The Gluten Experiment

I’ve been gluten-free for over three years. We did try a gluten-free diet for my son a few years ago but we didn’t last 3 days on it. He was tantruming and very unhappy, complaining he was “starving” and there was “nothing to eat”.  It was abandoned in our angst for peace coupled with a  lack of any obvious symptoms or allergy to it anyway. We tried it because people insisted that kids on the spectrum shouldn’t eat gluten/casein.

Fast forward to today. We have a few challenges left in our autism recovery, one of which are some sensory symptoms. In my research to find anything at all that might help reduce those I came upon gluten. And since I’m already off it, that’s half the battle of getting my kid off gluten. I’ve already cleared the way for how to cook gluten-free, go out to eat and shop gluten-free.  The only step here was getting him to eat what I eat.

When I suggested the diet he resisted this idea at first but wanted to know why. Rightfully so if I were taking away all his foods.  I explained that there was a chance it might help his sensitivity. But new foods and dietary changes have always been hard for him. He’s orally sensitive to some textures. He said he’d think about it. (My son is almost 10 years old now, so we do have to include him to some extent in things)

The next morning he woke up and announced to me that he was gluten-free. So we went shopping so he could pick out some things to eat. He’s been gluten-free for five days. So far we are not having any negative reactions of withdrawal. I don’t really see much either way. We plan to do it for a month and see what happens if anything.  He’s been very good about choosing foods to eat from the gluten-free selection in our home. He has not cheated or stolen any food. We do have two non-gluten-free family members.  So if he were one of the kids with an opiate glucomoprhine issues he certainly could find gluten to eat.

I’ve been watching his eating choices over the past few days to see if he would be responsive to trying new foods. He tried a few things in the past few days but this isn’t any more than he normally would try if he weren’t gluten-free. He still prefers the same textures and kinds of foods he has always eaten. One of his sensory issues involves an oral sensory to textures and a need to for crunchy foods. So now those are just gluten-free foods. My son has been eating some gluten-free foods all along without even knowing because I just stopped buying the regular versions when I went off gluten. So he’s been eating GF pretzels for a long time.

While  it’s still early in the game to say gluten isn’t an issue for him, we have not found that being off gluten has expanded his palate yet.

When I went off gluten I began to experience symptoms within a day or two and  benefits almost immediately. I had an increase in energy and a reduction in fatigue, brain fog. I could think so much clearer. Over the coming weeks I gained new energy, better gut function and a more normal appetite. I cleared up a chronic acne condition that never responded to anything doctors tried. I also lost 23 pounds in 2 months without doing anything other than not eating gluten. For me, if I am exposed accidentally I have terrible brain fog, headache and gut pain. It feels like I ate glass and someone drugged me.

My daughter also had very similar symptoms and reactions to gluten that cleared up with the diet. Anytime she was accidentally gluten-ed she was in such terrible pain she couldn’t stand up. After three years of being gluten-free she has been able to return to a normal diet and no longer shows any reaction to gluten.

So far for my boy there have been no negative reactions which is actually good. While it’s too soon to rule out a gluten problem entirely, its plausible this may not really be a problem for him.

It has been a connecting experience for him to be able to identify with his mom also being gluten-free with him. He feels that he can handle the changes because I am there to guide him on what foods he can have. He likes to make GF pizza with me and share it together!

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One thought on “The Gluten Experiment

  1. Pingback: The Gluten Experiment Done Correctly Cured Sensory | The Edge of Autism

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