Thursday, August 5, 2010

Non scale victory..sideways

Eating healthy has many advantages- improved health, weight loss, disease prevention and so forth. There is another that is not discussed often, and that is the ability to isolate the affects of bad for you things. Such was the case here this morning.

Nick is autistic. Not so severe that he will ultimately need to be institutionalized, but to a level that makes his life rather atypical. Personally I choose to see it as being differently abled instead of cursed. One very big "thing" with Nick's particular gift is a totally abnormal reaction to textures- and this was the biggest factor in his weight problem. For years the only things he would eat was plain white pasta, white bread with crusts removed and peanut butter. While these substances are far from balanced nutrition, in his body they also converted to chemical compounds called opiates. The affect was keeping him in a drugged like state, and it was a great challenge. I was able to break the cycle with essential fatty acid supplements, THEN a strict diet that included a wide variety of foods , probiotics, cheleation, energy medicine and more. Result has been a nearly normal kid who is thriving. Years before this, we had heard of The Feingold Diet , tried it and noticed that anything with red or yellow dyes seemed to set off different odd behaviors. Red dyes were avoided, and between this , the diet and other practices, things have been so normal that you can easily forget the rules.

With the recent episode of the killer tooth ache, it was discovered that chewing gum helped ease the pain. Same with popsicles. So being good parents, we bought them and it helped to get through that episode. Gum has been one of Nick's favorite weight loss aids- a good thing. But....

Over the last few days I have been noticing different problematic things returning. One was a sudden declaration that certain veggies were yucky ( including his beloved cherry tomatoes) and "stimmy" behaviors. Not good. Yesterday evening I set out an institutional pack of Trident Layers gum- strawberry, his favorite. This morning we woke to find that he had eaten six packs. Wrappers and all. And he was acting really odd. His clothes seams were bothering him, his fabric comforter was "too itchy", his toenails were annoying and he tried to pull them off, he started smacking his head, waving his arms like a flapping bird ( a stim) and more. The ONLY thing that he ate was the darned gum. I grabbed the empty box and saw the culprit- loads of red dye ( not to mention whatever dyes were used on the individual stick wrappers) and several other chemicals for flavor and so forth. Kicking myself for not even thinking about this !

Then I realized something- our diet has been so clean for so long, it was very easy to identify the problem . Much better than years earlier when we were just overwhelmed with the challenges of having a Nick, too little money with too much month and feeling completely alone with all of this . We had heard that we were just bad parents, ,irresponsible, dreamers and so many things that we simply stopped looking for support outside of each other. Because I accidentally read about essential fatty acids and autisim, change became possible, life became so much better and we are healthier. Because of all of this, a minor setback was easily identified. Nick will be fine- certain detox procedures will happen, we will all be more vigilant about those things you never think about, and things will be better in a while.

The scale may not be moving down in a rapid pace, but life is better, healthier and greatly improved. To me , that is worth infinitely more than any number.


Diane, Fit to the Finish said...

That is a testament to how clean your diet is. It sounds like he's doing really well on your clean, natural diet. So interesting to me that just some gum bothered him so much. And not only that it bothered him, but that he really wanted to chew the gum. How great that you are on top of this.

Marcia said...

Are you following the Feingold diet via the Feingold Association materials? I'm wondering whether some of the things you mentioned plus some subtle behaviors could be due Nick getting additives that could be affecting him that have gone unnoticed. Are you eliminating the salicylates? All artificial dyes, things with vanillin?

Gum, besides having dyes, also have artificial flavorings and BHT. There are okay gums so he could have them back.