Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I haven't been blogging much. Okay, at all. It's not that I don't want to. I think my issue is that we've really backtracked on FG and I don't feel like I should be giving advice or expounding virtues if I'm not walking the walk. We've had up and downs with Max. Right now, we are having downs. I was really naive about what a struggle going on vacation would be. I brought tons of treats and half a dozen bags of groceries. We still ended up piling infraction on top of infraction. Max's behavior has been proof of that. I think what is hardest for me is that Max's infractions are with approved foods, I.e. dairy, pineapple, etc. The good side of all of this is that I reconfirmed his various intolerances. No dairy. No corn syrup. No chocolate. Watermelon MIGHT be allowed back, so that's exciting. So we are spending the remainder of our time at the beach attempting to pull Max back out of Tantrum Mode. We've yanked all offending foods. I'm pumping him full of digestive enzymes and probiotics. He is at this moment taking an Epsom salt bath. All of his drinks have been dosed with club soda. I know Feingold works. I hate to compare it to something like Alcoholics Anonymous, but honestly, there are a lot of similarities. The program works if you work it. Even small slip ups can lead to disasters. So, right now, we're in a tunnel. We're working our way back out of it. I'm trying to be grateful for the fact that I know what FG is at all.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Peanut Butter Bliss

These are FREAKING delicious. Peanut Butter Blondies -- I can't get over how tasty they are. Everything I've baked since starting FG has been a slightly less delicious/more healthy version of the recipes I love. I've finally found something that tastes fantastic and is FG-approved and healthy.

Peanut Butter Blondies

1 cup peanut butter (I used Trader Joes Creamy/Salted)
1 cup flour (I used spelt)
3 tbsp. Ground flax
6 tbsp. canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. cashew butter

Mix the wet ingredients -- add in the dry. Pour into a greased/parchment papered pan (I used a weird oblong 6x10, but I think a 9x9 would be good.) Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Let them cool before cutting. They are a little crumbly, so you could add more binding if you wanted, but I love the texture. It's almost like the inside of a peanut butter cup.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Coping Mechanisms

 I think I've neglected to realize how easy the FG diet is when LIFE is easy.

Lots of people lament the difficulties of FG -- the expense, the time, the cooking, the reading, the educating yourself and others, the judgement. It's a lot to take in. On the other side of 11 weeks, we felt like we had a pretty good handle on what's what.

Then my dad got sick.

Between full time work and spending evenings at the hospital, there isn't much left for planning meals. Fortunately, I've been able to pack Max's lunches and I haven't had to rely on other people to follow the diet restrictions more than usual. Tonight, I'm actually home and plan to cook something homemade and delicious.

But this is when I understand why people have to start relying on the fast food options. I'll be the first to admit -- when a new FG member comes on the message boards and, within a day of joining, is asking about fast food options, I feel a little irritated. FG is a commitment -- a commitment to whole foods that are cooked at home, mostly by you. It took weeks for us to pinpoint Max's aversions to corn syrup, pineapple, and chocolate. The only one we discovered right away was watermelon. How could you possibly commit to something when you're already thinking about the drive-thru?

Now, though, I think I get it. As I commute from Jefferson to Frederick to Baltimore and back, I've been tempted many times to hit up one of the many chains with bright orange nuggets and crispy yellow fries. I haven't -- I've packed meals and taken them with me. But I've been tired enough multiple times that, had I not had that sandwich or those crackers, I would have stopped for a Big Mac...

So maybe this is a lesson that I should be less judgemental. I don't know what it's like to have multiple children or be a stay at home mom. I don't know what anyone has to deal with in terms of their relatives or their jobs. I do know that, while I continue driving back and forth, I can't promise I won't cave into the fast food convenience. FG is many things, but convenient isn't really one of them. Don't get me wrong. FG is still our savior. It's still a commitment to a life change. The problem, I think, is that life changes happen when LIFE CHANGES -- and that can throw everything into complete upheaval.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Week

I've been sort of struggling with this. I wanted to do something other than my typical Starbucks gift card. I decided that there were few things I, as a teacher, looked forward to more than summer. So I made these little tags that say, "A month until summer -- but who's counting? Wishing you sunny days all year long!" Then I filled these inexpensive plastic ice tubs with a reusable summer-themed tablecloth, butterfly napkins and plates, Popsicle molds and Jelly Belly cherry flavor, sun block, cocoa butter, and Lip smackers. I feel pretty good about it, I gotta say. It's bright. It's cheery. Most of all, I think it shows how very much we love Max's teachers and how important they've been to us.

Hopefully the Buffalo Wing dip and Crab dip I'm making for their lunch next week will turn out just as well!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Beauty of Normalcy

I'm absolutely shocked that Max had a good day today. I hate saying stuff like that, but after a weekend of strep, scarlet fever, actual fever, Advil with artificial flavor, and antibiotics, I was sure that a return to school would be disastrous. It wasn't. In fact, according to Ms. Sarah and Ms. Meagan, it was a great day.

This afternoon, I was waiting for a student to finish a test -- I'd already logged off my work computer and I was staring at the wall when I noticed my FG behavior inventory -- the one I filled out about 9 weeks ago. When I looked back over it, it was amazing to see that so many behaviors had been completely eliminated. Others had become the exception, not the rule.

