Food and grace

grace_and_foodMy friend posted a thought-provoking piece about food guilt, about the stress and pressure now in our culture to eat a certain way, about “think[ing] that we are deep down somehow better than all those other people” who don’t eat like we do. It got me thinking about my topic this month and what I don’t want to convey.

Eight years ago, I did none of this food stuff and didn’t think I ever would become “that person.” So if there is one thing viewing these last eight years through the lens of my thoughts on nutrition has taught me, it’s that we’re all on our own journeys and we’re all at different places on our journeys.

My intention with these posts this month is possibly to help families dealing specifically with autism. I don’t mean to guilt anyone into doing anything. By detailing the process we went through (specifically in posts here, here, here, and here), I wanted to show that this was a process–a difficult process. But it’s a process that was worth it to us, because we saw changes in Nate that any parent would long for.

But Ashley did remind me that, ultimately, it’s about grace (or as she said, “It’s about the people.”). When nutrition becomes so important to me that I exclude others from my life or my kids’ lives because of it, that’s a problem. So while this is something I’m passionate about, it can’t be what I’m most IMG_4858passionate about. Thanks for the reminder, my friend.

I plan on taking a break from everyday posting tomorrow, as it is Sunday and I don’t yet have a post planned! So I’ll see you Monday. :)

This post is part of the 31 Days writing challenge, during which I’m detailing our family’s journey through autism as it relates to the one lifestyle change we made that had the greatest impact on our son’s recovery: nutrition. Click here for a list of all this month’s entries as they are posted.

Teaching kids about nutrition

This e-book, called Real Food Nutrition FOR KIDS, by Kristen at Food Renegade, looks fantastic. Here is her description:

Do you want to teach your younger children about Real Food?

To use child-friendly lessons inspired by the same love of wholesome, traditional foods that you find in the cookbookNourishing Traditions, the work of Weston A. Price, the Slow Food movement, and farmer’s markets everywhere?

To avoid the twaddle put out by the USDA which features their sub-par Nutrition standards?

A beautiful book full of fun illustrations, coloring pages, and activities for younger children?

She has created 15 lessons with coloring pages, copy work, activities, and teaching on topics like “How Your Body Uses Food,” “What Are Nutrients?,” “Healthy Fats,” “Sweeteners,” and more.

I’ll post a full review later this month!

This post is part of the 31 Days writing challenge, during which I’m detailing our family’s journey through autism as it relates to the one lifestyle change we made that had the greatest impact on our son’s recovery: nutrition. Click here for a list of all this month’s entries as they are posted.

Raising chickens to overcome fear of animals

Nate has always been skittish around animals, especially dogs. Unfortunately, there have been a few times over the years that playful but quite large dogs have jumped on Nate, scaring him and reinforcing the fear he already had. It had gotten to the point that, if we were playing at a playground, he would want to leave if someone came with a dog. He would also hide or want to go to the other side of the street if someone was walking a dog near us. He would scream if a dog came too close–and I don’t just mean when he was little; he still did this at 8 and 9 years old. We taught him how to tell dog owners that he was afraid, and usually that was enough for people not to bring their dogs near him.

Once we started on the GAPS diet/nourishing nutrition journey and started eating dozens and dozens of eggs a week, I got an idea. What if we could raise chickens? This could kill two birds with one stone: we would be able to eat the eggs the chickens produced (and we’d control what those chickens would be eating, which we learned yesterday is important), and maybe this would help Nate with his fear. Not even Nate was afraid of cute little teeny tiny baby chicks. And if he held and played with those baby chicks each day, they’d eventually get “big and scary,” but he would still be used to them because he’d be so familiar with them.

I  researched our city’s laws and found we could have up to four hens, no roosters. But I still had to convince Jon this was a good idea, even in our tightly packed suburban back yard. When I told him my ideas, he was pretty much on board. But when I brought up the disaster preparedness factor (if something were to happen and we were stuck at home without utilities or access to groceries for a time, we’d still have eggs!–and eventually, of course, chicken–but let’s not talk about that), he gave me the green light.

I ordered our four baby chicks from My Pet Chicken, which has a sexing guarantee (I needed females only) and also has a fun find-your-favorite-breed tool to figure out which breeds to order. I picked our date (April 2014) to be at the beginning of the kids’ spring break from school, so that we could have a full week of full days with our new chicks. Then, on April 9, our one-day-old Delaware (1), Australorp (1), and Easter Eggers (2) arrived in the mail!

