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Birthdays and the ugly cake

There was literally nothing I could purchase premade that worked to feed Tula back then. Today, there are so many more options at the grocery store, but then I had to adapt most recipes to fit the gluten, dairy free and BED diet. And when Tula would get invited to neighborhood birthday parties, I would always prebake. I was nervous about this at first, thinking that she would feel so isolated being the only one eating something different—but due to her young age, it ended up being the opposite! She got a lot of attention by being the one with different food and the kids always wanted what they didn’t have.


For my children's birthday parties, I totally bombed every year trying to concoct a moist gluten-, dairy-, and sugar-free cake without high-glycemic carbs. But I tried every year. And when the cake came out looking awful, I wanted just one of their friends to take two bites of it. Nope. A family member of mine would be the most anxious of all, mumbling, “They’re all going to hate it” or “I don’t know why you bother,” and “Look at their faces, they’re disgusted.” So, yes, every year I would gear up for the disappointed faces and the family members' insults until one year when the killjoy started in, I finally cracked and told that family member to leave the party. I was trying my best and couldn’t take any more criticism. But I didn’t give in! My girls always loved whatever I made at that age and that’s all that mattered to me. During the next eight years, Tula did not consume any gluten or casein and if she occasionally had any refined sugars it was under 5 grams. And so far, with the total one-eighty Tula has done with her development and health, why would I risk it? There were simply no exceptions, especially when a doctor let on that one of his patients underwent a regression due to one goldfish cracker.


There were two birthday parties that stick out in my mind where the family went above and beyond for Tula. One was where the mother of a friend of Tula’s was nice enough to offer a special, beautiful fruit kabob for her, and when she brought it to the table, all of the other kids wanted it instead of cake. Tula felt so special and happy to receive all that attention. Another time a friend of the family had a birthday party for her daughter and decided to make all food Tula-friendly. I actually heard one mom whisper to another mom at that party, “What’s going on? What’s with all the healthy food?” Not all birthday parties turned out that way, but I was relieved to know that there are always people that will understand and be supportive.


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