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Starting To Feel Down :(

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So, originally when given the challenge of feeding my son gluten free for 30 days, I thought sure we'll give it a shot. We went out and bought all kinds of gluten free foods and staples to make meals (and it cost quite the pretty penny when starting out)! We decided since my son's allergy to wheat is so low, yet he has such a big reaction, we should be avoiding ALL of his low allergies (wheat, milk, soy, egg, peanut, fish/cod). I never realized just how hard this was going to be!

My poor son has been up WAY past bedtime the last few nights as we make yet ANOTHER run to the store for an ingredient that we forgot, or for a different dinner option since, after looking online, the dinner we thought was safe was not. :(. It has been running me down!

On the positive note, my son is thriving! After years of potty training to no avail, he is not only making it to the potty, he is taking himself. He is sleeping through the night (in his own bed). His constipation is gone (for the most part). And the kicker, my little grumpy introvert is happily instigating conversations with total strangers at the grocery store! Also, as we were shopping (well after bedtime last night), he was happily belting out the opening song to Spongebob Squarepants for all to hear. (He never used to sing, as a matter of fact he used to angrily tell his sisters not to sing because it hurts his ears). Today he was singing all around the house! He is such a changed boy and in such a short amount of time!

I know it is for the best, and I know that eventually we will get this down, but sheesh, it is so tiring! Kudos to those of you that are sick yourselves and have to try and do this without a mom or loved one around that feels ok to do it for you! I have no idea how you all do it!

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I totally hear you, I was so disappointed the other day when I went to my favorite grocery store and was reading labels of ALL our favorite foods. So few of them were actually ok to eat. I was there about 40 min before I felt so completely overwhelmed I left.

Here's my suggestion....if you aren't wanting to make a list of things you buy that you like take pictures, use your smart phone, phone whatevet and take pics so you can reference it at the store. Takes the stress out of reading EVERY SINGLE LABEL!

This is totally hard, my favorite restaurants everything .......but look at all the wonderful things you said about your son. He's a different kid, he loves to sing! I am so happy for you that your son has his personality back because he feels better. IT WILL TOTALLY GET EASIER!!!!!!!!! Good job for being so on top of it!

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You might want to stick to a whole foods diet in the beginning...think fresh fruits, veggies, meats, etc. and skip the processed stuff for now. Think simple naturally gluten-free meals...things we've eaten all of our lives.

If you could tell us specifically what you want to make, we can probably be of more help. In the meantime read this Newbie 101 info that Irish Heart has so generously written up. I can't imagine having to run to the store after bedtime to get missing ingredients.

While it can seem overwhelming at first, it definitely does get a lot easier.

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Dinner doesn't have to be a big production. Have something on hand that is quick and easy. Or plan something easy for a couple of nights. We have snack dinner which is cheese, crackers and fruit.

At your house you could figure out a different one like crackers, celery, fruit & sunnut butter. Grilled chicken, salsa, corn torillas, rice, etc. Rice or corn pasta and sauce. Maybe make some meatballs and keep in the freezer.

It takes a little time, but you will figure out some meals you can make without too much fuss and hopefully have left-overs for another meal

This thread has some websites about cooking without a lot of ingredients:

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I also want to add - do you have a crockpot? They can be a lifesaver for a lot of us and barely any work at all to throw a simple meal together in the morning and have dinner ready at night.

And if you and your family have a favorite meal, perhaps you can double the recipe and stick half in the freezer for another time. I always have a stash of homemade soups, chili and spaghetti sauce in my freezer. They're handy for those nights I absolutely positively don't feel like cooking or when I get home late.

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I would also caution you to remember that some of those allergy/sensitivities that he scored highly on now may calm down some after he has been gluten free for a while. I agree with PP's, focus on simple balanced meals - there really are so many out there that you can make work for you, rather than trying to come up with substitutions for all the foods you're used to making. Take advantage of your local farmers markets over the summer and focus on making fantastic vegetables that your 4 year old likes, along with grilled, broiled, or stewed/braised meats, and maybe some simple safe carbohydrates like rice, potatoes, or corn. Explore cuisines that are easy to make gluten free, like Thai or Mexican. You will find your way.

And don't feel bad for feeling down. I think most people go through a mourning period. I know I did.

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Confession: I cried in the store parking lot after my first 2 hour trip to the grocery store. I called my mom bawling that we would never eat anything again! We have to avoid a lot of other stuff too. I found after 6 months of this, that I just have to literally write down every single meal and plan it out and stick it on the fridge or we'd be running to the store constantly. There are free online templates for this.

http://faithfulprovisions.com/resources/downloads/ (click on meal planning template and you can type right on the sheet! Sometimes I just print it and handwrite it out) We keep this on the fridge.

