Milk is a favorite subject between Paul and I. Mainly because before Maya was diagnosed, we noticed how much she loves her milk. I breastfed Maya until she was 7 1/2 months, we then gave her formula and moved her on to fresh cows milk when she was 1 1/2 years old. Maya has always been a picky and fussy eater, however she would guzzle up her milk and and is a carb junkie. She would happily exist on milk and bread all day every day if not for the fact that I’d managed to force feed some protein and vegetables into her.
When she was diagnosed, we had already known about the GFCF diet – gluten free and casein free to those who aren’t familiar with the lingo. I had read Jenny McCarthy’s books and heard about the DAN! protocol and the science behind the GFCF diet for children with Autism. Paul and I began to notice how addicted Maya was to her milk & bread. In certain children, gluten & casein gives them an opioid effect, creates brain fog, they are unable to digest them, causing a host of gastrointestinal distress and the list goes on about the efficacy of the GFCF diet for children with Autism.
We could see that Maya would literally get `high’ after drinking milk. I feel terrible about it now, but Paul and I would laugh watching how stoned Maya would get after having a big bottle of milk. She’d be all woozy and dopey and we thought it was funny. After the diagnosis, we immediately put her on soy formula and substituted her favourite foods and snacks for gluten-free versions. Within 1 week, Maya said her first 3 word sentence, within 2 months combined with intensive ABA therapy Maya learnt to request for things properly instead of screaming and tantruming.
After a while, we figured that she was sensitive to soy and we changed it to rice milk. It took time to find suitable flavours and brands that Maya would like and there’s not much varieties to find in KL. We would spend RM10.90 for a carton of rice milk!! And a box of gluten-free bread mix is RM16! Our grocery bills are getting higher and higher.
And being the worrisome Mummy that I am, I started to obsess that Maya would gradually build up an intolerance to rice. God forbid, because Maya’s diet revolves a lot around rice (being nature’s perfect gluten-free food) I certainly didn’t want that to happen. It’s recommended that we rotate their diets because these children have a tendency to build up an intolerance to certain foods if they’re consuming too much of it. Finally, we managed to get a supply of Potato Milk.
So, from breastmilk to formula to soy milk to rice milk to potato milk. What’s next I wonder? I used to envy those parents who managed to wean their kids off the bottle by this age, but for the moment I’ll keep Maya on the bottle as long as I can, because it’s the only way I can get her to take her 12 different supplements daily by smuggling it into the milk.
For those of you starting to embark on the GF CF diet and wondering how the heck you’re going to change your child’s milk, start with substituting a quarter of the new milk mixed with 3/4 of the original mix. And increasing the amount of the new milk gradually every 3 or 4 days. Within 2 weeks you’ll have complete conversion. I suggest trying Pacific Rice Milk, Maya seems to prefer the Vanilla flavor. Soy milk is not a recommended substitute for casein milk because soy seems to be a common allergen for our kids. Otherwise, do an IgG Food Allergy panel (not IgE) to check for food sensitivities. Good luck!