Comfort Foods

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When you are on a gluten-free and dairy free diet you have limitations as far as comfort food goes. No more donuts, cheeseburgers, pizza, or pasta. It is so hard to let go some of your favorite foods when going gluten-free. My favorite meal has always been spaghetti. That’s what I always wanted for my birthday meal as a child. So after many attempts at finding a good GF pasta, I finally found one in Tinkyada’s brand. It is even made from brown rice, making it a healthier choice. I love, love, love making the kids baked spaghetti. Stir some spaghetti sauce and pasta together and top with daiya mozzarella cheese and bake it at 350 until it browns on top. Voila! Baked spaghetti! Another great all time fave is spaghetti and meatballs. We just made this last week and we all loved it!

GF Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti (I use Tinkyada brand)

1 lb. hamburger

1 egg

3/4 c. GF bread crumbs

1/4 c. onions chopped fine

1/2 tsp. Gluten-Free Italian Seasoning

1 tablespoon of finely chopped sweet green pepper (optional)

1/2 tsp. Sea salt

Spaghetti Sauce

Combine egg, bread crumbs, onion, sweet pepper, seasoning and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add ground beef and pat into a rectangle on wax paper as shown in the picture. You can then cut into squares. (Size depends on your taste.) Roll into balls and put into a 350 oven for 15-20 minutes. When done drain (if needed) and simmer in spaghetti sauce. Serve over spaghetti noodles.

Gluten-Free Tempura Batter (Onion Rings)

1 1/3 c. All Purpose Gluten-free Flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)

2 Egg Yolks

1 1/3 c. Ice cold water

1/2 tsp. Xantham Gum

1/2 to 1 tsp. of Sea Salt (As desired)

Mix flour, egg yolks, and half of water in a bowl. Whisk rest of water in until smooth; then stir in salt if desired. Batter will be thin, this is normal. Coat onions before dropping into hot oil. We use a deep fryer. (As you can see in the pictures we fry things outside in true country-style!) Also, canola oil is always better for you then vegetable oil.

I was really craving some all-american food tonight so I went all out and had some big ol hamburgers to go with it. These onion rings are amazing!!!!! The hamburger is on a Gluten-Free hamburger bun by Kinnikinnick topped with all the trimmings. This batter is also good with any vegetables, apples, seafood or chicken.



Makenzie’s Food Sensitivities

When we took Alex off of Gluten, it was easier to have Kenzie on the diet too.  When she started eating table foods, I wasn’t extremely cautious with the gluten because I thought she might be different. Wrong. Her symptoms presented differently then her brother.  Since she was born, she had an extreme case of eczema covering her body. It would be off and on, sometimes she would wake up with swollen eyes and dark circles.  I would schedule pictures all the time and then have to cancel because of a break-out.

I tried everything…I took out fragrances, parabans, and went to all natural soaps and detergents. I do think this helped to a point, but only because it was just better for us and the environment. (We try to be as green as possible without breaking the bank.) I took her to a dermatologist who gave us some cream and sent us on our way. He just told us that some people have eczema and their wasn’t much we could do.  Anyone that knows me, knows that I wouldn’t give up that easily.

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Our next trip was to see a Pediatric allergists. We did the skin testing on her back. Trying to get a 3 year old to hold still for 30 min. was not easy!  He came back into the room to tell me that she didn’t have any allergies. NONE!  My daughter had swollen eyes, has a rash all over her body, and at that time had started showing signs of autism. (She did end up being diagnosed with Aspergers.) She had started having severe tantrums and withdrawing from the world. She seemed distant and unable to retain information. It felt like we were losing her.

I was running out of idea’s on how to fix this one.  So, like with Alex, I quit listening to doctor’s and started doing my own research. I decided to completely cut out gluten and see what happened. (It can take up to year for some people to get gluten completely out of their systems.) I knew it wouldn’t be a quick fix. It did get a little better… She was still miserable with the itching and swollen eyes.  I couldn’t understand how she didn’t have one single allergy!!!

