Sticking with a Gluten-Free Program


My son recently got it into his head that he doesn’t need to be on a gluten-free diet. He mentioned it twice in a short period of time.

I wasn’t sure he really felt that way or just wanted it to be that way. As an adult, I sometimes get tired of having to be careful about what I eat, never mind an 11-year-old dealing with a school cafeteria, the many temptations of childhood celebrations, and just wanting to fit in.

I had a hunch about what caused his shift in attitude.

Kid vs. Food

Recently he brought to our attention that a stir-fry dressing he used caused a red ring and peeling around his lips. For the longest time I thought the peeling was due to dehydration. But he knew he was drinking plenty of water and was able to figure out the cause and effect.

This was a huge realization because even his doctor had overlooked this food reaction, and we had been dealing with it for years. With a little research, we deduced that the offending ingredient was soy. We began limiting this ingredient in his diet, and his lips cleared up.

But adding one more item to his already restricted diet might have been the final straw.

GF Kids Want to Be Kids

After a discussion to find out if my son really felt he didn’t have gluten-intolerance, it turns out his resistance to being gluten-free was really about other things.

He didn’t like the attention at restaurants when ordering from a special menu. He wanted to be able to eat nachos at school and have cookies at lunch like the other kids.

When I committed to making sure he had a gluten-free dessert in his lunch once a week, he was completely satisfied. Also, I was amazed when I talked to the school's cafeteria director, who went out of his way to ensure that my son could have nachos.

Funny, my hasn’t asked to buy them since, he just wanted the option. In that way, I guess kids really aren’t that different than adults!



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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