Dear Gluten Dude: My 18-Year-Old Celiac Cheats. How Do I Help Him?

cheat on a gluten free diet

Yes…a rare weekend post from the Gluten Dude.

But when I received the following message on Facebook, I felt an urgency to try to get some advice for this troubled mom as soon as humanly possible.

So if you happen to be online today and you can share some thoughts, I’d appreciate it.

And the mom will appreciate it.

And though the son with celiac may not appreciate it right now, he eventually will…I hope.

Here’s the message…

Hi Gluten Dude…looking for advice.

My son has celiac, which we found out about 4 yrs ago. Now he is 18 and is eating gluten (hiding it). He doesn’t look healthy and doesn’t complain about it.

He says he’d rather die young eating good food than live a long life eating crappy food.

He will eat gluten free when I cook for him it but between dinners, he eats gluten.

He is way under weight and so pale he looks grey. I’ve tried really hard teaching him what the consequences are and how important it is to not eat it but all he does is hide it and lie to me about it.

Wow…this is just a tough one. What 18 year old doesn’t think he’s invincible? One of my daughters turns 18 this week and lord knows I get the eye rolls when I talk about eating healthy…and pretty much anything else I say πŸ˜‰

I’m not sure of the kind of relationship you have…though by reaching out for advice, it’s obvious you’re a pretty rocking mom. I just don’t know what kind of sway your words will have.

Have you tried leaving educational materials around the house that he could read? Perhaps send him a link once in awhile that talks about the high risk of cancer, etc. The key is to getting your message across so it’s accepted as love and concern (and not parental nagging).

He’s got to get out of the mindset that eating gluten-free is eating “crappy”. It just doesn’t need to be that way. But again, I’m not 18.

Anybody out there in a similar situation? Please, please chime in.

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63 thoughts on “Dear Gluten Dude: My 18-Year-Old Celiac Cheats. How Do I Help Him?”

  1. When I read things like this, I guess I am glad that my Celiac is so bad that I get so sick that I can’t function for days after I accidentally have the slightest bit of cross contamination.
    I have had absolutely no desire for anything with gluten in it because no one wants to feel as awful as I do when I accidentally consume the tiniest bit of gluten.

    I feel really bad for this mom because I am 20 and I know how my peers are very set in their ways. I wish I had advice for this mom. Hopefully he will figure out that he isn’t invincible before something bad happens.

    1. This is exactly how it is with me – I have such a horrid, pain-ridden response to even the tinge of cross-contaimination (let alone a full gluten item!) that I never ever want to feel such pain again if I can bear it. Hence no temptation to “cheat” ever crossed my brain. Only thing is the instinct to avoid pain, damage, misery, etc. any way I can. As you said, it is so bad that it is “good” in a twisted way as far as that goes.

  2. Sad. I think the mom needs to find a celiac doctor to talk to her son and give him some facts. It’s not about dying young, it’s quality of life. His disregard of this autoimmune disease can produce others. Also getting his nutrients through an IV not much fun. Living life in the bathroom, not too social. Unfortunately, having raised 3 children through the teens and well intl adulthood, the word of mom doesn’t always open eyes. Find a doctor who will scare him straight. Wish I had magic words, but only my opinion.

  3. I feel for this mom. I don’t really have an answer, but I can try to give some suggestions. I have three teenagers that have celiac in my home. I do my best to make their food as similar as possible to a “regular” teenage diet. They choose for the most part to eat a balanced diet. I do not keep any gluten in the house. I’ve also contacted all the favorite restaurants in town and figured out what they can eat at each place. When we first found out that our family needed a gluten free diet, I tried to make it fun by having blind taste tests with gf foods, such as, frozen pizza, bread, bagels, chicken nuggets, protein bars etc. We found the foods we liked the most and those items are available at all times.

  4. Like Clare above I get far too sick to even consider cheating, but that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally miss some food items. It has gotten easier with time but every now and again I have a moment. This will be my first GF thanksgiving, I am not looking forward to it. I would suggest that this mom send her son a link to the young women you posted a few weeks back who was in and out of the hospital and had a feeding tube during her freshman year of college. Unfortunately the mother can not change her sons attitude or mind on this. I smoked like a chimney at that age while watching someone near and dear die of cancer (who was also a smoker till the end). My family would lecture me all of the time about the dangers of smoking but it was not untill I was very ill myself that I finaly relized I needed to change. I hope it does not come to that for this young man but odds are it will be a while before he changes his behavior. All his mother can do is make sure he has the information on the damage being done.

  5. I feel awful for this mother. I found out about my celiac when I was in my mid-20s (on my birthday actually), so I don’t quite have that late-teen perspective. I’m planning on speaking with my own mother this morning, and I’ll be sure to ask her on her thoughts as a mom – maybe she will have some thoughts. But in the meantime, for what it’s worth, here are mine:

    As I mentioned above, my reactions are so severe that I can’t function for days after even a tinge of cross-contamination, and it is more than a week before I’m back to myself. I have a high pain tolerance, but it’s over the top. So pain avoidance is the huge thing for me – no cheating because I don’t want that pain. Even if your son is pushing through and not complaining, etc. he might not know that he can feel better than he does. I thought the default ache in my belly was just normal, how it had to be. When I went GF, the increased energy, lack of pain, eliminated brain fog, etc. let me be more alive and present with my friends and have better outcomes at work. I thought things were okay before, but the lightbulb that they could be *better* was huge. How to get him there to the point of trying it to see how much better he can feel – and how much more fun he can have in life and with friends – of course, that’s the hard part.

    What helped me was learning to cook. You mentioned that he’ll eat GF when you cook it in dinners. Does he have an interest in cooking? At all? I’m guessing it’s not high on his priority list. But the perception that GF food tastes horrid comes, in my view, from all the GF packaged items that are trying to be replacements for G food (e.g., many commercial GF bread, cookies, cereal, etc.). Eating whole, real, well prepared food that is naturally GF can be delicious because it is not trying to imitate, not trying to be something it’s not. Sure, if he gets frozen GF pizza that is trying to mimic the G pizza he’s had for 18 years, he’ll think it tastes awful. Who wouldn’t? But having real food that anyone can eat might be slightly different.

    So what does he like to eat? I don’t know if he has other food issues like lactose or casein, but it sounds like he doesn’t from the email. Are there any favs that are naturally GF? Does he like, say, scrambled eggs? Easy, naturally GF, ready to make into a meal with addition of veg or cheese in there, tons of different ways to use it, and easy for a guy of 18 to do. That kind of thing. It might help a touch to get over the hurdle of “nasty GF food.” Especially if he sees the whole family having the same thing he is, and having it be something familiar he’s eaten for years.

