By contributing writer Janelle
If you have gluten-free kids above kindergarten age, you can be guaranteed that at some point, they will “cheat,” or consume foods that contain gluten. Kayla has historically been very good about not doing this. She typically gets so sick from eating anything containing gluten, that she almost goes off the deep end the other way, questioning everything.
So I was very surprised when, on the night of a sleepover with Grandma, Kayla came home from school with a stomachache. This happened on the night that my husband and I were out of the area, closing on our new house, and Kayla and Hannah were spending a few nights with Grandma. My mom called and asked what could be causing Kayla to be so sick to her stomach. She felt horrible, kept crying in pain, and was lying on the couch with a hot pack on her stomach. Could it be anxiety over the move?
I asked a few questions, assumed it was anxiety, then out of the blue Mom said Kayla had remembered she had Twizzlers at school. But Twizzlers are fine, right? Um, no. And that explains the problem.
First of all, the school and I had a strict plan about Kayla’s diet. We have 2 rules.
- She doesn’t eat anything unless it comes from home or has been parent-approved ahead of time.
- She washes her hands before eating. Every time.
So I was curious as to how this could have happened! In addition, Kayla knows to read labels and knows what to look for.
It turns out that in this instance, the Twizzlers were given as a reward for a game they were playing. It was probably in an unlabeled wrapping. It is very frustrating to me (and I’m sure to lots of other food allergy parents) that food is so frequently used as a reward in school. But I reinforced with Kayla, again, that she is never to eat something unless she is positive it has been checked for gluten. When in doubt, don’t eat it!
What do you do if/when your kids cheat on their gluten-free diet?
Janelle is wife to her hubby, who is celiac, and mom to 2 sweet girls, one of whom is celiac, and the other showing signs of gluten intolerance.