Things have been whirlwind in my personal life this past year, and recently we made a change in our home that is a direct affect of this recent insanity.
And with that change, came a lot of interest from our friends, family, clients & even strangers. So here we are, and here is my personal share. Instead of writing each and every person who has contacted me, with the same copy/paste answer, I am going to do what I do best…
WRITE IT ALL OUT. Or at least what I can come to my mind and travel through to my speedily typing fingers… all while 3 children run circles around me (one probably bitting at my ankle, lol). So bear with me… and I will do my best to share our struggle, challenge and triumph.
To start, my son had terrible tummy aches and headaches. When I say tummy aches, I mean to the floor in agony, and lasting for 30-40 minutes. Multiple doctor visits and bloodwork came back with no results… which was great, but again it gave us no insight on how to prevent the tummy & headaches.
Then, came outburts, yelling and tantrums. Yeah yeah I know, they all do this… but in our house, they went to the point of being out of control, literally a child not having any control or means to an end. Frustration, followed by extreme guilt… and there was no way to control these tantrums & hyper activity that came with them.
We have all read about food allergies, and how they say sugar causes hyper activity… and how some people “claim” that certain ingredients can cause adhd & other issues of the sort. Hmmmm…. last ditch effort… and worth a try? HECK YEAH! If it meant possibly not having to go a further step into the medical ladder, it was worth a try for us.
Lucky for me… I have a friend who is a modern nutritionist, with an understanding of gluten and other food allergies. On top of that, I had a handful of other friends who had already taken certain things out of their diets. I am truly lucky to have their support, understanding and guidance… which is why I am sharing this with you (lovely internet world).
“so it’s been exactly 1 month since we stopped eating artificial dyes & colors in our house.. and have been 80% gluten free.
what have i noticed?
#1… we have our son back! 4 weeks, and not a SINGLE bedtime outburst… i think thats a huge win! his gain in focus has been OUTSTANDING… and his ability to calm himself is amazing. Seriously.. we have our son back, and i cant tell you how wonderful that is! Worth every single day of non-artificals in our home… I will NEVER go back.
#2… no tummy aches or headaches for AJ.. I give this credit to the gluten free. while he is non-allergic to it, i def think there is some sort of intolerance that he is sensitive to. The ped did a variety of tests last year and found nothing… we took out glutens, and they STOPPED COMPLETELY (previously every 5-10 days he would have terrible painful tummy aches).
#3 … our fridge is full of NATURAL snacks… no more packed princess fruit snacks, or potato chips & lucky charm cereal. THIS IS WONDERFUL… as a parent its great to know that I now put aside the time to prepare an easy NATURAL snack (grapes, carrots, apples & peanut butter, etc)… vs quickly grabbing something out of a “box” that is filled with unnatural “things”. As adults… it’s a great feeling to know that we arent just stuffing our own faces with this crap as well… less bloat and tummy aches for us as well.
YES, I’m preaching it and I will share with anyone who needs help in this same direction. If you have a child, children, or family, suffering from hyper activity/outburst/tummy probs/adhd… try diet first… you might really be surprised at the ease and simplicity of just eating HEALTHY & NATURALLY. Trust me… coming from someone who has little time to brush my own hair (running 3 biz & raising 3 kids).. if I can find the time, YOU CAN TOO!
and NO NO NO its not about $$$… don’t even give me an ounce of that crapola. You can buy INEXPENSIVE snacks & foods for your family (Trader Joes is amazing) and still keep your family free of artificial chemicals & dyes. Organic doesnt mean it has to break your bank… but it will help you cut back on buying the crappy snacks that you DONT NEED ANYWAY. If you dont know what the ingredient is… I WONT FRIGGIN EAT IT, let alone give it to my kids!
and that my friends.. is the end of my preaching”
“100% the overeating has stopped as well… When you don’t have so many easy to access things, like opening up a fruit snack , sugarcoated Popsicles that are just giant plastic packages of corn syrup , or a bag of sodium covered chips… It makes a true difference. And it’s also enjoyable to actually prepare your own snacks. Slices of apples and peanut butter, baby carrots… We eat a lot of grapes raspberries and strawberries, cheese… We also do a chips, but they’re few and far between and they are more of the brands that we buy at Trader Joe’s.
Yes it takes me a little bit more time, breakfast isn’t just dumping cereal into a bowl… We eat oatmeal and make a fun game out of what to put in our oatmeal every morning. In addition to scrambled eggs…. But it’s honestly only an extra 10 to 15 minutes on top of what I used to do. And that is so worth it.
Ingredients… A good friend told me, less than five ingredients is a beautiful thing. So I always find myself checking out the ingredients of every single thing I purchase… And that has been a huge eye-opener. “
“I totally see your point (of this diet not working for all)… but again, I have to think (the good in me) that there have to be ways to still avoid the yucky stuff. Dont take offense, by any means… but what if our country was like Europe, and these things were ILLEGAL. Over seas, they have the same foods BUT they have alternative colors & dyes in the foods.. ones that are NOT bad for us all.
in addition… this was my alternative as to drugging my kid to calm him down. That is something I was NOT wanting to do (if at all avoidable)… so if I can help anyone else from my own challenges, you bet I am going to try my ass off. This was one hell of a struggle in our home (tantrums/etc), and it was destructing the health of my own family. sucks. in addition… I am fortunate that my children will eat almost anything (minus 1 “somewhat picky” ). So the transition was nice in the fact that they were willing to try so many new things… and were no way starving from this change in diet. YES it cut out the snacking & high fatty foods, but we still snack & eat totally rounded meals… just w/o the artificial additions. “
With that said, please acknowledge that I DO UNDERSTAND sometimes medication is unavoidable and a necessity… I have been down the anxiety & postpardum path myself, and was “healed” with the help of modern medication.
