If you’ve read anything else on my blog, you probably know that my now 17 year old son has Autism. You may also know that I have been a Natural Health Consultant since 2009 and be wondering why I haven’t tried the GAPS diet with Cole sooner. Well, let me illustrate a few things for you. Cole has severe sensory defensiveness. He also has a unique sensory profile that changes randomly. In plain English that means that Cole doesn’t like very many foods because they make him want to throw up and every few months, the types of food that he tolerates can completely change without warning. His Occupational Therapist says that she has never seen an Autistic child with a changing sensory profile in all her 27 year profession. Hooray for me, I won the lottery!! Not really. GAPS stands for Gut And Psychology Syndrome and refers to how the food in our gut effects our brain and psychological experience. Simply put, the diet is grain and sugar free with other details as well. For Cole, I am hoping that the diet might reduce his sensory defensiveness and increase his focus and communication.
I started Cole on the diet at the beginning of January because January is the time when you make crazy resolutions to change your life, or in this case, someone else’s. It went something like this; I googled and read tons of stuff, I printed off a list of foods that Cole should and shouldn’t eat, highlighting the half dozen items that he would even tolerate, took Cole to McDonalds and told him that It was his “last meal” then went to the Health Food Store and purchased about half a dozen supplements that would help Cole’s gut to heal during the process. Full of my newest sense of accomplishment, I started Cole on his new diet and bowel cleanse regime.
The only foods that Cole wanted to eat off the “OK” list were meat, almonds, walnuts and orange juice. (Don’t judge me because I let him have concentrated orange juice since he wont drink fresh squeezed juice!) Week one was a success. He stuck to the plan and took his supplements whenever I offered them. The next week he started resisting the supplements. Now we had moved on to the Heavy Metal Cleanse and gut support. There was also that time when he snuck into my bedroom and eaten 2 Lindor milk chocolate bars that I’m pretty sure were NOT on the “OK” list! I’m going to stay positive and decide that we are still better off and get back on track.
So far I haven’t seen any change. Week 2 goes by without too many hiccups. Sunday morning we go to church and right on cue Cole says, ” Ketchup Chips?” This is Cole’s way of calming himself during an even slightly stressful event. He asks me for a treat and then he can focus on that treat and sooth himself into a calm state. Ketchup chips are definitely NOT on the “OK” list of foods! I lean over and whisper, “Boom Chicka Pop.” (pop corn, which is still a compromise) to which he replies, “Ketchup chips!” This goes back and forth for about 10 minutes and people around us are starting to squirm and lean forward in order to hear the service better as our intensity and volume rises a little. Then Cole starts to bargain and changes his plea to, “Sour cream and onion chips.” By this time I have already pulled out my phone and typed him a nice little schedule in the notebook app that says how he will be having popcorn in exactly how many minutes which he can happily count down on my timer app! Darn it but he knows how to use the edit function and change the schedule to say KETCHUP CHIPS!!!
I can’t say who really won that argument. We snuck out of church before we caused a riot and went home where the stress was gone and the subject dropped.
I am not giving up. This could really improve Cole’s quality of life! It may just be a coincidence, but yesterday we all went to the ski hill and one of my boys went home with a friend instead of with us. At dinner time, Cole came into the kitchen and said, “Oh no, where is Jalen?” He noticed that Jalen was missing and was able to voice his concern. This is exciting enough to encourage me through minor set backs!