Saturday, June 18, 2011

GAPS diet

Some of the moms on ASD and SPD newsgroups have moved from GF/CF to the GAPS diet.  I just checked it out, and it made sense to me.  GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome.

This is a diet that aims to heal the gut in people afflicted by the following:

Did your child have normal development in the first year of life, and then in the second year became autistic, hyperactive, defiant, oppositional, aggressive, obsessive, compulsive or developed other abnormal behaviours?

Did your baby suffer from colic, loose stools, constipation, eczema, asthma, ear infections or chest infections treated with antibiotics?

Did you or your child have digestive problems and allergies, was a fussy eater, then in late teens become anorexic or bulimic?

Did you or your child suffer from tummy aches, dyslexia, dyspraxia, was anaemic or vegetarian, and then developed psychotic episodes and was diagnosed with schizophrenia?

Did you or your child have urinary infections or acne, treated with numerous courses of antibiotics, and then developed bloating, abdominal pain and was diagnosed with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)?

Has your baby been diagnosed with Failure To Thrive?

Were you not breast fed as a baby and were prone to colds and infections, and then developed an OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)?

Did you have food allergies / intolerances, painful or irregular menstruations accompanied by migraines, and then developed depression?

Do you suffer from chronic cystitis, mood swings, anxiety, poor memory, difficulties to concentrate, are underweight and just cannot put any weight on?

Do you suffer from Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or any other digestive disorder?

The diet is really extreme.  However, I think I am already partially there, especially after making two pots of stock this week.  The diet emphasizes homemade organic stocks, soups and stews (we're already there).  Homemade fermented unpasteurized dairy (yikes, we'd have to move to a farm and buy a cow or source some raw milk from that guy who sells from his truck at the GO Train station). Fresh pressed juices (crap, we sold the juicer!). Meals consisting of meats, fish, eggs, veggies and snacks can be baked foods made from dried fruit and nut flours or fresh organic fruits.

Makes total sense, except for the raw milk issue (big contentious one in Canada).....if I cook full time, I can probably pull it off, especially if it means I no longer have to change my 3.5 yr olds frequent messy diapers, care for an autistic child and worry about my daughter developing autism, allergies etc.

The catch is, that I need to start working more.  I need to figure out a way to continue to treat and heal Charlie while working too.  Yikes.  Especially when you factor in a possible cause of his autism was the fact that I was working full time in the food industry while pregnant.  The diet, environment and exposure to chemicals and pesticides was not so great.  It could also be the rennovation we did while I was pregnant.  Or the medicated hospital birth.  Or that I couldn't stomach the prenatal vitamins.  Or hyperthyroidism. Or gestational diabetes. Or the kidney infection that I medicated with antibiotics. Or living near diesel trains. Or wearing new pyjammas with brominated flame retardants.

Or, simply genetics. 

An article that is circulating the media that blames a lack of prenatal vitamins on autism is really bothering me.  It doesn't seem much better than the trend 50 years ago to blame 'cold mothers' on autism.  How convenient and helpful to the makers of Materna for autism to be blamed on the mother because she didn't take a vitamin supplement.  Why do our foods NEED to be fortified in the first place.  Why don't they contain the nutrition we need as a species after 200,000 years of evolution.  What has changed in the past 50 years to explain the recent explosion of diet related disorders and illnesses.  Of course, you can't address these issues in 100 words or less.  The take home message for mothers will be, buy more Materna and your child might not become autistic.

There are many probable hypotheses to the cause of autism, but no definitive cause has been identified.  It's the canary in the coal mine.  Once the cause is discovered, it will be a major blow to modern western society.  Especially if the causes include; impact of industrialized agriculture (pesticides, grains, sugars, dairy, unhealthy animals, imported foods), food processing (food packaging, processed meats, combining grains and dairy with sugars, colours, flavours, and additives and preservatives that are attractive to children yet impact gut flora and brain function) pharmaceutical industries (antibiotics, vaccines), oil and gas and the massive chemical industry (paints, flame retardants, etc).  Quite frankly it is making my head spin when I add up all the things I might have done wrong.  I can beat myself up for not changing factors that had the potential to harm him, or I can just try my best to help him heal and move forward.

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