What’s in it? Air?

As a celiac and parent to allergic children, I get asked a lot of .. well, interesting questions. Some of the most popular I get are:

But how do you live without peanut butter? I’d die without peanut butter!
What do you people eat?
I couldn’t never be gluten free. I like bread too much.
How do you live?
Do you ever cheat on your diet?
And the most popular: But what’s in it? AIR?
I generally respond really politely, and in a moment, I really will tell you what’s in my food, and how to answer those questions. But first, I will share with you what I really want to answer.

But how do you live without peanut butter? I’d die without peanut butter! Yes well, if my kid eats peanut butter he’d really potentially die so no offense, but suck it up.

What do you people eat? Food. What do you think we eat?

I couldn’t never be gluten free. I like bread too much. Ya because being celiac and gluten free is what every person wishes for in life.

How do you live? I breathe. In. Out. Repeat.

Do you ever cheat on your diet? No. Never. Do you cheat on yours?

But what’s in it? AIR? Well generally yes. All food contains oxygen and oxygen is in the air, so I’m sure that works somehow..

I’m not generally that rude. Instead I take the time to educate people. But man alive, I sometimes get angry that I have to answer the same questions over and over again. Being celiac, allergic to food, and a parent to allergic children is not something we wish for. It’s something we have to cope with, live with, and reign over, and I’m extremely proud to say that since diagnosis, my son has never had an accidental ingestion of peanuts. My daughter and I stick to an extremely strict gluten free diet (which even my specialist highlighted on my latest scope with exclamation marks at how successful I’ve been), and it’s hard.

Every day is hard; my husband and I can never let our guard down but you know what? I don’t know that I’d change it. Sure, I’d love to have glutened to the nines pizza again. And I’m sure my son might like peanut butter if I let him eat it, but in reality, I think I’ve grown my kids up to be smart, articulate, self-advocating beings as a result.

Case in point. On Valentine’s Day my kids came home with candies and immediately tossed the ones that had no labels into the “daddy is the only one in the house that can eat this” pile. Miss A had jelly beans that looked like jelly bellies but I couldn’t be sure so Mr Man said “I just don’t think we should chance it mom.” At almost 6, he’s a grown up when it comes to his allergies. And me? I couldn’t be more proud.
Now, how do I (or you!) really answer those questions? Try these answers.

But how do you live without peanut butter? I’d die without peanut butter!
You’re right. It’s super hard. I myself loved peanut butter but you know, there are great alternatives out there now. And truthfully, my son doesn’t know what peanut butter even tastes like, so he doesn’t feel like he’s missing out at all. You should try soy butter/sunbutter – they’re actually really amazing! Plus, my son knows that he if eats peanuts, he will have a severe reaction, so he’s never tempted.

What do you people eat?
We eat amazing, home cooked, whole foods. We shop at markets and know our farmers. We bake from scratch and taste everything to the fullest. We eat amazingly well and probably better than most homes!

I couldn’t never be gluten free. I like bread too much.
I loved bread too; but bread certainly didn’t love me. It’s a lot easier to give something up when you know how much damage it’s causing you. For example, did you know that untreated or undiagnosed celiac disease can leave you a ton more likely for digestive cancers? That’s enough to scare me into avoiding bread. It’s hard – for a while you remember what it all tastes like, but you do get used to it.

How do you live?
Like anyone else, I just plan a lot more, read a lot more labels, and can’t dine on a whim.

Do you ever cheat on your diet?
Never. A reaction for me is excrutiating and long lasting. The initial reaction is painful and leaves me lying praying on the bathroom floor. For days after, I’m in a fog. It takes 6 weeks for the intestines to fully repair after an ingestion. So no, I never cheat. It’s just not worth it.

But what’s in it then? AIR?
Soooo much more! We cook with a bunch of different flours, experiment with quinoa, buckwheat and sorghum. We use coconut milk instead of dairy. We cook with so many amazing things and have to find ways to get creative. Our food is mouth wateringly delicious and anyone who eats it typically can’t tell that it’s allergy friendly!

Case in point number 2. Shauna from Gluten Free Girl posted a recipe for banana cream pie with coconut milk. I altered it a bit and it turned out amazing. El Petomakes store bought tarts that are gluten free and Amanda’s house friendly so we used those. I added some vanilla instead of coconut. And while they could use some fruit on the bottom (I omitted the bananas), they were such an amazing treat, tell me that they look like air..


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