I've had two failed attempts at 80-10-10 and am about to embark on another, much more realistic, transitional try. My husband has agreed to come with me this time, so I hope it will stick! But this post isn't about me. I'd like to get some opinions from 811'ers about my son.
He is 6 1/2 and has fairly high-functioning autism. He was potty trained when he was 3, but about a year later he started withholding his BMs, getting constipated, and going in his underwear again and again. The constipation gets better, then it returns again. We have used enemas and suppositories (which is like torture to him), changes in diet, natural laxatives, and finally caved and started giving him Miralax for awhile because I was terrified that he was going to have permanent damage to his bowels (he's not on it now). He is currently in pull-ups, because we were washing out 4-5 pairs of underwear a day and because we wanted to remove the pressure on him.
He has always been vegan and he has been gluten-free for the past 2 1/2 years. Like most people with autism, he is an extremely picky eater.
Breakfast is usually cold cereal (Envirokids Panda Puffs-- I know, it's like candy--, kix, or corn/rice chex) with almond milk, gluten-free oatmeal (with blackstrap molasses, ground flax seed, and almond milk), or occasionally gluten-free pancakes.
For the rest of the day, he snacks on brown rice pasta with peas (from frozen) with olive oil and nutritional yeast, bananas/apples/rice cakes with peanut butter, pears, raisins, carrots, brown rice, and black beans. He has broccoli and raw tofu occasionally, and corn when it's in season. Sometimes he will eat a strawberry or two or a small amount of watermelon. He will eat a few blackberries if he picks them himself.
Occasionally I will bake gluten-free bread (with sorghum/millet/potato starch), muffins, or cookies. For treats he loves dairy-free chocolate chips or Pirate's Booty veggie.
All he will drink is water, but it's like pulling teeth to get him to drink more than 2-3 glasses a day.
His BMs are really, really dense, sticky, and foul-smelling. He goes 3-4 times a day, but it's rarely very much.
He loves bananas, and I think if I tried Almost Banana Island with him, he might do it. But this would have to be partial/temporary, because he doesn't eat enough variety to do a raw diet long term, and he doesn't eat any greens. I can't even sub almond butter for peanut butter, and he won't eat his bananas blended (or any other kind of smoothie).
I know 80-10-10 would cure his bowel problems, so it's really frustrating to see him suffer. If anyone has any thoughts on whether I should try dramatically upping bananas or any other ideas for getting more raw fruit into him, it would be much appreciated.
Thank you both for your replies and suggestions. Cutting out nutritional yeast is going to be hard, but I think it's definitely worth a try. And I like the idea of making smoothie "ice cream." The chlorella's a good idea, since he doesn't eat greens, but I'm not sure how I'll get it in him.
I'm going to start by giving him only fruit (including popsicles/"ice cream") for as long as I possibly can during the day, and when he absolutely wants something else, offering things in ascending order of objectionability (objectionableness?), like broccoli/carrots/peas-->potatoes--->beans-->rice-->rice pasta, etc. Here's hoping!
Sounds like a good plan. Good luck!
We put a tiny amount (1/16th tsp) of the chlorella in the smoothies/ice cream...it has a very strong flavor and you want to start with very little as it is dry and you need to hydrate it. Hope things are better soon!
Well, Day 1 was a smashing success! Last night before bed I told him that we were going to eat fruit first thing in the morning and told him about how it would help his body heal and make his poops easier. He said, "In the morning, I'm gonna have one banana, and then I'm gonna have cereal." I said OK, thinking that was a good start.
This morning he ate FOUR bananas! Didn't even mention cereal once. When he got hungry for a snack mid-morning, he ate raisins. Then he had 3 licks of a popsicle (I made them out of fresh OJ and strawberries a few days ago).
At about noon we got in the car to go swim at a friend's apartment complex. He asked for another banana. Ten minutes into the drive he wanted another one. Unfortunately, he then got car sick and those 2 bananas ended up on the floor of the car. :(
On a break from swimming he ate another banana, an apple, and another banana! Before we left he had some more raisins.
On the way home at about 5PM we passed Taco del Mar and he asked for "black beans and yellow rice." I told him he could have black beans when we got home, and that he could also choose from carrots, broccoli, peas, and/or potatoes. He had some black beans and a bunch of peas (half frozen, half steamed). He did have a tiny bit of soy-free Earth Balance and nutritional yeast on his peas, because that's what he's used to, but I gave him much less than usual and he didn't complain.
At bedtime I asked if he wanted an apple (his normal bedtime snack) and he said "No...a banana!"
