Wednesday, March 3, 2010

GFCF Happiness Borders on Insanity

It's been over a month since I've posted here and, as I stated in Frock Paper Scissors, I'm working on moving this blog and my French Teacup blog over to Wordpress. Until then, I felt the need to address my Atypical Mother-ness; I so often ignore her. I struggle with the fear of sensationalizing a very personal struggle for me, my child and my husband and also don't want to be thrown into the "exploitative mother" category. So, this blog and see, we have issues. It's not at all an easy thing to talk about. So there may be more revamping than just relocation.

As far as diet, this week has provided some renewed happiness with the Gluten-Free Casein-Free diet we've been in heavy pursuit of for Jude for the past few months. Between the holidays and various bouts of malaise, we haven't had a full steady week or more of both; one, but not both.

One thing we have definitely discovered is that there's yet another FREE we have to add on to our GFCF: SF. Soy. It's in everything and chances are, in the forms we/you are eating it, unless stated otherwise, it's a GMO (genetically modified organism). There's nothing healthy about that and I certainly don't want it going into my child. Not only that, behaviorally speaking, soy is a trigger for bad behavior. We have since discovered its presence in our rice milk, his supplements and even our turkey bacon. So we've had to reevaluate a lot more than just our bread and pasta choices.

Speaking of bread and pasta, I found two really great "subs" this month. One is the Whole Foods' 365 brand gluten free sandwich bread mix. (I wish I could tell you that I have the time to mix five different kinds of gluten free flour with the right amount of xantham gum to make my own bread from scratch, but that kind of time is just not in my cards right now.) Anyway, this bread was easy to make, came with its own live active yeast and had a decent texture for GF bread. If you've tried store bought GF bread before you know that it a) tastes like wet cardboard and b) falls apart if you breath on it. This did neither. Oh hoorah!

We were lucky enough to actually find two GF pastas that Jude likes. Hodgson Mill Brown Rice Angel Hair and DeBole's Multi-Grain Angel Hair (or Penne). DeBole's is a combination of rice, quinoa, and amaranth. DeBole's also makes a rice pasta that tastes kind of like melted glue so we were very hesitant to try the multi-grain but it's really quite yummy. Monday night, we made the DeBole's penne with sauteed asparagus and lemon juice; tonight, we tried the angel hair with caramelized onion and roasted garlic tomato sauce and ground beef.

And speaking of ground beef and eating healthy, though protein and good, lean meats are a very important part of Jude's GFCFSF diet, they are no longer a part of mine. Today is day three of me going back to being a vegetarian, which I have been most of my life (thank you, pregnancy, for making me a carnivore). It's all about finding what works for your body and one thing I know for sure, for me, is that meat and I do not click.

I wish I could say the same of chocolate. Let me tell you how fun it is to tell your six year old that they can't have Oreos because of dairy and gluten. Yeah, that goes over like a lead balloon. You can't have a bag of M&M's, you have to skip over Baskin Robbins, and for the most part, all things kid have to be "skipped." It's kind of heartbreaking, really, because all kids love to eat "fun things" and finding alternatives especially when your baking/cooking skills are not on par with Martha and your time is certainly not that of June Cleaver, is a major challenge.

But there are alternatives -- we tried one tonight! On a recent trip to Teeter, we purchased Betty Crocker's GF Brownie mix and Bob's Red Mill GF Chocolate Cake mix. We tried the Betty Crocker brownies tonight and I can tell you, if you can get past the fact that they smell somewhat like horse feed, they are quite tasty. Jude was a big fan (luckily he's not spent as much time in a stable as his mama, so the horse feed thing wouldn't be a total deterrent.)

So the big question is: is all this working? Well I can say that when we didn't know that soy was a trigger, I was really beginning to wonder if all of this was worth it because we had about one solid, hardcore month of questionable behavior at school. But once we yanked the soy out, things started to level out some. Dairy, I know for sure, has to stay out of his diet. He is only allowed rice milk (he really likes Rice Dream) and only drinks that rarely. No cheese, no ice cream, no butter (I use olive oil). There is a new dairy-free cheese that's getting rave reviews called Daiya but we have not tried it yet.

Gluten? I'm not entirely convinced the gluten is a trigger for him but we are still experimenting.

What I do know is that dairy is gross in and of itself. Soy is rarely not a GMO. And gluten is not good for you in any way. So, whether it works to curb his behavioral issues or not, eliminating these things from his diet (from our diet) is worth it. The ultimate goal is GFCFSF with no/low sugar, and no preservatives, dyes, etc. The evidence that supports these things interfering with the development of a developmentally delayed child, a child with ADHD or Autism, or any other behavioral issue is stacking up. And stacking up quickly.

It doesn't make grocery shopping fun. You almost always have to grocery hop and you can be guaranteed that you are 9 times out of 10 going to spend quite a bit of money. It's overwhelming when you first start and there is so much information out there. My suggestion for anyone starting this diet is to read the revised ADHD/Autism Cookbook and just remember to eat simply; eat locally; eat organically; and, most importantly, read every ingredient label of every product you buy (organic does not always mean healthy!) Experiment with your child one meal at a time and don't be afraid to make something that sounds totally off the wall (I just made my own "soda").

Oh, and don't forget the chocolate. Definitely, don't forget the chocolate.