Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Few Facts

Here are a few facts that I know and have learned from Dr. B. and others in this profession.

40% of this current generation of children will have a wheat allergy.
20% of my generation has a wheat allergy.
0% of the generations before me.

Dr. B. stated this information from things he has read. He said that the rise is due to vaccines and antibiotics. I'm not against vaccines, my kids get them. When they got sick as a infants and toddlers, they got antibiotics. Would I do things differently now? With the antibiotics, I would, because I know more now. There are alternatives that I wasn't aware of at the time. I educate myself with Google. I read several different sources and compare information.

I even have a recipe from the internet for Japanese Beetles. Yes, I made it in my kitchen! That's another story. If you want the recipe, email me.

Back to the topic.

I attended the Muscle Testing Class, that was offered for FREE, at the chiropractic office.

" "Here is a video I found on the web that explains muscle testing.

Zakkery is still doing very well on the WF/GF diet and supplements. We are adjusting. I am constantly thinking about what he will be eating next. If we go somewhere, birthday party, for example, I have to take a few snacks and something for him to have in place of the birthday cake. The snacks are in case there isn't anything that he can eat that is served. I don't want to make a big deal to the hostess, but I want to be prepared.

So if you invite us over and I have a cooler of food, don't take it personal.

I am just prepared!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Check Up!

On July 9th, Zak had a check up with Dr. B. It was a brief check in with the doctor on how Zak has been doing with the diet change. I went back more educated on what Zak has and the new lifestyle change. Dr. B. talked to me and asked how we were doing and he was thrilled to find out that I was doing the WF/GF diet to the best of my ability. He did mention that Zak needed more fiber in his diet, so we are working that in through food. Not easy to say the least! He also explained to Zak & Jeremiah, he was with us this time, that his gut and organs are like our skin. When it gets hurt or scratched, it needs to heal. He explained that his gut is hurt and it needs to heal. In order to heal it, he can't eat wheat. When Zak is on a WF/GF diet, it cleans the toxins out and allows his organs to heal. He explained to the boys, it's like blowing your nose, you gotta get the junk out. He proceeded to explain in "all boy" humor that you can't just take a tissue and blow your bum! The boys got a giggle out of that one.

To Zak's delight, he did tell us that Zak could eventually eat wheat/gluten on a "special time" type basis. For example, if he goes to a birthday party, he could have a slice of cake. That time could come in a year or so, just depending on how his body heals internally. He will never be able to eat wheat or gluten all the time, every day, again! Just as a treat. Which I had to explain to Zakkery after Dr. B. said that. He ears picked up on a few choice words EAT WHEAT AGAIN, is what he heard.

Rich was unable to make the visit. I really thought it would have been beneficial for him to meet Dr. B. and to gain some extra insight. But he couldn't, so I took down any questions that he had for the doctor. His one question for Dr. B. was, "How much wheat can Zakkery have?" I answered the questions (NONE), but he wanted to hear it from the doctor, so I submitted and asked him. The doctor answered the question, which was NONE! *Sigh!* I knew I should have made a bet for a pair of shoes on that one!

I left the office that day not feeling crazy, but reassured that what I was doing was correct. I was doubting the extent to what I was doing the diet was not necessary, and that I didn't have to pour so much energy into it. But after seeing the Dr. B. that day and coming back with more of an understanding of what the heck I was doing, I left feeling, I was on the right road!

After the "Check Up" visit was when I started the blog. I was dying to document stuff but I didn't know if what I was doing was all that important or necessary for Zak's health. Come to find out, it is important and it is making a difference with his health and that is note worthy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Adventure of Eating Out!

Two weeks into being WF/GF we went out to the lake for a week. Usually we just throw a bunch of food into a plastic tub, run to the corner meat market and stock up on hamburgers and dogs for the time out there. This time I had to plan meals so Zakkery had something that he could eat. I had great intentions of cooking dinners each night along with breakfast and lunch. Most of the time out our meals consisted of grazing the kitchen.

One night we had gone into town and Rich mentioned going out to eat. Fear came over me, not knowing what this would look like. Would he throw a fit like a 2 year old because he can't have the normal food? Rich suggested Wendy's. I kind of chuckled and told him to plan on buying a dozen hamburger patties for Zak to haul down. Without the bun, he could chow down a lot. Instead we decided on "The Ground Round". There I knew he could get a decent size burger or steak and survive. He was disappointed that he couldn't have the pizza, and his brother could. He was disappointed that he had to get the hamburger and there wasn't much of another option. We did allow him to have the fries. Which I now know fries are off limits because they fried in oil that has wheat in it or fried in a fryer that fried something that has wheat on it, like fried chicken for example.