One thing my parents have said several times is that I need to remember that Max is still a four year-old boy. FG has the tendency to prompt me to forget Max's age in favor of an ideal, a perfectly behaved boy who does nothing wrong. For the most part, Max actually has become that boy -- the only time he falters are in situations where he's anxious (uses his chewie, turtle, or other self-soother) or when he's excited and happy, where he goes up a notch in hyper behavior and will often zoom around like a car, honking and running into walls. I hate that a lot of people see these behaviors more than the every day normalcy -- around others, he's far more likely to be anxious or excited.

Regardless, I know we've made tremendous progress. We've introduced some Stage Two with good results. And today we found out that daycare is going to transition Max from the 3 year old room to the 4 year old room. This is something we never thought we'd see -- and the school is actually prompting it, meaning that they think he's ready. I really, really hope they're right.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


This poor kid just can't catch a break.

Two weeks ago he had the ear infection. We struggled and succeeded in finding dye-free/flavor-free Amoxycillin. Two days later, he erupted in hives. They switched him to Omnicef -- same struggle for FG compliant. Ten days -- no ear infection. Clean bill of health. And now this.

On Friday morning, Max broke out with a non-itching rash on his tummy and chest. Matt emailed me about it and I told him to put some topical stuff on it. Max has really sensitive skin, so this wasn't really a cause for alarm. But when I came to pick him up at school, the rash had spread over his entire body -- hands, hair, face - everywhere. And he had a fever. To the doctor we went.

Strep culture - negative. Consensus? A virus we had to struggle through.

We went home. Over the course of the next two days, Max vomited, had horrible gas and stomach pain, had cold symptoms, had a spiking fever over and over, and was covered head to toe in a pervasive rash. We couldn't shake it. I tried acetaminophen -- the only approved drug on FG for him. Not even a DENT in the fever.

Finally, yesterday, I broke down and gave him the dye-free but artificial flavor-full Children's Advil. I felt terrible about it but, by that point, he was so sick that I didn't care. We'd work through the reaction. He actually hasn't reacted yet, but that doesn't mean he won't -- we've given it to him twice more since the initial dose.

But, this morning, the fever was back, as strong as ever, and so was the rash, which had started to diminish. So off to the doctor we went. And this time? Strep culture - POSITIVE.

How do I feel? Happy. Really. Because even though this means another round of gut-killing antibiotics, I know that there is a source for this illness and it is treatable. I hate viruses -- hate the whole principle of "there's nothing to do but wait." It goes against all my instincts.

So, we're back on Omnicef. Since Max is having strawberries now on the weekend, I put enzymes in those and I'm going to sprinkle Culturelle on his dinner tonight. Hopefully we can balance things out -- and hopefully this will be the last round of ridiculousness for a while!

Friday, April 27, 2012


The IEP meeting was ... fine. It wasn't bad or anything. It was just, well, like our appointments with the behavior specialist, it didn't seem nearly as effective as the FG diet. Most of the behaviors we were experiencing when we made the appointment were things that have improved or disappeared. I should be happy about this, obviously -- and I am. However, I was sort of hoping they'd provide us with some OT sessions at the local elementary school. They did provide us with some documents about doing a Sensory Diet, which is something we're already doing.

So, no IEP for Max. I'm not surprised. But have have some mixed feelings.

Other than that, I have to say that things have been going really well. I mean, REALLY well. Max has been lovely. There was a day or two this week when he seemed a little more surly than he has been lately, but he'd also had a couple of items that could have caused a build-up -- Rice Shreds (Casien), Cucumbers (sals) and Sprite (corn syrup.) We pulled out the cheese and soda (cukes were a one time thing, anyway) and he's seemed a lot better.

I'm starting to consider making this blog more public -- as in, telling friends about it. My family knows and I've got it in my FGBB signature...but since we're seeing such progress and I'm learning so much...I don't know, I feel like I might be able to help someone else. I've got a close friend whose son has really horrible asthma. I hear about parents all the time with kids whose allergies are extreme. People forget that FG isn't only about behavior.

Oh, and I haven't been posting pics -- sorry about that! Maybe I'll do that tonight :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


It's the night before our Child Find meeting -- this is an organization run by both the Health Department and Frederick County Public Schools. When we first called to make the appointment, we were dealing with the worst behavior we'd ever experienced. We felt so lost - like no one else had ever dealt with these challenges before.We would have done anything to "fix" our son.

When the appointment was made, we were about 2-3 weeks into Feingold. Max's behavior was atrocious -- now I know that this could be been due to detox or to the non-Stage One items I was still exposing him to. When Max had to be removed from class, I doubled back and restarted our diet. Since then, we've seen massive improvements. I don't know how to explain it except to say that, really and truly, FG changed our life. By changing Max's diet, we changed his whole world in the best possible way.

I'm not really sure what we're going to say in this meeting tomorrow. In reality, I have a feeling that we won't get approved for services. Part of me wishes we would be approved, at least so that Max could get some Occupational Therapy. However, I've been doing a variety of sensory activities with him at home. At this point, I want them to hear him speak so they can decide if he needs some speech therapy or if we can wait. Also, Max's teacher (one of them, anyway) will be there, and I'm interested/terrified to hear what she has to say to the group at the meeting. I am pretty sure school has seen all the same positive changes I have but I can't be completely sure.

