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A Gluten-free, Dairy-free & Reduced Refined Sugar Hamper for a Friend

My friend Aimee is attempting a Gluten-free, Dairy-free & Reduced Refined Sugar diet with her son, so when she looked after all three of my girls one evening last week, so I could have an evening out with Crevette, I made a hamper full of goodies for her.

Are you on a Gluten-free, Dairy-free & Reduced Refined Sugar Diet? Check this list of products we swear by and love.

Tough Times

Aimee has had a really tough year in so many ways, with bereavement, a difficult job she had to leave and a truly awful time trying to juggle it all with her son not coping at school. Daniel is one of the sweetest, nicest little boys I know. He has been one of Jumpy’s closest friends since they were 2 years old and they get on like a house on fire. Look at his little face!

Are you on a Gluten-free, Dairy-free & Reduced Refined Sugar Diet? Check this list of products we swear by and love.

Dan is not doing as well as he could do at school. He cannot concentrate. He is not fully accessing the curriculum and his progress is slow. Add in a lot of misunderstandings with other children that lead him to appear violent and you’re in for a disastrous situation. Staff at the school and doctors suggested Daniel could be on the autistic spectrum or have ADHD, but getting some form of assessment and guidance on the NHS takes ages and ages and ages.

Aimee is in limbo, trying everything she possibly can, and goodness know this mama on a mission is trying everything she can. Aimee was getting daily (or near enough) phone calls from school when she was at work and she has now left her job to concentrate on Daniel. Dan has a chart with very tight schedule to ensure he completes all vital tasks like eating, self-care, getting dressed and school work. It all has to be regimented so Dan doesn’t get upset or thrown off guard. He takes a lot longer than most to complete very simple tasks (eating an average portion of food takes him about an hour, writing about 5 sentences with a lot of support can take an hour as well), and I have no idea on earth how Aimee copes and keeps her cool.

I love Daniel to bits. He’s the most loveable, cuddly little boy I know. When he has sleepovers at home, he gives me the best cuddles and it feels like that little man is part of my family. He has never ever been violent towards any of my children. How come he is so different at school and struggling so much to behave appropriately with his classmates, hitting them, kicking off, shouting? Aimee and I had a long chat on Friday and it seems like ‘home’ and ‘school’ are the two key environments in Daniel’s life. If he manages to be 100% ‘good’ in one of the environment, it takes him so much effort and hard work to repress anger, stress and anxiety that he simply cannot control his behaviour in the other.

Sorry, that was a lot of oversharing but I love this little boy like he’s my own and I needed to write this. Anyhoo… Aimee has done a lot of reading about children on the autistic spectrum, and a lot of what she read mentioned going on a diet that would be free form gluten, dairy and reduced refined sugar. What could she lose by trying it? I am not going to say it is a miracle diet that solved all of Daniel’s issues overnight, but so far, it has helped. Daniel is less impulsive. He can focus on what he is being told and he ‘kicks off’ a lot less.

If you are in a similar situation to Aimee, you might like this blog post my friend Reneé wrote recently.

Going Gluten, Dairy & Reduced Refined Sugar

Going ‘free from’ with my baby is one of the hardest thing I have ever done (I know, I know, first world problem and all that) and I really feel for Aimee. With hindsight, when I started Jumpy on an exclusion diet, it was so so much easier than what Aimee is going through. Jumpy was a baby and she was at the weaning stage. As my friend Cé would say, “She’s not going to miss what she’s never tried!” True!

Are you on a Gluten-free, Dairy-free & Reduced Refined Sugar Diet? Check this list of products we swear by and love.

It is a different story for Aimee: at 6 and a half years of age, Daniel has tried it all. The gorgeous glutinous bread, the sweets, the thick, frothy milkshakes. If he was 16, it would be easy to explain to him that trying a new diet might help him. Try explaining that to a 6-year-old! There have been successes and there have been disasters. Aimee cooks a lot and she often ends up eating her ‘free from’ treats herself, simply because Dan won’t touch most of the gluten-free, dairy-free & reduced refined sugar goodies offered to him. I don’t blame him. ‘Free from’ stuff can be so plain and ‘blah’ compared to the real stuff! why does it often taste like cardboard half of the time?

Gluten-free, Dairy-free & Refined Sugar Free Cooking Session

Last week, Aimee and I had a cooking session together. We made baguettes and chocolate muffins that were free from Gluten, Dairy & reduced refined sugar. It was good to do that together! Aimee was looking after my three girls that night so she deserved a real treat. Enter this pretty hamper full of Gluten, Dairy & reduced refined sugar goodies (I didn’t actually give her the hamper – she went home with a plastic bag, ha ha!)Are you on a Gluten-free, Dairy-free & Reduced Refined Sugar Diet? Check this list of products we swear by and love.

If you are after more gluten, dairy and reduced refined sugar recipes, check these two websites: Our Autism Diet and The Free From Fairy.

I also have a fair few recipes on here that are suitable for a diet that avoids dairy, gluten and refined sugar. Check these:

Gluten-free, Dairy-free & (Mostly) Reduced Refined Sugar Free Favourites 

The things in this hamper are the ones the ‘free from’ I like the most, despite my being a ‘free from’ food sceptic.

Here are our favourite Gluten, Dairy & reduced refined sugar essentials, in no particular order. I did not manage to grab all of our favourites on the day, but I still listed them below. Please always check the labels as some of those products might have a ‘may contain’ warning.

