The Secret of Everything

January 31, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Posted in GFCF | 3 Comments
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Drumroll please…..the secret of everything is….to make it non-negotiable.  Someone asked me the other day how we had managed to keep our son on a strict GFCF diet for years.  My answer was simple: we made it non-negotiable.  I literally treat it like a peanut allergy.  If my son had a peanut allergy and we were at a birthday party where they were serving a cake with a peanut filling I wouldn’t consider letting him have any.  I wouldn’t waste time thinking about what the other kids might think, or what the other parents might think.  I would be sensitive to my son’s feeling about being different and or feeling left out, but I wouldn’t dream of letting those feelings talk me into rethinking whether he could try a piece.  It wouldn’t cross my mind.  Why?  Because it would be a matter of life and death, in other words it would be completely non-negotiable.

GFCF Chicken Meatballs

When I think back over the things in my life that worked out favorably it is clear to me that at some point I made them non-negotiable.  I don’t think it’s just me.  I have a friend that lost over a hundred pounds in the last year – without surgery.  I heard someone ask her how she did it the other day.  She told the person that she stopped dieting.  Dieting meant she could go on the diet on Monday, be off of it by Wednesday at noon and then restart it on the following Monday.  It wasn’t working.  Instead, she found a way of eating and made it non-negotiable.  She stopped weighing herself every other day and just decided that no matter what happened she was going to follow her new food plan.  The result?  She lost 100 pounds in a year!

It isn’t easy making something non-negotiable.  If it was I would be thin, rich and not concerned about what other people think…ever.  I don’t think that everything in your life can be non-negotiable; that would be no fun.  Ultimately, it’s a question of priorities.  What is important enough to be considered non-negotiable?  In my house I can tell you exactly what’s non-negotiable : anything that has helped our son on his journey to recover from Autism.  For us, and I realize this isn’t true for all families, it is adhering religiously to the GFCF diet, the principles of ABA and taking a few supplements everyday.  It’s non-negotiable.  Putting off doing the laundry, on the other hand….completely negotiable!

What Jem Eats 2011

January 12, 2011 at 6:00 am | Posted in GFCF, Mixes, Staples, YUM | 9 Comments
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By Shannon Penrod

I did a blog last year about what Jem eats. I did it for two reasons: to show people who are curious about how you can do the GFCF diet thing without a lot of hassle and because the people I have charged with taking care of my child should there ever be an emergency expressed that they had no idea what they would feed him.  It seemed like a good idea to turn it into a blog – that way it wouldn’t just be on a piece of paper that could be lost.  It occurred to me the other day that his diet changes from time to time and it might be worthwhile to revisit the subject for 2011, so here it is.

Breakfast – Generally this is two pieces of toast (Food for Life’s Yeast Free Brown Rice Bread – which can be bought locally at Whole Foods Market, Sprouts or Lassen’s)  This summer when I was teaching in N.Y. we were given a lovely furnished apartment that did not have a toaster so we improvised and came up with something called “Salt Toast”  think of making French toast with out butter or eggs.  I put a very small amount of olive oil in a pan and lightly brown the bread turning once, and then sprinkle lightly with salt.  In a pinch you can do this in the microwave by spreading a small amount of olive oil on the bread and nuking it for 20 seconds, the bread will be chewy if done in the microwave, but Jem loves it either way.  For special occasions we will sometimes do Van’s waffles for breakfast.  He can only have the simply plain variety, everything else has sugar and he can only have 2 waffles.  On rare occasions I will make pancakes using Trader Joes gluten free pancake mix, which has been on back order for months, or Namaste’s Waffle and pancake mix – in both cases I add water or carrot juice to the mix and cook them on our cast iron griddle.  We no longer use teflon of any kind in our home.

