The Gluten-Free Diet Was the Cornerstone of my Son’s Recovery from Autism

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There, that should settle any questions.  And it should ring some bells and tick some people off.

When my son was diagnosed with autism at age 4, the first thing I did was hit the giant Barnes & Noble bookstore and walk out with a huge stack of about 10 books.  I cleaned them out of anything related to autism.  2001 was near the beginning of the tsunami and there just weren’t that many books available.  (Correction: the only book I left behind was a book on ABA because we’d been advised to skip it since my son was so rigid and do Floortime instead.)

41q1dW7nOOL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_My mom ran out and there was only one book on the shelf at Books-A-Million.  “Unraveling the Mystery of Autism and PDD” by Karyn Seroussi.

That book changed everything.

Long story not so long, I read the book and started changing my son’s diet immediately.  I pulled milk, replacing it with some organic soy milk I kept around for my niece Chloe.  He stopped running in circles.

After few false starts I was able to get gluten out. The fog started to lift.  One day my sister stopped by to pick up Chloe’s stuffed bunny that she’d left behind.  We couldn’t find it.  And we couldn’t find Connor.  We headed upstairs and stopped when we heard Connor singing.  We peeked in the door and saw him tucking the stuffed bunny into bed while I sang softly.  I looked at my sister.  “Tell Chloe sorry, but she can’t have that bunny back.”

It was the first glimmer of imaginative play I’d ever seen.  Connor named the bunny Carrots and took him everywhere.

elf-gluten-free-meme1As time went on, we tested for food allergies and sensitivities, using tests for both IgE and IgG reactions. We tried the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for several month, but had to stop when my son developed allergies to almonds, eggs, and coconut.

At one point, I joked that he was on the food-free diet.  It was free of gluten, casein, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, corn, coconut, seed oils, and for about two weeks, potatoes.

As all of this was gong on, we were doing other things–detox, herbs, homeopathy, lots of occupational therapy, cranial sacral therapy, etc.  Healing my son’s gut was our top priority and keeping him on a gluten-free, casein-free diet was critical.
My son was essential recovered from autism by age 12, with some vestiges of picky eating and anxiety.  Puberty was bumpy as hell–anxiety and depression. That we just rode through, keeping all his dietary restrictions intact, although by the time he was 13 or 14, he could tolerate the occasional real pizza with no issues.

images-4Then, at age 16, Connor decided he wanted to be ripped.  He switched his diet to primal–he was tolerating diary by then and was eating a huge bowl of Greek yogurt everyday–green smoothies, pastured meats, almost no grains.  He lost a ton of weight–between 40-50 pounds in a year–and has, indeed, become ripped.

 

He also shed the last bit of anxiety and depression. Changing his food, changed his brain. Changing his gut micro biome changed his life for the better. As he heads off for college in the fall, he and I are already discussing how he’s going to handle his gluten-free diet in the dorm so he can maintain his gains and his health.

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Soft Gluten-Free Tortillas!

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Dark, burrito-less days are over!

Just a quick post to let you know about a new product I discovered at my local Smart & Final.  Mission brand Wheat-Free Tortillas are everything a wheat tortilla should be: soft, pliable, and delicious!

I admit, I’ve missed the heck out of wheat tortillas–the burritos, the quesadillas, the wrap sandwiches. But baby, we’re back.  I’ll be hitting up Chipotle tonight to get bowls of burrito filling (yes, I know guacamole is extra ;)) so we can all have burritos.

According to the company website, these are currently only available in the western region of the US, but I’m sure phone calls and emails will help convince them to expand distribution.

Really, these are fantastic.  I may be buying out my local Smart & Final…

 

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Stove-Top, Butter-Roasted Cauliflower

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It’s my new favorite veggie: riced cauliflower, poached in water with butter, then pan roasted.  Yummmmm.

It’s almost like grabbing the pan off the burner before it burns to a crisp…but not.  I find I can set it up and do other things to prep dinner while the cauliflower is cooking and the water is boiling off, but once it’s down to butter and the hot pan, the cauli needs a little attention.

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Also, if you have a Trader Joe’s near you, they sell pre-“riced” cauliflower, both frozen and fresh.  I find fresh works a little better.

 

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Here are three ways to rice it yourself:

The Box Grater Method — Be prepared to make a mess! Grate it by hand with a standard box grater (the large holes).

The Blender Method — Put chunks of cauliflower in blender and add enough water so the pieces are freely floating around. Pulse it a few times, then drain.

And The Food Processor Method — Pulse it in your food processor until the cauliflower achieves rice-like consistence.

