Saturday, December 22, 2012

Low Carb Breakfast Lasagna


Tomorrow my family has a family Christmas celebration on my husband's side. Because everyone does the traditional meal plan for Christmas, this one is a bit different to break up the monotony of turkey and ham and other traditional Christmas foods. This one is a brunch. I rack my brain every year trying to decide what to bring to share with the family. Someone else is covering fruit, potatoes, and all the usual non-Paleo foods, so I'm always at a loss. This morning as I was eating my breakfast, it dawned on me what I could make that would be breakfast related and also Paleo without being your usual eggs and bacon.  

I want to preface first and foremost that this recipe is not dairy free, but it is gluten- and grain-free. It's a recipe I found at one of my favorite recipe blogs, I Breathe, I'm Hungry. I absolutely love that blog and think you should all get on over there and check it out when you have time. 

Anyhow, when I first ventured into the Paleo lifestyle, I perused a lot of recipe blogs and in doing so, I stumbled across a link to Mellissa's site for
 cream cheese pancakes. From there, I found her breakfast lasagna. So yum!  She says this feeds four, but it can easily be stretched on a buffet style family breakfast. It's very filing as a standalone breakfast dish, as well, so rest assured, you will not go away from the table hungry! 

Without any further ado... Breakfast Lasagna!

Ingredients:

8 eggs, scrambled
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
12 sausage links, fully cooked
12 cream cheese pancakes (unsweetened)

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Next, find an 8x8 inch cake pan. Place 4 of the cream cheese pancakes in the bottom of the pan. Layer in some scrambled eggs and sprinkle with cheese. Add a second layer of 4 pancakes, then lay all of the sausage links on top of the pancakes. Sprinkle with some more cheddar cheese. Layer on the last 4 pancakes, the remaining scrambled eggs and remaining cheese. 

Place in the oven for 8-10 minutes to melt the cheese (or if your pan is ceramic, place in the microwave for 3-4 minutes if you'd prefer not to bake it). 

Here's a picture of it from Mellissa's blog. 



This dish is very yummy and will be a returning visitor to your breakfast table. I promise! :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Quick update

Hi all. I wanted to give you a quick update.

I was hesitant to update previously because I didn't want to make the mistake of seeing something that wasn't necessarily there.

Since cutting milk and other dairy products, my son's behavior has improved. Tremendously. He went two whole weeks getting yellows and greens at school. However, at the same time, his teacher started using a different method of documenting his behavior, which might have made a difference as well.

She tracks his behavior now using a series of 4 faces drawn on his calendar. The first is smiling, which I consider to be yellow. Then there are two with a line for a mouth, which signify to me green and then blue. And finally, there is a face with a frown, which would signify red. It looks like this:


He starts every day with no smilies circled. His teacher monitors his behavior and circles the smiley that is appropriate based on her observation and judgement. She resets his smilies at lunch time.

So far, he has gotten either a smiling face or the first flat lined face for the first part of the day. Usually, the smiley face. Typically, the second part of the day is either the second or third smiley face. I'm not sure how to translate this combination of faces into the color for the day, so I haven't been posting his behavior charts.

The end of his day calendar might look like this:

Typically, I will average out the faces - for instance, if he got the smilies above, I'll say the day, overall, was green. If he gets the second face (the first one with the flat mouth) during the first half of the day and the third face during the second half of the day, I'm not sure what to make of it, other than he needs to work on his afternoons. She no longer tells me what he did wrong to justify the smiley selection for the day.

Overall, since Thanksgiving's passing, he has gotten NO frowns. HUGE kudos to my little man for that.

Now, on to my observations.

When he has zero dairy in his diet, many things change. He is not as rambunctious! He is more mellow, laid-back. He no longer argues with us about why he is or is not doing something. He doesn't require constant reminders to get dressed in the morning. He makes his own decisions and they're typically the right decision instead of whatever the heck he wants to do.

In the last couple of weeks, we have allowed some dairy back in. About a week ago he was off the hook unruly! He had enjoyed some cheese on his omelet that morning simply because I wasn't thinking and put cheese on it - b/c, well, omelets and cheese go hand-in-hand and I didn't even realize I was doing it. Our son called me out on it right away, but I let him enjoy it anyhow. But, it was also Kraft American slices, which really isn't cheese, but a cheese like product. It might have been different if it was a real, hard cheese.

He has had meals with whole fat cream in them and did fine. He did fine with a recipe that included cream cheese. And he has done fine with dairy butter. And fine with real cheese. However, about the time that we started allowing dairy back in is about the same same time he started getting that third smiley, the one circled above. So, I feel that quite possibly, dairy could be a culprit with him. But, gluten has also been present, so maybe gluten and dairy together are the problem. At this point, I still don't know. Only more time will tell. And I haven't talked to the teacher about it, so I don't know what her opinion is, I can only judge by the calendar that she is seeing an improvement in his behavior through the elimination of milk.

I can say that it is difficult to go dairy free when it comes to our favorite recipes. Our son loves mashed potatoes! I have made his mash potatoes with chicken stock and he has not indicated that he doesn't like them, so they have stayed - now I make them two ways (one with butter, one with stock) because my husband does not like them with stock only.

With the Christmas holiday approaching, I am not going to make a big fuss out of making sure he's remaining dairy free. I do, however, still provide dairy free snacks for him for school and dairy free lunches. I don't want to confuse his teacher since I haven't talked to her recently about this no-dairy experiment. My son questions why I am allowing him dairy right now, but I just tell him it's ok this one time and go about my day. December is a tough month because our family has a lot of birthdays, and of course, there's Christmas, so we'll start up fresh again on the 26th and see what kind of progress we can make. It might help, too, that by then he'll be used to his teacher's new behavior system for him and we'll get a true view of how he's being at school, and can eliminate the thinking that he's being so good b/c the system is new.

