After a really bad week at school and diminishing skills, a Google search revealed Tosh is probably experiencing yeast overgrowth. His pediatrician has suspected this for awhile.
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet, which regulates gut flora and relieves IBS, has also been shown to improve speech, behavior and cognitive function in 80%-85% of autistic children. I used the TACA website to check it out.
So we're giving it a try.
The SCD is kind of keto and kind of paleo; it's entirely free of grains, starches, processed sugar and most dairy products. However, it does allow fruit which is important for us, because orange juice and smoothies are where I hide Tosh's supplements. I think fresh fruit is important for a healthy diet and since we live out in the desert, we need the hydration that raw produce provides. Not to mention the important enzymes!
Day 1 of the SCD (I'm doing it too) began with grain-free pancakes. I got the recipe from Primally Inspired, a fantastic resource for paleo recipes and general lifestyle/wellness tips.
From Primally Inspired
Makes 14 pancakes (next time I will halve the recipe - it was two much for both of us)
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 15 mins
These pancakes of course don't taste like pancakes made with gluten. They have a bit of an eggy texture and you can definitely taste the coconut. Since Tosh doesn't eat eggs or coconut, I had ZERO expectations. I also left the blueberries out of his because he's a plain pancake guy.
I figured he would sniff them or maybe put one bite up to his mouth and walk away.
But he didn't. HE ATE 10 BITES! That's like an entire pancake!
You might also like: Grain-free cinnamon bun muffins
Trying new foods tips for autistic kids
Tosh eats a pretty sophisticated diet compared to his peers. Here are some tips I've picked up along the way that work for him.
1. Keep your expectations low and be patient. Expect they won't eat it the first time. Offer the food AT LEAST 10 times before you give up. I offered Tosh fresh green juices for an entire year before he finally started drinking them along with me. This is a long game, not a quick fix.
2. Include them in the prep. It really helps give Tosh a sense of ownership when I let him help in the kitchen. Even when he doesn't like something, he's anxious to try it because it's "his".
3. Act like it's no big deal. I don't stand expectantly over Tosh, waiting for him to try something. I set the plate in front of him and walk off or focus on my own meal. Your odds of getting a kid to do anything are much higher if they think it's their idea. I tell him he doesn't have to eat it, which works as reverse psychology on him. And if he doesn't eat it, I don't make a big deal about it.
4. Allow time for taste buds to adjust. You can't take a kid from McDonald's to vegan overnight. The palette needs time to change. When we took Tosh off gluten and dairy two years ago, it took him a couple of weeks before he started eating the substitutes.
5. Eat it yourself. Don't expect your kid to go gluten free or paleo while you're eating Ritz crackers. That's just mean.
Heather Anderson is a blissfully happy autism mom and lover of life in Southern California who is on a mission to help autism parents rediscover their happy place.
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