Are you on a special diet? Does it make you feel different?

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ellemenope
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03 May 2014, 11:40 pm

I'm asking this question here for adult aspies to answer so that I might get some helpful information for both my son and my husband.
My son is HFA/Aspie and my husband is undiagnosed Aspie/BPA...

We've had my son on and off a gluten and dairy free diet over the past couple of years (he is 4 yo). It's really difficult for us to tell whether or not it makes a difference for him- the two times we took him off the diet we thought we noticed his behaviour and focus suffered and his stimming and meltdowns increased as he ate more dairy and gluten and that these things improved when put back on the diet. But we've also noticed swings and fluctuations in these things over the past couple of years that aren't tied to a change in diet. My son also doesn't have any of the gut or digestion issues that other people report being helped so much on this diet, so we can't use that as a measure. So... we just don't know and he is not yet skilled enough in communication or deciphering his own physical/bodily sensations to tell us how he actually feels. He is a picky eater and is even moreso when he can't eat dairy and gluten- it would be easier and more pleasant for him and for the family if he could just eat everything. The problem is we just don't know if the diet REALLY makes a difference. If it does, then we are happy to commit to it, and go on trying to find things that my son will like to eat that fit within the restrictions.

My husband does have some gut and digestion issues and does feel better in this respect not eating dairy and gluten but doesn't report feeling any mood/behaviour differences or differences in ability to focus etc. He hasn't ever committed to the diet for any amount of time- he just notices the difference in his digestion when eating gluten free pasta as opposed to regular, or leaving dairy out of his diet for a couple of days. He wonders if he did commit to the diet if mood/behavioural changes would happen over time.

Anyway, I know the gluten free dairy free diet is a tad controversial perhaps and not everyone thinks dietary changes affect the manifestation of symptoms of autism- I know this. I'm not sure what I think about it, so I am wondering what you think and would like to hear about actual experiences with it. Has anyone tried this diet- did you feel different? Is it worth it?



Aharon
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04 May 2014, 12:46 am

I've been gluten free for over a year and it's helped, but I feel type a1 dairy is holding back further improvement. Earlier today I commited to going a1 free, consuming only a2 dairy (just goat milk and goat cheeses) to see how that affects me. Finding bovine a2 milk in the US may not be easy, if not impossible, so I'm pretty much off of 99% of the dairy I was consuming before. I'm also a lacto ovo vegetarian, but for reasons not related to autism. We'll see what happens. If you are not familiar with a1 and a2 dairy, if encourage you to google it and do some research; it's pretty interesting.


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04 May 2014, 1:18 am

I have found various diets help my physical body but not so much my brain specifically. regular exercise helps my brain a lot.



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04 May 2014, 2:00 am

Ok, my friend's fiance is on a gluten free diet, I asked her and she said, "I don't want to talk about it."
How do you know what has gluten in it and what doesn't?


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04 May 2014, 2:03 am

1401b wrote:
Ok, my friend's fiance is on a gluten free diet, I asked her and she said, "I don't want to talk about it."
How do you know what has gluten in it and what doesn't?

from what I've found, no wheat=no gluten. TVP may have wheat-based protein/gluten [related to seitan] in it.



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04 May 2014, 2:06 am

My parents have tried different diets like that from when i was 4 to 10 and decided that diet didn't seem to have much effect on my neurology. but that's me, your mileage may vary.
like any kid i get hyper if i have too much sugar or caffeine and it can make my adhd worse. and like anyone the better my diet is the better i feel and operate better. we do try to stay away from too much processed food. the only processed thing i eat daily is Cheerios. sleep and exercise have always been a big help too.



auntblabby
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04 May 2014, 2:17 am

in general, if I eat evenly spaced meals with a minimum of refined carbs therein, my brain will stay on a fairly even keel throughout the day, courtesy of level blood sugars.



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04 May 2014, 7:01 am

1401b wrote:
Ok, my friend's fiance is on a gluten free diet, I asked her and she said, "I don't want to talk about it."
How do you know what has gluten in it and what doesn't?


I cook mostly from scratch, and I read the label of every single item that goes into my shopping cart. It's trickier when eating out, though. I just avoid things that involve wheat products, and ask the waiter when I'm not sure.