Nate with "his" chicken, Star
Nate with “his” chicken, Star–an Easter Egger
Levi with Dottie
Levi with Dottie, our Australorp

These little gals were the cutest fluff balls ever. They fell asleep in our hands, made sweet little chirping noises, and were fun just to watch. They would take chick power naps: one would be walking around, then slow down, then stop, then face-plant right into the wood shavings for about 10 seconds. Then she’d wake up, get up, and keep going.

They grew quickly! Look at them after just three weeks:

Chicks at 3 weeks old
Chicks at three weeks old. L to R: Star (Easter Egger), Minion (Easter Egger), Joy (Delaware), Dottie (Australorp)

Do you see how Nate is comfortable and happy? Below, he is holding Minion (named by Levi) when she was five weeks old. Pre-pet-chicken, Nate would have been afraid of an unpredictable animal this size. As they grew each week, though, he continued to run with them, pick them up, dance with them, catch the skittish one (Joy), and hold them.

Nate with Minion at 5 weeks (huge, right?)
Nate with Minion at five weeks (huge, right?)

Now our chickens are almost six months old and nearly full grown. They’re pretty huge, sometimes flighty (flapping their wings if you’re holding them and they want to get down), and definitely scary to kids not used to being around animals. But Nate isn’t phased a bit. He’s still the best at catching Joy, who doesn’t like to be held. (For anyone interested, our Easter Eggers, Star and Minion, are by far the friendliest, quietest, gentlest, sweetest, and easiest chickens!)

Minion at five months, wanting to join the fun inside the house
Minion at five months, wanting to come inside (not happenin’)
Joy, five months. A little bit scary, right?
Joy, five months. A little bit scary, right?

We have noticed a marked difference now in Nate’s comfortability around all animals. He is calmer, more adaptable, and less worried about animals’ unpredictable movements. I saw him petting our neighbor’s friendly old black lab the other day (what?!). Nate still wouldn’t want an unfamiliar dog to run up at him, but many people wouldn’t want that! Overall, I consider this chickens-to-help-overcome-fear experiment a big success!

The coop the kids and I built for the girls
The coop the kids and I built for the girls

And just a few weeks ago, we found our first eggs. Yay girls–you did it!

First two eggs, found in September
First two eggs, found in September

This post is part of the 31 Days writing challenge, during which I’m detailing our family’s journey through autism as it relates to the one lifestyle change we made that had the greatest impact on our son’s recovery: nutrition. Click here for a list of all this month’s entries as they are posted.

An eggcellent post

Let’s talk about eggs. Before doing the GAPS diet, we consumed a very conservative amount of eggs–usually my own breakfast and in baking. I bought a dozen a week. After getting into GAPS, though, we upped our egg intake drastically. Now, after we’ve “leveled out,” so to speak, we still go through about seven dozen a week! We love our eggs–and there are many reasons!

From WHFoods:

Eggs have long been recognized as a source of high-quality protein. The World Health Organization (WHO) and other public health authorities actually use eggs as their reference standard for evaluating the protein quality in all other foods…. The high quality of egg protein is based on the mixture of amino acids it contains. (Amino acids are the building blocks for making proteins.) Eggs provide a complete range of amino acids, including branched chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, valine), sulfur-containing amino acids (methionine, cysteine), lysine, tryptophan, and all other essential amino acids. Their protein is sometimes referred to as a ‘complete protein’ for this reason. (source)

The protein in eggs is considered so high quality and bio-available (ready to digest) that the proteins in all other foods are compared to eggs to determine their quality! In the GAPS diet, eggs are extremely important as they are so easily digestibly and healing–two important aspects of the diet, especially the Intro diet. (Eggs are introduced after the first couple of stages of the GAPS Intro.)

egg-yolks-vertical-2

image source

Egg yolks are also a great first food for babies! Read more here.

How do we go through so many eggs in a week? Well, we eat about 10 eggs at breakfast (8 eggs split between the boys, 2 eggs for me), and I do some baking, and I often put a hardboiled egg or two in school lunches. That’s an easy way to go through a dozen or more per day!

