Gluten, Dairy & Egg Free

When I received the food intolerance results saying that Liam and Ray are gluten, casein and egg intolerant, my first reaction was relief.  I was just so happy to know what was potentially causing Liam’s concentration, tic and possibly his CAE problems, as well as Ray’s weight loss problems.

Soon panic set in when I realised that gluten, dairy and eggs were in pretty much everything we ate.

I received their results on a Friday and had an appointment to see the Nutritionist the following Tuesday.  In between, I managed to spend a small fortune on gluten, dairy, egg free products.  I bought two 250g boxes of gluten & egg free penné for R120.00, spent about R50.00 on potato starch, R100.00 on gluten & egg free spaghetti, R35.00 on a tiny bag of almond milk powder, R180.00 on a kg of almonds, R20.00 on cheesecloth (I watched a few youtube videos on how to make almond milk…).

The two boxes of penné are still in our cupboard, the potato starch hasn’t been touched since March (I used it once), we have used the spaghetti, the almond milk powder had casein in it… didn’t think to check that, most of the almonds are still in the cupboard because I soon discovered that you can’t make almond milk in a food processor (I have now ordered a blender which I should receive this week).

I realised after seeing the Nutritionist that you can keep it extremely simple, there was no need to complicate things.  So I adopted the KISS strategy – Keep It Simple Stupid.

Kids like to snack, so my first point was, what do I give Liam to snack on.  Luckily there are a few products available that we used to eat before and that we can continue eating which are free from gluten, dairy and eggs:

  • Crisps: Lays Salted is the least unhealthy option, you can also buy Lays Sour Cream & Onion, Lays Balsamic Vinegar, Simba Smoked Beef, Willards Flings (as well as many others, but these are the ones we regularly buy).  Popcorn is also a winner.
  • Sweets: Jelly Tots, Wine Gums (most jelly type sweets, you just need to read the label), Manhattan marshmallows.
  • Chocolate: Beacon Midnight Velvet, Lindt Excellence 70% & 85% Cocoa Dark (we basically only buy the Beacon Midnight Velvet, as it’s cheaper than Lindt.  Some of the Nestlé Albany chocolates are also dairy and gluten free.

Realising that there are still loads of ‘snacks and treats’ that can still be consumed made me feel much better.  I always keep some sweets hidden in the house for the times when there is a party at school and Liam can’t eat what’s in the party pack, so we swap it out for something he can eat.  Lindt also do a dark chocolate bunny which helped so much during Easter, he was given an Easter egg at school, which he couldn’t eat, so he gave it away, when we got home I gave him the dark chocolate bunny and he was so happy.

I did find that, during Easter, there wasn’t much choice in Easter eggs, apart from the Lindt dark chocolate bunny.  Beacon did bring out a dark chocolate marshmallow egg, but it had dairy or gluten in it (I can’t remember which), so that wasn’t an option.  Luckily my colleague was visiting from Austria the week before the Easter weekend, so he brought over a nice selection of dairy and gluten free Easter eggs.  He saved the day!  I’m going to have to get creative next Easter though and may end up buying stacks of Midnight Velvet to melt and mold into bunnies and eggs, and then foil them up in some bright colours.

As for lunches, Liam has always been easy.  Before the food intolerance test he would always ask for cucumber, cheese and tomato… hence the blog name, but now it’s just cucumber and tomato ha ha.  I usually put a plate of fruits and veg together for him, whatever is in season.  At the moment, as it’s winter, he gets a naartjie, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, carrots, sometimes broccoli, and then a slice of ham or some shaved chicken breast.  In the summer months he gets grapes and watermelon instead of naartjie.  Most days he asks for another plate of fruits and veg after his first plate.  Then he has a bowl or two of Flings, or Lays as a snack in between lunch and dinner.  He’s also happy to have a plate of fruits and veg for breakfast.

Then for Ray, I have been pre-cooking and freezing lunches for him to take to work.  The easiest one has been a black rice, onions, peas, mushrooms and boerewors mix.  My dad used to make this dish when I was younger, but with white rice, he used to call it ‘Gemors’.  I was buying black rice from our local Pick ‘n Pay, but they have been out of stock now for the past month or so, and I’ve been searching every Pick ‘n Pay I go to.  I am about to use the last bit of what I have left, so I’m not sure what I’ll do once it’s finished.  I’ll probably use brown rice…  I also pre-cook, mash up and freeze veg for him, so when he gets bored of the Gemors dish then he cooks himself a chicken breast in the morning, or some boerewors and takes some frozen veg to work.

