Autism and Ice Cream.

Sunday, I posted about how difficult it is to head into public places with my son.  He was having trouble, it seemed, everywhere we went.  Then, the next day came along and I was determined I would do something for me.  Even if the little dictator was screaming and kicking, I was putting my foot down.  I would have my way for a change.

Let me explain.  It all has to do with ice cream.  Not for him.  For me.  Yes, me.

And, going into a brand new place with the little guy, for a little pint of “yum”, I ended up feeling – at home.   That does not happen too often.  But, in this place, I felt like both of us belonged.

Strangely, it all began at Weight Watchers.  When you go to the meetings, sometimes you hear news about new foods that are good for you and can taste pretty good.  Well, one of the foods that was mentioned was “ice cream” – yes!  Well, it’s not really ice cream.  But here’s the thing.  When you are eating less, and truly, really enjoying food more because you are eating less, things start tasting better. When quantity goes down, the quality – at least for me – goes up.

So, I’m listening and I hear that I can have an entire tub – a pint – of this “ice creamy stuff” for three (3) points.  Now, if you are not familiar with my program, let me tell you something.  Three points is nothing.  It’s a fiber bar.  It’s inhaled and it’s gone.  So three points and a tub of ice creamy stuff really got my attention.  It gets better.  I heard “multiple flavors”.  What?!  I’m in!

Here it is!

So it’s not a rich cream, but hey.  Beggars can’t be choosers.  The good part about this stuff is that it is gluten-free, fat free, good for the lactose-intolerant, and for the Type 2 diabetics.

So, listening hard, I heard that I could find this fun stuff at Sprouts Farmers Market.   Now, I’ve been told this place was like a small, less fancy version of Whole Foods, which my husband lovingly refers to as “The Hippie Market”.  I had never been to a Sprouts Market, but I knew one had taken over a former building occupied by the now-defunct Linens-N-Things near our office.

Going to a new place with my son is an “if-y” proposition in my world.  He can get to the door and dig in his heels, demanding that it not happen.  This has been happening less and less.  He has, as he’s grown, gotten less and less fussy about heading into new locations, but it still remains on my mental red flag list.

Lucky for me, he was completely unfazed by the idea of heading in the Market.  We walked in.  I gave him a choice of sitting in a cart or walking and he chose the safety of the cart.  It was different than any other grocery I’ve been in.  There were aisles but not so high that I couldn’t see the whole store when I walked in.  There was a deli and bakery, produce, meat, bulk foods and frozen foods.  Lots of gluten free, low carb, low sugar foods, beautiful fresh produce, and it just had a mellow feel to it.

My son took an instant liking to it.  He was content to sit in the cart and watch me calculate my points values as I bought meatless meatballs (surprisingly tasty, by the way) marinara sauce and other goodies.  Then, we got to the coveted frozen treats!  The coveted pint containers were there!!  I took home chocolate, vanilla-maple, coffee and cookies and cream.

So far, I’ve tasted the chocolate and vanilla-maple.  Yes, there is no creamy goodness.  Cream is not an option for a girl like me.  But there is a really good flavor to both.  I knew going in it would be more of an ice-milk consistency and I’m okay with that.

But the moment I felt at home?  I got to the front of the store to check out and this is what I saw:

Yes, that’s a magazine rack with “The Autism File” front and center.  Right at my eye level.  Yay!  Instantly, I picked it up.  The little guy read the title to me.  Am I the only one who doesn’t know about this magazine?  I haven’t read it yet but it looks great!

If you look above the magazine rack, you’ll see a reusable grocery bag.  It’s blue.  For Autism Awareness.  When I checked the Sprouts’ website, I learned that they partner with Autism Speaks and that October is their Autism Awareness month!  How cool is that?  So awesome that they don’t just follow the pack but help spread awareness when others are not.

The woman who checked us out was neither condescending, rude or anything other than “normal”.  Oh yeah, and she did not try to make small talk with my kid (another yay!) and did not give me any looks.  Yup.  Right at home here.

So, for now, I love this place.  Fake ice cream and all.

Bite, anyone?

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About solodialogue

I'm a lawyer and the mom of a 6 year old boy with autism. I work part time and spend the rest driving here and there and everywhere for my son's various therapies. Instead of trying cases, I now play Pac-man and watch SpongeBob. I wear old sweaters and jeans and always, always flat shoes to run after my son. Yeah, it's different but I wouldn't change it for anything. The love of my child is the most powerful, beautiful and rewarding aspect of my life.
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37 Responses to Autism and Ice Cream.

  1. Looks like a nice place! Autism awareness, mellow feel, and guilt-free icecream- wow!

  2. My mom did Weight Watchers — she would have LOVED the guilt-free ice cream! Shame you’re all out in the land of fruits and nuts… I’d probably have a hard time finding that stuff in the midwest!

    And Whole Foods? we call that “Whole Paycheck” out here 😉

  3. Teresa says:

    The fact that you took home THREE containers suggests to me that this may be an area for development. You are so human. Try the Walden Farms products that they carry too next time.
    Autism is impacting too many lives for everyone not to pay attention. I had no idea that Sprouts was a partner but it gives me another reason to plug them at my gig.
    You mentioned that the cashier made no small talk, is that what should happen when someone encounters an Autisic child?

    • solodialogue says:

      No no. Let’s be accurate here – I took home FOUR tubs of it! I’m nothing if not honest! 😉 So far, only a sliver taste – less than a teaspoon each of the yum!

