Adventures in pizzaland

Diet, Personal

February 16, 2011



Just like his father, Ben’s absolute favorite food is pizza – the kid can eat, but he takes it to a whole new level when it comes to this yummy, tasty treat. Every Friday night (pizza night at my house), he’ll sit down and plow through an entire medium pizza himself (always 3 slices at a time, as there as to be order to everything.)

In the days prior to him moving onto a gluten-free, casein-free diet, Mountain Mike’s pepperoni was a favorite. Once he had to go both wheat (crust) and milk (cheese) free, we found Amy’s Pizza, which was a popular and readily-available gluten-free frozen pizza available in most grocery store shelves. And so it went for a year or two, until my recent re-awakening when it comes to Ben and ASD — literally, one night I was laying in bed and it hit me like a ton of bricks: even though Amy’s Pizza is gluten-freen, it’s still got regular cheese on it. Cheese = milk = casein. I was horrified (and admit to immediately breaking down in tears) – all this time I’d been thinking I was providing a non-agitating, tasty pizza treat for my darling boy, and all this time I’d somehow managed to be oblivious to the fact that he was ingesting MILK every single time…

That weekend I went on a mission to find a GFCF pizza and found another variety of Amy’s Pizza that was dairy free. I was elated, but also curious as to how Bennie would like this new variety, as it had all kinds of fancy foo-foo veggies on it. I shouldn’t have been surprised that pizza is pizza in Ben’s eyes, and he wolfed that one down just as quickly as he ever did.

Then last week, literally just before I was about to put the pizza in the oven, I thought to take a look at the ingredients. Yup, no wheat, no dairy… but wait – what’s this at the bottom? Soy lecithin.


Per my previous post, soy is kryptonite for Bennie, and the fact that soy lecithin also affects him means he’s affected hormonally as well as physically to soy (as soy contains “estrogen” but most are only affected to the soy protein in an allergic reaction.) However, at that point (again – I was literally just about to put the pizza in the oven), I made the decision to let him have his pizza, as I felt that whatever reaction he might have would not be as bad as me taking away his favorite part/meal of the week right when he was expecting it. Boy, did I make an error in judgment there.

This was Friday night. After eating the pizza, he got a bit of a rash on his inner elbows and cheeks, but not too bad. By Saturday the rash was worse and his behavior was pretty stimmy and obsessive (typical behavioral reaction to him eating something he shouldn’t.) By Sunday my poor boy was a mess – the rash was awful and red and itchy, but even worse he was an absolute wreck emotionally – it was almost like he was delirious, unable to focus, talking (and not understanding) in repetitive loops, sad & crying without reason, etc. Just gut-wrenching. All because I tried to give him his Friday night of happiness, fresh from the oven.

Never again.

That night, I sent an email to my favorite local gluten free shop in downtown Sacramento, Gluten Free Specialty, asking for help in buying ingredients to make Bennie GFCFSF pizza, and I quickly received a reply letting me know that they stock all types of tasty foodstuffs that would let me make Ben a fresh(ish) homemade pizza. So today I ventured out at lunch and had the proprietor, Melanie, guide me around her store to help me pick out exactly what I needed: ready-made/frozen GFCFSF pizza crusts, organic GFCFSF pizza sauce packets, GFCFSF shredded “cheese” (not really cheese, but a tasty replacement) and some organic canned items (such as pineapples) to decorate the pizza with.

This Friday I will transform my kitchen into a pizza-making factory and will prepare for my Benjo the most delicious, (near) fresh and safe pizzas for him to wolf down. I’m thinking I’ll even have him help me prepare the pizza, to make it that much more fun and exciting for him (and me.) And I can’t wait.

Special thanks to Melanie @ Gluten Free Specialty for all your help in making this possible – please know that you’ll be making a beautiful young boy very happy, and his father even happier.

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