Yeast, Autism and Sugar, Connecting the Dots

May 6, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Posted in Birthday Parties, GFCF, Yeast | 2 Comments
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By Shannon Penrod

I’m very fond of saying, “I’m not an Autism expert but I’m an expert in my kid.”  One thing I know for sure, my child’s Autism is related to yeast.  I don’t need to argue it, you don’t have to believe me, but I know it’s true for my child.  I don’t know what’s true for your child.  I know that my child was a normally developing child until he had his first infection and took his first antibiotic.  Then he began to lose language like water running through a sieve.  As a parent it was like watching a car accident in slow motion.  We have been putting the pieces back together ever since. 

We have been extremely lucky; we have a luscious little boy who is a social butterfly, is academically on target and has a divine sense of humor.  However, our son’s ability to connect with the world came at a cost.  There have been countless hours of ABA therapy which have made all the difference in the world, but I can tell you honestly that when my son’s diet isn’t right there is no amount of therapy that can reach him.  At first I thought “diet” just meant GFCF.  Then I realised that I needed to remove potatoes, then corn, that’s when I read about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.  Since then a lot of foods have been sidelined from my child’s diet.  Here’s the bottom line, anything that can convert to sugar in my child’s system leads to erratic, compulsive, crazy behavior.  Give my kid an orange and one hour later he’s like a drunk who stayed at the party way too long.  Sometimes he is the happy drunk, other times maudlin, or aggressive, or simply “checked out”. 

Sugar feeds yeast.  Yeast is a living thing, it grows when fed.  Here is sucky part, if you don’t feed it, it grows too.  If you starve yeast it grows in an attempt to save it’s self.  This is known as “die off”.  It’s why when you pull sugar out of your kid’s diet they are even more miserable for a while.  It’s hard enough to make the decision to limit your child’s diet and to prevent them from having all the “fun” crap (this is the appropriate technical term for non nutritive, colorful, sugar laden food) that we all enjoyed as kids, it is even harder to stick to the decision when your child’s behavior worsens as a result.  I know for me it was the seventh ring of hell.  Fortunately when I was at the end of my rope, a friend explained die off to me and told me to hang on a little longer.  Four days later I was able to have my first conversation with my child.  I can tell you that there is nothing better than being able to converse with my child.  Sure there is always a moment at birthday parties when they haul out the cake and I have a twinge of regret that my child doesn’t get to participate in the fun.  But then I thank God for the fact that it isn’t a peanut allergy and I remind myself that he can have his cake or he can be a part of the world around him.  That’s when I hand him a gluten free, sugar free cookie with no artificial sweeteners or colors and I watch him talk to his friends. 

It took me a long time to connect the dots but I’m glad I did.  If yeast is an issue for you, I strongly urge you to look at the sugars (natural and otherwise) in your child’s diet.

Shannon Penrod is the host of Everyday Autism Miracles on the HerInsight Network.  She is an author, speaker and coach and most importantly the mother of a six year old recovering from Autism.  You can subscribe to the free podcast of Everyday Autism miracles on iTunes or download it here.

What Jem Eats

October 6, 2009 at 9:01 pm | Posted in GFCF, Staples | Leave a comment
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By Shannon Penrod
 
Okay, three times this week people have asked me to make a list of what Jem eats.  The requests in two cases were people who want to be helpful in the event of an emergency and the third was a mom who is looking for hope.  It’s time to BLOG!

So here it is – this Jem’s GFCF, Soy free, No Yeast, No Sugar, Picture or Video 273No artificial flavours, color or sweeteners, no potatoes, no corn, no eggs, no almonds, no apples, no rasins, no grapes or strawberries, Feingold modified, Specific Carbohydrate modified diet – fondly refered to in my home as “The Autism Miracle in my Kitchen!”

 

Breakfast

Usually this is 2 peices of Food For Life Yeast Free, Gluten Free, Brown Rice Bread – toasted in the GF designated toaster – served plain.  With breakfast he gets a Ecological Formula Co-Enzyme B and what ever Probiotic we are currently using (we usually alternate between Kirkman Labs and Klaire Labs)  he takes these pills with water.

For a special breakfast treat he gets pancakes – Namaste sugar free pancake mix mixed with either carrot juice, pear juice, water, flavored seltzer water or around halloween- pumpkin, we do not add eggs or any kind of milk.  For an extra special treat – maybe twice a year – we make pineapple upside down pancakes by adding three tidbits of pineapple (packed in its own juice) to each pancake. He will eat 3-5 pancakes. 

He will occasionally ask for cereal.  This is puffed brown rice cereal, make sure that it is gluten free, many are processed in factories along side wheat!  He likes just a little carrot juice or seltzer water on the cereal.  We get Trader Joe’s carrot juice (no sugar, no preservatives)

Lunch and dinner

Lunch and dinner are  fairly similar and can be broken down into categories:

Protein

Shelton’s Hot Dogs, Free Range, Gluten Free, Chicken or Turkey -they come in two sizes big and small, Jem likes both.  He will eat 4 of the small hot dogs or 2 of the large ones. He will ask for more, we don’t let him have more.

Chicken – I usually roast two chickens a week, I buy them at Sam’s – I think they are Tyson.  I rinse the chickens, stuff an organic lemon in its butt and roast the hell out of them.  400 degrees for four hours, the meat falls off the bone but is not dry because of the lemons, make sure to prick the lemons many times. Jem loves to eat the legs, thighs and wings bone in.  A leg/thigh and wing is great for one meal, he will eat it hot or cold. 

