Sunday, June 27, 2010

What the heck is THAT??!!!

I have been hearing this particular phrase fairly frequently lately.

In an effort to find a way to help Mitch cope with his ADHD symptoms without medication we have been trying a sort of elimination diet.  Depending on who you listen to, children with ADHD can benefit from a variety of diet related changes.  Homeopathic detox remedies; casein and gluten free diets; eliminating HFCS and all artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives; identifying food sensitivites and avoiding the offending foods: all of these are on the list.  And depending again on who you listen to, these changes may need to be followed very strictly to show any benefits at all, or just vaguely avoiding these things can help quite a bit.  One never knows where to start.

What we've decided to do is this:  a casein and gluten free diet seems to be pretty widely regarded as a good place to start for kids with ADHD so we are trying to be very strict on this one.  Additionally, we are also trying to keep his intake of HFCS and artificial ingredients very low.  Soy and white potatoes have also been identified as possible culprits for Mitch so those are things we're keeping low.  And of course, too much white sugar isn't good for anyone so that also is something we're avoiding.

So once you remove all those things, what is there left to eat?!  As it turns out, plenty, but many are things we've never tried before like dates, rice milk, quinoa, garbanzo beans, and grits.  I've been pretty surprised at how receptive the kids have been to trying new things and how many of the new things they are liking.  Yes, I said kids (plural) because if you try to give one person something that no one else is getting, that is just a recipe for a brawl in our house.

The first morning we tried this diet we offered Mitchell gluten free granola with rice milk while the other kids had their usual cheerios with honey and milk.  Whooo!  THAT was a mistake!  Henry and Violet were yelling because Mitch was getting "a special breakfast" and Mitch was yelling because "I hate rice milk!  No fair - they get real milk!".  I dumped out all the cheerios and served gluten free granola with rice milk all around and breakfast ended up a success.  Mitch tried the rice milk (he was hating it before tasting it) and discovered he actually liked it and the little kids were thrilled to also get the special breakfast.  So ever since then its been the family diet for the most part.  When Mitch is around we all stick together and eat together.  When he isn't around the regular rule we have of "Different people at different times and different places get different things" goes into effect.  I think it's been good for everyone.  Even my husband has been branching out beyond his basic meat and potatoes and mountain dew diet.

Here's a decent recipe for gluten and casein free white chili that all the kids like (but not until after saying "What the heck is that?  We HATE chili!!!").  It's a little bland, but that's why the kids like it.  Any suggestions on how the grown ups can kick up the flavor a bit would be most welcome.

White Chili

1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 cooked chicken breasts, cubed
1 can white corn, drained
1 can cannelini beans (white kidney beans), drained
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1 can green chilis
2 cans GFCF chicken broth

Saute onion and garlic in oil until tender in a large stock pot.  Add the rest and simmer 30 minutes.


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