Also, for about $5 a month, I subscribe to the gluten free meal planning service from www.emeals.com

It will list out 7 dinners every week. I have to weed throught them since we have other allergies too and you would also with his other ones. But even if I find one or two or substitute items, it is worth it. I have found some of our favorite recipes. It also gives you the grocery list, too! I print out and keep so I can reuse them! After a few months, you'll have plenty of menus. This alone has saved my sanity. I also save more than the cost of it by not buying a lot of unnecessary stuff that goes bad in the fridge. (they have a sample for you to look at if you need it!)

Again, if you can't do that...print of the first template and then keep every weekly menu and shopping list you make yourself. In 3 months, you'll have 12 menus to rotate.

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Here's another thing 1974girl reminded me of. I got a binder, sheet protectors and some dividers. If I like a recipe, I copy it and put it in the binder, safe behind the sheet protector. I had a heck of a time trying to remember which cookbook or website a recipe was on. I can make notes on the page, like "needs more spice" then "1 tbsp of cayenne, too much". This is also good when I can't think of something to make. I can thumb thru and see recipes I forgot. You could also note what brand to buy that doesn't have soy the last time you bought it.

Get a cute binder. Or one where you can put the sheet of paper in the front cover. The kids can make pictures for the cover. Mine is very boring light blue. I am thinking of spliting mine into 2 separate binders of main course, soups, etc and another desserts & snacks/appetizers.

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:) Yes, this is HARD! We had a long day the other day--and it was a day that the kids were incredibly wonderful. Dinner was going to be really late if I made anything of substance. I figured it was one of those days where I deserved a break and the kids deserved a reward.

Here was our dinner:

- Each child ate a package of seaweed

- And a scoop of lactose free vanilla ice cream

DONE!

I didn't even feel guilty. We spend so much time on labels, shopping, in the kitchen chopping... Hang in there! And remember to "treat" yourself now and again to something silly easy, even if it means a meal with low nutritional value. These kiddos will be super healthy in the long run :)

Thinking of you!

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Who diagnosed these "low level" allergens?

Many/most of the alternative "allergy" testing is highly suspect in actually diagnosing things. The science behind it just isn't all that convincing. If these were done by an allergist, they should have explained that 50% of the time a + is a false + and needs further investigation (through food trials). I only say this because limiting things for kids unnecessarily is tough esp. if they are picky!

If your son isn't allergic but intolerant or has Celiac maybe give yourself a little time to gradually switch to the new diet. I found that if we I gave myself time to research, try new recipes and get my kid to eat 2-3 "new" alternatives when we went gluten-free (along with all our other IgE allergies) it gave me some space to work with things and not go totally nuts over.

Maybe if you post what you need replacements for ASAP we can all help you come up with tried and true recipes/products!

Good luck!

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Thank you for all of the replies, everyone! You are right, I should try to keep it simple. I was trying to keep it our dinners as normal as possible. I have 2 teenagers and a preteen that claim that since their brother is the one with the issues, they shouldn't have to change their food. So, I have been trying to have everyone go gluten-free without them really noticing. ;). I think a lot of my other kids' issues could be attributed to gluten, also.

My 15 year old daughter has always had her own 'quirks'. We have lovingly referred to her as academically gifted, but socially retarded. As a little girl she was put on the autistic spectrum (PDD-NOS), Oppositional Defiant Disorder, ADHD, OCD, etc. She also had pretty severe nocturnal epilepsy. She has grown out of most of these issues now, but still has her 'quirks'. She is the one I really want to try the diet on, but the one that drags her heels the most. She claims she is not a rabbit if I try the simple veggie approach.

My second daughter has ADD. She is our 'slug', always taking FOREVER to get anything done. All three girls have been getting more and more 'mouthy' (which, yes, could just be age), but who knows, thier brother's attitude has gotten so much better, it doesn't hurt to try! ;)

I think I just bit off more than I could chew originally. I didn't really have a prep time to switch everything over and have kind of been changing as I go. We got a call from my son's Dr. to try gluten-free for 30 days and then have a follow up appointment. That call was at 5:00 pm, and I we started right then.

Also, we have a small freezer that is already pretty full. I told my husband that I want to run to costco and get a full size freezer for the garage. I would like to make meals ahead of time and then be able to grab and defrost as needed for busy days (which with 4 kids going in all directions you can imagine!) so, I think my feeling down was me finally coming to terms with the fact that this is the way that it is going to be. My boy has responded so well to the diet that we won't be going back, at least not for a very long time (if his allergies go away).

Again, thanks for the responses and the great ideas. I have no idea where I would be without this forum. Oh wait, yes I do, I would probably be wrapped up in the fetal position banging my head against a wall! ;)

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If you don't already, the subscribe and save from amazon for things like quinoa pasta, gluten-free crackers and animal crackers, gluten-free cereal, etc is a life saver! And it does get easier, once you get down which ingredients are gluten-free and which aren't. Shopping actually takes me less time now since we can't just throw anything in the cart. While a little more expensive, sometimes gluten-free frozen pizzas, bagels, etc. can be great in a pinch.

