Scrap Fabric WreathFebruary 17, 2015
Holland’s Pink Lemonade StandJanuary 19, 2016
The doctor referred us to a pediatric gastroenterologist through Stanford and within a day I had an appointment scheduled to see her. It wouldn’t be for 4 weeks because of scheduling and delays and who knows what so we decided to play around with his diet in the meantime. We researched Celiac Disease and what exactly that meant and what it entailed. We checked off so many boxes of symptoms that we were certain that would be the diagnosis. Being proactive, we immediately converted him — and our entire family — to a gluten-free diet. We went into this new diet completely blindly. The kids usually ate pretty healthy; they weren’t big fans of bread, they didn’t eat sandwiches, pasta was rare and they wouldn’t even look at a quesadilla. Their “gluten” weaknesses were dry cereal, Gold Fish, & waffles. What I quickly learned is that there is NO substitute for Gold Fish, dry cereal options are just not as fun when they’re gluten-free nor did they have the variety like regular cereals, but waffles were a pretty easy substitute. Diving deeper into this new life-style (I don’t like calling it a diet), I researched and googled and found out lots of answers, suggestions, and information regarding gluten products and gluten-free products. I had NO idea how intense this would get.
We began reading every label, asking every place we went for gluten-free ideas, or at least the contents of some of their menu items that Hudson would like. We took this seriously. I converted my entire kitchen to gluten-free – and let me just tell you the sacrifices I made in regards to my baking habits… But I persevered. By the time we saw the specialist a month later, he had already gained 1.5lbs. That may not seem like much but for someone who only gained twice that in a year and a half — that is major. Not to mention the consistency & frequency of his poop improved drastically, also.
The specialist agreed with the Pediatricians diagnosis regarding “failure to thrive”; he was in the less-than-5th percentile for his weight and not much higher for his height. She requested lab work to be done that would test for a whole array of issues including allergies and any potential illnesses such as Celiac, too. When we took the little man in for his blood work he was super happy and cooperative and was keeping all of the other patients well-entertained in the waiting rooms.
ation was not a concern but to limit or restrict his consumption. Everything else was good. He was otherwise healthy – which was the best news, ever. I can handle dietary issues for sure.
Cut to 8 months later…
Hudson has since gained a total of 7 pounds! He has grown a couple of inches, too! He is thriving on his new lifestyle. We had a follow-up appointment with the specialist who suggested that after a few months we slowly test out incorporating dairy into his diet again and so far, he is handling it quite well. We are not a big dairy-consuming family as the kids solely drink Almond or Soy milk, Hudson doesn’t eat cheese (he doesn’t like to — and my guess is it’s because he associates it with tummy aches in the past) and if they have ice cream it’s usually non-dairy like coconut, soy, or almond. But we know that if he does have dairy now, he tolerates it just fine it seems. I still try to cook & bake primarily dairy free as much as I can, but I am less neurotic about it these days. He is still gluten-free and will continue to be until our next follow-up appointment at the 1-year mark. I have gotten much better at Gluten Free baking, though, some things just aren’t the same… Our dinners (that Hudson shares) are always gluten-free, too. And even though the rest of the family and I don’t have to be on the same dietary restrictions as he is, it makes it easier in our household if we are. I have found lots of delicious gluten-free items at stores like Sprouts and Whole Foods. Even Target and Safeway have improved their gluten-free options, too.
I definitely feel healthier myself without gluten bogging down my diet. I don’t feel bloated all the time, and if it weren’t for 3 kids + a full-time job + a side business, I know my energy level would be up even more because of it, too haha! I have found as well as created some really awesome meals that are both gluten and dairy free and they have become my staples in meal-making. With a few tweaks here and there, they can be converted to something slightly different, too. We eat lots of chicken, ground turkey, and the kids + hubby eat red meat on occasion, too. I buy everything raw and plain and season it and cook it myself so that I know the ingredients. I have a wide variety of protein entrees that I make such as lettuce wraps, meatballs, meatloaf, chicken in countless ways, gluten-free breaded chicken strips, and much more. We love our roasted or steamed vegetables with every meal. We live on fruit. And we have all but bought stock in Udi’s – our saving grace. We keep prepackaged/prepared items to a minimum but their breads, muffins, and pizzas are a big hit with the kids. I have finally perfected the gluten free and dairy free cake baking, too! Cookies, not so much — but I am still trying it out!
Here is a list of some of our gluten free staples and things we’ve tried & liked (even if we don’t often eat them);
Vans: Waffles, dry cereal, and PB&J bars
Udi’s: Breads, Muffins, Cookie dough, rolls & hamburger buns, bagels, tortillas, and pizzas.
Chex: Honey Nut and Chocolate are our favorites
Ian’s: Fish Sticks, Alphatots, Chicken Tenders, and Chicken Nuggets
Pamela’s: Various baking mixes and Graham Crackers
Bob’s Red Mill: Polenta, Vanilla Cake mix, Pizza Crust, Almond Meal/Flour, Pancake mix, Oats, 1-to-1 baking flour, Yellow Popcorn (kernels), Baking Powder & Baking Soda, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
Betty Crocker: Cake mixes! And, they are quite tasty, too!! (check out their GF recipes, too!)
Lucy’s: COOKIES – because, have I mentioned that I cannot perfect gluten-free cookies from scratch??
Some other brands/items to note…
I have not tried this brand, Evol Foods, but I always see it at Target and it looks really yummy especially for on-the-go type foods.
Ore-Ida has over 20 different gluten-free frozen french fries. In ‘n’ out french fries are also gluten-free (are you seeing a french-fry pattern, here??).
We love snap pea crisps, Pirates booty & veggie sticks for snacks.
GF bread with peanut butter (or almond butter) and a few dairy/soy/nut free chocolate chips or sprinkles goes a long way for a snack for them!
Be very careful of blended seasonings like taco seasoning – it contains gluten.
Already made sauces are usually not gluten-free, either.
Not all gluten-free pastas are made equal. As a matter of fact, I am not a huge fan of many of them. We eat pasta probably less than 3 times a month so it’s not a big issue for me.
Pillsbury makes a line of gluten-free items, too – though I have never tried them and mostly because I can never find them!
Safeway sells a line of gluten-free bread crumbs – original and panko style and they’re a must-have in any GF kitchen.
Although we have used or eaten the above items at some point or another, I do really prefer to make most everything from scratch and cook dinner most nights, too. I will take a “normal” recipe and tweak it as needed to make it fit our lifestyle and once you get the hang of it, it’s not too hard. You’ll build a repertoire of go-to-meals and then can learn from there how to twist and tweak them with different seasonings or sauces in order to create new dishes.
Also, we very rarely, if ever, eat out – and that makes life a lot easier surprisingly.
The biggest piece of advice I can give to you is to research what gluten can be found in and other ingredient names that it can be under and READ READ READ all ingredient labels.
If you follow me on Instagram you can catch some of my favorite meals/baked goods that fit our lifestyle on there!
I hope this helps.