Monday, February 27, 2012

Today I Am Thankful For...

Gluten-free bread!

It's expensive. It's a treat. But I'm so glad it's an option!

When I made my last meal plan, I asked Ethan if there was anything in particular he wanted me to make. He could only think of one thing... Burgers. And a burger isn't a burger unless it's between two pieces of bread/bun.

Without GF bread, Ethan wouldn't have been able to eat the one thing he wanted :( I don't want them to feel deprived, to think about what they can't have. Ethan already has anxiety about eating some things lately. He tells me they will make his stomach hurt. I've had to reassure him that I won't give him anything that will make his stomach hurt. He remembers vividly what effect eating wheat had on him. It might be a good thing that our trial food ended up being pizza... He hasn't asked for it since that night! When I get brave I'll try GF pizza crust mixes etc. I would love to have the pizza option again! We were eating pizza on premade crusts about once a week. It was convenient and relatively easy and nutritious!

In the meantime, we have many naturally GF choices - oats (still using non-GF ones for now), rice, potatoes, millet, and quinoa (haven't tried quinoa yet). I just miss our gluten-y options sometimes...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Rough Grocery Trip

I don't know why it was particularly hard today... Maybe it was because I hadn't eaten enough. Maybe it was because money's been so tight the past couple weeks and I haven't had my usual grocery budget. Maybe it was because I haven't had my supplements like I'm supposed to (see preceding sentence). Maybe it's because last night we ate out for the first time since being wheat-free (buffet with Jesse's family) and I smelled the bread and pasta and watched everyone else enjoy it. Maybe... Maybe it was just one of those times...

I think if I didn't have to pick up something for supper it would've been easier. But I did. All of our heat-and-eat and drive thru/ordering in options involve something one of us can't eat. So it's really tough! Sometimes you just NEED to be able to grab a burger on the way home. Or something else quick and easy. The boys wanted macaroni and cheese. But we don't like the only GF one I've found and I certainly didn't have time to make it from scratch tonight!

I walked through the last two grocery stores (we went to three) trying to figure out what to do about supper. At the second to last stop, I grabbed some bananas to hold us over. I hoped it would give me some energy to think but no such luck. I was able to make it till we got home without anything else at least!

So what did I settle on? A bag of frozen grilled chicken breasts and potato chips. The potato chips were GF. I didn't look for GF ones, these had mostly "real" ingredients and just happened to be GF. The chicken had a tiny bit of wheat. Which is good because it needs to stay in the boys' systems. And because I was feeling down, I bought us a treat - we each had half a Gold Brick Egg for dessert.

I really think my frustration tonight was supper. I had to wait till today to shop and there wasn't anything at home I could cook ahead. This isn't the first time I've been in this situation but it's the first time it's bothered me so much... I was thinking tonight while trying to figure out supper about what carb to have with the chicken. Not that the chicken itself sounded good, but it was heat-and-eat. My quick carb options are greatly reduced. In the past I would've picked up some hamburger buns and made chicken sandwiches. But I wasn't at the store that has GF bread. Never mind how expensive it is! So that wasn't an option :( We've been eating mainly rice and potatoes (along with a couple meals of millet) and I felt burnt out on them. I didn't have pasta beyond what I needed for the week's meals and couldn't go to the only store that has it. I make an effort to keep extra but we've used that up these leaner weeks.

Don't get me wrong! I'm EXTREMELY thankful to have the options I do have! But this is a big shift and change isn't always easy... I've done so well mentally with our new way of eating. Guess I was due for a rough one...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Next Step

I talked to a nurse at the boys' pedi's office today about food allergy testing. I want to get them tested for celiac but also other possible food allergies. The nurse said they could do a celiac panel there but we'd have to get the rest done somewhere else. Their doctor is out of town till Monday so it'll be Monday or Tuesday before we hear back.

As I was discussing my concerns with the nurse, I said something about how I hoped I was making sense. She told me that she has an autoimmune disease, has done research of her own on the gluten-autoimmune connection, and is gluten-free herself. I almost started crying happy tears when she told me that! She really understood! There was a part of me that put off calling because I was afraid I wouldn't be taken seriously. I don't know why... My concerns have never been taken lightly there. Maybe because I feel the importance of this so strongly? I just know I was EXTREMELY relieved!