  6. Dear Claire. Well, all I can say is that I whished I was diagnosed with cealiac disease much earlier! I don’t know what your son calls crappy food, but there is a lot of lovely good and tasty food he can eat, I know all the glutenfood look-alikes, that are on the market are not all very tastefull. But if he sticks with pure and natural good glutenfree food, weel there is nothing crappy about that.
    Taking care of your health is much more mature than cheating! And I like to think that he frefers to belooked upaon as a grown-up.
    Love to you and your son Claire. I hope he sees reason soon, before he get more ill.
    (my excuses for my bad English, it not my first language)

  7. When I was 18, you could not have convinced me that smoking, drinking, hitching rides in cars, talking to strangers in bars was going to kill me. What can I say? At 18, we all think we are bullet-proof. Essentially, we are inclined to behave recklessly at that age.

    He probably feels like total shyte, but will not admit it. (1) he’s a boy and (2) he’s a teenager.
    This means he’s got a gluten addiction of the worst kind.

    “Scaring him straight” is not working for the Mom (nor will dragging him to a doctor to give him the spiel either) since she said

    “He says he’d rather die young eating good food than live a long life eating crappy food”

    aha! THERE’s the problem.
    It’s about the food. So, why is he eating “crappy food”???

    I eat gluten free and nothing crappy passes my lips. Yummy stuff only allowed. Pizza, cookies, crackers, breads–these need not be “crappy” and they do not need to be devoid of nutrition either.
    We all know…there’s good GF food and there’s crap GF food.

    So, what gluteny stuff is he sneaking? We need to find him GF stuff that equals these temptations. Otherwise, he is not going to change his ways.

    Sadly, he very well could die young if he doesn’t.

    If this is the problem, we can give some suggestions for substitutes that may stop the cheating.

    And my heart goes out to the Mom, but I’d like to give the kiddo a good swift kick in the butt for being so silly and making his Mom so upset..


      1. I make my own crusts. πŸ™‚
        but I can hook you up with the place I buy the flour mix from if you want!
        It’s Sherry Lynn’s GF in Latham NY.(dedicated bakery and cafe)
        I have them ship to me now that have moved.

        Others tell me they really like Jules’ crust. She sells mixes too.

        The only frozen one I found half-way decent is made by Against the Grain.
        I doctor it with veggies (or pepperoni for the hubs.)
        The other frozen ones just did not appeal to me.

        1. Thanks. I am just starting to get brave enough to try the gf prepared and packaged goods and thus far the pizza has been awful. Jules has a living social deal today (what timing) so I will give that a try.

  8. Hmm this is a tough one, because at that age you don’t realize you know absolutely nothing until you’re older and can look back and say, boy was I stupid!! This sounds like the only thing that’s going to work is being scared straight. Like those kids gone bad and they put them in lock up with real criminals so hopefully they will learn and want to change their life around. Maybe something like that will work. A cancer ward with kids fighting for their life & would change places with him in an instant. It’s hard to be objective sometimes when you have no perspective on the situation. Figure a way to give him some true perspective. Invite friends and family to a mock funeral & talk about how loved he was, like an intervention. As morbid as that is, it can put things into perspective real quick. P

  9. Being gluten free is hard! I am coming up on my year anniversary of diagnoses and I am still struggling in my head. I feel different (not normal), and I hate the attention that I have to get when eating out to make sure I don’t get sick. I feel like my body is “broken” and has let me down. Inside my head I definitely have a whiney teenager saying “this sucks and I don’t want to do it any more no matter what happens”.
    My then 3 year old was diagnosed just before I was and I went gluten free for him and then found out about my celiac. By then I had been gluten free for a month and even though I had never had symptoms now I get violently ill. Honestly if I didn’t get so ill I think I would cheat. Just to feel “normal” when out with friends. This kid seems functional even though he doesn’t feel great which I am sure makes it easier to cheat.
    I am going to assume that need to fit in and be “normal” and not admit his body has a defect might be the cause of his disregard for his health.
    Maybe there is something that motivates him (read:bribe) to stop eating gluten for say two weeks or a month? Maybe once he sees how it could be he may be inspired to feel better? Maybe some counseling might help? If he goes.
    I remember being an idiot at that age and definitely playing fast and loose with my health and at times my life. I don’t think scaring him will work. You can’t empathize with someone else’s pain when you are so closed off to help which this kid sounds like he is. I am sure he knows on some level what’s really going on.
    Good luck to them! I wish there was an easy fix!

  10. I see this as a mental health issue – looks like he is depressed to me, on the little info here. Counselling might help him open up about what the real problem is, don’t think that all the “scare tactics” in the world will make a difference here.

    Something else is going on here, IMHO – peer issues, isolation due to being “different”” ? Maybe thinking that this will change if he forces it? This might be what he needs to get to the bottom of…. and deal with.

    Just my 2 cents here, but an angle that I feel should be explored.

  11. Atherton Baking Co

    As a mom this breaks my heart. My daughter, son, and I are Celiac. My 20 year old daughter used to cheat until her 13 year old brother showed her the light. He has to understand the severity of the consequences. There really are great options out there for us. Sound like its time for an intervention with family and his doctor. As we all know it’s not like cheating on a diet, this is serious business. Cheating on celiac can have devastating effects. Keep trying every chance you get. Stay on him, he’ll come around. Try and find a local support group.

    1. This. It has to get through to him how serious this is. Invincible though he may feel, there is a lot going on inside.

  12. ….And the depression will continue as long as gluten is consumed
    because it’s fueled by the vitamin deficiencies and anemia he is likely suffering because he is not treating the celiac.

    It’s a house of cards..

          1. Wendy - Palmtreesandglutenfree

            Hello IH! Hope you are enjoying fabulous, sunny Florida! Say hello to the warmth, the sun, Sandhill cranes and the beach for me please! πŸ™‚

  13. Most 18 year olds are going to do stupid things. They don’t look into the future. I think the whole answer to this is GOOD GLUTEN FREE FOOD. Why is he eating crappy food? I was diagnosed celiac first and ate my own little food and was not picky. But once one of my children was diagnosed at 14 the whole family went gluten-free. She made homemade waffles, pizza, chocolate chip cookies etc. I don’t remember her ever cheating, not even when she went away to college. We had a ton of healthy, naturally gluten-free foods around the house too and we all ate that. One of the keys with teens is to prepare enough snacks and things so that their friends are always welcome at your house. My daughters friends were actually jealous of her home made pizza and stuff and wanted to come over all the time. It is a lot of work but I taught my daughter to cook also and we did it together. Elise, you read the Dude. Care to comment?

