The best source of food & nutrition is always home-cooked meals with organic produce. But not all mothers are full-time domestic goddesses. And trying to achieve GFCF whilst juggling family, careers & part-time medical research necessitates us taking several shortcuts. High-fives to those mums who are able to do all that and more. But for us mere mortals, I’d like to share some of my tips and tricks on faking it as a domestic goddess.
We don’t get as many brands as in the U.S especially of the gluten-free, casein-free and organic variety. However, there are several substitutes that we’ve found in our Malaysian supermarkets & health food stores. But I find that most of the imported products are more easily found in expat-oriented shops like Village Grocer in Bangsar Village 1 and Cold Storage in Bangsar Shopping Center. My other favorite shops include Body Basics in Bangsar Shopping Center and Vitacare in LG, The Gardens. Here’s a few of my girls’ favorite snacks & GFCF substitutes;
Freedom Foods – they have several types of cookies and breakfast cereals
Biologique – cornflakes, rice puffs & other cereals
Ogran – bread mixes, cake & muffin mixes, vanilla & chocolate ready made cookies, pastas
Red Bob Mill’s – bread mix (contains yeast), brownie mix, pancake mix & gluten-free flour, chocolate chip cookie mix (I would make up a batch, bake 1/3 and freeze the rest. When needed, I let it defrost, get the kids involved in rolling it into balls & press into the baking tray)
Lay’s Classic Potato Chips – only Classic flavor, the other flavors contains non GFCF ingredients
Pacific Rice Milk – Original & Vanilla flavor rice milk (I can no longer find CF chocolate milk)
Aussie Dreams Organic Rice Milk Original Flavor – RM2.00 more expensive than Pacific, but it’s organic. Only comes in original flavor.
Japanese rice crackers – there are many brands, read the labels carefully
Frozen french fries – many brands & again, check the ingredients. Chicken nuggets & potato wedges are usually coated in wheat.
Whenever in Singapore, I stock up at Brown Rice Paradise in Tanglin Mall. They stock many brands of GFCF foods, organic cleaning products & personal care products. I try to cook home-made meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, when going out or for teatime, packaged snacks are the easiest option. However, a friend pointed out to me recently to watch out for trans-fats. Yes, there’s always something to watch out for.
Paul is Australian, I’m Malay and our maid is from the Philippines. So with 3 adults from 3 different countries and 2 little girls who are very picky eaters, planning a meal is pretty challenging as every one has different preferences. Starting the girls on GFCF was pretty hard initially, but as time went by it does get easier and easier.
Here are some of our favorite crowd pleasers;
Stirfry one dish meal – We would vary the stirfrys with different meats & vegetables. Garlic, ginger, onions, thai red curry paste, lemongrass, galangal, tumeric, soy sauce occassionally or sesame oil for variation. Serve with rice.
Fried Meehoon – pre-soaked meehoon with onions, garlic, chicken & veg.
Local dishes like ayam masak merah, pumpkin & spinach in coconut milk, masak lemak ikan, fried cod fish with tumeric or tamarind, beef curry, dalca, lamb kurma, steamed fish, local chicken & veg soup
Rice dishes – I would vary different types of rice, eg. basmati for veg & lamb pilaf or briyani, jasmine rice for nasi lemak (rice with coconut milk, pandan leaf, ginger & shallots) & fragrant rice for stir fries, local dishes & fried rice, arborio for risottos (Paul makes an exquisite chicken, pumpkin & sage risotto) I’d like to introduce brown rice to the girls diet soon.
GFCF pasta – spaghetti or spiral pasta served with bolognese sauce (organic mince beef, chopped onions & organic pasta sauce) or olio style (olive oil, onions, garlic, mushroom, chicken & zuchinni)
Sandwiches – GFCF bread with fillings such as peanut butter (unless you have peanut allergies) roast chicken with mayo (this used to be a favorite but Maya tested allergic to eggs. I got the egg-free mayo, but the taste is quite tangy, will have to get her used to this) I’d love to introduce hummus or chicken & avocado soon.
I have served lambchops, steaks, roast chicken, chicken with BBQ sauce or roast beef and a side of steamed veg with mashed potatoes for Paul and I but for the girls I serve it with rice. We’re constantly trying to expand the girls diet with some success.
Take it step by step and start with the GFCF first, then concentrate on eliminating yeast & sugars. If you see adverse reactions to soy & corn, target that next. You will never know for sure what diets are suitable for your child until you do the IgG test. There’s Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD eliminates most carbs including rice, corn, potatoes), low-oxalate diet, feingold diet, low-phenolic diet and many more which are much more restrictive than GFCF.
6 months ago, Maya will only eat plain white rice, toast and occasionally fried rice. And she would fill up on gluten-free chocolate biscuits, cakes & muffins. Slowly I weaned her off chocolate flavors and sugars and she would get a sugary treat maybe once a week. Also, we make more effort to eat together, setting the table with adult-type plates & cutlery made the girls feel grown up and excited to join us. Doing individual small portions helped, so the girls didn’t feel overwhelmed about having to finish it all. We try to eat the same things as they do, we play games like `Monster Bites’ and ‘Princess Eat’ and ‘Everybody Drinks’ to encourage them to eat more. And occasionally we resort to putting on the video to encourage the girls to sit at the table a bit longer.
So for the mothers out there who are going through the very difficult process of changing your child’s diet and worrying about what to cook and the frustration when your child refuses to eat anything – you are doing one of the most important changes in your child’s life, you will have to experiment with different recipes and you will need tons of patience. Slowly but assuredly, you WILL become a Domestic Goddess of the GFCF variety.