Why We're Going GLUTEN FREE

We're going gluten free.

More accurately - after a brief trial back to gluten - we are returning to gluten free food in our house... for our kids at least.

Ick. I don't even like the sound of it.

I posted a few months ago how we were going to give gluten free a go to see if it changed the behavior we were experiencing with my four year old.
Tantrums and Going Gluten Free
I learned a little about cooking and baking without gluten.  I introduced myself to the gluten free isle of Wegmans.  I FBed companies to inquire if their non-organic products contained GMOs (especially corn... because corn flour is in a lot of gluten free stuff).  I learned a lot.  I found some products that worked and some that definitely didn't.  We tried many many different types of bread.

So this is what life without gluten looked like in our house:

  • Happy D - really happy.  Even when I told him it was nap time, even when I asked him to clean up, or told him we weren't watching a show today.
  • Happy eyes - I can't explain it - his eyes were... calmer.
  • Tantrums - he's three people - there were of course still some tantrums - even really loud ones - NEVER ONCE DID IT ESCALATE TO HIM BEING VIOLENT.  Never.  Secretly I hoped he would just smack me mid tantrum so I go back to regular pasta... no dice.
  • I was THAT mom - the one saying "no you can't share those animal crackers, they might have gluten" <cringe>
  • Preparation- we travel everywhere with gluten free food - and impose our gluten free restrictions everywhere we go (thanks mom and dad/toppah)
  • Lots of learning - about xanthan gum,  and sorghum flour... and all kinds of things I didn't know existed
  • Label reading - new products led to new labels
  • More processed foods than I would like - I would hope this could decrease with education and time.
Then... just as things were going swimmingly... just to mix things up - we went full force back to gluten.  I was hoping that we were just experimenting at a time when he was going through a growth spurt or something - so we went back.  I'm talking a flour filled, delicious, robot birthday cake.  And pizza.  And pasta.  And bread <real bread>.  It was delicious.  But here is what our house looked like.
  • Frustrated/easily angered/a little bit scary D.
  • Scary eyes. Again... I don't know how to explain it - it is like I could see the anger and violence behind his eyes.
  • Tantrums - more of them- filled with hitting, kicking, and throwing things.  Mommy restraining D until he could calm down enough not to hurt his family.
  • Easy traveling.  We ate everything.
  • Back to normal cooking with ingredients I am familiar with.
So what is my conclusion?

I realize this isn't a comprehensive study.  I took "research in education" and learned all about what a real study looks like, complete with T charts, outcomes, participants, variables, etc.  This wasn't that.  All I have is this one anecdotal example.  That's it.  I can't say that this is going to work in your house, with your kids, in your situation... all I can say is I am convinced it has worked in mine. 

*Disclaimer: 5 months ago I would have told you that I didn't believe that ANYTHING we eat could control behavior.  I thought it was a bunch of crunchy, hocus pocus hogwash.  I am prepared to eat my words. 

Here are some references that have been suggested to me OR which I have found useful in this journey that I am just beginning.  If you have more to add - please comment and contribute! 

The Southampton Study (which links food dye to behavior... not directly related... but got me thinking)
Dawn's Delights of Holden (she comes to the farmer's market in my town - she answers all my questions and teaches me how to make good food!) 





Kate O. said...

Just because D has to be GF doesn't mean you have to. In our house we have two of everything - two different brands of Tuna Fish, two different brands of pasta, two different brands of bread. I eat GF, but my husband doesn't.

On the nights I cook though, he says mine looks better and usually eats my GF food. If he runs out of whole wheat, he eats my GF bread. Sure, it doesn't taste the same, but he's actually gotten used to it.

So, you don't necessarily have to punish yourself, although I'm sure in a family of four, cooking one version of each meal is enough work. You sure don't need to do it twice.

Good Luck!

Leisha said...

Your presentation of gluten free mothers is pretty snobby. We are a celiac household and although I never viewed myself as being (as you describe) "THAT Mom" who you "cringe" about that has to keep gluten away from her child, I now wonder if I have any mama friends who think/talk like you. I don't "impose" our gluten free restrictions everywhere we go because the people we are around don't make us feel as if we are an imposition.

Us gluten free mothers should be supporting each other and not making it look as if it's some annoying imposition or something we should be ashamed or embarrassed about.

KT @ OneOrganicMama said...

Leisha, I'm sorry you felt that way when you read this.

I was sharing my experience and my honest feelings as I went through it. My stories and experiences are often laden with sarcasm. When I said I was "THAT mom" I was more thinking about it from the perspective of my son - not from the perspective of other moms - I am not too concerned about how other moms view my decisions for my family because the mamas I know, ones with and without dietary restrictions, and their children, are all pretty supportive of one another and our children's needs. I didn't see my post as not supporting gluten free families - as we are becoming one - but as my honest experience transitioning.

I would imagine, for my parents, who have been preparing gluten filled food for the last 50 years, switching completely and quickly for something that wasn't an allergy - and to the outside world (even to doctors) something that hasn't been "proven" to have any affect on behavior, when we visited them for a week was a change - and it was one that I imposed. I don't think they resented it, as they love to prepare food for my kids - but as a newbie to this - it is hard for me to change and I am sure it is hard for them too.

Honestly the whole change for me has been an annoying, imposition - a worthwhile one - but it is always easier to cook the way I have for the last 20 years. I'm not ashamed, or embarrassed about the decision to try it - if I was I probably wouldn't blog about it.

KT @ OneOrganicMama said...

Oh you know I am sneaking pasta, Kate :)

Jacquelyn Karlic said...

I read your last post about this and it is very, very tempting to try GF for Rylee because she has really bad tantrums way too often, and you are not the 1st Mom I have heard to try GF to help with tantrums, etc, so thanks for sharing! I just don't know if I could bring myself to make the switch :-/

Anonymous said...

While as know our house is far from gluten free or even healthy but not once did I feel you were pushing your gluten free onto us. Keep up your blogs. You have made it perfectly clear it is about your house, not others. Sorry people don't agree with your opinion/views but it is just that "opinion/views". No one should take it offensively. I love you for taking care of my son and your children, our grandchildren. Amen to being totally committed!!

lexie robinson said...

This was very interesting. Thanks for sharing your findings!

KT @ OneOrganicMama said...

It is a big commitment, and like I said, an inconvenience for sure - but totally worth it for us.

KT @ OneOrganicMama said...

Thanks for reading!

Rochelle Barlow said...

I have seen a change in myself when I am gluten free, I really ought to do the same for my kids. My husband would probably kill me. ha ha ha. Great articles, thanks for linking them up, I hadn't seen them before. By the way, I love your disclaimer.

Allison @ House of Hepworths said...

My son is 11 and was on ADHD meds for 4 years. I got fed up last year and did a bunch of research and decided to have him go gluten-free (he was already red dye 40 free as well). He's now been med free for 8 months and is a new kid. Same type of behavior change as your child.

Christine Powell said...

This is great! So glad you figured out whats causing the problem! :)

I am a big believer in what we eat and the effect it has on our well-being / behaviour / etc.

Thanks for linking up with the Tuesday Baby Link-Up! :) Please come back on Tuesday to see if you were featured :)

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