Schär Pretzels & Grissini

Aduna Super-Cacao Powder

Marks & Spencer Gluten-free, Lightly Salted Tortilla chips

Are you on a Gluten-free, Dairy-free & Reduced Refined Sugar Diet? Check this list of products we swear by and love.

Coconut Milk

The Free From Fairy Flour: self-raising & plain

Are you on a Gluten-free, Dairy-free & Reduced Refined Sugar Diet? Check this list of products we swear by and love.

Lazy Day Foods Treats

Please note that these are not free from refined sugar, but they are so so good, and vegan too!

Sweet Freedom Choc Shot

Are you on a Gluten-free, Dairy-free & Reduced Refined Sugar Diet? Check this list of products we swear by and love.

Honey

It is our favourite way to sweeten treats naturally.

Moo Free Chocolate

Although it is not free from refined sugar, this chocolate is perfect as the occasional treat and it is hands down the best gluten-free, dairy-free milk chocolate we have ever tried.

Are you on a Gluten-free, Dairy-free & Reduced Refined Sugar Diet? Check this list of products we swear by and love.

nākd Bars & Nibbles

‘Free From’ Pasta

Jumpy’s fabsolute favourite is Tesco Free From Spaghetti.

Schwartz Gluten-free Flavour Packs

These little packs are cheap, and they are perfect for fuss-free meals. Not all of them are dairy-free, so check the labels.

Are you on a Gluten-free, Dairy-free & Reduced Refined Sugar Diet? Check this list of products we swear by and love.

Are you on a Gluten-free, Dairy-free & Reduced Refined Sugar Diet? Are there any other products you swear by and love?

It so happens that the Free From Awards 2017 took place last week, so if you fancy a look at what’s hot at the moment, check the winners here.

I have just booked my tickets for the Allergy & ‘Free From’ Show on 7-9th July in London (Olympia). Click here if you want free tickets too.

Save me on Pinterest for later:

Are you on a Gluten-free, Dairy-free & Reduced Refined Sugar Diet? Check this list of products we swear by and love.

Disclosure: This blog post includes a few links to Amazon products. As I am an affiliate, if you click on these products and make a purchase, I may get a small commission. 

Please note that I have no medical knowledge whatsoever and I have not read any in-depth research papers about the validity of going gluten, dairy and refined-sugar free when you are on the spectrum. I asked Aimee whether she was happy for me to share her story and a photo I took of Daniel as I find it all heart-wrenching, and I am pretty sure she is not the only one in this kind of situation.

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Comments

  1. Sonia Cave says:

    We are on a steep learning curve with a vegan gluten free diet for my hubby’s medical condition, but it has done us all good!

    • I’m sure you recognised some of these goodies then! If you haven’t yet tried any of them, give them a go as they’re really brilliant!

  2. What a lovely friend you are Mel. It must be such a whole new learning curve when trying to understand what you can eat when changing the diet to ‘free from’ I wish Daniel and Aimee all the very best xx

    • The thing is I have been in a similar situation, so I really understand Aimee’s prerogative. When Jumpy ws diagnosed with all her allergies, I was lost, scared and had no idea what I could feed my baby. At least now I’m part of the ‘free from’ bandwagon, I can help my friend. I really enjoyed putting these goodies together for her 🙂

  3. You are a great friend 🙂 i have never felt so lost since trying to figure out how I’m am suppose to completely change a six year olds diet without having any definitive proof, that what I am doing is worthwhile. Obviously it is scary when a child has a serious allergy that stops them from eating certain foods and that, I know, I am lucky to have never experienced but when your child has an almost invisible disability, many people think You are just following that latest fad or maybe you just need to get some more veg in them ( you know how much I cook). You have helped me all the way and have given me the confidence to keep trying new things every day, even when no one eats it 😉 xxxxxx

    • I’ll eat it all, every day! Just drop the food to me! Love you loads, and you know how much I feel for you and how much I care for D. xxxxx

  4. TheLondonMum says:

    I’m currently on a sugar free, low carb diet to control my gestational diabetes. It’s really hard. But I’m part of a great Facebook group that have really helped me understand the diet a lot more, plus they have a website with meal ideas that could help your friend. If she goggles gestational diabetes uk she should find it. The have recipes for things like chocolate brownies that might work well with your friends son.

  5. Digital Motherhood says:

    What a fab idea – I know from experience how hard it is to buy for Gluten Free friends!

  6. Romeca says:

    You’re such a lovely friend and this is a fabulous idea! We as a family really need to cut down on our sugar intake! X

  7. steph_baybee says:

    That looks a very tasty hamper, and one I would love to receive.

  8. Kerry norris says:

    What an amazing friend you are Mel. The hamper looks amazing x

  9. Oh God Mel if I could cry I would be balling by now, this is me, this is us, my heart goes out to Aimee, he’s a stronger lass than I am at the moment, I’ve failed disastrously to implement a free from diet for Lewis. It’s a complete disaster and what makes it worse is that if it were Bethany it would be the equivalent to me giving her gluten or restricting her insulin and sitting back and doing nothing…that’s neglect! ….on a plus note…Lewis too gives the most awesome squeeze cuddles xxx

    • Aimee is trying hard, but Daniel is having none of it to be honest. It’s so much harder when you attempt a ‘free from’ diet after they’ve tasted all the regular stuff…

  10. What a lovely hamper and she’s so lucky that she’s got a friend like you to bake with and help her through it.

Thanks for taking the time to write a little message. Comments always make me smile! x Mel