The nurse recommended I keep doing what I'm doing - avoiding obvious wheat but not going 100% GF. That way they will keep traces of gluten in their system for the bloodwork. She said the doctor may want me to do more gluten closer to when we do the bloodwork but for now to not change anything.

The celiac panel should do two things:
1. Tell us if they have celiac disease or just gluten intolerance. This is important because if they have CD, I will have to be VERY diligent about avoiding gluten! If they're "only" GI, I won't need to be as careful. I know it's not assured that it will find CD if it's there, but it's a start!
2. If either of them have CD, it's almost 100% certain that I do as well... Since I don't have insurance to cover testing me, their results can give insights into my situation as well.

So the next step... Is waiting to hear back from the pedi and moving forward from there, hopefully toward some definitive answers...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Food Processor Workout

Q. How do you give a food processor a workout?

A. Tonight's supper!


6-7 bell peppers (mostly red), seeded
3 onions, peeled
2 lb "mock tender" roast ( )
Provolone cheese slices

Slice bell peppers in food processor using slicing blade. Should be about 7 c. Saute until tender. Put in large bowl and set aside.

Slice onions in food processor using slicing blade. Saute until tender and slightly charred. Add to bowl.

Slice roast in food processor using slicing blade. Saute until cooked. When almost done, add salt.

Place a layer of hot water beef in plate. Top with cheese. Add a generous amount of veggies.


Two Days Later...

All day yesterday, Thursday, Ethan complained his stomach hurt. He told me he was hungry. He told me his stomach hurt when he ate. Today (Friday) he said it's better :)

Today Gabriel had a nasty diaper. Ewww...

Yesterday I woke up to my face broken out bad. Painfully so :( My stomach is "off" today. Like something I ate a couple days ago didn't sit well. I didn't feel good yesterday. Physically or mentally.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why the Wheat-Free Trial?

I typed this up last week for a message board I'm a part of. I had asked about subtle symptoms of wheat intolerance, gotten some feedback, then was asked what concerns I had. This was my response:


A little background... My mom reacts to wheat, but only whole wheat. So I never ate whole wheat, only white bread, pasta, etc. In college I started eating honey wheat bread, then whole wheat. Up until I had Gabriel, I ate mostly whole wheat (vs white wheat). I never had any problems with it as far as I know.

Not long after I had Gabriel, I started having some digestive issues I couldn't track down. I was SHOCKED when I figured out it was whole wheat bothering me! So no more whole wheat for me... I've tried it off and on since with the same results.

Fast forward... As Gabriel's teeth started coming in, a few of them were messed up when they broke the gumline. The tips were missing enamel. I remember reading that this can be a sign of wheat issues. But I also was on antibiotics at the end of my first trimester with him, and was hospitalized with H1N1 at 28 weeks and took lots of meds then. I know the meds can cause enamel issues too. So there's a possible wheat symptom. The past few months he's also had what looks to be an allergy ring around his anus when I change his diaper. He has dark circles under his eyes. But his 2-yr molars are taking FOREVER to come in and off and on he complains his mouth hurts. He's getting over a cold so the circles are worse. Again, the circles may be from a wheat allergy. Or they may not.

My mom has fibromyalgia. She recently found out she also has some lesions on her brain. They look to be indicative of lupus but she doesn't have a definitive diagnosis yet. When I was researching autoimmune diseases (including lupus), I found there's a correlation with gluten intolerance. Now I'm questioning if my mom is gluten intolerant or if eating GF would help her.

All that got me wondering if I could be gluten intolerant. I assume the wheat protein is what I react to in whole wheat, but I don't know if there's any connection to gluten intolerance.

If I am gluten intolerant, I don't have the obvious symptoms. Ditto for Gabriel. But considering my mom likely has lupus, and her sister has had MS for years, and there seems to be a connection with gluten intolerance, if Gabriel and I do have issues with wheat, it could make a huge difference down the road in our likelihood of having an autoimmune disease. Hope that makes sense...

Gabriel doesn't have any behavior issues. Ethan has Sensory Processing Disorder. He also has rage and anxiety issues that have been DRASTICALLY reduced since the switch to grace-based parenting.

