Kids Speak

Being a celiac and a teenager

Being a celiac and a teenager isn’t really that hard for me. I admit, it was pretty annoying and difficult when I was first diagnosed at age 11, but now I don’t even think about it anymore. It’s just so natural for me to have to pack my lunch every day for school, and to explain to waiters and waitresses what I can and can’t have on my cheeseburgers. Sure, sometimes my friends are eating pizza or whatever when I can’t, but I don’t really care anymore. And most of the kids I’ve met who have celiac disease feel the same way. No one really wants to dwell on the fact that they are deprived of certain foods, so they don’t. My family just got back from Seattle and a cruise through Alaska. And I have to say that in Seattle, there is even a restaurant, Kaili’s Kitchen that’s entirely gluten-free and is part of the Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program. Our cruise out of Seattle to Alaska was very accommodating as well. As long as you explain your dietary restrictions to the cruise line, they can plan the entire trip’s meals for you. It was really great.(Colin, 14) 

Being a seven year old and a celiac

Being a celiac is hard. But my mom makes it easy. I don’t like it, but I don’t want to get a belly ache. When we were on vacation, we walked past an ice cream store that said Dreyers ice cream. My mom knew Dreyers was Edy’s and we can have Edy’s so that was pretty cool! Then when we were at the seaport we walked by a Nature’s Path stand and we were given free Envirokidz Crispy Rice Bars and cereal. (Eamon, 7) 

I have celiac disease

My name is Laura, I’m 7, and I have celiac disease. You cannot catch it from me because I was born with it.
I think I was diagnosed when I was two years old. I was the first to be diagnosed in my family. My sister Anna and my other sister Eileen also have celiac disease (my dad too). We cannot eat foods made of wheat, rye, barley, or oats. I don’t even remember what gluten food tastes like, though I can remember sitting on mom’s lap barfing, but you do not need to know that. None of my cousins have celiac disease, none of my aunts or uncles, neither my godmother or my godfather or my grandfather or my grandmother. In fact, every person I know (except the people from the support group) doesn’t have the disease. My mom says that it is good to be different, and celiac disease is only one of the things that makes me different. I can do everything the other kids can do but it makes me mad when they all have gluten candy and I have to just sit there with nothing. But, my Mom gives me gluten-free candy like chocolate and caramels. (Laura, 7) 

Anna speaks out

I don’t mind having celiac disease very much. Luckily, my mom is a terrific cook and makes many good gluten-free things for me to eat. I sometimes feel sorry for my mom because she doesn’t have celiac disease, yet she does all the cooking. I don’t have to worry about school because I’m home-schooled and we only have gf food at home. If you don’t like being gluten-free at first, it may just take a little time to a adjust. I know how to read food labels–that’s important–and ask questions when I’m not sure what’s in something. Being gluten-free isn’t all that bad, especially if you have a good cook in the family. You can be happy living gluten-free. (Anna, 9) 

My college experience

During my years at Bucknell thus far, I have come to realize that celiac disease is just another part of who I am and my college experience. I am as careful as I can be about eating gluten-free items and avoiding cross contamination. I’ve learned to be assertive and not shy away from asking dining staff questions about the prepared foods or asking for items they’re not offering. It is, after all, not a huge deal to ask that the dining hall have Corn Pops in their cereal supply. Personally I think it is unrealistic to think you are going to be as careful about your diet when you are away at college as you are at home. You do the best you can, always keeping your diet in mind. College is supposed to be the best time of your life, and it’s possible to experience this and stay on a gluten-free diet. (Jennifer) 

My favorite holidays

You’re the same as other kids except for what you eat. I know about half the stuff my mom knows about celiac disease. If I’m not sure I say “no thanks, I’m not sure if I can have it.” I go to regular camp and I’m in arts and crafts. This year I’m going to a celiac camp. The hardest part is the good smells of something that has gluten. My favorite holiday is my birthday–my mom usually makes a special cake. This year I want to do a cooking thing—first, we’ll make trail mix with nuts and berries and chocolate chips. Then we’ll make ice cream sandwiches with homemade brownies and ice cream. Then we’ll either make a banana split or an ice cream sundae. I also like Halloween. You get to dress up and go Trick or Treating. When I get home, first I check the candy to make sure it’s okay. And then I trade the things I can’t have. That’s fun cause you usually get something better–like books. (Macie, 7, “almost 8″)