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Going Gluten-FreeMarch 16, 2010

Child with Allergies: Source of Strength

I love to thumb through my mother’s 1933 Home Economics text book, Everyday Foods. It purports to teach 16 year olds complicated nutrition tables, how to plan a meal, set a table, make breads and jams, can fruit, and clean and truss a fowl. There are chapters on feeding invalids and feeding children. A required class for every 10th grade girl.

True, most any 16 year old today could Google “fowl,” but could she “remove the entrails?” No, probably not. “No way! Not going there; not doing THAT!”

But just a few years later, that girl becomes a woman...and then perhaps a mother. And when faced with a child with celiac or ADHD or autism, she will, figuratively, do THAT. Whatever “that” is. Whatever it takes. She will open that book. Okay, so it’s not an old blue hardback text with crumbly yellow pages, like mine. Maybe it’s the Internet. Or medical magazines. Or newly published research. She will dig in, looking for answers.

Every day I read dozens of Living Without readers’ letters. Moms raising kids on special diets, wanting to restore health, encourage picky eaters, pack an interesting lunch, send a kid safely off to college. And they want to arm themselves with knowledge.

I wonder, where do they find the guts, the courage, the perseverance, to meet these challenges every day? Where do they find the sheer power?

Where do you find your answers? Your power?

 

Comments (9)

Do any of you ladies have a yeast free bread recipe? I love to bake bread but can't find a recipe that is yeast free and will still allow my bread to rise. I actually almost had it right one night and I was so excited I started jumping up and down and the thing flopped on me!!!!!! Anyway, a recipe would be much appreciated.

Posted by: Janice H | April 9, 2010 12:09 PM    Report this comment

Please be sure to check out READ IT in the June/July 2010 issue of Living Without magazine. There is a kid-friendly recipe book reviewed (none of the Big 8 allergens and low sugar) and Dr. Green's "must have" reference for g-f living. Also, great vegetable grilling recipes.

Posted by: LW Moderator | March 31, 2010 1:50 PM    Report this comment

I just had my third boy 6 months ago, and the struggles continue but I am better at accomodating all of our food issues. My oldest son has a peanut allergy. My middle son has milk and beef allergies. He was just able to start eggs a few months ago and is thankfully tolerating them well. I myself cannot have gluten or dairy. I am going to follow a low allergenic plan for my third and he is exclusively breastfed(but so were my first 2 for an entire year). I love to cook and my kids are very healthy. Thankfully not picky eaters at all. I just found this magazine and love it. My boys are huge eaters (my husband is 6 foot 7 and I am 5 foot 9). My struggle now is to try to find time to cook from scratch meeting all of our dietary needs and still keep up with everything else a mom has to do(school, sports, housework, etc.). You just can't cheat at all. Every birthday party and event they go to I have to prepare substitutes. Everyone calls me a walking grocery store. However, in the end I have 3 healthy, great boys!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Judy L | March 30, 2010 8:55 AM    Report this comment

Hi Nora,

You sound like I did when I first started on this "special needs diet" journey! Yes, I agree, that you cannot say, "Okay kids. I need a couple weeks to figure it out and then another few months to get it together and then you can eat." It's the one thing no one understands unless you're in the middle of it. You have to start immediately. They have to eat!!! Every label has to be looked at. Imagine going to a grocery store with an 18 month old child and standing in the aisles looking at labels for hours!!!! And not really knowing what you're reading while your screaming child is getting on that last nerve you are so desperately holding onto for fear of falling apart in the middle of the store!!!! Oh, boy was that one of the toughest times of my life. Cooking special needs is like learning a whole new language in a day. It's virtually impossible, but has to be done for the sake of your child and in the beginning, you think you're starving them because they don't like what they're eating. And you feel like a failure because you can't get it right for them. Then one day, as you are frantically researching the web, you come across the truly amazing magazine called, "Living Without" and the sick feeling in your stomach goes away and you feel like you are not alone and someone is actually going to make it easier for you and they do!!!!! I love this magazine. I would not have made it with out this magazine!!!! I couldn't cook to begin with, but with Living Without, I've not only learned how to cook, but learned how to cook really healthy for my daughter and learned how to shop for both of us!!!

