If the Tin Foil Hat Fits

So it’s been about two weeks that I’ve had August on a completely gluten-free diet. These weeks have been mostly glorious. Not perfect, but very, very good. I’m seeing less and less of the spinny stuff–in fact, I didn’t see one flap or spin. Even more important, I think, is that he is making progress. Before, he was kind of stuck. Stuck on the same toys, the same actions, etc. Now, he’s moving forward. He’s picking up new things, moving old things around in new ways, and is just generally comfortable with new. Other things I’ve noticed that are random: he looks when you point and say “look.” He’s making eye contact with his brothers and playing with them. It’s not organized play or anything, but he likes running around with them or pretending that the baby is going to “get” him, which he isn’t because the baby can only crawl backwards at this point.

Removing gluten has suddenly made him understand English. You call him to come eat and he comes, you ask him if he wants a bottle (yes, the twins are still total bottle addicts), and he smiles. He can still be a space cadet, but you can usually see what has him distracted. Today I was trying to teach him how to give kisses, and he started shouting “muh! muh! muh!”

These are all good things, right? I think a lot of people would be satisfied and call it a day.

I’m not most people, though. I can’t leave well-enough alone. Some days are still better than others. There are days when the dark circles re-appear under his eyes. I KNOW that there are other foods that bother him.

Someone on my FB page recommended the GAPS diet for kids with neurological issues. I bought the book, read it, and it made a lot of sense to me. So now I’m trying to get August closer and closer to that diet, which is extremely restrictive–basically, you can have meats, eggs, vegetables, and fruits. No grains. Some cheeses, but not all. The kicker, though, is that you have to make a LOT of your food from scratch because even tiny additives are believed to be problematic.

So here I am: making my own yogurt, my own grain-free-bread, nutrigrain bars with no grains, preserves, etc. It’s a lot of work. Crazy amounts of work. I do think it’s having an effect, though. I messed up and let August have sweet potatoes, which are not allowed–guess what? He didn’t do as well. A quick tweak and he was back to fabulous.

I’ve gotten really suspicious of food and the food industry. I spend way too much time reading labels and researching my purchases. Basically, I’m only of those crazy nutrition people that I used to make fun of.

Good times.

This was my attempt to capture what life is like at my house--Charlie is bogarting the TV, Louis is on the move, and August and Rex are calm and collected.

This was my attempt to capture what life is like at my house–Charlie is bogarting the TV, Louis is on the move, and August and Rex are calm and collected.

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  1. It’s definitely good to make your own food from scratch (as opposed to something prepackaged). Just make sure he isn’t getting more than a couple of servings of the grain-free flours each day. If he eats too much of that stuff he can start having oxalate issues. I’ve heard that from a lot of moms whose kids are on SCD or GAPS. I have 2 go-to “emergency” foods that I prepare in batches and freeze to use on days that are absolutely hectic. Otherwise I try to fit in as many whole foods as I can.

    • Not a big deal since he’s still very suspicious of my new cooking. He’s like half and half grain free and gluten free at this point. Would love to pull all the grains, but I’m afraid he would starve.

      • I thought that for a long time with my kids (that they will starve!). Especially my allergic one because he is allergic to so many of the high-protein foods that he just ate a lot of grains and fruit mostly. It definitely took some getting used to (and of course a TON of work on my part, not going to lie, and that part hasn’t changed), but he is actually starting to try a couple of new foods now. Which I never ever EVER thought would happen. It’s just a couple, but I’ll celebrate even a little bit of progress in a kid who only eats purees. Anyway, it can be done. Also, a lot of parents in the ASD community say if your kid limits themselves to only a couple of foods, those foods are likely to be the culprits (kind of opposite of what conventional medicine says).

  2. Oh also- Have you tried removing dairy products for a trial yet? Milk proteins clear the body much faster than gluten, so you should see results pretty quickly if the milk is a problem for him.