Then one day, a miracle would happen.  I walked into a health food store to do some shopping for fragrance free soaps to try.  The owner asked me if I needed any help finding anything. “No, just trying to find some soap for my daughters eczema.”  She asked me if she had been tested for food allergies. I told her yes, but they said she was negative. That was the moment that I was told about Dr. Lamse for the first time. She told me about her and her daughter getting tested for food sensitivities. It had cleared up both of their eczema.  I had no idea you could even be tested for such a thing. She gave me the doctors number and we made an appointment right away.

We met Dr. Lamse and discussed Makenzie’s symptoms.  By this time, I was getting really worried because she had begun stemming and having severe tantrums. I felt helpless.  She had begun having tantrums, spinning, and the skin rash was still hanging on despite everything I was doing.  Dr. Lamse then explained to me that food sensitivities can be just has bad on people as regular allergies.  Food sensitivity procedures that Dr. Lamse uses is a test that checks IgG  antibodies or a prick test for IgE . After getting the results you do a food rotation plan to see if the foods are a problem.

I was on pins and needles waiting on that test.  When we went back for the results we would discover that Kenzie in fact had sensitivities to dairy, peanuts, almonds, and tested at moderate for gluten. Which she hadn’t been eating, so the fact that it showed up at all made me sure she was a definite problem. Most likely she doesn’t have celiac, but since she doesn’t eat gluten we may never know for sure. It is in the family, so we will always have it in the back of our minds for future reference. All I know is that gluten makes my kids miserable!

We took out all of the offending foods.  At first she got worst…Come to find out this is normal. Then one day, she woke up completely cleared up and swollen free. Her behavior changed, too. No more tantrums and the stemming got better. Although, she does have high functioning autism, I know it would be even more severe had we not met Dr. Lamse. 

The rash would show up here and there, again. I then found that the soap I was using had wheat germ oil in it. After removing all gluten, dairy, peanuts and almonds she is eczema free.  We always know when she has accidentally got a food, because sure enough she will wake up with circles under her eyes or get a touch of the eczema. 

What amazes me the most? At the time we did this test it wasn’t covered by insurance because it wasn’t medically proven!  Well….to those scientists and doctors look at the pictures!!!!!!!!!!  (As of 2011 some companies do cover the test with insurance.) I hope more people will start to see what food sensitivities and allergies can do to a person.  How simply changing your diet can save you from a lifetime of heartache. 

As for us…We are forever grateful to Dr. Lamse for changing our lives and giving us answers.

Side note:  NeuroScience now offers a food sensitivity test that is covered by some insurances. I just had the test done for myself. Also you can visit Dr. Lamse’s website:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gluten sensitivity (GS) encompasses a collection of medical conditions in which gluten has an adverse effect. For individuals with gluten-sensitive enteropathy, removal of gluten generally results in the restoration of villus architecture or lower lymphocyte densities in the intestine.With some sensitivities, improvements may be seen in the neurological state, but a clinical finding may not be clear.  GS also can affect blood chemistry,treatability of certain autoimmune diseases, and/or an untreated improvement in autoimmune conditions.

