There is a link between autism and gut problems, food allergies, leaky gut; yeast and bacterial overgrowth, and parasites.
If you haven't drawn the parallels yet: picky eaters of a starchy white and/or crunchy diet who are also full of sensory issues are filled with yeast. The more you feed the yeast, the more sensory problems you have. The longer you go, the worse it gets. The problem, at it's root, is not sensory or permanent. It is resolved by controlling yeast. Other indicators are: abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, undigested food in stool, meltdowns, behavioral problems, giddy laughter, turning upside down, adhd, ocd, seizures, and more.
Sounds like autism, but it is yeast and treatable and here's how:
1. Know your enemy. It's not your child. Your child, as the host, is an innocent casualty. Yeast is your enemy. When your efforts to fight yeast start to work your child will become cranky, irritable, possibly even sick, and demand to be fed anything with sugar or yeast in it. Don't cave. Bolster yourself, because it will get worse before it gets better.
2. Start with the least intrusive intervention. Ashi is able to swallow capsules so I started her on Oregano and Goldenseal supplements. We started with a low dose, just one capsule of each and worked up to a bigger dose. I also gave her a probiotic. Keeping anti-fungals and probiotics at least 4 hours apart, I do anti-fungals during the day, probiotic at night. This didn't require much effort from her so she was agreeable.
3. Remove food items that feed yeast: sugar, dried fruit, roasted nuts, breads, desert breads, chips, pasta, dairy, all processed foods including gluten free processed foods. They may be gluten free, but they are still processed junk.
4. Define your 'motivator.' Is there is one particular 'go-to' food item your child has? Ashi's were Ian's Chicken Nuggets and a mix of nuts and raisins. I ditched the Ian's but kept the nut and raisin mix and strategically used them as a motivator with the full intention that I would ultimately and entirely remove them too when the time was right.
5. Define the boundaries of the motivator. I changed how Ashi ate nuts and raisins. They would no longer be consumed in portions large enough to be considered a meal. They would be eaten only as a small, snack; one cup total only after eating lunch or dinner of fresh meat and a vegetable, without complaining. Then I reduced the frequency - after dinner only. Then the amount, one cup, was reduced to half a cup. I further reduced frequency to a couple times a week. Today, I don't buy them.
TIP 1: Don't replace any 'go-to' with another yeast item. You're not trading one bad item for another, you're getting rid of them all.
TIP 2: If I may offer a suggestion for multiple problem foods: Deduce which 'go-to' food will be hardest to eliminate and use that as the motivator; get rid everything else.
The physical symptoms of yeast die off include flu-like symptoms: achy, running nose, fever. And you may also see skin rashes. Ashi was irritable while Izaiah had terrible flu symptoms and rashes so bad it scared me off. But, I researched more about yeast (Rule #1: Know Your Enemy) and knew I had to get back into battle.
How do you introduce foods to finicky eaters?This will vary from home to home so to spark some ideas, I'm just going to write about what happened when I tried to remove Ian's processed chicken nuggets and replace them with fresh, organic nuggets.
Ashi wasn't having anything to do with the switch from processed nuggets to my homemade ones. I tried changing my recipe several times, but it was a colossal fail.
I tried hamburgers. I tried pork. I tried chicken and steak...ugh! You name it. Ian's outscored me.
So, I turned to veggies. She did like French Fries but Izaiah is allergic to potatoes, so fries were out. I tried rutabaga fries instead.
Score! She loved them! I now had a veggie. Good! But still...Ian's. Bad.
Since she liked roasted rutabagas, I convinced her to try roasted cauliflower. Again, score! Another win for me. I fixed her plate with mostly veggies and a few Ian's.
I purposed to use this victory as a way to gain ground I had previously lost in the beef department. I made meatballs. Cute, bite-size ones, with ground up rutabagas and cauliflower right inside. The rutabaga and the cauliflower were the big sell on this item. And, again, score for mom! Here's the recipe.
