Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Our Gluten Free Kid Of The Week: Kaylee

The Harms family were some of our first friends when we moved from Denver to Chicago so when we discovered Mackenzie's gluten allergy we immediately turned to them for support.  This week I'm so excited to introduce:
Little Mountain Momma's
 Gluten Free Kid Of The Week
Kaylee, 4 years old
Describe Kaylee in three words- Energetic, Feels Deeply, Inquisitive
How did you discover Kaylee needed to go gluten free?
            Her dad, Phil, has celiac and has been GF since 2007. When Kaylee first started eating solids, we kept her diet gluten free. As time went on (and baby #2 arrived) we started introducing gluten to see what would happen. At first we didn’t notice any significant changes. Then 2013 began (Kaylee was 2 ½ at this point). We battled cold after stomach bug after cold after cold after stomach bug. Within 6 months, Kaylee was sick around 11 times, resulting in a hospital stay for dehydration. At one point she was put on amoxicillin for an ear infection. Within an hour of the first dose, she broke out in hives that covered about 80% of her body. To counter-act the amoxicillin, she was put on steroids, which we discovered she is also allergic to. During these 6 months we also thought Kaylee had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Her joints were in such excruciating pain that she refused to move and when lifted or carried, she would scream in pain. We took Kaylee off gluten and within just a few weeks, she was a new, happy, energetic toddler!! Kaylee’s symptoms range from mouth sores to joint pain to GI issues and intestinal cramping. Her younger sister, Teagan, is also gluten free and in addition to the symptoms above, also develops eczema.
What are the biggest challenges you find in having Kaylee be gluten free?
            Since our house has been mostly gluten free since 2007, eating at home is easy! The part that I struggle with is parties, especially birthday parties. I either prepare and bring food, including GF cupcakes or treats. I try to always have some kind of GF snack with me, which means being prepared with groceries and food and having the foreknowledge to have them with me.
How do you explain what “gluten free” means to your kiddo?
            I explain that gluten will make them very sick and remind them how they will feel. I tell Kaylee, and Teagan, they are allergic to things with gluten. It makes it easier that daddy is gluten free and that I have several food allergies that I cannot eat.
Do you have a favorite recipe you would be willing to share with other gluten free families?
            We’re thankful for gluten free pasta. I don’t love giving the girls “white” (rice) pasta regularly (its really about as “healthy” for you as regular white pasta), there are other options like quinoa, non-gmo corn pasta, and brown rice pasta. My girls love chicken noodle soup, quesadillas, grilled cheese. I make GlutenFree Goddess’ Sweet Potato and Turkey Enchiladas often.
Does your family have a favorite restaurant or bakery that is gf or offers gluten free options?
            Chick-fil-a is probably our favorite place! We love Pizza Doodle here in Denver. They have a dedicated gluten-free oven and a huge play room for the kids. Chipotle, Qdoba, Garbonzo, Noodles & Company and on rare occasions Rodizio Grill (Brazilian BBQ). We eat Mexican food quite frequently. Most Thai restaurants offer a gluten free option now as well; just ask them if they have GF options and if they look at you like they don’t know what you’re talking about, find a different place.
Do you have any tips for parents who are embarking on a gluten free diet for their child/children?
            It can seem overwhelming at first, but have a positive attitude. Try using positive language and talking about all the food that CAN be eaten instead of things that can’t. Read labels! Gluten-containing ingredients can be hidden in long lists of (mostly questionable) ingredients. Better yet, eat foods as close to their natural state as possible. Meat, veggies, fruit – all gluten free (do be careful with marinades and sauces).
Do you have any favorite resources (websites, books, magazines etc...) that you can share to help another parent along this journey?
            I love the Gluten Free Goddess. When we first went GF with my husband Phil, I got a year subscription to Living Without’s Gluten Free and More.  It has super helpful ideas for flour blends and substitutions as well as support and encouragement for what to do at school, while traveling, at camp, etc.

If you would like your child to be featured as an upcoming highlighted gluten free child of the week, please email to Check back soon to meet next week's gluten free kid of the week Jack!

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