Chances

My approach to Martin’s food continues to evolve.

In the earliest days, I would say, Martin’s diet was one of restriction. No grains, dairy, soy, corn, refined sugar, starchy vegetables, or fruits other than pear and avocado. No colors or sweeteners, no packaged or prepared foods, nothing from a restaurant. My mindset was mired in what he could not eat, and I concocted elaborate replacements for “usual” foods. This was a time of homemade zucchini seed “French fries,” sunflour patties, and duck nuggets; as long as the dish didn’t have any no’s, and seemed vaguely like a familiar food, it was a yes.

As I learned more about Martin’s particular needs, we ventured into specialty diets: GAPS with its endless broths, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, low-salicylate, which brought us more potatoes and less coconut oil.

At some point, food became easier when I focused on simplicity: fewer replacements and complicated recipes, more limited-ingredient masterpieces.

This summer in Nicaragua, I was able to confirm that fruit doesn’t have to be our enemy anymore—after fruit had been relegated to that role for years by Martin’s tendency to yeast overgrowth. Also, through trial and error, I brought back in some of the higher-salicylate items formerly removed.

Now, back in the States with access to an embarrassing range of organic options, my motto has become: “Every meal, a chance to heal.” Martin is still gluten-, dairy-, soy-, and refined-sugar free, and his food is mostly homemade and organic. But I’m focused less on how to replace what Martin can’t eat and more on how I can pack fat, protein, and nutrients onto his plate while still keeping the meals delicious.

For exemplar purposes, I photographed this morning’s breakfast preparations. These were the ingredients, as I prepared them—

IMG_8554

Fritter mixture (sweet potato, onion, garlic, carrot tops), pineapple, strawberries, orange, avocado, egg.

You see orange slices, strawberries, 1/4 avocado, one egg, and a bowl with shredded sweet potatoes and minced onion, garlic, and carrot greens. That’s a lot of vitamin content, plus the healthy fat of avocado and protein of egg. Tell me that you’re asking yourself what kind of lunatic arranges the prepared ingredients in a pattern on her cutting board? Only when I’m operating “for exemplar purposes.” Keep up. Next I whisked the egg in a glass with Himalayan pink salt and stirred it into the sweet potato bowl.

IMG_8555

Fritter mixture, now with egg. Ready to fry!

Then I juiced those orange slices in preparation for Martin’s smoothie. Because it so fibrous, orange is one of the few fruits I won’t add whole to a smoothie. I usually use coconut water as the base of Martin’s breakfast smoothie; this morning, I had oranges to use up and so substituted orange juice. I put the orange juice in the Vitamix with the avocado and strawberries. I add avocado to every smoothie, healthy fat that Martin doesn’t taste. (I’m also finding new ways to disguise spinach and kale.)

IMG_8556

Getting the pulp out of the oranges.

Finally I formed patties from the shredded-sweet-potato mixture and fried them in olive oil. Breakfast looked like this:

IMG_8557

Voilà! Crunchy sweet potato fritters with fruit smoothie. Breakfast is served.

That’s a common weekday breakfast. Here are some other examples:

IMG_8586

Berry smoothie with “egg muffin” (diced vegetables, spices, and egg baked in ramekin) and salted roast potatoes.

IMG_8816

Tropical smoothie with “egg muffin” (diced peppers, parsley, and spices with egg, baked in ramekin) and potatoes with carrot greens.

IMG_8541

Tropical smoothie and squash fritters, made with onions and red palm oil for rich color.

I still tend to put Martin’s meat serving—if he has one, on a given day—into his school lunch. Today, lunch was turkey meatballs, filled with peppers and leeks. For dessert, homemade meringues (egg whites, vanilla, arrowroot, maple sugar). For snack, a Lärabar.

Tonight was a slow-cooker dinner. Late morning, I diced whatever “autumn” vegetables were in my fridge, and added late-season tomatoes and herbs from my garden. That mixture went into the Instant Pot, together with red lentils, spices, and vegetable broth.