I have read in several books and websites and have been told by friends to be upfront with the waitress/waiter at the restaurants. When we adventured into "The Ground Round", I asked the waitress if they had a WF/GF menu, which they did not have. I told her that Zak was WF/GF and couldn't have wheat. She said, "Oh, well he can have the pasta and the pizza and the burger and the..." I explained to her that he couldn't have that because of the wheat. I asked her to ask the chef if he had recommendations or knew anything. She checked and he did not know anything! So I was on my own with my itty bitty bit of information. We survived and Zak ate his burger without a bun and hauled down the fries that most likely had wheat on them!

Our second adventure was to "Outback" for Jeremiah's birthday dinner on July 8th. I heard from friends that "Outback" has a WF/GF menu, so I looked on line and read the menu. Yeah for Zak they even had dessert, a flourless brownie with ice cream and the works. I figured if nothing else, he would be thrilled to have dessert. But I digressed knowing this would not be beneficial to his new diet. So throughout that day I made an attempt to make him his own homemade hamburger bun from a WF/GF bread mix. I placed it in the tuna can to get the right size and all. It baked, it cooled, it came out of the can ...... hollow! That's right, there wasn't a bottom in it and it tasted nasty to top it off. I packed up the kids and made an emergency run to a new store in Novi to try their hamburger buns. They toasted them for us and Zak liked the taste and thought it would do for dinner tonight. The Outback site was where I found out that the fries are cooked in wheat oil, so I made my own fries, deep fried them, placed them in the foil and placed them in the oven to keep warm.

We arrived at Outback, me with Zak's thermal lunch bag in hand with half his dinner enclosed in it. Going out to eat isn't all that easy anymore. Thankfully, Outback is fairly dark so nobody paid much attention to my thermal bag with half a dinner inside! I knew Zak's dinner came with mashed potatoes which I gladly took. I brought out Zak's bun and fries. He was thrilled! He was even more thrilled to find out that dessert awaited him at the end of his meal. Just because he wasn't thrilled over his hamburger bun, I still told him that he had to eat it before getting the dessert. He obliged! I am sure when the plates went back to the kitchen they wondered where that batch of fries came from. They surely didn't look like theirs!

Monday, July 13, 2009

A 3 Week Diet???

The 1st week of being WF/GF was going well. Zakkery was enjoying his new expensive snacks and I was busy filling my pantry to have on hand. I was also making up batches of WF/GF brownies as "special treats" for during these dog days of summer. While working on getting the essentials for filling the pantry, I spend approx. $14 on 2 very small loaves of bread. They left much to be desired, that is for sure. Zak didn't like it and I couldn't blame him because you couldn't pay me to choke down a morsel of it. So onward we marched and I could not throw those loaves of bread out and chalk it up as a flop. So I googled (I am the google queen) WF/GF french toast. I didn't know a recipe would be different and I wanted to be safe. I had $14 dollars on the line and couldn't afford to trash it. I found a great recipe on In addition to the normal ingredients for french toast it used rice milk (or soy or almond milk). I had rice milk on hand. I do a lot of baking with that since going WF/GF. It also included orange juice, honey, nutmeg and vanilla. It was a huge hit for the boys! After it was approved by the tasting board, I made the rest into french toast and then froze it all. Pop it in the toaster when ready to eat!

On Father's Day, we were visiting Rich's parents and I was telling them a bit about what we had found out. I was telling them about the WF/GF diet and Zakkery chimed in and said that it was only for 3 weeks. Instead of addressing the issue there, I decided I would discuss it at home with him. I knew the subject of "Never being able to eat pizza, donut and bagels etc." wasn't going to be a huge hit with him and may involve emotions, so I saved it. I really had to prepare myself anyway for discussing this with him in a positive way.

Heading into the 2nd week was tough because he was realizing that a lot of his favorite things were forever gone, or thus it seemed to a 9 year old. He had a couple of break downs at breakfast during this week. He would holler, "I can't believe I can't eat wheat anymore!" How many kids do you hear hollering that! I had to stay calm as I frantically looked for some more options. By this time, he had tried the bagels, which were a huge flop! You couldn't put enough cream cheese on the sucker to save your life! He had also tried another brand of waffles and they didn't taste like the Trader Joe waffles. That's when I started using the waffle mixes that I had bought to fill the pantry. Score! He was happy and they tasted great! We survived breakfast.

