We’ve Got “Issues”: Mom Has Celiac Disease


Irreverent solutions to your real life allergy drama


Photo by Oksana Charla

Family Affair

So I found this note on my desk:

Dear Mommy Issues,

My mom has celiac disease and so we all have to eat gluten-free. Sometimes it’s good but sometimes it’s NOT. What do I do?

Love, Signed,

Esmé, not your daughter Esmé, I swear

Dear Esmé,

What a beautiful name! Your mother must have been a genius when selecting it for you during a very difficult labor.

I know you miss gluten. I miss gluten, too! In fact, I wish I could shove a hoagie in my face right now.

You should know that your mother works very hard to re-create gluten-free food so everyone in the family is happy. Admittedly, sometimes her recipes fail. It happens, especially with pies. But I would like to point out Exhibit A: gluten-free cheesecake ice cream. Bam! That was amazing, right?

Something else to think about: You can go out for normal pizza at any time. Your mother, however, is stuck with the gluten-free stuff for life. So, you know, maybe lay off.

To your point, I do understand eating different foods, especially when they’re not quite right, can be annoying. It’s not fun to carry gluten-free sandwiches to lunch when everyone else is chowing down on Wonder Bread. You probably would also just like to see what gluten-filled brownies taste like. I get it.

So I have a fantastic idea for you. Why not start making your own lunch (under your father’s supervision at first) and making your own brownies in your very own mixing bowl and baking pan (and designated area of the kitchen that you clean up as soon as you’re finished). Another option is going shopping and selecting prepared gluten-filled foods that are approved by your parents. Individual packages of cheddar bunnies come to mind.

If you begin to take an active role in your mealtime selection and preparation and are responsible for safe clean up, I guarantee your mother will be A-OK with your having a little gluten in the house. XXXOOO

Cabin Fever 

Dear Issues,

I’m lactose intolerant and have celiac disease and Hashimoto’s. I follow a very strict gluten-free, dairy-free diet and rarely dine outside my home. Still, I find myself getting sick several times a year with intestinal issues, which signifies to me that I’ve inadvertently eaten gluten or dairy. I’m not sure what else I can do since I prepare most of my food myself in my own kitchen. Should I just never leave the house without a meal packed?


Sick of Being Sick

Dear Sick,

Ugh! I think anyone who deals with food allergies, intolerances and autoimmune diseases can relate. When you don’t feel well for long periods of time, it can wear you down physically and mentally. Let me be frank: It sucks.

Not every ailment is tied to celiac disease, gluten, dairy or your other autoimmune condition. When we’re sick, it’s natural to lump everything together but the truth is that even people with celiac disease can catch a (non-celiac related) cold.

It sounds like it’s time for you to find and enlist some super-expert health professionals who can carefully go over your diet, your symptoms and your medical history, not to mention give you a complete physical, to determine what’s going on. You may benefit from things like a rotation diet and a regimen of probiotics to promote gut healing but the bottom line is you need solid information and guidance to know what to do next. In the meantime, yes, buckle down and pack safe meals to avoid the risk of inadvertent cross contact when dining out.

April Peveteaux is author of Gluten Is My Bitch: Rants, Recipes and Ridiculousness for the Gluten-Free.