Regardless, I know that FG will have to be brought up. In fact, it is essential to bring it up. They need to know - they being the professionals in their field - that food has assisted us. That food is primarily responsible for the change for the better we're experiencing. I will try not to be too pedantic or anything -- but I hope I can convert some skeptics. It's really important that the meeting attendees understand what a difference FG has made in our lives.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Hives *sigh*

This poor kid, man. I feel like he keeps getting put through the ringer.
Max has never done well with Amoxicillin -- it makes him sick to his stomach, have diarrhea, etc. This time around, it made him vomit twice. I don't know why we, as parents, don't just say, "Okay, enough." I guess it's because the idea of hearing damage via ear infection worried me more than puke.
Anyway, we were at the grocery store when Max started itching. It went on for ten minutes or so until I finally looked under his shirt. I just saw the welts around his shoulder at first; we rushed over to the medicine section and I grabbed a Benadryl topical gel. Then I lifted up his shirt. I wanted to cry -- he was just covered in hives. Poor guy looked so completely miserable. I doused him with the gel, before I'd paid for it, of course, and got us and our groceries out of there. I called Matt. My Mom. The Doctor. We got home and I doused him again. The hives went away.
Still, we went to the pediatrician -- if nothing else, I wanted his ears looked at. Of course, they were still infected. Not only that, but there was an internal build-up in his ear that had to be removed. It really hurt him -- enough, that I had to hold him in my lap with his head pressed against my chest. You could see the red on his face from where I had to hold him so hard.
As I suspected, they gave us another antibiotic -- so I went through the ringer again: i.e. we're on FG, we need dye free, etc. But in the end, we got what we needed. It's a once a day Rx, which is GREAT. Hopefully this will be the answer we should have gotten from the beginning.
Of course, now that we know he's allergic to Amox, it makes me furious that he was rx-ed it so many times - times after we begged for something else because of the pain and vomiting that Max went through. It's taken FG for me to advocate stronger and harder for my boy.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Picture Says 1000 Words

This is from Easter weekend, but it's a pretty accurate portrayal of my boy. I think about the boy that refused to let me take his picture, who would cover his face -- it makes pictures like this all the more beautiful.

Getting Healthy

The last few weeks have been a joy in terms of Max -- while we only recently discovered his sensitivity to chocolate, he's made it three weeks without any major meltdowns, at home or at school. Of course, he's only been to school for two days this week and one day last week - and four days the week before. I hate to say this, but I'm sort of nervous that he's been doing so well since he hasn't been at school much. I'm telling you, if we went back in time to when Matt was rolling in Five Guys cash, I would have quit my job in a heartbeat. Now, we need my salary. It sucks.

Anyway, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week were big FG victories for us. First of all, Max had been struggling for about 3-4 days with what I thought were allergies: coughing, stuffy nose, etc. He seemed fine for the most part -- and then, on Tuesday, he spiked a fever. Turns out he has the beginning of a double ear infection. What does the "beginning" mean? That he had fluid in his ears and that the ear infection was most likely going to take hold.

Max had chronic ear infections as a kid -- CHRONIC. But he hasn't had one in almost two years. Still, giving him an antibiotic was a conflict for me; first, because of his gut health and, second, because of the dyes/flavors.

I went to CVS. Walgreen's. The grocery store. The compounding pharmacy downtown -- no one could give me a kid's liquid antibiotic without flavor/color. I begrudgingly filled it. But I never gave it to him. Instead, I called the doctor the next day and had her prescribe plain old Amoxicillin capsules. I mix the powder in honey and he takes it orally. No colors. No artificials. No upsetting the FG balance. I feel vindicated. I feel like I've won a battle for my child, and all I had to do was ask.

We're trying some homeopathic stuff, too -- tea tree and olive oils in the ears, specifically. But since the fever is hanging on, I think the antibiotic is a necessity. We're hoping he goes back to school tomorrow. And we're hoping that next week we can get back to a daily routine.

Which still begs the question -- what about this summer? Am I keeping him home with me? Sending him a few days a week? It's a big decision...

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Preserving the Gut

I know, I know -- I'm sorry! I had every intention of doing this daily or at least bi-weekly. The last few weeks have been incredibly hectic. Matt travels a lot in the spring and, on top of dealing with Max's issues, I've had writing deadlines and teacher-related disputes.

Things are mostly the same here. The big changes:
1.We've eliminated dairy from Max's diet.
2. We've noticed that Max reacts unfavorably to chocolate and other oxylates. We're working on that to see if they need to be removed or limited.

The improvements:
1. Max has gone about 3 weeks without a major meltdown. His issues at school continue, but he has been using his chewie necklace and some other self-soothing tactics.
2. Max has been happy, overall. We've seen a behavioral specialist twice now and I think she sees most of his behavioral issues as minor and correctable.

The negatives:
1. From the slips we've had over the course of the last six weeks, I'm pretty sure it will be a long time before Max can eat salicylites again. It makes me sad -- there are things he misses, like berries and peppers. And we will try them -- but I'm going to wait until I can pick them myself from a garden or orchard. Then I'll know exactly what Max is reacting to.
2. Max is still having behavioral issues. I think Matt and my parents think I'm being too hard on him -- that I expect too much of a four year-old. But I'm around other four year-olds and I know what they're like -- Max still has a long way to go.

Our next step is to start probiotics to help heal Max's gut -- this is a Austism Spectrum treatment that many use for ADHD and other diagnoses. Taking a probiotic, like FG diet itself, can't really hurt -- so we'll see. After we see some success from that, we plan on adding in a digestive enzyme.

We have hope -- we continue to see improvements. There are steps forward and back. It's challenging and somewhat disheartening at times. We just keep on keeping on.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What Healthy Looks Like

Obviously my intentions to update this blog daily haven't exactly come to fruition. It's not that the desire isn't there -- it's just that sitting down at the computer vs. enjoying the weather with the boy really isn't much of a competition.