However, I had to try my best to do what I could before taking that step for my own children… try every alternative & solution. And with this, came the support, comments and questions in an outpouring. People have been asking, and emailing, and texting, and every sort of messaging you can think of, asking me HOW-WHAT-WHEN-WHY?
A typical Breakfast is OATMEAL… organic & gluten free from TJ’s (cheap!). Topped with organic preservatives (also TJ’s), almonds… well honestly, the kids top theirs with either mini chocolate chips or brown sugar & cinnamon, but whatever… its not coated in red dye 40, so I’m happy! We also love cereal still, & gluten free Chex (cinnamon is the bomb!) or any Vans cereal (also Walmart).
Lunch is usually Annies organic Mac & Cheese (compare the ingredints to others, honestly), or gluten free bread toasted with “Hormel” natural choice ham or turkey (find it at Target for like $2 package!)… or gluten free pizza (Marianos has a huge selection). I pack my son a home lunch EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. It’s a pita, but in reality it takes me 10 mins. He gets something of the sort: piece of gluten free bread toasted (Udi’s rocks!) topped with 2 slices of Hormel “natural choice ham or turkey… with Snyders gluten free pretzels, sliced carrots, 1 gluten free chocolate chip cookie, and a Cliff brand fruit snack.
Dinner is also easy, here is tonights menu… an organic chicken breast with lemon & italian herbs oven roasted… paired up with rice (butter on top), and broccoli covered in shredded cheese. It wasnt low calorie… that isn’t my #1 goal, but it was all natural ingredients, no added colors to make it pretty and DELICIOUS! Organic meat is my one big splurge… but it means that the chix are not doused in hormones or injected with chemicals to help them grow.. and they are free range (not cooped up, literally).
SNACKS… the big question. Here is a quick list of our favorites: veggie stick chips, gluten free pretzels (they are friggin yummy!), carrots, grapes (red/green), sliced apples w/almond or peanut butter, Cliff or Annies fruit snacks, Cosmos Creations (omg delish!!!), Donkey Chips with cheese (jalepenos for me!), raisins/craisins, Udis brand snack bars, CHEESE (we <3 cheese), just to name a few.
My #1 concern with this switch was the losing the simplicity of just opening up a snack pack or breaking open a bag of chips for a snack… but all in all, I was thinking lazy. Now, I will prepare ahead of time a giant container of washed grapes, or cut carrots… just snap it out of the fridge, EASY PEASY.
Don’t be afraid… don’t be freaked out or hesitant… it’s not that hard, really you can trust me… I’m a seriously bad liar And once you do it for a 7 days (even just 5)… you are going to feel like a CHAMPION! Not just physically (yeah, you’ll notice), but mentally. The challenge seems so hard, but it’s really SO EASY!! The benefits and healthy all over feeling has been the greatest reward to me, personally. We didn’t throw out any food either… we (the adults) ate the previously “bad foods” to get it out of the house, or donated it to the food pantry. So nothing was wasted… just eaten and replaced with better quality foods & ingredients.
My time is valuable.. as we all are. But if I can find the TIME in between running 2 business, raising 3 children, and keeping a happy homestead… that I challenge anyone else to step up to the plate. NO EXCUSES… trust me (remember I’m a bad liar, so its honesty here!). Then again.. I may not change my socks or brush my hair in the day… BUT I will find the time to prepare my son’s school lunch, and create a meal plan for every meal of the day.
More great ideas, inspiration & recipes.. visit my friend Sally Roeckell at TABLE & DISH. It’s a beautiful blog about gourmet, and everyday, “nom nom” delights… and Sally happens to be a professional photographer capturing all of the yummy goodness in camera.
I am also going to encourage my friend Cindy to start a GLUTEN FREE & Nutrition blog. She has a degree in nutrition, and is also celiac… with a child who is gluten intolerant, and another who has peanut/shellfish allergies. So her knowledge on food, shopping & recipes has been a saving grace to me and my family.
… my children are happier, less agitated & irritated, more focused & smiling again…. not to mention, the hubs and I can take a deep breath with out worrying about what the next 5 minutes will bring, lol. Call me crazy… because I know I am… but if this is crazy, I’ll have another bite, PLEASE!
And maybe… I’ll make a regular thing of “this” and keep a personal blog to which I can share my ideas, struggles, challenges… and DELIGHTS in this beginning journey my family has partaken in… what do you think?
I want that missing “parenting 101″ manual that the hospital hands out when you have your first kid, lol… ya know, the one that doesnt exist??
- Start reading ingredients! If you don’t know what is it, DON’T EAT IT! Children medicine will even say DYE FREE… these are just the simple things you can look out for.
- Five ingredients or less… win win.
- Organic purchasing when you can… this means no artificial yucks.
- Avoid GMOS… many products say NO GMO’S now days.. thankful! These are just more chemicals & fake yuck that you DO NOT NEED TO INGEST.
- Toast your gluten free bread (Udi’s rocks)… it just tastes better.. actually DELICIOUS!
- Need a sugar fix… fresh fruit (yeah I know thats so blah blah, but for reals), OR go to Trader Joes and buy candy there… its bound to be natural color & flavoring, and cheap for your wallet too!
Have a question? Leave a comment… and I will try my best to answer (or find someone who can).