Friday, November 5, 2010

I've Lost My Mojo

I like to bake. And no, I am not making a Humboldt County reference. Eggs + flour + sugar = happiness. And not just because I like cake. (Which is like saying the housewives of Beverly Hills like plastic surgery)I like the fact that I can whip something together from scratch, and have folks ooh and aaah over it like I split the atom. I've even fancied the idea of learning to do it professionally (but fear the subsequent pounds on my ass that would follow). I like that I am the "dessert" at a potluck. (don't get me wrong, when it comes to savory cooking, I can keep hungry off a starving man, but I ain't Bobby Flay.) But I have been reminded that pride goeth before the alcoholic binge…

What does this have to do with parenting a child with autism, you ask? Well, it's because of Benji that I've been humbled in the world of baking. As of this week, we are officially Gluten free (well, Ben and Mr Mommy are) and the kitchen as I know it isn't working for me.

I should state here that the Gluten free Casein free diet has shown to be effective (anecdotally) in @50% of Autism cases. (its hard to get good empirical evidence because once parents put a kid on it and see improvement, they don't wanna take them off to prove the science) In my opinion it's a big enough stat. that you have to try, even if you have doubts, as I do.

Now there are MANY parents of children with Autism that aren't even willing to try because they see the glass half empty. Frankly, what can it hurt to try it for 6 months (*time period I've predetermined through no scientific study*) ? If you see no improvement, break out the chips ahoy in 6 months and celebrate the fact that you tried!

My previously stated doubt come from some unscientific observations I have made. I've noticed that this diet seems to be effective with those kids that also have gut problems. Which my son does not have. He's an optimum pooper. So, I am walking into this with a fairly skeptic eye. (which, honestly is how I approach all Autism treatments. There are 408 of them out there. If one was the end-all be-all, I THINK we'd know by now. Still, you gotta try) So, with a cocked eyebrow and shaker at the ready, I have brought us into the GFCF world.

We've been CF (no milk proteins) since September. In fact, I will prolly test dairy in a few weeks, once we're at least two-three weeks GF. Sometimes, Gluten can damage the gut enough that milk proteins (casein) cannot be tolerated. Remove the gluten, and you can then digest dairy. Sometimes. Kinda like sometimes you can drink Jager shots and not act like a dumbass. Sometimes.

Or it could be he has not problem with dairy at all and this last month has just been an annoyance to all of us. aaahh, the joys of science.

So, GF savory cooking is easy. Meat + rice or quinoa + vegetable=dinner. Eggs, GF pancakes, more eggs, and eggs= breakfast. Bloody Marys are optional.

But lunch has been, for some time now, the ubiquitous Peanut butter sandwich. Peanut butter & honey to be exact--since we switched to Feingold and his usual jams were removed. But he likes it, and he gets a daily dose of raw honey. But that bread. That soft, spongy, multigrain wonder that served as the PB vehicle…it tasks me.

See--I make all our bread. From scratch. ALL of it. With a bread maker to do all the kneading, all I have to do is shape and bake. It requires some time on my part--but only that I "be around" for each step.

But now wheat gluten is gone, and I am left with a variety of flours that smell and taste funny, and must be measured just so, with the perfect ratio of liquids, everything at a proper temperature, holding my tongue just right, and whispering a prayer every 23 minutes. So far I have attempted two loaves from scratch--and yielded two bricks. (in my defense--Benji still ate them--slathered in PB & honey), but it 's messin' with my mojo.

I even bought a new breadmaker (I needed a new pan anyway for cross contamination issues, so why not replace my dinosaur with a new fangled wonder. It's got a GF setting and it even makes jam!) That's what yielded brick #2.

So today I caved. I bought a mix. Two to be precise, to see how they taste and work. Both are highly rated by users (I've done my internet research) and are similarly priced, so it will just come down to taste and performance.

(I can report that the mix loaf did, in fact, rise. And then fell like the Berlin wall. So it’s a concave bread. WE can practice our alphabet--C! C is for crying, which mommy does when the bread doesn't turn out right. U! U is for unhappy, unsatisfied, and unstable--mommy or the bread--you decide. Still--it's taller than the last two, so it's sort-of a victory. V! Victory. right.)

And for those of you thinking, why not just buy a loaf of GF bread? I did examine one pre-made GF loaf today. It was heavy enough to be useful as a doorstop. OR to thwart a bear or zombie attack. But that thing was so heavy, I have no doubt it would do as much damage to your stomach eating it than getting hit in the gut with it. I think I'll stick to baking. Or a poor facsimile of baking. Or drinking a beer while I stare at the ingredients and will them to become bread. Something like that.


Anonymous said...

You're feeling my pain! Gluten-free bread is the holy grail of baking for us GF folks. That frustration you're feeling is exactly why I don't do as much baking as I once did. We never got to make that gf bread last week. When I do I'll pass it on to you if it turns out to be the spectacular piece of heaven that everyone in the blogosphere has said it is.

It's not your mojo you've lost. It's your gluten you've lost. You're working with flours you've never used before and bread will never be the same. I've learned to not expect that anything I bake gluten-free will be just like it's gluten-full counterpart.

As for the whole gut thing. Sometimes it's not always apparent. For all of us with gluten issues we have similarities and differences. You mostly hear about and from the people with the apparent and obvious symptoms. Rarely do you hear about the people without the symptoms, but they do exist. Gluten will get in there and do its damage silently sometimes. It's a tricky, tricky little bugger.

BTW, you and I were talking about the same magazine. All I saw was "Gluten-Free" on front. Totally missed the "Living Without." I was going through it and thought, "Wait a minute, these recipes sound familiar." LOL

This side of Typical said...

i didn't state it, but some of my doubts also come from the fact that we've really seen no difference when we eliminated casein. So while i am committed to this at least until July, i'm definitely not holding my breath...

Anonymous said...

You might not see a difference until the gluten has been eliminated for a while. It messes up a lot of stuff, again, whether you see outward symptoms or not. :D

Carrie said...

Email me chica and I'll send you a recipe that will work. The bread caved here I think because the bread machine used did it not cook it all the way through. Buy a food thermometer and I'll send you a great recipe for easy gluten free bread! :-) gingerlemongirl at gmail dot com

cooperkelly4 said...

Usually bread caves (even gf bread =0)because there is too much liquid and like Carrie said then it can't cook properly. Carrie has awesome recipes! and here is a link for my absolute favorite gf bread. It is a little more complicated, but after trying more than half a dozen recipes, I was sold on it. best wishes! Kelly

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled across your blog. My sister uses the gf recipe in the book healthy bread in five minutes a day. I do the non gf version and love it. Sooooo easy to make all our bread. We tried gf for a while with no improvement, but I did a lot of recipe searching for naturally gf foods. All these flours can TRY to replicate gluten bread, but they were originally used to cook something else that is probably tastier. Good luck, the diet changes are never easy.

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