I had momentum now and planned on kicking Ian's to the curb if it killed me. Steak and pork chops were still a struggle even in very small cuts. She would argue and gag over it; pitching a fit at meal time. So, I decided that I needed to make them smaller.
That's when I invented Flavor Flakes. I took her serving of meat and ground it in my Ninja until it was a pile of tiny flakes of meat. I served them on her plate as 'flavor flakes' with the veggies she liked. They were so small they practically melted in her mouth. And guess what? Another score!!
So, for awhile I literally Ninja'd all her meats - beef, pork, chicken...buh bye Ian's. We haven't had a processed nugget since.
I really milked the Flavor Flakes too.. I used them as seasoning on beets, zucchini, kale, bok choy, radishes, and pretty soon, I found myself able to feed her a complete salad as well as have a rotation of meats and veggies for each meal.
Then one day, Ashi told me she didn't need Flavor Flakes anymore; that it was fine to just do a meat, cut normally, with vegetables.
I won. Ashi won. Our family won. It's another huge challenge our daughter has won over autism.
Today, this is a regular conversation: "Ashi, does steak, parsnips, and salad sound good for dinner?" She replies, "Yes Mom. That sounds good." This is my child without yeast overgrowth. And yours too. No fits, no crying, no meltdowns, no gagging, no puking, no spitting out food, no more eating junk. If you think my child must not be as bad as yours, trust me, she was.
There are other benefits: Ashi can focus better in school. Anxiety is at a record low. Walking around on tippy toes and non-stop verbal stimming came to a screeching halt. Our son can now get his hair cut, nails trimmed, teeth brushed and flossed, ears examined, etc. Before those jobs were next to impossible.
Yeast not only feed off sugar, but also metals. If you have any history of mercury, aluminum, or other metals whether from nursing with amalgams or vaccines, you'll need to chelate. That's a different post, but researching Dr. Andy Cutler's protocol will put you in the right direction.
Tips and a Summary
- Implement what you can with as little requirement as possible. I started with some herbs, Candex, and Probiotics.
- Talk about what you are going to do and use language that has currency for your child. Ashi wanted to get through school faster with less anxiety. She also liked that we could use nuts and raisins, but I fully disclosed that they would ultimately get the axe.
- Meet your kids where they are. Really figure out ways to transition at the most basic level. For example: I wanted a veggie in Ashi. I knew she liked French Fries. I can't use potatoes, but what could I use that's close? She also still wanted her foods on separate plates and not touching. I could do that.
- Be compassionate about their sensory issues. Even though they are going to dissipate as yeast dies, they are still real. For example: Ashi's meat wasn't cut small enough. How could I get it smaller? A-ha! Ninja and Flavor Flakes! Be a problem solver.
- Never force food into the mouth of anyone. It's a huge violation of personal space and will send you backward.
- Know when to step back and when to push forward. Step back: Ashi wasn't having any of my fresh organic chicken nuggets in the beginning. I wasn't a hard acre; but I didn't cave either. I made a deal. She could have the Ian's, but she had to eat veggies with it and we both understood the Ian's would be phased out. Push forward: Ashi loved the cauliflower and rutabaga. I ground them up and put them in meatballs. I put the focus on the veggies she loved and they were going to be eaten, period. Push forward: Ashi had eaten regular cooked meals with proper snacks for a month. Can she get a box of Ian's at the grocery store. No. Never. Push forward: Ashi has been eating well for a long time, can she have nuts and raisins? No. I will never buy them again.
- Rewards are awesome, but other than the 'motivator' don't use foods. It's a terrible example in life and you can't use any of the foods you took away. You'll lose credit on every level and you just have to cover ground already laid. Use a toy or privilege reward if you have to, but I used complimentary, celebratory, encouraging words only even after the 'motivator' was taken away.
Meal times have been horrible at our house for about 10 years. With 'sensory' issues and behaviors that drove us all crazy if we didn't just feed the beast. Our bio-med journey with our son has taught me that these things are treatable and possibly curable. I'm on recovery road with my kids and I want to take as many people with me as I can.