22 Oct

I want to start out by saying that, aside from meeting my hubby and having our beautiful kids... this has been the SINGLE best thing I have ever done in my life. 

Life as a parent of an autistic child can be pretty tough, lonely, not to mention incredibly frustrating. Whenever I've been faced with a problem in my life, I have always tried to look at it really practically and try to come up with a solution. For autism, there seemed to be no 'solution' (or so I was told). Let me just start by clearing up my perception of autism. Autism is not evil, is it not the devil nor is it something I hate. Autism (more specifically Aspergers in our case) is part of Alfie and it is, after all, what makes him who he is, which is... the most wonderful, loving and compassionate boy. I would NEVER want to change Alfie, all I want to do, is improve the 'issues' associated with Autism which stifle and choke him on a daily basis and prevent him from feeling happy and good in himself.

When I talk about 'healing' and 'reversing' autism, I refer to the symptoms of Autism (be this anxiety, speech impediments, social interaction issues etc), I am NOT referring to re-wiring the beautiful minds of people with Autism because in fact, they often see/feel/hear/sense something special that the rest of us 'normal' people do not.

So how has a gluten and dairy free diet helped Alfie? Well, how has it not helped Alfie! Looking aside from the fact that dairy and gluten products are not necessary for our bodies (and are also amongst the top reasons for allergies), there seems to be this common misconception that we NEED gluten and dairy to have a balanced diet. I've read plenty of articles suggesting that without these in our life, we are prone to be fiber and calcium deficiencies. Well, it's pretty easy to get PLENTY of fiber, calcium and also protein from a more gluten free plant based diet. If you fancy finding out more, I'd suggest you take a look at documentaries such as 'What the Health' or 'Cowspiracy'.

There are theories (which I firmly believe) that Autistic people have an underdeveloped digestive system and when consuming dairy and gluten, these leak into the gut, causing a drug like effect. For us, this has proved absolutely true and the change in Alfie, since going GFDF, has been incredible. 

Alfie used to have really glazed over eyes (I call them his Autism eyes because this is the eyes he gets when he checks out and you just cannot reach him). Since we've changed our diets, his autism eyes have pretty much vanished. Other improvements include communication, such as having a bigger vocabulary, wanting to communicate, improvement to the pronunciation of his words, more creative thinking and communication such as using his imagination (as opposed to the rigid repetition of rehearsed sequences) and telling stories. 

His anxiety is also vastly improved - again, he has gained confidence to be better able to deal with new situations and changes to routine. 

The improvements have been gradual so please do not think that this is an overnight fix. It can take weeks and months for the body to rid of gluten and casein but you should start seeing small gains pretty quickly. For us it was within the first week.

These changes have spurred me on, to look for ways to further improve Alfie's gut health and in doing so, I've decided on a more plant based diet where we eat about 90-95% gluten free/vegan with a tiny amount of fish and eggs (no meat!). This additional diet change has spiralled Alfie's recovery onto the next level. My theory is that Alfie's gut health is fragile and he needs foods which are easy to absorb so that his body is not putting all it's energy into breaking down food (eg. meat) but can focus on healing itself. For us, it has worked wonders.

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