Adjusting Special Diets - The healthier we eat, the healthier we are
Adjusting special diets has become a constant in our lives. Just when I think I have it figured out we learn of a new allergy, sensitivity or get a reality check that I am not doing enough to help the well-being of my children. I have always been aware that by keeping certain foods out of my children’s diet, their autistic symptoms could improve. I saw this happen immediately when I took gluten out of their diets. My boys are a testimony to how a gluten free, dairy free diet can clear up leaky gut syndrome, approve cognitive ability and improve overall health for some children that have Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Now it’s time to take their diet to the next level. Other helpful tips that I have been aware of, but have not fully abided by, are 1) eat only organically grown fruits and vegetables 2) serve only grass or vegetarian fed meats and 3) eliminate processed foods.
There are a few specifically designed diets that are associated with aiding in the recovery from autism. I began to research these diets to determine which would be the best fit. The fact that my family has many allergies to foods needed to be taken into consideration when choosing a diet. When visiting with a friend of mine that owns a bakery dedicated to making foods without allergens, she told me of a diet that she and her daughter are on. They too suffer from multiple allergies, which is why she started her specialty bakery. The Gut And Psychology Syndrome Diet or GAPS Diet is a VERY specific diet designed to heal digestive disorders. Same concept as what I did with eliminating wheat from my boys’ diets to heal their leaky guts. By healing the gut, you improve the function of the brain. This is an extremely restrictive diet that I could not see my children attempting in any way. My youngest son would not touch a fruit or vegetable with a 100 foot pole. I know it would be great if they did, but I needed to ease into healthier eating. The GAPS Diet is based upon another diet that I had heard of helping children with autism, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.
When I had the privilege of visiting with Martha Herbert, MD, PhD, author of “The Autism Revolution” I mentioned the GAPS Diet to her. She stated that I should also investigate the Specific Carbohydrate Diet that GAPS diet evolved from. The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is based on the book “Breaking The Vicious Cycle” by Elaine Gottschall. This diet also removes grains from the diet, but uses dairy as a protein source. My children are allergic to dairy and I would like to slowly eliminate grains like rice. I could probably work best with this diet, but through my research, I found another diet that sounded appealing.
A close friend of mine was researching these diets with me and ran across the same diet that I did and we both decided that it would be best for us, at this time. 100 Days of Real Food started as a blog by Lisa Leake. Her family made a commitment to eat only REAL food. Nothing processed, all organic, dye free and grass fed meats are the premiss for this plan. She provides some simple Real Food Rules such as “it is not real food if the label list more than 5 ingredients”. Lisa even offers the 100 day challenge that her family took on her site.
100 Days of Real Food met some of the criteria I mentioned earlier: 1) eat only organically grown fruits and vegetables 2) serve only grass or vegetarian fed meats and 3) eliminate processed foods. This diet includes some dairy and whole wheat, which we can not include in our diet. I am adjusting for these exceptions. I am using a organic gluten free flour blend rather that whole wheat flour. Also, I use a organic butter substitute and organic ghee rather than real butter. Another exception is for milk. Occasionally I will use coconut milk for the foods I make for Davis and Jackson. I can still use milk for Eric and I.
My girlfriend, Carey, is adhering to the 100 Days of Real Food diet much better than I am. She is actually on fire! But as we embark on yet another journey together, we are cleaning up our home as well as our diets. In a previous post on “Home Safe Home”, I discuss ways to eliminate toxins from your environment. Carey and I have both switched to using stainless steel, cast iron or stoneware cookware. We are also changing all of our cleaning supplies as well as what we use for personal care.
Yesterday I cooked most of the day preparing REAL FOOD in stoneware and stainless steel cookware. I made Spinach Quiche Cups (found on Manila Spoon – click here for recipe), Roasted Chicken Breast, Turkey Chili with White Beans and Homemade Popcorn for snacks. All ingredients are organic and real!
ROAST CHICKEN BREAST
4 Organic Split Chicken Breasts
2 Organic Carrots – cut into 1-2″ pieces
2 Stalks Organic Celery – cut into 1-2″ pieces
1/2 Medium Organic Yellow Onion – Cut into 1-2″ pieces
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Wash each piece of chicken. Trim off any excess fat, leaving on the skin. Pat dry and place into 8 1/2″ x 11″ stoneware pan. Salt and pepper each side, leaving skin side up. Distribute carrot, celery and onion pieces throughout chicken. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. You can serve as whole pieces for a meal and use remaining chicken for soups, salads, etc.
Not only am I having a great time preparing foods in advance for my family, I feel so much better about what is (and what is NOT) going into their precious, sensitive bodies. Every day we come another step closer to removing symptoms of autism from my boys to creating healthier, happier young men.