Remember when going gluten free was a fad a few years ago? Everyone did it because it was trendy. Well, it made my job at the Nursery REALLY HARD! We give babies cheerios and saltines when they cry, it makes them stop crying. Gotta teach them young that food will make you less sad, haha. But seriously, not being able to give kids snacks was miserable! Fine fine, I don’t need to cause some kid to have a tummy ache just because I want to sooth with saltines, so I ask the parent to provide an alternative snack. They hand over a bag of peanuts. Yikes! Billy’s got an anaphylactic allergy to peanuts! Quick, get those peanuts out of the nursery! Gah!! No more snacks for anyone in the Nursery!! Then I’d see the mom at the mall, and her kid chowing down on crackers and it would come up that they had just been trying paleo the week they’d visited the Nursery, but that didn’t last.
YOU RUINED SNACK!!!
So that’s my pathetic reason for my resistance to changing our diets. I don’t want to be THAT mom. THAT mom drives me crazy. The last thing I want to do is make the job of any childcare provider harder. Well, maybe second to last. The last thing I want to do is suck up my pride and acknowledge that I’ve been unfairly judging an entire population. I’m sure some kids had food issues and their moms were working really hard to figure them out, and I was acting irritated because the mom before them was only gluten free on every 2nd Thursday.
I’m strong willed. Big time. God knows this, and He seems to enjoy my persistence and fervor when I’m pointed in the right direction. I frequently take off on my own course going the wrong way, and I get prideful and start taking the credit for things or getting closed minded about how things should work for everyone. God knows that what gets my attention is a massive humbling. For example: H was a fairly compliant toddler. After 27 Super Nanny style put backs in time out, she stayed. She’s strong willed, but I am stronger, we’re a good match. I got cocky about how kids should be taught to behave and how time outs should work for every kids. So God gave me Sam. Time outs did not work for Sam, he didn’t understand them and I didn’t understand how to parent him. It was a massive humbling. Still is. Every day. Especially when he wears his pajamas to church on Sunday.
So fast forward to gluten judgy me 2014. God brought K back into my life. She’s a role model for me in a ton of ways, but primarily in that she has needed to make some massive dietary changes in her life and she’s done it with tons of grace and minimal grump. This astounds me. I watched her shift away from gluten without making it anyone else’s problem. She arrived everywhere with her own food. Never complained or made demands, just quietly and competently took care of herself. I noticed my judgements about gluten free eating starting to lift.
So as I’ve been watching her make this transition I’ve been wondering aloud about how we eat. K has been VERY patiently listening to me talk on and on and on about the possibilities (and mercy can I talk), and every once in a while pointing out that I seem to be bringing this up a lot, but then swiftly backing off when I would freak out about how I COULDN’T handle changing our diets. For months K patiently listened while I came up with every excuse possible to not pursue diet changes.
I’m not sure what finally sealed the deal for me, but I finally stopped making excuses and listened to my gut and enlisted K’s help to figure out a plan for Sam, and all of us. I started reading. This was hard because I’m really careful about where I do my research, I wanted cited sources, research studies, medical journals, not joe-shmoes terrible medical advice.com. The world of food allergies is murky and anecdotal and the internet is a giant black hole of fear mongering and horror stories.
During my research Sam saw his allergist. Sam tests positive for everything by skin test, but negative for everything by blood test. We’re just doing symptom management because we have no idea why Sam itches. He noted that Sam doesn’t have any food allergies, so I asked about food sensitivities. He acknowledged that there are no reputable studies he could point me towards, but his patients have had a lot of luck with elimination diets and food journals.
UGH. Now I’ve got a medical professional confirming what my gut, and very gentle K have been saying.
The next week we’re at the pediatrician to get M’s ears checked and I asked about eczema, allergies and food sensitivities, and if he could recommend a doctor who specialized in the area. He noted that our allergist is his favorite, and the best, but there aren’t any nutritionists in town who specialized in pediatrics or are well versed in food sensitivities. Then he shared that he’s seen his patients have success using elimination diets and food journals.
There it was again. A doctor I trusted, talking about changing food.
It was time. Time to stop resisting just so that I wouldn’t have to do the extra work, or eat the humble pie.
Monday (November 30th) we go gluten, dairy and food dye free.