    1. Hi mom! and Hi Gluten Dude!

      I feel for him, because being a teenaged celiac is rough. And being a teenage BOY celiac is even harder. In my experience, I’ve met many woman celiacs, and only two men that have it. And teenage boys are NOT understanding about any diet. Woman “diet” all the time, whether it is medically necessary or to feel better or to lose weight. But if an 18 year old guy is at pizza hut with the guys and he orders a salad, you think they wouldn’t say anything?
      I was diagnosed when I was 14, and no, I never cheated on purpose. But that’s because I had really understanding friends have a fairly quick and violent reaction to it if I mistakenly get glutenated. And even knowing how I would feel, I was STILL tempted by peer pressure, and by being out with my friends when they were eating gluten that looks good to a teenage stomach. Meeting at Subway or Pizza Hut before a sporting event was brutal!!

      Unfortunately, the only thing that I can think of that would have worked on me if I were an 18 year old cheater, is a little tough love – a wake up call – followed up with some insanely good gluten-free food as proof that it exists.

      What I mean is – possibly take him to an understanding doctor that can look for the damage he is causing, then save up and take a vacation with him to a super Gluten-Free Friendly city (like mine, Boulder, CO). Spoil him with amazing GF foods.

      I would also recommend – if he is going to college next year – search out a gluten free friendly university too. University of Colorado at Boulder is amazing, with every ingredient listed on every food provided and even gluten free baked goods in all of the coffee shops. In one of my classes, 70% of the students in the class are gluten-free. When a nice professor is bringing in cookies or pizza, they actually ask, “Who is vegetarian and who is gluten or dairy free?”
      Here is a good list of GF friendly colleges:

      In short: being around like-minded and understanding people makes being 100% gluten-free a mindless and pleasurable experience.

      Good luck!

      1. Also- he is eating “crappy gluten food” because that is what everyone else is eating. Because that’s what being a teenager is all about, and I’m not sure why. Ha ha! I didn’t eat gluten in high school, but I still ate crap. I still at Cool Ranch Dorritos and Cheetos and snickers and funions and pepsi. He just has to go out of his way to find gluten free “crap” until he grows out of that phase and his tastes change.

          1. Ha ha! I haven’t had them in several years, so call the 800 number on the bag to be sure they STILL are! πŸ™‚ but man those were good!

      2. Elise, which restaurants have you found to be celiac-friendly in Boulder? I am so concerned about cross-contamination. Thanks!

        1. Fresh Thymes Eatery! It’s dedicated GF, and all desserts are grain free. Mostly lunch stuff.
          Beau Jo’s pizza gets GF crusts sent in pre-made and bakes them on parchment paper.
          Julia’s Kitchen is also 100% GF, vegan, and raw.
          Hapa Sushi on Pearl is great at GF sushi with GF soy sauce. They make tempura rolls in a different room.
          For a special occasion if you want to spend $100 for a four course dinner for two, go on a Monday to Fresca. It’s set menu night, but if you make a reservation they will make you a four course GF meal you will never forget!! The chef came out and spoke to me too.

          Don’t forget New Planet Beers!

          Those are my go-to Boulder spots! Feel free to email me:

  14. I feel for you, Claire. It is just maddening when you see family members hurting themselves, and they won’t listen to you. I have this issue with all ages in my family, with various health problems related to lifestyle choices, including my 83-year-old mother. (Including the fact that all of them but one have blown me off when I suggested they get tested for celiac disease, after my diagnosis). An idea : it seems like during my wanderings through blogs, I have seen some written by teenage celiacs. Unfortunately, cannot think of the names if the blogs, but you could Google them and check them out and see if you thought that they were on track with being healthy. And maybe your son would listen more to somebody his own age, rather than us older folks.

  15. My 14 y/o son and I were just discussing this last night. (He was diagnosed in January of this year and I in March.) We have “silent” symptoms which makes it more difficult to figure out where/when/if we’ve had gluten. My son is in the marching band in high school and they do a lot of events requiring they be away for hours at a time (yesterday they had all three meals away). He does a great job of making sure he stays gluten free, but sometimes it just gets to him (watching all his friends eating mac & cheese and listening to them say how good it was). His words were, “Whenever they ask if anyone has any food allergies or sensitivities I’m ‘that’ kid.” He said he doesn’t want to be ‘”that” kid. Sometimes he wishes he had an acute reaction to gluten so he wouldn’t want to eat it. What helps him is knowing gluten will hurt his body and how much better he feels and looks since being gluten-free. Having said that being gluten-free as a teen is hard, especially knowing it is for life.

    Maybe acknowledging/validating his feelings would help. See if there are any support groups (we don’t have any nearby). A therapist who specializes in young adults with medical diagnoses may help, as well. My son said to try and find someone else who cannot have gluten because it is “so relieving” knowing someone else who goes through the same challenges. .

    Mom-to-mom…I am sorry and can empathize. Having celiac myself – this is so hard to understand and grasp unless you live it. Celiac can be very a very isolating disease. I wish you lots of luck.

  16. I agree with the posters who said asked why he’s eating crappy gluten-free food. It can be expensive to find the good stuff, though:

    Homemade Tex-Mex and Thai are my staples. (I’m in Austin, so it’s easy to get the ingredients for those things here.) I gave up on making homemade Indian because it kept turning out badly.

    If you want to help him get interested in cooking real Mexican food, which is an amazing array of flavors, and yummy and exotic cultural experiences in and of itself, try buying him a cookbook, and back videos of cooking shows by Rick Bayless, who is a (cool) Chicago chef that goes out of his way to make food gluten-free.

    You can buy Bayless’ gluten-free Enchilada sauces at health food stores like Sprouts. (Or if you live in the Midwest, you could actually go to Bayless’ restaurant in Chicago, Frontera.)

  17. This may not be the most popular reply, but …

    My guess: being 18, he’s looking for his own identity, which includes making his own independent decisions about his health. In his mind, he associates eating gluten-free with limits on his independence, and specifically, with his mother claiming to know better than him (even though that’s true, he needs to break away and find his own voice and relationship to his body & health).

