Wednesday, March 24, 2010

So much for oatmeal bread after all

The other day I made oatmeal bread for Jack. The first time I made it all of the kids absolutely loved it. The second time it was okay. The third time was this week and none of them but the baby and Jim would eat it. Seeing as those two will eat anything, I don't know that they really count. Since Jack is who I was making it for and he wouldn't touch it, I think we may skip that for awhile until I get a hankering to try adjusting it later down the road.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It's been a year - time for a revisit

It's been a year since we have first tried the GFCF diet. We've been far from perfect but we have made some progress. Jack still loves soy milk. We've found several recipes that everyone loves. Reading back through the old posts, it's good for me to see what happened for that 9 days we completely did the diet. We ended up not doing GFCF completely for a long time because we couldn't find enough good bread recipes. Thanks to a sister we did finally find some good things that work better.

1. Spelt flour - This can be bought in the bulk foods section at stores. I have tried grinding it at home but it turns out too heavy but can still be done. The store bought already ground flour is much better. I can take a normal recipe, substitute spelt for normal flour, and still have it turn out fine.

2. Oatmeal bread - The bread turns out rather sweet but we still really like it and Jack LOVES it. The recipe can be found at

3. Marie Callendar style cornbread - Our family likes this even better than normal cornbread! You can change the sweetness by just adding less sugar but we all, except Jim, like the sugar variety.

4. Chocolate Chip Spelt muffins - Need I say more? They have chocolate chips so of course they are delicious.

5. Soy milk - We substitute soy milk in any recipe that calls for regular milk. Nobody knows the difference.

Hopefully these ideas will be of some help to everyone else. As for me, I need to get back on the bandwagon again as Jack has been digressing in various areas. Look for more updates in the coming week.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Day 9:

Hmm, there is a definite pattern in the recipe department here. But what can I expect when all bread type items are getting made from the same ingredients? I tried a muffin recipe this morning and once again it was like cornbread. It was a different recipe than yesterday's bread but tasted the same and had the same consistency. Jack's older brother's response was, "Do we HAVE to eat this for breakfast?" in a rather disdainful tone. Jack apparently liked it, though, so at least someone besides me did! Unfortunately I am missing the soft fluffiness of regular bread.

The past week Jack hasn't drank any milk - soy or regular. Today he got out the Soy Milk container and poured himself a glass. He tried some, got a big smile like it was a great treat, and drank the whole glass. Looks like soy milk is kid approved for the moment!

Today I also tried to call the allergy specialist to set up an appointment for testing. They are closed for a week so we will have to try back next week. I also called a DAN! (defeat autism now) doctor in Provo who takes our insurance. There are none in Idaho and only two in Utah, one in Sandy and Provo each. They have openings when we will be going down for the Jazz basketball game. I will have to talk to Jim about that and see if we want both the boys to miss school and go down for an early appointment before the game. At least that way we could avoid a whole separate trip.

This morning he has once again been a cheerful little guy. This really is a great trend. Hopefully it keeps going! He went into his room and got dressed after several reminders. Normally he'll go in there and stay there for awhile playing and forget to get dressed. Today he went in, got dressed and came right out. Things are turning out nicely!

Day 8:

Okay, today was definitely trickier. Breakfast turned out okay but lunch was much harder to figure out than normal. Usually Sundays are sandwich days which we couldn't do as I haven't found a GFCF bread recipe yet. We ended up doing syrup burritos again for lunch because I couldn't figure out something else that was fast. I've decided this diet is definitely going to take good menu planning and forethought. I can't just wing it like I used to.

I ended up trying a bread recipe for dinner and was disappointed in the result. It took lots of ingredients and was more work to make and it turned out like cornbread instead of sandwich bread. None of the kids really liked it and the only way it got eaten was by mandate. This bread recipe I think is going to be elusive. The ones I have seen take even more ingredients than the one I tried tonight, several of which I don't have and am not sure where to find.

