Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My keep it simple theory

Starting the GFCF diet can be overwhelming. This is the advice that I give all of the time to newbies.

First of all, start slow. Introduce new foods one or two at a time. Remove the biggest offenders first. Many people find it easiest to remove dairy first and then gluten. Dairy leaves the system fairly quickly, so you will see results from removing the dairy in a few days. Gluten stays in the system a long time - it can take up to 9 months before you see any results from removing the gluten (most see some improvements sooner). You need to make a commitment to stick with it for at least 9 months - and once you are GFCF - do not cheat - infractions will set you back to day one.

Try and utilize foods that are naturally GFCF - think going back to basics, meat, potatoes and a veggie. It is when you add in breads, pastas, and sauces that you get into trouble - if you stick with the basics it will be easier and cheaper.

Resist the tempation to stock up on foods until you know if your child will eat them. You might have to drive a distance to purchase them or if you are buying them over the internet you want to get the most out of your shipping charge - but what good will it do you if your child rejects the foods? Buy just one of something until you know if it is accepted. Just because I have said that my child loves a certain food, doesn't mean that your child will - everyone, child or adult, has different tastes.

If you like to cook, buy a GF flour blend to start with and substitute in your favorite recipes. If you rely on mixes to get your cooking done, there are a lot of great mixes out there - Miss Roben's and the Gluten Free Pantry make some wonderful ones.

And just remember, this is not the end of the world. There are much worse things that we could be dealing with as parents than having to put our child on a special diet. It is hard and it is costly, but our children are worth it. The diet does get easier in time. You automatically learn which foods are OK and which aren't.

And when infractions happen - don't beat yourself up - just deal with it and get back on the diet.

Remember to keep reading labels - formulas change. The new food allergy laws make it easier to read labels - but wheat is covered as an allergen and not gluten - so if a product has hidden wheat - it must be listed - but if it has hidden rye or barley - it does not. Most manufacturers are going the extra step and listing if it contains gluten, but not all.

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