Sunday, June 19, 2011

Overcoming Challenges and Tips for Starting the Feingold Diet

There are so many challenges to starting the Feingold Diet. Actually, any diet takes a certain amount of effort. Flashback! Years ago, when my honey was on the Zone diet, I felt like a personal chef to the stars. The amount of chopping, peeling, planning and procuring of the right foods was an enormous effort. When I found out about his stash of snickers bars in his truck that were sabotaging my daily efforts, I quit facilitating the diet. He was undermining my efforts. Feingold is similar.

You are either on or off, there is no cheating.

Straying from the menu can be a major hindrance to the Feingold diet. My first weeks were often interrupted intentionally and unintentionally by myself and others. Little Guy was a good sport when we found ourselves out without the right foods. He learned to wait to eat or settle for a few choices. I kept a lunchbox with me, but at times, I forgot. It took constant planning, one thing that I am not so great at.

In order to see if the Feingold diet is working, you must strictly adhere to stage one. Eventually, you add more fruits and vegetables in. You never return to artificial flavors, colors or preservative. After a while, your taste buds change. You don't even enjoy the chemicals. You can taste the odd additives.

Giving this diet my best effort was the only way to go. I had many factors working against me.
  • I had older children in the house that weren't excited about the loss of their chemical laden junk cereals.
  • We are a family that is serious about our ice cream consumption.
  • Cooking is not my passion. Notice the lack of recipes and food photos on my blog. 
  • As an avid couponer, I discovered most of the foods we were buying were not acceptable on this diet.
  • Little Guy had a very narrow list of foods he ate. His sensory issues, affected his eating. Too lumpy, grainy or just the wrong texture meant he would have none of it. He had a very limited amount of choices, initially.
  • Everywhere we went, people offered us candy or snacks. I started to hate the bank and the library.
  • Well meaning friends and family assumed some things were o.k. They weren't.
By joining the Feingold Association, you are given all of the tools and support to make it a success. The initial packet comes with instructions, recipes, specific instructions, a food list, a fast food guide and a supplements list. They have an online forum which is frequented by families that have been on the diet for years. They are so willing to help everyone out. You can also search the archives for older posts. It is a fantastic resource.

There is a regular newsletter, email updates, and each year, they create a new food guide that is growing every year.

Ten things I do to make this diet easier:
  1. We shop online at Vitacost for healthy snacks. I buy in bulk and they are shipped directly to my house. This saves me time and lots of money. Their prices on organic snacks and granola bars are the best.
  2. I bake cookies, brownies and rice krispy treats and freeze them, after I wrap them individually. When I am heading out for a gathering, I throw a few in our lunchbox. That way, at birthday parties, when the cake is pulled out, I bring out his chocolate.
  3. I tell friends and neighbors not to feed my boy. He is is trained also to say "No, thank you." Or he asks permission from me before he eats something.
  4. I buy gum, candy and approved 'smore supplies. I always have these on hand. This prevents the feeling of 'missing out'.
  5. We don't do much fast food, but I have discovered some chicken nuggets and fries that are acceptable. If our family dinner contains unapproved foods, I have stocked up on canned soup. I also freeze individual portions of his favorite, split pea soup. I always have some easy meals available.
  6. Every few months, I read the food guide and highlight the products that are available. It jogs my memory and keeps us from falling in a rut with the same meals.
  7. Any time I trek to Boston, I make it a point to stop at Whole Foods. They have 100's of items on the diet.
  8. I evangelize for the diet. I think many people are not aware of the affects of dyes and preservatives have on children. I now have some friends that have nixed the chemicals. It's easier to visit and have play dates, when we share the same foods.
  9. I initially started it during the summer when so many great fruits and vegetables were at their peak and reasonably priced.
  10. I talk with little guy about the diet. He is aware of his life before and after. A few times he has expressed sadness at missing out on some foods. Lately, it was the KFC, that his brothers ate. Overall, he is very co-operative. My fast food alternative is below. I can bake these nuggets and fries in 8-10 minutes at home.

When I feel challenged because of the cost of quality food, I remind myself, the most important thing. Even our worst day on the Feingold diet, is ten times better than our days before Feingold. That is priceless to me.
Thanks for stopping by!
This is the third in a series of posts about our experience with the Feingold Diet. For more information about this diet please visit their web site.

If you enjoy posts about me, the food police, enter your email address: Delivered by FeedBurner


chacha said...

Awesome post!

I don't know about you, but when I start to grumble over the cost of high quality food I am reminded that we rarely get sick any longer. We feel we save on doctor's visits and prescriptions short term and with better overall health long term.

mysteryhistorymom said...

I have been looking at this diet for my daughter (Asperger's) and bought the cookbook. It's amazing that I stumbled upon your blog post! Thank you so much for sharing.:) Lori

wordgenie said...

Wonderful post. Thank you.

robbiegrl said...

We are in FG stage 1,and I'm wondering what snacks you find at vitacost?