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ASD and food

(16 Posts)

I'm sure this has been covered many times but I'm interested to know others experiences of food and their DC with ASDs. This weekend I'm pretty sure DS behaviour has been markedly different - silly, hyper, aggressive, antagonistic, literally non-stop talking, moving, making noise, verging on manic an hour to a few hours after chocolate or other sugary foods.

His diet (as many might find familiar) consists of a ton of gluten, cheese, fruit and junk. I know I'm lucky he eats fruit. He pretty much won't eat anything I cook, has been vegetarian since birth (his choice, he's just always hated meat and now has a moral stance as well) and the only 'vegetables' he will eat are sweetcorn and tomato...and this is intermittent. I know a restricted diet is usual due to sensory issues but I feel like he's craving foods that are possibly making his issues and behaviour worse

Does anyone have any anecdotes? Anyone successfully got their DC to go wheat/dairy free when it seems that's all they will eat? I am trying to restrict sugar as I already know it makes anxiety much worse, but I don't want to make him miserable when he already feels hard done by and is asking for 'treats' (his word not mine) constantly. It does seem like he has a bit of sugar and then turns into a fiend with an addiction! Is that typical of most kids/worse with ASD?

What are your thoughts?

AntiquityReRises Tue 29-Mar-16 10:23:32

Ds has typical rubbish diet but the sweet things he eats, chocolate & carrot cake, have no adverse effects on him. Doing different things because it's Easter left him flying off the handle and being hyper, but not the excessive amounts of chocolate.

twinkletoedelephant Tue 29-Mar-16 11:59:52

D's has autism

Ideally for him he would like

Butter toast at a push cherios for breakfast

Lunch home or school pack up

Ham sandwich no crusts 3 slices of bread so 3 rectangles
Prawn cocktail crisps (only walkers)
Apple or if no apples grapes
Apple juice or Robinson blackcurrant squash.
Red rocky biscuit

Dinner chicken nuggets and chips.
He may have a yoghaut or pink milkshake.

This is what he wants to eat every single day.

Any deviation is a problem it has taken me years to get him to eat plain pasta. If he's co operative he may eat 1 or 2 slices of carrot. But usually not...

He didn't like sweets or chocolate ( although did eat an oreao Easter egg yesterday :-)

Ds1 has food issues also and so does dd... There is no one family meal I can make that everyone will eat.

In fact every dinner time someone yells at me that they are not eating and I don't like them as much or the would make fiid they like... I hate meal times dh doesn't get it as will serve up chicken nuggets chips microwaveable burgers and rice if he ever 'makes dinner' every single time.
I want normal food with veg that hasn't come out of a box.... You know a family meal. Where we all eat the same thing and thanks whoever made it

OMG yes me too. A family meal. With vegetables.

Trouble is I'm vegetarian, lactose intolerant, gluten and caffeine flare up my IBS, sugar makes my anxiety sky rocket...DH & little DD eat normally but both DS and DD have various sensory issues and preferences so I'm pretty much making 4 different meals every mealtime. I'm sick of thinking about food, planning food, buying food, cooking food only to be told it's wrong etc.

The silliness and random laughing has started again today. It's such a puzzle to work out if it's sensory stuff being out of wack, anxiety or a sensitivity.

Have been reading about yeast overgrowth and how certain foods can affect it especially in those on the spectrum - specifically sugars and carbs which turn into sugars. Apparently it's not always evident as a growth and can cause behavioural stuff, foggy headedness etc. No idea where to start if I wanted the DC tested. Anyone have any experience?

AntiquityReRises Tue 29-Mar-16 16:30:53

Isn't Easter and school holidays more likely a cause for his behaviour rather than, for example, yeast overgrowth?

tartanterror Tue 29-Mar-16 20:32:25

DS has sensory food aversions and he pretty much exists on a liquid diet. "Real" food is limited to dry carbs and smooth yoghurt. Most things have to be chocolate flavoured. Over the years we have been driven to distraction but for the last 2-3 years have used Ellyn Satter's Division of Responsibility. We now run family mealtimes "buffet style" which means putting the components of a meal out in separate bowls. Everyone helps themselves. They can have whatever they want of the first course in whatever quantity. It saves cooking different meals. As a parent we are responsible for the what/when/where and the kids decide if/how much. On a bad day dessert might come out with the first course to get things moving. Calories are King and we can't afford to be fussy where they come from. We don't chide/comment/praise. Everyone gets on with it but we do insist on manners, conversation and cutlery. It's been a godsend. It's at a glacial pace, but DS has been slowly expanding his range. It's also been great for family harmony. It might save you a lot of hassle if you are trying to cater to lots of different needs?