After our incredibly difficult beginning of last week, we were able to even Max out and have a good weekend. We hiked with my parents, aunt, and cousins yesterday, which Max loved. Anything that gets him out in the wild where he can run and jump and play is great. The bridge in the picture below was his favorite part.

We were pretty worried about Saturday's behavior. On Friday, for St. Patrick's Day, Max had a icing/sprinkle covered animal cookie and a chocolate gold coin. We held our breath for 24 hours, waiting for the fall-out and it never came. That makes me think two things: 1, Max is more sensitive to salicylites than to dyes/preservatives and, 2, Max's difficulties last week might have just been a detox reaction, which apparently happens to a lot of kids.

So now it's Sunday morning. We had a perfect day yesterday, which was wonderful. But it makes me really nervous about tomorrow. We had such a great weekend last weekend -- but then a terrible Monday and Tuesday. I just have my fingers crossed that we won't see a repeat.

We did, however, make cookies -- which are probably the most delicious thing I've ever cooked and they are chock full of health.

Chocolate Chunk Pecan Flax Cookies
1 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulate sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp. whole Flax seed
1/2 cup ground Flax meal
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 pkg. Bakers Semi-Sweet Chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
Sunspire Sundrops for topping
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix butter, sugar and egg. Add in dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chunks and pecans. Using a teaspoon, drop rounded spoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. If desired,

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

3.14 Accountability

Guess who made Play-Doh after dinner? ;)
It's my mom's recipe, but we boiled down red cabbage to make the food coloring.
3.15 Lunch
Dannon All Natural Vanilla Yogurt, Cantaloupe, String Cheese, Pringles (of all things - never bought these in my life, but they are actually approved!), Whole Wheat Pita Pocket with Butter, and a Chocolate Covered Cookie from Indie Candy.

Starting Over

One of the most challenging things about Feingold is the "infraction" process. When the dieter reacts to a trigger, the reaction can often last for 3 or more days. Such is what happened to Max on Monday after eating almond flour. It was literally, literally like he'd lost his mind. It stayed that way for two days.

As is the FG procedure, we took Epsom salt baths to cleanse his system. They also recommend you drink some baking soda, but I couldn't do that to him -- I always taste his juice before I give it to him, and with 1/2 tsp. of Baking Soda in it, it was unbearable.

Now, 48 hours later, it seems like we've weathered the storm, but it was a doozy. I'm hesitant to say that, but things are much calmer today and he had a good day at school. So, now, since an infraction occurred, we have to start again -- we go back the number of days from the infraction and start from there.

If I'm being honest, we really weren't following the diet to the letter. I was trusting my instinct and intelligence to choose FG products that weren't in the approved manual -- just stuff I was "sure" couldn't be a problem. We've put so much money into this already, I hate the idea of wasting food. But seeing now what an unapproved food can do, especially one with hidden salicylates, I've made the decision that I'd rather waste food than experience this again.

So now, we're sticklers. Only stuff from the manual. No diversions. And, hopefully, we'll see the results we were starting to see -- except this time, they'll stick...

Hoping for the Best

I haven't blogged since Sunday. I couldn't -- I couldn't even bring myself to open the webpage. If I did, I'd have to be honest about our Monday and Tuesday, and I didn't want to be. I didn't want to admit to anyone how awful things have been for the last few days.

I'm not really going to talk about the specifics. Really, I don't feel like airing our dirty laundry. Instead, I'll just say that we are all the more committed to and driven by the Feingold Program and it's potential success. We plan on continuing the program, full steam, and moving forward from here.

I might not blog for a few days until I get my wits about me. Just know we're all still fighting the good fight.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Best Day

A happy, smiling Max. It's the best sight in the world. Today, the Fiores went on an adventure -- first, to DC to go to a French Patisserie Matt's doing business with; and second, to National Harbor, to walk along the water and browse the shops. In some ways, today was a test -- a test of the Feingold Diet, a test of Max, a test of us. In all, it was an experiment -- but we called it an adventure and hit the road.

And this adventure, this experiment, was magical. It was a perfect, beautiful day. The weather was lovely. Max was happy and bubbly and sweet. But the events of the day weren't without some bumps and obstacles. The traffic getting into DC was heavy and it took forever to find a parking spot. Then, walking to the bakery, Max got hit with gastrointestinal issues. He made it to the bathroom, but it wasn't pretty.

Yet, through all of this -- through an unfortunate seagull incident on the pier and lots of travel -- Max remained calm, happy, sweet, funny, friendly, and attentive. He listened to us. He didn't fight. The only time we started to see some negative behavior was around 3 pm at Ben and Jerrys, where the line was long and Max had yet to take a nap. He became impatient and a little whiny -- but it was NOTHING compared to the last few times we went to DC.

As we drove home, with Max asleep in the back, Matt and I ruminated on our trip to the Monster Truck show last month and the DC car show a week after that. Both of those trips weren't positive experiences -- the Monster Jam being the worst. Max hated the loud noise from the trucks -- and I mean LOUD. We were totally unprepared, unlike so many other parents and kids with huge headphone things they have at Nascar races. Shows you how much experience I have with Monster Trucks.

Anyway, aside from that, his behavior became progressively worse and worse all day. I remember him running up and down escalators, despite my telling him not to. He revolted against holding hands as we walked. The only time he sat still was when I played a show for him on my phone.

When I think back on that day, I consider the foods he ate -- I remember distinctly giving him Cars gummis, Mini M&M's, and trail mix (with M&M's and raisins.) At lunch, he ate a chocolate milkshake and french fries. Knowing what I know now, no freaking wonder he was such a mess. I'd basically provided a Rx for bad behavior.