But what if you or your child is allergic to eggs? Well, there is a chance the GAPS diet could actually heal that allergy! Although food allergies aren’t fully understood, I have read some research that healing and sealing the gut lining–a hallmark of GAPS–could alleviate mild food allergies. Read here for an interesting story of a lady trying to heal her egg intolerance on GAPS.

Tomorrow: we love eggs so much that we now get them from our own back yard!

IMG_5072

This post is part of the 31 Days writing challenge, during which I’m detailing our family’s journey through autism as it relates to the one lifestyle change we made that had the greatest impact on our son’s recovery: nutrition. Click here for a list of all this month’s entries as they are posted.

Intro to fermenting

Yesterday, I mentioned fermenting and whey. Today, I want to delve into the practical side of fermenting: how to do it and my favorite easy ferments to try. Much of my information comes from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, which I recommend to anyone who asks me about my favorite books.

The basic how-to of fermenting is pretty simple. Wash and cut up the fruits or vegetables you’re using, then mix with salt (plus possibly herbs or spices), and pound to release juices. Then press everything into air-tight containers, pounding the vegetables down more so that the juices/liquid covers the vegetables. The salt keeps the vegetables from going bad until enough lactic acid is produced to preserve the veggies. (Whey is an optional addition, and I like to use it because its lactic acid and good bacteria act as an inoculant, reducing the time needed for preservation and ensuring consistently successful results.) Cover and let sit at room temperature for a few days. Done! Ferments can then be stored in the fridge for months.

The first recipe I’d recommend trying is ginger carrots, because it requires few ingredients, has a milder taste, and is almost fool-proof!

Ginger Carrots (from Nourishing Traditions, p. 95)

4 cups grated carrots, tightly packed

1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger

1 Tablespoon sea salt

4 Tablespoons whey (if not available, use additional 1 T salt)

In a bowl, mix all ingredients and pound with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer to release juices. Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar and press down firmly with a pounder or meat hammer until juices cover the carrots. The top of the carrots should be at least 1 inch below top of the jar. Cover tightly and leave at room temp about 3 days before transferring to refrigerator. Note: if you can’t get the juices to cover the carrots, it’s OK to add a little bit of filtered water.

Another ferment I’ve had success making that tasted absolutely delicious (possibly my favorite) is kimchi. Lucy loved it too.

Kimchi (Nourishing Traditions, p. 94)

1 head Napa cabbage, cored and shredded

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1 cup carrots, grated

1/2 cup daikon radish, grated (optional)

1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1/2 teaspoon dried chile flakes

1 Tablespoon sea salt

4 Tablespoons whey (if not available, use additional 1 T salt)

Place vegetables, ginger, garlic, red chile flakes, sea salt and whey in a bowl and pound with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer to release juices. Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar and press down firmly with pounder or meat hammer until juices come to the top of the cabbage. The top of the veggies should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temp for about 3 days before transferring to refrigerator.

Do you or your kids miss having ketchup? Store-bought stuff is full of sugar, but try this ferment recipe instead!

Ketchup (Nourishing Traditions, p. 104)

3 cups canned tomato paste, preferable organic

1/4 cup whey

1 Tablespoon sea salt

1/2 cup maple syrup (grade B organic)

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed

1/2 cup homemade fish sauce or commercial fish sauce

Mix all ingredients until well blended. Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar. The top of the ketchup should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Leave at room temp for about 2 days before transferring to refrigerator.

See you tomorrow!

This post is part of the 31 Days writing challenge, during which I’m detailing our family’s journey through autism as it relates to the one lifestyle change we made that had the greatest impact on our son’s recovery: nutrition. Click here for a list of all this month’s entries as they are posted.

Nourishing recipes worth taking time for: ferments

Today is the second day I’m talking about recipes that are worth taking time for. Yesterday, I wrote about homemade broth, which is nourishing and easily digestible. Today I’m introducing ferments.

The word “fermented” sure didn’t use to sound appetizing to me. However, fermented foods are actually full of incredible amounts of beneficial bacteria (probiotics) and readily available nutrients.

Fermentation is when naturally present bacteria, usually of the lactobaccillus or bifidus strains, (or sometimes yeasts) begin “pre-digesting” or breaking down the sugars and starches in the food. As these bacteria divide, the process forms lactic acid, which halts the growth of the “bad” or putrefying bacteria. This acid is also responsible for the sour taste that comes along with fermented foods.