Posted by: Janice H | March 26, 2010 1:57 PM    Report this comment

We found out just recently that my 18 month old son has several food allergies. These last two and a half months have been extremely challenging and very emotional. It is a true life changing experience and I felt that I never even had time to absorb all that has happened. You can't say, "Kids let me take a few weeks to research what to cook." I had to just had to use whatever info I had at the time and keep making meals to the best of the knowledge at that moment. As time went on and I found out more info, I would eliminate or add as best I could. I still am learning and trying to find out what is best for my son to grow healthy and strong. I think the biggest joy right now is just watching him eat and enjoy his meals, instead of seeing him getting sick or not eating and being frustrated. It is still an emotional time for me. I still feel unsure of things, but I try to focus on one day at a time and one issue at a time. I also have learned that sometimes I have to tell myself, "You are doing the best you can and he is getting better." I also have learned that some days have to be "don't think about it" and just "live and enjoy" days. I am glad I have subscribed to your magazine because I don't feel so alone anymore and know others are struggling with food allergies and making it work.

Posted by: Nora M | March 20, 2010 1:53 PM    Report this comment

i am a subscriber to your wonderful magazine and to the website. I am an adult woman with not only Celiacs, but also type #2 diabetes(diet controlled). I find myself modifying recipes that have sugar in them and staying away from even commercially produced GF foods that have sugar in them. I am trying to loset just 10 pounds, so healthy eating is a must for me. The recipes are great and help to keep me on the right path. Thanks for everything, Living Without!!! BNL in Massachusetts

Posted by: Blanche L | March 18, 2010 7:46 PM    Report this comment

Roses, valentines and balloons to you, moms! I recently had a friend tell me that her young child used to get whiny when she ate certain things. As she got a little older she'd complain her "tummy hurt." Long story short, she has celiac and food allergies. Now as a teenager - in a food preparation course at school - she simply says "No thanks, that makes me sick." So you WILL get your reward! Meantime, as our food editor Beth Hillson always says, the journey is half the fun...figure out how to make those dairy free ice-creams, sorbets and granitas (Beth is working on an article on sweeteners for a future issue); check out the kid's recipe book reviewed in the June/July issue of Living Without - you'll find it helpful. Be sure you have a community to support you - and remember, we are here for you!

Posted by: LW Moderator | March 18, 2010 3:38 PM    Report this comment

For me, it helped that I was going on the journey myself, to find better health by making allergy-free choices. So I can impart my insight to my son, and be a role-model for him when it comes to making sacrifices. Now that he's almost 10, my focus is helping him become self-sufficient and make the right choices for himself - for him to find the power on his own. But we all need encouragement and reminders that we'll get thru this, that "feeling good" trumps anything you shouldn't eat, that there's a solution and we can work it out together.

Posted by: jesper | March 18, 2010 12:30 PM    Report this comment

As a single mom of a three year old on a special needs diet, I will admit that the first month or two was awful. I locked myself in my bathroom the day they told me my daughter needed a dairy-free diet and I cried my eyes out. No more ice cream while we're watching Dora the Explorer. How am I going to make macaroni and cheese? I knew nothing about cooking. Nothing. I had a sick child from day one and I knew I had to do everything and anything that was suggested by the doctor's and I did it with love, and determination. I wanted my daughter to feel better. Months later, she was infected with a systemic yeast infection because of all of the steroids and antibiotics she was taking and there went anything with sugar and while we were at it, we did a series of other allegy tests and found a few more, "important" ingredients that she was allergic to. It was hard. Really hard, but I had already learned how to substitue and I knew I could do it. I just had to figure out how to. It didn't matter what it took. When you're a mom, you find that courage, the perserverance, the guts and the power to do it. You just have to do it. Now when we make something (because she does it with me) we high five each other and say, "not bad" or "good job" and if isn't too tasty, we say, "we tried" or "we'll get it right next time" and we throw it out. One thing I will never do is make my daughter eat something she doesn't want to. Food is to be enjoyed. Forcing a meal on a child is just wrong and borders on child abuse, in my opinion. If she doesn't like something I've made, I say, "No big deal. I will never make you eat something you don't like." and we move on and food does not become something more underlying, like a power struggle.

Posted by: Janice H | March 18, 2010 12:22 PM    Report this comment

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