03 May 2014

Celiac Awareness

So the clusterfuckery that is Autism Awareness month is over. Thank God. And we're into Celiac Awareness month and Mental Health Awareness Month, which is kind of hilariously awesome since untreated Celiac disease can cause all sorts of mental health problems.

For me, the two go hand in hand. Because Tony and I both have Celiac Disease, so do all three of the kids. And when we get glutened, which isn't difficult (did someone touch regular cookies before handing out the gf ones? Glutened!) all the Autism symptoms are exacerbated. More exclusive behaviour, less engagement. Bloated belly. Pain. Easy to anger. And that's just me! ;)

The world is not a Celiac friendly place any more than it's an Autism friendly place. My church is having a Secret Friends breakfast tomorrow. We're not going. There will be gluten crumbs everywhere. Oh sure, there's gluten-free bagels, but are they washing their hands between touching the regular ones? Are they side by side so regular crumbs can drop on the gf ones? Is the fruit right beside the regular bagels? Of course. And have you ever watched someone eat a bagel? Crumbs fly. I told them he wouldn't be able to participate, and of course I got a reminder call this evening telling me just how disappointed his secret friend would be and is it really that serious?. Too bad. Better than Pop crying all night from gut pain.

I would give up chocolate for some food free spaces. Chocolate is a food group for me. You have no idea.

Every single kids group has snack break.
Every pre-school has snack break. And play-doh.
Every adult event ever has gluten. Usually crackers.
Bread is everywhere.

And the worst? THE WORST? People who claim to be celiac but cheat. Because it makes those of us who are careful and do give a shit about our health look like some sort of gluten fascist nutbar.

And, thanks to Stevil the Harpy, the new labelling laws mean that anything can be labeled gluten free if it has less than 20 parts per million. I get sick at less than 2ppm (which I know thanks to Rice Dream and their claim to be gluten-free. My gut disagrees). What this means is I have to phone the company, every time. And usually, I have to test it with a Gluten Tox kit. Plenty of things labeled gluten free are NOT. Cross-contamination is everywhere.

Every single meal we eat, I make. From scratch. There are a very few things we can buy that are processed. Renee's cucumber dill dressing, Daiya Cheese, Eden Organic beans (some varieties), Lay's Potato chips (thank christ!), Bragg's Aminos, So Good organic soy milk, McCormick's spices. That's about it. Even plain lentils have tested positive, so I'm going to try to grow some this year.

I'm so tired of it. I'm tired of being sick from people not being careful. I'm tired of cooking. I'm tired people accusing me of over-reacting. I'm tired of my kids being sick. I'm tired of Celiac disease.