We’ve made it! My original intent was a 6 week gluten elimination trial and today marks 6 weeks! Wow! The thing is we are going to continue because we have seen improvements. There is a certain degree of irony in it all for me! You see I started writing gluten-free Friday when no member of my family was actually gluten-free. My good friends at House-54 merely asked me to write them and I agreed. As I wrote some posts and thought about it it occurred to me that my youngest son Evan may actually be intolerant. He was suffering stomach pains, he had constipation issues since birth and he is anemic. Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance also has a higher occurrence rate among people with Down syndrome (which Evan has). All of these are symptoms. So the 6 week elimination diet began and my son improved. His Pediatrician agreed that it seems too much of a coincidence and she ordered a blood test for Celiac this week. We went to the lab and unfortunately the technicians were unable to get a blood draw (blood draws are tricky on people with low muscle tone). My poor baby was stuck several times and I felt terrible but no luck! We will have to try again however since he needs a number of tests (not just for Celiac). Typically you would want the test while still consuming gluten but the Pediatrician feels that 5-6 weeks is not enough time gluten-free for Celiac to not be picked up in the blood draw. We will hopefully get a successful blood draw soon and some answers. Even if the test is negative however we will stay gluten-free because we feel it is working!
Over the past 6 weeks I have become quite an expert researcher. There are still many things I am still not clear on but I learn something new almost every day! The whole certified gluten-free versus “no gluten ingredients used” still trips me up…. is it gluten-free or not? The internet has probably been my number one tool. I can access it at home or even on the go from my iPhone. The thing is you can’t always believe what you read on the internet (shocking I know lol) but I try to use reliable sources. Celiac.com I consider reliable since it is a website devoted to helping people with Celiac live a happy healthy gluten-free life. You can look up gluten-free foods, get recipes, shop and even connect with other gluten intolerant folks in their forum! I also downloaded an app called find me Gluten-Free where you can put in your location and get a list of gluten-free restaurants and eateries near you along with helpful reviews. Finally I have been getting some lovely advice, suggestions and encouragement from people reading this blog. Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I really do appreciate it!
This blog, as you can probably guess, is all about lunch packing however! I believe in packing healthy and balanced lunches for my family using little to no artificial ingredients. Evan’s lunches are no different because he is gluten-free. I just challenge myself to work harder to be sure he has delicious AND balanced offerings. It has become easier as I go along but for awhile I did begin to feel like I was packing the same safe foods again and again! To combat that I decided to purchase some lunch menu plans for inspiration. MOMables Gluten-Free Menu Plan to be exact! For only $12.00 I was able to purchase 8 weeks of suggested menu plans which even included shopping lists. The premise of MOMables is to show parents that they can pack a healthy lunch for their children quickly and at a reasonable cost. The turkey and cheese sushi rolls in the photo above were inspired by the ham and cheese sushi roll from my MOMables gluten-free menu plan and it was a big hit with Evan! I know if I need more inspiration still I can visit the blogs of some dear friends who also have gluten-free children and focus on healthy lunch packing. Check them out:
Lunch #1 in Glit & Brillia container: blueberries, cheese stick, Perdue Chicken shortcuts and baked banana split pancake muffins.
Lunch #3 in Nibble Tray container by Zak Designs: nectarines, strawberries, Leapin Lemurs GF cereal by Envirokidz, Almond Thin crackers by Blue Diamond as well as turkey and cheese sushi (wrap a cheese stick up in your favorite lunch meat and slice). This recipe was inspired by the hame and cheese sushi lunch included in the MOMables Gluten-Free Menu Plan. The deli at my grocery store was kind enough to wipe down the cutter before slicing our gluten-free meat to avoid cross contamination.
Lunch #4 in a Leaflet Tight container: veggie mix including peas, carrots and zucchini, Van’s Say Cheese crackers, sliced cheese stick (one of Evan’s favorites as you can see), hard boiled egg chicks. I was inspired after seeing this idea on Pinterest from just jenn recipes! Do note that I used a gluten-free flax seed for the eyes and I used cooked carrots for the beaks (since I had them from my veggie side anyway)! So which did some first, the chicken or the egg?
So I’m beginning to feel like a pro already so I hope I can in turn offer some advice now to my friend Jessie over at Chaos and Confections! She recently learned her adorable 3 1/2 year old son Beaker has multiple food allergies among them gluten. I would love if you would stop by and offer her some encouragement! Have a happy week. I’ll be back next week with another Gluten-Free Friday recap!
Products used in this post: