Gluten-Free Family Life – Amy’s Story
Amy (29) and her son Henry (8) have been living with coeliac disease since Henry was diagnosed at 8months old. Amy is a hard working and dedicated single mum for whom finding the right help and information on coeliac disease has been a challenge. “We were given almost no information on how to live with coeliac disease” said Amy.
“We received a list of gluten free foods from a specialist dietician and that was about it. The rest I had to find out on my own through the internet and the books I could find in the local library.” “Organisations like Coeliac.org and Foodsmatter.com are great resources for people who are dealing with this situation.”
Before Henry was diagnosed, Amy had been weaning him onto solids for around 2 or 3 months. “It was a nightmare in the beginning” she remembers, “Henry was always sick after eating and we would never know when it was going to happen. One time we took him to the fire station and he was sick all over a fireman! I had to take loads of stuff with me wherever we went to be ready for any situation.”
Like many parents with coeliac children, she found has found it a constant struggle to find suitable foods on the market and has had to spend many hours perfecting recipes for foods most people take for granted. “Yorkshire puddings were one of my major triumphs – it took me countless times experimenting with different recipes until I managed to make the perfect gluten-free Yorkshire pudding!” Amy and Henry have not been impressed by the standard of most gluten free foods available. “To be honest most of the GF foods are horrible – the prescription biscuits and most breads are pretty tasteless and if you didn’t have to eat them you wouldn’t.”
Amy recognises that things have gotten better in recent years, but there is still a long way to go on most common foods. “For me it’s better to cook most things from scratch at home, rather than buy things that Henry doesn’t want to eat from the supermarkets.” “Even if there is something decent on available, because we live in a small town the range is often very small and you have to go to one of the larger towns in the area to get a half-decent selection.” One of the things Amy has found to be a great benefit has been adding Pure Mesquite to home cooking and baking. “For once I can add some real flavour to gluten free baking with the added bonus of having the extra fibre and nutrition in there. The best thing is that it is food that everyone wants to eat. I baked a GF banana loaf with mesquite to take to Henry’s Grandma’s and the whole thing went in no time! Everyone loved the taste – GF or not!
Amy remains philosophical about the future. “At the end of the day there are so many more people being diagnosed as coeliac now that the market is growing and there are a lot of people working hard to create better GF food. For kids like Henry, they haven’t known anything different because he has been coeliac his whole life.” Luckily for Henry and thousands of other coeliac children out there, advances in Gluten Free foods and ingredients like Pure Mesquite are narrowing the taste gap between regular and coeliac diets.