Diets for ASD? (Parents of autistic children and autistic parents welcome) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 08-04-2008, 08:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My diet isn't very good and I sometimes have bouts of either depression or angst that last for 2-4 wks. I was wondering if I could remedy that by changing my diet. I have a friend whose son is on the Feingold diet and it really seems to be working for him. I first met him when he was first starting the diet and he was really energetic, but it was like a nervous energy, you know? I just saw them last week and he doesn't have that buzzing energy and he's a lot more verbal and can handle things better, so I thought about either trying that diet or maybe cutting out soy, because I've heard that that's not too good for you, either. I wouldn't be following the diet religiously, but I would try to cut out a lot of dyes from my diet. Does anyone have any experience with this?
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#2 of 6 Old 08-04-2008, 09:05 AM
 
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A friend of mine who is not autistic but has bouts of depression and is very sensitive to both low and high serotonin levels has found that she is very sensitive to the amount of carbohydrates she eats. Carbs are supposed to raise serotonin levels. So if you eat a LOW carb diet, then you might experience a lowering of serotonin and the resultant depression. This may also be why depressed people often have cravings for carbs...it's their body's way of trying to raise their serotonin levels. This applies to everyone, not just autistics. But it shows that food can dramatically affect how you feel. You might consider doing a bit of research before just jumping into a new eating plan of any kind.

Kim mama to DS 12/2005, Pepper kitty , and 10/03, 1/05;
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#3 of 6 Old 08-04-2008, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I've been reading a bit about the Feingold diet and briefly about GF/CF (I'd never be able to pull that one off though -- WAY too much work) and a soy elimination diet. I've been trying to cut out a lot of HFCS, too, and I'll try to stick with that.

My plan is to cut out a lot of HFCS and limit it to maybe one 20 oz. pop a week. I would also start out by cutting out dyes that are pretty well-known, like the numbered dyes (such as red dye #40), and a lot of soy. I don't eat too much soy, but I would limit it to like one thing that contained soy per day, maybe, and work from there. I have a tendency to just jump right into things and try to do everything and then I end up failing at it, so I'm trying to be really careful about taking it one step at a time with this and just starting gradually.

Oh, and I feel that I should add that by LO is exclusively breastfed.
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#4 of 6 Old 08-04-2008, 10:15 AM
 
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Soy lowers your thyroid hormone levels, as well as places you at risk for goiter. Dropping that would be a good thing. (Personally, I avoid soy like the plague, but I have a preexisting thyroid condition anyway.) Also, full-time nursing takes a toll on your energy levels as well...I nursed mostly full-time for almost 2 years.

Sounds like you are on the right road. Perhaps taking some dated notes about what you are doing and how it affects you could help you sort out cause and later effect as far as food goes.

Kim mama to DS 12/2005, Pepper kitty , and 10/03, 1/05;
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#5 of 6 Old 08-04-2008, 10:18 AM
 
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I've heard adults say the feel better with digestive enzymes apart from any diet changes. That would be way easier if you could tolerate the swallowing of pills or the chewing of the enzymes. http://www.enzymestuff.com/index.htm This site has lots of enzyme information--including instead of gluten/casein free and feingold. I'm not saying the enzymes are equal to diet changes for all people. But they are much easier and have helped a lot of people.

Both of my boys take houston enzymes. http://www.houston-enzymes.com/index.php I know this company is really easy to work with and they will send you free enzymes to try out. They also arranged a discount for us to make it affordable for me to give both my kids enzymes. They are just really helpful.

Rachelle, mommy to 8 year old boys! 

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#6 of 6 Old 08-04-2008, 02:49 PM
 
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I have seen both digestive enzymes and probiotic supplements (acidophilus, bifidus, etc.) make a noticeable difference for several of my students who have autism. As in, you can tell if they haven't been having it. And I'm not big on the nutritional stuff. But I can see this works. Most of my students have issues digesting their food properly and the supplements help them not have stomach aches, have firm stool, and are generally happier and more comfy. And I've also seen behavioral changes go along with it, particularly for anxiety.

My husband also swears by his Omega Fatty Acid supplements to stop his panic attacks, and anxiety. He takes a combo of flax, borage, and evening primrose oil, and his attacks went down about 75% when he's on it.

Early intervention specialist and parent consultant since 2002.
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