24. Teach your children well.
If you are the parent of a child who follows the gluten-free diet, you have a challenging and very important job. You are in charge of your child’s gluten-free diet now, but you are also in charge of helping your child achieve and maintain a positive attitude since the gluten-free diet is for life.
Yes, you have to make sure you child’s food is gluten free so he or she will feel well and grow properly. But making your child feel as normal as possible within the confines of the diet is just as important. Generally that means never letting the diet stop him from participating in an activity, going to a party or hanging around with friends.
Plan for food in advance. Bag and freeze gluten-free cupcakes and pizza so you are always ready for a birthday or school celebration. Send gluten-free snacks your child can have when an unexpected treat turns up in the classroom. Offer to bring food, which happens to be gluten free, to scout meetings, soccer games and other activities so your child can enjoy it along with everyone else. Many of the foods children typically like are now available in gluten-free versions that you can keep stocked for your child.
You can police every food to make sure it does not contain gluten. But your child still won’t grow normally if she is made to feel that celiac disease limits or defines who he or she is. Gluten-free kids adjust amazingly well with the right kind of support from family and friends and a “can do” outlook on their diet from you.
25. Get on with life.
In the beginning, having to follow a gluten-free diet may seem like the worst thing that ever happened to you. But you will soon discover that it may be the best thing that ever happened to you. The diet is manageable. It prevents more serious health problems.
Most of all, the diet is doable and the lifestyle is rewarding. You can (and you will) get to a point where you follow a strict, unwavering gluten-free diet as if it were the most normal thing in the world.