So, of course, Max fell asleep on the way home and slept until about 6:45 pm, which I hate. I dreaded him waking up -- he's always so grumpy after a late nap. And you know what? He wasn't thrilled when I nudged him awake, but he didn't argue or fight me either. Instead, he dawdled a bit before coming to eat his dinner - and devoured a slice of bacon and a 1/2 cup of spinach, which thrilled me to no end. He didn't like his rice -- I think I put on way too much soy sauce - so I'm making some plain white rice now. I'm hoping he eats some of that, too.

All in all, this has been the best day since starting the Feingold Program, simply because we were able to live a life off the scheduled grid and sort of wing it. I brought "Max food" with me, of course, but also gave him half a coconut macaroon at the bakery and a small vanilla ice cream cone at Ben and Jerry's. We had a beautiful, fabulous family day -- the kind I've always dreamed of having. It makes all of the cost and inconvenience of this diet completely worth it!

3.11 Accountability

This is actually Max's lunch for tomorrow -- once again, he didn't eat much today. I got him to eat a Coconut Popsicle, some bacon, a few animal crackers, a little bit of a coconut macaroon, and a scoop of Vanilla ice cream on a sugar cone. I know, WORST DIET EVER. He did have his Multi/DHA vitamins. Still searching for a Magnesium supplement in gummi form...

Lunch for 3.12
Diced Cantaloupe, Bacon, Trader Joes Multi Colored Potato Chips, Homemade Marshmallows and Gummi Vitamins. I might throw in a string cheese -- I'm going back and forth about trying a Casien Free (Dairy Free) diet for a while.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Indie Candy!!!

So, despite Max's under-the-weatherness today, he and I were both very excited when the box came from One of the biggest struggles has been fruit snacks -- finding some without apple juice, grape juice, berries, apple pectin, and of course the obvious "baddies" - BHT, Dye, etc.

But Indie Candy has an entire Feingold Section, for both Stage One and Stage Two. And as you can see from the picture above, we took full advantage of it. This is actually only about half of our order. I put some in the bag to go to Max's school Monday and some in a box for his Easter basket (which I'm so excited about -- I can't wait to post it when I put it together!)

Anyway, the stash above was a "Back to School Bucket" that included the bucket pictured, as well as: Bunny Gummies in Mango, Key Lime, Pineapple, and Watermelon; Animal Lollis in the same flavors; Chocolate Lollis; Chocolate Covered Cookies; and (not pictured) FG-Friendly Marshmallows and Egg-Shaped Lollis.

Finally, FINALLY, I feel like we've reached the "equipped" point in this diet. We've got all the foods, drinks (finally found pear juice boxes!!!), soaps and detergents, and now treats. We're set.

(Lack of) 3.10 Accountability

So, no lunch or dinner pictures today because Max pretty much didn't eat all day. We headed out to the farmer's market in Leesburg, as is our new Saturday morning ritual, and he was practically silent the whole way there and the whole way back. This is very unusual for my singing, constantly questioning boy. I kept asking him if he was sad or sick or something. He said he didn't have a headache or a tummy ache. It wasn't until we were home that he finally said, in a small voice, "It hurts when I swallow my spit."

Aw, crap. Strep.

So, off to the Pediatric Center we went. Isn't great that there are doctors with Saturday sick hours? They're open Sunday too. LOVE IT.

Anyway, as luck would have it, it isn't strep. Negative cultures and no fever or any real symptoms. His neck/throat glands are swollen, but that's it. And now he is in a much happier mood. Although, That might just be the result of his new Silly Putty, which he's now been playing with for five hours straight.

Friday, March 9, 2012

3.9 Accountability

So, I'm not usually a fan of frozen dinners, especially the "kid" variety. But, to be fair, this is an organic "Elmo" meal. So Max's dinner was this and a Yo Baby Organic Vanilla Yogurt. And he pretty much ate none of it. But he did eat...
The FG-Friendly cookies we made -- which are DELICIOUS.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

3.8 Accountability

Here, have some soy nuts.
Tonight Max wasn't really feeling our protein source, so he ended up opting for a 1/4 cup of soy nuts. But his original dinner was...
Max's Dinner for 3.8
Organic Spinach, Organic Potato Wedges (made with our farm potatoes), homemade honey mustard, Gardin Seven Grain Tenders (supposed to be Chicken-like), and Water with Grape Stevia. Max wasn't a fan of the tenders -- he ate one before hitting up the soy nuts.
And his lunch for tomorrow --

Max's lunch for 3.9
Farmer's Market Arugula with Homemade Honey Mustard Dip (this was BY REQUEST -- Max wanted it in his lunch, believe it or not!), Pretzel Chips, Homemade Cheez-its, Fresh Mozzarella Balls, Canned Pineapple, and Trader Joes Jo Jo sandwich cookies. His drink is Grape Water - Grape Stevia and Water.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pulling the Trigger on Watermelon


Well, I figured I'd give watermelon one more chance. It wasn't a positive experience.

Since there are so many fruits eliminated for the first six weeks of the Feingold Program, I've really been struggling with finding enough fruit for Max to eat without getting bored or unwilling to eat it. Bananas have lost their luster. Pears were never a favorite. Mangos are a no go. Even the canned pineapple sits lonely on the shelf. But melon has always been one of Max's preferred fruits. And since his go-to berries and raisins are banned for the moment, melon has been a good alternative.