On a side note, he had his winter concert at school last night. He was a dream child! He performed when he was supposed to and when he wasn't performing, his hands were tucked nicely into his pockets, not fiddling with the children around him or fidgetting. He also was not talking to his neighbors, which a lot of his neighbors did. He looked around and what not, but he wasn't messing around, which is vastly different than what I had expected out of him. He was such a good boy! I was very proud of him. 


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New direction

On the 18th, after 30 days of uninterrupted gluten free, our gluten-free trial came to an abrupt and unintentional end as an unaware family member twarted my efforts by giving our son a brownie. I was tending to our daughter's needs and son asked if he could have a brownie, not realizing that not all brownies are gluten-free.

I was realistic in knowing that we likely wouldn't make it through the holiday unscathed, but I can't help but be a little disappointed that it came to an end so quickly. But at least we made it 30 days, which is a pretty solid testing period.

This unplanned ending opened the door to a perfect opportunity to try a different approach. In addition to no gluten, we are attempting dairy free. We sampled almond milk and he does not like it. I picked up the unsweetened vanilla flavor. Probably should have chosen one of the sweetened version or the chocolate version. I might pick up some of the chocolate this weekend and see how that goes. I submitted a refund request for the two half gallons I bought that he won't drink. Silk provides refunds if you don't "love it". Just waiting to hear back from them.

I have spoken to DS's teacher and told her we were going to be testing for a dairy allergy and she said she would help us as best she could. She asked me to provide drinks and snacks for him so that she can ensure she's giving him proper foods. So I did. I sent some cut fruit and 5 Juicy Juice Fruitfuls juice boxes with him to school yesterday for his snack. He told me last night that she forgot his juice boxes in the classroom and provided him milk to drink instead... seriously?? What happened to helping us? I've had it up to my neck with this teacher - between her disregard for our requests and disciplining him/changing his behavior color for some pretty stupid reasons, I'm about done with kindergarten. *sigh*

Anyhow, we're moving in a new direction. We're testing the dairy allergy now while maintaining the gluten-free diet to see how things go. I can't wait til he's out of kindergarten so snack time is no longer an issue. I feel so bad for him when his classmates are all eating a cupcake for someone's birthday and he is "stuck" eating cut fruit. :(

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Is 19 days long enough??

Is 19 days long enough to know whether or not gluten is the problem? I am seriously considering moving to a sugar free or dairy free diet for our son. While I have seen some minor changes with the gluten-free diet, I think we need to do more. 

I am digging deeper. I am considering sugar and dairy. I think added sugar will be easier to combat. I can provide fruit for snacks at school. In fact, he asked about fruit and asked to make a fruit salad tonight for snack at school. Someone made fruit kabobs the other day for the classroom snack and he talked non-stop about them. So, I will be introducing more fruit into his diet in place of his normal sugary diet items. 

And no more gluten free brownies! We were ALL eating them too much and none of us need them. :) 

I think sugar will be easier to combat than dairy at this point... I want to get him used to eating fruit and vegetables before I take milk and cheese and all that from him at this point. And maybe it's simply a sugar hyperactivity thing. 

Gluten wasn't enough... Next step, sugar. If that's not enough, then we'll eliminate dairy as well. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

14 Day Update

November 1, yesterday, would have been Day 14. I think I'm seeing some changes, but I wonder if they're actual changes or if I'm just seeing coincidental differences that I wouldn't see if I wasn't looking for them.

One change I've noticed is that DS has more good days now. And by good days, I mean good days at home. Saturday (or maybe it was Sunday) morning, we were laying in bed because it was too early to get up. If he was disturbing my ability to snooze a bit longer, I would ask him to stop and he would. He wouldn't remained stopped for long, but he would stop. Before, it always seemed like he'd just flat out ignore my request and keep doing it.

When we get home from school, grandma's, etc, he takes his shoes off and has been putting them away.

When he turns the sleeves of his coat right side out on his own now instead of whining that he can't do it and asking me to do it.

He is putting on his socks himself instead of whining that he can't do it and driving me nuts to the point that I do it for him just to get it done.

The other night we went to the grocery store to pick up some Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownies for his snack at school this week (there was a birthday, so we needed a gluten free snack). He behaved like a little man! I was so proud. He walked next to me, he stayed with me and didn't run all over the store. He carried the groceries like a gentleman, set them in the car nicely. He then walked back up to the store to use the trash can, waited for the cars to allow him to cross the road way and walked back to our car. Calm, well behaved. That NEVER used to happen! I would have to go with him, be constantly reminding him to watch for traffic, and asking him to slow down so he didn't get too far away from me. And he NEVER used to walk next to me in the store. He'd be up and down the aisles, running around like it was a playground!

His hyperactivity seems to have been dialed back a bit. He still gets excited and rambunctious, but he's less rambunctious now. He's calmer and more in control of his body, it seems.

And I can't remember when the last time was that we had a meltdown or he talked back or argued.

Like I said, maybe I'm seeing coincidental stuff, but I'm hopeful that it's not just a coincidence. I'm hopeful that this diet is shaping my son into a gentleman instead of a rowdy kid. Most of all, I'm hopeful that others are seeing the changes as well.