As long as the foods are kept under a brine or a liquid, and in cool storage, the product will last for months, sometimes years.

Sally Fallon writes,

Lacto-fermentation has numerous advantages beyond those of simple preservation. The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine. (Nourishing Traditions, p. 89)

Some examples of fermented foods are sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchi, but nearly any vegetable or fruit can be fermented!

Whey

As a preface to all the fermented recipes I’m going to introduce, let’s look for a minute at how to make whey. Then tomorrow, we’ll get into some practical fermenting info.

Whey is essentially the liquid by-product of making cheese.

Homemade cultured whey is indispensable for making fermented vegetables, chutneys, beverages and grain dishes. It can be made from various types of cultured milk, good quality yogurt or even fresh raw milk, which will sour and separate naturally when left at room temperature for several days.

While some people may be averse to letting milk/milk products sit at room temperature for several days, that’s exactly how you begin making whey! But we will be using unpasteurized, natural milk products. Without pasteurization or refrigeration, milk naturally sours and separates because of lacto-fermentation, when lactic-acid-producing bacteria begin digesting or breaking down both milk sugar (lactose) and milk protein (casein). When these good bacteria have produced enough lactic acid to inactivate all putrefying bacteria, the milk is effectively preserved from spoilage for several days or weeks and in the case of cheese, several years.*

Whey recipe

2 quarts piima milk, whole-milk buttermilk, yogurt, or raw milk

If using piima milk or buttermilk, let stand at room temp 1-2 days until the milk visibly separates into white curds and yellowish whey. If you are using yogurt, no advance preparation is required. You can use homemade yogurt or good quality commercial plain yogurt. If using raw milk, place milk in a clean glass container (covered) and allow it to stand at room temp 1-4 days until it separates. (Note: my raw milk took over a week! It needs to separate visibly into white curds and nearly clear yellowish whey.)

Line a large strainer set over a bowl with a clean dish towel or cheese cloth. Pour in the yogurt or separated milk, cover and let stand at room temp for several hours (longer for yogurt). The whey will run into the bowl and the milk solids will stay in the strainer. Tie up the towel with the solids inside, being careful not to squeeze. Tie this little sack to a wooden spoon placed across the top of a container so that more whey can drop out. When the bag stops dripping, the cheese is ready. Store whey in a mason jar and cream cheese in covered glass container. Refrigerated, the cream cheese keeps for about 1 month and the whey for about 6 months.

What are we going to use this whey for??? Tomorrow, we’ll be using it in all of our ferment recipes, and whey is also good for soaking grains.

* Sources:

http://ohlardy.com/the-science-and-history-of-culturing-foods/

Fallon, Sally. Nourishing Traditions.

This post is part of the 31 Days writing challenge, during which I’m detailing our family’s journey through autism as it relates to the one lifestyle change we made that had the greatest impact on our son’s recovery: nutrition. Click here for a list of all this month’s entries as they are posted.

Nourishing recipes worth taking time for: broth

Today, I want to mention a few extremely healing, nourishing, and important foods that, though they take a bit of time to prepare, can have a really big impact on your health.

Broth

Homemade broth/bone broth is extremely nutritious and contains macrominerals (sodium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur) in ready-to-use ionized form as a true electrolyte solution. Broth is very gentle on the digestive system, can reduce inflammation, boosts immunity, and heals the gut lining.*

Store-bought broths invariably contain additives that can be neurotoxic: MSG, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, and more. In addition, because of their large-scale cooking processes, store-bought broth can’t produce the same mineral content or benefits as homemade. To gain the benefits of drinking broth, we should make it ourselves.

Here’s the recipe, which is mostly from Nourishing Traditions (a bit of additions from me)

1 whole free-range chicken or 2-3 pounds bony chicken parts

gizzards (optional)

cold filtered water filled to the top of your stock pot

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

2 carrots, coarsely chopped

3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped

4-6 cloves garlic, whole

various ends and stubs of any desired vegetables

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 Tablespoon sea salt

1 teaspoon peppercorns

1 bunch parsley

Cut chicken parts into several pieces. Place in large pot with water, vinegar, and all vegetables (leave parsley out). Let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour. Then bring to a boil, removing scum that rises to the top. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 8 to 24 hours. The longer the better! About 10 minutes before finishing, add parsley. This will give additional mineral ions to the broth.

