23 May 2011
Up until about a year ago, I had never even considered gluten free living. It wasn’t even on my radar to tell you the truth. If you would have asked me then what living gluten free even meant, I likely would have shrugged my shoulders and given you some answer like “doesn’t that mean you can’t eat bread?” Sure I was naïve, but I really didn’t have any reason to make it a focus in my life.
Then came the curve ball.
My son Collin was diagnosed with high functioning autism right around his 2nd birthday. Dealing with the autism itself was obviously a challenge (and still is), but we also noticed that he had a really hard time with digestion. Since he was born he’s pretty much never had a solid stool. We’ve always thought it was strange but up until last year we didn’t even consider that the poor digestion could be related to his condition. As we started learning more and more about autism, we started to hear people mentioning the importance of proper nutrition and living gluten free suddenly ended up as a topic of discussion at our house.
While little research has been done regarding the link between autism and gluten intolerance, it’s definitely been proven over and over again that these children have difficulty with digestion. Many parents claim that a gluten free diet has really helped their autistic children in a number of ways. The benefits have ranged all the way from improving their bowel movements to calming outbursts and tantrums.
Last year as we embarked on the journey of potty training (oh boy!), we knew that it would be nearly impossible for Collin to poop in the potty if his poop wasn’t more solid (this is the sad reality of parenting . He had also started acting out more than usual so we started doing our homework on living without gluten and we decided that we needed to give it a shot.
The change has been dramatic.
After just a few weeks on a gluten free diet we noticed that Collin was sleeping better at night, his stools had greatly improved, and in general he was less irritable than he had been. He doesn’t have any type of gluten allergy so there have been times when we’ve let him eat something with gluten. We’re really trying to stop that from happening because we’ve noticed that the problems come roaring back in a hurry. It’s remarkable to me what a piece of cake can do to his attitude and his indigestion.
Our biggest challenge in switching to the new diet is that Collin is a very picky eater. I loved the suggestion of this article to mix vegetables into smoothies. Collin loves a good smoothie so that’s an easy way for us to help him get the nutrients he needs without putting his health at risk. The article goes on to suggest that parents “be sure to serve foods that are alive and enzyme rich for easy digestion.” Attune Foods is a brand that has helped us do just that. The hard part now is keeping the chocolate probiotic bars hidden from him.Check out my latest posts here