Sensory Processing Disorder Diet | Is There One?

Sensory Processing Disorder Diet | Is There One?

Sensory Processing Disorder Diet

You’ve all heard of the autism diet, right?! Gluten free/casein free/soy free……. WHAT DO THEY EAT?!

For most, these terms seem scary and it probably seems like the people who must suffer through those allergies must not eat. At all. Ever.

Cameran is on a gluten free, low casein diet. He eats chicken nuggets, toast, cupcakes, cookies, ice cream, pizza, tacos, mac & cheese………any other all time favorites I’m missing?! Nope, didn’t think so. Being ever so popular, there’s more and more appearing that is gluten free! Making it easy for anyone to follow.

ninja turtle gluten free cake {yep, this really awesome Ninja Turtle cake is gluten free!}

Sensory Processing Disorder Diet

So, this is the autism diet, not SPD diet, right?

Sure, it is called that by many. However, the reason this diet works for so many with autism is the same reason it would work for those with SPD or even ADHD. There are actually a very wide range of issues, that could simply be related to food!

The human body is actually not designed to digest things like cows milk and gluten. Some of us have been fortunate enough to evolve and our bodies do what they need. The majority of us have not. For those of us who have difficulty digesting dairy and gluten you’ll have symptoms that can seem nothing at all like an allergy. Making it very difficult to figure out.

What are some of the most common symptoms of a gluten intolerance?

  1. Gastrointestinal effects
  2. Malabsorption of vitamins
  3. Skin rash
  4. Migraines
  5. Joint pain
  6. Lactose intolerance
  7. Chronic fatigue
  8. Fibromyalgia

Dr. Amy Myers also notes two additional symptoms of Gluten Intolerance:

  1. Neurological symptoms such as dizziness or feeling of being off balance
  2. Hormone Imbalances such as PMS, PCOS or unexplained infertility

This info and more can be found here: signs of gluten intolerance

For Cameran and so many others, intolerances cause non-visual pain and discomfort. For a two year, or even any child who is not able to really explain what they are experiencing, these issues present in behavioral problems. Imagine being two, with limited speech. Even more limited than a typical two year old. You’re eating foods daily that cause serious pain and discomfort. You can’t express this your parents. What would you do? You’d probably scream and cry a lot. You’d probably hit people or yourself to try to express this great deal of pain you’re feeling or maybe you’ll even try to ease the pain in your stomach by hitting yourself in the head. This is often the reason why so many kids on the Autism spectrum find these symptoms to lessen as they remove gluten or other culprits from their diet.

Sensory Processing Disorder Diet

How do you test for a gluten intolerance?

This is the tricky part. Most people head to their doctor or pediatrician for help with matters like these. Our doctors should have the answers. In this case, they don’t. Medical doctors (allergists) perform IgE allergy testing. Whether it is a blood test or skin test, these tests are solely looking for true allergic reactions. In Cameran’s case, by medical diagnosis, he is NOT allergic to gluten. However, we were fortunate enough to be working with an NMD, or a Naturopath. An NMD is a doctor, who went to medical school, became a doctor, and then continued their education in natural practices. There are other Naturopaths available, who are not NMD. Just do your research before you decide who you will see.

Our Naturopath ordered an IgG intolerance and sensitivity test instead of the typical IgE testing. Yes, we had to pay out of pocket for this test. Insurance does not cover natural treatments or testing as of yet. The IgG test came back that he is absolutely intolerant to gluten. Also soy, almonds, casein (milk protein). The highest results were for gluten though.’

I haven’t seen this article myself yet, but apparently there was one published recently that says IgG testing is a waste of money and completely inaccurate. Let me tell you, Cameran is definitely gluten intolerant. As a two year old, we may not have noticed his symptoms, but now, as an almost 10 year old, we definitely do! We he eats gluten now, he has severe stomach cramps and urgent, frequent trips to the bathroom. He will complain of headaches and be overall moody. We KNOW, without a doubt, when he has eaten gluten. Through playing around with his diet and his symptoms, we know he can handle small amounts of casein and is fine with almonds. Soy, we avoid most of the time anyway- for other reasons.

There is a protocol to follow when you try to remove gluten from your diet. I definitely recommend you consult with a doctor before trying anything. Over time, as you continually eat foods your body can’t digest, it will create small perforations throughout your intestines. The toxins from your intestines begin to slowly leak out in to your body, and this is what causes the discomfort and pain. Once you decide to remove a food from your diet, it is very important you take necessary steps to “repair your gut”.  You’ll hear that phrase a lot in the autism and SPD community and working with a naturopath. You definitely want to work with a professional to be sure you are taking the right steps and seeing the benefits. Without repairing the gut first, there’s a good chance you wont notice the positive changes for a very long time.

So what exactly is the right diet for ASD, SPD, ADHD?

So here’s the deal- our Naturopath has said so many times that ADHD symptoms are almost always related to food intolerances and majority of the time, that food is gluten. Yet, here we are medicating our youth to a point where they can’t function without the meds. Now, this isn’t a debate on medications, but I am a firm believer in treating the source instead of bandaging the problem. If it could be so simple as changing your child’s diet to help with ADHD symptoms, why not do that instead of placing them on these medications that have strong side effects?

The best diet to follow for SPD would be that of a clean eating lifestyle. Now, the SPD child struggles with food more than an ADHD child. They may have aversions to smell, texture, taste. Some kiddos with SPD only want purees. Some wont eat anything with a strong odor. Cameran is very, very visual. If I place his plate in front of him, it better look pretty, or he demands something else. If I serve something like nachos, his must be separate. You know nachos, you place your chips, cheese, chicken, beans, tomatoes- all in a nice delicious pile and every bite, with every item, tastes amazing. Yeah, no, not for Cameran. He needs his chips alone, chicken alone, cheese alone.

I realize these different aversions SPD kids have towards food makes it difficult to change their diet. Heck, they may only have three foods they eat at all, ever. I just suggest that you get the IgG testing done, so that you know for certain what they are intolerant to and what you need to spend the time working on. I also recommend you follow a clean eating lifestyle, no matter what foods you must remove from their diet. A clean eating lifestyle is eating mostly fresh foods, minimally processed when needed, always read the labels and you should understand what the heck you are reading! It should be FOOD! Removing the artificial preservatives, artificial dyes, and just overall artificial crap, I bet you’ll be surprised at the changes your child starts making. I wouldn’t be surprised if they start opening up to new foods and trying them!

I’d like to offer you ALL  a free 14 day clean eating challenge group! I will teach you everything I know about clean eating and will begin to introduce what I can about a gluten free lifestyle. I still recommend you find someone to help you with IgG testing and repairing the gut, but getting a start wont hurt! The group is a secret Facebook group, so I will need your Facebook email in order to add you to the group! It is considered a challenge- so I will be posting daily challenges that I fully do expect you to participate in. You’ll be posting in there with me! Questions, helpful tips you’ve found, the answers to my challenges. No matter how entertaining and amazing I am, I still can’t be that awesome in a group on my own!

So, comment below with your email if you would like to participate in my clean eating group! I need a minimum of 10 people to get started, so share and invite your friends! Once I have 10, I’ll set a start date for it. I will have to close the group at 20 people.

Sensory Processing Disorder Diet