Disabled stepson, aide cooking dinner. Harumph.


YogaMomNYC

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Okay, this is really more of a whine, there's nothing to be done about it.  Feel free to skip my autism saga!

 

I have done my fair share of Whole30s, so it's not as hard as it used to be.  But my stepson (26) is autistic and has a home health aide coming to the house to teach him life skills, like cooking.  So 2-3 times per week, Daniel cooks us dinner (this is a new thing, so we're feeling out way through it).  I bought him a cookbook for disabled people to which he is very attached, that emphasizes safety and handwashing, and is more photo-based.  But obviously is not Whole30 based.  So really, the entire problem is my fault.

 

Emmanuel, the aide, is awesome.  He can tell that I've got some weird food / health issues, after I asked him to get grass-fed/organic meats and free range eggs when he takes Daniel shopping.  Today was a train wreck.  The recipe Daniel picked was apricot curried chicken, with a glaze made of low-sugar jelly and low-fat yogurt.  They bought chicken breasts (they're lower in fat, after all) full-sugar jelly (whatever, I'd scrape it off if I had to) and non-fat yogurt.  Emmanuel got the Dannon container out of the garbage for me to read the label (Internal monologue: "Really, I don't need to read that").  I tried to explain that I don't have a problem with fat, it's the sugar that I try to minimize (using my DH's diabetes as a scapegoat).  He got the sugar thing, but totally didn't grasp that buying non-fat Dannon when I have full-fat Fage in the fridge was the probably wrong choice, and heaven knows I wasn't going to tell him about it right there in front of Daniel (stepson).

 

So I came home absolutely famished and sat down to chicken I couldn't eat ( picked out the middle of the dry tasteless chicken breast b/c that part had no glaze on it), a toasted and buttered bagel, and a salad made of greens and about 7 pieces of fruit.  And he's so proud of himself, so I made excuses and ate the salad with a compliant dressing, and stared at the freaking bagel the entire time dinner happened.  I'M ON DAY 5.  I mean, I'm getting better at Whole30s, but I was starving and a girl's got her limits!

 

On Thursday I think I'm going to do a 5 minute debrief with the healthcare working on the Paleo lifestyle, while also explaining that these cooking lessons aren't about me.  I don't mind if he ignores my needs, but he seems to be trying to make food I'll eat.  It's not working, and sort of making it worse; Daniel wouldn't eat the chicken, he only eats dark meat unless I brine the breasts.  I feel like once he understands I'm not on a low-fat high carb-diet, he's going to think I'm on Atkins, so I have to say something!  And no, I can't plan the meals for them. The point is for Daniel to be independent, so I have to steer the decisions through the home health aide.  I figure, if at least the meat is compliant, I can wing the rest of the meal without disappointing Daniel that I'm not eating his food.

 

So far on Whole30s, I've traveled, eaten out, done picnics and pool days, my kids' birthdays and my anniversary, and lived a normal life.  But man, this "autistic cooks a dinner that I feel a huge obligation to eat" thing is my biggest stumper!

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I have a fairly off-the wall suggestion....

 

You mentioned the cookbook he is working out of emphasises safety, and hand-washing, and has some layout differences. There are a lot of companies out there selling cheap internet-based photobooks, could you use the template of one of those and add text in (using internet recipes) to make a whole30 cookbook that works for your stepson? That way he has a whole book full of recipes to independently choose from, that will work for you. This would be more of a long-term solution.

 

In the meantime, I think explaining paleo to the aide might be your best best, and you never know, they may be interested for their own sake as well

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