His behavior chart at school doesn't seem to be changing much, but I think over time it will. We're still having trouble with him making noises with his mouth during class, but I think with more time, that will change too.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Product Reviews

This week, I have had the opportunity to purchase and bake some yummy gluten-free products. I have included a link to these products at Amazon.com at the bottom for anyone interested in trying them out for your family.

I learned through some research I have done to find a good cake recipe for my son's birthday party (in January) that Betty Crocker makes gluten free yellow cake mix, chocolate chip cookie mix, and brownie mix. 

On Saturday, I made the Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookies. They were great. Nice and soft out of the oven, a touch crispy the next day. Since my son is spoiled and thoroughly enjoys soft cookies, he wasn't a fan of these (he doesn't like Oreos either, so I'm convinced there's just something wrong with him. haha jk). My husband and I liked them, though. The only complaint I have about the cookies is that the dough is crumbly rather than soft like regular chocolate chip cookies, so I had to scoop it and form the dough into balls before placing it on the cookie sheet. It was impossible to tell that these are gluten free once they're done, though. They're that good. 

We also tried the Betty Crocker gluten free brownies. OMG delicious! They had nice crispy tops and edges, but soft in the middle. And chocolatey! Delicious as well. The only thing I didn't like about these is that the batter is REALLY REALLY thick, so they don't pour at all, and take a bit of work and patience to spread in the pan. These could easily be mistaken for regular brownies. There is no way to tell they're gluten free. My son loved them! He's had one in his lunch twice this week and got excited each time. 

I also made the Betty Crocker gluten free yellow cake - well, cupcakes, anyway. I didn't get to sample these because they're for DS's Halloween party at daycare (no school again tomorrow, so all day at the before/after school program). These mix well and spoon into cupcake pans well. One box makes 12 nice sized cupcakes. They are soft and fluffy. They come out of the pan nicely too. I didn't use cupcake papers b/c I always feel like I lose too much cake on them. They look and smell absolutely delicious! I wish I could try one... maybe if there are leftovers. ;) 

Finally, I didn't make these, but my mother-in-law did and they are absolutely fantastic! She gets this baking mix called Pamela's Ultimate Baking and Pancake Mix. This stuff makes the very best chocolate chip cookies I have ever had. Ever. Hands down. They're soft. They're moist. They're just absolutely delicious! My mother-in-law has been instructed to NOT make these again b/c they're too irresistible. Seriously! I have eaten, literally, 18 in the last 3 days. I cannot keep my hands off them. They're that good. And my son adores them. Father-in-law even says they're delicious, as does husband. Definitely worth investing in the flour. Most definitely! 

So anyway, while they're not "paleo/primal" by any stretch of the imagination, which is my preferred method of eating, if you're a cookie, cake or brownie junkie, here is your gluten-free cookie, cake and brownie fix. I hope you enjoy as much as our family did. 

All of these products can be purchased at the links below.



*warning: these mixes require the use of eggs. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Update

Just a quick update. I was too busy this weekend to post an update, so here you go.

Friday, DS got in trouble at the daycare. They sent a note home with him stating that he fought with a kid while they were playing a game, got placed in time out numerous times and asked multiple times to change his current action to something else (redirection, I suppose). I coded this as red on his behavior chart. The daycare rarely notifies me of his behavior, so to get a note is pretty significant, I think.

Saturday, DH and I went hunting, so DS was with his grandma. She said he was pretty good, but as soon as we showed up, he got hyper and crazy. Running through the house, purposely running into things, just generally wound up. Got him home without too many tears and we took naps. When he woke up, my mom was there to babysit because DH and I went hunting again. (DH got a deer, so that's a plus. Super Paleo food for the freezer!!)

Sunday, I took DS with me to go grocery shopping. We stopped by the hospital to get our blood drawn for some labs (me for cholesterol and thyroid screening and DS for a lead screening for kindergarten). Then we went to the grocery store. He was pretty good. He was bored, so of course he was doing things that were kind of annoying me, but in general, he was well behaved. He wasn't running through the store, he wasn't being loud. He was just being antsy and bored. We had trouble come naptime though. He didn't want to lay down and take his nap. I finally turned the channel on the tv from his cartoons (I was letting him nap on the couch as a treat for being so good during our shopping adventure) and he eventually fell asleep. I think he slept for about an hour and a half. Not entirely sure though b/c I slept too. ;)

That evening, we had some sibling fighting taking place, some general "I don't want to do this" attitude, and DD was whiney and driving me bonkers. We had dinner, we had baths. I sat down with DS to do his reading assignment for school and he was being a turd... that's all the better I can explain it. I know he knew the words but he was choosing not to read them. I finally took the book from him and said "Fine. If you're not going to do this right, you might as well just go to bed. I'm not fighting you anymore." I got up, put DD to bed (who fought me for the next half hour). DS finally decided that he would read the materials he was supposed to read, read them flawlessly, and went to bed. It was frustrating to say the least.

Monday started out HORRIBLY, though! DS didn't want to listen, the dogs took off and wouldn't come back and the cat snuck out the door when I opened it to call the dogs. I was a half hour late to work after finally finding the dogs and getting them locked in the house - with the help of my mother-in-law and neighbor. I could just tell it was going to be a splendid day for DS at school because he was upset about his dogs being gone. I called the daycare to let them know that the dogs were home so they could tell DS. He ended up getting blue for the day at school because he wouldn't listen. So, no cartoons, computer, Leapster games, etc for DS last night. He went to bed without a fuss.

