We’ve just finished Week 3 of our gluten-free, dairy-free diet and I thought I’d give an update on how things are going. There’s a “good news, bad news” slant to it, and I’ll start with the “bad” news.
It’s not working for Daughter. At first she was willing to try some of the foods and new recipes that I made, and I appreciated her giving this a try, but after several attempts that got soundly rejected as YUCKY she’s gotten to the point where I think she’s just rejecting the foods on principle now and counting the days until the end of Week 4 (our agreement was to try it for four weeks). For the last three weeks she has been living on Gorilla Munch cereal, rice crackers, rice cakes, and popcorn. For dinner she has been alternating between one of two meals: tofu stir-fried with gluten-free tamari and teriyaki sauces, and plain baked skinless chicken breast. That’s it. I did get her to ingest some pureed vegetables in the form of cupcakes and brownies, but obviously that’s not something I want her to be eating every day. She even rejected the candy and gummy bear Kids’ Vitamins, and has gone off chocolate soy milk, so her diet is seriously limited nutritionally-speaking, even more so than before. In terms of behaviour, ever since we figured out what was going on for her things have been very good. So no incentive to continue the diet on that account either. However, she understands that certain foods are still not going to be available to her at home because of her brother.
And that leads me to the good news. Doing this diet with Son has proved to be really easy. Mostly because he has no real idea he’s even on a diet. Yes, I spent a ridiculous amount of money on food this month as I worked my way through various options, found what worked, and what didn’t. But now I feel we are in a good groove. I’ve recently hit upon GFCF recipes for pancakes and waffles, his previous breakfast staples, that he is eating happily. For lunch he often has hot dogs and rice crackers, not my ideal but…for dinner I’ve hit upon a few great finds.
A recent visit to a friend whose family has many food restrictions got me a recipe for buns that Son liked, so hamburgers are back on the menu. He also enjoys homemade sausage patties and chicken nuggets. What’s so great about all three of these foods is that I can mix vegetable purees into the ground meat before cooking. Right now I’m buying organic baby food in jars, and that has proved to be inordinately convenient. I will start making my own purees soon, but may continue with the baby food for green veggies (like green beans) because I don’t have the kitchen equipment necessary to process them to the point where little flecks of green stuff can’t be seen or felt. I’m up to about 5 oz of puree per pound of ground meat, and will continue to slowly increase that amount. Last night Son enjoyed hamburgers that were loaded with pureed green beans and carrots – probably the first truly complete meal he’s had in ages. He continues to enjoy fruit, so overall a pretty balanced diet. My only concern is calcium but he will actually eat the Kids’ Vitamins so we’re okay on that count, too.
My friend also told me about a local sausage maker whose products are GFCF, he even does custom orders for soy- and corn-free diets. I chatted with him at the farmer’s market yesterday and liked him and his wife, who do it all themselves and mix by hand. He gets his pork from local farmers and will happily process our home-grown pork meat into whatever we want. Not only does he have the usual breakfast sausages, but also salami (Son’s favourite) and pepperoni, and lots of other stuff. So I’m excited about that.
As for results, I don’t see any changes in what Son will eat (soups, potatoes, and other weird dislikes are still off the menu) but with the above eating plan I can stick enough veggies into his food (pureed sweet potatoes are great in pancakes and waffles) that I really don’t care. And, as he starts to (hopefully) “forget” what some things used to taste like I may be able to make other things for him, like GFCF pizza (going to try some Daiya cheese this week).
In terms of behaviour it is hard to tell if there have been any changes yet. Mostly we’ve been hunkering down at home. We’ve had one neighbour friend over for a few playdates and they went well, but Son has always gotten along with him. We had our vacation with two favourite families we’ve known for ages – there were some challenging situations for him and he did have a few meltdowns; he also wasn’t as talkative with his friends nor did he choose to engage in play with them as often. But it was also around week 2 of our diet and it’s possible it could have been worse, or better even (they say that with some kids their behaviour gets worse before it gets better). This past week has been pretty easy and two days ago we had a playdate at a friend’s house. They are fairly new friends for us but everything went great – unbelievably so, really. We were there for almost 4 hours and both my kids did really well. Things at home have been relatively peaceful, too. I’m not ready to jump for joy and proclaim that things have changed – there haven’t been too many challenges of late, but I am feeling hopeful and positive. Now that I’ve gotten into a diet groove with him, I’m happy to continue him on this diet for the foreseeable future.