So, we conducted a test this summer. We took my youngest son off gluten. What does this mean? Gluten is in wheat. It is not the yeast, but it is in all wheat products. Not all flours though, as there are flours made from non-wheat things resulting in gluten free flour. So no bread (unless special 6$ loaf gluten free), no normal crackers, no cereal, no pancakes, etc. No cream of anything soup, no regular noodles, no processed stuff basically.
If you are not familiar with Celiac (a condition that exists when the intestines are not able to absorb nutrients because gluten is blocking the absorption) you may have heard about autistic children eliminating gluten from their diet with wonderful results. Some people are going off gluten for other reasons, irritable bowels, wheat belly weight, and many others.
Either way, I wanted to see if eliminating gluten from E’s diet would improve his obedience, melt-downs, etc.
We started July 6th. I figured summer was best as we could eat fresh veggies and fruit instead of breads. It was okay – but we had to learn to cut back on bread for the whole family (trying to be as fair as we can with our meals), and replacing regular pasta with gluten free (a rice blend). We really did not mind it much overall, but eating a quick bite out was the hardest. For instance doing a night VBS across the county and trying to have a snack on the way home – that is tough, but E has learned he loves Sonic tater-tots with chili cheese.
Next was the trip to Maine, traveling again, staying with family and friends. That was not too tough – again steered toward veggies and meats. Eating the complimentary dinner in the hotel was a challenge, so we packed E’s dinner before departing Maine, and warmed it up. He kind of liked having the “special” plate, unless the rest of us were eating yummy gluten junk!
Our time in Maine was the easiest as my mother-in-law has Celiac and has been gluten free for years now. So E had a friend and advocate and someone making him his own yummy treats!! They had gluten free Lobster Mac & Cheese!
Everyone kept telling me how well he was behaving, how calm and great he was. I really thought they were all crazy. I saw that he was good, but marked it up to vacation, time lapse since they last saw him, maturity milestone, etc.
We came back home, introduced gluten back in slowly. Started with only my fresh ground wheat. Then eventually had donuts (occasionally).
It took about 4 weeks. THEN WE CRASHED.
Yes, it started on a Monday when E cried during Math, grammar, etc. Could not function. I told Robert that I thought it might be wheat, another day and he was off that nasty stuff. The next day we were super busy & no school – so he got a pass. However the rest of the week was the same, crying over nothing. Irrationally fits, overly emotional. And we knew. We kept looking at each other saying we need to get him off gluten!!
So, we started to detox him again of gluten. I know last time it had to take at least 4 weeks to have any change, I hope this time is faster, and we know what we are looking for, and he only had 4 weeks of gluten. But wow – my eyes are open!! This stuff is serious. I could not believe that the kid we had until October 12th is the same one I am dealing with now. They are like Jekyll and Hyde – seriously. He has become super busy/almost hyper, he is noisy beyond what I can tolerate – and he is always crying. Before we reintroduced gluten he was none of those things. He was great. Lovely to be around.
So, while I am not a gluten natzi, I am learning to realize just what it can do to a person. And I am seriously considering trying my 13 year old with a gluten free diet to see if his defiance and constant talking back and anger could be influenced. Hmmmm.