Sunday, October 4, 2009

The First Few Days

I backed homemade bread the night before. It was Gluten Free Pantry’s White sandwich bread (or something similar to that). I noticed in the store that it said contained some milk, but I thought that would be from adding the butter. When I called the company they said it already had a small amount in it from production. Too bad, because this bread was delicious! I made some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, packed some Glutino vanilla wafer cookies (containing milk), an apple, and a bottle of water.

Our oldest was up before almost everyone and out the door to high school before we could say anything. Which is really not uncommon, she is up and out so early. As a general rule our house is a group of six late sleepers.

The three grade schoolers’ were excited to try the Ian’s French Toast sticks. So I put them in the oven and soon we smelled a delightful aroma of cinnamon. They didn’t look as things we had eaten in the past, so I was a bit worried about the reaction I would receive. The loved them! No joke, they really really liked them. I made little portions of maple syrup for them to dip in and they went fast. With three children eating four each we used almost the whole box.

I sent them off with strict instructions not to eat snacks at school, the school lunch, or snacks aster school. They all agreed and then were out the door. I continued to get ready for my new part time job. What a way to start something like this; I must be crazy!

Later that night everyone came home and Dad I went to the store for some things. I took him to the Gluten free section of the health market. The second thing out of his mouth was “Gods that’s expensive!” I showed him some of the things I had purchased for the kids and some other items I thought would be good to have. He was not too impressed. We bought lots of fresh fruit, some fresh ground peanut butter, and some hamburger.

We ended up being out for a few hours. Tired and not feeling up to cooking I talked him into getting Chinese food. Not something on the diet! Soy sauce, breading on chicken, red sweet and sour sauce, crab Rangoon… but it was amazingly wonderful! Must be because I knew we could not have it again. I thought “one last time, one last slip-up, what could it hurt, they don’t put MSG in their food”.

The second day wasn’t much better. Cereal on the go out the door, homemade lunches again, and then a dinner of leftovers that was from before we started the diet. I didn’t want to waste the food.

The Third day was Saturday. The 16 year old had Homcoming and dinner out with friends.  She wasn't really to happy when i told to watch what she was eating; how possible was that going to be?  Dad had the kids until after lunch while I worked. He told me later how frustrated he was. They took our eight year old girl to dance class. While she was there he wanted to follow our old routine and get some pizza upstairs from the studio at Lanskeys. He said “I felt like I couldn’t do anything because of the diet!” I understand what he was feeling. In fact I can feel the same way at times. We have so much to learn and so much to try out still; after all we are just beginning. I did take the kids to Whole Foods and we had some sorbet. They were terribly unruly in the store, and it made me remember why I wanted to try this diet. If it improves the uncontrolled behaviors, the fits, the repeating words (for the youngest), or the obnoxious things that get under my skin I will be a much happier mum! We have tried so many behavioral things, and currently we are working hard at catching them being good, and positive comments. It seems that sometimes no matter what you do – there is no control! Especially with our youngest who may have Aspergers; I am always reminding myself that his brain processes the information differently. Again I am off to rant-ville…

Today, Sunday, seemed to go a little better. Breakfast was easy, cereal for each as they got up. The kids all snacked for lunch while Mom and Dad were shopping for things at three different stores. We bought some containers to store the new flours, and flour blends in the fridge. Dad was frustrated with me about their purchase “is it really necessary?” Then again at the grocery store Dad was frustrated. The diet takes the cost of food up, and we can’t buy so many things that we have wanted in the past. It is a new way to look at things. I was very proud of him when he had a conversation with our seven year old son regarding our new eating habits. Our son said something to the effect of, when the diet is over we can have something. Dad replied with, “this is a change of life, in the way we are eating for a long time it will make us healthier and happier”. I was so amazed! At times I feel like I don’t have the support and this is really upsetting him, and then he does something like this.

We still have so many things in the house that either have gluten, trace amounts of soy, or dairy in them. I have spices that I haven’t had time to call about. In general I feel so unprepared. I know that I took over a month to get ready, reading, buying, taste testing, and organizing. I also think that we have not been as diligent as we should be. I feel that for the most part we can strive to get rid of these things, but I don’t want to waste all the things that we still have. I’m sure that this will make it longer till we see the benefits from the changes in what we eat. Eventually we will be totally GFCFSF and artificial everything free.