    My suggestion is to be supportive and accepting – and this is the hard part – even as you know he’s damaging his health. Continue to provide a healthy g-f home environment, but don’t make a big deal of it, just make it a “normal” thing. Be a model that shows him that g-f can be simple, easy, delicious, fun, etc. Don’t pressure him, don’t use guilt (it’s well intentioned, but it’s still guilt), and accept that teens will do things to compromise their health. If you’ve taught him well, eventually he’ll realize on his own that his health is suffering, and he’ll go back to a fully g-f diet. It’s important for him to know that it’s *his* choice, and his alone. You’ve provided the framework and the model, but he’s the one who has to decide to make it part of his life as he becomes a full-fledged adult. Accept that he won’t always make choices you approve of, and he will make choices that aren’t in his best long-term interest. It’s all part of growing up. Your role is to love and accept him, and to ensure that there’s always a better, healthier alternative for him when he’s ready for it.

    The hardest part is to let go of your fears about his long-term health. Of course you’re going to worry, but remember that most of us did things in our youth that weren’t all that great for our long-term health! Celiac is a serious disease as we all know, but you’re not going to convince him through fretting and worrying – the sooner he feels the pressure ease, the sooner he’ll start to figure out his own needs. And – when you start fretting about his increased risk of colon cancer and his ill health – remember that many people suffer for years (or decades) before being diagnosed, and in the meantime, gluten has been silently damaging their bodies. Your son has the tremendous benefit of knowing young. This will be really hard, but take some comfort in the fact that even if he abuses his body for a few years before coming around, he’ll still be well ahead of most of us who didn’t discover our gluten issues until well into adulthood … once he starts nourishing it and caring for it well, his body *will* heal.

    And remember – his need for independence is perfectly natural – it’s a sign that he’s figuring out who he is on his own terms. His defiance is a sign that he’s a normal young man. Trust your parenting, love him and accept him, be there for him when he finally realizes he’s making bad choices, and in the meantime, get a few kick-ass g-f recipes under your belt (if you haven’t yet found, she’s a wonderful g-f cooking and baking coach!)

    And, of course – as with any advice – take what resonates, and ignore the rest! Please keep us posted on your son’s progress (even if at times it doesn’t feel like progress).

  18. Wendy - Palm Trees Gluten Free

    My kids do not have celiac, but I try my best to find gfree snack items they will eat so I have less in my house. I only buy chips that are gfree (Cheetos,lays, Fritos), make King Arthur brownies – they both – 12 and 17 approve, Enjoy Life Foods cookies, which my 12 year old has been known to eat a whole box in one sitting, nuts that at gfree, Tinkyada brown rice pasta and even Schar bread for garlic bread – they all approve. Schar makes fantastic rolls and baguettes that remind me of French bread. Even chocolate – m and ms, snickers bars. Chex cereal, make your own rice crispy treats, Vans crackers are awesome, Nature Valley gfree nut bars (my husband prefers these over the gluten ones now) … If you can have substitutions that are great in your house .. Even though it is still “crappy” food … Hopefully that will help. Help him find things to eat in restaurants he enjoys going to so it is easier on the go.

    Sounds like you are doing a great job though and he just needs to grow up and face reality. Maybe if he even agrees to try not to cheat for a month .. Has he ever truly been gfree? Maybe he has never experienced feeling really healthy yet.

  19. The key is to find GOOD GF food he likes. My 14 year old Celiac has plenty of “fun” foods she likes/loves. brownies, donuts, muffins, crackers, cookies. . .. Just gotta find the right ones (I have suggestions if need be, lol) They can be pricey, but well worth it. And we use Pamela’s baking mix to make our own cookies and things at home. Do NOT give him pamphlets and books and links etc about why what he is doing is wrong and bad for him. He is apparently not coming from the place to listen or understand. Oh, and don’t ask him to try this GF food. . .if it tastes good to you, just put it in front of him to eat. Seems if he knows it is GF, he may not want to even try it. Good Luck!!

  20. Tough. So tough. My daughter is also 18, and although she does not have Celiac (I’m the one with the gluteny issues), she has terrible migraines and has had a history of copper toxicity, so she needs to avoid copper rich foods (including chocolate…oy vey). She’s also at very high risk for cancer, as her dad died of it in his 30s, as did his parents before him. So she should be eating a dramatically healthier diet than she has in recent years.

    It’s not the same as Celiac, I know, but I do think the psychology is very similar. I have heard those same words come out of her mouth a million times about how she’d rather live a short, full life (aka with chocolate and junk food and heaps of sugar), than a life of deprivation & restriction. I have fought her on it for years, which just seemed to send her in the other direction.

    I don’t have any magic answers, but I will say that my example seems to have helped a lot more than my words. I’ve always been a healthy eater (or so I thought), but I’ve had to go even to even more extremes for myself since being diagnosed with an autoimmune thyroid disorder and a bunch of related issues about a year ago. So everything around her is gluten-free and healthy, but none of it is being pushed on her. That seems to have helped a bit.

    And we’ve had a few instances where my gluten-free products (cookies or something) were out of the package on a plate & she didn’t realize they were gluten free. So she snuck a couple and told me later that they were delicious & I should buy those again. She was shocked to find out they were GF. She even suggested the other day that we make gf cookies together from scratch, which was a big step.

    I’m not saying that she still doesn’t buy occasional chocolate or junk food with her own money…she does. But it’s gotten a lot better since I stopped trying to influence her with my words and just started walking my talk 100%.

    I’m afraid that it may take the words or actions of someone else that he admires to wake him up. Someone non-parental.

    But I do think the crux of the issue is the perceived deprivation. So my only suggestions would be, as others have suggested, to have as much of the best of the yummy GF stuff around as possible, so that there is a perception of abundance and variety, rather than restriction. And also to try (hard as it is…believe me, I know!) to not offer your verbal good advice, unless elicited. You are 100% correct, but he isn’t going to hear it right now, and it’s just going to make him want to do the opposite.

    Totally sympathizing & cheering you on. May we all find ways to positively influence our adolescents and help them live healthy lives.

  21. Like several others above, I’m one of the ‘lucky’ ones that gets so violently ill with even minute amounts of CC, that being ‘good’ isn’t really even something I think about it. Frankly, I get so ill that my HUSBAND has been known to now lunge across tables/people/slow moving animals to knock something out of my hand if I’m about to eat something he just discovered isn’t safe. (Partially simply out of love and desire to make sure I stay healthy… partially out of the self-preservation needed in an old home with only one bathroom between us. I get sick…. he’s looking at trips to the backyard at midnight, hoping the moon isn’t so bright he scares the neighbors!) So I confess to sometimes struggling with how to suggest ways for folks to avoid cheating. To me, it’s rather like being asked to explain why eating a box of arsenic might be a bad idea – once you get past ‘it’s poison so…..’ I’m a tad stuck.

