The Experiences of a Family Living With Diabetes and Coeliac Disease

Diabetes and Coeliac Disease

What is Coeliac Disease?
Symptoms of Coeliac Disease
Diabetes and Coeliac Disease
Treatment – Diets For People With Coeliac and Diabetes
The Experiences of a Family With Diabetes and Coeliac Disease
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The Experiences of a Family Living With Diabetes and Coeliac Disease

As a family we have learnt to cope with coeliac disease and diabetes, but it is not easy. As we know, children hate being different and believe it or not some find living with coeliac disease more difficult than living with diabetes. Coeliac disease makes a child more obviously different from their friends and family and it can bring emotional and behavioural problems that can be difficult to deal with.

There can be arguments about which foods can and cannot be eaten. Always being different from their brothers, sisters and friends and going out for a McDonald’s or a pizza can turn into a nightmare when your child, yet again, cannot eat all the yummy things available.

This can result in bad behaviour, temper tantrums and refusal to eat at all and this in turn affects diabetic control. Yes, living with diabetes and coeliac disease dies bring its stresses and strains to family life and these should not be underestimated.

Here are just a few tips we have picked up along the way

Eating Out – This can seem like just another obstacle to overcome, but it can be so don’t give up. Fast foods are enjoyed by children and we discovered that with a bit of forward planning they can still be part of our life.

Pizzas – We’ve discovered that most pizza bars are happy to put a topping on a gluten- free pizza base so you can always make your own base and take it with you.

Pasta – You can take your own gluten-free pasta with you and ask to have it cooked.

Burgers – McDonalds etc are always keen to oblige and will put a burger inside a gluten-free roll.

Fish – Can be fried without batter.

We always go armed with gluten-free bread and insulin wherever we go!

Holidays – Again it is a matter of ‘be prepared’ and we’ve discovered that time spent on forward planning is well worth it, whether holidaying in this country or abroad. If you are going abroad it is worth taking all your gluten-free products with you. If flying we have found that airlines will provide a gluten-free diet if ordered 3-4weeks in advance but, of course, there is never enough carbohydrate so we have to take extra.

School – School kitchens are usually very accommodating and are happy to provide a gluten-free diet but there may not be enough carbohydrate. I’ve found that catering staff are very willing to help once I have spent time with them explaining my son’s needs, although it is often easier and a safer bet for younger children and the newly diagnosed to have packed lunches.

An expensive tip – We’ve invested in an automatic bread maker and it makes delicious home made bread and prepares dough for pizzas, doughnuts, buns and pastry etc. It has brought a greater variety and freshness to the gluten-free diet and, even better, it has given my son a real interest in making his own recipes.

All this sounds pretty horrendous and it can be overwhelming at the beginning but I know from experience, that once you have got used to the idea of your child having coeliac disease and diabetes, it is possible to survive!