It’s been a solid 3 years since our boy has been eating gluten and dairy free but the truth of the matter is, we knew long before that it was a problem for him.
When he was an infant I visited a naturopath for his chronically drippy nose and irritable nature. As I was nursing him at the time it was advised that I eat completely wheat/soy/dairy free to see the effect it had on him. This is 13 years ago people and the selection of products to choose from was nothing less than disgusting.
I lasted an entire week and found myself starving and grumpy.
The doctor advised a certain formula that I could put him on that was gluten/soy/dairy free and so, though it cost a fortune, it’s the route we chose.
Within days he was better. As he grew we put him onto goat’s milk and as he continued to grow we kinda just forgot about it. He seemed fine enough. Sure, he had lots of tummy aches and chronic sniffles but as a busy mom with very little info and options I just didn’t know what to do.
It was 3 years ago now, when he was 10, that he and I made the choice that we would make the switch together. When a child is of logical age I think it’s important that they be a part of the decision. If I simply told him he was going to eat this way, he would likely resent me and every food he was eating. But he made the decision to try eating differently and I made a vow to try and cook yummy things that he could eat.
I was so happy that it worked so well for him that I started to alter all of the ingredients in our cupboards, fridge and freezer! It’s a difficult process as it’s extremely costly to purchase everything all at once but we started to shift gradually and over the years, research, trial and error, and new products mean we just keep trying!
I thought I’d share a few of the major changes we made straight off the bat in case any of you find yourself where we are.
Buy nothing that is preseasoned. There are GF options but they often still contain soy (which we avoid). We simply started buying plain meat and seasoning it ourselves so we know what’s on it! The benefit of this is that it’s usually a cheaper option to buy plain chicken breasts, or pork tenderloins or whatever it is you like. It also means reducing fillers in your food which is always a win!
I think it’s important to remember that food from the earth is mostly gluten free! So stock your fridge with tons of fresh veggies and fruits! Fill growing boys up with eggs, potatos, apples and bananas! It’s important to focus on what you CAN eat instead of always feeling upset with what you can’t.
We simply minused a few things from our diet, yogurt being the biggest. Upon really thinking about it, yogurt didn’t hold a place of nutrition in our diet anyways. It’s pretty sugary and yummy, but that’s about it. So it was an easy nix. We tried ALL of the coconut and almond milk replacements as a substitution but the boy didn’t like any of them. I can’t blame him. When you want milk, you want milk. We found that lactose-free milk suits his stomach just fine and so he uses this option for drinking and I use a variety of coconut and almond milks for cooking. Again, we avoid soy as it’s a highly modified product and I don’t like what I’ve read about its effect on children who consume too much of it. (And considering it’s in EVERYTHING, we’re consuming a lot of it even when we don’t know it!)
When you’re starting out, just nix it! If you go straight from a fresh baguette to a frozen loaf of rice bread you will think it’s gross. However, after two weeks without and adjusting your palette to this new way of eating, the frozen option will seem like a treat! My boy likes Udi’s brand of bread/buns the best. I’ve found it to be one of the better options health wise as well. Watch certain brands – I’ve read sugar as a first ingredient in many options!
While we’re (and by we, I mean me!) working at minusing cereal from our cupboards, it’s been a slow process. The problem is, it’s a great snack. The other problem is, there’s nothing good about it! Most cereals contain so much sugar it’s ridiculous as well as chemical upon chemical. We will opt for the Nature’s Path varieties when we need a treat. Gorilla Munch seems to be the cereal of choice around here and it only has 3 ingredients. Score!
I’ve tried every single (I think!) pre-packaged gluten free flour out there and I must say I don’t like any of them. Most are quite chalky and have an undesirable texture as well as taste. I found that for regular baking, mixing my own all purpose gluten free flour is the best way to go. I simply keep a large jar of it at the ready for things like cookies and muffins.
It may not be the most healthy but sometimes a cookie just needs to be a cookie, amiright?!
I realize this is just a start but if you’re just beginning the journey, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and you needn’t be. I assure you we are not doing this because its trendy. I would happily fill my cupboards will all things flour based if I could but I know, for our family, it’s a foolish choice.
Ironically, our cupboards will be changing again very shortly as it seems the more you steer away from wheat, the more corn and grains you ingest. These may be a problem for my boy so we’re starting a new way, yet again. Once I’ve learned to navigate the art of a more grain free/Paleo diet, I’ll share that too!
If you have any questions feel free to leave it in the comments. I realize I’ve done this for a long time so I’m probably forgetting many things!
I’ll finish off with a few of my favourite websites for you to go and peruse. These have changed my life.
Gluten Free Gobsmacked – I use her all purpose flour recipe to bake with
Mennonite Girls Can Cook Gluten Free – everything I’ve made from here is amazing!
Danielle Walker – is my new obsession. Try it. You’ll love it!
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