Benefits of Diet & Nutrition for Children with Autism

Posted: June 3, 2013 in Autism, Food allergies, Genetically modified organisms
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For those of us parenting children with Autism, we understand that every child is unique – like a snowflake.  However, for many of us, there are also many possible areas in common, particularly:

1. Recurring G.I. problems.     Autism, allergies, G.I. distress

2. Food allergies and intolerance.

3. Weakened immune system.

This list is not all-inclusive, and yet I know a lot of children on the spectrum that share many of these ailment “categories” with my own son.  Genetically, my family has no history of food allergies, intestinal diseases, or Autism.  Our history proves we’re more likely to suffer from heart disease and high blood pressure due to a natural affinity with down-home southern comfort foods.  Truly, healthy eating was not something I was ever concerned with before Wyatt.  At least, not beyond the grade-school-food-pyramid and hype on low fat and low cholesterol choices.

During my single days, I sustained myself on coffee, Diet Pepsi, SlimFast shakes, Special K bars, and Lean Cuisine dinners.  I only cooked on holidays or when I craved Betty Crocker brownies.  It was only when I got pregnant that I started really caring about the food I chose to eat.  My OB gave me the low down on the dangers of aspartame and I became friends, at last, with water.  I ditched the coffee and began my affair with herbal teas.

I made sure to eat a balanced diet; even drank V8 to ensure I consumed enough vegetables, carried around a huge cup of water, and tried to get my full day’s servings.  I ate fruits and salads, while avoiding sushi and aspartame – and always took my prenatal vitamins with a big glass of orange juice.  I did the same while nursing my son and quickly adopted an elimination diet upon the first hint of trouble.  After months of G.I. distress that included two hospital stays, recurrent intestinal bleeding, and far too many courses of antibiotics we switched to Elecare formula. (Available by prescription for $55/can.)  Slowly, his gut began to heal.

My little guy was always sick – fevers, runny nose, cough, ear infections, sore throats…  He had over 20 courses of antibiotics during his first year and a half of life, while also coping with emerging food allergies and recurring  Clostridium Difficile infections.  His doctors placed tubes in his ears, completed a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy, and we added gluten-free to our dietary mix, which ultimately led us to a more organic path of eating.  We were never 100% organic though until last fall.

During our journey, I’ve seen the power of nutrition make a positive impact for my son Wyatt.  Diagnosed with Autism at age two, he’s come very far through long hours of early intervention, speech/OT therapies, and aggressive dietary changes.  We never cheat – not a morsel – not even when it comes to Play-Doh, sunscreen, my cosmetics, or any personal care products.  I am a watchdog with his school and other caregivers.  And yet, until last October, I was completely unaware of the presence of GMOs in our foods.

Let me tell you, just because something is labeled as gluten-free and casein-free does NOT mean it’s GMO-free.  In fact, it felt like I was walking on eggshells when I started reading labels to determine if a product contained genetically engineered ingredients.  Trust me, my son is one very picky eater.  However, upon learning about the risky business of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), I became determined to eliminate GM foods from our diet.  As a mother to a child with Autism, I know every child is different, but there is little risk in dietary improvement.  Good nutrition is important for all children, whether neurotypical or on the spectrum.

Did you know that independent research has noted the following concerns in animal trials utilizing GMO feed?

  • Agitated and anti-social animals
  • Distressed intestines, permeated guts, and digestive problems
  • Increased incidences of tumors and auto-immune diseases

Do you see any parallels here?  I sure do and although it may only be a small piece to the puzzle of Autism, I wholeheartedly believe that this neurological condition results from a variety of sources – genetic and environmental.  GMOs are in everything from the foods we eat to the vitamins we feed our children.  They’re used to culture vaccines and form medicines for a full range of ailments.  Now I’ll agree that some of these medicines have sustaining medical purpose (like insulin and other critical biologics), however, much of the biotech industry is more concerned with profit than safety – and the demonstrated ethics of corporations such as Monsanto prove a need for caution.  (Did you hear about the march against them held around the world on May 25th?  This was the largest peaceful protest ever launched against a single corporation in our planet’s history!  Over two million people joined together to further the movement supporting the labeling and safety research of GMOs produced by this corporate giant.)

Consider spending some time learning more about GMO foods.  It’s true that they’re approved by the FDA, but if you dig a bit deeper, you’ll see how the risks outweigh the benefits.  These foods have not been properly tested and the safety assurance sits in the hands of the chemical company that’s behind a food product’s genetic engineering.  Since I have improved my son’s diet, introduced quality natural supplements, and gone 100% organic, his immune health has improved, his sleep has improved, he is more verbal, and seems to genuinely feel better.  I know his progress is due to a combination of factors – but he is able to learn much better when he is not chronically ill.  It may not bring about a miracle transformation, but it’s worth your time to learn more about your food today.  Join thousands of Mom’s that demand labeling of GMO foods – it’s in our children’s best interests to do so.

Check out these excellent resources for more information on GMOs in general, and their potential involvement in the puzzle of Autism causation, increased allergies, and much more:

All my best,

Muckraking Maven

  1. […] Benefits of Diet & Nutrition for Children with Autism For those of us parenting children with Autism, we understand that every child is unique – like a snowflake. However, for many of us, there are also many possible areas in common, particularly: 1. Recurrent G.I. problems. 2. Food allergies and intolerance. 3. Weakened immune system. This list is not … Mon, 3 Jun 2013 13:50:00 CDT more info… […]

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    • shelabella says:

      Hello! Thank you so much for the fine complement! I did not start this blog with the intent of raising funds, but I’d love for those who enjoyed my postings to share with others. I’m on a mission to inform those living unaware and help to ease the transition to healthier food choices. Writing helps me to sort out my feelings, make big-picture sense of mass amounts of information, and reflect on the lessons my son teaches me every day. I’m excited to have readers that appreciate the information I share and hope that you’ll come back again to read more in the future. Best regards!

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    • shelabella says:

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