    BUT – one possible option has been hollered to me from my husband’s office, so maybe it could help. Don’t nag, don’t go on and on about all the various dire health effects, those aren’t going to go into a teen’s brain when they don’t want it to. Skip the cancer, bypass the immune system issues, and go right to a central processing section of an 18-year old male’s brain…

    Continued aggravation of celiac by eating gluten can cause sexual dysfunction ranging from possible sterility to outright impotence. Loss of sex drive, lack of interest, and the inability to complete the act (I asked my husband again about this, and apparently if anyone had walked up to him at 18 and said that something he was doing would cause the possibility of him, once naked with a willing partner, to not ah…. rise to the occasion fully, he would have likely gone screaming into the night at the idea of continuing the problematic behavior – your mileage may vary) could be enough of a cold shock to his system to make him rethink his choices, at least a bit.

    And if the actual sword of Damocles/thought of the inability to perform isn’t enough to get him to rethink things, simply having his mom sit him down and earnestly tell him she is worrying about his ability to satisfy a partner sexually due to impotence caused by gluten consumption might so horrify him he will stop just to make his mom stop talking about his willy! (When all else fails – earnest and embarrassing heart to hearts can sometimes win the day. Just check your family insurance first to make sure it will help cover the therapy bills for both the son AND the parent!)

  22. Parents can drive themselves crazy trying to get their children to make good choices – when it comes to CD this issue becomes even more weighty on the heart since we know how dangerous making the choice to cheat is. My son makes same choice. But, he is an adult and there is simply nothing I can do about his choices. Over the past two years it has begun to impact his health and he is finally getting the point. Sometimes there is nothing you can do but not be an enabler – continue to offer best options when he dines with you, share your concerns, offer recipes but in the end there is simply not a thing you can to choose for him.

  23. I’m a 53 year old woman who was diagnosed with Celiac in my mid-thirties. At the time of my diagnosis, I was so severely anemic I was receiving monthly iron infusions (similar to getting chemotherapy). I also suffered from clinical depression, disruptive sleep disorders (periodic limb movement disorder and restless leg syndrome), chronic diarrhea, microscopic colitis, and eczema. While I have been gluten-free for the past 19 years, I have ongoing health issues. I experienced early menopause at age 41 and I already have osteoporosis. While my sleep issues are much better than they used to be, they have not resolved completely. Ditto for the skin sensitivities/eczema/dermatitis. Also, I continue to have symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. I am convinced that these are all due to my having been poorly nourished for my first 34 years of life. Even on a gluten-free diet, I live with the daily uncertainty of accidental gluten ingestion, which can wreak havoc with my digestive system and throw my entire equilibrium out of whack. I wish someone (my doctors or my parents) had figured out what was wrong with me when I was younger.

    I am also the mom of two teenagers. My 17 year old daughter has Celiac (diagnosed when she was 7) and my 14 year old son does not (although, I have him retested every couple of years). In our home, everything I cook is gluten-free and neither my son nor my husband feel they are missing out on anything. I keep a loaf of “their” bread and some “regular” cereal stocked for them, and occasionally (when it’s just the guys) they have pizza or pasta that is not GF. Our friends and extended family members are sometimes surprised when they eat the things I have cooked or baked and realize that it’s all GF. A GF lifestyle does not mean being deprived, it just means being creative with food.

    This young man should feel grateful that he was diagnosed at an early age and he should be hopeful that he can prevent long-term health problems by adhering to a gluten-free lifestyle. What were his symptoms that led to the diagnosis? Maybe he needs to be reminded. Meanwhile, being GF does not mean he has to eat all-natural, or even healthy foods, all the time! He can be a teenager and consume as much “junk food” as he wants, as long as it’s GF “junk food.” There is plenty of it out there: Cool Ranch Doritos, Cheetos, Fritos, many types of potato chips. Candies such as Star Bursts, Skittles, and many different chocolate bars. Go to McDonalds and order a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese without the bun. Dominoes now has GF pizza (although, I do worry about cross-contamination). Many restaurants offer GF menus or GF items (Unos, Olive Garden, British Beer Company, Chipotle to name a few.) There are also delicious international cuisines (Indian, Thai, Mexican) that have many GF dishes. The Better Crocker GF mixes for cookies, cakes, and brownies are easy to bake, and quite tasty, too. I would encourage this mom to provide her son with as many GF options as possible (even if they are not “healthy” snacks) to satisfy his cravings and maybe he will learn he does not need to cheat. Continuing to cheat will only lead to long-term problems and possibly other autoimmune disorders. He may not understand this now, but he needs to realize how important it is for him later on.

  24. Health advice is always better received by a health professional who is not related. Thus is true for children, young adults and adults alike. I recommend the young man see a physician or dietitian knowledgeable in celiac disease.

  25. I have an 18 yr old daughter with celiac. She cheated until she was almost hospitalized and finally ended up with another autoimmune disease. My first thought is to find him a celiac girlfriend. πŸ™‚ failing that, maybe take him to a cancer ward. It’s not death that scares kids, but being that sick might.

    Would you like her to talk to him? I’m sure she would.

    Good luck!

  26. I usually do not reply to posts but this one got my attention. Hearing such nonsense that a kid (yes, under 25yo is still childish) would rather poison himself than eat properly is confusing. Is pizza, burgers, hotdogs and perhaps fast food suddenly not crappy food? Are we to believe eating fruits and vegatables is a bad choice along with chicken and fish?

    The first year after diagnosis I did cheat about every 2 months and found out that “after eating gluten, it takes your body about 6 weeks to repair itself” so once I learned that I stopped cheating.

    Life has tradeoffs. If he wants to eat gluten based foods then he will pay for it down the road so when he is in the hospital for a week or 5 weeks getting an IV or an organ removed and his friends are traveling, having fun without him maybe his eyes will open up then. Perhaps when his body starts failing in other areas due to malabsorption like severe pain throughout his body or poor circulation or even physically being unable to work and having a career, then maybe it will hit him. I thought living your life around access to a toilet was bad enough so why intentionally make it worse? Why make your life more challenging that it already is?

    Sorry for being honest but I never can’t argue with “stupid”. Eating gluten for us is actually poisoning yourself. Change your diet, eat healthy and please change your stinking thinking and overall mindset. He will feel better long-term if he changes and will gain weight. Quality of life will improve within 90 days of eating correctly. Choice is yours so do the right thing!

    Good luck!


  27. All you can do is let go and take care of yourself, you are doing all you can. My son left home just after he was 18 (he’ll be 25 next month) and I know he never stuck to his diet. I just hope that one day he sees sense.