After he calmed down and had a full belly, I started talking to him about this being a change that will last a long time. I explained all the positive things that I have seen change in him since being off the wheat. I also had him tell me how he felt too. I also explained that I am learning about this right now and that if something taste very repulsive, we will find something new. I have found donuts! Score! When my child's health and well being and LD are all at the forefront and I CAN find results through diet change, I will fight to make it work. I literally take one meal at a time right now. I get too overwhelmed if I think too far ahead. I am the one responsible for making this work and I have to stay calm and not panic. I will not give up on him because it involves A LOT of reading and because it's just plain hard to change your child's diet. He will survive if I stay calm and have a positive attitude. Dr. B. has given me several tools to use to help him. It's my job to put those tools to use!

During the 2nd week is when I got the books, "Gluten Free for Dummies" and "Gluten Free Shopping Guide". I made a small trip to Meijers that weekend. I used my book and found normal foods that are WF/GF. Here are some samples. Taco shells and taco mix for the beef. Certains brands are WF/GF, others are not! Syrup, was another product. The kind I was using was not WF/GF so I had to change brands. To Zak, those are "normal" foods and I point that out to him. When we are having tacos. I tell him, these are WF/GF and you can eat them. And that is satisfying for him to know that his favorite meals are still available for him to eat!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Early Results

The journey of heading out of the wheat field was only beginning. The doctors appointment was a Monday, fresh start of a new week. It was also the first Monday after school was out. To me that was perfect timing. No sports, no school or homework, no guitar lessons. The stress in Zak's life had subsided and it was time to relax. Throughout this journey, I can see God's hand in this. The timing of it all, just happens to be one of those times.

Tuesday we headed out to get a few snacks that Zak could eat. He had a poptart for breakfast, which has wheat, but I wasn't going to break a fuss over that. I was still learning. On the way to the store, Zak asked if the poptart had wheat. I told him that it did and his response was, "I should not have eaten that!" I told him that it was okay and we were on the hunt to get things that he could eat but until then one more poptart to hold him over wasn't going to kill him. I knew then that this was a great age for him to learn about this new journey!

First stop was Meijer. Zak took great joy in picking out new snacks. After I picked my jaw up from the floor after seeing the prices, I proclaimed to the youngest little man that these would be off limits to him. I have relaxed a bit and he has had to chance to enjoy some wheat free/gluten free snacks.

The next day I scooted on up to Trader Joe's with my Mom. Found gluten free/wheat free mixes, waffles, brownies etc. A few days later I headed to Holiday Market and they struck it rich when I found the gluten free aisles. They even had donuts! I think I did the happy dance in the aisle. Okay maybe in my head. The price was nothing to dance over but the smile on Zak's face would be worth it. He has found many things that he does like in the wheat free/gluten free department which will never be found amongst the regular food. Like waffles and brownies and pizza etc. All the really good stuff. But we haven't had luck with the bread and bagels and hamburger buns. I am still working on that!

Enough about the food, because all that does is drive me crazy. My main focus is the changes I saw in Zakkery when he was becoming wheat free in the past following weeks. I am with him 24/7, especially since it's summer, so I see a lot and I analyze a lot as well. But I have had a girlfriend that gives me great feedback on what she sees as well. So therefore, I know it's not just me being bias.

As a side note I would like to add that I talked to a girlfriend who has a wheat sensitivity/allergy and told me that when she is on wheat her head is very fuzzy and she is unable to think straight. That one sentence shed new light on the Learning Disabilities that were starting to surface throughout 3rd grade. Dr. B. told me he didn't have a LD, and his head would clear up after he was off wheat! This journey was starting to make some sense. The puzzle pieces were beginning to fit!

In the following days and weeks Zakkery started talking more and engaging in conversations with me. He wasn't just answering all my "101 questions of the day" for my kicks. He really starting talking and better explaining himself. WOW! He started showing more signs of compassion and gentleness. For example, we were at friends house watching the fireworks. He walked up to me and said, "I'm so glad we are here, it's a really beautiful night!" He is more relaxed and doesn't get agitated when his little brother wants to borrow something or even look at it. They still have their brotherly disagreements, but I don't have a remedy for those. Zakkery was always a good sleeper after he got in a big boy bed. There were times when he was 2-4 years old he would fall asleep at 5pm and sleep the rest of the night. Even when he was older he would fall asleep around 8pm if we had friends over or if we were over at friends house. On school nights, we had to get all the homework and studying done by 7:30 or he would start to loose his composer. Since he has been off wheat he's been able to stay up later and not be miserable! Zakkery also has a lot of allergies. Wheat did not show up when he got tested, although I have read that it doesn't always show up. He has done allergy shots since the Fall and those are working amazingly. Dr. B. said that being off wheat will help as well!