On a happy note, Jim and the kids did find a treat recipe that was GF and almost CF. We had a bag of dipping chocolate with a recipe for a chex muddy buddy type dessert. The chocolate had milk powder in it but I'm not sure how much. The rest of the ingredients were GF, though, and it was VERY yummy!

As for behavior today we once again had a really good day! Jack had a talk in primary and normally he can be a little bit of a ham during that. We forgot to prepare it until after he went to bed so we picked it out and had him read it on the way to church. Then he and I snuck our during sacrament to read through it once. Well, he must not have felt very confident in reading it because he wouldn't give it. He cowered down on the stand and hid instead. We've had him refuse to read it before even when it was well rehearsed and want us to read it to him but never had him abdicate altogether. He couldn't be swayed so we told him it was okay and he could just go sit down if he wanted. He happily did so, smiled on the way to his seat and skipped the talk. Other than that he was a pretty happy kid.

I'm starting to see that he seems much less agitated than normally. He seems more laid back and smiles more consistently. Today he even walked up to me and just put his arms around my shoulders and gave me a good hug. He seems overall a lot happier so that makes me VERY happy!

Day 7:

Saturday turned out to be a pretty good day again. As it was sunny outside I decided we better get some yard work done while we had a chance. Normally all the kids are a little hard to get to cooperate. What kid isn't? Jack is always the toughtest, though.

Today he did much better than normal, though. I able to give him a task and he stuck with it pretty well. Occassionally he would get playing while waiting for his older brother to finish his part. All I had to do, though, was say his name and point at his brother and he'd say, "Oh, yeah!" and run back over to help. I only had to do that a few times so definitely there was a noticeable improvement in his willingness to stick with it and help out in the yard. Whether that is because he is a few months older or because of the diet I'm not sure.

Today we did manage a completely GFCF diet and I spent the morning experimenting with recipes. While I found some good ones that work I did manage to make a mess of the kitchen. I'm discovering this is going to be one of the definite cons of this diet is all the dishes.

I got a pancake recipe from my old roommate that he LOVES but it turned out more like crepes. Apparenty that doesn't matter, though, as they are great fun to drizzle with syrup and make "syrup burritos" out of as Jack has dubbed them. We all really liked them so that recipe is a definite keeper. The other pancake recipe was much more fluffy but it tasted like it had a titch too much baking powder (or soda?) in it.

Later in the evening the kids were playing video games again. When I told them it was time to get off Jack was once again pretty good about it. That was so nice! It looks like today was definitely a little better day than most Saturdays. Hopefully we are getting somewhere!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Day 6: Are we paying for that cheese sandwhich yesterday?

Today definitely did not go as well. Jack did NOT want to get up this morning. It took me awhile to get him up and then he was very slow when he did. Plus I found out he had lied to his dad last night about having homework done and he'd never done it.

After school wasn't too bad but by dinner time he was in his very rude/exaggeration stage again. He'd skipped his afternoon snack so that certainly didn't help. I'd made him a GFCF one, too, but he said he wasn't hungry.

I had discussed the diet change earlier in the week with Jim's mom and she was very supportive. We decided to check before going out to the Olive Garden to make sure there were gluten/dairy free meals available for Jack. I picked a poor timing to discuss the new diet with him when he was hungry and he wasn't at all happy about it. He threw fits the whole time there about not being allowed "to ever eat anything!" and it was a rather embarrassing and miserable experience.

The poor waitress didn't know what was going on and to cheer him up with some breadsticks. When we declined then she offered him pizza. Jim's mom nicely said he was gluten free and the waitress tried to do a quick recovery of her mistake. How was she to know? Most kids that would be fine with.

After he ate his meal, though, he finally was a little more agreeable. I've got tomorrow's meals planned so hopefully we can stick with it better this weekend. I'm curious to see how he will do through Monday morning being completely GFCF for two days, including lunches. Wish us luck because right now I feel like I really need it after tonight!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Day 5: You win some you lose some

Today started out great again with Jack being very happy once again. Let me tell you, I am loving the happiness he is exuding.