IMG_8798

The dinner ingredients. I had such fun laying out the breakfast ingredients for display that I figured I would continue the trend.

IMG_8799

Dinner into the Instant Pot to slow cook.

Of course, not every meal is a vegetable powerhouse. Convenience can play its role. Some mornings, breakfast is a smoothie plus “pizza,” i.e., peanut butter spread between Siete grain-free tortillas and fried in macadamia nut oil.

IMG_8832

Finally! A green smoothie. This one has spinach, cashew milk, coconut yogurt, peanut butter, and frozen banana.

Some evenings, dinner is brown-rice fusilli with “cheese” sauce, in this case served alongside Indian-spiced chickpea fries.

IMG_8788

This is like the ASD-recovery version of mac-‘n’-cheese with chicken fingers, I guess.

Adrian, who refuses to eat breakfast except on weekends, continues to get two Bento boxes of mostly raw food, and one container of lentils, to take to the office for lunch.

IMG_8781

A sample bento box for Adrian. In this one I packed salted avocado, grapes, peanuts, raw-milk cheddar, apple, hummus, and Mary’s Gone Crackers Thins.

Every meal is a chance to heal.

Now, if a child’s system is damaged and not properly absorbing nutrients, all the raw vegetables in the world won’t necessarily get the healing done; the trick is to find the proper food combinations. We are awaiting new test results to learn more about Martin’s gut today and whether we need to tweak his diet yet again.

And we press onward.

Wait—That’s Bad?

In the post about Martin’s disastrous Disney morning, I also mentioned buying him a black coffee, hoping it would help.

In my effort to present an honest picture on this blog, I keep my readers abreast of my application for Autism Parent of the Year. Remember when I started my kid on glasses and Heilkunst the same day, then couldn’t figure out which made him puke? Or when I denied him the chance to connect with a boy at church? How about when I vacationed in Jerusalem while Martin pined and threw tantrums at home? Way to go, me!

Let’s add coffee to the list. Months ago, Martin asked to sample an iced coffee I was drinking. I drink my coffee black: There wasn’t any soy milk or commercial almond milk or carrageenan or whatnot to worry about, so I let Martin try a sip. I thought he would hate the taste. Instead, a practice began, wherein Martin drank my coffee. More and more coffee each time, until finally I was buying him his own black iced coffees and giving him hot coffee at home.

My reasoning? Brewed coffee is GAPS-legal, and the stimulant effect seemed to do Martin well. He seemed more focused. No harm done, right?

Not so much, is MAPS doctor informed me when I mentioned the coffee habit (and convinced her to believe me). A stimulant isn’t really so good for Martin, and I should stop with the coffee, ASAP.

Which was my honest intention, until things ran amuck at Disney. Coffee! I told my brother Rudy. Grab some coffee! It helps!

Except when it doesn’t.

ASD Recovery Recipe: Holiday Cookies, or “Get Off the Freakin’ Goldfish Already”

Readers, are you sick to death of reading my goldfish creations? Are you bored of stories about GAPS almond-flour goldfish, or goldfish made with macadamias that are soaked, and dried, and pulverized?

I can imagine. I’m a tad sick of goldfish myself.

Here’s the thing: Martin will never get sick of goldfish. Like, never, ever. Our local supermarket has a Goldfish® holiday pop-up display right inside the front door. The kids at Martin’s school get Goldfish® as food rewards. The kids at our church share Goldfish® at coffee hour. One elementary-school parishioner has been spotted (by—you guessed it! —Martin) toting a giant carton of Goldfish® around the church gym, scooping out handfuls to cram into his mouth. It’s like my six-year-old is perpetually swimming in a sea of Goldfish® that only he can’t catch.

And so he fixates on goldfish crackers.

And so I spend whole afternoons in the kitchen, fulfilling his goldfish dreams.

