Eating With the Enemy: Gluten-Free for One or All?

We were relieved to know that Sarah wasn’t dying. She did indeed have Celiac Disease and we had an insane amount to learn!

Dr. Nelson’s nutritionist, Betsy armed Sarah and I with food lists, a diet plan, pamphlets, support groups, and so much more.  It would take us almost 6 months to completely learn and digest what being gluten-free truly meant.

The first question I struggled with was which would work better for our family – to have everyone eat a gluten-free diet, or just Sarah?  I carefully considered the pros and cons of each situation. For Sarah to be the only member in the family on a gluten-free diet that would mean:

  • Everything would have to be divided: the fridge, freezer, equipment and ingredients
  • None of her food could be cross-contaminated with gluten
  • I would be cooking two different menus each time we ate together
  • We would be in constant fear that one of the other family members accidentally used the same knife in the peanut butter on a whole wheat piece of bread or any of the other countless possibilities.

I instantly answered my own question.  Being a working and busy mom and wanting some sense of normalcy in my own home, I opted for an entirely gluten-free family.

As with the first kitchen revolution, the complete removal of gluten caused some backlash among my other kids, Lindsey and Todd.  My husband Jim and I tried our best to explain the necessity of keeping Sarah safe and forged ahead with what I call “The Second Kitchen Revolution”.

We made countless trips to grocery stores, specialty, and drug stores replacing everything in our house.  From household cleaners and cosmetics to our entire fridge and pantry, we did a clean sweep.  Everything with any trace of gluten was donated or thrown away.

End of the World

I promised as a family we could find a gluten-free substitute for everything my kids missed most – pizza, pasta, cake and cookies.  Notice they didn’t complain about the loss of fruits or vegetables, only the loss of gluten.  And as a family we did.  As the kids began requesting more and more gluten-free alternatives and loving our cooking adventures, we fully embraced being a gluten-free family.


To read more about our journey, check out:

Part 1: Eating With the Enemy: Mother of the Year Award

Part 2: Eating With the Enemy: Mystery Solvedg

photo by: pasukaru76



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