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!)