Today brought an unintentional goldfish adventure. In a lovely little Facebook group called “Fun Food on a Special Diet,” someone posted a recipe for “holiday roll-out cookies” that turned out to be GAPS-compatible. With memories of mixing and refrigerating sugar-cookie dough from my Grandma Gennie’s recipe, then rolling it out, cutting, baking, decorating, I decided to attempt sugar(-like) Christmas cookies for Martin.

Here is the recipe I used:

½ cup ghee

1 egg

¼ cup raw honey

¾ cup coconut flour (more as necessary)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon lemon zest

Combine the ghee and honey and beat until smooth. Beat in egg. Combine the coconut flour, baking soda, and lemon zest, then beat ¼ cup at a time into the batter. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes. Or use my lazy method: Pop the dough into a Ziploc®, smooth out air, and seal the bag before refrigerating.

After 30 minutes or more, place the dough on a parchment paper dusted with more coconut flour, add another layer of parchment paper on top, and roll out to about 3/16” thickness. (The original recipe called for ¼”; I went thinner, though not as thin as 1/8”.) Use cookie cutters to create festive holiday shapes. If you want, brush the top with egg white to create a shine. Transfer to a parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

I suppose you’re wondering how this turned into a goldfish adventure? I got too ambitious with my cookie cutters, that’s how. Instead of traditional shapes like the Christmas tree and snowman I had as a kid, I picked up a set that involve cutting a circle and then stamping a design into the circle with a separate disk. The GAPS dough did cut conveniently into circles that I could transfer to the cookie sheet. On the other hand, the circles were too sticky to release the molded disk, even when I dusted it with coconut flour. That left me with boring circle cookies. How Christmassy are boring circles? I suppose I could have decorated them as ornaments, but as far as decorating goes, I didn’t have many ideas beyond softening up some coconut manna and trying to color it naturally to create icing.

When in doubt, goldfish the recipe. (That’s correct. I made “goldfish” into a verb. Deal with it.) I whipped out my tiny, copper goldfish cookie cutter and went to town. Then I dredged each goldfish in egg white, which I had sitting on the counter because I’d just used the yolks for homemade mayonnaise so that I can devil some eggs for Christmas Day because my son’s autism has magically transformed me into Martha Stewart. Once the goldfish were shiny from their egg-white baths, I sprinkled them liberally with cinnamon and baked.

The result? Cinnamon holiday goldfish cookies. At least that’s the story I’m going with.

The bonus? These goldfish don’t contain nuts, so I’m allowed to send them to school with Martin for a snack.

Autism Recovery Martha parties onward.

photo-18

ASD Recovery Recipes: Snack Tray, and a Bonus for Cara

In this post are recipes for homemade marshmallows, Grinch holiday fruit treats, mint-chocolate candies, berry gummies, and raw almond macaroons.

Martin’s super-tremendous play group rotates among the houses of the six participating kids. The host usually provides snacks. When we’re at someone else’s house, I let Martin have whatever fresh fruit might be available and also bring a just-in-case treat from his snack drawer. When we are hosting, I try to serve snacks that (1) Martin can eat, and (2) the other children, who do not follow special diets, also will enjoy. That’s not easy. Most kids don’t seem to be into homemade treats (Martin also prefers store-bought, packaged foods), and if something comes in a wrapper, they expect refined sugar, not date-sweetened nut bars or sesame seaweed.

Last Friday, for the adults (the parents who hang around, in a separate room, while the kids play), I served fruit and arugula-cabbage chips. I’d bought the chips originally for Martin’s snack drawer. He didn’t like them. I loved them, and last Friday so did the other parents. Perhaps arugula-cabbage chips are a more “refined” taste. In any event, if Martin had wandered by the grown-up table and helped himself to chips, we would have been fine.

For the kids I put together this tray:

photo-17

Pictured are Grinch fruits on toothpicks, mint-chocolate snowflakes, and gummy dinosaurs.

