Gluten Amnesia

Recently, I was talking with some friends about being gluten-free when my son walks by and says, “I’m not sensitive to gluten,” and then he was gone.

Now, he’s been gluten-free for a couple of years but because he was so young when we put him on a gluten-free diet, I knew this day would come; the day when he would forget why we ate gluten free.

When I was going through the process of being diagnosed, I started to see similarities in symptoms my son and I shared: rashes, brain fog, and food avoidance, to name just a few.

After I was diagnosed with gluten-intolerance and found what a big difference eating gluten free made, my husband and I made the decision—with our son’s support—to put him on a gluten-free diet too.

He’s been proudly gluten-free for a couple of years now. We’ve seen him enjoy a better relationship with food, he doesn’t break out in weird skin eruptions, and he concentrates better.

Even weird things that you wouldn’t think would be related to gluten, seem to be. For example, he doesn’t have as bad of a reaction to poison ivy as he once did. He used to break out in a rash within three hours of contact. If I didn’t put him on a steroid, he’d start throwing up.

Last year he came into contact with poison ivy and didn’t break out for 24 hours. I didn’t have to put him on steroids because the rash was normal and didn’t make him sick.

I had a chat with him to find out why he thinks he’s not sensitive to gluten, and he said he never was.

I asked him why he thought he was on a gluten-free diet then, and he said it was because I was.

Now I wish I’d had him officially diagnosed by a doctor. I think it would carry a little more weight with him.

But unfortunately, amnesia has set in and no matter what I, his father, or older brother say about what he was like in the past when he was “glutened,” he doesn’t remember. In his mind, if he can’t remember, it must not be so.

Now I’m struggling with finding that balance of encouraging him to stay gluten free and not having gluten become the forbidden fruit that he just has to have! 

Has this situation happened to other parents? What are your strategies for keeping kids committed to a gluten-free diet?



About Renee Smith

Renee Smith* lives with her family in a suburb of Boston. She and her tween son must follow a gluten-free diet while her husband and teenage son do not. As you might imagine, this creates some challenges, but it's also led to some special family moments.

*Renee Smith is a pseudonym created by the author to protect her sons from mortal embarrassment that their mother is blogging about them!

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