This morning was a dream come true! I only had to ask him twice to put his underwear on. I only had to ask him twice to put his pants on. He didn't have a fit when I cracked the egg into the pan for his breakfast instead of him. He ate his breakfast without constant reminders to eat. He went to the car when told. He did whine that his bookbag was too heavy and that he wasn't able to get out of the car b/c it was too heavy and wanted me to carry it, etc. I told him he was fine, helped him out of the car and that was it. I am confident that he will end up with either yellow or green today. I asked him what color he was going to get and he said "Yellow. Y-E-L-L-O-W yellow". lol Goofy kid. I hope does.

He is officially 4 days gluten free. He complained about his lunch being "boring". I asked him what he wants for lunch. He said "Pizza". I replied with "gluten". I told him what he gets is basically a lunchable, which he loved, but without crackers, and he never complained about his lunchables. I told him he gets juice and a go-gurt every day and that he loves his go-gurt and his juice. I told him he can have whatever meat and whatever cheese he wants, but at a minimum, he will have meat and cheese in his lunch for his protein and fat. If he wants anything in addition to that, he's welcome to it, as long as it fits in the parameters of the no gluten requirement. Of course, I used language a 5 year old would understand. He seemed content with that decision. He did, however, tell me he doesn't want cold lunch today, he wants hot... so I need to check the school lunch menu and make sure that whatever he's having today will be gluten free or we're starting over... again.

Today's lunch is a "mega burger with bun", broccoli and rice dish, carrot sticks and mandarin oranges. Aside from the bun, I'd be happy with that lunch. Tomorrow might be a bigger fight, though... they're having white cake with chocolate frosting... might have to whip up that batch of gluten free brownies that's sitting in the pantry and send one with him so he doesn't want the cake. :)

Anyhow, that's a quick synopsis of our weekend and the start of our week.

Starting over

We had to start over, as of Thursday. DS's teacher gave him a chocolate chip muffin at snack. DS said that they ran out of time so they couldn't go to the cafeteria for snack, so they had to eat what was in the classroom, which happened to be chocolate chip muffins brought in by another student.

I was livid!! I sent her an email asking her what he'd had for snack because I was keeping a detailed log to see if there's a pattern between his behavior and gluten consumption. She emailed me back and said that they ran out of time, and DS said he was hungry. She finished with "It was a very small muffin". How do you tell a teacher, without alienating her, that size doesn't matter with gluten? And why didn't she give him one of the packs of fruit snacks that she has in her classroom that I provided to her? I know they're there b/c she showed them to me at P/T conferences.

Oh well. Doesn't matter at this point. He ate the muffin. And his behavior was poor this weekend too. I'll be posting about that soon. It improved the further away from Thursday he got.

So, we're at Day 4 gluten free now... *sigh* Should be Day 9... Onward we go.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Relatively Smooth Morning

After yesterday's rough morning and DS getting red at school for behavior, I thought for sure last night would also be a troubling night. In keeping with the "sure fire consequences" I read about at Empowering Parents, he lost cartoons, computer time, and certain toys, and was to be sent to bed by 8 pm. After I picked him up and we discussed why he got in trouble at school, he promised me that he would be good for me. And he was. There were instances where he was very obviously trying to annoy his sister (standing in front of her while she was watching cartoons, standing in her way so she couldn't walk by, etc), but for the most part, he was very well behaved. He ate a really good dinner, we read a book (kind of - the book was beyond his level of reading and was an ISpy book that was beyond his level of picture finding skill), and he pretty much just chilled. It was almost like the calm after the storm...

This morning was relatively smooth too. Dear husband (DH) was home and awake, so he "helped". I haven't communicated my fears of ODD to him yet because he's been working second shift and I want to talk to him in person about it, show him the literature I've looked at and what approach I want to take. He did what we always do and tried to gain control by being bigger and louder. Reminding DS to get dressed in a demanding fashion, which is exactly what I would have done a week ago. In some cases, I'll just dress DS myself because it's faster and easier. DH thinks that is silly because we can't dress him forever. I think getting dressed without numerous reminders will be one of the things I put on his behavior chart when we start that.

There was little yelling and reminding and correcting this morning in comparison to yesterday. Hopefully we don't have another day like yesterday... Additionally, I hope today is a yellow day. Even more hopeful that gluten is all we have to change dietarily to assist in the behavior fix. I REALLY hope milk isn't a trigger. 

I guess we'll wait and see what color he brings home today. One day at a time.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Primal Pasta Sauce

I don't measure anything anymore when I make this. It is derived from a pasta sauce I found at MarksDailyApple.com. Here is a link to the original recipe: How to Make the Ultimate Tomato Sauce. Mine is pretty well simplified from the MDA version. 

I make mine a bit differently... ok, a lot differently b/c we didn't like it in its original form. Probably would be fine without the wine. Like I said, I don't measure anything anymore, so measurements are approximate. 

28 oz crushed tomatoes
12 oz tomato paste
small can of mushrooms
2 lbs ground beef (could use venison, pork or other ground meat)
1/2 medium onion - chopped
3 cloves garlic - chopped
Italian seasoning
garlic powder
bay leaf
salt and pepper

Brown burger and onion together until meat is done. Add rest of ingredients. Simmer for as long as you want. The longer it simmers, the better it is. Remove bay leaf before eating. Yeah, pretty simple. Simple enough to adjust for your own family's tastes. :) 

This makes a TON of sauce, usually enough for two nights of spaghetti. I usually freeze half of it for use later. I serve it to my family with DeBoles gluten free angel hair pasta, but eat my own with a spaghetti squash. 