Remove whole chicken or pieces and bones with a slotted spoon. You can reserve the chicken meat for other uses. Leave fat and gelatinous pieces in the broth, and use an immersion blender/hand mixer to blend it all together. Then strain the stock into storage containers (like quart-size mason jars) and store in fridge or freezer. If storing in freezer, allow at least an inch or two in your jars for expansion.

Use your broth for more than just soups! Cook rice in it, make gravies with it… even try a tablespoon or two mixed in with your scrambled eggs! It is also great as a first food to eat after a stomach virus, since it is so healing and also so easy to digest. When we were following the GAPS diet, we drank a cup of plain broth before/with each meal. Use this nutritional powerhouse as often as you can!

On a practical and personal note, I love drinking broth and think it is delicious. But my kids do not love it. When we were strictly following GAPS, I had to cajole and force them to drink some before each meal; it was a battle. I found other ways to get broth into their daily foods, including the scrambled egg idea above! I also made lots and lots of nourishing soups using my homemade broth. While my boys don’t love soup, my daughter and husband and I do!

Next up: whey and fermented foods!

* Sources:

- http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/12/16/bone-broth-benefits.aspx

- Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

This post is part of the 31 Days writing challenge, during which I’m detailing our family’s journey through autism as it relates to the one lifestyle change we made that had the greatest impact on our son’s recovery: nutrition. Click here for a list of all this month’s entries as they are posted.

More sanity-saving recipes

As I’ve mentioned, doing the GAPS diet requires lots of energy and lots of hours. They were worth it, but it was also nice to have some standby meal ideas and recipes to make things a bit easier. Here is my other post on sanity-saving recipes.

One-pot dinners

I love meals that require few dishes/bowls because they cut down on cleanup time and they just taste delicious when all the flavors meld together! Here is my favorite one-pot dinner from the last few months:

Paprika chicken thighs slightly adapted from reluctantentertainer.compot1

This dish is so tasty and easy! To make it GAPS friendly, remove the potatoes. When I made it, I did use a few small potatoes for my husband to have, and I also added in sweet potatoes for me. (I stay away from most nightshade vegetables like potatoes, eggplant, and peppers, as they irritate my joints!) This dish is also a great way to get some nourishing homemade chicken broth into your diet without doing a soup.

  • 3 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbs. coconut oil
  • Pressed garlic
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 lb. red and white small potatoes, in 1-inch chunks
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 2 Tbs. tapioca flour/tapioca starch
  • 1 1/3 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. fresh thyme, finely chopped
  1. Combine about 2 T. smokey paprika, 1 tsp. each of salt and pepper. Rub on chicken and coat all pieces.
  2. In a large heavy frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Repeat the process until all the chicken has been lightly cooked.
  3. Add the garlic and onion to the frying pan, stirring for about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and stir another 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and carrots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes.
  4. Gently whisk the flour into the wine. Gradually pour into the vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add the chicken stock; stir. Return the chicken to the pan and bring to a boil.
  5. Cover the pan, and reduce the heat to medium-low, simmering until the chicken and vegetables are cooked. Cook for about 30 minutes. Right before serving, mix the chicken and vegetables; add in the thyme. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper. Serve on farro, rice, or quinoa.

Soups

I adore soup, and–thankfully–I have a husband who likes it, too! My boys don’t love it, but it’s so healthy and nourishing that I make it anyway (they just have to eat a few spoonfuls… but that’s all there is for dinner). Another great thing about making soups is you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand and just follow a general base recipe:

Base recipe for basic vegetable/chicken stock soup

Heat 1 T coconut oil, ghee, or grass-fed butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Chop an onion and mince 2-3 cloves garlic, and add them to the pot. Stir for a few minutes until the onions are translucent. I like to add some salt and pepper now, too. Then add 6-8 cups of homemade chicken broth. While that is coming to a boil, chop additional vegetables like 2-3 carrots, stalks of celery, sweet potatoes (not GAPS), kale–whatever you have on hand. Once the broth is boiling, add the vegetables, bring back to a boil, and turn heat to low to simmer. Allow the soup to simmer until vegetables are tender–30 minutes to an hour and a half (however tender you like your veggies). You can also add in shredded cooked meat and additional herbs/spices. With soup, it’s hard to go wrong!

