Carol Sorola is the cook in the kitchen at Crystal's school (day care). While I go to my classes at school. And I thought it was important to mention her in this website because of all of efforts to assist me in not only working with Crystal's amino acid (no meat and no dairy) diet, but she also is working very patiently with me as I experiment with introducing different meats back into Crystal's diet.
I believe that she has gone over and beyond what is expected of her with her job providing meals to the children and that she is just irreplaceable.
How it got started: When Crystal first began going to LaPetite Academy, I had made arrangements with the staff that I would be providing all of her lunches. Primarily, because I thought there would be no way I could go into the kitchen and talk to the cook to read labels for ingredients and I would have no idea on exactly how things were prepared. For example, even vegetables could be harmful if they are prepared with butter. I took a copy home and highlighted all of the snacks that could be served to Crystal and gave it to her teachers so they could give Crystal the same snack as the other children as often as possible. I then provided various other snack for them to keep on hand to give to Crystal when she couldn't have what was being served.
But there were a few flaws in this plan: 1. It made it very difficult for me at home, trying to prepare lunches for her everyday and I noticed she only ate her "veggie" dog. I was also having the same problem with her at home. Ironically, she doesn't really eat fruits and vegetables, which left veggie dogs and noodles and you can only prepare them so many ways. It just seemed to be getting old. I can't deny my other children well balanced meals, we tried to be sneaky and make her meals look as much like ours as possible, but her appetite was just staying real low. I began getting real concerning about her nutritional values. Now according to her dietician, she is getting all of her necessary vitamins and minerals through her supplements. But in my view, I believe she still needs solids foods for fullness filling it gives the tummy and who can really be sure the exact RDA for Crystal. All I have always seen is statistical charts. 2. Again, at home and Crystal's school, Crystal almost always was being served a different meal than the others around her eating. What does she think about that? At home, mostly she seemed okay, but one night...
We were having baked pork steaks. She had everything else same as us, vegetables and fruit and mash potatoes (milk free) but I had replaced the steak with a "veggie" dog. We were all enjoying our meal nicely, and Crystal was just jabbering away. Then she started talking about my pork steak. She wanted some and began throwing a fit when I told her no. I just was not in the mood to watch her little broken heart, so I gave her a bite. She gobbled it down. Now keep in mind, she does have swallowing issues and usually takes a long time chewing and swallowing food. But for some reason, this just went right down, much like that of a normal child. ?? Well, I was prepared for her to have some ill effects from eating this food. I watched her closely and to my surprise nothing happened. Okay, great! From that point on I began giving her just two bites of whatever meat we were eating. No problems were ever observed. Okay, great! I began giving her half the normal portion you would serve to a child her size once a week and carefully documenting the results. The only outstanding document that I could not ignore was the day after we had fried pork chops...
We had dinner as usual, and were hangin' out watching TV. It was getting close to bed time and I went into the kitchen to prepare Crystal's bedtime amino acid formula and grabbed the last piece of pork chop to nibble on while I was giving Crystal her "juice". Well she just got so excited, "I want some! I want some!" It was a first, but I went ahead and pulled off half and gave it to her. She chewed it all the way down to the bone. It was that very next day when during her 8:00 am session of therapy, she leaped far beyond her normal bounds?! She had the same effect she had when I took her off meat and dairy in the first place?? Her endurance lasted longer, her speed of movements increased incredibly noticeably faster, her mood was just silly and ecstatic, and she was able to do things remarkably noticeably beyond her normal limits. Crystal has been very consistent in her abilities for sometime now and this just could not be ignored.
It was then I began serving Crystal meat at every meal (including breakfast, lunch and dinner), again, in portions that measured half of what you would serve other children of her size. I still have noted no ill effects from anything I have served her.
Where Carol comes into the picture: From the beginning, I was introduced to Carol (the cook of LaPetite) and shown the location of her kitchen. Funny, it was located across the hall from Crystal's room. Everyday, I would go to the kitchen and give Crystal's lunch to Carol. And we would talk about this and that, often our conversation would lead to Crystal's diet, the reasons and such. I noticed that Carol was really paying close attention to what I was saying about it and was giving good feed back showing she understood what I was saying. So I just continued to share with her details about Crystal and her diet. I also began asking her how she prepared certain foods. She let me read the label of the butter she uses, and we determined it had dairy so Crystal couldn't have it, but she offered to hold out a portion of the vegetables for Crystal without the butter.
So basically, with the fruits too, the only thing I had to provide was the "veggie" dog. I began to feel hypocritical because I stressed the importance of Crystal receiving no meat or dairy and at home I was serving her all this meat, and then still giving her "veggie" dog for her to eat at her school? To clear my conscience, I started telling Carol of my experimenting with the meat in Crystal's diet at home. Again, she showed interest in this. She had already taken a list of all the dairy allergens, and seemed to be reading labels on her own. I have really gained a lot of trust and faith in Carol. I just know she cares!!!! For all people, for all children.
I asked to serve Crystal pizza like the other children, but peel off all the toppings. Crystal actually really likes her pizza this way. Surprisingly after that on Carol's own initiative she began planning on pizza day to serve it to Crystal. Wow! I again asked her if she would serve Crystal another meat and she just has been so patient and tolerable, warm and compassionate showing no hesitation.
Where we are at now: I gave Carol a highlighted copy of the menu on what she can serve to Crystal. I also have one hanging on my wall at home. Basically, I went ahead and highlighted all of the meats that didn't include milk or that the milk could be removed. We are going to communicate very carefully on what is being served, how much she actually eats and then the effects it has on Crystal. Like we agreed to try the beef and bean burrito once, and it made Crystal weak that very same night. I wander if it had milk in it. We read the label and there was one item that said lact_____ or something or other and I just wander if that was the problem?? I am going to read the label again and research that ingredient to see, if it is not dairy, then we will serve the burrito to her one more time to see consistency. And if the same effects occur again, then Carol will mark it off Crystal's menu.
Thank you, Carol!