We are still in the midst of experimenting with our diets around here to figure out a way to get the family healthy but happy with what's on their plate. Of course we're also trying to get Emily talking a little more, and running into walls a little less. This is no small task.
Let's start with the good news. Ryan and the kids are doing great with a dairy free life. I'm finding recipes that seem to agree with everyone at least part of the time. I'm still enjoying my Starbuck lattes and cheesy meals when out with my friends. (And my best friend Rachel gave me some goat cheese for my birthday...best present ever!) Nora can even have a little pizza as long as she takes a lactaid pill. I couldn't be happier with this outcome. We've adjusted.
However, about two weeks ago, Emily broke out with a bad case of eczema. It was all over her back, and the bumps on her rear end returned. This, coupled with a lot of loose bowels, led me to foray into the world of gluten free cooking. All I can say is what a disaster! For those of you that aren't familiar with gluten, its a very long and complex protein found in wheat and barley. It is difficult to break down, and the theory amongst many autism advocates is that kids like Emily can't fully digest the gluten. So these kids need to avoid any and all wheat products. Think about that for a second...that means no bread in most of its forms (bread, bagels, English muffins, buns) no pancakes or waffles, no doughnuts, no pasta, no meat-free substitutes, no crackers, and of course no cheese...oh my god we are going to starve.
I tried, I really did. But so far its just not working. Its been a few weeks and we haven't gone more than a day and a half fully gluten free. Taking away animal crackers is akin to taking away her oxygen supply, and I just can't handle the tears. "Momma...Momma...Momma...Animal cracker. An-i-mal CRAK-er. Momma...Momma..." You get the drift. I even started cooking meat in the attempt to make this diet work. I made the best looking schnitzel this side of the pond with gluten free flour and margarine instead of butter. Emily didn't even touch it, and I was sick to my stomach for nearly 3 days. So we can safely add pork to the no-go list. (Editor's Note: Nora doth protest. She declared schnitzel and potato pancakes the most delicious dinner ever).
Anyways, we reached the breaking point.
Yesterday for dinner Emily ate rice with ketchup.
This is ridiculous. White rice and organic ketchup is not a healthy meal.
So its back to the drawing board. Over lunch Ryan and I had a long conversation, focusing on the literature I've been reading. The theory, the one that we feel pertains to Emily, is that her body has been overloaded with a lot of toxins. Any additional toxins (like peptides created from undigested dairy and gluten) are overloading an already stressed brain and immune system. We decided we are going to go after the toxins in her body first.
Removing the toxins is going to have to be done in two main ways. First, we need to remove the crap that is already inside of her. We are going the all natural route, starting with glutathione (an amino acid) as well as medicinal clay, garlic, onion, and cilantro. I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to get all these tinctures and pills into her, but hopefully it will be a funny story you can all read in the coming weeks. Secondly, we need to avoid putting more crap into Emily (and Nora and the rest of the world!). It is my intention to switch to all organic/natural products by the end of the year. This obviously means food, but also toothpaste, soaps, and household cleaning products. We will also have to think twice about the types of household repairs we do; many items from the hardware store from paints to plywood to carpets "off-gas", so if we are working in this old house, Emily needs to be somewhere else.
I don't know if this is going to work, but it can't hurt. And certainly being more green is best for everyone, so these are changes I'd like to see become permanent fixtures around here.
As I busy myself with my plans to save Emily and then the world, you can find Emily and Nora enjoying animal crackers and cherry juice, with a side of apple sauce.