I never had problems digesting milk until I had Ethan. Then I became lactose intolerant. But I could still have milk, ice cream, etc as long as I took Lactase with it.Since having Gabriel, I can't drink milk or eat anything with a fair bit of milk in it, even with taking Lactase. My mom is allergic to dairy products btw...


So that's what prompted our wheat fast...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I ordered pizza tonight. Our usual Papa John's - chicken, beef, lots of veggies, very little sauce. It's the first wheat we've had in 9 days. I had planned on coming off the wheat fast with homemade bread, but circumstances were such that that didn't happen...

So how did we do?
Me - so far so good but it's early
Jesse - seems fine (but I had no concerns with him)
Ethan - I noticed a while after he ate that he looked a bit bloated. Later he told me his stomach "felt weird." He had me try to describe it but nothing I could come up with described it to his satisfaction. After we came to bed, he had a loud, long, um, expulsion of gas. I asked if his tummy felt better after and he said yes.
Gabriel - BOUNCED. OFF. THE. WALLS. He COULD NOT control himself :( I ended up having to put my arm a few inches above him in bed to keep him somewhat laying down till he settled down. This was no ordinary hyperactivity... It's like he was high...


We're going wheat-free another couple weeks. Well, the boys are. I'll be out of town a few days next week at a retreat and won't have much control over what I'm eating. But other than that I'll be wheat-free. And next time we'll come off the wheat fast with homemade bread.

Hoping and praying it was something other than the obvious in the pizza that affected the boys but I'm not optimistic.

Trying to wrap my mind around what I'm afraid I'm realizing, and not be totally freaked out...

Almost forgot! I stepped on a scale yesterday. In the 8 days I had been wheat-free, I lost weight... Just a few pounds but it's the first time the scale has moved in almost two years... And the only "exercise" I did that week was 2 1/2 hours of wearing a 30ish lb toddler at Walmart...

Fast-Track Chicken Soup

For my sick hubby... This is a very thick "soup"!


2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 onions, peeled
32 oz chicken stock
Handful parsley flakes
Salt & pepper to taste
2 bags SteamFresh green beans, cooked according to package directions
1 bag SteamFresh brown rice, cooked according to package directions

Put chicken in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Rinse food processor with hot water. Pulse onions until finely chopped. Bring stock to a boil. Add chicken, onions, parsley, and S&P. Stir and simmer for a few minutes until chicken is cooked. While cooking, pulse green beans in food processor until chopped. Add green beans and rice to soup. Simmer few more minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

One Week Wheat-Free

We've gone Monday to Sunday so far with no obvious wheat. I think we've only had one meal that had it in any form - a can of vegetarian baked beans that had modified food starch. It was pretty far down on the list of ingredients though.

I've had some mild symptoms that are probably detox - a few itchy whelps, some inflammation, nothing major. Ethan doesn't seem any different. Gabriel is having a rough week teething so can't tell if he's having any symptoms.

I don't know how long we'll go. Honestly, I was hoping to eat out after church today and we would've had wheat products then. But we ate at home.

Regardless of when we start eating wheat again, I want to cut down how much we eat. We had been eating more than usual lately. That's part of the reason I wanted to cut it out totally for a while. It's just so convenient! Having sandwich bread opens up lots of quick meal options. Premade pizza crust? Simple and versatile! $1.50 double cheeseburgers from BK? Nice when you've been running errands all day and need a quick supper! Etc.

One new product we tried this week that I really liked - Blue Diamond Nut Thins brand crackers. They are wheat-free and gluten-free. They're sort of a cross between a cracker and a tortilla chip. I bought the Hint of Sea Salt flavor:
Ingredients: rice flour, almonds, potato starch, expeller pressed safflower oil, sea salt, natural almond flavor, natural butter flavor
They weren't expensive either. The 4.25 oz box was $1.99. I'll definitely be getting them again! Yesterday I mixed together organic PB (natural AB for the boys) and Simply Fruit jelly and we ate it with the crackers instead of on bread. Tonight we had the crackers with tuna salad. Don't remember what else we had them with...

I'll check back in after our first wheat. Curious to see how our bodies react!