Monday, 2 November 2015

Reid all about it!

Just like all the different doctors, nutritionists, and therapists we take information from, it looks like we have to do the same with diet.

GAPS diet was causing the boys quite a few problems - bloating, constipation, wind (they of course found this hilarious much to my embarrassment!)  and even more sensory issues. The fermented foods and broths weren't quite sitting right with the boys so we had to rethink. Having connected with amazing fighter mum Leslie in America on one of the Facebook Groups (Recovering Kids), she explained to me that GAPS can actually make things a lot worse for some little ones with ASD. We definitely fell in to that bracket. She told us about the REID programme where we totally eliminate all free glutamate from the boys diet, massively cut back on protein (which was causing protein fermentation hence the bad breath), be careful with fermented veggies (histamines) and up the fibre (get their BM's going and get rid of the toxins floating about in their systems!). She explained that Glutamate becomes an excitotoxin when its in excess meaning it overstimulates brain cells and nerves and can result in neurological inflammation and cell death.  It looks like due to their inflamed guts, they have become sensitive to phenols (Salicylates) so there are a lot of veggies and nuts we have to avoid. More studying and researching - trialling and monitoring of behaviours and reactions.

My little chef Joey trying a veggie pattie :)

We learnt all this and more with our Skype consultation late one evening with Dr Reid herself. An amazing mum and biochemist who had recovered her own daughter. So - we tweaked the boys diet again.

The boys diet is even more limited now than ever . One piece of fruit per day - a LOT of veg (mainly green) and little meat protein. Some nuts and seeds and a few eggs. Of course no grains or dairy and definitely no sugar. The boys are still stuck on puree for main meals but they eat healthy snacks now - all homemade and as organic as we can find. They are a lot less reluctant to try new foods which is just amazing! After three years of trying - they are finally becoming a little less afraid of food and no, this doesn't have anything to do with my cooking skills!

Xander wanting some of my frittata!

 It feels so awful to deprive them of the joys of tucking in to all the goodies I see other toddlers eating but on the other hand i know they're so deplete of the minerals and vitamins that these whole foods contain that I have to keep going. There's no going back now! I totally believe that this diet is helping them so as cruel as it sounds - getting all this goodness in to them is the only option we have. It's not easy - for any of us, but we are determined and fighting for the boys every day. We have a spreadsheet of their supplements which have to be given at different times throughout the day and they have quite severe consequences if we miss them. We have tonics, capsules, creams, all to to be taken in specific measurements away from certain foods.

Home made natural herbal teas.

Matthew and I so wanted to do the diet too but it's crazily expensive to buy organic food for a whole family. Instead we try and eat the same foods as the boys in front of them and no joke...we dive in to the downstairs loo when we need to eat something not REID legal so the boys don't get food envy! We have a secret stash in there. We go in there so often for a quick banana or sandwich that the boys must think we've got serious incontinence issues!

Home made coconut milk and below coconut crepes!

All the food prep takes a very long time and we try and pre prepare as much as possible. The boys get through a crazy amount of veg, nuts, seeds, (all nuts and seeds have to be soaked overnight and dried to get rid of any phytic acids and enzyme inhibitors) and natural herbs (my fave are pau d'arco, dandelion root, mushroom root, ginger, rosehips and nettle in a decoction) so you can imagine how much time we spend preparing their food!

Celeriac hash brown - delicious!

Fortunately, we had luck on our side again when we found our newest aupair Harriet. An Australian beauty training to be an Occupational Therapist specialising in children with ASD! Harriet is with us for 6 months and by the time she leaves she'll be a total pro in OT, ABA, nutrition, naturopathy and she also know the words to Mary Poppins having watched it at least 10 000 times! We are totally blessed to have her in our lives - it's a huge responsibility taking care of our monkeys and you need the patience of a saint. The boys love her and as well as thinking she's a wrestling buddy they also play such great learning games with her and have done so well with her by their side. She helps us with so much of the food prep which without I think we both would have gone mad. There's only so much chopping, peeling and bagging you can do before you flip!

3.5 days worth of veg for the boys!

For anyone thinking they can't make the jump to gluten free/dairy free/GAPS/REID diet because their child is too picky - please please let my boys give you faith. Our boys were very picky eaters before we did this diet and I spent many a sleepless night dreading the day we took away their breadsticks, crisps, crackers, burnt pizza and all the other specific foods they felt comfortable with. It was a huge step but so worth it. I know it's not that way for everyone and my heart sinks that I have friends out there who's little one's just won't eat anything other than the usual dry foods. I know that heart wrenching feeling of watching other children eating normal healthy foods and just wishing your child would take just one bite of something healthy. The frustration and hours spent doing messy play with food in the hope that they decide to put a little bit to their mouth. The time spent trying to injecting broccoli into a cheerio just to get some goodness in - I've been there! (ps this is impossible and insane...never try this!).

Butternut squash and coconut flour 'biscuits'

My boys wouldn't dream of touching, never mind eating a carrot stick before we started the diet.  There are hundreds of parents around the world making this leap and once you're there the taste buds change and slowly but surely your little one will start trying different things.

Bone marrow - so much goodness :)

There is no way the boys would have eaten roasted carrots, celeriac hash browns or corgette crisps (all firm favourites!) if we hadn't made the move to GAPS/REID.We were incredibly lucky that the boys ate (and still eat) puree but anything outside of that was just very dry to touch and crunchy to taste. If you have the energy and time to look in to a diet that you feel is right for your children then I promise it'll be worth it. Even Matthew took a bite of broccoli this week - now THAT is progress people!

My weird sausage pancakes!