Q&A: Which diets and supplements?

This is a question sent in by a mum;

Hi Marissa,

I have to congratulate you for your kids’ success of overcoming autism. I have a 7 year-old girl who also has moderate autism. She has a very limited language skills. I was wondering what is the diet name you followed for your daughters. My daughter is on the GFDF diet for over a year and I was recently starting the Feingold diet, but I was wondering what diets did you followed? and what supplements did you use? I know I can do more for my daughter. Thank you for your story, which gives me so much faith.

Thank your,
AM, mother of girl with autism


Dear AM,

Thank you for your kind remarks and my apologies for the late reply. Throughout our journey, the GFCFSFEF diet (gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free and egg-free) was predominant. I also eliminated most of the foods that ranged high in the girls’ ELISA IgG Food Panel test. Later on, I reintroduced them by incorporating a rotational diet. Throughout the years, I did low-salicylates, specific carbohydrate, corn-free, low sugar, organic, low protein, some parts of Feingold and a couple of other diets at different periods for each girl to complement their existing treatments. I like the Rotational Diet and even used to rotate different types of rice eg. Jasmine, Basmati, Arborio, organic Cambodian and other types. But currently I am using Australian-grown rice at the advise of Dr Michael Beilby.

As you know, the girls are no longer on a strict diet, however I do try to maintain a wholesome, healthy diet with lots of fresh vegetables and organic meats whenever possible. If they eat gluten and casein, I give them extra digestive enzymes. There are many healing and nutritionally dense diets to choose from, the Body Ecology Diet is an excellent example and I sincerely hope that your daughter will progress wonderfully on it. I’m disappointed that I am not able to incorporate many of the BED principles, however there are still many wonderful principles I can add to my children’s diet. I try to do my best within the limitations of the girls’ sensitive tastebuds and picky eating.

Right now, I try to incorporate more bone broths into their daily diet. Weston A Price as well as the Body Ecology Diet emphasises the benefits of bone broths for their nourishing and healing properties. Please refer to the following articles http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/broth-is-beautiful and http://bodyecology.com/articles/bone-broth

I also like to use lots of garlic and fresh turmeric in their diet for it’s anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. I’m a sucker for anything anti-inflammatory as our kids have notoriously high inflammation in their gut as well as their brain. We also drink a glass of water with 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice daily to neutralise their PH levels. You’ll always find lemons in my kitchen. I also love George’s Aloe, I give them 2 tablespoons in the morning, though I am slowly increasing the amount for Min Min. Aloe vera juice supports gut healing, stimulates the immune system and has excellent anti-inflammatory properties amongst its many benefits. It helps with leaky gut and constipation as well. I’m not sure where you are but in Malaysia, you can buy George’s Aloe in GNC stores and you can also find LifeStream Aloe Vera Juice in Body Basics in Bangsar Shopping Centre.

I add good oils into their diet such as olive oil, coconut milk, locally sourced small oily fish and avocados in my eternal quest to increase their weight. Not to forget, daily doses of fish oil high in DHA and EPA. I was recently introduced to fermented cod liver oil, something I’m eager to add once the girls can swallow pills and capsules. Nowadays, I give them eggs once a week, either in french toast or in my baking. Eggs are an excellent source of cholesterol, Dr William Shaw from Great Plains Laboratory emphasises the importance of cholesterol in autism. Please read more here http://www.greatplainslaboratory.com/home/eng/cholesterol.asp

Good news, my first try at secretly adding miso soup into the girls’ rice has been a great success. I hope it lasts as Hubby and I love Japanese food and we try to introduce new flavours and cuisine to the girls. In fact, we had lunch at a Japanese restaurant today. It’s so nice that we are able to take the girls out to dine in restaurants now, they actually sit at the table nicely, don’t jump around too much and they will actually feed themselves and finish their meal! How times have changed.

