When my two-year-old daughter refused to nap, I thought it was normal. But Sydney’s constant stomach aches and her slow growth concerned me more. Friends and doctors assured me that she was fine. Little did I know that she was showing early signs of celiac disease.

Celiac disease is a condition where the body has an autoimmune response to gluten, a substance found in wheat, barley and rye. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, this response can lead to serious health issues such as anemia, failure to thrive, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, lymphoma and more.

There is no cure for celiac disease. However, most people with this condition can treat their symptoms and regain their health through diet. But giving up gluten is not easy! The Standard American Diet (SAD) is filled with wheat: bread, pasta, cookies, cake. It’s everywhere you turn.

While fruits and vegetables and most raw meats are safe for someone with celiac to eat, gluten can hide in something as benign as chicken. The average person has no idea that most brands of chicken are processed with ingredients that contain gluten.

I share the story of my family’s transition to a gluten-free lifestyle in my new memoir, Celiac Mom. The challenges I faced in a wheat-filled world – finding food that was safe for our family, preparing holiday meals, sending Sydney to school, planning for vacations and summer camps – felt insurmountable. I made mistakes, but slowly, meal by meal, I learned how to nourish both Sydney and my family.