Breakfast is perhaps the only meal where we all truly sit at the table in our house and all eat together. It’s more a circumstance born of the fact that the kids may well be eating before us (given, the baby eats far more frequently and always before/after us), coupled with the Monster’s preferences for his cuisine.
And breakfast at our house varies – depending on the day, it’s cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, eggs.
Recently, the Monster’s taken to not drinking milk. There’s no explanation – I don’t know if he himself could verbalize why he’s not wanted any lately – but that’s where it is. If you ask him what he wants to drink, it’s juice. (We never give him straight juice unless we can avoid it. Usually, it’s a splash of juice and mostly water.) His dietary habits at breakfast have narrowed down as well, as he’s mostly wanted cereal and pancakes, with the occasional bowl of oatmeal or yogurt.
Since I’m often the first one up – I’m the one who has to leave the house either to do the AM run to camp/nursery school or to get my derriere to the office – I’m the one usually providing him with his options.
So yesterday, we had a fight about breakfast. After insisting he wanted pancakes, he got into a shrieking fit and ended up demanding animal crackers. Since it had been a bad night for me and the wife was still sleeping, I relented, deciding it was better he eat something before camp than stick to my guns on what is appropriate. Today, he wanted his pancakes and yogurt.
I’ll admit that there’s days where I wonder about the various diets that I hear about. I’ve never seen any scientific backing for any of them – even GFCF hasn’t been proven effective by a study – but I do admit that I’m almost tempted to try them somedays on an experimental basis to see if we notice a difference. We haven’t had any GI issues with the Monster, so there’s never been a rush to change up his food. To me, it’s always just been more important that he eats a decent variety so that he’s healthy and growing.
Still, that said, if I knew that removing something from his diet would help and could guarantee that he’d eat it…
I found my way to your page via the NYTimes article about including special needs kids. I felt compelled to write about the effectiveness of following a gluten and dairy free diet. My son is 11 and has autism. A twin, he developed normally until about 22 months and then began to regress. He lost recently acquired motor skills and then became to lose the ability to do things like drink from a straw, complete a sentence or respond to his name. It was terrifying. This slow decline continue until just before his 4th birthday. I was desperate to get him potty trained, so we would have more options for preschool, but nothing was working. In researching on the internet, I found an article that suggested eliminating wheat and dairy form the diet could help kids potty train. Okay. I decided to try.
Within three weeks my son was toilet trained. He once again began responding to us when we talked to him. The “chapped” cheeks that he always had healed. His language became more understandable. My child was returning to me!
Now, 7 years later, I still keep my house free of all gluten and wheat products. And my son by choice avoids all dairy other than yogurt and ice cream! Along the way I discovered wheat was what had given me life long heartburn and gas. We have all been tested and do not have celiac disease. But gluten and wheat obviously causes a problem for us.
My son still has autism — he is a quirky kid with a lot of anxiety — rather than a unpredictable, unreachable child rocking in the corner. We know when he has had wheat, as his behavior deteriorates and his anxiety increases.
Give it a try. Before we began avoiding wheat, all my son wanted to eat was bread. I thought he might starve. But after a couple of weeks, he began enjoying all kinds of foods. I hate to think where we would be today if we hadn’t eliminated gluten from his diet!
The most major problem I have with GFCF is that there’s no reliable evidence that it works. There is a University of Rochester Medical School study from a few years ago that shows that it is of some assistance when there are other GI issues, but that there’s no reproducible evidence that the change in diet is an effective treatment for autism. (The study, which I believe I linked to in an earlier post, indicated that for children where dietary issues were a contributing factor, it helped to relieve symptoms that were exacerbating the autism.)
I actually brought this up with my wife this morning while we were getting ready. Her comment was that in the support group she goes to, the few of them who have tried GFCF found it had no effect, save for the one whose child, like yours, had an issue with wheat that seemed GI related. This is, of course, bearing in mind that most of our kids aren’t verbal enough to tell us that they’re not feeling well.
Your child, though, is very different from mine (the Monster never regressed – he’s just been consistently developmentally delayed from the get-go), so obviously, symptoms and results for applied treatments are differ.