Marshmallows (and the Grinch)

The Grinch is a concoction I’ve seen floating around the Web, on a few sites. It was pretty straightforward to make—green grape, banana slice, strawberry, secured with a toothpick—until the pom-pom atop the hat. Each pom-pom is supposed to be a mini-marshmallow. I couldn’t find any commercial marshmallows that were GAPS-compatible, so I set out to make my own. I found a recipe on Food.com and modified it to come up with this:

1 tablespoon gelatin

¼ cup cold water

1 cup coconut crystals

another ¼ cup cold water

1/8 teaspoon Celtic salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Coat the inside of a small glass loaf pan with a thin layer coconut oil and powder it with coconut flour.

Dissolve the gelatin in the first ¼ cup of cold water and set aside.

In a small saucepan, mix the coconut crystals with the second ¼ cup cold water and stir this over medium heat until the crystals dissolve. Then add the gelatin mixture and bring the whole thing to a boil.

Transfer to a mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly, then add the salt and vanilla and beat ten minutes or more, until doubled in size. Pour into the loaf pan and refrigerate until you can touch the surface without the marshmallow sticking to your finger. Cut into pieces.

At this point, the original recipe instructs to coat the marshmallow pieces in powdered sugar. I wasn’t about to do that. On the other hand, I did have to take some action before I made these bits into pom-poms; because I used coconut crystals as my sweetener instead of refined sugar, my marshmallows came out tan. Pom-poms are supposed to be white! I decided to roll them in unsweetened dehydrated coconut flakes. Not perfect. Close enough.

Mint-Chocolate Candies

The mint-chocolate snowflakes were the biggest hit, though in retrospect, I should have chosen smaller candy molds. They are too a rich candy for thick portions. I used a recipe I picked up at a Generation Rescue cooking presentation at Autism One two years ago (as very slightly modified):

3 cups shredded coconut

¾ cup honey

1/3 cup raw cacao or carob powder

3/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

½ cup finely chopped nuts

Blend the coconut in a high-speed blender until creamy. (I think many people would do this in a Vitamix. I love my Vitamix, but I don’t like to do too much for Martin with it, because the vessel is plastic. For this recipe I use my 14-year-old KitchenAid glass blender instead.) If necessary, add a teaspoon or two of coconut oil to facilitate the blending. Set aside.

Bring the honey to a very low boil and stir for a few minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut cream and the remaining ingredients.

Quickly, before the mixture cools, pour into silicone candy molds. Refrigerate until solid.

The original recipe calls for pouring the mixture into an 8×8 pan and slicing when cooled. I have done that, too, using a glass pan. The candy molds are more trouble but add cuteness to the yumminess.

Gummy Creatures

The gummy creatures were the easiest to make. I got the recipe from the same Generation Rescue presentation as the mint-chocolate candies. To make berry gummies, cook fresh (or even frozen, though I’ve had better success with fresh) berries over low heat until they are fragrant and soft, not boiling. Allow them to cool slightly and transfer to a blender. With the blender running, add pure gelatin in a 4:1 berries:gelatin ratio; for example, if you have one cup of berries, add ¼ cup of gelatin. Immediately pour the mixture into silicone candy molds, wiping away any extra. Refrigerate until they pop easily from the molds. Store in refrigerator.

Raw Almond Macaroons

As I am pounding out multiple recipes in a single post, I am going to add one more, for Cara. She’s a mom whose son participates in Martin’s playgroup. Cara complains that I send treats for her three boys and then, when she asks for the recipes, never deliver. Cara has been waiting a while for this one, and in about ten minutes I am going to text her and insist that she read this post, so without further ado, here is the recipe for raw almond macaroons. All measurements are approximate and subject to change based on what’s in my kitchen at the moment of preparation.

2 cups almond flour

½-1 cup coconut oil

½ cup raw honey

½ cup shredded coconut (unsweetened), plus more for rolling

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½-1 teaspoon Celtic salt

Mix all ingredients. Form into balls approximately one inch in diameter. If the dough is too crumbly, add more coconut oil or, if it can stand to be sweeter, add more honey. If the dough is too oily, add more almond flour. Roll each ball in more shredded coconut. You’re done! To maintain shape and freshness, these are best stored in the refrigerator.

