Friday, January 18, 2013

GFCF: The Saga Continues

Gluten Free Casein Free (GFCF)

I've always been curious to see how Eli would do off gluten, but never had the motivation to try it.  After giving up dairy a year ago (for casein purposes) I didn't want to change too much at once.  His neurologist at the time also didn't see gluten as part of the problem with any of his patients.   If  you've read anything about the autism/ADHD community A LOT of parents have had success and seen a lot of results with it's removal.  

Dairy is a lot of times the first food people remove because it only takes about 3 days to notice a behavioral difference.   Gluten, however, takes 3 MONTHS!   Well with a little over 3 months before his little brother or sister is here and thus the craziness begins (including him going to Elementary School) I thought: now or never.  

Most of my information thus far has been taken from parents, blogs and this book:

I like this book because it is not too extreme, and it is also open to this not being a "cure all" for either.  It also accepts the need for occupational, physical, speech and behavioral therapies (which we've tried), as well as medication (which we have not tried) for a lot of kids with ADHD and Autism.   

Here are some statements thus far that have resonated with me: 

Symptoms of Food Sensitivities and Intolerances: (an allergy is typically and immediate response, unlike these) 
 There are a lot more symptoms, but these are the most notable (and disruptive) ones in Eli:

Skin: RED face/EARS
Neurologic: tics (flapping)
 *I have hesitated to show this because I don't want to embarrass him, but as you can see while it doesn't hurt him or others around him it shows that information between his brain and body isn't functioning correctly.  He only does it when he is really excited about something : ) If you look closely you can also see the red face and ears.*

Behavior/Develpment: ADHD Symptoms (decreased attention, hyperactivity, impulsivity) is still a problem and there are only 5 kids in his class.   His teacher, (once again...ever since he was 3), says he isn't intentionally trying to be disruptive and off task, but the reality is that he is a lot of the time.  He is a SWEET, SMART, FUN kid but the reality is he will be in school a lot of his life.   ADHD symptoms don't do well in a classroom setting and homeschooling is not on my radar : ( I also don't think he likes not being able to control what comes out of his mouth/body.  You can tell a lot of times that he regrets his actions as soon as they occur. 

Causes of Food Reactions: The Digestive Connections
This was always hard for me to explain/understand.   This book does a fantastic job!   I am going to copy this whole section because it is REALLY GOOD and I've never been able to find a better explanation.   

"Normally, when foods are digested in the small intestine (the upper part of the intestine), they break down into their smallest components: proteins to amino acids, fats to fatty acids, and carbohydrates to simple sugars.   Along with nutrients, these are allowed to cross the intestinal lining into the bloodstream, where they travel to other parts of the body, including the brain.  

A critical part of this healthy system is in the lining of the intestine.  This lining needs to be a good barrier so that foods cannot enter the blood until they have been fully digested.  It functions like a window screen, letting in good air but not larger items like pesky flies or harmful bugs.   When the intestinal lining is damaged, potentially harmful large food molecules can enter the bloodstream-like holes in the screen letting bugs in.   This condition is commonly referred to as a "leaky gut", since food molecules leak through the microscopic holes in the intestinal lining. 

Many children with ADHD or autism have problems with their intestinal lining.  {I took out the part about autism, because this has been ruled out for Eli...but they have an added concern of not having the correct digestive enzymes to break down food} The type of food that causes the most problems for children with ADHD or autism is protein, specifically proteins from milk, wheat and soy.  {Most proteins do their job: fish, fowl, meat, eggs, dairy, beans, nuts and grains}  

During digestion, not all of the amino-acid chains {made by proteins} are completely digested.  What results are residues of short chains of amino acids called peptides.  The peptides, however, are large and should not be absorbed unless the gut is damaged and, therefore, too permeable or leaky.  Think of amino acids like Scrabble letters.   Peptides are the "words" made from those letters.  Depending on how the letters (amino acids) are arranged, different "words" (peptide) are formed.  The body recognizes these "words".  If, however, the letter arrangement does not spell a "word", the body considers it to be foreign.  Likewise, if the intestinal lining is damaged, the body may consider the peptides that leak into the bloodstream to be foreign.  If they are not recognized because they are foreign, the body sends specialized cells to get rid of them.   When the peptides are "words" the body recognizes, the body allows them to remain.  If the "words" have receptors in the brain, they may cross the brain and send a signal.  If the signal is not one that should normally occur in the brain, there can be a short circuit in brain functioning.  This can contribute to many of the symptoms seen in children with ADHD or autism."  (p23-24, The Kid Friendly ADHD &Autism Cookbook)

I'm hoping to explain and report more as I go along, but at least now I can refer people to this blog when they are genuinely curious as to why we are not doing gluten and dairy.  

Thursday, January 10, 2013


We are finally at the age where Eli is passing the "isms" baton over to his sister Anna : )


*When he was off school for Columbus day, he asked "where's the special breakfast and decorations?"
*He told his Grandaddy "if you work, and work and have 1000 works maybe you can get a house here".  (well, he was actually right.  Only Grandaddy is getting an apartment, not a house here...)
*Out of the blue (seriously) he said, "Maybe my new brother or sister won't like skirts so much". 
*He ran inside to get snow gear on to build a snow man when he saw we got a dusting of snow.

*Todd said sarcastically, "FANTASTIC".   Anna sweetly asked, "Dad, why is that fantastic?" 
*She's obsessed with "Chickadees"  (aka Chuck E Cheese)
*During my first trimester I said (a lot) "My tummy feels funny".   Anna responded with, "My tummy is happy too, Mommy".
*She asked when the Rooster Bunny was coming to visit. 
*Over Halloween she said the "muffin candy" was her favorite (aka reeses peanut butter cups)
*She asked to turn "the sparklers" on (aka the sprinklers)
*The first time she received a wand she was upset because it didn't spell : (   (Watch below to find out why...)

*Her one liners when she meets strangers are, "I have coughs in my mouth" AND "I went on a cruise".  (yep, cashiers, greeters, everyone!)
*At school when tracing her hand she had to draw nail polish on the fingers (to her teachers surprise). 
*Speaking of nail polish, yesterday she decided to put it on by herself...
*Shes developed....attitude.   She now responds with "OKKKkkkkkkkkkkkk" and "Don't talk to me 'bout dat, MOM."  
*She twirls, sings and points her toes CONSTANTLY.  Here is just her latest video (but I promise you this is a very regular thing...notice we haven't had the heart to take down the mirrors from her birthday party).