Saturday, November 8, 2008

My GFCF Carter...

Hey guys :) Yeah, it's my first official post! Meg will be so proud. I am still not convinced I have much to offer the blog world, but I'll give it a shot! If you know us well, you know that our son Carter has been struggling with a few developmental delays since age 18 months. We think it's due to his anaphylactic peanut allergy at that age, but we will likely never know. He is language delayed which causes problems all across the board. Anyhow after 2 years of speech, OT, and oodles of coveted prayers, we've decided to try dietary intervention to see if it would help him. He is only 4 now, but has been dealing with some ADHD type "behaviors" for the last 6 months or so. We just thought he was being a boy. He was becoming very hyperactive, struggling to hold his attention to do tasks he's more than capable of, and he started to hit as an attention seeking behavior. He would hit a wall/table if someone didn't understand him, if we told him "no" he would hit us, if he wanted to play with another child he hit as a way of saying "hey, let's play" but kids interpret that as "Carter hit me!" It was a mess. We didn't know what to do. His teacher mentioned that she suspected ADHD and hinted at medicating and I about FREAKED OUT! There was no way I would even think to sedate my child. After talking to his doctor, we all agreed that medicating a 4 year old is ridiculous. However, the fact remained that he needed help, his teachers needed help, his parents needed help! That's when I really started to research a more natural approach for the treatment of ADHD and came across what is commonly know as "the diet". It's the removal of gluten (wheat), casein (dairy), and other potentially offensive substances like preservatives and food dyes. I am not a scientist or nutritionist, but after doing a ton of Google research, reading countless stories of how "the diet" has helped so many kids like Carter, and fervently seeking the Lord's will, I thought, hey why not try it! If there is something in my power (other than sedation) that I can do to help my little boy, I am going to do it! So we decided on Thursday, October 9th, 2008 to go cold turkey on all the potentially yucky food. It's not recommended to eliminate everything on the same day because occasionally a child will spaz out with weird withdrawal symptoms, but we took our chances with that and he was fine :) In fact, after 4 days when all the casein was out of his system, we had a new kid! It was shocking. The increase in his language was the most noticeable. He and I had our first back and fourth conversation...about laundry, but whatever, he was talking!!! That following Monday at school his teachers didn't know what to say. They were not seeing the same out of control little boy they had been struggling with since the first day of school, they were beginning to see the real Carter who we always new was in there somewhere! They were amazed at how fast he was changing. Since we started the diet a month ago, Carter has done amazing. He hasn't hit anyone in a month. He still hits things when he is frustrated, but we are working on that. He is keeping his focus in class and seeking the attention of his peers in appropriate ways. And he is speaking so well! I talked with his doctor to let him know that we decided to do this and he is fully on board. He wants us to stick with it for 6 months to a year and keep him updated along the way. Carter has no idea he is on a special diet and still eats "kid food". I am one of those bad parents who always cooks a separate meal for my kid so as to avoid the meal time tantrum, so cooking two meals is not an issue for me. It works for us, alright! It's been fairly easy to find substitutions for his favorite things. It can be a challenge to pack and take his food everywhere we go, but the key is to plan ahead and we've gotten pretty good at that. I am not going to lie, it isn't cheap and I have had to get very creative in meal planning for Brian and I to try and save some money, but it's working great and seeing the changes in Carter makes us want to keep going. I have found a couple of good resources so far...the GFCF Kids yahoo group, The Kid Friendly ADHD/Autism cookbook has a killer chicken nugget recipe, and Trader Joe's has a list on their website that you can print out containing all their GF items. Well, I guess I had more to say than I thought :) I will keep everyone updated on Carter's progress and if I we find any GFCF gems along the way, I will let you know!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so impressed with what you're doing here. You know that I'm one of your biggest cheerleader when it comes to Carter's GFCF diet. I know that we'll look back on this and think, remember when we started our boys on this diet together...I can't even belive how far they've come. It has been great support to embark on this journey together.


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