I called his teacher after school to see how the day went yesterday and today. She was quite amazed that today he sat down and read a WHOLE chapter book in one sitting! He's never done that before.

For his afterschool snack I decided to try something I'd never made before - Amish friendship bread GFCF style. That was a whole new experience making a starter and having such a runny batter. However, it sure turned out delicious and Jack LOVED it. So we now have a good treat that everyone loved (DH kept sneaking it before dinner) that is on the "green light" list.

I've found a way to explain to Jack what foods are good for him and which aren't. Another mom suggested it as traffic lights. Green light foods we can eat as much of as we want. Yellow light foods are just a few occassionally. Red lights are an absolute no-no. We'll try this out and see how it works for awhile.

I've finally gotten where I needed to go to the store to keep up the GFCF diet, though. We ended doing a regular dinner due to everyone but Jack being ill and no creative thoughts to make a GFCF one. When Jim came home I headed out to the store, though, to stock up on new basics. Ouch! Our new diet is going to be expensive. I knew it would be but still had serious sticker shock. I spent $150 on food and containers and felt like we got very little.

Fortunately I was able to find lots of basics in the bulk foods section at WinCo. To buy tapioca and soy flour at Fred Meyer in the health dept. was about $4 a pound versus $1 a pound in bulk! They really gouge people on the "organic" stuff. So why if it's organic without all the extra growing methods does it cost more exactly?

By the time I got back, though, Jack had turned into Dr. Jerkyll after dinner apparently. He was in full blown bawling tantrum mode. I managed to tame him down eventually. We are really suspecting the gluten and casein laced cheese sandwiches caused the change. He's been happy for several days while I've stuck to the diet and then all of the sudden when we switch - whamo! - he changes completely back to the old self. Very convincing change to stick with the GFCF.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Day 4 continued:

If today is a precursor to what a full-blown GFCF diet can do for Jack then sign us up! We were both blown away by how today went even though we aren't completely GFCF yet. By evening Jim was asking what all Jack had eaten the past two days. We were quickly planning another impromptu GFCF dinner as we are so excited with our progress so far. Seriously it was an absolutely wonderful day. Our key differences we noticed today were:

1. Jack did not have one fit today. He had one minor moment of frustration, quickly resolved it was back to cheerfully doing homework. Normally it's a huge hassle to get homework or anything done and he did several things with no complaint and a smile.

2. There was NO fighting or being mean to siblings. We honestly could not think of one day ever since he was a baby that he has not had frustration, hitting or something with siblings. That alone was so blissful.

3. Normally he is a little video game addict. There is usually a fit when we tell him it is time to get off. He came to us today after playing for awhile and said, "I'm tired of playing Game Cube." We both sat there in absolute shock for a few seconds while it registered what had just been said. For Jack to say on his own that he is tired of video games is, as Jim put it, absolutely PHENOMENAL.

4. We suggested since he was bored of games to go out and enjoy the beautiful weather. He normally is hard to get to go outside and play so this was going to be a good test of he was doing. He gladly went out to go play with a smile on his face. Another shocker for us.

5. His handwriting is normally fairly decent but today it was much better than normal. I complimented him several times on how nice his writing was looking.

The smiles and happy singing and humming was a big kicker towards the GFCF diet for me. He really looked so happy and like a regular kid today. I just wanted to cry when I put him to bed because he had such a great day at home! Tomorrow I am going to call his teacher and see how school went because I am curious if that went better, too. I certainly hope it went as well for him there as it did here!

GFCFKids Yahoo Group

I found the GFCFKids yahoo group and hopefully that will be helpful - if I can sort out all the posts! There are lots of moms on here so it looks like it is very beneficial just be forewarned and get the Daily Digest instead of individual e-mails. I've gotten six pages of e-mails from that one source in three days! Here are the ideas I've gotten in response to my desperate plea for help:

1. Cook from scratch. You will save a lot of money this way and you don't have to worry as much about gluten cross-contamination.