If you’ve never made homemade broth before, never fear! Tomorrow I’ll be back to talk about that.

This post is part of the 31 Days writing challenge, during which I’m detailing our family’s journey through autism as it relates to the one lifestyle change we made that had the greatest impact on our son’s recovery: nutrition. Click here for a list of all this month’s entries as they are posted.

On motherhood and autism

If there’s one thing motherhood has taught me, it’s that I know way less than I thought I knew.

I had a big list of “I will nevers” before I had kids. (I will never let my children do x in the middle of a store. I will never let my children talk to me in x sort of way. Insert your “I will never” here.) Then I had kids. And not only that, but I had a child with autism. My pride, selfishness, judgmental heart, and lack of grace were quickly exposed when Nate didn’t conform to my silly ideas. Oh, he was beautiful, sweet, cute, lovable. But he didn’t talk; he had meltdowns and tantrums at inopportune times; he didn’t look at me when I called his name; he wouldn’t eat anything healthy.

I thought I wa232323232-fp58=ot-2323=--7=529=3232--7438358nu0mrjs going to be a good mom; why wasn’t my child behaving?

That was often my thought. Even then, it was very much about me. I have a feeling that motherhood in general is a slow process of “dying to self,” of giving up selfishness and preconceptions. Perhaps I would have gone through much the same process of realization if I hadn’t had a child on the spectrum; I think it was just intensified.

In addition to recognizing my own sin, I also mourned for Nate’s lost childhood. It was hard seeing others’ neurotypical children who just “got it.” Their moms didn’t have to teach them how to talk or communicate; they just got it. They could go to parks and playdates and fun stuff, all while Nate was going to therapy.

Slowly, slowly, the focus turned away from me, my lost mothering experience. I learned much about letting go of expectations and embracing the beauty of what the Lord has given me.

232323232-fp64=ot-2323=--7=537=3232--7446637nu0mrjLooking back, I can see stages and steps God brought to loosen my grip on it being all about me: adding a second baby to the mix (and then a third!); homeschooling for 1st grade; doing the GAPS diet (I’m serious. That was an eye-opening sacrifice.) I’m still learning. I still have a tendency to turn inward and make it about me. I have bad days. But nothing has been as revealing and refining as motherhood.

This post is part of the 31 Days writing challenge, during which I’m detailing our family’s journey through autism as it relates to the one lifestyle change we made that had the greatest impact on our son’s recovery: nutrition. Click here for a list of all this month’s entries as they are posted.

A look at why

Briefly, I wanted to link to some research on the reasons drastically changing Nate’s diet made such a difference for him.

  • This article on the Talk About Curing Autism website is speaking strictly about gluten, casein, and soy–not about a complete nutrition overhaul–but still makes good points about enhancing therapies and improving health.
  • Here is a good article about a mainstream doctor changing her mind about leaky gut, which is when the gut is damaged, allowing bacteria, undigested food, and toxins to “leak” through the intestines and into the bloodstream. This is particularly harmful for young children, whose blood-brain barrier is not yet closed. Those toxins can go straight to the brain. Healing the gut, therefore, has important positive ramifications.
  • This research article describes the effects of nutrients on brain function. The author notes the importance of the gut: “In addition to the capacity of the gut to directly stimulate molecular systems that are associated with synaptic plasticity and learning, several gut hormones or peptides, such as leptin, ghrelin, glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP1) and insulin have been found to influence emotions and cognitive processes.”
  • One of my favorite blog posts I’ve read recently on nutrition and some of the recent/fad/healthy diets is by Mommypotamus. She gives some overview information on the Weston A. Price Foundation diet (pretty close to what we do now), GAPS diet, paleo/primal diet, and “clean eating.”
  • I also learned a good deal about what not to do on the GAPS diet in this post. Her experiences were similar to mine with my brain fog on too few carbohydrates.
  • You may or may not like Dr. Mercola, but he does have some links in this article to research related to gut bacteria and autism.

This post is part of the 31 Days writing challenge, during which I’m detailing our family’s journey through autism as it relates to the one lifestyle change we made that had the greatest impact on our son’s recovery: nutrition. Click here for a list of all this month’s entries as they are posted.