Thursday, January 6, 2011

Gluten, Casein, and Soy Free - can we just get a brownie please?

GFCFSF - looks a lot like (*^*&(^%* right? At least that was my first thought when we started off down this road. I have twin sons, one typical, one on the spectrum, and a two year old daughter. In addition to the wide variety of tastes (Teddy hates chocolate, Scarlett doesn't miss a meal, Alex is addicted to turkey, and then there is my husband who doesn't like to eat red meat, potatoes, the other white meat, and host of other things), Alex also is on a gluten free, casein free, and now soy free diet. So the question - "what's for dinner" takes on a whole new life.

As I cast about daily for recipes and ideas, it occurrs to me to share some of my findings with some of the other people out there (since I regularly steal ideas from their blogs it seems only fair.) So The Three Frees is a place to find recommendations on our favorite mixes, recipes, and general commentary on the delights of stay-at-home motherhood with two four year olds who do not seem to get the concept of potty training after two years of trying. (Really, potty training is the world's most untapped form of birth control - someone should create a high school program for teens to spend a week with a potty training family. It would put anyone off children.) But I digress.

Why we eat this way: Alex was diagnosed right before his second birthday, and on the recommendation of one of his therapists, we tried eliminating first gluten and then casein from his diet. While we've been told by numerous doctors and nutritionists that there was no medical background for the effects of this diet, we saw RESULTS. Alex went from a sort of opiate-ish fog to a state of presence that was unbelievable to behold. On occasion we've tried to reintroduce one or the other but we always seem to lose his focus, so we've gone back to it. Most recently we've been told to eliminate soy (by a practicioner of a new type of therapy, but that's a story for a different day), which brings me back to the present question: What's for *&^GFCFSF#*! dinner?

For a while we've stuck to a sort of South Beach kind of diet with a lot of brown rice thrown in for good measure, but lately I've started branching out and experimenting with family and my own recipes. The holidays were a source of inspiration, b/c while it is easy to keep a two year old away from the holiday cookies (sort of) it becomes a lot harder when they are four and around school and playdates.

The pre-made products and mixes available have gotten a lot better in the last few years. I know this b/c when the twins were first born, I was determined to nurse. My house-calling lactation consultant put me on a gluten free diet for some reason. I don't remember why - I may have blocked it out because 1) the food was SO wretched and 2) I was in a state of shocked psychosis for about the first 6 months having had no idea what was in store for me with twins.
In any case I lasted about a week, but I do remember the gag reflex feeling so I try everything I give to the kids now to make sure it is edible. And some of the products are really good! Case in point - my pick of the post - top brownie mix: King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Brownies.

I feel like I should make that it's own paragraph. King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Brownies.
To keep them casein free I use oil rather than butter while I'm making them. Also, I add in chocolate chunks. I use Lindt 85% or darker chocolate because I haven't found any other chocolate without soy.

Can we just take a quick minute to talk about soy? It is in EVERYTHING. I ask you to take the soy challenge and go thru your pantry and refrigerator. If you buy mainstream groceries (not 100% organic, blah blah,, although soy worms its way into that stuff too) you are going to be hardpressed to find 10% of your food soy free. I just made that number up, I have no idea how much of your food will be soy free but seriously it is in a lot of things. Go ahead, try to find another chocolate without it. How did we ever live without soy? And what kind of bean has this versatility? You can eat it as a bean, a sponge (tofu), drink it, wear it, I think they make plastic out of it. Was there ever such a versatile plant out there? The poor green bean has missed out on a golden opportunity.

But back to brownies. These brownies are DELICIOUS. As my husband says - why do we ever need any "regular" ones? Try them, you will love them. Our local Stop and Shop can't even keep them in stock, so other people think they are good too.