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LostInSpace
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04 May 2014, 7:02 am

I am gluten-free, and mostly dairy-free (have it only rarely). I have found benefits from both. For the gluten, it fixed some long-standing GI issues, and also freed me of the terrible sugar cravings I've been having my entire life. Don't know that I noticed any difference in mood or behavior though. Ditching the dairy however not only helped my psoriasis and eczema, but also has left me calmer and less prone to feeling overwhelmed.


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Claradoon
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04 May 2014, 7:41 am

I'm very informal about it, but I have noticed that I feel better without gluten - but I don't make an official diet out of it, I just cut back, notice how I feel, and so on. Of course you are raising a family and your situation is different - you must plan meals - I'm alone and retired and I can mess about.

Over the years I've gone to better and better foods - now I'm vegan, and I'm starting on the no-gluten because it does make a difference, just from experience. And I'm much better off without milk and milk products - except I'm addicted to cheese. Just in case you might think I want to seem perfect or something.

Best of luck with this difficult issue of planning meals for a family. Have you looked at the Parents' Forum?



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04 May 2014, 7:45 am

What does BPA stand for?


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04 May 2014, 8:42 am

You have to be really strict with a GF diet to see a difference and then it can take 6 months. There is gluten in some hair products and other personal hygeine products. There is also gluten in the glue on envelopes and stamps. It really take some effort to get it right. I had an amazing improvement GF and can now take bits with no symptoms. For dairy, I eat fat that is butter and cream and avoid casein ie protein so no milk.



ellemenope
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04 May 2014, 11:42 am

Aharon wrote:
I've been gluten free for over a year and it's helped, but I feel type a1 dairy is holding back further improvement. Earlier today I commited to going a1 free, consuming only a2 dairy (just goat milk and goat cheeses) to see how that affects me. Finding bovine a2 milk in the US may not be easy, if not impossible, so I'm pretty much off of 99% of the dairy I was consuming before. I'm also a lacto ovo vegetarian, but for reasons not related to autism. We'll see what happens. If you are not familiar with a1 and a2 dairy, if encourage you to google it and do some research; it's pretty interesting.


Thanks for your input. I have recently read about the differences in a1 and a2 dairy! It's really interesting. We have given my son what he calls "gogurt" (goat yogurt) on a few occasions and he loved it. Same with sheep and goat cheese. I'm thinking of reintroducing these things to his regular diet as it would add some variety, some protein, and calcium. All things he really needs and is lacking right now! I am weary though because I couldn't find too much info about it- what I read said that most people with ASDs find these a2 dairy products are fine for them, but not everyone... hate to mess up with it.



owlyellow
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04 May 2014, 12:44 pm

I've adopted a mostly paleo type of diet for the last 6 months now, and I've noticed a difference in my health, which in turn has affected my mood for the better. I do still have dairy, but I buy organic whole milk and even then, I get small quantities and don't have it every day. The biggest thing I've cut out is processed foods, so anything out of a package with ingredients I can't even pronounce are out. Also, I take a good quality probiotic to help with digestion issues.

Has your family been screened for MTHFR mutation? I ask because apparently it is incredibly common among people in the autism community. I have it, and because of it, I have problems processing regular folic acid and I'm chronically low in B12 and folate... so I eat lots of greens and take vitamins in the pure forms (so I take folinic acid and folate as opposed to the synthetic folic acid, and methylcobalamin (pure, active form of B12) as opposed to cyanicobalamin (synthetic B12)). When I am eating well and taking the right kind of vitamins, my mood is awesome and I have more energy and my sensory issues affect me less.

ETA: The MTHFR mutation goes beyond just the folic acid processing issues... it's like a domino effect and causes malabsorption for other vitamins when things get out of whack and it affects the methylation process of the body (the way the body detoxes itself), so as a result, people with it can have a harder time getting better from being sick and tend to be extra sensitive to things in their diet or what they put on their body (like lotions, shampoos, etc).


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04 May 2014, 2:30 pm

League_Girl wrote:
What does BPA stand for?

BisPhenol A is a carbon-based synthetic compound with the chemical formula2C(C6H4OH)2 belonging to the group of diphenylmethane derivatives and bisphenols. It has been in commercial use since 1957.