One of our customers, Carol Gray, relates her experience of changing the diet of her son who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome to avoid gluten.
Carol relates her tale:
We have seen that diet can make a very big difference. Cutting out gluten (strictly) with our son (diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome) stopped the horrible extremes of his then behaviour – the tempers, anger, tantrums, accidents, suicidal and depressed actions, etc. They were gone within ONE WEEK. The house became calm and peaceful. He played happily with his sister. This continues to this day. He still has his smaller Asperger’s difficulties – but none of the above which made life awful for all of us.
Our family have discovered, quite by accident, that certain foods can have a enormous, and extremely detrimental effect on your health and well-being, if your body is not able to deal with those foods.
We are a normal family – except that one of the family, John, has an inflammatory medical condition and our daughter, Amy, has a different medical condition. However, it is really concerning our son, Tom, now diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (on the autistic spectrum), that I am writing this for.
In early 2006, Tom started to show very alarming and distressing behaviour at home. He was 7 years old. His unrest and distress got very bad, he would move his hands and feet constantlyand also frequent incidents of aggression with his sister were the start of it. Then came hot tempers, anger and aggression that would rise from nothing (at least nothing to the rest of us). He also wrote suicidal and similar notes. I started to fear for our daughter and the negative effect all this was having on her. And for Tom who had always before now been an extremely good boy, always very well behaved outside his tempers which were getting worse now.
We were desperate. We had to try to get some help to sort out what was wrong – I really do not know where we would be now if things had remained as they were then. In early 2007 Tom was diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome, which is on the autistic spectrum.
The previous year another member of the family, John, had started a starch free diet. By avoiding starch John found that an inflammatory condition he had was relieved and he was pain free. So I was home-cooking starch-free food for John, and cooking normal food for the rest of us. It was a lot of work for me!
Then I saw the front cover of one of the National Autistic Society (NAS) magazines, entitled ‘Inflammation of the Brain’. I thought, why not try the starch-free diet for all the family? It would be so much easier for me cooking and baking the same food for everyone in the family. In addition, the starch free ‘diet’ was a very healthy diet, Although we were eating very healthily anyway, John, on his starch-free diet, was eating even healthier than we were – so it would certainly be a change for the better on that front too.
So, in early 2007, I started to give the whole family food that was completely (and strictly) starch free. And what a difference it made -
Within a week, we suddenly realised how calm and quiet the house was – there were no tempers or tantrums from Tom – and next to no arguments with his sister. The week had been beautifully calm and peaceful. Things seemed to be normal again! It was amazing – absolutely staggering and almost unbelievable.
After some months, I think, of continuing with the starch free diet (which Tom was not very keen on), we gradually realised that it was probably the gluten that was the problem – avoiding starch had avoided gluten automatically, since food with gluten invariably also has starch in it – so we changed our Tom’s diet to be gluten free.The new-found peaceful life continued – and continues still today, albeit still with its little ‘ups and downs’, as you’ll read below.
It is almost miraculous. It seems amazing to me that what we eat can have such a detrimental effect on our bodies and character. It is probably not surprising that people find it difficult to believe that diet can make such a difference – but I am writing to tell you that it is NOT a whole load of rubbish, as some will say. It is TRUE – at least for some, maybe many, people.
Maybe if medical bodies researched it, listened to and believed people who have found it to make such a difference as we have, and openly and actively encouraged others to try it – instead of remaining sceptical and silent about it and, when things get bad, pushing medication or just saying, “There’s no cure” – maybe then we’d be less astonished by the concept of some people reacting badly to certain food items.
Today Tom continues to be calm. He is relaxed and his extreme tempers and tantrums have gone. He no longer says or wtrites the awful suicidal and self depricating things. His need to keep moving has gone, all those incidents he had with his sister have gone. He is happy and content. TOTALLY DIFFERENT to how he was before. He still has Aspergers Syndrome and still has some of the little difficulties that go with it – but they are tiny compared to what he had before, and they can be helped and handled – they are nothing at all compared to what he (and we) had before. He is still lively – that is his personality – but is calm and relaxed too.
Every now and again, however, there are times when the old ‘symptoms’ start returning – sometimes they start so gradually that we don’t realise until the house gets much more what it used to be like – and then we have to think what Tom has eaten that is out of the usual. One time it was the shop-bought “Gluten Free Organic Cereal”, another time it was the shop-bought Organic Mixed Nuts, another time it was other shop-bought sweet things we were given that were supposed to be gluten-free. The latest incident is the pills he was taking, when he became, over a few weeks, gradually very much more ‘hyper’ in everything he did, which ended up being too much for everyone in the house. We stopped the pills – and within 24 hours Tom was again much his real self and after 3 days his ‘symptoms’ had more or less completely disappeared.
Whether he is reacting to some unlabelled gluten, or gluten contamination or maybe something else in the products above who knows – but, if there is a reaction – Take away the food that he is reacting to, and he becomes, once more, his real self.
So – we have to remain vigilant.
There is no comparison to life before “No gluten” – the change in him is real. No way has it been imagined or exaggerated. The intolerance effect has been so clearly demonstrated time and time again that it can in no way be justifiably challenged by anyone saying it is just a coincidence, as some will, no doubt, try.
I just wish more people were made aware of the effect certain food items such as gluten, casein (a protein in milk) and starch, amongst others, can have on people.
So many families are in the depths of despair with their child’s behaviour – and the child must be in even more deep despair – it is scandalous that families and children can go close to breaking point, yet they are still not told of the possibility that a food intolerance may be part, or the main cause, of a child’s poor behaviour.
In 2006 John talked to a medical scientist who had researched into the inflammatory medical condition that John has.
The scientist told John that starch was the cause of his problem. The bacteria fed on the starch in the stomach, which then caused the inflammation which caused the pain.
So, after having over 20 years of pain and years of being on and off pills with their side-effects, etc., John decided there was no harm giving it a go, to see if eating no starch made a difference.
John began his starch free diet in June 2006. It was not difficult to do as I make most of the meals from scratch anyway. (A lot of processed food has added starch). It was almost unbelievable. After only 2 days John was free of his pain, the pain he’d had continually for at least 20 years and he could now move around so much more easily too. No medication was involved – the only thing that John had changed was to avoid all starch (strictly) in the food that he ate. That’s what, unquestionably, caused this unbelievable change in him.
No one ever told him
Despite having been regularly seen by specialists for over 20 years, no-one had ever told John of the piece of research detailing the effect of starch on this medical condition which meant he had continual pain and stiffness. No-one had told him that maybe the condition could possibly be slowed down or even halted just by avoiding eating starch. And no one had ever told us that Tom Asperger’s syndrome could be helped by avoiding gluten and casein.