Thursday, September 30, 2010


I finally took the big step of cleaning out our pantry. I put all the foods that were safe on one shelf, and the "poisonous" ones on another - which isn't much. I hope to eventually have that shelf gone, but for now I can't bear to throw them out. I am completely getting rid of all the flours and baking mixes. My pantry looks so barren! I still haven't menu planned, but I'm working on it. I've been blessed to be connected with a couple of people that have already been on this path and are willing to answer my questions.

We've decided to hold off on the biopsy for the time being. There are a myriad of reasons, but we mainly just don't want her to have to go through it when we already know what we need to do. If in the future she wants to have it done or if we decide it's a necessary step then we'll proceed from there. As of today I am on the GF diet and so is my 3 year old. The rest of the house will be for any shared meals, and any baked goods. I am going to have a cooking day at least once a week and bake muffins, breads, and any goodies that we want so we can be prepared. I want to have a stash on hand for unexpected trips.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A plan is in order

We've been putting our gluten sensitive girl on the spot too much, asking her what she wants to eat. Honestly, I have rarely done that before - only on birthdays - so this spotlight is a bit overwhelming. She does not like the attention and fuss being on her, she'd prefer to hide in the shadows. That being said, I'm ordering a cookbook tonight so I can come up with meal plans and stop pestering the child. It's called Cooking for Isaiah and I'm super excited about it. This week I'll be using all the wonderful resources I've found on the internet to menu plan. I am posting a list of helpful blogs and websites on the sidebar in case anyone else can benefit from them. I am also going to start a weekly menu list, hopefully posting on Wednesday or Thursday.

I received the referral for the GI doctor, now I have to schedule an appointment. Baby steps.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I took my second oldest girl, Cassy, to the doctor yesterday for a nasty cough. While we there our doctor took some time to explain Shayla's test results. She said that even though everything came back normal, it would be beneficial for her to have a biopsy. The biopsy would definitively show whether or not she has celiac - and all of her symptoms are pointing to that diagnosis. She is hyper-sensitive to gluten. The doctor is also considering the idea that our 4th, Kyndall, also has celiac since she is so tiny. She's barely grown the last couple of years. The doctor reassured us that Shayla will feel no pain and have no memory of the procedure. She shouldn't even have pain afterward. The biopsy will be taken from her small intestine to see if there is damage consistent with celiac disease. If she doesn't have celiac then we know she is simply gluten intolerant. So, we are somewhat back to square one. We'll wait for the referral to the GI doctor and go from there.

We attended a bbq on Friday night and she was "glutenized". No idea what caused it, but she had a stomach ache within 30 minutes. I am assuming that's to be expected. The only way to prevent it would be to bring her own special plate of food - no fun in that at all!

I finally made it to Whole Foods and found some brown rice flour and xantham gum. That stuff is outrageous! Hopefully I can make more things from scratch now. I am having a lot of trouble coming up with more than a couple of days worth of meals. So, a lot to learn this week.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 7, Diagnosis

I just spoke with our doctor's office and all of Shayla's labs came back normal. I did not understand this at all since we've obviously had such success by removing gluten from her diet. Evidently, she has a gluten intolerance, which means that she still cannot have any of the wheat (as suspected), but it is not celiac - which is actually an autoimmune disorder and could possibly damage her intestines as well as cause other issues. This is actually the best case scenario, and I think an answered prayer. We are able to "fix" her belly by a simple act of removing a toxic substance - gluten. No further testing, no crazy follow ups, just a strict diet. The diet actually seems easier each day. Today was another great day, and I'm feeling really blessed with a different outlook at the end of our first week!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 6

Another successful day. No test results, but we are so thankful that the gluten free diet has brought such a transformation. I was asked to bring a snack to a bible study tonight, so I made some sugar cookies and sent the "poison" to the meeting - got it out of our house! Once we get the test results back I will banish many more things! We made some gluten free peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for us here that are simply wonderful! I can't wait to get to the health food store and stock up on gluten free flours so I can expand our repertoire. I was thinking this would be an expensive undertaking, and in many ways, it is. On the other hand, we will be making most things from scratch, removing the processed foods and expensive pre-cooked meals that saved me so much time, yet cost me more money. I'm thinking it should balance itself out fairly well. As for couponing - it appears to be a thing of the past (a blessing, I think, since I can use the time I spent couponing to cook!). Most of the deals I spent hours preparing for were items that are on the "unsafe list" around here.

I am feeling much more confident. I know there will be setbacks in the future, but for now, we've come to terms with this diet and aren't missing the breads and pastas. It's a huge leap from a few days ago. My favorite season has arrived, and with it all of the glorious baked treats. My sweet neighbor just brought over the absolute biggest pumpkin pie I've ever seen - and Shayla can't eat it. But, there were no tears over the loss!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 5

Wow, I can't believe it's already been 5 days. I am happy to report that Shayla had no stomach pains or tears today! Thank you, Lord! Cereal for breakfast (in a glass bowl!), salad for lunch, fruit for snacks, tacos for dinner (with corn tortillas). We even made it through a MOMS meeting (Mothers of Many Seasons), which has classes for homeschoolers and includes snacks. Shayla packed herself an apple and had me speak with her teacher to explain the reason she was having a different snack. She said the other kids asked for an apple when they saw hers, so that made her feel good.

