Back in May I expressed my hesitation about introducing Gluten to the boy. I know that many Celiac and gluten-intolerant parents have children who are not afflicted by their dietary restrictions, but its scary to imagine the boy unnecessarily experiencing all that discomfort. That being said, I also don't want him to be restricted to a gluten-free diet if its not what his body requires.
I have also been hesitant to introduce gluten, since the boy seems to be constantly in the midst of an eczema flare up and I know from experience that when your body is trying to fight one thing, it becomes much more difficult to deal with a new issue or intolerance. Fortunately, since finding Earth Balance Soy-free margarine, and completely cutting all traces of soy and soybean oil from the boy's diet, I've finally got his eczema under control. I've actually been able to feel softness in the boys skin and until recently, I'm not even sure that I ever remember him without eczema on at least one body part.
After my Mom showed me an article in her Best Health Magazine about the effects of a gluten-free diet on individuals not requiring the restriction, I realized the time had finally come. The article is brief, but discusses a UK study, which found that:
...healthy adults who ate a gluten-free diet for a month had a dramatic drop in protective gut bacteria and immunity-boosting chemicals. Low levels of certain gut-friendly bacteria may lead to digestive issues, diarrhea and other problems.
This struck a particular cord with me as the boy (who eats a ton of solid food) has had soft and loose poops since he was about 8 months old. At first I attributed them to the addition of formula to his diet, later I would attribute it to the bug we caught while travelling Asia, then I assumed it was due to the soy in his diet. But when his stools didn't improve after removing the soy from his diet, I started to think the boy still had some sort of bug, but a stool test proved that wasn't the case either.
Perhaps, the lack of gluten IS a contributing factor. I have started giving the boy BioGaia probiotic drops in his milk once a day, and this week I took the plunge and bought the boy some gluten-containing bread. I chose to go with Silver Hills Sprouted Grain Mack's Flax as it is free of both dairy and soy (not an easy feat), has less gluten than traditional breads, not to mention that fact that the boy is used to flax in his bread. I gave him half a piece of toast and wasn't even sure if he would even eat it as the texture is so different from the potato bread he is used to. I needn't have worried, he gobbled it up, crust and all.
Two days and two half pieces of toast later; there has been no diarrhea, no irrational crying, no clutching of the stomach and no rashes or itchiness. We will continue to take things slow but so far things are looking positive for the boy. I'm excited for him, gluten may just blow his world.