Thursday, January 27, 2011

Food for Thought

Many of you have expressed an interest in Isaac's diet with questions like:
What can't he eat?
What can he eat?
So I thought I'd address each one of these in a post today, because Isaac is napping (which never happens) and I'm avoiding housework.

Isaac cannot eat anything with gluten or casein in it.  We also try to avoid apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, cherries, dried fruit, chocolate, and things high in sugar.  We also try to avoid simple carbohydrates that tend to turn to sugar- like corn.  We do not usually do fruit juice, but do water with a splash of agave nectar in it instead.  Agave nectar is a natural sweetener that is lower on the glycemic index.  We also try to avoid things with yeast in them.

Isaac can eat most meat and seafood, though I have to check lunch meats and sausages for casein.  He does fine with pears, strawberries, and watermelon.  He likes broccoli and winter squash.  He can have coconut ice cream and coconut milk.  We use Earth Balance spread for butter.  I make him special Chebe bread or use other gfcf bread mixes for him.  He can eat rice, or gfcf pasta.  He is not deprived of good food, don't worry.  In fact, he probably eats healthier than most kids.  Besides, they make gfcf versions of pretty much anything these days.  We use probiotics and other supplements to help with his yeast and gut issues.

We do not do gluten and casein because Isaac is one of the many spectrum kids that doesn't process these proteins well, leaving him in an opiate-induced state.  He doesn't sleep well, has diarrhea or is constipated, hyper, has rashes, and low verbal skills when ingesting gluten and dairy.  Now, a year after starting the diet, accidental ingestion of these foods even bring on a fever, rash, and noticeable regression in behavior and communication that take anywhere from a couple days to a week to disappear. Avoiding the above fruits/vegetables are part of Feingold's diet or are foods just so high in sugar that they feed Isaac's yeast issue.
How did I learn about all these things?  Our occupational therapist/nutritionist, Paula Johnson, laid the groundwork for my understanding of the link between Isaac's autistic behaviors and his diet.  From there I read, read, and READ some more.  I highly recommend this book as an easy though very helpful read on these topics.

I hope this answers some questions, but if you are curious about anything else- just ask.

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