2. Apparently there is soy cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, etc. We just might survive after all! My kids LOVE cheese so hopefully these will taste comparatively close and appease all the little munchkins appetites.

3. You can order prepared or hard to find food from several health store websites. See the GFCF links at right to browse them.

4. Give yourself at least 6 months to try the diet before you decide whether or not it will not work for you.

5. The less processed a food is the more likely it is GFCF.

Hoping for a miracle with the start of the glutein-free casein-free diet

Day 1: Every day provides a fresh new set of possibilities. Basically we never know what direction AS is going to take us. Today I learned about the gluten-free casein-free soy-free (GFCFSF) diet an old college roommate of mine uses for her autistic son. She had so much good information to provide! I was so glad to find someone who had some ideas on how to help Jack and lots of good suggested reading material.

At first I was more than skeptical and my initial reaction was," Well what is left to eat?!". The whole idea seems totally overwhelming but after talking to her I think I definitely want to give it a try. She explained the peptides and proteins react similar to heroine. I can't remember if it's just in autistic individuals or everyone, though. Tomorrow I will do some more research and see where this takes us. But if this diet really can make such a difference for my son as it has for hers, I am all for it!

Day 2: Today has been research day about the GFCFSC diet. I am finding LOTS of posts from various parents who use the diet and rave about the difference it makes. However, I am not seeing a lot of people doing soy-free as well. I think we'll start out with the first two and see what difference it makes first.

There are two approaches you can take here - get your feet wet or dive in head first. We are going with the first. While at the store I decided to see what I could find that was GFCF and was happy to find several of our normal items appeared to be good to use. I also got some brown rice and beans to make rice and bean flour with. I couldn't find Xanthun, though, so hopefully another store has it.

While at the store I also got a container of Soy Silk to try. My in-laws use it and thought it would be a good brand to start with. Better to pick the best tasting so you can stand it and then get used to the non-flavored, right? My plan is to mix it with the regular milk, gradually decreasing the cow's milk, until the kids get used to it. It's actually not too bad. A whole lot better than the nasty rice milk I tried to make for sure! I'm going to save that experiment for cooking with.

For dinner I decided to try a GFCF meal on a whim. I actually had stuff to use and it was very easy, a small miracle considering how much I normally use wheat and dairy. It tasted very good, too! Jack was on an absolute tirade all day until right after dinner. It's amazing what good food can do for that kid.

Day 3:

While Jack didn't wake up a very happy kid he sure changed quick and left as one. I was quite happy to send off a smiling humming boy to school for a change! We also started him back up on his Isagenix Cleanse (1 0z. with 6 oz. tang), too. That always makes a good difference in his behavior for him. I'm not sure if it was the GFCF dinner and breakfast but I'll take any happiness I can get.

I found a few posts today while researching that talked about removing soy as well as it will react similar to milk in the body. I'm going to have to think about that one. I don't know that we can totally give up any kind of milk to drink with four little kids.

Last minute I decided to try another GFCF dinner and hoped nobody would be any the wiser. I used our grain mill to make rice flour and found a GFCF cornbread recipe on the internet. The rice milk also got put to use. It didn't turn out quite the same but sure enough nobody has even noticed the difference. Cool! I skipped the cheese for the garden salad we normally added and no one asked for it so we got to eliminate that, too!

When we got all done eating I asked my husband how he liked dinner. He said he really liked it and then was surprised when I said it was GFCF! We seem to be eating more tastier dinners than normal and nobody is noticing a difference so far. Yeah!

Day 4:

Alright I am starting to get suspicious. The odds of getting a happy AS boy at our house in the morning once I might take but twice in a row is really a phenomenon. Jack was SO happy and agreeable this morning! Was it the Isagenix or the diet? I am suspecting the diet as he's not normally this nice in the morning. No arguments, whining, crying or anything that we can normally get a mix of in the morning. I've noticed that I am feeling much happier, too. Wow!