I know that the gluten free dairy free diet has done wonders for some, but it's not a magic bullet. Some people see no difference. Check out the research online. If your child's diet is many gluten and dairy then cutting them out might lead them to starve themselves, which is not going to help. We have never been able to consider dietary changes as an option but I suppose if you can do this and still get enough calories in it might be worth an experiment....

The yeast issue is interesting. I'd be interested to hear how you think it fits the picture. It's been in the back of my mind for a while....

Yes of course the change makes a huge difference. But these are different behaviours as far as I can tell. And when I cut sugar from his diet he's like a different child.

I love the buffet idea. However I know in my house the DC would hog all the good stuff and DH and I would be left with salad every night! We do often give pudding along with dinner because they were saying they were done and I figure they'll eat the same amount of each no matter when we serve it

The yeast thing was just something I stumbled across while looking to see if there was a link between extremely silly behaviour and random laughing to food, as DS had had chocolate and ice cream (on an empty stomach) when he doesn't usually eat stuff like that) and this behaviour popped up suddenly within a few hours - I also feel concerned that he seems to crave certain foods; those containing sugar and gluten. We've had exciting events, massive life changes and changes from routine before and he's reacted sure, but with very different 'symptoms'

ItsALuigi Fri 01-Apr-16 20:51:52

Could it be e numbers that effect his behaviour? I know a lot of sugary foods have e numbers and preservatives etc in them and they seem to effect my son.

My son thrives on bland plain food. Cereals. He likes the muesli flakes but I have to pick all the raisins out. Bread. Cheese. Ham if we are lucky. The only fruit he eats is Apple. Sausages. Asda brand mini waffles, pasta, any junk food and yogurt. He used love strawberries, mince, lasagne, cottage pie, cooked dinners and alsorts when he was younger but he only has a limited number of favourites now.

ArtichokeHeartsAppleCarts Fri 01-Apr-16 23:21:41

Going GF/DF has made the world of difference to DS3
He used to crave and mostly only eat gluten and junk
It isnt easy but we did it gradually
Dairy out first
Then gluten a few weeks later
I let DS eat whatever he wanted as long as it was GF/DF to start with
As he calmed and all his sensory stuff got better he became more willing to eat healthier foods and I started slowly eliminating junk
Probiotics helped DS gut wise enormously too-we started on a low dose and moved up to extra strength (optibac) plus s boulardii for yeast overgrowth

I am writing on an archaic tablet

So will try and link separately in a sec or might lose this post

The Sunderland Protocol is a good guide on how to do it if youre serious about it

Magnesium, b vitamins and zinc we include daily too

Feel free to pm me if yoy want to chat about it

ArtichokeHeartsAppleCarts Fri 01-Apr-16 23:22:31

ArtichokeHeartsAppleCarts Fri 01-Apr-16 23:26:35

you can download the sunderland protocol from the above

ArtichokeHeartsAppleCarts Fri 01-Apr-16 23:42:15

Does your DS have or have a history of any gut problems at all?

Newburn bakehouse do a gf bread that is very like wheat based bread, or Genius white is ok-both best toasted if you want to try a gf bread-other ones I have tried have been grim!

ItsALuigi Sat 02-Apr-16 08:13:29

artichoke my ds had thrush as a baby could this have contributed towards his issues do you think? He has terrible pica would those probiotics you recommend be good for that?

sh77 Sat 02-Apr-16 20:20:26

Artichoke - may I ask which brand of magnesium, zinc and b vitamins you give your child?

ArtichokeHeartsAppleCarts Sun 03-Apr-16 00:26:35

Oh gosh I don't know luigi, I just have a keen obsessive but amateur interest in gut health/diet and ASD/anxiety etc, and research in this area tends to be small scale, often inconclusive, emerging, and in its infancy. Anecdotally I know a number of people who have seen their children make exponential progress after doing the gf/df/probiotic/fermented food types of things, so I am very positive about them, as they're natural and safe in my opinion if implemented carefully, and at worst will do no harm

ArtichokeHeartsAppleCarts Sun 03-Apr-16 00:42:02

sh I give DS BioCare nutrisorb liquid zinc and their vitamin b drops too, which I add to his drinks
Magnesium wise, epsom salts baths 2/3 times a week as Mg is absorbed well transdermally-Better You also sell cream/oil you can put on the skin
I also give a little bit of ReMag daily which is expensive but great, I also take it for irregular heart beats and as a migraine prophylaxis, but it tastes horrid so I mix it with a big cup of juice for DS2 and 3

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