Monday, March 17, 2014

Our Paleo Faileo: A Gluten and Sugar Free Experiment

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I am married to a man who turns into a different person with a sip of caffeine or a bite of sugar. He goes from reserved to ummm. . . CRAZY. Crazy in a good way, of course. Just ask any of the young adults who were in our life group and witnessed the transformation.

Anyway, I thought that perhaps some of this food sensitivity business may have been passed down to our children (one child in particular) and may be contributing to . . . how do you say . . .  mood swings. And we all know that sugar has no real benefits (outside of pure, temporary, emotional DELIGHT!) and that gluten simply serves to make you look a touch on the pregnant side. So while our family does not have any known sensitivities, allergies or issues with food (other than sugar addiction) I thought it might benefit the entire family to enter in to a few weeks of gluten-free and sugar-free eating. I was wrong.

Here's a recap of what went down:

Day 1: We will reduce and ease them in on this day. Oatmeal with chocolate chips for breakfast. I tell the kids what we are going to do. Paleo-ish eating. (But not cutting out all grain or dairy.) Together. As a family. And mommy will make delicious gluten and (refined) sugar-free meals. Does 5-year-old Jordis even know what gluten is? No. But how does she react? Lays on floor and screams "I'm gonna die!" I make delicious brussel sprouts with bacon for dinner from my friend Danielle Walker's cookbook Against All Grain. I love them. I am alone.

I make trip tip. They love that. Shiloh eats mint chocolate chip ice cream after dinner. Oops. Says he didn't realize he was a part of the experiment. I spend $4000 and my sweet precious time making gluten free bread. Homemade bread. It's a big deal. At least my dog thinks so because she jumped up to the counter and ate it when I was out of the room. And yes. I did cut off the dog side of the bread and ate the rest.

Day 2: Lydia goes to breakfast with dad. She has pancakes and hot chocolate. Umm..."Shiloh, remember we are trying to be gluten free and sugar free this week?" "You know I take the kids to breakfast every week. What else can she eat while out to breakfast?" Huh, I dunno. Eggs and bacon? Omelette? Oatmeal? Plain yogurt with fruit? Meanwhile, on the eat-breakfast-at-home-front Jordis refuses to eat the oatmeal I make because there is no brown sugar. SHE DOES NOT LIKE HONEY. So she eats a pear for breakfast. Elijah stays home "sick" from school and I later catch him downing a packet of hot chocolate in his room. Solid.

I put a slab of bacon in Jordis's snack for school. Totally normal. I'm sure she wasn't the only TK kid throwing down bacon at snack time. And since it's day two, I make real deal chocolate chip cookies  because they don't have gluten or refined sugar . . . until I throw in some dark chocolate chips. So they are just smidge sugary. And fattening. Because I don't want to be legalistic. And we have to survive and junk.

For dinner I make broccolini. I ask shiloh to stop at store and grab a roasted chicken. Thankfully, he remembers the chicken when he picks up a box of Cream of Wheat and Malt'-O Meal.

Day 3: Took Jordis to Whole Foods. She refuses to try the gluten free pretzels that taste like they are slathered in butter and are so good. But she is loyal to the Trader Joe's pretzels so she will not budge.

Day 4: Lydia resists Starbursts from from a friend. Elijah goes to a friend's house after school and has chocolate milk. Cuz he forgot. Of course he did. Shiloh is still with us... in moderation: He's had a cheeseburger (with no bun!), ginger ale, and Taco Bell. Today. I am averaging two read deal chocolate chip cookies a day. We are crushing this.

Day 5:
Breakfast: Chicken sausages for breakfast and "flat" eggs. Only Elijah and Shiloh will eat the sausage.
Lunch is quesadillas with gluten-free, corn tortillas. The same tortillas that have accompanied our soft taco dinners. The same tortillas that were in Elijah's lunch. Seriously people, these are the softest bestest gluten-free corn tortillas ever. Until they're not gluten free. Shiloh looks at the packaging and says, "Hey honey. You know these have gluten in them right?" Dang it. No wonder they were so good. Winning.

Lydia goes to a movie with her friend so I pack her pretzels and fruit snacks. And dropped off gluten- free Mac and cheese for her to eat for lunch at her friend's house because that's convenient and normal.
And that's all for the play-by-play folks. Suffice it to say we ate far worse on our gluten-gree, sugar free TEN DAYS then we normally do. To compensate for our deficiencies I gave the kids juice. Like every day. Normally juice is a treat for them. We had gluten-free pizza three times. Normally we have pizza maybe once a month. (But if you are wondering, Z Pizza had the best gluten-free pizza.) Shiloh says, "I am allergic to being gluten free." And I had so many gluten-free chocolate chip cookies because I stashed them in the freezer and loved on them every day. Because I am a good friend to those cookies. And now I want them.

In conclusion, the quasi paleo thing does not work for our family at this time. We do better in moderation both mentally and physically. However, if we were dealing with autoimmune disease, illness, allergies, stomach aches, etc. . . .we would listen to PINK and we would try, try, try. Again. Because I love that song and I do believe that this kind of eating is better for you. And it can really help to manage illness. READ Danielle's story. And buy her cookbook even if you are Paleo Faileo like us. Because there are great recipes in there.

If a picture could sum up our journey . . . 
And please note: my floors just look clean and unscratched. They are not, so step off. Have a nice day.
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Emily said...

Sounds like you guys had quite an adventure! :) It is hard to be gluten-free! It took several weeks to adjust to being wheat-free. I've tried sugar-free. It didn't last very long, but I'm trying not to eat as much of the stuff. We are gluten-free because it does help my husband's reflux if he doesn't have wheat (though tonight we did cheat and had pizza from Sam's Club, lol).

meghebs said...

This is absolutely hilarious.

Becky said...

HA! I'm laughing with you :) If we were southern, I'd say "bless your heart" :)

I did The Whole 30 a while back (dairy, sugar, gluten, everything -free) and I can only begin to imagine what would have happened if I made my kids do it with me! I was crabby enough without the sugar...I can't imagine all of us being that way! I'm always genuinely grateful that my family doesn't have food allergies and sensitivities!

Kim Rogers said...

Wendy you are seriously one of my favorite people - don't ever stop being you!!!!! You make all of us feel normal - and crazy - and OKAY. :)

Linda Z said...

LOL! This cracked me up from the title on down!! The dog bit especially! :) I can relate to your food adventures all to well! :)

josephnew87 said...

You must chkout this 350 Easy Paleo Recipes with Gorgeous Photos, you'll like this..Also The 8 Week Meal plan is so helpful.. You'll also find a list of Paleo deserts,snacks,herbs & spices to make your life so much easier.

josephnew87 said...

Checkout this 350 Easy Paleo Recipes with Gorgeous Photos, this is such a timesaverAlso The 8 Week Meal plan is so helpful.. You'll also find a list of Paleo deserts,snacks,herbs & spices to make your life so much easier.

Caryl said...

This is hilarious. I have Against All Grain. I thought I was getting my mojo on until I had to shop at 4 different stores, and spend all day on food that my family wouldn't touch with a 10 foot twinkie. (The chicken was tasty, though, and that green papaya-not-really-because-I-couldn't-find-a-green-papaya-so-I-substituted-a-mango salad).