World Celiac Day: gluten-free child, a real challenge

World Celiac Day gluten free child a real challenge

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    Marie Lanen

    Head of parenting section (baby, pregnancy, family)

    On the occasion of World Celiac Disease Day, we asked a few questions to Cécile Gleize, author of the book “My child eats gluten-free – answers to received ideas that affect our daily lives” published by Dunod.

    When the diagnosis of celiac disease or hypersensitivity falls and that it is necessary to make his child adopt a gluten-free diet, the news naturally generates a wind of panic within families. Goodbye social life, dining out and birthday parties with friends? According to a recent FranceAgriMer study with the support of the Nutrition Experte Santé et Bien-être (Nutex) sector, 50% of respondents eat gluten-free as a family. A diagnosis of celiac disease is synonymous with profoundly disrupted habits for everyone, which can thus translate into gluten-free consumption for the whole household. Cécile Gleize, journalist specializing in health and founder of the gluten-free media – – publishes on May 10, 2023 a book entitled “My child eats gluten-free – the answers to the received ideas that agitate our daily lives” published by Dunod. Doctissimo took advantage of World Celiac Disease Day to glean some advice for parents whose child has celiac disease.

    Cecile Gleize : Since the creation of the because-gus site, I have received many messages from parents asking me for advice and tips on how to eat gluten-free on a daily basis. But the idea really came at the end of 2021 when I wrote an article to explain to children what celiac disease is. I found very few sources, except a guide from a Belgian hospital. Following the publication of this article, many parents asked me how to obtain this guide and where to find additional reliable information. The book format therefore imposed itself on me in order to be able to reassure these parents and, by extension, celiac children.

    What are the difficulties of families whose children are celiac patients?

    Cecile Gleize: When the diagnosis is announced, the parents face a lot of apprehension and fear about their daily life, which will be turned upside down. How to find the right products? How will their social life evolve? And above all, these families still suffer a lot from received ideas about the gluten-free diet. These parents are sometimes forced to justify themselves: no, it is not a choice but a necessity for their child to eat gluten-free. Nor is it a fad or fad! Those around you can sometimes take this diet lightly, although it is essential for the well-being and health of these celiac children. In addition, in recent months, gluten-free shelves have been less and less supplied. Associations have also expressed their fears about this shortage of food products. Indeed, these are a necessity for many families.

    Cecile Gleize: I consume myself without gluten but I did not know the problems of the parents. So, to help them as much as possible, I questioned about ten of them to find out what their daily lives were like. Many of them told me that they had mentioned their child’s symptoms to make them understand that by eating gluten-free it made these symptoms disappear. Thanks to the gluten-free diet, the pains and other problems that children encounter disappear. Generally, children easily understand that this new diet is better for them. The difficulty sometimes still lies in the management of the school canteen. If an IAP (Individualized Welcome Project) is put in place, it is necessary that the child is not isolated from the rest of the group because he may find it difficult to live with it. I give some advice on this in my book…

    What dietary advice would you give to parents of celiac children?

    Cecile Gleize: Above all, I would like to reassure them and tell them not to panic. At the beginning, we ask ourselves a lot of questions and we are afraid of making mistakes, it’s normal and it doesn’t matter. Parents always think of gluten-free products, but of course there are many gluten-free dishes: meat and green beans, for example, are gluten-free. I would say that at the beginning, it is worth betting on homemade and “basic” dishes. Then, you can buy lots of gluten-free products for lazy days or when you have less time to cook. This is the case for pasta, pizzas or even bread, because making your own gluten-free bread is not necessarily the easiest thing!

    What tips for living serenely gluten-free?

    Cecile Gleize: The essential point, in my opinion, is to be familiar with the disease and gluten-free products. Knowing how to answer questions and becoming a sort of expert reassures those around you and the child. All celiac patients can come to my site where I give advice but also good addresses via a selection of restaurants that offer gluten-free dishes. You can live serenely without gluten, you just have to be organized and get started in the kitchen!