Friday, November 23, 2012

Allergen Free Thanksgiving

Our first holiday with our son on a special diet was Thanksgiving. We celebrated that first major holiday at home, with our own turkey and trimmings. We have learned so much since that first holiday!
Sometimes when you have a child with autism on a special diet, the holidays almost seem to become a battle of survival for a parent. My first impulse was to simply stay home all the time and not go anywhere, but the reality is that it was something that needed to be faced and worked through. We needed to enjoy the holidays, see friends, and ultimately teach our child how to function outside the home in terms of behavior and the diet situation.

Our first holiday away from home was at Eli's grandparent's. We did quite well in terms of diet. Everyone was so understanding and supportive. I think the only deviation from the diet was the accidental Dorito that Eli got his hands on. While that was a pretty big "Oops," noways we have learned to provided substitute chips.

Questions that swarm my brain when it comes to holidays include, "What will be served at this gathering? Will people be understanding of me if I bring my child something different to eat? Will my child be understanding of having something different?" These are things that run through my head for every event at school, every birthday party, and every holiday. I have come to learn to anticipate events and I am generally becoming better prepared for them all the time.

We have found that the key to successful gatherings is lots of the communication with the host, including asking lots of annoying questions! Our hosts do not seem to mind all my probing questions about how they prepare turkey, potatoes, etc. At a recent gathering, our host even set aside potatoes and beans for us before adding the allergens in his recipe. We took some of our favorites to share, and was a great gathering.

Nowdays, we have Eli, Little Bear, and myself on the special diet. Fortunately, we have learned over the years to not only survive Thanksgiving, but also to really enjoy it with our favorite recipes. We took Roast Sweet Potatoes with Cranberries and Walnuts to our recent gathering, and they were a big hit! Thank you to Kim Wilson for that recipe and also for her Cranberry Relish. The two together are just divine, and I can't imagine us having another Thanksgiving without them. Click on the names of the recipes in this text to view them.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Halloween Candy

      No Halloween post on this blog would be complete without a follow up on what we did with all the candy! I used to love candy, but now it is almost a bad word! All of it's sugar, corn syrup, dyes, hydrogenated fats, chocolate, (and the list goes on,) are detrimental to to all of the hard work we do to help our son recover.
      Last year I posted about the monster box. The 'monster box' was created out of desperation. Eli had discovered what Trick-or-Treating was and wanted to go. I am happy to say that the 'monster box' was a success again this year. We added things like a Transformers activity book, Spiderman rubber stamps, a 50 cent piece, and other loose change. We were even super brave and let him have one little organic lollipop. (He really wanted to try a piece of candy this year, and we felt that providing the 'safest' one would help him not feel deprived. Our hope is that by doing things like that we can prevent rebellion when it comes to diet as he gets older.)
      The pictures in the previous post were from a Halloween carnival that we went to the weekend before Halloween. On the actual day of, Little Bear was not well, and Jason was not available, so hi s sweet Aunt and Uncle took him out Trick-or-Treating. He lasted a total of about 35 minutes. Let's just say he does not have much of an attention span!
      The candy I 'buy' from him when he exchanges with the 'monster box' goes in the pantry and it usually goes to his dad's lunches. Mom used to have the biggest sweet tooth in the house, but now that I am 'grown up' I have learned that my ADD is on the autism spectrum, which explains why I have many of the same food sensitivities as my son with autism. My posts on discovering our sensitivities are here and here. Nowdays I probably could not eat a 'fun size' Snickers without spending a day in bed. So not worth it....