We put this website online to help those of us who have children with celiac disease. We will try to keep this page up to date with the most current links and information to help you ease into what seems at first, a very hard dietary change.
It is our hope future updates will include a list of local restaurants, party ideas and some helpful links for travel. If there is something you would like to contribute, please let me know.
The most important thing to remember is to stick with the diet. As adults we have the freedom to choose what we eat no matter if it is good our bad for us. Our children on the other hand, depend on us to to keep them healthy by feeding them foods that won't make them sick.
This page also contains a link to ROCKSA.ORG. R.O.C.K. is the acronym for Raising Our Celiac Kids and will be a place for you to access information on local activities (in the San Antonio area) and gatherings for you and your children to attend.
Our purpose is not to overwhelm you with the same information you have read on a hundred other celiac websites but to help you in whatever way we can, by sharing what we have learned about the disease and more importantly the diet.
It is our hope that by visiting this website you will feel a little less alone while dealing with celiac. My wife and I available to help any way we can. Just send us an email at
We want to say thank you to Dr. Ibarguen and Dr. Elizondo for getting this group affiliated with R.O.C.K. Your dedication to helping our children is greatly appreciated. Thank you again Dr. Ibarguen and Dr. Elizondo.
Please send your comments and suggestion to:
What is Celiac?
Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley, and possibly oats. When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system responds by damaging the small intestine. Specifically, tiny fingerlike protrusions, called villi, on the lining of the small intestine are lost. Nutrients from food are absorbed into the bloodstream through these villi. Without villi, a person becomes malnourished--regardless of the quantity of food eaten*.
Why did “I” get it?
You don’t just “get” celiac. Celiac disease is a genetic disease, meaning that it runs in families. Sometimes the disease is triggered--or becomes active for the first time--after surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, viral infection, or severe emotional stress*.
* Information taken from National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
What do I do now?
Well let’s start at home. The hardest thing you will have to do as a parent is to tell your child they cannot have their favorite food. As a parent we MUST be strong for our child. No one else is responsible for the health of your child but you. The most difficult thing for us to do when our daughter was diagnosed was to look into those big sad eyes and tell her that she could not have her favorite food… Macaroni and Cheese. But we did because we knew that if we gave in, we could be hurting her.
It only took a couple of looks into those “sad eye” before we found a gluten free recipe for macaroni and cheese. And she loves it!
You may not be able to find a recipe everything your child likes but you can come close.
“And then there was school.” If you remember one simple rule celiac will become much simpler for both you and your child. The rule? “No one is responsible for your child’s diet but the child and you; the parent.”
Although most, if not all, school districts make provisions for “special” diets like celiac; not all district cafeterias are equipped to make a totally wheat/gluten free meal. Communication will be the key. If possible, get a list of all the birthdays in the class so you can send in a special treat with your child on those days. Also, make sure that you supply the teacher with a goody bag of gluten free snacks for your child for those unexpected celebrations.
You will never be able to protect your child from every situation that comes up but, if you talk to the teacher or the school counselor about your child’s needs, you can avoid some of the bumps.
There are a number of books available that give great ideas for lunches and snacks for school.
The Shopping Experience.
This is a BIG one. Reading the labels on ALL of the products you buy at the store will probably become your number one job. Words like Wheat, rye, barley, oats, semolina, spelt and maltodextrin will be ingredients on the “taboo” list. But here’s the catch… LABELS CHANGE. Often, manufacturers change the ingredients on their products. What this means to you is that the box of gluten free cookies you bought yesterday may not be gluten free next week or, next month. Celiac supporters are trying to push legislation through the US Congress that will, in some way, identify foods that may have certain allergens inside. Until this legislation is passed, ALWAYS read the label.
This subject goes hand in hand with labels and, a step further. Reading the labels on the products you buy at the store is one thing but asking a restaurant what is in their hamburger is another. Most restaurants are great when it comes to letting you know what is in their foods. If you approach the issue in a pleasant and positive manner, most people will respond in the same manner. Remember that although they are in the business of serving you, your child's diet is not their responsibility. Most places of business are willing to help but a bad or negative attitude from you won’t help.
Positive attitudes help to spread a positive word about celiac disease.
Aware? Aware of what?
Aware of everything the diagnosis of Celiac brings. This includes allowing your child to have control of the diet that comes with having this condition. As your child grows he/she will try to “cheat” on the diet. Your job is to make the child aware of the ramifications of that choice. They WILL feel bad, they WILL get sick, they WILL learn. This disease is a life-time condition—it does not go away. Symptoms disappear as the diet is followed, but you cannot become lax in maintaining the gluten free life style. It is important to remember that even though the ultimate diet choices are up to the person diagnosed with celiac, it is our jobs as parents to monitor those choices.
Help them help themselves!
The good news is that as children, by nature, adjusts come more easily than an adult receiving this diagnosis! The key is making them responsible for their own diet. Let them help you shop for the foods they can eat. Involve them in cooking breads, cookies and meals that are gluten free. Coach them in ordering for themselves at restaurants. If your child is confident enough, prepare a short explanation for his/her class on what celiac is and how important it is to follow the diet. All of this will make life easier for the child diagnosed with Celiac Disease.