Preparing to begin

We decided the last week of August that we were going to try this special (GFCF) diet. I read you should start cold turkey so…

My journey began on September 2nd. I cleaned out our cupboards and made a list of what we had left that had gluten, casein or any dairy, soy, or artificial ingredients. I was amazed what I found. I am a person that cleans out the fridge often, almost weekly, but I never thought to clean out the cupboards. I was more amazed to find the expired items. I had Jello that had expired in 2001 and it was 2009, “What the ….!”. I had canned goods that were expired, and countless items that I am sure we should not have been eating to begin with. Mostly boxed, comfort, generally often used foods by most people. We had been eliminating high fructose corn sugar (HFCS) for a long time and I found several old items in the cupboards. Needless to say I was quite taken back. Believe me I told all my friends to get support; I was expecting a response along the lines of… “I never thought o f that”, I’m sure I have those things to”, “I’m going to look through my cupboards”. No what I heard was that two of my friends went through their cupboards every so often. Another maintained almost permanently bare cupboards, shopping market style for most meals that day or a few days in advance. It is actually kind of funny now that I look back on it.

That night I had many things, okay almost all of my cupboards, out on the counter. Well, aside from the two garbage bags I had filled from the expired or unacceptable to keep foods. I made phone calls to three food manufactures; Kraft was one call for many, many items. I rearranged my cupboards so that all the food we needed to finish up was on three shelves, and the stuff we could keep on our new diet in other areas. I made a list late that night of all these things we had to finish up before we could be GFCF. I decided how to make things into meals for the family. I would need to get a few things of course to make the meals complete. I calculated that it would be a little over two weeks and then all the gluten, casein, and soy food would be gone.

I didn’t get to the spice collection; it was going to have to wait for another time. I am still scared to tackle this one. Most labels don’t tell you exactly what is in them and I have always struggled with this, but I am officially scared to call each manufacturer. We have one cupboard shelf with spices, food flavorings, and backing additives. I love to bake and make wonderful meals and the idea of giving this pleasure up is a hard thing for me.

Side note- I have to be honest. I love it! Love it!!! When I make something and my family devours the dish. When they make the comments about how good it is, and that no one makes it this good. I love my Mother-in-law dearly, but it is awesome when my husband says “this is better than my mom’s”!! I will still want to get these comments while we explore these new foods.

A few days later I mentioned the new diet to some teachers at school and the principle. I wanted to let everyone, all that I could think of at the moment, know about what we would be embarking on. I wanted to find some options for the kids and pull it all together. I went so far as talking to the lunch lady and looking at their recipes for school lunches. Most of which were not bad, but they would be off limits for my children. The full ramifications were starting to set-in. This is not something that a lot of people are doing, in fact only a few in the area have a medically documented necessity The principal, who is incredible, said I could prepare some cupcakes and bring them to school to store for birthday or holiday parties. Teachers agreed to store and dispense snacks sent from home for the three younger grade school children. My teenager was slowly coming around to the idea of watching what she eats and bringing things from home. A few days into my planning I was feeling really good and really excited about what we might gain. I started this blog and then as usual we started getting busy!

We ate out for “our last time” several times. We had a few birthday parties, a football game (Go Huskers!!), and nights that we were so far behind that we hit Wendy’s or McDonalds. Then Dad got the idea that we should start on a date; October 1st. We agreed and it was set one and a half weeks to go.

Now here we are on October 1st and we didn’t ever finish all of that food (two and a half weeks worth). But I digress, this is for our first day blog, I did do some other things to prepare.

I was determined to find replacements for all the foods that we were going to be giving up. I wanted this to be a positive experience for the kids. I wanted them to see this as something that was good for them and not as a punishment.

We finished our cereal, so I bought GFCF cereals. The kids had had some before, Gorilla Munch and others from Envirokidz brand. The kids do love them. We bought Ian’s French toast sticks (mostly for my son Ian), and some snack foods. After we all fell in love with our Glutino snacks we discovered that they had a small amount of milk in them. We still ate the rest and got a few more boxes; they are so delicious.

I bought Rice Dream because it was on sale ($1.49 off), only to learn that it has a small amount of soy. Fortunately the grocery store let me return all eight of them.

I found MimicCreme, a nut derived substitute for crème. I bought several of these from Amazon. I have only tried it in my coffee so far. I thought it was pretty good as it added a bit of a nutty flavor. I have heard that it is great in recipes so I am anxious to try it.

I’m not quite sure what to do about our toaster. I have read that other people buy a new one to prevent cross contamination. We have a really nice toaster that fits four slices, but the slices are in two long lines instead of four slots next to each other. I would like to figure out some way to sterilize it rather than throw it away.

Lunches? We need to figure out more things for lunch as well. My 16 year old is complaining to me right now!

I am still reading other peoples blogs because I’m sure they have more experience. Let me know if you have any good insight.