Now, of course, it's March - early March - so there are no local melons agrowin' round these here parts. So, like any good capitalistic consumer, I've taken to buying chunks in plastic containers at the grocery store. I've cringed every time I see that the melon is all the way from Mexico, but what can you do? I buy everything local that I can this time of year -- but sometimes, you just need to get stuff from Mexico.

Anyway, the cantaloupe and honeydew haven't been a problem. But the watermelon. Oh, the watermelon. I've yet to see such a sure-fire trigger for Max. He eats it and, like clockwork, three hours go by and he has a melt down. This happened a few weeks ago -- the day we really decided to go hardcore with FG. Watermelon contributed to a little boy pretending to shoot guns and scream and kick -- and just as soon as it came, it went. Max became contrite, apologetic, even regretful.

So, because watermelon is one of the FG Stage One fruits, I decided to try one more time. It was a big mistake. He had a similar instance in school as a few weeks ag0 - this time he was told to sit down and he yelled, screamed, tossed aside a chair, and tried to hit a teacher.

The experiment was both a blessing and a curse. It was a blessing because it was a lesson - I've learned that Watermelon is a trigger and needs to be avoided. It was a curse because every behavioral set back makes me feel like a failure.

So, right now, Max is taking a nice long bath in a tub full of warm water and two cups of Epson Salt, which is said to help detoxify the body after an exposure to a trigger. To be fair, Max managed to stay "pulled together" after his incident at school. I could tell by his mood that the effects from the melon were still with him, but he had a pretty good handle on his behavior. I really think that he's learning how to control his impulses. While I truly believe much of his behavior is food-driven, I think there's something to be said for learning good habits.

3.7 Accountability

Check THESE out -- Homemade Cheez-Its! Max has been begging for the "square cheese crackers," which he can't have because of the paprika and artificial flavors. I found this recipe online and they are DELICIOUS and EASY. So much better that the boxed kind -- although, I still have a soft spot for the White Cheddar variety. Anyway...
Max's Lunch for 3.8Two corn cakes with pineapple jam, pretzel chips, honeydew melon, carrots, Co-Jack cheese triangles, and some gummi bears (I meticulously pull out all the currant juice-flavored bears and only give him the clear ones.) And I made Lemon Limeade with 1/2 a lemon, 1/2 a lime, water and about a tablespoon of agave nectar. I love the way it just melts in water.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

3.6 Accountability

While Matt indulged at a classy work dinner tonight, Max and I hit up the Edgeington house for dinner.

Max's Dinner

Soy Sauce on Jasmine Rice, Canned Green Beans (Are you seeing a trend?), Cashews, and Pear Juice

Max's Lunch for 3.7Pretzel Chips, Baby Triscuits, Fresh Mozzarella Balls, Homemade FG Marshmallows, Honeydew Melon, Baby Carrots, and Pear Juice

Oh, and my dinner -- my mom whipped up some delicious fried rice!

Monday, March 5, 2012

3.5 Accountability

So, once again, I forgot to take a dinner picture. But, since I'm sporting a brand new bruised rib and a hell of a headache, I'm giving myself a pass. Max did have dinner -- Organic Cous Cous cooked with butter and chicken stock, honeydew melon, and Organic canned Green Beans.

However, I rock -- and therefore, I packed his lunch and didn't pass the buck.

Lunch for 3.6

Organic Popcorn, "Pop-ems" Puffed Potato Chips (we're giving them a try -- we'll see), Watermelon chunks (and just praying they aren't injected with Red 40...), Canned Green Beans, Farm Bacon, Triangles of Trader Joe's Colby Jack, an Austrian Milky Way cookie bar (no preservatives), and (not pictured) Organic Pear Juice cut with water

Sunday, March 4, 2012

3.4 Accountability

I have a rump roast in the oven from a farm in Lovettsville, VA for dinner and I'll probably cook some of the baby chard from the market yesterday. However, I'm starting feel yucky -- so here's Max's lunch for tomorrow.

Lunch for 3.5

Horizon Organic Vanilla Milk, Baby Carrots, Cantaloupe Chunks, Baker's Farm Bacon, Polly-O String Cheese, and two Vanilla Sandwich cookies (Jo-Jo's?)

3.3 Accountability(ish)

Not really accountability -- just bragging. Max was at my parents, so I cooked.

Seared Scallops with Citrus Beurre Blanc and Microgreens, Haricovert, and Roasted Carrots with Paprika and Cayenne

Saturday, March 3, 2012

To Market, To Market, To Buy A Fat Goldfish

So, Saturday was a learning experience.

Max and I headed out to the Leesburg Farmer's Market this morning. Leesburg is my favorite NOVA town -- mostly because it's close and I know my way around. But also because the downtown area is really cute, it's got great restaurants, and it's the gateway to much of NOVA wine country - which I also love.

Anyway, the Leesburg winter market is as good as a small town summer market -- I mean, it's still seasonal, obviously, so we're talking root veggies and green leafy varietals. But there are dairies, wineries, LOTS of meat suppliers (butchers/farmers), coffee roasters, etc. So Max and I picked up a nice loaf of cheddar and black pepper bread from Staff of Life bakers, some fresh Mozzerella from Blue Ridge Dairy, and various greens from Quarter Branch farms. Wondering what they looked like? I was hoping so...


Since we were so close to a wine-carrying Wegmans, I figured there would be no harm in swinging by. And, for the most part, there wasn't. It wasn't until we got home that things took a turn for the Crayola.

I should mention that Max, at this point, had eaten a breadstick from the market (whose ingredients I reviewed and cleared), a bag of FG-approved gummies, some homemade soymilk smoothie, and PF Whole Grain Goldfish.