That's NINE bananas if you count the 2 that came back out. 1817 calories total for the day (not counting those 2 bananas). Cronometer says he needs 2088, so almost there. He's also coming down with a cold today, so I'm surprised he ate as much as he did!
I can't believe we had a totally grain-free, processed-food-free, mostly raw fruit day with so little effort. I really hope this continues! :)
Nice. Thank you for sharing that with us.
I am also a mom of a son with autism. Sadly up to fifty percent of children with autism experience persistent gastrointestinal tract problems, ranging from mild to moderate degrees of inflammation in both the upper and lower intestinal tract. Constipation, often with overflow is often associated with developmental disorders in children, and is often difficult to resolve. Many autistic individuals have permeable intestinal tracts, often referred to as ‘leaky gut.’ The 'leaky gut' theory proposes that some children are unable to digest the protein in many cereals (gluten) or in milk (casein) completely. It claims that casein and gluten proteins aren't properly broken down and lead to a build up of opioids in the body. I know it can be difficult to feed children with autism due to the limited tolerance for textures and tastes. The first thing I suggest is limiting grains in his diet and trade out the foods he is used to eating with those containing grains which are considered gluten free. Other foods that can get things moving are dried fruits like raisins and prunes which can be used to as a sweetener and binder in some raw recipes like raw cookies. I also suggest adding more melon to his diet because melons like watermelon are great for adding more water content to the bowels to provide more slip.
A deficiency of the mineral magnesium may also contribute to constipation. Magnesium is found naturally in foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains and in supplements. We use Natural Calm and have seen a noticeable difference in our sons stomach issues. Magnesium is needed for normal muscle function, including intestinal muscles. One recent study examined the intake of magnesium with constipation and low magnesium intake was associated with constipation.
Thank you for your reply, and sorry about the delay in acknowledging it. He has been gluten-free for 2 1/2 years and casein free his entire life. I have been limiting even non-gluten grains even more for the past week. He's been eating a lot of raisins, which is good. He won't touch prunes, dates, or melon.
I've been tracking his diet on cronometer, and his magnesium intake looks great. Before this we had him on a magnesium supplement, but we didn't see a difference.
I've also read a lot about autism and digestive issues, and it's pretty disheartening, isn't it? That's why I'm hoping this will help him heal. :)
UPDATE and request for further guidance:
We are one week in now, and doing really well. He's whining about grains/cereal/treats a lot less than I thought he would and he's not sick of bananas yet! His bms aren't too different yet, but I know these things take time. I'm hoping to get some feedback on what he's eating and how others think it might be improved.
A typical day is something like this:
Breakfast: 4-5 bananas (spread out over a couple hours)
Lunch: 2 apples with a mixture of peanut butter, raw almond butter, and flax oil (he is addicted to a certain type of peanut butter- natural but salted- I'm slowly adding more raw almond butter in)
Snack: another banana or maybe some grapes or carrots
Dinner: peas (from frozen) or black beans, oven fries (very low oil, no salt) or gf corn pasta w/flax oil, a few pieces of broccoli sometimes
Snack: pear or apple
-sometimes he still wants cereal, so I will hold him off until after lunch then give him a very small bowl (like, 1/4 cup). It's been Kix with almond milk this week.
-he really wants nutritional yeast, so I have been letting him have it on his pasta, but only a very small amount. I'm hoping to cut it out completely when this batch runs out.
Yesterday he broke out into hives all over his body, seemingly for no reason (no new foods/soap/laundry detergent/exposure to anything different). I don't recall him ever having a rash before this in his 6 1/2 years. The hives spread so quickly and he was itching so badly that we freaked out and called the nurse advice line, then gave him benedryl. They are almost gone this morning. Could this have been a detox symptom?
I'm trying to think of ways to get more good fats into him. He loves these frozen coconut bars that we used to get at our co-op. I'm thinking I can make them with dried coconut, coconut water, and some raw agave. Do these ingredients sound okay? (I would use a couple dates instead of agave, but I'm afraid it would change the flavor/color and he wouldn't eat them.)
Hi, Amy. I'm sorry I can't add anything substantive to the discussion, but I had to write because I am so impressed with your efforts, especially the gradual lessening of certain foods by blending with different choices. Congratulations on your smarts and your persistence. You are such a loving parent. Please be sure to pat yourself on the back when you go through the rough patches.
Have you tried making your own granola for cereal? There are tons of recipes and then you can dump the toxic Kix. I would encourage having him drink more almond milk-if he will-to get more liquids in him. Another great "mover" would be blueberries. It's so good to hear his progress!! Keep up the great job!!