Telling a 12 year old that they can no longer have the foods they LOVE is heartbreaking. It was easiest for me to explain that the doctor wanted him to change his foods because his body didn't like them. Over the last few months that we have been working on a gluten-free casein-free soy-free diet I have seen his emotions toward eating these healthier foods improve. He used to get so angry and just walk away crying and refusing to eat when he couldn't have donuts and cinnamon rolls. He would yell "dumb doctor!"  Now he is great at reading labels and easily refuses these foods. Of course he will NEVER refuse the gfcfsf substitutes that I give him! When he discovered there were substitutes for nearly every food that he enjoyed before he was ecstatic.

Like all first timers on a GFCF journey we all start with convenience foods because that's what we are used to making. It doesn't take long to realize how expensive that can be and that if you don't know how to cook you learn quickly. One great resource I started with was Special Diets for Special Kids by Lisa Lewis. I checked it out of the library and keep renewing it. I really need to just buy the book! I also joined online mom groups, read blogs of other people on the same journey, and constantly search for recipes online that can appease not only my 12 year old son, but my whole family who isn't gfcfsf.

The thing I struggle with the most is that my son is a residential student at our state deaf school 2.5 hours away from home so I am not able to pack his foods for him daily and really have very little control over his diet. While he won't die if he has foods that are not permitted under gfcfsf guidelines, the dietary journey wouldn't be as effective. The school is willing to accomodate his dietary needs, they are not yet familiar with the guidelines of his diet or how they can serve him on the limited supplies they can acquire through the state contracted suppliers. So far I have been planning and preparing his meals and sending them to school with him. Mostly food items that I have cooked for supper and froze a portion for him, or maybe I baked some cookies and portioned them out for several meals. I've even bought packs of gfcfsf nitrate-free hot dogs or deli meats and split them up in servings and froze them so that I can easily grab them when packing his meals. I label every item and preparation instructions.

The first few weeks were difficult in just trying to think of what I could serve him. I feed him every day but I never really planned and certainly not for more than a day or so at a time. When I had to actually think about his meals and balancing them around his eating habits it was pretty difficult. He is on several medications which really helps his ADHD behaviors but affects his eating habits. He's just not hungry! He can eat a great breakfast at 7am, but won't be hungry again until 9pm. We experimented for a few days by removing the ADHD medication (it wouldnt' harm him only make his behaviors VERY evident) and he ate great for those 3 days but we knew he would never last in a classroom setting so we are hoping that we can learn to control some of those behaviors through food. The school rotates through a 5-week menu plan that they shared with me so I can model my son's meals after that and it makes me less stressed to invent all new menus every week.

My intention is to share the menus and recipes that I create and see what works best for the whole family. I also would like to maintain a list of foods that I can get from a "normal" store. I live in a small secluded town. While it has 3 grocery stores and a Wal-Mart, organics and natural foods are not commonplace. I typically drive 30-45 minutes to get the specialty items I need or I order them online through I haven't yet taken the one-hour drive to the nearest Whole Foods, even though I really like that store and the options galore. I've managed to get by without them. However, I drive to Indiana once a month to visit with my 14-year old son and often shop my favorite grocery store and stock up on foods that I can't get locally. Meijer grocery store has a great Naturals brand that is very affordable. I love Meijer!!
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