When you have an intolerant child, going out for the day always requires a lot of planning and a big bag of food to keep the little chap satisfied. Staying overnight somewhere means you have to upgrade to a very large bag – and no matter how well organised you are, you always forget something.
On Saturday we went over to Tom’s parents for a ‘sleepover’. The children are at that stage when staying over at grandparents is the most exciting thing they can think of and we just needed a change of scenery and a chilled out weekend. So after breakfast we loaded up the car with trunki’s, a selection of toys and the obligatory ‘food bag’ for Zac.
Both sets of grandparents are excellent at catering for him and always try so hard to find fun things for him to eat whenever we visit. I always feel bad though, because they are forced to spend so much more than they would normally as the ‘special foods’ are so ridiculously expensive. To try and share the burden I always bring a few things along too. Also, Zac can be a fussy little thing and it is always worth bringing a variety of foods and snacks just to try and ensure he has a relatively balanced and interesting diet.
We all had a great day and it was only an hour after the children were settled in bed that I remembered that I had forgotten his breakfast cereal. The one thing that I usually always bring! I was furious with myself. It was gone nine o’clock and we were now facing a late night run to the nearest big supermarket to pick up a box of something suitable. It is times like these that you wonder how many other people out there are doing the same thing.
There is a Co-op in the village but that does not stock any suitable cereal so we were forced to go to the Tesco in a nearby village, or be faced with a hungry three year old crying his eyes out at seven am! Why can’t he just eat Rice Krispies or Corn Flakes? Neither should have any dairy in them, and I would be surprised if they had wheat or gluten as rice and corn are the ‘friendly’ grains. So, we had a quick look at the ingredients lists on the cereals in the ‘normal’ aisles. Only Rice Krispies and Corn Flakes looked close to being safe – as they definitely did not have any dairy, but both listed ‘barley malt flavouring’. I was pretty sure that ‘barley’ is on the danger list for gluten intolerants, which Zac also is, so put them back down and paid my £2.50 for the Nature’s Path ‘fake cheerios’.
So today, I decided to look it up. The Coeliacs website www.coeliac.org.uk is excellent and has a full Food and Drink directory. Then I discovered you have to be a member to have full access to the directory, that costs £10. I might invest another day, but for now, I just need the answer to this question. Is barley malt extract safe? Can he eat Corn Flakes and Rice Krispies? It looks like the answer is no. Barley malt is on the ‘no’ list of most websites that I found for people who have to eat ‘gluten free’.
So what have we learned this weekend? I need to pack more carefully when staying overnight,’ and it is almost certain that there are NO breakfast cereals in the ‘normal’ aisles suitable for a gluten free, wheat free, dairy free diet. But I won’t be beaten. I am going to do some more research and double check on the breakfast cereals and I am also going to have one last crack at tracking down those buttons!!!!!!!!