Autism & Paleo Testimony

The following testimony will likely shock and amaze you. I know it did and does for me and for a very simple reason: A child’s life was completely changed for the better, in many ways saved…and all from a simple nutritional intervention.

This story relates specifically to Autism and although there is increasing awareness of the role of gut permeability and various food intolerances in the etiology of this condition, there is also a remarkable amount of confusion.

The concept of “gluten free” is making it’s way into the collective consciousness of many people in the autism community, but unfortunately that is only ONE of many steps necessary to really affect change in this condition.

If you know someone with kids who suffer from autism, please pass this along…..

My name is Rachel, and I am a 30 year old mother of 4 children. I have been interested in fitness and nutrition for years, but followed a traditional bodybuilding diet until I began having stomach pain when I became pregnant with my fourth baby in 2008. Suddenly, a protein shake or other foods gave me unbearable stomach pain within 20 minutes of ingestion.

Sometimes this was even accompanied my vomiting, and got bad enough that I landed in the ER a few times. None of the doctors seemed to know what it was. They guessed lactose intolerance or IBS and sent me home.

At 22 weeks pregnant, I awoke in the middle of the night with the worst abdominal pain yet, and a fever. We went to the ER, and they rushed me into emergency surgery to remove what they thought could be an appendix about to rupture.

This was scary and risky at 22 weeks pregnant, but necessary. The surgeon discovered that my appendix was fine, but that I had a cyst in my small intestine which had ruptured causing the infection and fever. I asked tons of questions. What caused this? Could it happen again?

All of the doctors said they didn’t really know. A nurse told me to try cutting out wheat and see if that helped. It did, but I did not yet know why or how it helped. My daughter Scarlet was born full term and healthy, and we breathed a sigh of relief.

We knew early on Scarlet was different than our other 3 children. She seemed less affectionate and inclined to “stay in her own little world.” She was walking at 9 months, but had not even begun to speak after turning a year old.

By the time she was 18 months, she was still not talking at all, and had lots of strange habits such as jumping constantly (I mean ALL THE TIME) and pacing or rocking all the time.

She carried around objects refusing to put them down for any reason at all, and freaked out if people came too close to her. She was notoriously unaffectionate. Hugs and kisses were very rare. We took her to speech therapists, neurologists, and child psychologists.

They diagnosed her with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in September of 2010. Her language skills at 20 months were that of a normal 8 month old. She had no words at all. I started researching everything I could find about diet. I got Robb’s book The Paleo Solution for Christmas and read it all in 2 days. Then I read it again. This all made so much sense to me!

For starters, I tried to get as much gluten out of my family’s diet as I could, but many people around me were skeptical, to say the least. I was met with a lot of resistance. Even though I had been eating this way myself for almost a year and the allergies, asthma, and eczema that had plagued me my whole life DISAPPEARED, and I lost 50 pounds, nobody around me believed my diet could do that.

Scarlet improved a little bit with less wheat in her diet, and had about a five word vocabulary within a few months. She was still eating dairy and other grains at this point, and family was still sneaking her some cookies and such at this point.

I had begun reading for a couple hours a day on nutrition for several months, and I decided to attend a Paleo Solution Seminar in Toronto in March, 2011. Robb explained gut health, auto-immunity, the blood-brain barrier, and “brain inflammation.” This was what really made the “gut-autoimmune” connection click for me.

I came home determined, and tortured my husband with hours of biochemistry (I am a closet science nerd) until he agreed we had to go 100% Paleo and give this thing a shot. I no longer cared if everyone around me thought I was nuts. I knew my daughter had ZERO wiggle room, and I threatened physical harm if anyone tried to “sneak the poor baby a cookie.”

I began feeding her grass-fed meat, wild salmon, yams, carrots, berries, and the like. Instead of milk and juice she has caffeine free herbal tea or coconut milk with water. To my surprise, she LOVES this food and I had no trouble getting her to eat this way. I hoped that over time, this would improve her condition. I WAS WRONG. It was much better than that!

Within ONE WEEK of Scarlet eating 100% grain, legume, and dairy free the difference in this child was nothing short of amazing. Before paleo, Scarlet said about 5 words. One week after paleo, she is using more than 20 words.

It has now been two weeks on paleo and we cannot keep up with the word explosion! She can repeat most things she hears. She is pointing to objects and naming them, something she couldn’t do before. She is calling us “mama” and “dada” and we are getting all the big hugs and kisses we can handle!

She can point out a couple of shapes and colors and name them. She identifies animals and the sounds they make. This FAR exceeds her goals for learning for the whole year set by her therapists.

Her teacher and speech therapist cannot believe it either, but they are totally on board and even asked for info about Robb’s book and website, which I gave them.

