doctor is like a brick wall). By September, she had dark circles around her eyes, slept from 4:30 pm until 10 am the next day and threw-up her meals onto her empty plate. I was totally freaking out, to say the least. By early October she had missed a month of preschool. My pediatrician had run a series of tests that were all negative and wanted to hospitalize her and scope her under general anesthesia. Out of pure desperation, I called an Alternative MD 5 hours away that my sister highly recommended. Before this experience, I thought Alternative doctors were all Quacks. I now think they are a great option if you are frustrated with modern medicine or worry about side effects from prescription creams and drugs.
To my dismay, this Alternative doctor had a 2 month waiting list. BUT, they just had a cancelation for 10 am the next morning. I grabbed my dop kit, my daughter and pjs and jumped in the car. The next morning at the appointment the doctor told me to immediately give up dairy and gluten. My first thought was -- OK -- but what’s gluten?????? When I returned home, I researched gluten and basically threw out everything in my fridge and pantry. I replaced with eggs, corn nacho chips, fruit, meats, veggies and soy milk. Within 5 days her symptoms were gone and so was her eczema! It took a long time to get her back to normal though. A lot of damage had been done to her body. Two months later the Alternative MD had me reintroduce dairy and she was fine. We then knew gluten was the culprit. To make a very long story short, my husband at 43 had to give up triathlons and then weight training due to arthritis (which runs in his family). After a year of nagging, he went off gluten. A few months later his arthritis was gone. If he falls off the gluten-free wagon – arthritis back. My oldest daughter went gluten free because there was basically no gluten in our house. I found a wonderful gluten free bread she liked (http://www.gansonscafe.com). This amazing bread is sold at Hyvee Health Market. We can’t live without it. Once her body was cleansed of gluten, when she ate gluten, she would have chest pain and feel a sensation of choking (which I think was heart burn) so she is now gluten-free. I will skip the story of all the heart tests at the hospital and the huge bill that went with it. I went gluten free because it made sense but now, when I eat gluten, I can’t control my migraine headaches. A variety of strange family symptoms BUT ONE CULPRIT - GLUTEN. My mother and aunt are gluten free and my husband’s family and their gluten habits are going down like dominos. No one will tell me that gluten and health issues are hogwash (btw – I live in Iowa). This gluten thing is real.
As an owner of AD RescueWear, I speak to eczema sufferers on a daily basis. We hear often that eliminating gluten (and dairy) drastically helps their child’s eczema. This is not an END ALL answer to all eczema, BUT, it’s an easy, noninvasive, painless technique (unless you are a gluten addict) to try if you're pulling your hair out with stubborn eczema. Here is a great article on WebMD on food allergies and the elimination diet http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/allergies-elimination-diet.
I hear so many excuses from people who should be gluten free but aren’t. My sister is one example. I hope she doesn’t read this blog! Her oldest child (8 years old) was diagnosed with a soy and gluten sensitivity. He was first diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at 18 months. Then a rare autoimmune disease by MayoClinic. Then they found out it was a soy and gluten sensitivity. Crazy thing is his aunt has MS and is in a wheelchair and his great aunt almost died of Celiacs Disease. Everytime we see them, he is eating gluten. Her excuses vary. “I don’t want to listen to him complain”. “It’s too expensive”. “I don’t have time”. Over the 4th of July her little boy ate gluten the entire holiday weekend. I finally told her to research long-term exposure of gluten on gluten sensitive people and people with Celiac Disease. Did you know Celiac Disease can be asymptomatic? But DON'T rest assured, the long term affects are ugly (http://www.celiaccentral.org). Celiac Central also has a section for gluten sensitive individuals. Another excuser is my business partner. OMGosh she’s going to read this blog! She is doing better since an Alternative MD at the University of Colorado Hospitals told her to cut dairy and gluten out of her son’s diet. He has asthma, allergies, food allergies and eczema. Her excuses were virtually the same as my sis. “I’m too busy”. “Don’t want to listen to him complain”. “Too hard”. My advice to all who need to go gluten free but won’t take the plunge – Get a bread maker and buy Anna’s Breads (http://breadsfromanna.com) and Ganson’s breads. Stock up on applesauce and find an allergy friendly bar that your child likes. I had to eat so many disgusting gluten free breads in our early years of being gluten free (Why did I eat disgusting bread? They were expensive and I couldn't look at them in the trash!). But you don’t have to. And you don't have to worry and wonder if you could have done something different in later years if your adult child has intestinal cancer or Crohn’s Disease. I’m being dramatic but research gluten and related diseases (http://www.celiaccentral.org/Celiac-Disease/Related-Diseases/34/).
Here is a simple gluten free recipe to get you started.
Grilled Asparagus, Peaches and Swordfish.
Mom advice: I have a One Bite Rule at dinner. You can’t say you don’t like something if you don’t take one bite. If you clean your plate (I give small portions) you can eat something you like.
Ok, I will quit rambling and give you the recipe.
Swordfish Steaks – this also works well with chicken.
Swordfish Sauce – ½ bunch parsley, 3 Tbs. shredded Parmesan, 2 large garlic cloves through a press, 1 Tbs. capers, juice from ½ lemon, 3 Tbs. olive oil. Put in a small food processor and process until it looks coarsely chopped. Baste swordfish with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on the grill. Grill one side for 5 minutes then flip and put Swordfish Sauce on top of cooked side with a spatula. Grill until center is cooked. See photos below.
Rinse asparagus and peaches. Cut off bottom of asparagus spears and cut peaches into large pieces. Toss with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and add to grill.
Don't over grill. They will both get mushy.
Serve with swordfish.
Here are my girls happily eating gluten free on a lovely summer night.
Above is my precious daughter that loves gluten.
Here's my beautiful daughter that gets chest pain from gluten.
Here's my baby that throws up if she ingests gluten.