To prepare the spaghetti squash, I cut the ends off, then set the squash on one flat end and cut in half. Scrape out the stuff, place cut face down in a glass dish. Add about 1 inch of water and 1 tbsp butter. Nuke on high for 15-20 minutes. The squash will still have a veggie consistency, but has great flavor. It will NOT feel like pasta, just sayin'. 


Parenting Techniques for ODD

Because I don't want to only focus on diet, because really, diet is only a portion of what we need to do to make life easy, I am also going to look into parenting techniques for children with ODD. Again, my son may not actually HAVE ODD, but he displays an alarming number of the signs and symptoms.

I have been searching the web all day and found a website called Empowering Parents. They have a questionnaire you can answer to receive specialized parenting tips for children who have or may have ODD. I asked for information regarding angry outbursts or explosive behavior , disrespect or verbal abuse, hitting or destroying property, and Ignoring disciplinary efforts and consequences. I plan to copy and paste the emails here for future reference, but mostly because I think it's great information that could help someone else out.

Here is the first email, focusing on angry outbursts. Not surprisingly at all, I have been going about this all wrong. No wonder we're not getting anywhere with him!

Your Personal Parenting Plan

Dear Jenn,
When your child has angry outbursts if he doesn’t get his way, it sets you and your entire family on edge. Most parents never anticipate having to deal with explosive behavior in their child and, understandably, have no idea how to handle it. But you need to know what to do because, if left unchecked, this behavior can spell big trouble later on for your child.
In this part of your Personal Parenting Plan, I’ll give you 4 rules that I’ve found to be very effective when dealing with children who act out in anger.
1. Don’t challenge your child when he’s angry. Many times parents deal with angry outbursts by challenging their kids in the heat of the moment or yelling back. Challenging or confronting your child about misbehavior when he’s angry is like throwing a lit match onto a pile of firecrackers. The result will be an outburst that’s bigger, hotter and angrier. The best immediate response to your child’s anger is no emotion at all. Just stay as level and calm as you can. When you can stay calm, you’re lending your child your strength in these moments.

2. Don’t try to reason or use logic with a child who’s losing it. Sometimes parents do the opposite of the angry challenge. They try reasoning or being logical with the child when he’s having a tirade. At first blush, this might seem to make sense. After all, as adults we use logic to work through tense, difficult situations. The problem is, children and teenagers don’t have the ability to stop and reason the way we do. Your “logic” may end up sounding like a foreign language to your child when he’s having a fit with you in the kitchen. Save the logic for later. Wait until your child calms down, then have a problem solving discussion.

3. With younger kids: Don’t coddle. Give a little distance. When a younger child is having a tantrum, the temptation can be to pick up the child just to get him to stop or to walk away. I’ve found that a better approach is to move away slightly and help them start to learn how to calm down. For example, if your child is on the floor kicking and screaming, you might say, “I wish I could help you calm yourself down. Maybe you can lie on the couch for a bit until you can get it together.” Let your child learn that managing his emotions is his problem to solve. Not yours.

4. No matter how much they push, don’t re–negotiate. When your child is screaming and reacting angrily, it can be intimidating. Parents have a tendency to re–negotiate after bad behavior in these situations because they’re having a hard time handling their own emotions. Remember: if you give in and re–negotiate, your child learns that angry outbursts work for him. Instead, wait until he calms down, then talk about the steps he can take to solve his problem.
Should You Give Consequences for Losing Control? This is an important question I wanted to address in this part of your plan. I believe that if a child becomes angry and loses control now and again after misbehavior, you should give consequences for the misbehavior, not the anger. However, if angry outbursts have become a pattern for your child, and it’s clear that he’s using anger as a way to deal with his problems on a regular basis, then you do want to give him consequences for that. Not a punishment, but a consequence that will motivate him to find a more effective way to solve his problem besides lashing out at you and others.
Please take a look at the article by our Parental Support Team called Angry Child Outbursts on Empowering Parents. You’ll get 6 more tips that you can use with your child when he explodes on you. Also check out my husband James’ article, Anger with an Angle. He’ll show you how to talk to your child about misbehavior in a way that will keep the anger from flaring up.
We’ll see you tomorrow with the next part of your Personal Parenting Plan.
This is a lot of great information! Don't challenge! NOVEL! Why hadn't I thought of it. Of COURSE he's not going to be able to employ logic when he's angry! I have from time to time sent him to his room to continue his angry outburst and when he's calm he can come back out and talk to me about whatever is bothering him, but not often enough. Like last night... I tried to talk to him and find out what was wrong before he had calmed down.

I always re-negotiate with him when he's angry just to get the anger to stop! For now on I'll just let him have his fit, then talk it out with him. I mean, that's what I do with my 2 year old daughter whose going through her 2 year old tantrum stage. Let her kick and scream it out, calm down and then tell her how it is. Why don't I also do this with my son? It makes total sense! BRILLIANT!

This is why I have chosen to take two approaches to my son's behavior - because sometimes we parents need to be trained too.

Rough Morning - Oppositional Definance Disorder

We had a rough morning today. Dear Son (DS) was doing everything in his power to completely defy my demands that he stop certain behaviors (making various noises with his mouth - clicking his tongue, slurping sounds, etc). It was like he was deliberately trying to annoy me. It was a rough morning with frustration, yelling and tears. Not the way I want to start the day. I tried my hardest to remain calm and correct his behavior with calm instructions but after directing your son to stop making these noises SIX TIMES I tend to get a bit frustrated. And what is worse is that my daughter followed his lead and started also making the noises. I finally resorted to a single swat on the butt to get his attention and indicate that I am serious when I tell him to stop doing something.

