Monday, June 23, 2014

Gluten Sensitivity: Frustrations and Joys, Life-saving Resources By and For Kids and Youth

I am very touched by Dr. Tom O'Bryan's most recent post. And I am putting it here in full because of it's importance to help lower the morbidity of gluten sensitivity in our children and youth, which is so high, it is tragic and a public health issue. 

Here are resources to encourage the children and youth who are challenged to stay on a gluten free or grain/ dairy free diet in a world full of peer pressure to eat things they shouldn't eat. And yet to stay at the top of your game, a gluten sensitive individual, whatever age has to never eat gluten.

Pay it forward!
Have you seen the movie, or heard the concept 'Pay it Forward'? It's an excellent feel-good movie that helps the world be a better place. I believe we all 'pay it forward' once in a while. Paying for the car behind you at the toll booth, putting a quarter in an expired meter for someone, slowing down enough when driving to let the car who wants to cut in front of you be on their way, basically doing a nice deed for someone else without being recognized for it. Just for the joy of making the world a better place.
This is one of those emails.
I need $5.22 and 10 minutes of your time--I promise you're going to help change the lives of thousands.
As those of you who attended the Gluten Summit will know, children diagnosed with celiac disease have been shown to have a threefold increased risk of long-term mortality (dying), with or without a gluten-free diet. This is primarily because of an increased risk of death from accidents, suicide, violence, cancer and cerebrovascular disease (See:
How can this happen on a gluten-free diet? Two reasons:
  • Firstly, nobody is "putting out the fire", the ongoing systemic inflammation which can impact the brain, leading to depression and behavioral changes. This is one of the primary messages of my life's work educating healthcare professionals and patients about gluten-related disorders: simply putting someone on a gluten-free diet is not enough, you must address the fire.
  • Secondly, we use food to bond with friends and family, to give and receive hospitality, and to celebrate special days. It's the same for kids and teenagers. Where do they have to go to congregate? Pizza parlors. Restaurants. Without very extensive support, knowledge, and training our gluten-free kids are at risk of becoming excluded and can even develop social phobias or depression--they don't want to go out because they think their friends will call them names, and this is what I would like to focus on today.
We need to be proactive in supporting our kids to lead healthy, sociable lives, and teaching them to make correct and confident food decisions on their own. I highly recommend that those of you with a gluten-free kid contact your local branch of the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG). (In Canada, contact your nearest Canadian Celiac Association or GAPS group) GIG runs mainstream camps with safe, gluten-free food options, allowing gluten-free kids to integrate 100% with the other kids. Separate kitchens prepare the food (so there is no cross-contamination), but one dining hall. Because GIG MAKES SURE to have expert chefs for their portion of food preparation, it's not long before ALL the kids want to eat the GF food because it's so good. THAT gives the kids the confidence and knowledge to know that, with a little work, their food, their lifestyle, is very cool for themselves and their peer group. GIG also offers the Digest This training program for kids of different ages, and day camps teaching children how to read labels and prepare meals. Please support this organization any way that you can. They are where the pedal hits the metal in education about gluten-related disorders.
Now, the $5.22.
There are three young people I want to tell you about and ask that you PAY IT FORWARD to them. These three young minds are courageous enough to write about being gluten sensitive and its frustrations and joys. Other kids read this and they feel validated, they see hope. There are dozens of emails I've read of such messages from other kids to these three. There's probably hundreds of such messages, I've seen a few dozen. And it grabs your heart to read the hope, the validation from one 12 year old to another saying, "Thank you. Yeah, kids in school can be really mean."
I'm going to ask you consider spending $5.22 and ordering the two ebooks listed below. These books are written by young people and your investment to support them will have a trickle-down effect to everyone they reach out to.
Lexi's Book
Gluten and Dairy – Who Needs Them? A Kid's Perspective, written by Lexi Kantor, author, blogger, gluten- and dairy-free kid. Lexi's ebook is available from Amazon for $3.23.
I interviewed Lexi about her work as part of the Gluten Summit. Listen now!
Lexi blogs here.
Erica's Book
A Teenager's Guide to Food Restrictions, written by Erica Brahan, who is also the author of the Edible Attitudes blog. Erica shares practical advice on navigating teenage life while following a special diet, and her eBook is available for $1.99.
Erica blogs here.
Sema Dibooglu
I also invite you to check out the blog "Eat Without Gluten: A Positive Outlook on the Gluten-Free Diet" by gluten-free guru Sema Dibooglu, which contains recipes and tips for delicious gluten-free living.
What do you think will happen if they receive 20,000 orders for their ebooks? Or, get thanked by 20,000 people for their efforts to make the world a better place for kids? Reach out to any or all of them to share your supportive words, perhaps a budding Pulitzer Prize winner will feel the wind beneath her wings!

For the sake of our kids, let's all make use of these excellent resources! Let's also show our local support groups and up-and-coming gluten-free bloggers and authors, who are there for us, how much we appreciate them!
And, don't forget to pay the toll for the car behind you. :-)
Thank you, and summer blessings,
Dr. Tom O'Bryan 

To Your Health
Dr. Barbara