Introducing Gluten to At Risk Children

Hello, and welcome to Your Gluten Free Life

If you’ve been a regular reader of my blog, you may recall that I published an article a while ago about when it is safe to start feeding your bub food containing gluten. However, introducing gluten to at risk children may cause them to develop coeliac disease. If a child does not have risk factors for coeliac disease (such as near relatives with the disease) then you can safely feed them wheat bread and biscuits and so on when you start feeding them other solids.

However, in this article, the authors have shown that children who have risk factors for coeliac disease have a significant chance of developing the disease if fed gluten during their first five years. The incidence was most noticeable if they were given gluten between two or three years of age.

This means, if you, your partner, or any of your parents have coeliac disease, you might want to consider testing your baby for the gluten sensitivity gene if you can afford it. If they have the gene, then it might be a good idea to not feed them food containing gluten for at least the first five years of their life.

Unfortunately, the article does not say what happens if you then start feeding your child gluten after they have reached five. Personally, if they have the HLA DR and DQ antigens then I would err on the side of caution and continue to not feed them anything with gluten in it.

But, if your child does not test positive for this gene, then you can safely feed them food containing wheat and barley. In fact, you really should introduce gluten as early as possible to your child so that their immune systems recognize it as being a good thing and not a bad thing. Otherwise, your child may end up unable to eat wheat, even though they don’t have coeliac disease.

A Glut of Carrots

Last year I threw a packet of carrot seeds into my veggie patch, expecting that only a fraction of them would come up. Well, wouldn’t you know it, it seemed like every seed sprouted and I had carrots galore.

I’ve never been a fan of veggies in sweet foods. So pumpkin pie and the like have never thrilled me. However, I decided to give carrot cake a go just to get rid of some of them. And I’ve been converted!

It did take a couple of goes to get it right. The traditional recipe calls for oil as the liquid agent but I found the result was “gluggy” to say the least. One friend kindly referred to it as “very moist”. But I think gluggy is a more apt description.

So here’s my recipe for gluten-free carrot cake. It’s still quite moist, but you actually wouldn’t know it had carrots in it unless you were told so.

And for a savoury dish, here’s my recipe for gluten-free, meat-free meatballs. Every now and then I get a craving for Italian meatballs and spaghetti. So, I devised this recipe as an alternative to making them with mincemeat. My partner eats them quite happily and he’s a meat-eater, so I take that as a vote of confidence in the recipe.

Gluten free carrot cake
Gluten Free Carrot Cake

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