Sunday, August 28, 2011

Feeding My Family....It's All About The Love

Much of the past year of my life has been consumed by food. More specifically the food my children were eating. Even more specifically the food that my handsome son, Cashman, puts in his mouth.

Cashman turns 6 in October. He is the sweetest boy I have ever met. Creative energy radiates off of him. He is forever consumed by LEGO structures or creating art in any medium he can get his hands on. He will sit and draw for hours. His smile is infectious. He loves to swim. He has a major sweetooth. He takes his first name from my favorite grandfather. He is smart beyond belief.

Fireshark by Cash age 5

I have put off writing this post for almost the entire year since we embarked on our food journey. No one ever wants to have the thought that something might not be quite right with one of their children. Certainly not me, certainly not the husband. I've hesitated writing this because....I honestly don't know what, if anything, is up with him.

I'm well read by Internet standards, although I prefer my material on actual paper, but I have devoured baby books, magazines, child development websites, WebMD, and the likes over the last 8 years of being a parent. Based on everything I've read, my middle son exhibits symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome. Very mild symptoms but nonetheless things that I notice. He has had no official diagnosis, and likely will not. Instead we have Feingold.

We found the Feingold Program thru the Internet, of course. Not five minutes into reading the site and I was convinced this was the answer. The husband agreed to try it, he would try anything as long as that anything did not involve labeling his son or medicating him. I agreed. Cashman's symptoms were not severe enough to warrant that. They were just noticeable enough that it was causing problems at home and starting to cause problems in pre-school.

Thus was born, THE FOOD POLICE. With me as sheriff. The kids don't eat anything with artificial color or flavor, or the petroleum preservatives BHT, BHQ, & TBHQ. This eliminates a lot of packaged food. Feingold provides you with a extensive food guide, a fast food guide, and a mail order guide for things that are truly hard to find. Living where we do makes it extra difficult to find acceptable convenience foods. Needless to say, I spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen. I like to cook and my kitchen is my favorite room, so its not too bad, but still I cook....a lot.

We mostly eat whole foods, homecooked dinners every night. I make my own sauces and mixes. I use a bread machine to make bread every other day. Homemade bread is amazing but it is a must to have an electric knife and a bread guide also helps tremendously. I bake muffins, brownies, cakes, & cookies. I get up every school morning and make breakfast, pack lunches and snacks, and remind myself it is all worth it.

I fight the good fight in regards to no homemade treats in school. I dread class parties. Ostracizing my kid. Being "that" mom. Explaining that no, it isn't a sugar thing. It's much bigger than that. Wishing we lived across the pond where they have already smartened up and banned lots of these chemicals. Grateful that we own a grocery store and I can order what I need. Sad that said grocery store is mostly full of contraband food. Off limits goodies that beckon every time we walk in.

Cashman is getting to where he realizes that he feels better when he is "clean". He knows a lot of things he can and cannot have and is mostly good about turning down things he knows are really bad. We can usually tell when he has had something because within 15 minutes to an hour he is a different child. And it can take days for the reaction to wear off. We try to be patient and understanding when that happens but you can't always be as you wish.

The one thing you can do is take care of your kids. The best way you know how. You are in control. You are not limited by what the masses produce or consume. Despite Sugarbaby's expression, Mama really does know best. Whatever that may be.


  1. I am reporting, again, there is no email signup or whatevs. How Am I to know you have blogged?? Labels suck, although, if you keep a sense of humor about it....well, you know me. And that's all I will say for now. He is gorgeous!!!!

  2. Holy smokes, Ashley. I am in awe and inspired by you and this journey. I've let things slip a lot this summer and it's so tempting to send the kids to school in a week with a lunch box full of pre-pack treats. Food for thought. Thank you.

  3. Awesome post! My Feingold kid is a healthy happy 17 year old now. It's so worth it.

  4. Your story sounds similar to ours! Particularly the "THAT mom" part! We homeschool, so I avoid a bit of the pressure to eat "treats", but it's still there. I'm of the mindset now of wondering how we ever came to regard chemicals in our food as a treat and look at the mom who won't let her kid(s) have them as the mean mom?
    Did you sign up for the Feingold program? I've been to their site but didn't sign up for anything.

  5. Yes Kelly I am a huge supporter of Feingold. We first joined three years ago and have renewed twice. They really have been a huge help as Cash has not just dye and flavor sensitivity but also reacts to BHT, BHQ, & TBHQ. I am also starting to think corn syrup might be a problem and Feingold lists when a product has corn syrup. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. We're already avoiding all food chemicals, what else does Feingold offer? We rarely eat corn syrup (the occassional meal out) because of GMO's and are basically free of any chemical, GMO, pesticide, etc. How much is it to join?

    PS-got here thru Die, Food Dye

  7. From what I understand there are a lot of hidden chemicals that don't have to be listed. Like what they spray the bread pans with, coating on the inside of cereal bags, etc. Feingold have a gigantic food list of tested products that are free of everything. They also provide a fast food guide in case you are stuck eating out. It has helped us so much. You also get their monthly newsletters and access to an online forum where other families go to discuss issues and triumphs, all that stuff. It is expensive. $80 to join and $50 renewal each year.

  8. We already avoid all processed foods and I know what ingredients to look for, so that's why I wondered what other benefits there are to membership. Thanks!


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