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If you don't already, the subscribe and save from amazon for things like quinoa pasta, gluten-free crackers and animal crackers, gluten-free cereal, etc is a life saver! And it does get easier, once you get down which ingredients are gluten-free and which aren't. Shopping actually takes me less time now since we can't just throw anything in the cart. While a little more expensive, sometimes gluten-free frozen pizzas, bagels, etc. can be great in a pinch.

What a great idea. I just found out from a friend that one of our local farm and garden stores here will do bi-monthly orders from a place called Azure Standard. It is nice because I can order high quality bulk items and there is no membership fee, etc. They specialize in organic, and special diet foods.

On a side note, it was funny today. My son was playing with his stuffed Angry Birds (he loves Angry Birds) and he was pretending that one of them was sick and throwing up. I asked him 'oh, no,what happened to your Angry Bird? Why is he sick?" and he told me "because he eat Gwooton!" (Gluten). I thought that was pretty funny.

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If I could snap my fingers and have all of these great women sitting at my kitchen table, I would! I'm new to this environment but I'm overwhelmed by the support and information that I can find here. This is such an isolating diseae for us right now and yet I can't just throw my arms up and give up because while I am a Celiac myself, I have to set the tone for our two daughters that are also Celiacs. Today is one of those days that stinks and I could spend hours on here! Our first gluten free dinner was Breyers vanilla ice cream! We are one year in and I wish I could say that I'm good at it, but I'm not. Now that school is out, we are finding ourselves back in a phase of thinking outside the box and trying new things again. If I win the lottery, I'm hiring a chef! Best of luck to you.

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We had Tacos every night for the first week . . . no joke. I felt like I couldn't figure out what to make for dinner. Turns out, most of our favorite meals were already gluten free (with just a few tiny tweeks) and I just had a mental block about what to do. The transition is SO MUCH EASIER to do in the summer, when you can grill meats and veggies every night. Lots of fresh fruit in season. Be glad you are not starting this in the winter.

The freezer is a GREAT idea. I found that the biggest problem with our diet is that there is not a lot of room to get lazy. In the past, if we were out late or forgot to thaw the meat, we would just order pizza or take out. We are not able to do that anymore so I try to keep the freezer stocked with simple meals I can thaw in the morning and be ready for dinner. Sometimes it is the whole meal, sometimes it is just part of the meal and I finish the rest.

We've had great success with freezer meals like Beef Stroganoff, Stuffed Peppers, Meatballs, Soups and Stews, etc. I will also make a big batch of chicken nuggets (use crushed gluten-free pretzels for bread crumbs) and freeze them in single-serve quantities. Then when we are headed to someone's house for dinner or something, I have a quick meal I can prepare for my son (that is kind of special, since we don't do nuggets often) to bring along. You can also freeze pancakes. We make a huge batch and then freeze them for breakfasts and snacks. Sometimes dessert - pancake with nutella - tastes like a cupcake.

After a year, we hardly buy any of the prepared gluten-free food any more (just occasionally pasta and Udi's sandwich bread).

Check out the gluten-free choices from Go Picnic - they are shelf stable meals that are really handy to keep in the car (I keep one at school for him too) in case you get stuck somewhere with no options. Not super healthy, but not too bad. Kind of like a grown-up "lunchable".

Hang in there. It does get easier.

Your bracelets will be on the way soon. I've been wrapped up in all the end-of-year events at my kids' school I haven't had a moment to get to the post office.

Cara

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You've probably seen this list of threads b4, but just in case here it is again. At first I made big piles of rice every weekend with different combos of veggies and meat. Froze most of it and then nuked it when hungry. Do a different version every weekend and pretty soon your freezer will be full of various choices that can be reheated quickly.

Some varieties that could be done are coconut milk and cinnamon / curry with chicken, beef with peppers and onions and mushrooms, pork and veggies, shrimp and rice with veggies and eggs, etc. Sorry no recipes, I quit eating rice a while back. Just use your imagination or throw in everything in the refrigerator. But the same thing can be done with quinoa, just wash it good before cooking. I did always cook the meat before hand and then cook with again with the rice and veggies. Except for shrimp.

Mission corn tortillas and Food Should Taste Good sweet potato chips are a good easy combo for a snack.

Snack Ideas

Some threads with good info:

FAQ Celiac com

http://www.celiac.co...celiac-disease/

Celiac Newbie Info 101

http://www.celiac.co...ewbie-info-101/

What's For Breakfast Today?

http://www.celiac.co...180#entry726053

What Did You Have For Lunch Today?

http://www.celiac.co...or-lunch-today/

What Are You Cooking Tonight?

http://www.celiac.co...ooking-tonight/

Easy yummy bread in minutes

http://www.celiac.co...ead-in-minutes/

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Yes, yes, yes to "if I win the lottery, I'm hiring a chef!"

Ahhh...and if we all lived close enough to each other, we could take turns cooking for each other...ahh, the dreams of a Celiac Mom!

xoxox to all!

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