    • What a great blog, Katy! I had trouble with milk proteins as well until I became aware that the pasteurized, homogenized milk was the problem. Raw or real milk as gently processed and sold by the Amish and other local farmers is a BIG difference. I follow the westonaprice.org guidelines and there are WAPF Chapters nationwide. Many of the groups have ill children that have been vastly helped by this change in diet. Their parents are happy to share and becoming aware of this method can change your life, as well. Read the book, “The Untold Story of Milk” to learn how store bought milk is hardly milk, but a dead product lacking natural enzymes needed for proper digestion. It’s a fascinating option, especially because you are doing so much healthy eating already. Sending love, Fondly, Robin

    • I haven’t tried pulling milk products. Right now he eats three foods: yogurt, baby food, and sandwiches on gluten-free bread. And bottles! Two of those are full of milk. If I take them away he wouldn’t have much left. I’m thinking about switching to raw milk to see if that results in any changes.

  3. I’m glad y’all are making progress :) Sounds like he’s doing better every day!

    • Addie: It is incredible. It’s like I have a whole new kid. Well, the same kid, but less frustrated, tired, and distant.

  4. I am becoming increasingly wary of the food industry. You are far more industrious than I, though. I fail at making things from scratch after 2 weeks. Good luck!

    • I have no doubt I will tire of this, but I am getting more used to the idea of cooking/preparing food in stages rather than just throwing it all together in an hour. Now I know what people did before they had TV!

  5. It IS a lot of work. I don’t even do half of what you are doing, I’m sure (just in an attempt to eat better) but I still think it’s a lot. You’re such a good Mom, Katy. I’m glad to hear he is doing better.

    • Thank you, Elaine! It’s some work, but I can think of no better use of my time. I mean, I can think of a lot of selfish, ME, ME, ME, ME things, but not better. Hope I can keep it up!

  6. Haha- I love your jokes about being “crazy.” The thing is, you’re being “crazy” for a reason- because it’s helping your kid! I don’t think anyone can really think that’s crazy. I’m so happy you’re figuring this out now, while he’s still developing… there are some elementary kids that I think have some sort of food sensitivity that’s still undiagnosed and I think it’s amazing that you’re figuring it out now!

  7. Amazing Moms never give up and trust their instinct. You are an AMAZING Mom.
    To make life easier http://moneysavingmom.com/2012/06/homemade-yogurt-in-the-crock-pot.html
    Works amazingly EVERY time and is so easy.
    Best of Luck!

  8. My son has a very specific medical diet overseen by a clinical dietician which severely limits carbohydrates so he ends up eating a lot of simple foods just like your son. Everything is measured/weighed to meet daily targets and it is extremely time comsuming for this working mommy.

    So i have tricks! I cook roasts or other meat on the weekend and measure them out with the appropriate veg, puree them individually and make individual meals in little tupperware pots with labels of what it contains and how much there is of what i need to keep track of (here, carb count and fat). It goes with him as a meal for daycare and then ready for our mad dash dinners. I cut up cheese and small amount of fruits for snacks during the day. It is becoming a well oiled machine.

    Any other special diet tricks out there?

  9. We’ve talked about this enough that you know my general take on this issue, and I am duly impressed that you are managing it as well as you are. That said, I have to comment on the title of your post. I completely understand why you chose the heading because I feel the same way when introducing the topic to the MANY others that feel the way that I used to (the old, uninformed me). But really, how ridiculous is that. When and more importantly WHY is the concept of feeding REAL FOOD to our children akin to voodoo magic? Okay, I had more, but it was turning into an ugly rant, so I am cutting myself off. It just amazes me how normally rational people can be closed minded when considering the impact diet can have on health, across the board (sorry, dealing with a relative (an RN no less) whose son sounds so similar to August who won’t even consider changing his diet and it is driving me crazy (silently, of course, because as we all know, we can lead others to knowledge but they have to decide what to do with it!)).

  10. Lorena (@lamaschida) says:

    Hi again, Katy! I am rooting for your little guy. I am amazed by the differences you see. I was recently turned on to this website by my acupuncturist: http://www.nourishingmeals.com/ They have an elimination diet that is supposed to help identify sensitivities/allergies etc. The recipes are dairy & gluten free and there are a lot of kid friendly ones too. It’s very informative, I hope it helps!