Friday, April 29, 2011

The Chocolate Effect, 14 years later

Once I wrote a little story about a teenage girl and her brother with autism who got his hands on a piece of chocolate. Although the story was fictional, the events and conditions in the story were based on my own experiences. Those experiences I had as a child really framed my mind for receiving the DAN! program as treatment for my son because I knew firsthand the effects that certain foods/toxins had on my brother. (Read The Chocolate Effect here.)

Now fast forward 14 or so years later, I am now an adult, (well...sort of!) and my brother is 18 years old and is spending some time staying with my family along with our mother. On Easter Sunday they both attended church with us. My brother received such great treatment and acceptance that he attended his Sunday School classes on his own. The teacher for his first Sunday School class approached me, saying that she had cupcakes for the class and she didn't know if my brother is in the same treatment as my son. I told her no, but thank you and PLEASE scrape the icing off of his cupcake. (Too much sugar is a HUGE trigger for bad behavior!) My brother seemed to do pretty well on Sunday, but on Monday, his behavior took a turn for the worse.

On Tuesday morning he was telling mom something like this: "In my class on Sunday I got a rice crispy treat shaped like an egg and it had m&ms in it. And I ate the whole thing! I was hoping that I would get to miss school! Too bad I was wrong!" A sweet teacher, (who did not know about the chocolate effect,) in his second Sunday School had given this to him. Mom was making him go to school, and this was his confession after he realized that all of his plotting, horrible behavior, and sabotaging his own gut came to no avail.

It has been a long week with the uptight, much more easily triggered teenage brother around. The chocolate effect wore off to a good extent by Thursday, and mom was actually able to get him to take a shower. (Thank goodness!) This morning I heard "Good Morning, Eli," when my son woke up and walked into the other room. In my story "The Chocolate Effect," I had the chocolate effect wear off in just one day. I was trying to make the story a good balance of positive as well as negative, but in reality, it takes many days to wear off.

My purpose in writing this is to point out that food can be a psychological trigger for abnormal behavior. Even for myself, I have food sensitivities and I can have altered, depressed moods if I eat gluten or too much of something else on my "no" list. Looking back, I just wonder at my son's old pediatrician, who is a very sweet man, but basically told me I should not take my autistic toddler off of milk. How much better our son's life is nowdays with special diet and biochemical intervention!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cast Iron Goodness

These are my two lovelies:

Anyone who has been to my place has seen them sitting on the range, side by side, (and hopefully when you saw them they were cleaned out and oiled for the next use!) Cast iron is pure awesomeness for it's natural non-stick abilities without the funky nonstick treatments that are so popular, but are bad for our food.

I was introduced to cast iron when I was in college and took a little trip to visit my aunt and uncle. My sophomore year I was no longer eating in the cafeteria, "The Galley," and had a kitchen in my apartment. So, when asked what I could use as a Christmas gift, it was a cast iron skillet. My mother thought I was SO WEIRD! I have always been grateful that she took me serious enough that she got me a beautiful 12 inch skillet. I have had the 12 incher for almost 10 years now, and it literally gets used just about everyday. My smaller 10 inch cast iron skillet came into our family when my son went gluten free three nearly three years ago, and it was our "gluten free skillet." Since I went gluten free, about 2 years ago, gluten does not touch the cast iron as a household rule. Because the surface of cast iron is somewhat porous, the gluten eaters in the house are left to the stainless steel.

Here is one of my recent dinner creations using my 10 incher:

Crepes! I have recently discovered that the natural nonstick surface of cast iron is great for making these. This dinner was admittedly an experiment. (Don't worry, my family is used to that!) I was trying to see if a crepe could be used as a sandwich wrap. My son and I do not eat corn, and it is difficult to make a rice tortilla that is thin, soft and pliable, (I think so, anyways.) I had heard that crepes could be really good with a savory filling, and so that is what I tried out for this dinner. I made a sloppy-joe type filling; ground hamburger, tomato sauce, onion, and we wrapped it in the crepes with some shredded lettuce and tomato. It really was good. My only complaint is that the raw veggies were a bit much for the delicate crepe to handle, so next time I will have to rethink my approach and cook veggies in a different type of filling or have the veggies on the side.

This crepe recipe came from my local girls, Kristi and Betsy at
*I changed the recipe for the purposes of and gluten free AND casein free diet, using earth balance instead of butter, and and combo of rice milk and water instead of cow milk.*

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dish Regimen

This post is a follow-up to the post I did recently on the laundry regimen. Like before with my homemade laundry soap, my dishwasher soap is an effort towards greater sustainability and affordability. I do not feel as though I have my dish regimen as perfected as my laundry soap is. If any of my readers have suggestions as to how to make it more effective, I am all ears. :)

Here is the ingredient line-up:

Dishwasher Detergent

one cup commercial powder dishwasher detergent

one cup borax

one cup washing soda (not baking soda)

white distilled vinegar

Mix all three powders together, storing in a container with a lid. For each dishwasher load, use one heaping tablespoon in the soap compartment, being sure to close it up, then fill the prewash soap compartment with the white vinegar.

I bought all of my supplies at Winco. For the commercial dishwasher detergent, I looked for the one that I thought was not only worth the money, but also appeared to be the more earth friendly of the choices available. Also, I buy my white distilled vinegar in the largest size so that I can to save even more.

Once again, I am indebted to a friend for this starter recipe. I have made some changes with better results than before, and I will continue to change it to get it just right.