  28. He wants to eat rubbish like other kids – don’t give him healthy food – OK maybe at mealtimes but give him loads of gluten free crappy food He is a teenager and nutritionally deficient so get ANYTHING gf that he likes, my son didn’t exactly go through this as he just always ate good food + gf biscuits, crisps, bags of sweets, savoury rice,prawn crackers -all gf!. We still have the rule that if anyone offers us anything we can’t eat (I’m coeliac too) we get a treat at home.Best of luck!!!

  29. anne maire morey

    i feel kinda bad 4 saying this, but im 30 and im not sticking to my glutenfree diet, Ive been a coeliac for 6 yrs, I do get severe stomach pains after ive eatin something with gluten in it, but the pain goes after a while and thats still not teaching me a lession! Ill start the week off good, but then end it bad.

  30. He’s not linking how he’s feeling/looking with what he’s eating. He’s chosen not to deal with avoiding gluten. I would suggest a different tack. Provide him with filling meals three times a day if possible that show him that gf food is not crappy. I’ve been gf for 3 years. You get used to it. Show him the food is ok and that he doesn’t have to starve or eat horrible food. There is another way through finding gf food he likes. I know it’s hard for you. He’s 18. But he’s not going to listen to you or a doctor any more than a smoker would. I hope this helps. Good luck. I promise it gets better.

  31. I can imagine how hard it is to make a gFor life work for an 18yr old – my kids are younger but its still hard. We took my 8yr old son & two friends to any event this weekend – the friends were begging for fried oreos – it was horrible & I can only imagine how tempted my son would be if I wasn’t there. But life goes no without oreos – fried or not. My question to the mom is…. is it the food or the social aspect that he thinks is crappy? A Crappy food problem can be fixed – it’s not great to eat lots of gf treats, but if keeping an assortment of gf snacks & cookies around keeps him from cheating, then I’d do it. If there are certain foods he misses, maybe a hunt for an gf alternative would help (more options pop up everyday, I just learned a gf bakery an hour away is delivering bagels to an subshop in town). If it’s a social problem & hating to be odd man out, then I’m stumped.

  32. If he is on a team or something, maybe you can talk to the coach ad suggest a couple places with good gluten-free options for the team to go to… maybe the coach could also talk to the team about eating what is good for you (a general chat, nothing focussed on your son) Just make a lot of g-f junk available at home (teens eat a lot of junk apparently), also, if the school has vending machines, see if they have some kind of gluten-free snack or treat in there as well, or see if they can get one.

    Talk to him, find out what kinds of junk he is looking for, maybe go shopping with him, have him show you which things he likes… you can always come back on here, give us the list, and we can give you options.

    I do agree that he is trying to assert his independence, so some of this will just have to be “stealthy”, but maybe by giving him a voice in what he wants, and giving him a voice in options “hey, I found this, and this”. For instance, Van’s makes a decent g-f French Bread pizza, Udi’s makes a decent baguette, even Trader Joes makes g-f cupcakes now.

    I know how hard it is not to get glutened, and that may be some of what he is battling (got glutened by TEA yesterday, bleargh), just “well I am going to get glutened anyway, and Mom is nagging me, and I give up because I can’t eat anything anyway”…

    So maybe by shopping with him, finding alternatives that work for him, and adding a little parental pressure to the school…

      1. PMS tea by Traditional Medicinals. Only had “Contains gluten” in teeny little letters. Some of the Celestial Seasonings Holiday Teas contain gluten too, FYI.

  33. I’m going to differ from the norm here and suggest something out of the ordinary…

    As an 18 year old, he is probably still finding his feet. The ‘quality of life’ issues are extraordinary at this age, and most of the commenters here (an possibly the young man’s mother, too) have not been on such a restricted dietary regimen at that age so as to understand the frustration he must feel.

    I had similar issues when first adjusting to the gluten free diet. I believe the reason that I stopped cheating early on was because of my Mum. She was corrective when I got it wrong, but not overly enforcing about it. I believe that had she been more so, I would have been more inclined to rebel and become less mindful of my body.

    Dr. Evan Newnham, a gastroenterologist in Melbourne AU, with expertise in celiac disease recently talked in a public lecture about the complications that can occur. He said that “The link between coeliac disease and cancer has been a bit overstated in the literature. There does seem to be a slightly increased risk, but it’s not as significant as what some experts are claiming“.

    I would like to suggest to the mother of the young man that, provided he is able to function normally and is not complaining, she should continue to do her part in accommodating his dietary needs but perhaps be slower to intervene on this issue and let it run its course. If he starts to complain about not looking healthy, gently ask him if he thinks it’s because he is not adhering to his diet. If he does, then leave it at that. If not, tell him you’ll be taking him to the doctor and (if he insists that gluten is not the reason he’s experiencing problems) follow through. Perhaps ask for a referral to a GI specialist if (deep down) you believe that coeliac disease is the culprit.

    Whatever you decide, I wish you the best of luck. Perhaps other people on here could comment on what I’ve said.

  34. PART ONE:

    I am childfree (by choice) so I will not pretend to know your pain, but as a non-mother I am able to have a different kind of relationship with the teenagers in my life (including family), and so I have a different view into their world.

    The teenagers and young people in my life know I did not have kids of my own so they are never quite sure where I am coming from because most all the other adults they are close to are parents and relate to them in parental ways. So with me, I can catch them a bit off guard, and from this fresh uncharted place I can build trust.

    I say all this because I have developed my own style of relating to them. I treat them like future-adults even if they are only 13 years old. I think about my own self at whatever age they are at, and share and interact with them at a no higher, and no lower, level than what I was able to take in at their age. I look back at my youth and remember those adults in my young life who did not have their own children, and who related to me in much the same way.

    With a lot of time and perseverance, I believe I have earned a level of trust that has allowed them to open up to me in ways they would never open up to with their parents, who naturally sometimes go crazy with worry. Unfortunately but naturally, I cannot share the things I learn with the parents (no matter how close I am to their parents) or else this trust with the teenagers in my life would be broken, and I could not be there for them, or keep track of them as closely as I do.

    OF COURSE, if they were doing something dangerous, or were in serious trouble, I would have to share that with their parents, and the kids know this, and they need this too from me. But there is so much that goes on, that does not put them in danger, that I know their parents would flip out over. It’s great to be able to “witness” this, speak to them about it without preaching or judging, or in small ways let them know I know without any advice, and watch them cope and learn and grow on their own.