We got home and, within the first ten minutes, Max was running around like a maniac. In general, he was happy, so I wasn't particularly concerned. It wasn't until I was sitting and chatting with my brother in law that I noticed the marker in Max's hand. I thought it was a Matchbox car and that he'd been driving around the room.

No. Not driving. Drawing.

Drawing a road.

With a red marker.


Now, to be fair, my reaction sucked. I believe I screamed, "Oh my god, Max, are you crazy???" which, in general, is probably not the best way to address my child. From then on, things just spiralled down. He was upset and yelling and crying and running around. We finally got him upstairs in his room for a while while we worked on the carpet. Then I talked to him, handed him a wash cloth, and made him come down and participate:

So, here's the point -- I'm pretty sure the goldfish are what set him off. I checked my FG Foodlist and, sure enough, no goldfish in the approved section. I could have sworn...

No matter. What's important is:
a. We're replacing that carpet anyway.
b. We saw what reintroducing a trigger really looks like. (i.e. crack.)
c. We got him involved in the cleaning and talked to him about the incident.

What I want to believe is that a four year-old should know better. That a good boy would never draw red marker on carpet. But, when he explained the (Lowes) commercial he'd seen with paint flying out of the bucket and all over the house and instantly transforming the house into a beautiful place, how can I fault him? I mean, really? I have a literal little boy. And this commercial told him drawing on the carpet wasn't what bad boys do -- it's what artists do. Click on the link below to see what commerical I'm talking about.

3.2 Accountability

When I told Max I was taking pictures of his dinner, he insisted I take this one first:

However, we did not eat Mater or Lightning McQueen for dinner. We had:

3.2 DinnerAmish Noodles (Kluski) with soy sauce and butter

and Swiss Chard with Wegmans basting oil.
(Minus the Mater in the Background)

And an addendum to this...Max didn't eat the Chard. He has and does usually eat greens, but they're usually spinach. More tender, more "kid friendly." But the Chard was from the CSA pickup two weeks ago, so it was a little old and wilted. Kind of bitter to me, too. Anyway, we compromised with a can of green beans. :)

And no lunch pic 'cause it's the weekend :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

3.1 Accountability

Max's Lunch for 3.2

Slice of leftover brick oven pizza (take-out), Organic Popcorn, carrots and celery, banana chips, and a handful of Sundrops (M&M-like candy)

And 3.1 Dinner

White Pizza from local Brick Oven pizza joint - Fresh dough with Mozzarella and Fontina, homemade onion rings using farm onions, panko, cornstarch, and an egg wash. (Max didn't eat the onions, but his dad and uncle sure liked them!)

The Love/Hate Relationship With Salicylates

This is, by far, the hardest part of the diet. You'd think it was eliminating additives or preservatives or colors, but no. On the contrary, it's not getting rid of the bad stuff that's hard. It's getting rid of the good stuff.

For the first 6 weeks of the FG (Feingold) diet, you eliminate foods that are high in salicylates. These are a natural pesticide a food makes to protect itself; it's also the active ingredient in aspirin. These products include: almonds, apples/apple juice/apple cider vinegar, raisins, all berries, currents, cucumbers, peppers, paprika, tomatoes, and others.

Now, if you know Max, you know that EVERY DAY he was eating at least 5-6 servings of these foods. He had almonds and raisins in his trail mix. He had berries with lunch and sometimes with dinner. He had cucumber and peppers all day long. Eliminating these foods has been more than challenging -- it's been all-consuming. Reading every label of salad dressing to find the one without apple cider vinegar, picking out the clear organic gummy bears because he can't have the ones with natural black currant juice -- this is my life right now.

The good news? It's temporary. This is literally an elimination diet, getting all the salicylates out of the body and bloodstream. After six weeks, we introduce all these foods back in one by one. We find which ones are behavior triggers and which are okay to eat any time. The other good news is that, for the most part, most of these things are a 1 to 1 swap: almonds for cashews, berries for kiwi or banana or mango or melon, etc.

But I've had a really hard time with this one because SO MUCH of our current pantry and fridge are chock full of these (not-so-inexpensive) items. Also, Max eats them and loves them. Up until now, I haven't really felt like I'm punishing him. But when he asks for an apple or an orange or blueberries, and I have to say no, it's terrible. It's far harder to say no to the good foods than to that food-dye-laden Flavor Ice from yesterday.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

2.29 Accountability

I'm going to try to do "Accountability" posts every day. I got this idea from a friend on Facebook who did "365 days of accountability" regarding cooking her family dinner. I think it's a good way to share what we're eating as a family, but also remind me what I served Max on certain days. When I forget, the blog will be here to remind me. So, without further ado...

Max's Lunch for 3.1

Cantaloupe, String Cheese, Dried Pineapple and Banana Chips, Homemade Vanilla pudding, and Homemade Lemonade (not pictured)

And Max's Dinner for 2.29

The only thing missing here are his pork chop nuggets, which were still in the oven. But the rest - oven baked potatoes, asparagus, chicken broth with amish noodles - is all organic. So is the pork.

Doctor, Doctor, Give Me The News...

So, we went to the pediatrician this morning. It was a pretty interesting visit.

First, I should mention that we had a bit of a disaster yesterday when Max was given a Flavor Ice at school that I wouldn't let him eat. I've never, ever felt so bad in my life. The poor thing was absolutely devastated - you'd think I'd told him he could never play cars again. But, we made a beeline to the Common Market and picked out some cookies, crackers, Popsicles, and other treats, like new soap and Glee gum. He was happily munching on his Coconut Popsicle by the time we got home.

