Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Going Gluten

That is what my kids call it. Gluten. Is this gluten? They don't seem to get that the free part of the sentence is really what makes it work. So, anyway, it's not been as awful as I'd thought it would be...

I've had many ask why I decided to do it...(Brooks is currently the only one going gf, and the only child that I think needed to). Basically, I'm trying to see if it works...see, Brooks was born crabby. I thought he had colic. Now I have another suspicion. He was just being himself. Whining, crying, and complaining are his go-to m.o. He also has zero tolerance for pain in any form. So he is constantly complaining that his tummy hurts. I literally cannot tell if it actually hurts, or if that is just the way you feel when you need to go to the bathroom. The child, naturally, has no idea. It's all pain to him.

He also (at the risk of over-sharing), is always loose, in the poop department. I always attributed this to the fact that we (especially he) eats tons of fruits, veggies, and oatmeal etc. Talking with Brian about some of Brian's health complication a month ago or so, I just came to the thought...with other health issues on Brian's side of the family, it's possible that Brooks is allergic to something. Somehow gluten just seemed like the natural "first thing" to eliminate as a trial.

So, it's not been as hard as I thought it would be. This. is largely due to the fact that most of the foods (dinners) we eat are naturally gluten free (chicken, rice, veggies.

I actually think that it's working for him. When he's had a cheat or two, he's in the bathroom with pain in his tummy again. It's been interesting! So I'm going to keep him gf at least until the summer, and then perhaps experiment a little with his tolerance levels. For example if there is no wheat in the product itself, but they say it may contain gluten, because of the warehouse its made in etc...perhaps he'll be able to tolerate those scant "maybe" amounts in foods. Or perhaps not. We'll see.

I've had people inquire as to taste and cost. No, nothing tastes better when it's gf. If it tasted better made with xyz substitute flours, than it would be made like that! We all like "better"! What you can say is, it tastes good, for gluten free. And that is the truth. If you stop comparing, it's quite ok. It is not an exact replication of regular foods, but it's tasty and edible (more than taste, I've noticed texture is an issue for me). The skinny on that is - Brooks is a kid, and not overly picky about that stuff yet. He hasn't had a lifetime of awesome pancakes to really tell the difference, and so far, he has not issued a single complaint. I taste/eat a small portion of everything I serve him, at least once, just to make sure it's good and not totally gross.

Cost. - I flat out could NOT afford to feed all 5 of us gf, if we kept similar diets, menus and foods on the table at each meal. Anything gf is packaged at half the size. The package is half the size of "normal" food, and each thing inside the package is also half the size of it's "normal" equivalent. The cost is more than double, often triple or more for that tiny package.

Here are the subs that I have made that are working for us quite nicely!
These cookies taste very good! I would say the main difference between is that the aftertaste texture (crumbs left in your mouth after chewing and swallowing) is more "mealy/grainy" than a Chips Ahoy. They run you about $5 for this 8.6oz package. (Chips Ahoy is typically a 14oz pkg, to give you an idea). Not an everyday snack, but I keep on hand for something special. We had a cookie fellowship at church - put 5 of these into a ziploc in my purse, and that was his food for the evening.

This mini bread is Udi's brand. We've heard it's the best, and its pretty good. The loaf is miniature, and the slices are about half the size of store bought sandwich bread. You get 12 slices (including the end pcs:-/) per loaf, for 4.99.

You can make 6 mini sandwiches with this little loaf! It's soft and tastes fine. The aftertaste, as with the cookies, is a little more "mealy" than normal bread, all in all, if you want bread, you'll be able to eat this as a substitute with no problem

These cake mixes run just over $5 per. I've made a vanilla one so far, and it was good. Heavier and more dense than "normal", but acceptable.

We get this corn pasta from Trader Joe's, which means the corn is not GMO. Brooks and I like it better than the rice pasta.

Xanthan gum. It's used as a thickener, and is added to gf flours etc for baking. For our St Patty's Day meal, I made a cheese sauce to go over the cabbage...I thickened it with this, instead of flour, like I normally would. So we all enjoyed a gf cheese sauce, and there was no difference at all.

16oz of gf flour for 4.99. So far, I've only made pancakes with it. Using my normal family recipe, and subbing out the flour (using less milk too), I make 18 gf pancakes, and freeze them for future meals for Brooks. I've heard there are decent gf pancake mixes out there, but have yet to try. This works for now, and is easy!

When I took Brooks off gluten, I also took him off oats. No more of my homemade granola bars for him, or oatmeal for breakfast. I will eventually reintroduce the oats, and bought these ones, guaranteed to be gf. It was 6.49 for this small bag. I've heard Quaker oats are also gf, although not certified as such, so that will be one of the things I test him on when I reintroduce "possible" gf products. He will be limited in his oatmeal consumption, until I am sure he's ok with them.
My friend Teresa showed me how she makes this dough. She adds dried herbs (basil) to the dough, and that really makes it! Using this pizza crust, and freezing the remainders for future meals works well. We just pull out and reheat a couple slices per meal. So while these flours, etc, are not cheap, at least they last well, since he doesn't eat a lot!

At Uncle Dale's birthday party. We all had a Boston Creme Cake, and we bought Brooks a few macaroons, which are naturally gluten free, and he loved them!
That's all I've had to do, so far. Everything else we eat, he can eat. So not terrible, right?! Mostly it's just planning ahead and making sure to bring a few snacks if we go out. For breakfasts - Chobani yogurt and Chex are gf!

No comments:

Post a Comment