“Once a Celiac, always a Celiac”. Gluten intolerance or what they call Celiac disease is a lifelong illness which only requires a strict gluten free diet as treatment. This disease affects infants and teenagers as well. They often say that at this point in time, gluten intolerance is at “remission stage”, not knowing that there is no such thing as remission due to the fact that is a lifelong disease. Gluten intolerance requires both parents and their children to work hand in hand for recovery. Often times, teenagers who are affected find it a hard due to the changes and curiosity that they face to the world outside their home. Here are some guidelines to help your teen deal with gluten intolerance.
First and foremost, help your teen be reminded that he/she has a life-long condition in which gluten is harmful. They must be educated that their can be no remission in gluten intolerance and that there is no possibility that they’ve outgrown it. Both these concepts are myths with no scientific basis. It must be imposed on them that gluten intolerance is lifelong and that this is a well-researched fact.
Second, as parents, you must know and understand that their bodies are experiencing a lot of changes. They may need a lot of assurance from you or from their monitoring physician regarding their immune system which gives a lot of attention to their sexual changes and associated body elements. Help your teen to be mindful on his/her condition because it is at this stage that he/she will feel that the disease is already gone which is totally untrue. They must learn and realize that one molecule of gliadin can be as bad as ten thousand for a person with gluten intolerance.
Third, help your teen stick with his gluten diet even if (s)he’s going away to college. Give him/her your full support and assist him/her in choosing colleges which have flexibility in handling gluten intolerance as well as other associated needs such as lactose intolerance and specific food sensitivities. Some of these colleges will request for a prescription from a physician regarding the condition. With a bit of pre-planning, foresight and communication, helping your teen meet his/her special dietary needs will not be a problem at all.