The {nearly} gluten free diet

My youngest son has been diagnosed as PDD-NOS, which means he has an autism spectrum disorder. He has some other issues as well, which I won't get in to on this blog, but just know that it's challenging living with him, and I'm sure it's challenging having to BE him. He been on mood stabilizing medication since he was 3. Yes, 3. James and I often have long conversations about our son, and what we hope for him in the future, and how we can teach him the skills he'll need to be able to cope with his condition(s).

We do research, lots of research on how environmental factors can exacerbate his symptoms. A few years ago I came across a lot of evidence that stated that cutting gluten out of the diet helped other children with conditions similar to Ronin's. I approached my husband about going gluten free, but he didn't get on board, so I tabled the discussion.

Fast forward 3 years. James does his own research and decides that gluten might be the cause for a lot of issues that our son not only has, but our oldest daughter (skin issues) and even himself. He decides a gluten free diet is a worth a try. We discuss it (like we discuss EVERYTHING, in great detail) and we plan on making it a family affair because it will make it easier on the three that need it, so basically Ella & I are tagging along for the ride.

We decided to go gluten free on February 2nd. Also happens that I run a 10k on February 2nd. You know what's at the end of every race? Beer. You know what beer has in it? Yup, gluten. Guess who drank the beer. Yup, me. And it was good. Cool

We make it through the entire week gluten free. I switch up the kids' lunch routines and pack them rice cake sandwiches with almond butter and sliced apples. They are loving it. Breakfast is easy, oatmeal or eggs. It appears that we are breezing right through the first week of being gluten free. And then I get an email from the kids' automatic school lunch account saying that Ronin needs his account replenished. Undecided Say what?? Why would he need more $$ in that account, he hasn't been eating in school since I stopped working in November. Or so I thought. He hasn't been getting lunch at school, but almost every single day that little stinker had been going to the cafeteria and getting a 2nd breakfast. I look up the meal history on the account and I about blow a gasket!!  All last week, EVERY morning he was going and having a gluten filled breakfast. I went through the roof, called the school, immediately cancelled all accounts, etc, etc, etc, and then had a nice long chat with "the boy" when he came home from school on Friday. Ugh. No issues with my girls, but the one of us that needs this the most is the one that had been sandbagging us the entire time. AND HE KNEW IT!! ARGH!!

Clean slate, we start over with him on Saturday. So now he's been gluten free for nearly a week and his nasal/breathing symptoms seem to be getting better. Might be my imagination, but really he sounds like he's talking out of his mouth now and not his nose. We're still dealing with some other issues relating to his PDD-NOS (and other ABC disorders as I call them b/c they all have acronyms) but overall I'd say that I am seeing some improvement, so we're going to keep going with this gluten free business.

Buying gluten free products hasn't been that difficult because I'm not going all whackadoodle gluten free. We don't have a deathly allergy to gluten, so I'm not worried about gluten in shampoo, etc. but we're eliminating ALL wheat, barley, and rye. I will buy products with oats and rice, and they don't have to say "GLUTEN FREE" on them b/c really I don't think a dash of gluten here and there in some oatmeal is going to derail the results of this experiment. But I won't buy any products that obviously have the big 3 gluten contributors in them.

I spoke with all three of the children's teachers and let them know that they can NOT under any circumstances have any food at school that is not brought from home. Today is Valentine's Day and each of their classes is having a little party, so I sent in special gluten free cupcakes for each of my babes from Stacy's Gluten Free Goodies.

The kids and James eat a lot of pasta, so we had to start buying some gluten free pasta and it's more expensive than regular pasta, but that's okay. Dr. visit co-pays add up too. Wink

Tonight I am making a gluten free Chicken Parmesan. Modified by Jenny, Original Recipe from the Gluten-Free Homemaker

Chicken Parmesan
  • 1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup brown rice bread crumbs
  • 28 ounces pasta sauce
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  1. Place chicken breast in a plastic freezer bag and pound the heck out of it with the flat side of a meat mallet until it is thin. Take your daily stress out on the chicken.
  2. Dip each piece of chicken in the egg and then coat it with the brown rice bread crumbs. Place the pieces in a Pam sprayed baking dish.
  3. Bake the chicken at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
  4. Pour pasta sauce over and around the chicken pieces. Top each piece with the cheeses.
  5. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until the chicken is done.
  6. Serve with hot cooked pasta. (which of course will be gluten free, I used brown rice spaghetti)


I've never made Chicken Parmesan before, but it's red and well it is Valentine's Day, so I figured what the heck! And let me tell you, this was GOOD!! Husband even had seconds!


So now we're on a gluten free, MSG free, HFCS free, processed food free lifestyle. Whew. Except for beer. I am not giving up my beer. And that my readers, is why I am {nearly} gluten free.


What about you?? Are you gluten free? Any dietary restrictions that you follow because you think it helps your overall health??


