Thursday I felt like I was in a fog, despite several cups of black tea (including some strong Pistachio Pu-erh). For most of the day I assumed my fogginess was due to our Southern Colorado, October snowstorm. (My husband and son were delayed going to work and school, so the morning routine was not typical.) Come late afternoon the brain haze persisted, I finally realized the culprit…sugar! Since mid-August I’ve been on an elimination diet with my son – no sugar, grains, dairy, soy, artificial colors/flavors, the list goes on. As long as I can remember I’ve had a huge sweet tooth, so the first few days on the diet were BRUTAL! However, since eliminating my daily refined sugar fix, I’ve been able to think more clearly – remarkably so. Well, Wednesday I ate something full of refined sugar – big mistake! Thursday’s struggle to focus, even on simple things, was real. Tasks that I can normally do without much effort felt completely overwhelming. I regretted eating that so-called “treat” shortly afterwards but even more so the next day. Thinking back on Thursday’s mentally arduous progression reaffirmed what our nutritionist has been teaching us…be mindful of what you consume. Some people can eat processed foods and they don’t seem affected, but apparently that’s not the case for me – or my son.
Thursday was my challenging day, Friday was my son’s. The previous evening he went to the movies with a friend, and decided to ignore our nutritionist’s advice and eat some popcorn. As a result my son, with a high-functioning Autism diagnosis, was extremely irritable. It was astonishing to see the change in his mood and behavior yesterday, compared with how he’s been the past couple months. He was angry, belligerent, and irrational – yes he is a teenager but this is not at all characteristic of him. Several months ago we realized gluten has this affect on him, therefore the goal of the elimination diet was to figure out what else does. Apparently something in movie theater popcorn is also an enemy of my son’s well-being. The quest continues and I suspect it will for a while. This week was a two-lump week for our family.
The following book (which is an Amazon affiliate link) was recommended by my son’s psychiatrist, it’s helping me understand how grains can negatively impact us.
Many parents with kids on the spectrum have been focusing on diet as a way to improve physical and mental health. The elimination diet has been SO much more beneficial than I expected. In addition to the book, here are a few links about corn and other foods which can cause problems for people.
Hope this is helpful!