How we came to be gluten-free

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I wanted to do this blog to teach others all of the things I’ve learned in the past 6 years.  I have a lot to talk about so I guess I will start with how we came to be gluten-free. 
In January of 2007, our son, Alex, was diagnosed with PDD-NOS. (A high functioning form of Autism) As all Mom’s out there that have had a child diagnosed with autism you understand what it is like to hear those words. “Your son has a form of AUTISM.” It plays over and over in your head and it feels like it isn’t even real. Did he say that? Did he say something about autism? I knew it…I had that sinking feeling in my gut the first time he started banging his head on things. He started spinning in circles, lining up all his toys, and quit talking. His speech therapist was the first to mention it. AUTISM. No….not my child. Surely she is wrong. Then I knew. The tantrums started, I would be smacked in the face, bit and kicked all within seconds. Going anywhere with him became a struggle.  For awhile it felt like we were hermits, hiding from the world, protecting our son from stares of unaware strangers. The lack of understanding about autism and the different spectrums of it are so sad. People have one outlook on autism….They only know of the severe kind. (Think Rainman, with Dustin Hoffman, 1988) Family and friends would reassure me that it was all “normal” toddler behavior. I wanted to believe them, I did.  As a mother, my gut instinct knew that something was very wrong.
So after one diagnosis of a developmental delay from Riley, he still didn’t seem right. I had a second speech therapist say that word again…autism. We had him evaluated again in January of 2007 and sure enough he received a diagnosis of PDD-NOS (Pervasive developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified). We would come to learn that this is  a form of high functioning autism.
After the diagnosis, we cried and mourned the loss of our son. That sounds horrible, but that is what it is….Everything that you plan on that child being or becoming gets thrown out the window.  You don’t know what the future holds. We didn’t know if he would ever have normal speech or be social. We felt helpless with the information. It was a tremendous load off of our shoulders to know, but now it was so real.
So, after crying and crying for days….A fire ignited in me. I became a mom on a mission.  I didn’t care what I had to do or how, but I was going to fix this!  Every book, treatment, ect. I was going to find a way!
I had randomly heard of GFCF (Gluten free, casein free) on Oprah a few years before. It had stuck with me I guess. I ordered the book, The Kid-Friendly ADHD & Autism Cookbook by Pamela J. Compart, M.D. and Dana Laake, R.D.H., M.S., L.D.N.  I read the part about Celiac Disease and it struck a nerve with me. He had all the symptoms. Diarrhea and neurological symptoms. I started the diet immediately. (I don’t recommend doing this because we should have had him tested for celiac before going on the diet.) We got the blood test, which showed up positive. He received a biopsy that was negative. The doctor said he did not have celiac.  He was however lactose intolerant to dairy, which led us to eventually cut out dairy, too. I didn’t care whether he did       or he didn’t have celiac because the diet was helping him. We would later come to the conclusion that he has a gluten sensitivity.
After starting the diet his words tripled! I’m not exaggerating because I had a speech therapist and an occupational therapist that documented the changes. He was a different child. Stemming and tantrums were cut in half. His behavior in general was completely different. He was more social, too. The diarrhea stopped, and he became potty trained 2 days after starting the diet.
Unbelievable, was the only way to describe it. Some of the doctor’s didn’t agree with me that it was necessary for him to be on the diet. Even my husband was uncertain if we were doing the right thing. Going on the diet is stressful for everyone at first. Cutting out all of his favorite foods was difficult, too.  No one had a cut and dry answer for doing it.  After about a year I took him off of the diet to see what would happen and he started doing all the same things again.  After that Chris was begging me to put him back on the diet!  Now it has been 3 years since going gluten-free and we will never go back.
I have no doubt in my mind that if I had not opened that book our life would be different now. Gluten free has saved my son’s quality of life. I hear people say all the time, “How do you do it?, “Your poor kids can’t eat anything!”, or “It’s so expensive, we could never afford it.” What they don’t realize is how hard it was before we changed his diet. We have less medical expense because of the improvement in his overall health and well-being. He is a happy little boy now. He still has PDD, but it is mild compared to what it would have or could have been.

 We still eat cookies, pizza and french fries. We aren’t perfect when it comes to our diet. They make all the same junk food in gluten-free versions, so we still have to be careful. Alex hates vegetables and I have to try to sneak them into him by hiding them in other foods. Thanks to the recent boom in the gluten-free industry being on the diet is a lot easier than it was 3 years ago. Restaurants are putting more effort into food allergies and cross contamination. General Mills has come out with gluten-free versions of cake and brownies.

 So here we are today!  Myself, Alex, our daughter Makenzie, my Mom (recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease) are all gluten-free. We are healthier and happier because of it.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) is a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD)/autism spectrum disorder (ASD). While those with it have some characteristics of disorders on the autistic spectrum, they don’t fit the diagnostic criteria of any of the other disorders thereon. While PDD-NOS shares similarities with autism, it tends to be milder.[1]
 “Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)”. Yale Child Study Center. 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
 From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gluten sensitivity (GS) encompasses a collection of medical conditions in which gluten has an adverse effect. For individuals with gluten-sensitive enteropathy, removal of gluten generally results in the restoration of villus architecture or lower lymphocyte densities in the intestine. With some sensitivities, improvements may be seen in the neurological state, but a clinical finding may not be clear.  GS also can affect blood chemistry, treatability of certain autoimmune diseases, and/or an untreated improvement in autoimmune conditions.