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New Diet Countdown!

Posted Jul 27 2012 5:47pm

Our new gluten-free, dairy-free diet begins with dinner tomorrow, when our kids will return home from a week with their grandparents.  I am worried about how this will go for my 17-year old son, Jamie, but am hopeful that perhaps it will make a difference for him.  I really appreciate all the fabulous tips and advice you've been leaving for me on my last post on this topic - it's all been so helpful in my crash course to learn what I need to quickly!  I still have a few questions, though, plus a bit more information to share.

I should have mentioned in my first post that this whole thing would be no big deal if it were just me.  I recognized my own dairy intolerance many years ago and adjusted fairly easily.  I wouldn't even be bothering with substitute products if it were just me - I'd just eliminate foods with gluten.  However, Jamie is a typical teen boy, whose tastes aren't as broad as mine and whose favorite foods all feature gluten or dairy or both!  He loves pancakes (especially pancakes), bagels and toast, pizza, ice cream, peanut butter sandwiches, and cereal with milk.

He eats whatever vegetables we have for dinner but only because he knows they are good for him, not because he enjoys them.  He does love all kinds of fruit, mashed potatoes, and a good steak, but otherwise, his favorites are almost all now on the no-no list.  So, that makes this all especially challenging, and I know that the only way he will stick to it for very long is if I can find or bake some reasonable substitutes for at least some of his fave foods, at least until he gets used to this more.

My husband and I went shopping yesterday, stopping at Trader Joe's and the new Whole Foods store located about a half hour from here.  We filled our cart with gluten-free items, including cookies, bread, bagels, English muffins, and other things our son is going to crave.  I know from all of your wonderful advice that some of these products might not be great, but it's a starting point.

To make matters worse, I have learned that oats are also off our list.  I was hearing contradictory information on oats - some sources said they were gluten-free but prone to cross-contamination so had to be avoided (unless labelled "gluten-free"); other sources said they were to be avoided completely.  I checked with our dietician who cleared it up for me.  She explained that although oats do not contain gluten, they do have a protein called gliadin which is a very similar molecule to gluten and that someone with such severe metabolic problems as Jamie needs to avoid oats as well.  That's bad news because Jamie and I both love our oatmeal!

She also added as an after-thought, "best to avoid corn and soy, too."  What?  You've got to be kidding.  What's left?  I was already counting on subbing soy milk for milk and corn tortillas and chips for flour tortillas and other salty snacks.  Then, today, I received her full set of dietary recommendations, which also limits certain fruits and veggies and recommends avoiding peanuts at first.  If I take the poor boy's peanut butter away, there'll be nothing left for him that he likes to eat!  She agreed that this can be done in steps and that eliminating gluten, casein, and oats are the most critical first step, so that is what we'll be focusing on.

I also bought lots of different baking products to try last night, though I don't always have the energy to bake homemade stuff.  I got pancake mixes and brownie mixes (two top priorities!) to try, plus several different types of flour substitutes and gluten-free flour blends.

One area I would love some advice on is ideas for breakfasts and lunches.  With no gluten, oats, or dairy, what on earth do people eat for breakfast?  I was really counting on keeping our oats!  I also have low blood sugar and wake up starving in the morning - I need protein and whole grains and lots of fiber to fill me up enough, otherwise I am hungry again an hour later!  My usual breakfast is whole oats (or a multi-grain hot cereal blend from Trader Joe's - no, no, no!) with fresh fruit on top, chopped walnuts, and soy milk.  Jamie usually has either cereal or oatmeal, often with fruit (and, of course, milk).  Eggs are an obvious choice, but without a slice of whole grain toast, I'll be hungry again soon after.  Any breakfast ideas out there?

Lunch is easy for me - I normally have leftovers or eggs - but Jamie's lunchtime favorites are peanut butter and banana sandwiches, whole grain bagel with peanut butter, pizza, and (the only remaining option!) one brand of split pea soup that he likes.  I've heard that most of the GF breads aren't all that good on their own or for sandwiches.  Lunch ideas for a teen boy?

Dinner will be easy - our dinners rarely include gluten now, and I eliminated dairy from most of our dinners when I stopped eating it.  The one exception is pasta, which we probably only eat once or twice a month, and we bought several GF pastas to try.  But I would appreciate hearing what others on a gluten-free/dairy-free diet eat for breakfast and lunch.  Thanks again for all the help - I couldn't do this without you!

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