 

Stove-Top, Butter-Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • Riced cauliflower — 1 head of cauliflower, or one bag
  • 1 c. water
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Add everything to large sauté pan.
  • Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in butter so it is evenly distributed.
  • Remove lid and cook of water. Don’t stir it!
  • Once cauliflower starts to caramelize, stir only a few times to prevent sticking.

 

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Quick kitchen tips

12039459_10207007322796970_3944344690102798548_nJust a few post-Superbowl quick tips…

Did you know you can make chicken and rice in a rice cooker? I know, right?? Just put the raw, boneless chicken pieces on top of the uncooked rice and water, closer ‘er up and hit PLAY.  You can cut the pieces up, but I found boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs worked fine without being cut up. My precious Daisy had to be on a chicken and rice diet for a week and this simplified everything.

 

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Trader Joe’s has a pre-cooked, pre-sliced, grass-fed beef sirloin roast with three ingredients: beef, salt, and black pepper🙂.  My youngest boy and I l-o-v-e it.  We’ve even served it with a little lime juice as taco filling. (And it makes it super easy to stay keto.)

 

 

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The slice-and-whack method of de-seeding a pomegranate really works!  Slice it in half, then hold it cut-side down over a big bowl and whack the back with a wooden spoon. The seeds, or arils, will come right out.

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Happy New…February… Notes and updates

Come to the Instant Pot side! We have delicious food and cheesecake!

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Errrm.  Guess I dropped the blogging ball there.

  • Have you heard about the Instant Pot 6-in-1 or 7-in-1 automatic pressure cooker?  I got one a few months ago, posted a lone recipe, and kind of put it away. And with the new year, new resolutions (specifically: eat at home more) kicking into high gear in January, I pulled it out again, found a Facebook group dedicated to all things
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    Instant Pot and have fallen madly in love with this appliance.  I’ve named her theFabulous Annie Potts. I’m just going to warn you up front, only get one if you want to cook a whole frozen chicken from block of ice to delicious dinner + 2 quarts of slammin’ bone broth in 90 minutes and/or if you want to be the cheesecake god/dess. CHEESECAKE GODDESS. True story.

  • I’ve been doing a high fat diet for a week and I’m finally seeing the numbers on the scale float downward a bit without too much discomfort.  Lots of disbelief, lots of “yeah, sure, there’s no way this could work,” and some minor wincing that I’m
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    supposed to be adding butter and sour cream and it’s not a cheat. All those years of low fat, low calorie dieting have seared a path into my neural network.  I’m taking all those things I’ve learned and with the help of a nutrition consultant, I’m following an actual plan. I’m going to be writing more about this as I progress, but it’s been an interesting shift from theoretical knowledge to practical application. I thought I knew what I was doing…yeah, no. My favorite current resources on this eat fat, lose weight phenomenon:

  1. Buttermakesyourpantsfalloff.com
  2. Bulletproof diet
  3. Get Your Thin On — my one-on-one consultant, Biz
  4. Always Hungry, by Dr David Ludwig — this is the man who has done the most science on the science of weight loss.  Newsflash: Calories in/Calories out doesn’t work.
  • I’m geeking out over some new technology. I’ve posted before about LORETA 19-channel neurofeedback (more on this in a later post because Mama is starting next week!), but for my youngest we’ve recently added something called NeuroField, which uses very low level, pulsed electromagnetic frequency and heart rate variability training.  It’s supposed to be excellent for anxiety and depression.  I’m also interested in learning more about transcranial magnet therapy.

     

  • In some of my mama support groups on line, my doctor’s office, my therapist’s couch, the big topic has been taking care of the caregiver.  It’s kind of turning into the theme of the year. What are some ways you are taking care of yourself?

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I’m working on a self-care plan that includes sleep, detox, yoga, and not beating myself up.  Complicated parenting requires strong parents–mentally, physically and spiritually.

Onward!

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Merry Christmas!

  Best wishes for a lovely holiday season!

Here’s a little homemade liver tonic  to give your liver a little love. Chances are, it’s working overtime this weekend!

  
 1/2 c beet juice over ice, a few drops stevia, fill it up with Pellegrino.  

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I’m back! Sort of…

I didn’t even realize it had been over two months since I posted.  My bad!

  1. bumpy school year for my youngest
  2. extra intense parenting (has there been a 3-month full moon?)
  3. juggling new supplement regimens with mixed success (why does everything new have to be taken on an empty stomach first thing in the morning??)
  4. I discovered Dr. Who on Netflix

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I’m also knee-deep in National Novel Writing Month–NaNoWriMo–and trying to churn out 50,000 words of fiction this month.  I’m working on some posts and holiday prep.

In the meantime, I’m on Facebook as Recovery Road and on Instagram @recoveryrd.jill.

And here’s a recent Thinking Moms’ piece I did that stirred the pot a bit.

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