Jessica Stafford, PNP-C, is a nurse practitioner at Pediatric Specialists of Virginia ( PSV) in gastroenterology. She received her master’s in nursing at Johns Hopkins University. She wrote for “Rise and Shine” that Celiac disease is a life-long condition, but it is 100 percent manageable with permanent modifications to the diet (gluten-free diet). It is an auto-immune disease, meaning that it causes a person’s immune system to attack the body. Consuming gluten will cause damage to the finger-like projections in the small intestine, called villi, which are in the lining of your child’s small intestine. These help to absorb vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
If your child has recently been diagnosed with celiac disease, it is natural to have mixed emotions at this time. No parent wants to hear that their child has a medical condition, although on the other hand, you and your family may be relieved to have an answer to your child’s symptoms. It may also be comforting to know that celiac disease is completely treatable, and the intestinal damage is reversible.
It is completely natural to feel overwhelmed, confused, excited, and/or unsure about how to begin the gluten-free diet and healing process.
The good news is that there are many naturally nutritious and tasty foods that fit into the gluten-free diet! These include things such as fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, eggs, and even ice cream.
During the time of COVID-19, it may be especially overwhelming. I urge you and your family to use this time to explore fun ways to incorporate the gluten-free diet at home.
Gluten-free lifestyle tips
So what are some ways to get started with the gluten-free lifestyle, and keep it fun and interesting even during these times of social distancing?