Lunch:  For school lunch Jem gets some kind of a sandwich or roll up.  This year he has become addicted to the no-nitrate sliced lunch meats by Applegate Farms.  He likes the plain turkey, which he calls “flat turkey”, the turkey bologna and the turkey salami.  He will have 3-4 pieces of that on either the Food for Life bread or more frequently the Food for Life Brown Rice Tortillas.  Trader Joe’s also makes a brown rice tortilla.  Sometimes I will send chicken nuggets to school but this is no longer a favorite because he prefers them warm, not cold.  Likewise he no longer wants cold hot dogs in his school lunch,  at home though hot dogs are a favorite.  We use Shelton’s Chicken and Turkey, there are regular sized dogs and jumbo Franks, Jem loves them all.  We also used Applegate Farms chicken and turkey hot dogs on occasion.  Jem typically has 2 to 3 kinds of vegetables with his lunch.  Favorites are Persian cucumbers (with the skins on, served whole – bought at the farmer’s market or Trader Joe’s) regular cucumbers (peeled and sliced) carrots (in a sealed cup, bought at Walmart) slice peppers (every color), and Seaweed Snacks – he can only have the sesame variety, the others contain sugar, our favorite brand is Trader Joe’s followed by Whole Foods and Annie Chung’s if we are desperate.  On very special occasions Jem gets a small portion of fruit for lunch,  one of the following: 2 slices of persimmon, the short rounded variety,  five blueberries, a half of  a banana, 4 blackberries, one small wedge of watermelon, a cutie orange, one dwarf sugar pair or spoonful of pomegranate seeds.  Too much of any fruit makes him behave like a drunk.

Dinner:  Usually this meal consists of a protein, a carb and 2 vegetables of different colors, sometimes 3. Protein is generally turkey or chicken, but occasionally we have salmon.  Turkey is served as meatloaf, meatballs, cutlets that are breaded to make nuggets, turkey legs, and ground turkey as hamburgers.  Chicken is served as chicken legs, whole roasted chicken, meatballs, breaded to make nuggets, stuffed breasts, pounded breasts that are rolled around vegetables (the pounded chicken recipe on this blog), grilled, boiled, broiled and sauteed.  Salmon is served in a pasta salad, in patties and straight out of the can when desperate (we buy Trader Joe’s)

Carbohydrates:  Jem loves brown rice this year and loves to eat it plain.  He also is very big on baked sweet potatoes, rice sticks (noodles from Trader Joe’s) and brown rice noodles.  He loves rice cakes, especially with red pepper hummus (Tribes) or with Tahini Sauce (Trader Joe’s).

Vegetables:  Trader Joe’s Frozen Broccoli, cooked carrots, green beans (inside pounded chicken or cooked with Trader Joe’s tri color peppers) acorn squash, peas, snow peas, snap peas, fresh peppers of all colors, cucumbers (see lunch), grilled portobello mushrooms, sliced raw white mushrooms, baby peppers, and occasionally a small amount of lettuce.

When we eat out Jem gets a Subway Salad with lettuce and spinach, green peppers, cucumbers, cilantro, olives and three pieces of their oval shaped grilled chicken, not cut up.  He likes to make faces on the chicken using olives and peppers before he eats them!  If we go to a regular restaurant I generally ask the kitchen to cook him some chicken in a separate clean pan using only olive oil and salt, and we ask for steamed veggies or he gets the salad bar, focusing on the same things he would eat in a subway salad, but adding shredded carrots to the playlist.

Bubbies Pickles are a current favorite treat as well as Nana’s Banana Bars.  Jem still loves puffed brown rice cereal (Arrowhead Mills) served with carrot juice, and he has recently discovered cashews, walnuts and macadamia nuts, but he is allergic to almonds.

To drink Jem generally has plain bottled water (Arrowhead) but he loves “bubble water”, Seltzer that has no sugar or artificial sweeteners.  We like Arrowhead, Crystal Geyser and this summer in N.Y. we had Poland Springs and a Price Chopper variety that came in Vanilla! Yum.  Every once in a while he will ask to make “Pink Lemonade” with bubble water, some fresh lemon juice and a dash of water from a can of salt free beets.

That’s what my kid eats.  You can see that it requires very little prep, but a fair amount of shopping.  My boy eats well, his meals are colorful and balanced and I am rarely in the kitchen for longer than 15 minutes preparing meals.

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