So from the time that Zakkery switched to the wheat free diet, which was June 16 at dinner time to the time he had his 3 week checkup he only slipped up once during that time. I was making the dessert for a wedding rehearsal dinner. He saw that I had made the dessert. At the rehearsal dinner, I had to leave for a bit. He assumed that since I had made the dessert it must be wheat free, because Mom is cool like that, but it wasn't. So he came face to face with a wheat & gluten filled cupcake that was irresistable!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Living in the Wheat Field comes to a complete stop!

On June 15, 2009 the way I prepare food for my family had come to a screeching halt. I finally found a doctor that could give me some answers and give me some solutions about why things were beginning to snow ball with my 9 year old, Zakkery. Dr. B. is a chiropractor, who specializes in nutrition and homeopathic remedies for his patients.

Zakkery is 9 and for all of his life he has had gut issues. Constipation and the likes. He's big on bread, waffles, pancakes, french toast, fries, bread, donuts, bagels & bread. Did I say bread? You get the idea. His pediatrician would only offer up laxatives, over the counter kind. Zakkery was guzzling the root beer kind for kids. It worked. But really should someone live on laxatives, especially at such a young age. I stopped giving those to him and just allowed nature to take it's course when need be. It wasn't very often. 3rd grade happens and I'm told by his Social Studies teacher that he might have a learning disability, but nobody wants to test him. I come to the conclusion from talking to school staff and professionals that it's too much paper work. It's just me now, I figure I'm all this child has. I'm his advocate and I will do what I can to help this child out. 3rd grade was tough, I had heard it was tough, so I was prepared, somewhat. He got decent grades. I wasn't 100% happy with the support from the school, but that was okay, I was determined to do my part and that I did.

I came across this doctor through some girlfriends who had nothing but raves about Dr. B. One day while talking to a girlfriend, I realized, he might be able to help my Zak. The moment I got home, I called and made and appointment. It was the Monday after school was out. When I made the call and the receptionist was taking down my information, she asked why I was bringing him in. GULP! He has been having gut issues FOREVER and also there are some learning disabilities that are starting to surface and I am looking for answers. When that came out of my mouth, I thought for sure that this didn't make sense and I just sounded so dumb. I needed to hang up with this kind lady and do some serious research in addition to what I had already done.

I hung up the phone and Googled "is constipation and learning disabilities linked together". To my surprise they were. I couldn't wait to get to the office for Zak's 1 1/2 hour consultation. I wanted to know what he was going to say. In all my 2 weeks of reading online, not once did I come across the culprit to Zak's problems. A sensitivity/allergy to wheat. Okey dokey. Now what? During the consultation he tested his muscles. More on that in a minute. He told me that he is stressed due to the food diet that he is one. I could agree with that, but I thought that was just his personality, a bit uptight in other words. Other physical signs that Zakkery had was colic as a baby, eczema, bloated stomach, & weak muscles in his left leg when tested by the doctor. So the doctor recommended a wheat free diet. Sounded easy enough. I didn't really think about what that really meant until I got home and started my research from great sources on line. He also gave Zakkery some supplements. One is cod liver oil, orange flavor. Zakkery drinks it like a champ! There's so many great benefits to that. He's also on a probiotic due to him being on so many antibiotics as an infant/toddler/child with ear infections. And a supplement for his adrenal gland.

My initial reaction to this visit was relief! I had some answers that held hope! I was so ready for this wheat free diet thing until I realized what it actually was. To put it simply if it has wheat he can't have it. So that's pasta, pizza, bread, donuts, bagels and so on. Take a glance at your food labels. Turn to the ingredients. Look for "wheat" in the ingredients. Scan down further and see if it also says in bold print, "contains wheat". That's what he can't have.

I was recommended by a girlfriend to read "Gluten Free for Dummies". I have read it from cover to cover and have highlighted in between. I also have the "Gluten Free Shopping Guide" that was recommended from another girlfriend. This is a great book because it lists "real food" that doesn't have the wheat or gluten.

Gluten is a protein substance that remains when starch is removed from cereal grains; gives cohesiveness to dough. So if it has gluten is probably has wheat. There is a spectrum for wheat and gluten. You can be on the left side and have a wheat sensitivity or you can be on the far right and have celiacs disease. Wherever an individual is on the spectrum, you can't have wheat at all.

Onto the Muscle Testing. I don't understand it all, nor am I going to try to explain it because I won't do it justice. But there is going to be a lecture on it in a few weeks at the doctors office. So I have signed up and I plan on attending. I will take good notes too.

Next post, I will write about the 3 weeks of being wheat free/gluten free and the follow up visit that Zakkery had with Dr. B.