Comments (12) -

  • I'm sorry, but I just have to laugh about the elicit breakfast buying. Cal did the exact same thing when he was in first grade!!!! I called it breakfast-gate. I was SO mad and he was in so much trouble. So, hahahahaha!!!
  • My DD2 is trying GF for 2 weeks and Sunday is the last day. She has been having 5 hour long stomach aches. We'll see how she feels Monday when she eats bread again. After this experiment though, she thinks it might be soy, so next month we're trying soy free. Which I think she'll miss more than gluten because she puts soy sauce on everything, and GF soy sauce was one of the first things I replaced for her.
    (She did have a blood test which was negative for celiac and we're having an abdominal ultrasound next week.)
    I think you might want to do more oat research though. It seems to me that can be more than just wheat gluten.
    My friend's son was about to be kicked out of preschool for ADD type symptoms. They changed his diet and his whole personality chilled out. Then around winter break they wanted to kick him out again. Turns out they had been letting him have christmas cookies at school. And then said, "he didn't remind us that he couldn't."
    Um, he's in PRESCHOOL. YOU are the adult.
    oy vey.
    Lots of luck!! I don't think cheating with beer is a big deal since you are the one who may need this the least out of your crew. And I think your favorite beer is the lowest gluten, right? Flavored ciders are often GF and tastier, but more sugar.
  • Right?? And Ronin is in 1st grade, too. Hmmm...breakfast-GATE! Love it!!
  • Tif
    GF has changed our lives. Seriously. I've toyed with the idea of it ever since the girls got their PDD-NOS dx in 2008. We'd avoid for like two weeks, I would't see any great results so I'd ditch it and move on. Rinse and repeat every 6 months or so. Keira has had CVS (cyclic vomiting syndrome) since she was about 18 months old and then at 3 was diagnosed with migraines and abdominal migraines which were her main CVS triggers. Toward the end of 2011 her CVS was OUT OF CONTROL. She was having migraines every day and it was obvious her preventative med wasn't working anymore. By Christmas break I think she had missed 12-15 days of school because of the migraines and/or vomitting associated with them. The neurologist wanted to put her on even heavier duty meds with more side effects but had NO interest in finding out why the migraines were coming. So I did some research and on a whim decided we were going to put her on a GF diet. Holy cow. Within 3 weeks she had gone from literally daily migraines to 1 per week. Since 2/12 I think she's had maybe 5 and 3 of them I can directly associate with gluten consumption within 48 hours earlier. It's amazing. She's less anxious, more able to handle changes in routine, her eczema isn't even present anymore-even now in the winter which is usually rough for her-which means she hasn't had a staph infection in a year, either! She's a totally different kid.

    The rest of us are along for the ride, except for when we go out to eat. I refuse to make two dinners at home-I'll modify one but not make a completely different one-so it has just been easiest to have us all do it. We do eat rice and oats although I do buy GF oats since I'm just 45 minutes from the Bob's Red Mill store and can easily buy them in bulk. I don't worry about "manufactured on equipment that may process" or "may contain traces of" too much but definitely avoid all the obvious-and most of the less obvious-gluten containing ingredients.

    I hope now that Ronin has gotten back on board things look up!  For Keira it's a no-brainer. She'll willingly pass up treats at school even if I've forgotten to replenish their granola bars because she gets so immediately miserable. But I know for some kids the effects of gluten are much less noticeable *to them* and it's harder for them to make those choices on their own in situations where they may have to. Good luck!
  • Tif
    Oh wow. I just realized the book I wrote. So sorry!
  • Thanks for sharing your experience, Tif! Sounds like you are doing with Keira pretty much what we're trying to do with Ronin. And for Haley it's b/c of her eczema, which is MUCH improved since she's been GF for nearly 2 weeks now.

    I think I'll need to take a trip down to Whole Foods and look at some GF Oat options b/c we (well, they) eat a lot of oats. I pretty much avoid all grains b/c my brain just doesn't handle them well, but that's another post ;)
  • What a great mom! As a teacher, it's hard to know what everyone can and can't eat, but moms like you make it much easier! I am excited to hear more about how this goes!
  • Excellent! Thanks Laura! Looking forward to seeing what recipes you have!
  • Its actually pretty crazy how many health issues there are out there that pertain to our diets and additives that are included in the food we eat. A lot of people have health problems or get sick because of allergies to food (especially dairy and gluten) that they're unaware of. The funny thing? Gluten-intolerant people can eat whatever they want in foreign countries like France and Italy. The reason? Breads, pastas, cereals etc. over there contain only about 4% of the ingredient in gluten that most people are allergic to (I think its some form of B vitamin) while here, the same products include about 17%. Food for thought, for sure.
  • I used to be recommended this website through my cousin. I'm no longer certain whether or not this post is written by way of him as nobody else realize such distinct about my difficulty. You are wonderful! Thank you!

    Visit my website -  Ressource -
Comments are closed