Coeliac Australia


After my diagnosis, I was told I needed to have my children tested. Lucia tested positive and Holly tested negative and didn’t even have the gene. No surprise really as Lucia had started to become ill after I introduced solids at six months. Prior to that, she was well, happy, and slept beautifully. After six months, it all went downhill. Lucia was irritable, had eczema head to toe, was dark under the eyes, her nose was always running, abdomen distended, constantly constipated.  Not yet knowing about coeliac disease in our family and working as a nutritionist with an interest in paediatric nutrition, I was quick to put her on an elimination diet as I knew it was something she was eating causing the problem. Taking wheat out of her diet made the biggest difference. So, I assumed a wheat intolerance without still actually knowing. I reintroduced wheat every few months just to see the reaction and it was instant. Same symptoms all over again. Over the years, Lucia was sick quite often with various illnesses. It all came to a head around the time I was diagnosed, Lucia was four and started having anaphylactic reactions to peanuts. What we thought was an allergy, turned out to be an intolerance to salicylates, amines, and glutamates. Her diet consisted of iceberg lettuce, green beans, steamed chicken that was fresh from the butcher and not cryovaced, and not much else. Her energy levels were so low, she bruised easily and even struggled to get out of bed. This is when she got the CD diagnosis. And as well, we had to work with an allergy dietician doing the RPA allergy diet to get her back on her feet, literally. This took months before she was eating a reasonably well-rounded diet and in amongst this, being at preschool, she developed an eating disorder around the food that was prepared for her outside of home as in her mind, it wasn’t safe and would make her sick. You could imagine as a mother and nutritionist, I felt like I had failed her. So I then prepared every meal for her for the rest of her time at preschool and within time, she was able to trust food outside of home again as she started to feel well.  

Fast forward a few years, Lucia was diagnosed with Hypomineralisation, another symptom of Coeliac Disease. This is when the enamel on adult molars don’t calcify, therefore crumble. We’ve since had four adult molars capped, then removed and now braces to bring all her teeth together. At one stage, she was seeing three dentists to accommodate this condition. By nine, Lucia was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s which has resulted in daily medication. By eleven, casein intolerance (protein in dairy). Not only did it present as severe lactose intolerance, but we later found out that this was the cause of lifelong iron deficiency. For her, the exclusion of dairy in her diet increased iron absorption without the need for iron supplementation. And we make sure to include other calcium rich foods in her diet to compensate. By thirteen, Lucia now has an allergy to all grass pollen and dust. We are trying immunotherapy monthly for the next three years to desensitise her and hopefully give her a better quality of life without all the daily sneezing and runny nose.  Between the GP, Paediatrician, Paediatric Endocrinologist, Orthodontist and Allergy specialist, it’s very expensive. But I’m determined as a parent to get on top of it for her. 

With Lucia and her health, there is always something…She is the main reason that I started Wholegreen Bakery, to give her the delicious foods that she might have normally missed out on because she’s gluten-free. I don’t want her to have any resentment in life around food while she continues to manage her lifelong health conditions. I’m hoping that everything we’ve done along the way to help her with her health, empowers her to live life fearlessly!