      And no again to “someone” who encounters a child with ASD. When I go to the grocery store, I usually put him in the cart. When we check out, the checkers, not knowing me or my child’s disability, try to ask him questions. He does not respond. They try to give him stickers. He may or may not respond. (Usually not). Awkward moments. Do I explain or not explain? If he acts out, which is probably 40 percent possible (and usually by trying to push all the buttons on the cash register as they push him through) I’m destined to apologize and explain. On the other hand, if you know my child has ASD and you choose to engage him, then have at it! As long as you understand where he is coming from the awkwardness of the grocery store encounter is absent. The more socialization the better. It’s just that strangers trying to engage what they do not know, whether it be the grocery store or elsewhere, always makes for awkwardness, often when I’m in a hurry to get in and out! xoxo

  4. SPECTACULAR!!!! So happy you had a nice time with your son. Great news 🙂 I am definatly going to be looking for that ice cream.. THANK YOU FOR THAT INFO!!! lol ice cream is my second down-fall.. cake being #1.
    I’ve never heard of that magazine either! I’ve hears of the Spectrum mag, but don’t read it (too much bio medical for my liking). Gotta check this new one out.

    THanks for all the wonderful info!! 🙂

  5. Teresa says:

    We have a Sprouts store five minutes from our house. (I like Whole Foods but it’s about 30 minutes away and has a grocery store feel.) My son loves to shop at Sprouts. They have one of the best Gluten Free selections. We can walk by the bread aisle and he gets his GF tortillas. We go down the Frozen Food and he can choose donuts, pizzas, lasagna, etc. At our store there’s a whole aisle dedicated to GF cookies and treats. And they have lots of fresh produce. What more can you want??
    But really what we like best is their small town attitude. The checkers know us and invite Matthew to help bag his groceries. The aisles are low so I can see all the way across the store. And as you found they are big sponsors of “awareness” programs including, autism, gluten free, diabetic, breast cancer, etc. A friend of ours has a very difficult autistic adult daughter. Daughter likes to buy groceries but is very challenging in stores. Sprouts is one store they shop at with few meltdowns.
    But I am reminded that the stores here have Double Sale Ad Wednesdays which means ads from last week and this week are both good. Our store is always busy on these days so we choose not to go then.

    • solodialogue says:

      You do know this store, don’t you? And I couldn’t agree with you more. I like Whole Foods too but it has a much more “grocery store” feel to it. Sprouts is different, in a good way. I noticed they are based out of your state. It just has the perfect feel to it.

      Ooh – double sale ad Wednesdays! Sounds great! 🙂

      • Teresa says:

        When Matthew was younger someone suggested a good goal would be for him to independently go into a store and make a purchase. (Yeah, right.) I suppose this might be acceptable in a small town but certainly not in the big city. Still, I remember thinking after Sprouts opened that this would be the store I could send Matthew in by himself (if I were to be so brave/foolish…)

      • solodialogue says:

        It would be the perfect store to try that out in. I agree.

  6. Flannery says:

    We have Sprouts here too, and I really like it. So glad you had an awesome outing with the kiddo, and the store was pleasing to BOTH of you!

    I better get me some of that fake ice cream!!!

  7. Yay! This reminded me of the time we were coming back from vacation with my parents, and I knew I wouldn’t see them for over a year, and we got a flat tyre, and then got stuck in a ferocious storm, and the kids were hungry and screaming. Oooh, it was awful. But then we found a store with all these hypoallergenic foods that the kids could feast on, and all was okay in the end. Or so I convinced myself for the rest of that horrid day! Hope you enjoy the other flavours. Awesome new shopping experience. 🙂

    • solodialogue says:

      Are you pulling my leg?! That was quite a horrid day! Finding great healthy and hypoallergenic foods though – that’s always a win! I wish this store was everywhere because it is so hard to describe. It just instantly put me at ease. 🙂

  8. Julie says:

    Sprouts has a wonderful reputation in the special needs community. I wish I had one near me.

  9. Brian says:

    Huh. Huh. Jim quoted Charlie Sheen.

    He spends a lot of time commenting. He’s a male Karen!

  10. Grace says:

    I’ve never heard of Sprouts or that magazine. It has come as a great shock to me to learn that I am officially a hillbilly.

  11. ElizOF says:

    Looks like an inviting place and spacious too… I’d like to know more about your ice milk/cream… What’s the brand? Yummy! 🙂

  12. Kelly Hafer says:

    Ohhh! I love this story – happy ending AND “ice cream” substance! You are not alone – I hadn’t heard of the mag either. Must check this out. Kudos on your great adventure!

  13. Lizbeth says:

    Well if Grace is a hillbilly then I’m a true, full blooded red neck. I’ve not heard of Sprouts but I gotta tell ya, I’m in LOVE. LOVE. That ice cream is heaven in a tub and, lets be honest here, I’d take a pint of that up to my closet and not come back down till I’d licked it clean. I’m still swooning over here. Swoon, swoon, swoon.

  14. Broot says:

    Yay!! And Yay for Ice cream!!

  15. Kara says:

    I’ve never heard of Sprouts or the magazine you found. You hit the jackpot! I’m about to google Sprouts and fear I’ll be disappointed that the nearest location is 300 miles away. How deliciously enjoyable that you found a place where ice cream and autism could coexist in harmony – neither of them melting down. DREAMY!

    • solodialogue says:

      Ha! Excellent point about neither melting down. Sprouts may not be everywhere but that “ice cream” may be… Check out Arctic Zero’s website to find your closest store…

  16. Pingback: Temptations. | Solodialogue

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