Epilogue

About those marshmallows: After I finished making them, I thought, well, that was a lot of work for just the little Grinch toppers. Maybe I should have bought whatever best-quality organic marshmallows I could find and allowed Martin the tiny infraction of one or two. As it turned out, I needn’t have worried about any infraction. I forgot that Martin—he who once upon a time schemed to get his hands on bananas and ordered strawberries for dessert—recently announced that he no longer likes bananas or strawberries. He refused to touch any Grinch. And the other kids, the ones without dietary restrictions, looked at my tan marshmallows with coconut coating with suspicion and skepticism.

Second Epilogue

The woman who helps me with housekeeping has a daughter with food allergies and a son with social challenges, and as a result she is cautious with their food. During the week she happened to lament, casually, that she couldn’t find any acceptable marshmallows for their hot chocolate. “Did you say, ‘marshmallows’?,” I asked. I yanked my half-pan of leftover Grinch marshmallow from the fridge and cut a bunch of mini-chunks. She sampled one, proclaimed it delicious, and promised to report on whether her kids go for brown marshmallows. We’ll see.

So, What Happened?

What happened? How was Thanksgiving? How did my terrific organic vegetarian-, pescatarian-, and GAPS-friendly plan turn out? Did I rock the holiday table?

Here’s what happened Thanksgiving week.

Sunday afternoon, and again on Monday, my mother and I went shopping. Dried cranberries sweetened only with apple juice. Bunches of kale. Hazelnuts. Farm eggs. A bag of almost-ripe avocados. Fresh rosemary, and sage. Everything the menu required, we had. Except for the fish. The fish we were to purchase Wednesday.

Monday evening, three days before Thanksgiving, my brother Rudy and his friend arrived from California. Adrian and I stayed home while my parents retrieved the new guests at JFK. I fed and bathed Martin, got him to bed, missed the last step coming downstairs, and stubbed my big toe, hard. (That will become relevant. Really.) With Martin asleep, we adults sat down to a nice dinner.

By the time dinner ended, my toe had swollen and bruised, and I could hardly move it, so I took some ibuprofen. Other than the toe, I felt fine when I went to bed at 10:30 pm.

Around 1:00 am I woke, perceiving that something was terribly wrong but unsure what. My toe throbbed, a pain that radiated to my knee, and I felt as if my body were empty, without muscle or energy. I hobbled from bed to the bathroom and lay on the tile floor, bewildered. I didn’t need the bathroom. It just seemed like I belonged there. I don’t know whether I fell asleep, or whether minutes passed, or more. The next time I came to my senses, I was shaking. I crawled several feet and collapsed onto the shower mat, thinking it would keep me warm. When the shaking turned to convulsing, I realized I needed help.

This is a blog about Martin’s health, not mine, so I’m going to fast-forward past the dreadful rest of Monday night and Tuesday morning, and the circumstances that had me sent from a doctor’s office to the hospital Tuesday afternoon, and leave it suffice to say: Thank God my mother was visiting. Without her, Martin might’ve gone unkempt and unfed, and who knows what would’ve become of me? Some virus took hold and wrung me good: fevers, dehydration, dangerously low potassium. Doctors and nurses prodded and monitored me all night Tuesday, then released me from the hospital early Wednesday, after I had stabilized.

By Wednesday evening, the night before Thanksgiving, I was able to get out of bed. But I wasn’t going to be doing any cooking.