Okay, back to the doctor.

We saw a nice, young female doctor, which made me happy. Not to be biased, but I find that when you're doing something considered a little more "earthy/crunchy," it's better to have someone from a younger generation. Dr. Lee was very on-board with a diet modification and believes, like we do, that food is our first line of defense. However, there were still some other clues to Max's behavior that she picked up on -- more specifically, his quantity of sleep. Apparently, kids need 10-12 hours of sleep. Max gets about 9-10, but he may very well be one of those kids that needs 12+ to function at his optimal level. For the last few days, Max has napped at school and had a great day. While we still believe the diet is the right route for us right now, it's nice to know that there is something else that we can do to help Max -- something that's FREE, since I'm spending an absolutely insane amount of money on food right now.

Max is also in the 95% for height, which he always has been, but because he's tall for his age, the doctor suggested that people might have higher expectations of him. Make sense, too.

And we heard some of the same suggestions we already know, but it never hurts to get a reminder -- less TV, more transitional time between activities, don't give choices if there isn't actually a choice (i.e. do you want to get dressed for school? What if the answer is no -- then what?)

So, today is Parent/Teacher conference day, so I'm not home to feed Max and Matt gets to do it on his own. He's ordered him a small white pizza from our local brick-oven pizza place (no tomatoes...) and I made homemade onion rings, ready to be baked in the oven. Plus my delivery from came today, so there are bags of lemon lollipops and Sundrops for him to eat, too.

I'm excited to hear about how they do -- it's good for me to let go of the reins a little bit.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Five W's

As an English Teacher, I'm always re-teaching students the "Five W's" - Who, What, When, Where, and Why (and also How.) It's the way you get the most important information front and center, the way to capture your audience and convey your purpose. Hence, it's the title of my first post.


We're the Fiore's, but I'm Kelly and I'll be doing the blogging - although, I really hope Matt and Max will chime in with comments and anecdotes. We live in a suburb of Frederick, Maryland, which is about 45 minutes from Baltimore and an hour from DC. Matt and I met in college and we've been married almost 5 years. Our son, Max, turned 4 in February. You already know I'm an English Teacher. Matt is a Territory Manager for a restaurant sales company. We have a great life -- our neighborhood is fantastic and we've been blessed with great friends and family.

So, why are we doing the Feingold Diet? I'll get to why in just a bit -- instead, we'll move on to ...


For about a year or so, Max has had tantrums. On and off, these tantrums have been of varied intensities. Sometimes they're "typical" of a child his age. Other times they are scary -- he will hit, kick, throw things, scream bloody murder, run away, yell "I hate you", and, our triggering moment for all of this, pretend to shoot a gun and talk about killing. That, right there, is every parent's worst nightmare. It happened to us. And something had to change.

So we've decided to try the Feingold Diet program. Originally piloted for kids with ADD/ADHD, it's been embraced by the Autism community, sufferers of MS, kids with ODD, and dozens of other medical or health issues. The Feingold program is an elimination diet -- it removes "triggers" from the diet for six weeks; then, like any other allergy diet, it reintroduces those triggers one by one to see which are the problem.


I'm addressing these two at once because I think they sort of coincide.

Max had trouble in his at home daycare. It wasn't the right place for him. In fact, the catalyst for the move was my then-three year old son saying to me, on the way home from daycare, "Mommy, why am I such a bad boy? Why can't I be smart like everyone else?"

So we moved him to a center close to our home. Regardless of Max's behaviors, this was the absolute right move for him. He is, at all moments of the day, happier than he was at the other daycare. For the first three weeks, he flourished with perfect happy lovely behavior. And then all hell broke loose. The event I refer to is the one we call the gun/killing incident -- threatening his teachers, kicking, screaming, and talking about blood. BLOOD. No, I'm not kidding.

Yeah. So. The move -- the where -- is still the right one. The when is RIGHT NOW; well, actually, the when has been about a week in the making. We've been following a modified Feingold plan for about 5 days. Yesterday was our first "Feingold All In" Day. And it was a great one.


There are so many whys. The biggest one is because the Feingold Diet is an extremely healthy diet. It can cause no harm to my child -- whether it addresses his behaviors or not, it is essentially, at it's core, a very nutritious balanced diet.

Another "why" is that I believe that if I can help my child be the best Max he can be through his diet, then there is no reason I shouldn't. I don't want to medicate him and I will no longer let myself feel embarrassed or ashamed of his challenges.


Lots have people asked about a doctor's input -- yes, we are going to see the pediatrician. I want Max to get a hearing test and have blood work taken to test for any food allergies. I don't believe he has them, but I want to rule it out. I also think it's important that I notify his pediatrician of what we're doing. However, I don't care if the pediatrician endorses this or not. This is a healthy diet that can only benefit my child in one way or another. I don't need a doctor to tell me that.

As for the Feingold Diet itself, you can find a lot more information at It'll walk you through the basics; we're still waiting on our materials, so we're working off those basics right now. Some things are more challenging than others -- that's something I'll address in future posts.

I don't know who will end up reading this - I don't know if anyone will. But, honestly, I just need an outlet to write about all this stuff. To a certain extent -- to any extent, really -- it's consumed my life right now. Figuring out the details, the ups and downs -- it's totally draining. I feel so many things at once, but most of all I feel hopeful. Hopeful for the future, hopeful for what could be. Hopeful that every day I'll drive to Max's school and be greeted with the words, "Max had a great day today!"