Later in the week I slice the breast meat and coat is with Namaste’s Sugar Free Pizza Dough mix and lightly fry it in Canola oil to make chicken nuggets.  Be careful with these they are so good Jem will over stuff himself with these to the point of making himself sick if not monitored.

I also use the breast meat to add to burritos.  We use Food For Life’s Brown Rice Tortillas, spread a little Cedar’s Hummus with Roasted Red Peppers on it (All hummus is not created equally, much of it is not gluten free – Cedar’s is available at Whole Foods Markets)  and then throw almost any fresh or grilled veggies in.

Shelton’s Gluten Free Turkey Sausage Patties – we call these meat cookies in our house.  They have to be cooked for a minimum of 20 minutes, so when I cook them I cook the whole package by boiling them in water and when the water boils out pan searing them to get them brown.  3 is an appropriate amount, he will ask for more.

Fried or Baked Chicken – thighs or drumsticks – bone in or out, coated with Namaste Pizza Dough mix or not.

Chicken roll ups – when chicken breasts are on sale I buy them and butterfly them and then pound them thin.  I roll them around green beans (Trader Joes Frozen) and then pan fry them.

Turkey Burgers/ Meatloaf.  To bind the meatloaf I use brown rice bread crumbs or rice cakes sent through the food processor along with pureed, steamed veggies (what ever is in the fridge)

Once in a blue moon I will roast a turkey, he likes the dark meat and I make nuggets from the white meat.

Jem loves salmon and tuna.  I never give him fish more than once a week because they can raise metal levels.  He loves salmon in any form – on picnics I take a can of Trader Joe’s no salt added and he loves to eat it right out of the can.  He will eat tuna, but not as enthusiastically.

Carbs

Lundberg Brown Rice Cakes – Low or no Salt – He will eat them plain or with Hummus (Cedar’s) or Mutabul (Sam’s Flaming Grill).

Bicuits, bread sticks or buns made from Namaste’s Sugar-Free Pizza Dough mix. 

Pizza – made from Namaste’s Sugar-Free Pizza dough mix, topped with shredded beets (not pickled) tri-colored peppers (Melange a trois, Trader Joe’s frozen) carrots and broccoli.

Vegetables

Canned Beets (not pickled)

Carrots (cooked or raw) Walmart carries cooked carrots in a plastic cup which are perfect for lunches.

Green Beans (Trader Joe’s Frozen)

Broccolli – Fresh, Steamed or boiled

Cucumbers, peeled and sliced

Green, Red, Yellow and Orange peppers – his favorite, preferably organic

Squash – butternut, pumpkin or acorn – he won’t eat much

Sugar snap peas – he won’t eat much

Eggplant – steamed

Mushrooms – raw

Cauliflower – raw, steamed, mashed – he won’t eat a lot.

Treats

No, No Nana’s Lemon or Ginger cookies – give sparingly, no more than one a day – you will get a reaction.

Fruit – Melon, bluberries, pears, bananas, mangos, pineapple, peaches, cherries and nectarines – these must be given sparingly or he will have a reaction -so less than 1/2 cup a day and not given every day – just special occasions.

Cashews – Jem loves cashews but should not have them often, he is already allergic to almonds and we certainly don’t want to add on to that list.

Pink Lemonade – 1 tbs. Lemon juice, 1/8 tsp of water from can of beets, 2 cups of lemon flavored seltzer water – served on ice with a straw.

That’s pretty much what my kid eats!

The Never Ending Yeast Issue

May 14, 2009 at 4:30 am | Posted in Yeast | 2 Comments
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By Shannon Penrod

Some days it seems like my life revolves around yeast.  To someone outside the Autism community that probably conjures up visions of fresh baked bread.  Sometimes my home yeastsmells like fresh baked bread but it is because of the smell of my son’s head –not some fluffy concoction baking in the oven.  People think I’m crazy when I first tell them that my kid smells like bread, and then they smell it.  Of course some days he smells like brandy, but usually you can see it on him before you even smell him.  He acts like he’s drunk.  Imagine hanging out with a drunken kindergartener, and trying to teach them how to hold a pencil!  That’s just 68 kinds of fun!

There are lots of theories on controlling yeast, I am a huge fan of attacking and maintaining yeast through diet.  Last summer when we had reached a plateau I agreed to put Jem on Diflucan.  I’m not a fan of putting more things into his body. I personally have a hard time taking even Tylenol, so putting my kid on medicine that has some potentially harmful effects…not my favorite thing.  Still, sometimes you get to a point where you give a little.  I’m glad we did.  It took two courses of Diflucan (along with an antibiotic) and Jem was a different child.  The entire summer was one long die off hell, but about a week before Kindergarten started my child was returned to me in a way that he never had been before.

We have coasted most of the year on the benefits of that de-yeasting, maintaining with a really restricted diet and probiotics.  Now as the summer approaches I am looking at digestive enzymes and it’s making sense, for my entire family.  I don’t know where the money for that will come, but I know that it will. 

I have to remind myself that Jem is doing remarkably well.  I attribute a lot of it to diet and to his ABA therapies from CARD.  But there are sometimes when the Biomedical aspect is also important, I’m trying to find peace with that.  My friends who are into the Biomedical stuff shake their heads at me, I’m an anomaly, I am willing to do whatever I have to diet wise, but I struggle with the supplements.  I guess we all have our comfort zones.  Where yeast is concerned, mine continues to grow – pun intended.

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