Sunday, May 17, 2009

*The Gluten-free and Casein-free Diet *

After we got all of Gabe's eating issues resolved, well, most anyways, we knew we needed to start him on the diet. We at least wanted to give it a try. They say that about 2/3 of children with autism see great benefits from GFCF....which means that Gabe could be part of that 1/3 who won't benefit. The only way to find out was to jump right in and give it our best shot. Like I said before though, we didn't want to be those people who gave it a half-ass effort and then told people that it didn't work for us. People who try the diet, but still let their kids have occasional "treats" aren't really doing the diet. Any wheat or milk will set these kids back so fast! So we knew that we needed to set a date to start and then get prepared and organized well before we began. Our date was set for April 20th, 2009. This was the day after Gabe's 5th birthday party. I wanted him to have his last "glutenized" birthday cupcakes. :) I was extremely nervous and had sooooooo many thoughts and concerns.....what if this doesn't work and we've done all of this work for nothing? What if Gabe won't eat any of these "bread substitutes" that we spent tons of money on? What if he hates me for depriving him of these foods? etc. Then I spoke with a few great people who also have kids with allergies and they asked if I'd rather have Gabe be a little upset with me about this diet, or have him forever locked away in his autism world? Geee.....what a tough call! NOT!!!!! Sorry Gabe, you're gonna have to hate me I guess! I promised him that I'm going to help him get better no matter what. I know that he is in there and he just can't fight his way out yet. He needs our help!

BTW: I just have to say, Mike has been my absolute rock and has put up with my endless crap through all of this. He is so wonderful and I am so lucky to have him. I know so many moms don't have a partner in this who is willing to help or participate in anything. Heck, half the dads just walk out after they realize that their sons are "defective". It's so sad to me....

Anyways, back to the diet stuff. :)

We removed gluten on April 20th. It has been a few days shy of one month completely gluten-free now. I cannot tell you how wonderful it has been so far. Gabe transitioned so well. It was like a dream! He is a big meat-eater, so that has made it pretty easy for us. We grill a lot of chicken, pork chops, steaks, all-beef Hebrew National hot dogs, and burgers. We found some great breads substitutes from that ENER-G brand. The Tapioca Loaf Bread and hamburger buns are great for Gabe. He actually likes them a lot. I also made homemade GFCF chicken nuggets to freeze. They were so quick and easy, when I needed a few I would just pop them in the microwave. My favorite stores to shop at now are Natural Foods here in Avon, Whole Foods in Nora, and Meijer actually has a pretty good selection of snack foods. We have also started buying all of our meats from a local butcher who is completely natural and organic. It is amazing the difference in taste there is from meats bought at the butcher VS. meats at Meijer or Wal-Mart. Totally worth the extra money!
After pretty smooth sailing with gluten-free,we decided to removed casein last week, I believe it was on Sunday the 10th of May. So far, so good! It's still way early to expect to see huge results, but we are very positive and optimistic about everything. Gabe had been on an anti-fungal around the same time we started the diet in April and we have seen some NASTY die-off bowel movements from him. I couldn't imagine all of that build-up actually being in his little tummy. Poor baby! I wish I could describe to you the amounts of stool that came out of this poor little boy. I am so, so thankful that we were able to start this diet and help clean him out. Even if we don't see anything more than we've already seen from this diet, I do know that Gabe will always stay gluten-free. He is already feeling worlds better, I can tell. He is so much happier and a lot more loving than he already was before. He gives me endless hugs and kisses all the time. He is getting more social towards his puppy and other kids (huge!), and his speech seems to be getting a little more clear so far, he is starting to sleep much better at night. He is on clonodine for sleep issues still, but we have been able to start bringing his dosage down and he is still sleeping a full 8 hours without waking numerous times every night. Sleep has always been a big issue for Gabe, so we are really hoping that this diet will help calm his tummy and brain so he can finally sleep on his own without any meds at night! We are trying to be very patient with Gabe, as he has been a little irritable at times and has good days and bad days. Who doesn't, right? :) I will keep updating about the diet in future posts!

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