    Most of the time, all any of them need is a witness, to feel watched over silently by someone older, and to know their witness is there for them if they need them. I am their witness.

    They need to rebel against their parents, this is part of growing up. While they are well aware of my values and my opinions, I do not judge them and so I give them precious little to rebel against, with just ONE exception I could not have anticipated: FOOD.

    I eat organic and they all know that. They know I am gluten intolerant and they are always respectful of that. But a part of their generalized rebellion involves FOOD, and they do NOT have Celiac! I see this with their friends too. It is a generalized rebellion thing. This is foreign and new to me, as I did not use food to rebel against my parents or the “powers that be.” I get swept up as an inadvertent target of this “food rebellion” because I eat organic, but I am not the reason for it.

    Repeatedly, they will celebrate on their Facebook pages how they just ate a whole box of McNuggets, or KFC, etc…Whenever I post a comment in response about dangerous additives or a link to what’s really in the “mystery chicken,” they respond with “yolo” (you only live once), and things like that. This is a public display on their part, for their FB friends to see, as if to gain approval, because privately I know they really enjoy fresh fruits and (some) veggies.

    In other words, these kids who accept me and let me into much of their private lives they don’t allow their parents to see, still need to rebel with SOMETHING, and that something is UNHEALTHY FOOD.

    This was NOT something my generation rebelled with, except to the extent that we rebelled against corporate food and ate healthy!

    But now the population in general is getting the most contradictory messages possible. The media advertises burgers and fries and KFC and prepackaged corporate JUNK everywhere, and AT THE SAME TIME “Eat healthy or die!” is a mantra heard everywhere, Celiac or not.

    At least some kids are retaliating against this eat healthy mantra, maybe because they are bombarded with so many unhealthy foods and there is such easy access to it.

    I am just stabbing in the dark here, but maybe in your son’s world, not being able to eat things like McDonalds and KFC makes him something of a social outcast amongst his peers, and that alone would be very depressing for him at his age.

  35. PART TWO:

    I did not develop my intolerance for gluten until later in my life, at least it did not manifest outwardly until then. I cannot imagine what it must be like to be a teenager with Celiac. Overwhelming. Depressing beyond all else. This is what I imagine it must be like.

    …Which leads me to other thoughts.

    It sounds to me like your son is acting out in a way that originates from a confused mixture of natural-for-his-age rebelling, combined with a depression that has reached a very serious self-destructive level, and, possibly to a much greater degree than anyone may suspect, addiction to the foods with gluten that he craves so much he sneaks them in between your healthy gluten-free meals.

    I think all of this is mixed up in his head. If he senses he has cravings, he may dismiss them because he is depressed that he has to live a life of perceived “deprivation,” and his depression leads him to feel he has nothing to look forward to, and his poor health is fulfilling his concept that his life sucks, and if his life sucks then he is getting some sort of dark (I mean very very dark) “satisfaction” out of becoming even more unhealthy.

    And never forget the very real physiological effects of what is happening to your son’s brain, just looking at his brain for a moment as an organ: Depression changes brain chemistry. Additives in food change brain chemistry. GLUTEN changes brain chemistry. Addictions change brain chemistry. And just being 18 is a brain chemistry all its own.

    But beware, in my opinion, the very LAST thing your son needs is some idiot doctor prescribing anti-depressants. They would further mess with the brain chemistry with potentially disastrous effects. I’ve seen this first hand with a friend’s son.

    I really feel that a natural, calm approach is best. But some tough times still lay ahead. I think it will get worse before it gets better, but you can be prepared, and you can strengthen yourself now so you can be strong for him when he is ready to climb out of his dark place.

    What your son is going through reminds me of the dark spiral downward of someone who has anorexia, the need to “disappear” gets mixed in with the need to be thinner and thinner as an anorexic’s distorted body image is a reflection of their feelings of a total lack of worth, of not living up to everyone’s expectations.

    Your son getting so unhealthy is almost like he wants to “disappear,” and perhaps he feels, as most teenagers feel to some degree or another, which can change with the wind, like no matter what he does it will never be good enough.

    Now add to that normal, “never good enough” teenage feeling, add to that the overwhelming lifestyle change that is expected of him that will also, without a doubt, clearly place him outside the sphere of his peers. At age 18, peers are (almost) EVERYTHING.

    How hard is it for an adult with Celiac to meet up with friends at a restaurant? Multiply that by ten thousand.


    Your son’s behavior also reminds me of adults who continue to smoke after a diagnosis of COPD, etc. and make no effort to quit. Cigarettes are addicting, the tobacco industry has guaranteed this with the addition of many chemical additives. Natural tobacco is not nearly as addicting or as toxic, but smoking of course is very unhealthy.

    I make this analogy with cigarettes because the SAME THING has happened in the food industry, ESPECIALLY in food that contains gluten. Corn syrup is added to so many products it is staggering, and most all those products contain some form of gluten.

    Corn syrup is not just added because it is cheaper than sugar, it is intentionally added to create an addiction in the consumer. Corn syrup triggers an immediate biological reaction in the body that makes the person crave another cookie, and another, etc. The food industry wants us to eat the whole bag of cookies or donuts so we’ll buy two bags next time. It is not much different than what the cigarette industry has done.

    Corn syrup is not the only ingredient that triggers addiction to a food product. I’ve read of other additives that have been exposed by consumer groups, additives put in food products purely to create a physiological craving for that product.

    It would be a good start to examine the ingredients of what he eats in between your healthy meals and do some research.

    Just do the research and be very objective about it when you communicate with him. In other words, he may not understand that what he is eating is addictive for EVERYONE, Celiac or not. Once he fully understands this from a purely intellectual place, this may strengthen his ability to deal with the emotional stuff.

    I have to tell you, after Gluten Dude posted that list of gluten free candy for Halloween, I bought two huge bags of Reeses peanut butter cups. I ended up handing out more of the other candy I bought to the trick or treaters, and so had a huge bag of Reeses peanut butter cups left over. Guess what I did, alone, late at night, when my husband was asleep? It had been so long since I had eaten a Reeses peanut butter cup I had forgotten how completely impossible it was to eat just one, or two, or three, or….I ate them until I felt sick. But I did not get glutened!

    There is a vast difference between my high quality plain chocolate (no corn syrup!) and those Reeses peanut butter cups. I love chocolate, and while there may be a psychological “addiction” to it, my high quality chocolate does not create a physiological craving.

  37. PART FOUR:

    Moving forward:

    At this point, I’m sure tensions are high all around. So is fear, yours and his. I’m sure he is very afraid of what is happening to him, he just doesn’t want to show it.

