By Rebecca from Cherry Apple Life
Hi. My name is Rebecca, and I am that Mom who brings homemade food to your kid’s birthday party. (Insert cringe here).
A few years ago, at my wits end, and my son’s wits end, we made a radical change. After months of doctors waiting rooms and a solid diagnosis we were told to accept that our 4 year old boy Seth had Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD. When advice for handling the behaviour didn’t work, and the medication caused nasty side effects I was over the whole system.
One day in the middle of tears and feeling like a royal failure, another mother reached out to me. She shared about how diet change had healed her son. I listened intently. Sobbed a little, hung up the phone and went to my kitchen. With the lid off the garbage can I pitched everything with gluten and dairy from every shelf and the refrigerator. (In hindsight, donating the food would’ve been a better option, but stick with me here. It was a dramatic moment.)
From January 16, 2010 to now Seth has been on a gluten-free, casein-free diet. Within six weeks the ADHD calmed, and the Autistic behaviours vanished. He is thriving in school, making friends, and happily sleeping through the night (formerly a phenomenon).
Back to my point…
I won’t let him eat the birthday cake at your kid’s party. That right there makes me sound so very mean. But before the reaction to your double chocolate, rainbow coloured cake will subside, we will have been through 1-3 weeks of meltdowns. That includes screaming, impulsive aggression, lack of focus, and homework needing 3-4 hours to be completed. Let’s be honest. It’s never good for anyone in the family when homework takes that long for a first grader.
I used to feel awful for “depriving” my son of the small goodies in life. Now I don’t. He enjoys a wide variety of fun things that suit his specific needs. All the while his teeth will rot the same as your children’s teeth on halloween. And I used to hate the gawks from the parents who didn’t care to understand what it was like to be bringing a lunch box in on school pizza day. But I kept going.
Now I smile.
And if asked, I will share my passion for food, and health and how Seth is such an amazing little boy that we finally got to know when his eating habits were altered. I never apologize for the lack of milk in my fridge when guests are over. Almond milk is nice too. I will serve coconut ice-cream and make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on GF/CF bread (crusts optional). Barbecues happen weekly with the neighbours and I am sure keep Seth’s burger away from their cheese. No harm done.
I am proud of what our family has learned and applied in the last few years. What worked for us doesn’t work for everyone. But please keep inviting the kid whose mom refuses cake, to your children’s birthday parties. We like a piñata as much as the next family…
Have you found that an altered diet has had positive effects on the health of your family? Do you have any other tips for families who are dealing with ADHD or Autism Spectrum Disorder?
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