The elaborate menu of three breads, two entrées, four side dishes, and three desserts fell entirely upon the shoulders of my long-suffering mother, ably assisted by my stepfather. And what do you know? Despite doing her simultaneous best to take care of me, to feed my husband and stepfather and brother and friend, and to amuse Martin, she managed to prepare everything other than the pumpkin poppers and raw kale salad. To be sure, there were minor snafus. Instead of fresh fish, she prepared Vital Choice salmon from my basement freezer. The zucchini bread turned into zucchini muffins. The cauliflower, when mashed, produced about one-half the expected volume. Still! Hey! Thanksgiving dinner for everyone! (Everyone except me. I still wasn’t up to eating.) Martin particularly loved the zucchini muffins. He’s been eating them for breakfast ever since.

I am going to say that I felt pretty darn thankful. Thankful that if I had to get sick, at least I had my mother in the house. Thankful that everyone arrived safely. Thankful for a meal we all could eat together. Thankful that Martin conversed fluidly with the guests, that he’s doing so well.

Thankful that, along with the CAT scan and ultrasound, the hospital took the time to x-ray my big toe. It was bruised but not broken.

Bruised but never broken. That’s us.

10482129_997503296932826_489716492902670442_o

Less-Meat GAPS (With Photos!)

I received this inquiry: “The GAPS diet is so meaty. If Martin is eating only one meat serving per day plus broth, what all is he eating?”

Fair question.

I’ll use today as an example, and as I’m writing this, I’m realizing that, depending on how you define “meat serving,” he might have had two.

For breakfast, Martin drank a 12-ounce glass of homemade bone broth and ate a small dish of fermented vegetables—today, eight string beans. Some weekday mornings Martin takes only broth. I prepare a full breakfast only on the weekends, when Adrian eats at home and we have more time.

Martin’s school asks that we send two snacks each day, and a lunch. Today I packed both snacks into one container. The morning snack was homemade protein bars. That recipe varies every time; this version had organic SunButter, chia seeds, coconut flakes, cacao nibs, honey, and sea salt. For afternoon snack, he got gummy treats, which I made by heating and pureeing strawberries, then adding pure bovine gelatin and pouring the mixture into silicone candy molds.

photo 3

Did you catch that? Bovine gelatin in the afternoon snack. If you count that as meat, because it comes from a cow, then Martin had two meat servings today.

As for Martin’s lunch, if you read yesterday’s post, you already know what it was: meatballs that were actually half-vegetable.

photo 2

When Martin arrived home from school, per his custom he immediately wanted another snack, which he was allowed to select from his snack drawer. Today’s snack choices looked like this—

photo 1

Martin went with a cappuccino Lära Bar. (Yes, that has a small amount of coffee.) Per my custom, I asked Martin to finish his camel milk before eating the snack. I added cinnamon to the camel milk.

An hour later, when we were leaving for his piano lesson, Martin demanded yet another snack. As I rushed to get him out the door, I came up with some leftover freeze-dried blueberries. He arrived at the music school with purple hands and a purple face.

For dinner, I gave Martin the choice of pasta, which I would cook with veggies and olives, or “cheese and crackers.” He decided to have the latter, Dr. Cow fermented nut cheese paired with New York Naturals kale crackers. With dinner he had another 12 ounces of bone broth.

photo 1photo 2

Then, of course, it was time for dessert. Martin got a quarter-cup of “chocolate ice cream,” a cashew-based product sweetened with raw agave. Agave is not GAPS-legal! But there was very little agave, and I decided we would all survive the experience. While I was serving the ice cream, Martin asked, “Mommy, why don’t you put some chocolate chips on it?”, which I did, in the form of raw cacao nibs.

photo-9

Throughout the day, including at school, Martin drank Fiji water from a Lifefactory bottle, into which I mixed a splash of juice and his MitoSpectra powder.

No day is perfect. Today Martin had too much sugar (from honey, strawberries, dates in the Lärabar, blueberries, juice, and “ice cream”) and one non-GAPS ingredient (raw agave). And it’s probably apparent that I don’t have big oxalate concerns at this time; with all the nuts and cocoa, it was an oxalate-heavy menu. Still, he had his camel milk, 24 ounces of bone broth, and veggies in reasonable quantity.

Then he went to bed, and I had wine.

