Food – it’s something we all need, and many of us, like myself, struggle with food – eating good food. Today, I want to share more of our journey with food and autism.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical expert or dietician, and what we have implemented has been out of medical necessity for our three-year-old grand nephew, who has been living with us since April 2020.
Jaxon was formally diagnosed in December 2021 with mild to moderate autism. A friend suggested getting his stool tested in our search for treatment and therapies. I didn’t know you could have stool tested. It turns out it is a very insightful test, and I have shared the process and the results of the stool testing on this site. Check out the links below for the details.
Today, I want to look at the foods Jaxon has to avoid because of the stool test findings.
Brief look back
Jaxon’s stool was sent out for testing at the end of January 2022, and we received the results almost three weeks later. The results were admittedly disheartening. We didn’t know this little guy was struggling internally. Jaxon’s immune system was residing in a gut of disrepair.
Due to the seriousness of his gut, we had to take action. The action plan involves a complete change in food and the implementation of seven supplements.
The goal? Get his gut in shape.
We are thankful we caught the condition in time because this would have most likely turned into something more severe down the road, and we wouldn’t have known until it required a hospital visit.
Jaxon is and has always been a very problem eater. I used to say he was a picky eater, but I have since learned there’s a distinction between the two.
Because of his autism, any brightly colored foods or weird textures get tossed across the room or ignored totally. Jaxon will not raise those foods to his lips. For over a year since graduating from baby foods, Jaxon would only eat lightly colored foods, primarily light yellow or tan. Anything bright was out of the question. And if you tried to force him to eat it, it was like trying to contain a bucking bull once it left the holding pen.
This is where I failed as a custodial parent. I let him get away with this eating dilemma instead of getting creative. I never put food and autism together. I should have because a friend of mine did years ago when she had her son’s stool tested. I should have sought food advice from her when we learned about Jaxon’s diagnosis. Jaxon was a problem eater long before we learned of his diagnosis.
What does the new food plan look like?
Jaxon needs to eat 50 – 60 percent vegetables a day. I don’t even eat that many vegetables a day, but I know I probably should.
How does one get all those vegetables into a child who will not eat anything brightly colored? Some of my friends have suggested wax beans because of their color, and that’s a great idea, but Jaxon doesn’t like the texture, so he won’t put a bean in his mouth.
So I admitted to friends on social media that I struggled with getting Jaxon to eat vegetables.
Time to get creative
We invested in the reusable pouches, but dinner became a battle of wills. Most nights, veggie puree flew like fireworks on the 4th of July – freshly pureed spinach, carrots, and broccoli everywhere except in Jaxon’s mouth. Most nights, we wore food as a result. Believe me, it’s not fun.
My daughter, God bless her, was using a tiny little 1 cup food grinder to make veggie pouches for Jaxon. Turning vegetables into something other than their current form is not my specialty. The struggle is real.
But a few weeks ago, on a Friday morning, a friend from church brought her food processor over to my house. She was so excited to share this gadget with us, she even brought the instruction booklet. How many of you keep the instructions? Thank the Lord she did because I struggled to get it to work. What a game-changer for our family. Her thoughtfulness saved us hours in the kitchen.
What else can Jaxon eat?
Chicken, turkey, and fish. He should not have tuna because of the mercury content, and he shouldn’t eat beef or pork while we are cleansing the gut.
There’s an extensive list of foods he should also avoid. When I first looked at the list, I wondered what was left. The doctor pointed me to the list of foods he can have, which is a decent amount.
As far as what he cannot have – the simple answer is to stay away from all sugar and simple carbs. When you have a yeast belly, the yeast craves carbs and sugar. I remember all the times Jaxon was in our kitchen looking for food. His brain and body were craving it – the yeast was looking for its source, and unknown to us, we were feeding the yeast beast at every meal.
So we have gone gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free as much as possible. We avoid yeast as much as we can, and with those steps combined with the seven supplements designed to kill the yeast beast, we are on the road to healing Jaxon’s gut.
Where we are today
Today, we are 33 days in, and we have already seen results. Jaxon’s stool is no longer runny. His poo looks normal again.
We are starting to see a lot less self-injury. Jaxon used to hit himself repeatedly, pull on his head and hair, bite himself, and smack his legs.
And lastly, we are starting to hear more words. Jaxon is speaking more words than ever before. Before making the food changes, he had an average of about 20 to 30 words. Jaxon has now said over 50 words, maybe even more.
Why am I telling you this?
I share all this because I read story after story in Facebook groups of moms and caregivers looking for answers for their children. Fixing the gut is not something widely talked about or known. If I hadn’t met my friends whose son has autism, I would never know about stool testing. She shared her experiences with us on stool testing, and now I am sharing our experiences with others.
Our little Jaxon was suffering internally, but because he couldn’t communicate and tell us what was wrong, we didn’t know and just thought he was a picky eater. We have since learned a lot about food, gut health, and autism. I don’t want to think about what it may have been like for him at an older age.
I cannot finish today’s sharing without thanking the Lord for how far we have come on this journey. The Lord has opened up several doors for our family, and we continue to see his grace and provisions for our situation. I don’t know how people walk this road without the Lord by their side. It’s so hard mentally, physically, and emotionally. The Lord is my strength and provider.
There’s more information I can share with you about the food specifics, which I will do next time.
In the meantime, let me pray for us.
Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Father, I know you have provided everything we need, and I am grateful for the resources that are out there. Lord, I know many are struggling today with what to do, where to go, and how to do everything they need for their child/children. Lord, please give them what they need. Please open doors. Father, please provide the financial resources they need to get their children help. And Lord, in the midst of the struggle, please draw them closer to you. Oh Lord, I thank you for your love, and I praise you in the middle of the storm. To you be the glory for the great work you have already done. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.
The Teaching Lady
#autism #guthealth #yeastbelly