What is weird to me is that he was a beautifully behaved child before having breakfast. He got dressed without much fuss (I had to ask him a couple times to put his pants on instead of playing with them, but I don't consider that to be defiance, just a kid being a kid). So, this makes me wonder if something in his breakfast triggered his behavior this morning. He had 1 egg and sausage as usual. Maybe he has a sensitivity to eggs or something. I already get the "cleanest" sausage available in the stores. Aside from being made from CAFO meat, it has no other alarming qualities. No MSG, no sugar, no preservatives... It's the sausage I ate when I was following the Whole30 protocol.

Anyhow, as I was thinking about this blog in the shower this morning, I thought about seeking out information on Oppositional Defiance Disorder as well b/c my kid isn't really hyper, he just defiant. And a friend of my sister has her daughter on medication for the same disorder. I thought if I found some information on diet change and ODD, I could share it with her so her daughter could be taken off of medication.

So, I started searching. I found a forum where someone posted information from the Mayo Clinic regarding ODD. DS has a LOT of signs of ODD. And from what I'm finding, ODD is another mental health disorder that can benefit greatly from diet change.

Here is what the Mayo describes as ODD. The signs I feel my son expresses are in red.

Your child may be displaying signs of ODD instead of normal moodiness if the behaviors:
  • Are persistent
  • Have lasted at least six months
  • Are clearly disruptive to the family and home or school environment
The following are behaviors associated with ODD:
  • Negativity
  • Defiance
  • Disobedience
  • Hostility directed toward authority figures
These behaviors might cause your child to regularly and consistently:
  • Have temper tantrums
  • Be argumentative with adults
  • Refuse to comply with adult requests or rules
  • Annoy other people deliberately
  • Blames others for mistakes or misbehavior
  • Acts touchy and is easily annoyed
  • Feel anger and resentment
  • Be spiteful or vindictive
  • Act aggressively toward peers
  • Have difficulty maintaining friendships
  • Feel a lack of self-esteem - I'm not sure if he really expresses this one or not... it's possible.
  • Have academic problems - I wish they had defined this a bit more. He's a smart kid and does well academically, but has problems minding the teacher... does that qualify as academic problems?
In addition, your child isn't likely to see his or her behavior as defiant. Instead, your child will probably believe that unreasonable demands are being placed on him or her.

Wow. Not sure why I chose to differentiate between what he displays and doesn't display since I highlighted them all... So, now that I have a pretty good suspicion for what we're dealing with - ODD instead of ADHD/ADD, maybe we can build steam and nip this in the bud. From what I've read, ODD goes further than just gluten sensitivity and we will also have to evaluate dairy intolerance and color additive sensitivities. I guess this weekend I'll get some almond milk and see if he'll drink it.

I'll probably be posting a lot of links or doing a lot of article reviews today. Sorry if I blow up your inboxes. ;)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Incoherent meltdown

DS had a blue day at school today. His teacher said he kept doing things after being told not to. I expressed my disappointment in his behavior. He started telling me about what another kid was doing. I told him I didn't care what the other kid was doing, and he told me it was mean to say that I don't care about the other kid. A discussion ensued about how the other kid is not my kid and as such I don't care what he does behaviorally. For whatever reason, this made DS start crying. 

Fast forward to after we got home. He was whiny and annoying, crying because the wrong cartoon was on tv, mad because I hadn't gotten him a cup of milk yet, and pitching a fit because I told him no to having a hot dog. I finally got tired of hearing him say "I'm hungry!" and allowed him a hot dog and some milk. Afterwards he kept fussing about being hungry, but fell asleep before dinner was ready. 

After getting dinner done, he woke up and was talking incoherently. I have no idea what he was saying. I imagine he was "awake" but still living out whatever dream he was having. I told him dinner was ready and he should go eat. He went out and sat at the table. Got up and decided to take off his pants. He was unable to get his feet out of his pants and got frustrated. Started crying and carrying on. I asked him what the problem was. He expressed his frustration with not being able to get his pants off and then threw a fit when I wouldn't let him take his underwear off. 

The fit continued. I touched him and he lashed out and crawled to the other side of the couch. He kicked me. I swatted his leg, lightly, and told him kicking is inappropriate. He started crying again. I asked him to stop crying so he could listen to me. He screamed at the top of his lungs at me. I don't know what he said because he screamed it so loudly it was indiscernible. At this point, I sent him to his room and told him he does not talk to me like that. 

After he calmed down and came out from his room, he started whining about dinner and laid on the couch for a while, asking for cartoons. I told him he could watch cartoons again if he ate some dinner. He sat at the table for a while, fussing and whining and fake coughing, refusing to eat. He finally ate probably two pieces of chicken. 

I've seen some interesting behavior from this child but nothing like this. He was more emotional than I have ever seen him before. I don't understand it. I really don't get it. 

After everyone calmed down, I asked him what he was so mad about and he said he doesn't remember. 

I think he'll take a bath and then go to bed and we'll start over tomorrow. 

Paleo Double Layer Fudge

Stole another recipe!! This one looks delicious!

