Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Starving people

Last night I was reminded again of just how far we have come in the non scale department.

Two and a half years ago I had a son who was Autistic, weighed 420 pounds and had extreme neurological stims that involved textures. He would only eat plain white pasta ( no sauce, no butter) extra sweet cereal that became soggy in milk instantly and peanut butter on white bread that had it's crusts removed. Here is a picture of him at that time

Fast forward to last night . It was a "love dinner" ( meaning just he and I because daddy had to work) and we made our new version of macaroni and cheese. Whole wheat pasta, 3 cheeses, peas to add a little more fiber. The fact that it was whole wheat pasta was miracle enough compared to those days. Then he did something that that old child would never have done . He said "And we NEED a salad mom !" I smiled, remembering how I would have moved heaven and earth to hear those words back then. Come to think of it, I DID move heaven and earth and this was the result. Then he started begging for Brussels sprouts, and I was in a state of bliss ! Incidentally , here is a picture of this same boy taken at Halloween, weighing about 350

Still a long way to go, but we can do it. We will do it. His goal weight is 200 lbs.

I was reminded yesterday about how obesity and many other problems have a root cause in malnutrition. Sounds ironic , doesn't it ? Truth is most overweight people have diets that are lacking in several vital nutrients, and their bodies demand that they receive these so it keeps them in a constant state of hunger and they overeat. It manifests in the form of cravings at many times. Changing a diet to include more real foods close to their natural states will not only help to bring about weight loss, but improve many other health issues. The body is an amazing machine, and if treated properly , will do amazing things. I have seen it in my own life, and was brought even more aware of this through my son.

As I mentioned, he is autistic. There is a large body of thought that links autism to a form of malnutrition. Something happens in the digestive system that turns certain food substances into things that act like opiates in the body, as well as causing a condition that does not allow the total absorption of critical nutrients. By altering the diet to remove offending substances ( usually gluten and casien) the body balances out and normalcy can be archived. When the offending substances are cleared of the body , full absorption can occur. Many parents have found this to be the answer to defeating autism. For us it was a course of essential fatty acid supplements , and then a total change in diet. There are still autistic behaviors, but few and really far between. For us our goal is to play catch up from what was lost or never achieved. However, the root cause strikes me as the same as with obesity- malnutrition.

We see images of children in otehr parts of the world with swollen tummies, haunting eyes and protruding bones and label that as the face of hunger. Yet, we do not see that the same problem affects the overweight woman binge eating chips or doughnuts. Both are severely malnourished. The child suffered many health problems and is in threat of death from lack of proper nutrition, and the woman suffers many health problems and is in threat of death from lack of proper nutrition. Heart disease, arthritis, liver problems, digestive problems and much more can often be corrected through proper nutrition, as well as many other problems. While words like diet bring up all kinds of thoughts about unpleasantness, terms like a wellness campaign sound downright attractive. Thinking in terms of changing your life to fit in that little black dress sound like fun, but terms like reversing the root cause of my physical pain through lifestyle sound like miracles. Yet the same moves will bring the same results.

It's just a shift in focus.


Diane Fit to the Finish said...

What a tremondous difference in those two pictures. You should be really proud of the change you have encouraged him to make by cooking healthy and modeling good behavior. Wow! I hope he is as proud of himself as those of us who read you are!!

Tricia said...

What a wonderful victory for your family. Great job!