Sneakin’ and Foolin’

What’s this picture? Any guesses?

photo 4

It shows the makings for meatballs. More specifically, it shows tiny pieces of carrot, garlic, onion, and parsley.

I, like many parents, at least the kind of over-the-top parents I hang around, use meatballs as a vessel for veggies. Martin loves when I send meatballs to school for his lunch. He finds many ways to tell me how much he loves when I send meatballs to school for his lunch. For example, last night after his bedtime, I returned to the family room to find that he’d written “MEATBALLS FOR LUNCH?” on a balloon and left it on the toy chest.

photo 1photo 2

If nothing else, he’s subtle.

So meatballs it is. But I shall insist on concealing veggies in those meatballs. I process onions, fresh garlic, and whatever else I have on hand, then mix them with ground beef, maybe a 1:1 veggie-meat ratio, or slightly less.

photo 3

Then I form the mass into balls and store them in a glass container.

photo 2

For the next three mornings, I will cook meatballs in olive oil, add strained tomatoes (from a glass jar), and pack them, hot, in a stainless-steel container for Martin to take to school. (I also fill the container with near-boiling water for five minutes, then empty the water and add the meatballs. This helps keep them warm.) As I mentioned on October 29 (see the paragraph numbered (3.), which begins, “I’m an empiricist”), I have Martin down to one serving of meat daily, not counting bone broths. For the next three days, the meat serving will be meatballs at lunch, and I’ll be happy to think I’ve snuck in almost the equivalent of a side salad. If I could find a way to keep the veggies raw while cooking the meat, they would be more salad-like still.

Time for a confession: Martin’s not the only one getting fooled these days.

Although Martin has been gluten-free for almost four years now, I’ve never made our household gluten-free. I like bread, and occasional seitan. Adrian likes to take a sandwich to work each day, along with crackers for his hummus or raw-milk (over the top!) cheese. This summer, after reading a few opinions and reviewing my own experience, I became more concerned about cross-contamination between our gluten-containing products and Martin’s foods. Although I have separate toasters for gluten and gluten-free bread, they both leave residue in the cabinet. Although I wash the cutting boards between uses, it’s not like I never find a few bread bits clinging to the edges. Crumbs are untamable. They fly everywhere! Cheese and yogurt, the two dairy products that Adrian likes, so we have them at home, are much easier to subdue.

I knew I should make our house gluten-free. I also knew that I’d be pushing it with Adrian if I told him my plan. Adrian is super-duper supportive about what we do for Martin. That being said, Adrian works long, tough hours and hates to have his little pleasures denied. I can see his point, or the point he would have made had I told him that the house should be gluten-free: How necessary is that? Is it too much to ask that I take a sandwich to work as part of my lunch? That I have toast with weekend breakfast? Enjoy a plate of cheese and crackers and grapes when I come home late?

So I did what any sensible autism-recovery mom would do: I kept my mouth shut. Over a couple months, I searched for the best tasting gluten-free products that I could substitute without Adrian realizing. Crackers were easy; he’s always liked good-quality rice-, quinoa-, and seed-based crackers. The challenge was bread; most varieties I found were crumbly, or dry and nutty tasting, or both. (The chicken-and-egg bread I make for Martin is not an option, because Adrian doesn’t eat chicken.) Finally I found a variety at my local Stop & Shop that is almost indistinguishable from gluten bread. It is less dense and the slices are smaller. Other than that, hard to tell. It’s been more than a month since I’ve brought gluten into the house. If he’s noticed, Adrian hasn’t said anything.

Wait! you might say. This post has just gone public. Isn’t Adrian about to discover his unwitting gluten-free lifestyle?

He doesn’t read my blog every day.

Maybe I’ll get lucky.

photo 1

Two of these products (I won’t say which two) are more processed and full of ingredients that would never be in my kitchen if I were baking. The other two are pretty good, and products that I would consider for Martin if he weren’t on the GAPS diet. Adrian is getting all of these. He can take it.