This week marks an anniversary for our family. One year ago we embarked on our journey in living and eating gluten and dairy free. It wasn't an easy decision, it would effect everyone in our family, but we decided that to help our son and our various minor health issues, it was worth trying.
We learned a lot this past year. We started our journey relying on soy as our go to substitute for dairy. Then a friend casually mentioned that her son can't have dairy and she won't give him soy because it isn't good for guys (hormones and estrogen), so this set me on the research path. I realized soy wasn't a great choice and that it can actually be toxic due to the fast processing times in the US. Plus, it gave me really bad headaches. So, soy was out. Now we were gluten/dairy and soy free, we could deal with this.
Then we realized that yes, we should avoid nitrates and nitrites just like our book had recommended. It gave me a headache and we were very cranky for a couple of days until it went through our system.
So now we were gluten/dairy/soy and nitrate/nitrite free, I could deal with it. Then Ian had some candy with food dye (red is especially bad) and we watched him lose focus and become a moody irrational creature. So we added food dye to the list of food to avoid.
Thankfully, we were able to go off of foods that bothered us gradually. Gluten and dairy were immediate and quick, but the rest we discovered as our bodies were no longer reacting to gluten and dairy (it became very obvious what foods caused problems).
So here we are a year later. Has it made any difference? I would say, YES! My son can focus better, he's still a 9 yr. old boy, so he has his ups and downs, but for the most part, it's better. My hubby has lost around 20- 25 lbs. and has fewer tummy troubles. I have lost a few lbs., but the biggest difference for me is that I am off all my allergy medicine. I was on allergy shots, zyrtec, claritin, a nasal steroid spray, occasional benedryl and sometimes allergy eye drops and none of it worked! I still got terrible sinusitis that would last for a month at a time and require antibiotics (not that that really did much as it was most likely a fungal infection). I am happy to say that I went an entire year without needing to go see the doctor. That hasn't happened for years! Oh, and when I did go to the doc, it was for a condition review, not because I was sick.
I have had questions about our new way of living/eating, so in honor of our one year anniversary, I will answer them here.
1. Does it cost a lot to eat this way? It does cost us a little bit more since we decided to go more organic and processed foods are pretty much out of the question. Cost really depends on your choices. If you are eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and meat, it probably isn't much of a price difference. If you are buying lots of gluten and dairy free specialty foods (crackers, donuts, bread, etc) expect to pay a whole lot more. For the most part, I try to make the treats we want, it's a lot cheaper. For us, the cost evens out when you look at how many trips to the doctor and prescriptions weren't needed.
2. Isn't it hard to cook this way? Not really. You just have to be creative and have a good cookbook and GF/CF blogs to help you out. If you can cook from scratch with gluten and dairy, you can cook from scratch without them.
3. Is it hard to get your son and husband to stay on the eating plan? Not really. My son is very good about watching out for foods he can't eat. He likes how he feels without these foods, so he makes sure that the food he eats doesn't contain anything not on the plan. My husband is good about staying on the plan, too. He likes to snack, so we've just found snacks that work for him on this plan. Thankfully, we don't have any nut allergies, so at work my husband will snack on some peanuts. It actually helps him not come home starving.
4. Is it worth the effort? YES! It is so worth it. It is a huge change at first, but it becomes easier over time.