Double Layer Fudge

Prep time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 4-5 heaping tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • a handful of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips or your choice of dark chocolate chips
  • extra sprinkle of unsweetened shredded coconut
Instructions
  1. Add your coconut oil to a food processor. It doesn’t have to be melted so don’t you worry your little heart about melting it down!
  2. Then add your almond butter, unsweetened shredded coconut, vanilla extract, and honey and just a small pinch of salt.
  3. Mix all ingredients until fully combined.
  4. Pour half the ingredients into a bread pan and use a spoon to spread out evenly. It doesn’t matter what size bread pan you use. The smaller it is, the taller your fudge will be and vise versa.
  5. Place in freezer to harden.
  6. Then place food processor bowl back on the motor and add your cocoa powder. Add 1-2 tablespoons at a time, mixing as you go to make sure you don’t use too much.
  7. Once cocoa powder is incorporated in, add a pinch of salt, mix thoroughly, then pour your chocolate fudge on top of your now hardened light fudge.
  8. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and a bit of salt and place is freezer for 10-15 minutes.
  9. Cut into chunks.
  10. Eat the chunks.
  11. Store the leftover chunks in the fridge.
Notes
This serves either one person or a lot of people. You be the judge.

To find other great recipes like this one, go to PaleOMG

Low Carb Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

Stole this and copied it straight from the source... don't worry, I give props and credit where it is due...

I will SO be making these. They look delish! Just have to find a substitute for the granulated sugar substitute... probably coconut sugar or raw honey.

Macaroon crust ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar substitute
1/2 cup desiccated unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

Filling ingredients:

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar substitute
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup raspberries
2 Tbl granulated sugar substitute


To make the crust:  Cream together the butter and sugar substitute.  Add the coconut, coconut flour and baking powder, mixing until thoroughly combined.  Press into a lightly greased 9 x 9 pan and set aside. 


To make the cheesecake filling:  Beat the cream cheese and sugar substitute together until smooth.  Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until thoroughly combined.  Pour mixture over the crust.  In a small bowl, mash the raspberries and sugar substitute together with a fork.  Drop by spoonfuls over the cheesecake mixture and then swirl it gently with the fork until distributed over the entire top - don't over mix.  Bake in a 350 degree (F) oven for 25 minutes.  Remove and chill before serving.  Nom.

Approximate nutrition info per bar:  230 calories, 22g fat, 3g net carbs, 4g protein. Makes 9 large bars


Original recipe is located at I Breathe... I'm Hungry...: Low Carb Raspberry Cheesecake Bars.

The Link Between Gluten and ADHD according to Dr. Mercola

Dr. Mercola wrote an article showing the link between ADHD and Celiac Disease. While my son has not been diagnosed with either illness, he shows signs of ADHD. Through my research, I have learned that there is a link between what happens in our gut and what happens in our brains. Dr. Mercola mentions this in his article as well.

What harm does it do to cut gluten from the diet of a child who is exhibiting signs of ADHD? None. No harm is done.

Anyhow, the article is great and I wanted to link it here. It is also stored in the references tab for ease of access later. :)

Child have ADHD? Stop Feeding Them This - Dr. Mercola

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bacon Burgers

My family loves these!! 

2 lbs ground beef (I prefer grass-fed/finished, but if that is not available, an 85/15 fat blend works best)
1/2 pound bacon
loads of bacon grease

Use kitchen sheers to cut bacon in half lengthwise, then chop into 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch pieces (or there abouts)

Cook bacon until about half done in skillet. Pour bacon and grease into bowl with ground burger. Mix and patty. 

Melt bacon grease in skillet at medium heat and place patties in pan. Cover pan with lid to cut down on mess and speed cooking. Flip when bottom starts to brown. Continue cooking/flipping until burgers are done. Keep adding bacon grease as the pan starts to dry out - this will prevent the burgers from burning. 

I enjoy these with barbecue sauce (again, my 20%) but my kids like them with cheese and ketchup. 

Primal Meatloaf

For the original recipe, please go to Mark's Daily Apple.





  • 2 pounds ground meat (we use a mix of pork and venison)
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or bacon grease)
  • Small handful of fresh parsley springs, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • Instructions:
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
    Saute garlic, onion, carrot, and celery in butter (or bacon grease) over medium heat until onions are soft, 6-8 minutes.
    In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together. The best way to mix meatloaf is with your hands.

    Put the meat into a loaf pan. (we have even made these into meatballs and had just as good of luck, except they cook faster)
    Bake for 45 minutes or until center is done. Top with a Paleo/Primal ketchup if you have a recipe you like. We still use Heinz and consider it our 20%. 

    Creamy Chicken Scampi

    To view the original recipe, please go to Peace, Love and Low Carb


    INGREDIENTS
    1 1/2 lbs. Chicken Breast
    6 Large Cloves garlic - Minced
    6 Tbs. Butter - Divided
    1 Cup Chicken Stock
    1 Cup Heavy Cream
    1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese - Grated
    A Few Slices Red Onion
    1 tsp.  Italian Seasoning
    1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes 
    Salt and Pepper - To Taste

    DIRECTIONS
    Salt and pepper both sides of chicken breasts.  In a large saute pan, over medium-high heat, pan-sear chicken in 4 Tbs. butter.  Sear on both sides until a nice golden brown - 3-4 minutes each side.  Remove chicken from pan and set aside.  (Chicken will not be fully cooked at this stage.)

    Using the same pan, reduce heat to medium and add remaining 2 Tbs. butter, and  minced garlic.  Brown the butter and garlic. About 1-2 minutes.  Be careful not to burn the garlic as it will turn very bitter.  

    Keeping at medium heat, add sliced red onion and saute onions until transparent - 3-4 minutes.

    De-glaze the pan with chicken stock.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape off and mix in any stuck on pieces of chicken and garlic.  Add Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to low to simmer.  Let simmer 2-3 minutes.