    He senses that if all that is happening inside of him right now were to be let out, it would be an explosion of emotion so strong and confusing that he fears he would drown in it, and he will do anything to prevent it.

    And so he gets angry, retreats, sneaks behind your back, continues with what is familiar, and staying within the familiar is the only relief he can find. Whatever explosions of emotion you may have witnessed from him so far are just the tip of the iceberg.

    This means that strong emotion from you or anyone else on this issue will only keep him in retreat, and send him deeper into the dark place he lives in now.

    “Tricks” like finding him a Celiac girlfriend, well, I don’t know any teenage boys who cannot see through some adult (or anyone else) trying to find them a girlfriend, let alone one who also has Celiac.

    If he were to fall in love with a girl with Celiac on his own, that may help, but really, think about that, in the world of adults, does an alcoholic really become and STAY sober strictly BECAUSE they get romantically involved with a sober alcoholic? What happens when the romantic involvement ends? They go right back to the booze. Or, in this case, the gluten.

    Teens really are “future adults” and in my world, at 18 you are an adult. If you’re old enough to join the armed services and die for your country, and old enough to vote, then you are an adult.

    So manipulations or strong emotional tactics, including scare tactics, will not work, and may make things worse.

  38. PART FIVE:

    Anything other than a calm, drama-free approach to help your son will fail. You need to find out what is going on with your son emotionally by finding a way to get him to open up to you, or someone else, directly or indirectly.

    I think the biggest mistake adults make (childfree or not) is that, as adults, it can be all too easy for us to think we know, because “we’ve been there.” But really, unless we are also 18 years old right now, in the world as it is right now, we don’t know what it is like to be a teenager in today’s world, so no, we cannot say them, “we’ve been there.” We have insights they don’t have, but we have them from our own experiences. It is a big mistake to assume we truly know.

    The world is very different than it was when we were young, as the world was very different when we were young from the world OUR parents grew up in.

    What we can do is share with them our own feelings about the world, our own feelings about what is was like for US when we were young and struggling. Share what YOU know to be true for YOU in your world about YOURSELF when you were young, about how you feel about the world as it is now, and let your son take from that on his own, internally, privately, what he needs.

  39. PART SIX:

    In my opinion you cannot help him without someone else helping to help him. You need to engage someone else to help reach out to your son, and that person should, ideally, be an adult he relates to, someone you think he may have opened up to more than he opens up to you. Be careful how you do this, or your son will think you’re conspiring.

    Well, you are conspiring, you are conspiring to save his life, but, in my opinion, you need to give another adult whom you trust, permission to engage in private communication with your son, and make a point of NOT having that person report back to you (unless he is in immediate danger). This other adult could be a young adult, not necessarily someone old enough to be his parent. Your son needs to feel this is real, and the only way to make that happen is to be real about it.

    Maybe there is a teacher, or a parent of one of your son’s friends whom he has already opened to. Maybe someone’s older brother. I don’t know how you find this out if you don’t already know. You need to give your son permission to tell that other trusted adult things he may not want you to know. You have to let go of him enough to allow him the space he needs, or you both will stay stuck in this dark place.

    If you could get him to go to a therapist then the therapist could be that person. But choose a therapist VERY carefully, so many of them do more harm than good. Vet a therapist very very carefully. Interview them. Ask to see them yourself. Choose at least three or four to interview.

    Whatever you do, don’t send your son to a therapist you have not spent time interviewing about their techniques and “approaches.” There are a LOT of pompous jerks, and a lot of warm and fuzzies who like to “practice” their practice because it makes THEM feel better.

    If I were you, I would look for a therapist with Celiac disease, or with a diagnosed gluten intolerance, or at least with some life-threatening food allergy, someone who “gets” it, otherwise your son will not listen, I know I wouldn’t!

    A combat veteran with PTSD should not seek help from a therapist unless that therapist has also seen combat. A Celiac who is in a very dark place with their disease should not seek help from a therapist who is not a Celiac (or who has very similar issues to the life style of a Celiac). That’s just my opinion. Be very careful.

    My heart truly goes out to your son, and to you.

    Unfortunately it may take a serious medical crisis to bring all this to a head. I really hope it doesn’t come to that, but be prepared if it does. Think about it now, imagine it, as hard as it is, in your head, and think very carefully how you will handle it. Because if it gets to the crisis point, then how you and the rest of your son’s support system handles it is critical. It is an opportunity to heal, but it could just as easily make it all worse if not handled carefully.

    If he ends up hospitalized, do not make it worse by becoming hysterical or angry, or making it all about you and how much you love him, etc…NO, do not do that. Force yourself to do the opposite, even if you are a mess on the inside. Sit calmly by his bedside, if he ends up in a hospital, and calmly start over.

  40. My son is 20 and can’t eat gluten. I think he was in denial for two years though and kept eating it. He became incredibly ill when he went away to college (probably all the pizza and beer). At Christmas break, he stopped eating gluten and within days felt fantastic.
    Today there is plenty of gluten-free junk food on the grocery shelves, so my son doesn’t feel like he is missing out. He eats out at Chipotles and Noodles and Co and Five Guys when he goes out with friends. I send him all the literature about celiac disease but I don’t think he reads any of it. But he sure likes the gluten-free care packages I mail him each month!
    I feel for you, Mom, and also for celiac son. If you ever want to talk, find me at

  41. I’m 22 and just found out a few months ago that I have Celiac and I totally get it. We are young, we want to eat whatever we want to eat and don’t really care about what others think! BUT for me its the realization that I want to be healthy in the future, I have had 4 years of stomach issues and it was nice to finally find an answer and be able to fix myself without medication.

    I think he just needs to realize that there are other people out there his age dealing with the same thing and following a gluten-free diet. There are some pretty great gluten-free alternatives and planning/packing meals can make a huge difference. If I’m out with my friends late at night I pack extra food for myself so I don’t feel like I have to sit there and wish I had good food to eat, instead I actually have it!

    Once he realizes it isn’t as hard as he is making it out to be in his mind he will hopefully switch up his diet.

    Gluten Dude, if this mom wants me to chat with her son (for a bit of a younger perspective on it) I would totally do it, you now have my email so feel free to pass it on to her!

  42. I can relate to you I have a 19yr old girl who will not stick to gluten free at all and is vomiting every day, before she was diagnosed she had went down to a size 4 (uk) and I was so scared I was going to lose her but gradually started putting weight back on but has went back to eating what she likes now. I have tried explaining why she is in pain and vomiting but won’t listen to me at all. I have no idea what to do next

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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