We haven't received our test results yet, but I'm assuming the diagnosis is correct since we've seen such a dramatic change in her health by removing the glutens. Hopefully we'll get the results tomorrow or Thursday. If they show celiac I plan on having the rest of the family tested as well.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 4

Today was an acceptable day. This morning Shayla had cereal again, but ate it out of one of those plastic spoon bowls and it appears to have had some gluten attached to it because she was sick after eating it. It also could have been my crumb filled silverware drawer - where on earth does that stuff come from?! Anyway, I'm hoping that's what it was, and not that it is something else going on with her little belly. The rest of the day went great, and neither one of us cried over food! I'd call that a success in itself.

Day 3

It was our first day with Shayla having no stomach pains! Chex cereal for breakfast, rice bread and jelly for lunch (we have marked jelly just for her to prevent contamination from other breads), fruit roll ups, corn tortilla chips and salsa for snacks, pulled pork with salad and fries for dinner. A fairly "normal" food day. I will be experimenting with some new recipes this week so we don't miss our breads.

We did have one moment when she was terribly upset over a candy bar. I took her with me to get groceries so she could choose some snacks and as we were checking out she asked for a Nestle Cookies and Cream bar. I was trying to pay, and told her I wasn't sure if she could eat it or not but to go ahead and get it. She was very upset and hadn't considered not being able to eat one. Candy bars are a rare treat anyway, so that made it worse. By the time we got to the car she had it out and read the ingredients - which included wheat flour. The tears started flowing, and continued the entire way home. She could not be consoled. I am sure there will be many more moments like this, but hopefully they will get less dramatic.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 2, continued

Tonight we went to dinner at a friends house. It started off simply enough, I was going to make gluten free pizza for Shayla and I, while picking up some cheap totinos for everyone else. Evidently, that was not a good choice and it upset Shayla terribly. We went through a list of foods and finally found something she could get excited about - pre-made roast beef and mashed potatoes. I ran to the store to grab the food and thankfully started checking the labels because I realized the mashed potatoes were not gluten free. I almost started crying, again. I decided to look for an alternative and found that, amazingly, tater tots were gluten free! I also found a loaf of rice bread for her to try for lunch tomorrow. Once we got to our friends house there were platters of food for the taking and Shayla walked by at one point and grabbed a slice of cheese. She took a bite before I could warn her to stop - it was on a shared platter with crackers and there were crumbs all over it. The poor girl. She just started crying. She just wants to be normal and said she didn't realize how many things she would have to be careful about. Truly, it was something she would have normally done without thinking, and now we have to constantly be on guard. She ended up very sick, and I learned yet another lesson - bring a snack tray for my gluten free girl!

Day 2

Our first full day of gluten free didn't go as well as I had hoped. I made pancakes for lunch, not knowing that by using the same griddle (even different sides!) I was "contaminating" the gluten free food. I made 2 bowls, used 2 different spatulas, 2 separate sides of the griddle, and she still got a bit sick. Alas, I learned from it. I found a wonderful resource that lists all the safe and unsafe ingredients. I am going to print them up and carry them with me so I can read the labels and actually understand what I am reading. I also learned that Whole Foods has a huge selection of gluten free foods - we'll be making a trip there this week.

A few other things about yesterday -

It was my baby's first birthday and I had to make her a gluten free cake so her oldest sister could enjoy it with the rest of us. It turned out completely ugly, and very rich in taste. I have tears in my eyes as I think about it. Needless to say there weren't pictures of that cake. I think it's important to note that I rarely cook breakfast, or lunch. My kids favorite morning meal is cereal, lunch is sandwiches. I have cooked more in the last 2 days than I did the entire week before.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 1

This is the first day in our journey of going gluten free. My oldest daughter, Shayla (eleven years old), appears to have celiac disease. Our doctor advised us that we should start this new way of living immediately, even before we receive our test results (which should take about a week). Essentially it means eating meat, vegetables, and fruits. There are some gluten free options, but they are very expensive and I hope to learn to make them on my own. I did buy some for this first week until we receive "official" results.

How was she diagnosed? She has been having very bad stomach aches about 30 minutes to an hour after eating. She had zero energy - falling asleep in the middle of the day at strange times. She has not gained very much weight (about 3 pounds), in the last year and her ribs are very visible. Her siblings have almost caught up to her on weight! We have removed wheat from her diet as of yesterday afternoon and we are already seeing the effects.

Last night, I cried myself to sleep. I was imagining all the pizza parties that she will miss, and if she does go she'll have to bring her own food. I was mourning the loss of all those delicious birthday cakes. I was thinking of all the extra times I will have to cook. Selfish, but true. We went to the grocery store last night to get some specific foods she could eat and I had to fight my tears. I do not want her to see me cry, I want to be strong and let her assume it's going to be a fun thing, a new adventure. Walking down the aisles of food the only thing I could see was the foods she would never again eat without severe pain.

Today, I am immensely thankful. I have a daughter that is already smiling and happy. She has more energy from eating just one meal without gluten. She told me after dinner last night that it was wonderful to feel good. How amazing is that? So, our journey begins.