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the good stuff

That last post was pretty heavy. I have a wise friend from college, who was also blogging about some life-changing trials and she said it perfectly:

I don’t feel guilty about those sad and tender years anymore. Life is designed to teach us it’s most important lessons through hard and painful trials. Everybody has something, don’t they? If it’s not one thing, it’s another, and once we know better, we do better. That’s all that’s asked of us.

I’m not saying it’s going to be smooth sailing from here on out, but now that I have some perspective I just know the good days will out-number the bad.

About a month ago it was just a regular old Monday and put my kids in the car to go to the gym.  I chose that specific gym for the childcare, but it soon became apparent that they were ramping up their membership.  At times there were only 3 or 4 attendants to 60+ kids.  I tried to come at off-peak hours, because I knew that Max and Dempsey would become easily overwhelmed with that many children in a small space with a limited number of toys.  On this particular Monday I was half-way through a two-mile run when I got the dreaded tap on the shoulder. I pulled out my earbuds and expected the worst.  Well, it doesn’t get much worse.  Dempsey had bitten another little boy on the arm, who had a toy she wanted, and drew blood.

I was mortified.

They tried to reassure me that these kind of things happen and that they are sure it was an accident, but I could tell that they just wanted me to take them and leave with the idea that maybe we shouldn’t come back until Dempsey could be trusted.  Could I blame them? I didn’t get to talk to the parents of the boy who had been bitten.  I couldn’t trust Dempsey either, so I didn’t really want to put her in that situation, even though she doesn’t really know any better.  I took the kids and hurried them out to the car.  I just sat there, a sweaty mess, and cried.  My one hour of sanctuary a day was gone.

Pity party over. It was the last straw. I think I started changing the kids diet that very week.  From what I have been learning the brain and digestive system and linked.  You cannot eat something without affecting everything. The most dramatic examples are someone getting drunk or taking drugs, no longer has all their faculties.

Now I can only speak for my children and I don’t claim to be an expert on nutrition.  When a baby’s brain is developing you don’t start feeding it solid food until after 6 months or longer because it’s digestive system is not ready to process anything other than breastmilk.  Children with neuro-challenges have underdeveloped areas of the brain and in turn their digestive system is not ready to process certain foods. By eliminating these foods, you allow the brain to stop fighting the gut so much and begin to focus on developing how it should.  If you want more info on this I recommend the book Disconnected Kids

For us, this meant taking out all gluten, dairy, and soy from the kids’ diets; looking for more organic produce and meats; cutting sugar, processed food, and making more things from scratch; adding in supplements.  I started watching documentaries like Food Inc., Hungry for Change, Forks Over Knives, Fat Sick & Nearly Dead and for a few weeks I was pretty afraid to eat anything.  It was a lot to take in and I wasn’t sure I could do it.  Screen time was also minimized…no tv, computer, phones, tablets. (30 min a day was allotted or you could save that up and watch a movie on the weekend) I was afraid my kids would fight me every step of the way.

They did…but you know what? It’s easier than you think.  Once you start reading labels and looking for this kind of food, the resources just start coming to you.  It takes effort.  It takes persistence.  We have to do it as a family, because really, how can you eat something in front of your child that they can’t have? Luckily my kids are sooo selective at this point that I have mostly tried to replace what they do like with viable substitutes.

Max is totally fine with homemade chicken nuggets made with GF flour.
Dempsey loves coconut milk and yogurt.

They are eating more fruits and I am trying to hide more vegetables.:)

THE RESULTS are in…

After only a month of changing their diets and not having screen time we have noticed BIG things and more subtle things.

-They are more affectionate with us.  They actually initiate affection and want to give us hugs and kisses which is very new and VERY  welcomed and makes my mommy heart just swell.

-They are more present. Not so much in their own worlds. More engaged. Respond quicker when we call their names…amazing if you aren’t used to it.

-They are making better eye-contact which is huge.  I can tell they are able to observe better and are more aware of and can acknowledge other people around them.

-Max especially has shown an interest in engaging with other children.  He is still unsure what to do with them, but he wants to be around them and part of the group.

-Dempsey is understanding more phrases and mimicking more words. She is able to calm herself down/regulate much quicker than before.

-I’ve seen Max point and say ‘this one’!! This shows such a deliberate use of speech and not just the echolalia(repeating what we say) that he has been doing.  This almost had me falling off my chair.  I know things like this are so small to most parents, but over here we celebrate the tiniest of changes.

I’m convinced that eliminating these things has made a world of difference for my kids already.  There’s no going back. The hardest part is running interference when going to church, parties, and school.  At least I’m getting them used to it while their young before they start complaining about all the food they are missing out on.Need food and recipe ideas? Just search Pinterest for: gluten free, casien free, autism diet