Thursday, August 09, 2007

Another adventure in eating

We're one week into the gluten-free, casein-free diet. Why? Oh, because I need something else to do with my time. And because I need one more thing to obsess and fret over. But really maybe I should just have my head examined. Instead I fell asleep last night reading a gluten-free bread book and wondering where I could lay my hands on some bean flour.

I'm fortunate in that both my kids eat a wide variety of foods. Both of them went straight to table foods at 7 months and have eaten pretty much whatever I was serving since then. A lot of my cooking tends to be Asian-inspired anyway so it was no stretch for me to eliminate the gluten and casein, although grilled cheese sandwiches and pizza will be missed -- hence the gluten-free bread book.

Shortly after Oliver was diagnosed two years ago we embarked on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. THAT was hard. It got easier, though. And it was effective, Oliver's digestive system normalized. The SCD eliminates many, many carbohydrates and all grains from the diet and so we were also gluten-free for a year. But we weren't casein-free as the diet allows some yogurt and cheeses. Then last year I tried a dairy-free diet just to see. After about 8 weeks of seeing no effects we quit.

So now why the new diet? Well, my mind wonders: what if both have to be eliminated simultaneously? The proteins are so similar, they say. And if I don't try it I will always wonder. And I like to cook and my kids are good eaters -- so why not? Sometimes Oliver has this look about him, this zoned out, faraway look. A drugged look. What is going on in his little body to make him behave that way, I wonder? Could there be something to the opiate theory? The last time Oliver had that look about him I surveyed his diet for the past twenty-four hours: oatmeal, grilled cheese sandwich, pizza, more oatmeal and some fruit and veggie snacks.

I do get tired of wondering all the time. I get tired of observing so closely, of wondering about the cause and effect of every little thing, of weighing and measuring, hypothesizing and pathologising. And yet it is not hard for me to see the link between what I eat and how I feel, so I'll give this a go. But in order to have the right frame of mind about it I've decided not to make it all about Oliver. It is about my family's heath and fueling our bodies with the very best. And it is about my new quest to make a perfect gluten-free loaf of bread.


  1. Christine, I cannot recall if I commented on someone elses blog once or if I did a post (which I cannot find now) about Nik and the casein-free diet. Bottom line...he's as GFCF as he can be right now (there's some small amount of casein in his enteral formula for his g-tube). School was giving him lots of "Trix" yogurt (which I would not give him even if he COULD eat dairy!) and he would become nearly catatonic. He also couldn't stop eating it when it was offered to him...even if he had already ate two containers. Of course, school was so excited because he was eating SOMETHING. Well, sure, if someone sat and fed me chocolate all day I'd be in hog heaven and be sugar-stoned out of my mind, too, but it doesn't mean it's a good thing to do!

  2. Christine, do you have Trader Joe's near you? They make a lot of stuff for GFCF diets. I've never been brave enough to attempt it--my guy lives for bread and cheese. He's like his Italian papa. He'd probably toss me out on my toush if I killed the wheat and the dairy!! Good luck.

  3. good luck w/ making a good GF bread! :)

    We did GF/CF for about 6 months for basically the same reasons you list here. After taking him off, we didn't really see any difference. However, we had him allergy tested about a year later and found that he was affected by dairy, but not gluten. I always encourage anyone doing GF/CF to get the allergy tests done - we found many other items to remove (which makes it hard), but he can have gluten (which makes it easier).

    Either way, I hope the diet has a very positive influence on him!

  4. Good luck! I think you are right. The best way to do it is to make it a family approach.

    We also tried the GFCF diet but then did the tests. JP actually was okay with gluten and casein but had a pretty serious reaction to eggs and sugar.

    Best of luck to you! You'll never know unless you give a good try!