Tag Archives: dairy-free

Dietary requirements

I know I’ve mentioned before that Teddy’s ‘connectedness’ with his environment is directly linked to the healthy functioning of his little body. If Teddy’s system is happy, he is with us. If it is distressed, he is disconnected. It’s really terribly simple.

But as simple as it may be, we didn’t work it out for the best part of two and a half years. The pieces of the puzzle fell into place in a beautiful dance of awakening.  Last Easter we finally admitted to ourselves that something was ‘not right’ with Teddy’s development. His father was talking to his own mother about it and they discussed autism. She then mentioned an article she had read about diet, and… the rest is trial and error.

Through painstaking trial and error, in fact, we have discovered that Teddy’s tummy is happiest when he is on a wheat-free, dairy-free and salicylate-free diet. What are salicylates? I hear you ask in horror… I did too 🙂 (follow the link to Wikipedia for more) The unfortunate news is that they are a naturally occurring pesticide to be found in all those foods you are proud of yourself for persuading your babe to eat: broccoli, for example, which Teddy loved. Grrrrr. And so began a couple of months of being chained to the cooker whilst attempting to find foodstuffs and alternatives that our littl’un could eat and tolerate. One of the biggest problems with intolerances is that the ‘alternatives’ have so many additives, preservatives, and last but not least, substitutes that are also untolerated, not to mention the fact that they are ridiculously overpriced as they have a desperate captive market, that they are simply not viable as the alternatives they set themselves up to be.

Just as each child is different, just as each child with autism is different, so is each child’s digestive system and tolerance / intolerance makeup. And with Ted, we have discovered that while wheat is a big no-no (we also avoid it due to intolerances – check out Wheat Belly if you are remotely concerned you might struggle with its digestion, too), its ancient predecessor spelt is just fine. So home-baked spelt bread, biscuits and cakes baked using spelt instead etc are all fine, if a little labour intensive. We have tried a plethora of milk alternatives: oat milk (he was horrified), KOKO – coconut is no good, soya he can’t tolerate and almond milk contains, however trace it may be, cyanide, and the one he finally settled on is rice milk. While he won’t drink it, it can be substituted for any milk in any recipe. And PURE sunflower margarine, or Vitalite takes the place of butter. For a long while he had no cheese at all, but we have now worked out that goat’s cheese – the hard white variety – is okay.  The only fruit he is allowed is Golden Delicious apples, peeled and cored, or pears. Ditto. But a little imagination goes a long way. While shop-bought sausage rolls are no good, an allergy-happy alternative is mince with onions, grated pear, parsley, in a spelt and PURE pastry. And they’re delicious. But it is time consuming. It’s back to basics stuff. The simpler the better. All home-cooked. Motherhood at its most primal. The latest technologies, fast foods, easy meals… they may just as well not exist…

Can you hear the exhausting labyrinth of ‘cooked, rejected; cooked tolerated; cooked, loved’ through this monologue? 😉

There is a wealth of cookbooks out there, and a wealth of information. You can find recipes on Pinterest, on Mumsnet forums, oh everywhere. But the difficult truth is, all you can do is work it out for yourself.

But it is all worth it.

For those mornings after the days you got it right, when you open his bedroom door and, rather than a small person who barely notices your existence, who is locked away in his own little world, a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed toddler bounces up to you, looks you right in the eye and says “Hello Mummy.”

That’s when you remember what it’s all for. ❤

Teddy and Daddy.  Connected.

Teddy and Daddy.

Note: I would dearly love for this, too, to be a place where we can share recipes. If you have any successful recipes you’d like to share, please do comment and we’ll get a page together where I can post them for everybody. Thank you. 🙂

Dietary conundrums…

When my life first collided with Jeremy’s, we had the most complicated dietary concoction going on. I had, some months previously, visited a homeopathic doctor to investigate why I was always exhausted (aside from being a busy mother-of-many) and been recommended to give up wheat – not gluten, but wheat – for at least nine months to see how much better I felt afterwards. At around the same time my Wilfy, who had been under a specialist in London for a bowel problem and had endured two years of laxatives in his bedtime milk, was diagnosed independently as dairy intolerant. With some trepidation, but with the specialist’s knowledge, we gave up the laxatives. So our home was, as far as possible, wheat-and-dairy-free.

Our milk deliveries were impressive: the grown-ups drank skimmed milk; three out of four boys drank whole milk and the fourth drank goats’ milk. And my bread machine was cranked into action to bake wheat-free bread, which turned out to be rather easy and quite delicious when toasted.

So when Jeremy joined our lives, we were already au fait with wheat and dairy-free food. Good job, since Jem was both. Somehow, however, over the years Wilfy and Jem seem to have managed to reincorporate dairy and Jem and I to reincorporate wheat. But should we have? The symptoms that prompted the two adults in this situation to change their diet so drastically have crept back in (I won’t go into detail), and we seem to have allowed them to stay.

Then a kind contributor to Jem’s astrology page mentioned that she swore by the Blood Type Diet. We had never heard of it and decided to look into it. Suddenly, we became aware of hundreds of testimonials in favour of this way of eating. We ordered the book, which contains reams of information pertaining to what is 1) highly beneficial 2) okay and 3) not good for each type, but our next hurdle was finding out Jem’s blood-type. I know mine is O+ because I am a regular pincushion (they do like to prod you during pregnancy, don’t they?) but Jem couldn’t get hold of his for love or money. The doctor didn’t have it, and wouldn’t perform a test (“It’s not something we do.”) so we ordered a test online, which left me with the rather icky job of nurse for a bloody half-hour (which I say literally). I drew the line at pricking his finger and he was left to do that himself, but I squeezed out the four drops, smeared them in the circles and we had an instant result – thankfully for us, his blood-type is the same as mine. Had it been different, this whole new experiment would have been possibly unworkably difficult.

We have been following this method of choosing what food to eat for just three days so far and are already really quite impressed. Skin tone has improved, digestion is more efficient, vitality is boosted. (If I could just get the baby to sleep through the night, I’m sure I’d notice the benefits even more! 😉 )

We are left with a couple more conundrums: 1) What are the other boys’ blood types? I am going to have to do a test on each of them; 2) Expense: Unless you can find a cheaper way of creating your own wheat-free products, the commercial world does like to hoik up the prices of anything ‘out of the ordinary’. They have a captive market, after all! I had always joked that to keep five boys in food when they are approaching their teens is going to take mountains of bread, pasta, potatoes and rice. All we’re left with is rice! So, the bread machine is back in action and I am on the prowl for cost-effective ways to implement a wheat and mostly-dairy-free diet for a family of seven.

Wish me luck!

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