Dinner time is easy too.  I try to stick to a rotating meal plan, but sometimes that doesn’t pan out.  Generally we eat chicken breasts and rice with peas, or fish, mash potatoes and peas or mixed veg, or spaghetti with gluten free pasta, or steak and chips with veg.  Liam doesn’t like avocados, but Ray and I love them, so we eat avo’s almost every night now that they are back in season, yay!  I always try to cook more than what’s needed for dinner to carry over for breakfast

Some days a little bug bites me and I throw the KISS strategy out of the window and try and make something I have found on Pinterest.

In April Liam was begging me for pizza, and I found an awesome quinoa base recipe, so I soaked the quinoa the whole day, and that evening I made the base (it was hard work the first time.  I put the quinoa ‘batter’ onto baking paper, just like the recipe said, but then once cooked, the baking paper had soaked into the base, so I had to peel every little bit off it – it was piping hot as it had just come out of the oven too, so my fingers were very sore).  I had bought dairy free cheese from Woolworths and made Liam a pizza I was super proud of, it had bacon, banana and cheese on it, yum!  Liam was over the moon with his pizza and tucked in.  I returned to the kitchen to re-do the recipe for Ray so he could also eat pizza.  While I was busy in the kitchen, Liam brought his plate through, told me how much he LOVED the pizza and put his plate on the counter… he had eaten everything apart from the quinoa base lol!  He said he didn’t really like the taste of it, but the rest was very nice.

Most recently I attempted making chocolate fudge…. The recipe called for only three ingredients, coconut milk, icing sugar and dark chocolate…. seemed quite simple.  I knocked it all together, followed the recipe step-by-step and ended up with chocolate sludge.  It was sickly sweet and quite revolting actually.  I think that the problem is that the ingredients are a little different to those we have in South Africa, so most of them won’t work out perfectly, for instance, the icing sugar we have is made with corn starch, but in America you can get icing sugar made with tapioca starch, which was apparently the key in the recipe I was following.

I’m going to make coconut bomb things next, I know that it will work out as I made them when we were banting, so it’s a safe bet.

It hasn’t always been perfect though, cutting gluten, dairy and eggs out of ones diet is difficult, just not as difficult as I had expected.  Luckily the intolerance’s aren’t allergies, so when mistakes are made, there aren’t terrible consequences.

There was a ‘slip ‘n slide day’ at Liam’s school the one day, and I hadn’t received the newsletter about it, but there was a reminder on D6 about the money that needed to be sent for it, so I put the money into an envelope and sent it to school so that Liam didn’t miss out on the fun.  That afternoon I collected him from school and Liam told me that he made a mistake and had eaten a chicken and mayo roll.  I told him that it was fine and that we all make mistakes.  His cousin had a sleepover that night, by 19:00 Liam was so grumpy and tired, he told me he just wanted to go to bed and he was asleep by 19:15.  Very out of character for him as usually, when his cousins come over, he’s still awake at 21:00.  I found out the next week that there were options on the newsletter, which I had never received, to choose a snack for the kids for slip ‘n slide day.

We have also attended quite a few birthday parties and Liam loves cake, so I always tell him that he can have a small slice of cake.  Most often he falls asleep on the backseat of the car on our way home from all the fun, gluten, dairy and eggs ha ha.

Initially I was buying almond milk, which is quite pricey, so two months ago we switched to soya milk, which was a terrible idea.  I had been having trouble with my hormones and basically felt that I had just got a nice balance when we started drinking soya milk in our tea.  It wasn’t long and my hormones were way off balance once again.  A couple of weeks ago I read in one of the information packs that the Nutritionist gave me that soya can throw your hormones off balance quite badly, so that made sense and I stopped buying soya milk.  I bought Renewed Balance cream from AIM and have been drinking my BarleyLife and Peak Endurance every morning and think that maybe I have started balancing my hormones again.

Ray started losing weight really nicely to begin with, but has plateaued again, he thinks it’s from the sugar (it may have been from the soya milk too…), so we are going to concentrate on eliminating sugar from his diet.

I have taken Liam off his epilepsy meds now that it’s winter and he isn’t swimming anymore.  I worried about the potential liver damage and suicidal thoughts side-effects that the meds can cause and feel much better now that he’s off them.

So far, we have had no serious illnesses this winter, Liam had a little cough about a week and a half ago, I gave him nose spray and put the humidifier on in his room at night and his cough has gone.  Ray hasn’t been sick at all so far, and I had a bit of a sore throat, and what felt like the beginning stages of laryngitis last week, but that’s cleared up now with the help of nose spray.

So far so good!

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