Friday, October 28, 2011

Book Review: Special Needs Kids Eat Right

This is not a book review I wrote. This is one a friend of mine wrote but I needed to share it. Please read it:

I took her recommendation and got a copy of this book. It is helpful for any child with bowel problems, not just kids with disabilities. Although I found it even more helpful because I do see some elements of Asperger's in my son, I just have not found it necessary to seek a diagnosis.

The book talks about how nutrition significantly affects the functioning of children and their ability to focus, learn, and grow. She addresses specific issues children with Autism and ADHD face nutritionally and gives steps for restoring nutritional health in children. Proper nutrition can make medications work more effectively, or eliminate the need for medications at all. I highly recommend it.

Baby#3--Also Gluten/Milk Intolerant

I have been doing a lot of research about food sensitivities since dealing gluten-intolerance. When I got pregnant with my third child I was determined to avoid all of the potential triggers hoping he would not have the same problems as my other children. I chose to have a home birth to avoid hospital medications, interventions, and pathogen exposure. We avoided vaccinations and watched very closely as we introduced foods to my baby. And unfortunately, it hasn't done a lick of good.

Kaden had rashes all over his face for the first three months and has very sensitive skin. He has really bad eczema on his legs, feet, and hands and I have not been able to find the trigger. His stools are not normal. He was in the 85th percentile in weight and at 8 months he had dropped to the 25th. He is very active--but I don't think his activity could account for the huge drop. He does have the same gene sequence as his sister--two different gluten intolerance genes and no celiac genes. He reacts to gluten and milk with a flushed face, increased eczema, diarrhea, diaper rash, and evidence of intestinal damage in his stools, and sleep problems.

On the other hand, he has been much more easy-going than his siblings. He has a very easy temperament, was crawling at 5 months and walking at 10, and learning words at 10 months. It could just be a different personality, or that we knew what to watch for in food allergies so he hasn't had as much stress to deal with.

Either way I am disappointed that our lifestyle changes didn't seem to help even a little bit. The only other known potential trigger that I could not avoid was pesticide. We got chickens to eat yard pests, but the mosquito abatement truck still goes by almost weekly in the summer. I hope one day research shows why so many more kids are having autoimmune problems!

Goat's Milk

Now that we have got things relatively under control for my oldest child, I have been braver about trying new things. It is obvious to me that he still is not getting proper nutrition, even though we seem to have eliminated most of the foods that bother him. His teeth (and probably bones) are particularly bad. He is only 5 years old and just had 2 root canals and some additional cavities filled. Compared to his milk-eating sister with perfect teeth, his teeth are very, very weak. I worry that his bones are in the same condition. I want to make sure to get him the proper amount of calcium and other nutrients required for tooth development before his adult teeth are finished forming. 

I don't think the calcium supplements and calcium-fortified rice milk are really doing the trick for him. I've been trying to make sure he eats calcium-containing dark green veggies every day, but that can be a challenge for a 5 year old. I recently found a source of raw goat's milk and tried it to see if it caused the same reaction that cow's milk does. And lucky us! No reaction (so far)! I am so relieved to find a better substitute that is more nutritious than rice milk, and I will be able to get cheese as well. He is hesitant to try it, but we have slowly been working it in. 

I don't have my hopes up just yet though. We had success with soy milk for about a month before he started reacting to that after switching him off cow's milk so the jury is still out. But the most frustrating part is that his little brother (10 months old) does not tolerate the goat's milk so I'm still stuck using rice milk in a lot of my cooking. :(

Gravy and Biscuits with Mashed Potatoes--dairy, soy, gluten free


I just found the most fantastic biscuit recipe. I've never been able to get one to work very well. I got it from this link and made a few adaptations:

1 1/2c. flour of your choice (I used brown rice and coconut)
1/4 c. potato starch
1/4 c. tapioca starch
1 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2/3 c. rice milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice (or milk of your choice)
1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c. oil

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Add lemon juice to milk and set aside. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Form a hole in the center of the mixture and add liquid ingredients to the "hole". With a spoon (not a whisk or the batter will get stuck inside) slowly stir dry ingredients into the liquid until fully mixed. Batter will be very thick. With a 1/4 cup measuring cup form biscuits and place them on the prepared pan. Bake for 12 minutes. For me this recipe made 10 biscuits.

Sausage Gravy:

This can be really fattening, but in our house that is a good thing. My kids do not get enough calories so we are looking for many ways to increase their calorie intake and get them growing again. You can use less grease if this is too much for your taste.

1 lb ground sausage
abt 1 cup milk
abt 1/4 c potato flour
ground pepper
herbs of your choice

Cook 1lb ground sausage in a frying pan. remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside. Using about 3tbsp leftover grease (to desired taste and fat content). Add milk and heat. Slowly add potato flour, stirring constantly until desired thickness. Add about 1/4-1/2 tsp salt and ground pepper to taste. The sausage should add plenty of flavor, but if not add herbs of your own to enhance flavor. Add some of the sausage back in if desired.

Mashed Potatoes: 

I don't like using rice milk in my potatoes so I usually pull some potatoes out after they have been boiled for my dairy-intolerant kids and use cow's or goat's milk for the rest of us.

Boil potatoes until tender (at least 1 potato per person). Drain. For dairy-intolerant kids add rice milk and dairy-free butter substitute and mash until creamy. For dairy-eaters add sour cream and milk to taste. You could also use plain yogurt. Serve with gravy and biscuits. Enjoy!