A writing friend of mine assigns themes to each year to guide her decisions through dating and life*, and I decided to steal from her a bit (it’s not plagiarism if I give her credit, right?) and apply a theme to my 2015, too. Sarah’s theme for this year is Living Between, and I couldn’t come up with a better one for myself and my son. We are living between diets and (hopefully) diagnoses as we start counting the months before Logan enters kindergarten.
If you’ve followed my blog, you know we began with just a casein-free diet to see if we could note any changes in my son’s autism traits. The answer to that question was a pretty solid yes, so we pushed further. We went gluten-free, too, and right around the start of 2014, we went sugar-free and lots of other things -free, too. We then held our breath.
And if my blog has proven anything, I realize as I read over old posts, it’s the old adage that the more things change, the more they stay the same. A great week gave me hope the diet was working. A rough week dashed those feelings. We thought we saw change, but it was at times slight and fleeting — and wasn’t it possible it could be due to age or therapy rather than diet?
So we began GAPS about four months ago, moving through the horrible Stage 1, really-no-less-horrible Stage 2, the somewhat tolerable Stage 3 … and once again, slight and fleeting improvements popped up. More focus. Almost no meltdowns at daycare. And the white, icky stuff that is supposed to be expelled from a person’s system as they cleanse their bodies of yeast showed up in his stools.
And then the holidays hit, and harder, the back-to-routine after the holidays. Focus went away. Outbursts at daycare began again. Defiant behavior at home. It’s impossible to pinpoint a cause. Being cooped up inside? The craziness of too many get-togethers? The return to floride toothpaste? The baked goods and honey he’d been having in larger quantities thanks to holiday and birthday treats? Did we move into Stage 6 of GAPS too soon?
Speaking of which, I’m not even certain when we moved into Stage 6, or 5, anymore. After a few weeks on Stage 4, we sort of starting sliding toward full GAPS quicker and quicker, and though I had painstakingly plotted out each meal for the first two months, by now we were just winging it Everything we ate was still GAPS-legal only, but the order and stages part fell away.
Because as I mentioned in my last post, my husband and I are both reaching our limits. Cooking for a full, solid day was hard on Jason, who only paused from baking cupcakes to cook lunch and dinner, and I think my hands might be permanently pruned from constantly scrubbing dishes. We don’t want to return to a Standard American Diet, but if giving Logan raw carrots is easier, does it really matter all that much if GAPS says I have to boil them?
And the honey. My gut tells me this is the real culprit behind the uptick of autistic symptoms, but it’s hard to imagine going back to the BED diet that forbids it. And GAPS outlaws quinoa and buckwheat, but it’d be SO much easier to be able to make Logan’s breakfast (and get him to actually eat it) if I could return to using those, like BED allows.
I’ve struggled with the right path since we started making Christmas cookies. Return to BED, continue on GAPS… and I think I’m done torturing myself with rigidity. Like my friend Sarah, we will live between this year, taking what worked for us from BED (like the buckwheat cereal I made this morning) and taking what worked for us from GAPS (like the onion/bone broth soup I’m sipping right now), and eat somewhere between the two.
And I will remain hopeful that not only will we be eating between GAPS and BED but also living between a diagnosis of autism and a diagnosis of recovery.
*You should check her out! http://sarahinsmalldoses.wordpress.com/