Monday, March 4, 2013

Going Gluten-Free! (Week 1)

Without getting into all the gory details, the girls and I have been having some GI issues for a while (almost 20 years for me!) and I've been thinking about trying us on a gluten-elimination diet 6-week trial to see if it helps. Z had been complaining of tummy aches roughly once a week for a while. Then twice a week. And lately, almost every day! So I talked with her about trying a special diet that might help, but it would mean a lot of changes. More foods we'd miss out on. And the substitutes might taste or feel very different. She wasn't willing to give it a go right away. I figured she'd hold out for at least a month. Nope. Around a week, apparently!
Monday, February 25 to Sunday, March 3

Monday - Day 1 - I was unprepared when Z told me that morning that she was ready to try not eating gluten, since her tummy still hurt. I was waiting to try a gluten-free diet until she was on board, since it would be hardest on her to give up the things she was used to, especially after having to do the same to go artificial-free.
As it happens, I had already packed wheat pancakes into her lunch that day, and she was eating some kind of wheat-y cereal for breakfast. Doh! So I packed her a gluten-free afternoon preschool snack, and we started from there.
She ended up not eating most of her lunch pancakes, but Baby swiped them.

For dinner I picked up a gluten-free pizza at Naked Pizza - and all-natural pizza place nearby. Even their fountain sodas are all-natural! [Since our symptoms are fairly mild, and definitely not allergies, I'm not going to worry about avoiding exposure to other gluten ingredients in restaurants and facilities and such at this point.]

Tuesday - Day 2 - I messed up and put some gluten-y Ranch Peas in Z's afternoon snack, and I slid and pigged out on some minty chocolate cookies. And baby fished a reeeeally old cupcake out of the compost and ate most of it before I caught her. Do-over?

But we discovered that we all really like the Udi's whole grain bread and bagels (I've found them at Safeway, Trader Joe's, and Fred Meyer so far.) Well, maybe not the baby. She's been rejecting all the gluten-free breads. Except she took a few bites of garlic toasted bagel. Although to be fair, the GF rosemary bread I bought at a local bakery was pretty blah. Z and I didn't like it either. But Z exclaimed when trying a toasted slice of Udi's with butter and garlic powder on top, "Even the CRUST tastes good!" High praise indeed!

But I did get a "Mama! I've been glu'en fwee for TWO DAYS and my tummy STILL hurts!" Poor baby.

Wednesday - Day 3 - Baby's first challenge. We all went to Baby's co-op preschool, where the babies all cadge food off the other mommies. So I had to remain diligent and not let her panhandle gluten foods. And then I had to remember not to let us eat the baked goods brought for the parents. I'm going to need to bake up a batch of something to freeze and thaw for Wednesday mornings!

Thursday - Day 4 - Nothing exciting.

Friday - Day 5 - Our first challenge: Birthday Party! I wasn't prepared to bake gluten-free cupcakes yet, and Hubby was working late all week. He's my batter mixer. Otherwise anything I touch feels chewy or tough instead of fluffy.
But I found Kinnikinnick GF chocolate-dipped donuts (frozen) at a local natural market we stopped at to find an acceptable substitute for birthday cake. Those plus the leftover GF pizza from Monday (the party was at a pizza place) and we were good to go! I got half of Baby's donut, and oh my, was it goooood!
Birthday party dinner and "cake" for both girls: Gluten-Free Naked Pizza leftovers, Emergen-C drink powder packets,
Plum Organics Puffs, Kinnikinnick chocolate-covered donuts, black olives
Saturday - Day 6 - No slips or new discoveries. Except Baby and I started exhibiting some "movement," which could just be cyclical, or might be related. And Little Z said her tummy hadn't been hurting for a bit. Yay!

Sunday - Day 7 - At Little Z's Little Gym class, there were some other little ones out in the lobby waiting with us, and one family had Cheetos Puffs. And they let their 1-year-old and 3-year-old run around loose with them, so they were scattered all over the floor. I didn't want to look like a judgy jerk and pick them all up, so I just kept a good eye on Baby to redirect her away from them. Except then Z came out for something and I got distracted! Doh!
I took them away from her, and got coated in orange oily smoodge in the process. Bleck. I was actually more concerned about the dyes, but that sounds judgier, so I said I wasn't sure if they had gluten in them and didn't want Baby to get sick. (As it happens, Cheetos Puffs don't have gluten. But the artificial colors and flavors are enough to turn me off!)

We discovered at our weekly shopping trip at Trader Joe's that their dye-free Easter bunny gummies and jelly beans treats that I've been looking forward to getting all year have wheat in them. Argh! But we found some gluten-free jelly beans at another all-natural grocery I just discovered near there. Where we also enjoyed a gluten-free lunch at their deli!

And as it turns out, the garlic fries I'd bought at Trader Joe's and made for dinner also had wheat in them. Don't know how I missed it! I really need to keep their gluten-free products list on me at all times when I shop there! (You can pick one up at customer service!) So now we're all starting all over. *sigh*


  1. I've been trying to go dairy free since OCTOBER. Its really hard. You're doing great.

  2. Glad to hear the ups but the downs are a learning curve, Mama. I really hope it helps y'all feel better after your trial period!!

  3. Yay for an adventure in gluten free! You've taught me so much in the land of dye free/additive free that I thought I would share a few of my favorite swaps.

    Have you made banana pancakes yet? 2 Eggs + 1/2 cup Mashed Banana. They make great silver dollar pancakes....after a while I do not miss the gluten. Fresh corn tortillas make a great pizza crust when toasted in the oven/toaster oven! Dry gluten free oats ground in a blender/food processor can sub out for flour in muffins and other quick breads. I'm also a big fan of buckwheat flour in cakes and bread. Be wary of pre-shredded cheese, lunch meat, and anything that might contain soy sauce.

    I tend to focus on foods that have always been gluten free (nachos, rice dishes, chili, salads, etc) and stay away from the g-free aisle as much as possible. It is easier on your wallet and many of those foods use white rice flour in place of regular flour. (Highly processed, high glycemic and it is still gritty.)

    Also I would highly suggest that you invest in a bread maker. (Mine was $30 off of Craigslist.) Gluten free bread can really get expensive and has some odd gums and additives that I'm not comfortable with.

    Good luck in this next journey. And when all else fails, chocolate covered strawberries are an excellent swap for almost any sweet treat!


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