When you are ready to start biomedical treatment to heal your child with autism, there are Moms and Dads and doctors and mentors out there with a WEALTH of knowledge and experience. I am not yet one of them unfortunately! I am still like you, learning, worrying, hoping. I have joined the club of Mother Warriors, and I am humbled by all that I don’t know yet. I believe in the cause, I respect the leaders, I have devoted everything I am to giving my son back the health and the future he was born to have. If you found your way to this site, you are probably looking for a place to start. I do know how to start, and sometimes starting is the hardest part.
Here are some steps that helped us get started:
- Read, read and read more. Then, I chose a couple go-to sources for recipes and tips after I realized I was spending too much time reading when I had cooking to do. There is a lot of fascinating information out there to learn, but I realized I didn’t have to learn it all in the first week! I chose the Generation Rescue and TACANOW websites, gfcfdiet.com, and the book Special Diets for Special Kids. It came with a CD of 200 recipes to get started.
- I was determined to make the change quickly, and for that to work with my family, I focused on GFCFSF for Aidan only while the gluten-dairy loving rest of us have made more subtle improvements. Whole grains, less dairy, elimination of artificial colors and high fructose corn syrup. I giant bag of flax sits on the counter to be sprinkled on anything that doesn’t move.
- The cost of the prepackaged food was daunting to me with a large family. I found that if a packaged GF item was the same price as a regular item the package was half the size and if the package was the same size as regular, it cost more than a prime cut of meat. Off to the specialty market for assorted bulk flours that I mix into all purpose GF. Cost effective and not too difficult. I even tried making my own flour from rice and almonds in my coffee grinder following directions I found online. I admire the people who can do that, I am not one of them.
- Move favorite non-GFCFSF foods out of sight. To the top of the fridge, to the back of the pantry. I can’t get rid of everything the rest of my family likes, but I can at least not let my little guy have to face Tony the Tiger if he opens the pantry.
- Designate space for approved foods so that anyone can help my GFCFSF guy grab a snack without having to call me. I made the bottom shelf of the fridge, the produce drawers, and the buffet in the dining room GFCF zones.
- When I realized I was wasting time rereading labels to check ingredients on foods that everyone could have, our fries, jarred pasta sauce, tortilla chips where already GF, I put blue painters tape on the package to signify it was “safe.” Sounds a little obsessive, but with three kids and a lot of chaos, it really helped save time and avoid mistakes.
- I made a list of a few staples that I needed, like chocolate almond milk and coconut milk and asked my store manager to stock them. It took a couple of weeks, but no more driving 10 minutes for chocolate milk. The diet is getting popular, and it seems like stores are increasing the number of items they stock all the time.
- Enlist the support of others. I went to specialty stores and asked for advice. Eventually I found some good places and now know a few really helpful vegans who find me products they like and search out kid friendly recipes.
- Be prepared for special events like class birthdays, holidays and field trips. I keep a GFCF pizza in the freezer along with a sweet treat so I’m ready if a class party sneaks up.
- Prepare a couple simple frozen meals to keep ready to heat in case you have to be away from home at mealtime. Grab and go.
- When I learned that a box of GF muffin mix was 3x more expensive than my regular brand, I found a recipe I liked and mixed a big batches of dry ingredients that I stored in an airtight canister. Now instead of pulling an armload of ingredients and utensils, I just grab my canister, egg and oil and fresh muffins for breakfast without the mess and cost. Same for pancake mix.
- My little guy is too young to swallow capsules and some supplements just don’t mix well with food (I learned the hard way that digestive enzymes sprinkled on spaghetti sauce or oatmeal turn thick yummy food into a watery mess) My best supplement plan was getting a bunch of plastic syringes from the pharmacy, plus a couple 2 tbsp syringes from a medical supply store. I call it “Vitamin Time” and we get silly so it is not stressful. I know, easier said than done.
The biggest surprise has been that he is eating foods he never would have before. I don’t know why the diet made him more flexible, if the enzymes make his tummy feel better so food is more appealing to him or simple luck, but Aidan is eating almost anything I put in front of him. The only meat he ever ate was in fried nugget form, but now he is eating grilled chicken, hamburger, even steak. Next I’ll have a cholesterol problem on my hands.
It seemed complicated, it seemed expensive, it seemed like a lot of work. Now it seems normal and my son seems like a different child in many ways. Seems worth it.
About the Author:
Tracy Weinstock, Mommy to 5 year-old Aidan who is currently participating in our Rescue Family Grant Program.
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