Thursday, April 22, 2010

Food Sensitivities part 2

Last summer I was ill. The ache in my stomach was constant, although sometimes it was just a "dull" ache, and sometimes more stabbing. Often I was very tired. I didn't seem to have the energy to do much of anything.

I went to a specialist that calls himself "The Gut Whisperer." After moments in his office he ordered a full endoscopy procedure. I think the gallon or so of nasty stuff I had to drink was the worst part. It was hard to keep down. After the whole thing was over, he told me that it looked like possible celiac disease, so he would send the biopsy he took to the lab and I would see him in his office later to see the results.

I went home and for the next week or so I tried to avoid gluten. I thought I felt myself starting to get better. Imagine my shock when I went in to see "The Gut Whisperer" again the next week, and he says that the results of the test were negative. I told him about my dietary experiment, and he said that "non celiac gluten intolerance" may be the cause. He did not seem to think that eating gluten free was a good treatment method. He sent me home with a recommendation for probiotics and some little pain pill prescription, and the advice to "eat whatever I wanted."

I was so confused. I did not want to put a band-aid on an inner wound that he would not seem to fully acknowledge. I went home angry and drowned myself in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that caused me to spend hours in bed that afternoon. That is when I decided to ban gluten and "The Gut Whisperer."

I ate gluten free for months, and I was mostly doing great, but I started noticing those little crampy aches at times. I was starting to suspect dairy as the cause.

It was at that time that I heard some interesting stats from friends. (Of course I do not have sources for these, they were by word of mouth, but they made me think.)

-45% of people with celiac disease also have a dairy intolerance.

-People with celiac disease are 40% more likely to have a child with autism.

As mentioned in Food Sensitivities part 1, my son did an allergy screening, and I decided to do the same.

My results were practically identical to my son's!!!

The exceptions are that he has strawberries and celery on his, while I had cantaloupe show up on mine.

Now Eli and I eat mostly the same. (Gluten free, casein free, banana free, peanut free, and as much corn, soy, sugar, and additive/coloring free as possible.) I have to say that I am feeling the best I have ever felt, and I am thinking so much more clearly. When I say that I am thinking more clearly, I mean that my ability to control my focus is improved. I have had trouble with attention my whole life because of ADD.

ADD and autism appear to be related genetically in many families, and in this case I would venture to suggest that in my family the relationship has to do with food sensitivities.

I think that this little "discovery" of mine is NOT an isolated event. While many parents are aware of their child's food sensitivities, are they having themselves tested for the same food intolerance? It would be a good idea. On my new diet, I feel empowered with greater energy and focus to help my son recover, and I wish that for other parents, too. Oh yeah, and I also urge parents to take a lesson from my experience and find the right professional to do the testing, like one that actually believes in food sensitivities and offers alternative allergy therapy for long term treatment.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Pablo Picasso once said,
"Art washes away from the soul
the dust of everyday life."


I love this quote.

I think that at least for me, the word "autism" and "art" are interchangeable in this quote. My son with autism always forces me to look at life in a new way when we are are going about our everyday things. It is very "present" and usually very creative. In the "present-ness" of the way we experience life together, there is no dust collecting.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Food Sensitivities part 1

When my son was 2 and 1/2 he received his diagnosis of autism. I remembered that when my brother was little he had behavioral reactions to many types of foods that could be quite severe. (Hence the inspiration for my story, "The Chocolate Effect.") I found an allergist and took Eli in. I wanted to know what foods we should be avoiding. The traditional allergy test revealed nothing. The blood test to look for celiac disease revealed nothing.

In the meantime, Eli's pediatrician was calling me. He was concerned about my plan to ease Eli onto a GF/CF diet by eliminating milk to see if that improved his symptoms. But as good as his intentions were, the same man who could not give me answers about my son's diarrhea was calling me in the evening to tell me that my son needed milk. Looking back, the irony of it is kind of maddening.

We became confused as to what to do. We dedicated ourselves to trying our best to eliminate preservatives, additives, and colorings as much as possible, because what little we did know at that time told us that these things were burdens on his little body.

One year later when I discovered the book, "Changing The Course of Autism" by Dr. Bryan Jepson, things became much more clear. We were converted to biochemical intervention and we found the DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) Doctor in our area. It was easier for us to make the change to gluten free/casein free with our new knowledge and with the support of a health professional on our side.

After Eli had been GF/CF for a little while and we had addressed some of his gut issues, we had an allergy screening done. It was anything but the traditional model. This time, it was a test using a little electric current, and it showed sensitivities right on a computer screen. As far as foods go, we got these:

-food additives

For a good part of a year now Eli has been getting Low Dose Antigen therapy for his sensitivities. It is just a little injection he gets at the clinic about every 2 months. While we limit his intake of all of the items on this list, gluten, milk, peanuts, and additionally preservatives, additives, and colorings are always avoided in his diet.

It's been truly wonderful to have some answers and to see him improve and enjoy life more.