We are so thankful for Robb and others like him who are getting this information out to families like ours. This is life-changing information you most likely WON’T hear from doctors, government or media.

Do your own research, and be skeptical. Check the source, follow the money, and do your best to understand the actual science.

If you try going paleo, don’t cave to people who are afraid you (or your kids) will wither away or die of malnutrition without bread, milk and cereal! If you actually DO this stuff, YOU will be the proof



How to Know if Your Child Is Allergic to Gluten

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a naturally-occurring protein composite that is found in wheat, rye, barley and other grains. Determining whether or not your child is suffering from a gluten sensitivity is a crucial first step in addressing any potential food triggers in your child’s diet. Once you discover an underlying gluten sensitivity, you can take the steps necessary to eliminate gluten containing foods from your child’s diet and lead him down the path to improved health.

Learn about the different types of gluten sensitivities. Studies now reveal that approximately 15 percent of the population suffer from some form of gluten sensitivity. These statistics include celiac disease, gluten allergy and gluten intolerance.

Celiac disease causes an autoimmune reaction when the gluten protein is ingested. Although the autoimmune response is an allergic reaction triggered by gluten, it is not considered a gluten allergy. When a person with celiac disease consumes a food that contains gluten, an autoimmune response is triggered in which the body literally attacks itself. The tiny villi that cover the surface of the small intestine help to pull the nutrients out of food before it is digested. Because these villi are attacked by the immune system, they do not function properly and nutrients are not effectively absorbed from the foods that are eaten. Over time, the effects of this digestive disease result in permanent damage to the villi. As a result, malabsorption can occur because vital nutrients are not absorbed.

Gluten allergy, or wheat allergy, also causes an immune response in allergic individuals when gluten is consumed. When wheat is consumed, the body has a histamine response and produces antibodies to the gluten. Less common than gluten intolerance, a true gluten allergy may cause an immediate allergic reaction shortly after gluten is consumed. Allergic reactions can range from severe breathing difficulties to minor skin rashes. Common symptoms of gluten allergy include fatigue, joint pain, weight loss or weight gain, and digestive problems. Gluten allergy is one of the more common food allergies in children. Some children who suffer from a gluten allergy may outgrow the condition as they get older. Many will do so by the time they reach six years of age.

Gluten intolerance occurs when the body cannot break down food properly. Gluten intolerance is a general umbrella term that refers to the dozens of symptoms that may be experienced by an individual who is sensitive to gluten. Unlike celiac disease and gluten allergy, there is no specific test in place to provide a definitive diagnosis of a gluten intolerance. Because of the broad range of symptoms and causes associated with gluten intolerance, people who suffer from this condition may be misdiagnosed with a condition that produces similar symptoms. Detecting a gluten intolerance based on presenting symptoms can be difficult. Unlike gluten allergies, the body does not usually adapt to a gluten intolerance, and a child who has the condition will likely continue to have it as an adult.

Look into your child’s family history and inquire about relatives who may have suffered from gluten sensitivity. The condition has a genetic component and it is more likely to occur in your child if there are family members who suffer from food allergies or hay fever. Food allergies were not as easily recognized in prior decades. Even if there are no documented cases in the family, it is possible that the condition existed but escaped detection. Try to find out if any family members experienced some of the symptoms commonly associated with gluten sensitivity. If Aunt Martha always kept a bottle of antacids next to her plate at dinner or immediately dashed for the bathroom after eating her meal, it is possible that a gluten sensitivity may have been the culprit.

Make a list of the symptoms your child is experiencing that leads you to suspect that a gluten sensitivity may be present. Do the same for any negative behaviors your child displays. Do not refer to symptoms experienced by other children who suffer from gluten sensitivities, as there are hundreds of possible symptoms that may occur. What is experienced individually amongst children with the condition can vary greatly. Always refer to your child’s own individual symptoms, even if it is one that is not generally believed to be associated with a gluten allergy.

Be on the lookout for specific symptoms that are common among gluten-sensitive individuals. Although your child may have additional symptoms that do not fall into this category, doctors note that the following list covers the most common symptoms associated with the condition. Watch for unexplained changes in weight, gastrointestinal problems (bloating, gas, cramps, constipation, diarrhea), eczema and other skin rashes, headaches, achy joints, irritability, mood changes and fatigue.

Start a food journal for your child. Keep track of the foods that your child consumes for two weeks. Take note of any troublesome symptoms or negative behaviors that your child experiences after consuming particular foods. Try to determine if there is a direct correlation between symptoms/behaviors and specific foods

Schedule a visit with the pediatrician and request that your child be tested for celiac disease and gluten allergies.