Fermented and cultured foods such as miso are a feature of the Body Ecology Diet, so I am trying to incorporate whatever I can as far as the girls’ pernickety tastebuds will allow me. My next effort will be to get them to drink coconut water and eventually coconut kefir or at least coconut yoghurt. If you haven’t already (though I suspect you already have) I do encourage everyone to read Julie Matthew’s Nourishing Hope for Autism and visit her at www.nourishinghope.com. You can download her free parents guide, learn more on diets, get recipes ideas and many more. Don’t forget to read Julie’s Nutritional Blog at www.GenerationRescue.org

I read with interest about the Paleo Diet after a few glowing testimonials from friends. Please read about Scarlet, a girl with autism. The Paleo Diet played a huge role in her healing http://robbwolf.com/2011/05/23/real-life-testimonial-scarlets-turnaround-autism-paleo/. Though I should give credit to Hubby, a year ago he started learning about the Paleo Diet and was eager to do it. I was less than pleased, because it meant cooking yet another different meal for him. Being a typical Malaysian, I can’t live without my rice and curry. A steak and salad just ain’t gonna cut it for me. Though I would still cook him grilled meat and salads, I would bitch and bitch about it. I called it his Caveman Diet. Sorry honey…

However, please don’t be under the mistaken impression that our home is an organic, health-food, quinoa and almond flour temple of wholesome goodness. Quite the opposite in fact! We eat like any other typical family with a mix of Malaysian and Western cuisine. We try to limit processed foods, there are no carbonated soft drinks in the house and we just try to do our best to eat healthy. In fact, it has been years since I’ve had a soft drink myself. I too have done the gluten-free and casein-free diet. After the initial withdrawal, I do feel better on it. However I find that I can’t sustain it for too long.

If allowed, my girls will eat cake and cookies all day long, if not for Mummy forever nagging them to finish their vegetables. Mei actually eats all sorts of vegetables without complaint, so there’s lots of broccoli, spinach, snake beans, pumpkin and even petola (scientific name loofa acutangula) a type of long green gourd. Yasmin on the other hand, gags at the merest sliver of green vegetables in her mouth. She complains if there’s anything green on her plate. So we try to sneak in lots of white vegetables such as cauliflower and cabbage, though I’m not too thrilled about too much cruciferous vegetables. Mei did a stinker in the HBOT chamber a couple of days ago that left me gagging and reeling. I was the first one to bust out of the chamber when the technician opened the door I tell ya! Time to cut out the cabbage! But we do manage to get in some nutrient-dense vegetables in Min often enough. I’m nothing if not determined.

As for supplements, well, that’s a very short question with a very very long answer! I do suggest you work closely with an experienced biomedical doctor or trusted naturopath to manage your daughter’s recovery. Best of luck to you and your daughter.

Kind regards,

5 thoughts on “Q&A: Which diets and supplements?

  1. Hello, I found you blog so helpful…I had tears in my eyes reading your 3 part article. I’m a New York based mum of a 4 yr old. Depending on who’s looking he is either Autism or ADD/ADHD. I strongly feel his behaviors are food-related. He can be related and engaged and other times he’s bouncing off walls, disregulated. I’m just starting this biomed process. We’re on probiotics, GFCF and taurine right now.. He seemed to have reacted to both fish oils and vitamin E so we had to stop, but I know if we can find the root cause these oils will really help him. It’s been so difficult for me to find info and a DAN doctor who will work with me closely on this. Because he is verbal and high functioning they will just not order tests. It’s so frustrating. I know you are based in Malaysia, but would you have any recommendations for DAN doctors in NY who could help? Also, I wanted to get more info on how to do this ELISA IgG Food Panel test? And any tests on salicylate sensititiveis? You help is most appreciated.

  2. Marissa,
    GFCF diet did show improvement to my son’s condition. He started to like to talk since i started him on GFCF diet 3 weeks ago. But I am confused, can i give him egg? He loves telur dadar so much…

    • Hi Aiza, I’m so happy to hear there’s been improvements since starting the diet, well done! It gives hope of better things to come. The reason why I do encourage parents to do egg-free is because most of the children I know have very high intolerance to eggs. Not necessarily allergies, but intolerance. So unless you’ve done the IgG Food Intolerance test, you don’t know whether he has eggs issues or not. If you haven’t, then it may be worthwhile to see if a trial of egg-free diet for a few weeks will help. You know the physical and behavioural symptoms of food intolerance, so use that to assess whether egg-free diet helps. Remember, eggs are high in sulphur and some kids have issues with too much sulphur.And you know how I feel about when a child LOVES a particular food, it just screams ‘addiction’ to me. And you know that addiction just screams intolerance. Or it could be because you’re a great telur dadar cook? Marissa

  3. Pingback: Sup Tulang Made with Love | Spectrum Mum in Malaysia

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