Yes, you can find gluten-free chocolate

If I had my way, I’d eat three square meals of chocolate a day with snacks of something salty and then more chocolate. Or maybe mix in a bowl of cereal to round everything out. Then kids came into our lives and well, they need vegetables and don’t function well on just chocolate. Our oldest son has had a decorated medical history and what put us into action were the 13 containers of medications lined up each morning. I was missing something. Something huge that was causing his body to go berserk and I had to figure it out.

Knowing our son has an ultra-sensitive system, I knew we were looking at a long road ahead. The gluten-free (GF) diet seemed like a good place to start. I saw no reason not to try it – so many parents were celebrating the benefits, it couldn’t hurt him to try it, and with all our son’s health issues surrounding food, maybe it could help. I also decided to try it with him (after first researching GF chocolate and if wine was safe) so he wasn’t eating alone and to see if it could help me, too.

We figured out after only a few weeks that all the medication our son was taking was masking other issues – that his body was not able to accept wheat and gluten. The medications weren’t treating the main cause of his discomfort, just easing the symptoms. By eliminating gluten and wheat from his diet we saw an improvement in his energy, no more dark circles under his eyes, no more random eczema flare-ups, and most importantly, we were able to eliminate over half the medications he was taking each day. For me, it meant no more stomach aches after I ate, being able to claim a “regular” routine if you catch my drift, and not feeling as bloated.
Unfortunately fast food joints are extremely limited for GF kid-friendly food. Companies claiming to have a GF menu don’t take into account most kids don’t eat lettuce and that the general worker mixes batter-caked onion rings with the supposedly-GF fries. But the great thing is more and more education is happening surrounding the GF diet and it’s becoming easier to spot gluten and there are many more name brands (what I call mainstream foods) that are labeled GF.

FDA law requires food labels to list wheat as one of the top eight food allergens so it’s easier and easier to spot safe food. The internet is a wealth of resources for finding mainstream foods as well as specific GF brands. Our pediatrician recommended a pocket guide for taking with to the grocery store. I swap tips and ideas with other GF families.

Grocery shopping has become a game for me. Where can I find the best deal on the right products? Can I get free shipping? Can I find a mainstream brand instead that might be cheaper? It took a lot of research and a bit of patience to figure out what foods were GF. Now that we’re 9 months into the diet I know which brands are good and that makes shopping much easier.

New Mom asked if I had any final recommendations for food choices. I guess it’s pretty simple and you’ve heard it before: you are what you eat.

Just know you can be GF and also be an M&M…