But first, a small rant:
Last week we were down in Southern Ontario visiting the grandparents, and I rather cavalierly didn’t pack too much food. I took some snacks and things, but mostly I thought I’d be able to get what we needed there. Because the people of Southern Ontario eat, right? They have access to food, somehow? Yes?
But I was surprised to find very few options for the Captain to eat. We hit up several grocery stores and they’d have rice milk, maybe, and one kind of gluten free pasta, if we were lucky, and one store had a small selection of Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flours in the cereal aisle. That was IT.
Here in Kanata I live within a fifteen minute drive of not one, but two dedicated alternative food grocery stores – the Natural Food Pantry and the Rainbow Foods (shout out to both, you are AWESOME). My closest grocery store, the Superstore, has two whole aisles devoted to alternative/gluten free/allergy-focused foods and I can actually get at least half of the food I need for the Captain on my regular grocery run. Nearby there’s a Farm Boy, which is a smaller grocery store chain here in town – they have a row of gluten-free stuff and they also stock a line of local, fresh-baked breads and treats that are gluten, egg, milk, and nut free (AND tasty, you people are AMAZING). Right next door to the Farm Boy is the Bulk Barn, which is my number one stop for alternative flours of all kinds, as well as the corn pasta the Captain loves and plenty of other alternative treats and snacks. Oh, and in the rare instance I can’t find what I need at any of these FIVE stores, there’s the giant Loblaws in Barrhaven, still within a 15 minute drive, which stocks not only a lot of unusual gluten free foods, but has a huge selection of organic/chemical free toiletries.
So you can see why I kind of thought that access to foods like this was kind of…common. I am now so incredibly grateful to live where I live. I’m not sure if food allergies are just more common in the Ottawa area, or if we just have more enterprising entrepreneurs, or if we’re just more aware, or what, but in Cambrige and Mississauga at least, you can’t just wander into a grocery store and pick up some millet flour, corn pasta, and Enjoy Life cookies. No siree.
I admit I got a little sad and weepy while we were away because despite my son’s super restrictive diet, I never have to think of him as being really different from other kids, because food that’s safe for him is so widely available here. In Southern Ontario was the first time I ever thought of him as being really high maintenance, special needs, different. And it was tough.
But now we are home, all is well, and I’m putting it behind me.
Anyway! End rant. Moving on.
I get asked all the time what kind of treats the Captain can eat. It was his birthday this week and we had a very small gathering at the house and trust me, there was no lack of sugar.
Here’s what we served:
Gluten Free Cupcakes, as described in this post.
These are made from Koala Crisp Cereal which are chocolate flavoured and make THE BEST treat squares ever. The Captain’s class went NUTS for them. Speaking of nuts, Koala Crisps are a may-contain product for peanuts/nuts but the Captain, who is super sensitive, is fine with them. You can just substitute canola oil for the melted butter and I use no-name brand marshmallows.
These contain “vegetable oil” which sometimes means soy. But the Captain is fine with them. They are like bits of salty air. Yet SO ADDICTIVE.
Actually most plain flavour chips are fine for him but Pringles are our This Is A Special Event treat food.
Ice Cream Sundaes:
The Captain had Rice Dream vanilla ice cream. I have an ice cream maker and I have some good “alternative” type recipes he likes but frankly, the Rice Dream is better. The other kids had regular milk-based ice cream. I put out bowls of coloured mini marshmallows, various kinds of sprinkles, strawberries, and Enjoy Life brand mini chocolate chips. The non-allergic got to have spray-on whipped cream, if desired. This was a last minute idea of mine; next time if I am better prepared I will make up some Captain-safe chocolate sauce.
Man, do I ever hate pop. I think it’s really one of the worst foods on the planet. But in the last few months we’ve allowed it to creep into the Captain’s diet as a treat food. It’s safe for him, and it’s widely available, so when the girls are in a situation where they are having (say) ice cream or donuts or chocolate bars, the Captain gets to have pop. Cream Soda is his favourite and since it’s caffeine free, I can look the other way when he drinks it on special occasions. We always buy Fanta, it’s da bomb according to the Captain. Did you know Fanta is only available in Canada? That makes it EXTRA special.
Man, that really sounds like a lot of crap, doesn’t it? We also had fruit! There was fruit available! No one ate any, but it was there, on the table. So that TOTALLY COUNTS.