Saturday, August 3, 2013

Our New Normal: In the Kitchen

One of the biggest adjustments our family has made over the past four months (aside from getting to know two new people, their likes and dislikes, personalities, and wants/needs) has been in the kitchen.  I seriously feel like I've lived the majority of the last several months in that one room, either preparing food or cleaning up from preparing food, feeding kids, or washing dishes.

For one, we knew Viki was coming to us with a relatively new diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes, though the survival that was the first two weeks (one week in Bulgaria, followed by one week at home, until the appointment with the endocrinologist) was COMPLETELY different than the detailed plan we have now.  I explained to the endocrinologist the day we walked in that I will work any plan I have, but I need a plan.

I got a plan, that's for sure!  I have a kitchen cabinet dedicated to her supplies of lancets, glucose test strips, needles, ketone test strips, a spare blood meter, spare insulin pens, and a shelf in the refrigerator with her supplies of insulin.  I have a 3" notebook FULL of sick day protocol, ketone protocol, snacks that have certain amounts of carbs, suppliers' information ranging from medical bracelets to cooler pouches for insulin, and so on.  I can rattle off her baseline, carb:insulin ratio, and insulin sensitivity factor.

Now that we're four months in, I know how much extra insulin she needs for a piece of cake (above her standard carb dose) and which dinners will have her lower than her overnight goal, so to plan on her having a snack in bed.

On top of learning the ropes of diabetes management, Sadie was having tummy trouble before I left to pick up the kids, and we weren't able to figure out the source.  Once we were home and getting settled, it was time to schedule her to meet with a GI specialist, to test for less common causes.  All the blood work was done, and we were still without answers.  Her symptoms look like celiac, but they aren't.

She was put on a low-FODMAP diet, which eliminates lactose, fructose, fructans, galactans, and sugar alcohols.  My first thought was, "What CAN she eat?!"  As it turns out, a lot.  It's essentially a paleo diet, just a stricter one than we had been following.  And it's hard, because fixing pb&j for the kids just isn't an option anymore.  I'm now grilling chicken for lunch, as a base, then adding sides according to which child has which restriction.

My most commonly used statement with Sadie is, "The doctor says you can't have that."  And she's okay with the doctor saying she can't have something.  Grocery shopping is a new adventure, and our recipes have been adapted to work with our new restrictions.  And Sadie was able to enjoy lactose-free chocolate ice cream, so that made up for many "the doctor says no" answers about food.

Denny has gone from not being able to even drink from a bottle, to getting smoothies packed with yummy goodness, and now he's moved on to solid foods, even chewing now, instead of just swallowing it down.  He can pack away three adult portions of oatmeal at breakfast, then act ravenous by snack time.  Just this week, he picked up bite-size pieces of food from his tray and fed himself!  Woohoo!!!

All five kids are growing like weeds, so my grocery budget is through the roof.  We're approaching the $800 mark, and there's not a coupon to help us, unless you have coupons for meat and veggies, and in that case, gimme!

If you have any yummy paleo recipes, please pass them along!  We're always looking to try new recipes, so we don't risk eating the same 10 meals again and again!


  1. Here's a way to get lots of free paleo cookbooks. Use this link every day or two--the first ones in the list will be the free ones! If the link doesn't work, you can just type "paleo" in the search box (choose Kindle store option), then sort the results by price, low to high.

    BTW in case you don't already realize this, you don't need a Kindle to read them, you can read them straight on the Amazon website "Cloud Reader" or download a Kindle reading app for most computers and devices.

    Also, I recommend checking reviews and bios because in the Kindle book sphere and especially in the cookbooks, there are lemons where people just copied and pasted off of websites. But I know there are good and authentic ones too.

    I haven't commented before though I have followed for a while!---but I thought this is an arena where I could share something useful, as I check for free Kindle books every day.

    All the best. I'm inspired by your organization and resolve in eating well for your family's needs! :)

    1. Natalia,
      Thank you for recommending the link for the cookbooks! I'll be checking for new (and free) books to try out! We have a Kindle, but I'm also familiar with using the cloud from my laptop. Perfect!