Food, glorious food

The main thing that autism immediately brought into our lives was a new and intense desire to get healthy. We could see in Bean that his body was trying to tell us it wasn’t well. He had fallen off the charts for weight and the same thing was starting to happen with his height. He had constant reflux, even still at fourteen months, and could never drink more than two to four ounces of milk at a time. I brought this up countless times with Bean’s pediatrician during his first year of life and even pushed to get him an appointment at a gastroenterologist, yet everyone kept assuring me he wasn’t a thirsty baby, was meant to be slender, wasn’t coming up as allergic to anything. But we could see it with our very own eyes. Something wasn’t right.

I know how controversial it still is in the world of autism for parents to think that the gut could perhaps be the cause of so many of the symptoms we see as autistic. But there are times in a parent’s life when they aren’t getting any answers from the doctors, and they need to start acting according to the information in front of them. Our children deserve answers. They deserve not to be sick. We knew it was worth a try.

So we decided to set a goal of two months completely gluten and dairy free to see what would happen and then reevaluate. To me, the difference was immediate. Bean’s reflux cleared up immediately, he wasn’t choking back on anything when drinking, and he was so much less foggy. He started to be more present again. It was by no means a cure-all, but we knew we were onto something.

Jack Apple Picking 2013

Stocking up on green apples, a staple in our house.

Of course, since then, I’ve learned so much about what it means to be on a truly clean, anti-inflammatory diet. For months after we started the diet, it turns out Bean was probably still getting some dairy in some of his foods because we weren’t reading labels properly. But the reduction of his symptoms was still so apparent. We eventually built up the motivation to take out all processed foods and starches, and that change has been even more amazing (details to come in a later post).

Our goal is to have both of our children on this diet for a few years until we feel their guts can handle more, and then reintroduce certain foods back. I don’t feel a healthy gut should need to avoid anything once it’s truly healed. But I will say that sticking with this diet no longer feels annoying. It doesn’t seem like a diet as much as a healthier way of life. You are what you eat, and our bodies deserve the good stuff. To me, my son is proof of that.

More info to come about how GAPS, SCD and Paleo helped heal our son, plus the books and other information that helped get us there.

Until then!


  1. Estefania says:

    Hi Andrea,
    My son is diagnosed ASD (2 yrs old). He is on the GFCFSF diet and I give him mostly whole foods. I have seen many Improvements but still we have many things we need to work on. Do you think he would benefit from removing starches from his diet?

    • Andrea says:

      Hi Estefania,
      I found that when I was kept rice and corn out of my son’s diet, that helped him improve even further. He is currently working with a naturopath who has been able to identify his exact intolerances, and now we are doing a protocol that helps, over the next few months, to desensitize him to those foods so that his immune system does not cause the same reactions when he comes across those foods. But when I was first starting out on the diet, eliminating gluten, and casein was key, but I didn’t see a ton of improvement until the rice and corn came out as well. Let me know if that answers your questions. Thanks!

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