Greetings and healthful eatings! I am thrilled to be a new addition to the blogging team here on AutismSpot. My name is Kendra Jean Finestead. I am the mom of a daughter with Autism and the founder of Greater Tots Organization. I am a living, walking advertisement for the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free lifestyle, as it has turned the sitcom that was our life trying to fix our baby from a black-and-white loop of cliché script into an action-packed high-def. full-COLOR adventure!
Our personal experience with our special diet reaped rewards fairly quickly; within about 3 weeks of removing Gluten, Casein, and eggs, our daughter’s system very clearly swithced off of autopilot. Seemingly overnight, she was significantly more focused, could follow multi-step functions for the first time ever, and seemed to have much more control over her obsessive-compulsive tendencies. I was amazed. And then I was inspired.
Changing over to gluten-free casein-free cooking was not an easy transition, though, as many of you already know. In the beginning, the information was overwhelming. My first few trips to the grocery store were a mother’s worst nightmare – two (sometimes more) hours scouring the isles, trying to make sense of labels and trying to concentrate on not spending a small fortune on the wrong products, all the while juggling like a clown-in-training to catch all of the projectile food-items being tossed back out of the cart by two thoroughly bored toddlers. The sirens of their wails and whines sounded clearly through the isles, flanked by the shushes and not-so-subtle threats of one highly-stressed momma, only shining a very bright spotlight on our entertaining grocery store show-down… except no one, and I mean no one, was enjoying the show. It makes me shudder even still.
I eventually conquered my mountain. I studied and explored each and every trail, and I have staked my claim. I am no expert, but I am an expert in training.
In starting up my company, I sort of dove in fully prepared to have to wriggle and writhe through the trenches, working my way into the trust of other family's lives one customer at a time. My venture has been quite the opposite. It has been nothing less than a blessing to have met the wonderful mothers and fathers that I have been lucky enough to help so far. The support system is even larger than that, though. I have been greeted with open arms from so many industry peers and professionals. It is a very cool thing when so many inspired people come together for a greater cause.
That is what my hopes are for these posts. I hope that we can learn together, cook together, and hopefully laugh together as we conquer the challenges of our special diets. I sincerely hope that I can make tackling GFCF cooking seem like a piece of gluten-free cake, because every child deserves the chance to reach their fullest potential.
Kendra Jean Finestead
Greater Tots Organization