Ever since my days in Maryland I've wanted to be a Granola Mom. It was during this season that I first began to learn lessons about nutrition that had escaped me in my post pregnancy Atkin's Diet and Weight Watchers days. I found Trader Joe's-- and I learned to see food as fuel, not filler. The boys and I started taking Juice Plus then, and I began to exercise daily and cook healthier. Then we moved to San Antonio, with very little notice (one of those surprise military moves) and shortly after that my oldest son was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.
And so I was plunged head first into a deep gorge of knowledge about healthier living. Healthier GLUTEN FREE living. Because not everything that is gluten free has nutritional value. (Though I did find Gluten Free Granola.) These days, the boy is completely gluten free and the rest of us are "whole grain based". We're a couple years in and I am still learning. Recently I decided I'd like to try baking my own gluten free bread. Not from a mix. The old me would say I was crazy. I mean, I daily deal with (get ready, I'm gonna list 'em) Diabetes, PTSD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Celiac Disase, and one more "medical issue without a name"--i.e. my 13 year old son is not growing. He's the size of the average ten to eleven year old.) The old me says: one more reason (or five more reasons) NOT to add anything else to my plate.
The new me says, Well, it's all about balance.
I could preach a bit here-- (so I will). Every one of those diagnoses can be improved with a healthy diet. Fake food exacerbates sensory/autism issues. Eating real food (not fluff that our body does not recognize) improves our lives and our emotional well being (PTSD). The research tells me that it is worth the effort. (Soap Box spiel over.)
And if my son is not growing, despite the Gluten free diet and the massive effort to balance food intake with insulin so that his body can get what it needs to grow, well, something is off balance. And that's one more reason to do whatever I can to bring us back into balance, as a family. If I were to bake my own Gluten Free bread it would:
1) Save money (gluten free alternatives are pricey)
2) Streamline (instead of making a healthy meal for the rest of us and a gluten free alternative for T, I could Just Make One Thing.)
3)Eliminate more additives (which will help with the 'not growing' issue)
So, as we prepare to get T on growth hormones, I am researching Gluten Free Bread Baking. And How To Pack More Nutrition Into One Very Picky 13 Year Old Boy. I haven't started yet, but the journey has taken me into some interesting places. (More about that later.) I am researching the best grains-- meaning the healthiest grains, the ones with the most bang for their nutritional buck. I'm examining bags of Quinoa and Tapioca Flour, and looking at the all important Nutritional Labels, which direct the purchases of a mom with a son who has a food allergy. I'm shopping at Sprouts instead of Tom Thumb (who has gluten free stuff, with a little less bang for my financial buck.)
I've often said that life is a journey. Nothing that is worth doing can be accomplished in a single bound. (I will resist the urge to attempt "super mom" burnout.) I am learning to wait... in many areas, not just the food issue. I find that I am very grateful for the availability of alternative products to help my special needs family, and I am grateful there is so much information out there on how to live healthy. Most of all I am grateful for a loving Navigator who lights the way towards what is best for my own unique family.
And I am excited because along the way, I've found little something for me! More about that next time. Stay tuned!