I’m very pleased to introduce Susan Lord as a guest blogger. Her new book Getting Your Kid on a Gluten-free Casein-free Diet
releases this Sunday February 15th. What a great gift to give to those you love this Valentine’s Day, well the day after. Her book is our featured book so if you would like more information click on that book.
Susan Lord is a registered dietitian with the American Dietetic Association. Her daughter was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder at the age of five and has been on a gluten-free, casein-free diet for almost nine years. Her diagnosis now falls into the more general category of ‘cognitive disability’. Susan lives in the Washington D.C. area with her husband and two daughters.
My daughter Jenny has a cognitive disability and has been on a gluten free dairy free diet for about nine years now, and I truly believe that she has progressed so wonderfully because of the major changes in her diet. Yes, indeed it is hard to carry out day after day, and yes, the school parties are a challenge, as well as the pancake suppers, the spaghetti dinners and just eating out in this fast paced, “I want it now” America that we live in.
I was completely overwhelmed by the thought of removing wheat and dairy from Jenny’s diet in the beginning, and wondered how I would possibly accomplish it. From screaming at my husband, “I need a bigger kitchen!” to accidentally using 2 cups of salt instead of 2 cups of sugar in a “decadent” (not very!) chocolate cake recipe, our gluten free, dairy free journey has added a whole new dimension to our family life. A dimension that has challenged us but that we have met head on with a robust sense of humor and a new appreciation for accepting ourselves just the way we are right now.
I have eaten my fair share of pasta, believe me, but I had never made pasta from scratch, let alone gluten free pasta, in a brand-new-never-been-used pasta maker. Never having taken a home economics class, in a kitchen the size of a closet, I approached the task. Uncomfortable feelings, “you are a failure” feelings welled up inside me: never good enough. In the middle of the process, when the skinny spaghetti strands were sticking together to make one big fat cord of gluten-less mess, I wanted to throw the dough and the pasta maker in the trash. The noodles were too sticky, my hands were webbed with dough and no amount of potato starch flour would help. This time I was motivated by passion- my kid would have spaghetti tonight! I separated the strands from the cord as best I could and boiled that salted water. I plunged the spaghetti into the rolling oiled boil and about 9 minutes later, I had a slightly less than perfect product that tasted like a dish from the Italian “North-End” of Boston. Jenny ate all 4 servings in one sitting.
Through my child’s special needs and restrictive diet, I have learned so much about life, love and my own self. When it comes to my kid and the progress she is making, I am learning to accept less than perfect from her, from me, and from my spaghetti.