    Add heavy cream and allow to simmer 5-10 minutes to allow sauce to begin thickening.  Mix in Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

    Mix peppers into sauce and add chicken back to the pan.  Finish cooking chicken in the sauce on low.  Let simmer for 10 minutes. 

    Parent Teacher Conferences

    1st quarter parent teacher conferences didn't go as well as we would have liked.

    We met with DS's kindergarten teacher on October 10 and this is what she had to say. I'm going to rewrite his Kindergarten Progress report, which illustrates how well he does at each assessed skill. The teacher used symbols like x, / and *. I gave them numerical values to be easier to understand. Anything is quotes is the teacher's note behind the assessed skill.

    Kindergarten Progress Report
    Score:
    3 - student demonstrates development of goal consistently
    2 - student is currently working on developmental goal
    1 - student needs improvement of developmental skill

    Social skills
    2 - listens carefully "talks"
    3 - raises hand
    3 - is secure in speaking
    3 - offers information during discussions
    3 - is responsible
    1 - works in groups (shares, takes turns, is kind)
    2 - follows routines "needs reminders"

    Academic Skills
    3 - knows 10 colors
    3 - recognizes 10 basic shapes
    3 - can count 10 objects
    3 - can recognized numbers 0-10
    3 - can write first name "be sure to use lowercase"
    1 - works well (stays on task, quietly, independently, puts forth effort, finishes on time)

    Comments: DS is doing well in academics, likes books and contributes to discussions! DS needs to work on his talking in class while working. Has a hard time working in groups without supervision. 

    Hopefully our next parent teacher conference shows some improvement in his social skills. 

    She asked about our gluten free diet and when we told her that we had let it lax into non-existence, she suggested we re-implement it to see if it helps his behavior. We felt really beaten down by the feedback she gave us, like we were failing as his parents and failing to teach him right from wrong. 

    I asked her if it was possible that he could be bored and that was contributing to his behavior issues in class and she assured me that the day is busy enough that he can't be bored... ok, bored was apparently the wrong word to use... I guess challenged would have been a better word. She told us that she teaches to many levels in class to keep those who are more advanced engaged and learning - who am I to doubt her? I just think it's wrong that she says my son fails to apply himself simply because he wishes to no longer color a picture she assigned him. He applied the correct color to all the areas of the picture, but because he didn't fully fill it in with color, he was not applying himself. Maybe she's right, maybe she's wrong. She has been teaching for 30 years and I've only been a mom or 5. I guess we'll wait and see what the next assessment indicates. Hopefully the gluten-free diet helps us to mold him into a well behaved student. 

    Introducing our daughter

    Our daughter is 2 years old and is starting to demonstrate the same behaviors her brother demonstrated when he was her age. She's defiant part of the time, has tantrums and outbursts, cries easily, get angry easily, and will sometimes flat out ignore our attempts to redirect or stop behavior.

    Her meals will be a slight bit harder to control as she is cared for during the day by a state-regulated daycare. This daycare is required to serve bread to each child at every meal unless there is doctor documentation that says she cannot have something. I perceive sending food with her to be more difficult than it is for my son.

    She does however have the tendency to ask for fruit over anything else when she wants a snack. She loves strawberries and bananas! And string cheese.

    I'd like to grab a hold of this child and fix her behavior before it gets to the same level as my son's. She is also a very bright and smart child whom I also expect to have boredom issues at school.

    For the time being, we will focus on keeping her meals at home as Paleo as possible and will work to eliminate the gluten as time goes on. The daycare will be the biggest obstacle, I think. Any place that puts sugar on veggies so that kids will eat them has some terrible habits that will be hard to break!

    Introducing our son

    My son is 5 years old. For the last couple of years, we have been battling some concerning behavior issues. He is disruptive in school, defies rules, exhibits aggressive behaviors, is loud, easily excited, emotionally charged, and difficult to control. His preschool teacher commented on his behavior last year and was very helpful in discussing discipline options with us. She used a color system to indicate his behavior while at school and we would discipline as we felt was appropriate when he got home in the evenings. This only worked for a short period of time.

    Next we tried separating him from the class thinking that maybe he wasn't being challenged enough with the daily lessons. He was sent with the Teacher's Aide to start working on sight words. This worked very well for a longer period of time than the first approach, but was short-lived because the school year came to a close.

    He then started attending a summer program that is affiliated with the school. There were a few instances of unacceptable behavior that was documented (hitting friends, talking back to teachers, etc), but I think a lot of his misbehavior was ignored or dealt with using time-outs and not communicated with us.

    Before kindergarten started, I attempted to transition our son to a gluten-free diet becasue during my own studies on Primal and Paleo, I learned that gluten can have behavioral rammifications in children. This seemed to work but it could also have been the start of school that changed his behavior - new surroundings to explore and learn about that engaged his attention. Now, however, things are getting out of control again - as is his diet.

    We had parent teacher conferences last week and the teacher was essentially telling us how terrible our child is. She said he's very smart but he fails to obey the rules, fails to follow direction, fails to remain on task, fails to apply himself and prefers to do his own thing regardless of the instructions given to him. She then asked about his gluten-free diet. We had to confess that we'd gotten away from it for various reasons (excuses, really) and would reimplement immediately.

    The school has agreed to let us bring fresh fruit, cheeses, fresh baked homemade goodies, etc, to the school for his snacks. The after-school program has agreed to feed him snacks from home as well. There will be instances where my son will have gluten-containing foods - like on chicken nugget day at school. Our son is a pickier eater, but is coming around. We have recently discovered he loves mashed potatoes and just about any meat with gravy on it.

    So this is us, reimplementing.