May is National Celiac Awareness Month

If you haven’t had someone in your life affected with a food allergy, you don’t exactly understand that it really affects every aspect of life.  I truly did not understand it, until we discovered that my daughter who was nursing had a dairy allergy (different then gluten, but still very much a challenge).  She was so discontent all the time.  You could tell she was uncomfortable and would vomit multiple times a day along with having constant loose bowels.  My son had previously had colic for about 6 weeks but nothing like this.  She was only happy while nursing and then would shortly be vomiting.  She was about four months old when we realized that the culprit was the protein in dairy products.  It wasn’t the lactose, as I tried lactose free dairy and there was no change.

Since I was nursing, her doctor assured me that what I ate should “technically” affect her through my milk.  I knew he was wrong!   If I made a mistake and were to eat something with dairy, it would be a matter of two hours or so before she was acting uncomfortable and would be ill2 for the next 24-48 hours.  I quickly learned that almost everything that came in a package had some form of dairy.  I had been reading labels, but you truly do not understand just how drastic your diet has to change if you are use to eating anything that isn’t made from scratch.  We had already changed how we were eating for the most part, but I love chocolate and a good cold glass of milk!  I learned to adapt and make changes but it wasn’t very easy.

This month is National Celiac Awareness Month.  Celiac disease affects over three million in the US and can be so brutal on your body.  It is an autoimmune disease that affects the lining of the small intestines.  When you suffer from celiacs, your body reacts to the protein found in many grains as well as other food sources and even health and beauty products.  Because this reactions occurs in the small intestines, it affects your bodies ability to absorb the nutrients it needs.  (With Addie’s dairy allergy, she did not really successfully gain weight until we realized what her condition was).  Symptoms can range from vomiting, discomfort of your stomach, weight loss or changes in bowel movements.  It can also lead to more severe problems if not addressed.

Since Celiacs is now becoming more and more common, there are many companies that now offer alternatives to traditional products.  Some companies only offer gluten free products!  There are now Gluten-Free sections in most stores and many of the popular online retailers, such as Abe’s Market, Vitacost, and iHerb (use code FIV946 to save $5 off your first order) offer wide selections of gluten-free items.

To celebrate May as the National Celiac Awareness Month, I have teamed up with Janelle at Gluten Freely Frugal to host reviews and giveaways from some great companies that offer amazing gluten free products!

If someone in your family suffers from a food allergy, I would love for you to share your story!  Please either email me at thefrugalgreenishmama(at)gmail(dot)com or leave it in the comments.  I would love to share some of your stories this month and how you have learned to cope.

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