Wow, you’re thinking, this mom got her kid to eat Wendy’s instead of McDonalds, snore…. I gave up reading about the Royal
Couple's Honeymoon for this?!
Ok, so on to the point… if there is one from all of this, it’s that the changes to her diet came at an excruciatingly slow pace.
BUT, so did her speech and most other things we were working on. I needed to place the diet as important as I did the others.
Once I did that, I changed her diet in ways I never imagined possible. The girl who didn’t eat anything but processed meat now
eats beef stew with real, whole vegetables (not hidden) and her ‘dessert’ is a pear. That’s right, call the Patron Saint of Eating
because we witnessed a culinary miracle.
So, how did it happen?
I developed a plan. A LOOOONG range plan, that was broken down into the smallest steps imaginable. Most of the time, I felt
as if I was getting nowhere and wanted to give up, give in and quit, but by reminding myself of the importance of the goal, I
forged on. Plus, as her diet improved, so did her behavior. And that was all the motivation a desperate parent needs.
Through it all, trickery and deception were my best friends. With them, I slowly morphed one food into another until her original
diet was unrecognizable. For example, hamburger became beef stew meat - beginning with one strand of beef stew sitting on
top of a burger, beef stew eventually had sauce and finally vegetables... the transformation spanned many months.
The best part was that once her sensory issues and yeast (causing the sugar cravings) were under control - as the result of
removing gluten, casein, soy and sugar - the rest was fairly easy. Kids really do become open to healthy choices if you can fix
the gut issues causing cravings for unhealthy foods.
What about supplements?
To give her supplements, I realized I had to treat them as if they were medicine and use the same vigilance. I would
usually allow her to watch a favorite tv show and come up behind her and just put it in her mouth. If she spit it out,
that’s was ok, I’d try again later or the next day.
Over time she's gotten so accustomed to taking nasty tasting things (usually mixed in pear sauce) that she will feed them to
herself. And I know, if your child will barely take a multivitamin, you're saying, My kid would never do that... but I WAS you, and
not long ago, I swore my kid would never take X,Y, Z or even eat a Green Gummy Bear.
If you’re looking for good ideas on hiding and giving supplements click here
The Bottom Line.
Full disclosure time... I had the luxury of working with her when she was still fairly young (age 3), which made it easier... so if
your child is young - start NOW!
The deceptive tactics I used were what worked for Caroline, I'm not suggesting they will work for your child, I’m
offering it more as encouragement that the seemingly impossible just might be possible.
As a parent, you know your child best and can use your creativity to make small changes. Over time they can add up and
amount to something incredibly significant. The most important thing is that you don’t give up!
One last piece of advice I offer is that not until we modified Caroline's diet, was she able to maintain focus during therapy. A lot
of time and money was wasted on ineffective therapy for a child who couldn't pay attention. If your child has attention issues,
working on the diet and supplements might very well pay off exponentially.
And Caroline now?
This week, when we drove past the renovated McDonald’s, Caroline was happily eating her chicken breast cubes and butternut
squash. As I looked at her in the rearview mirror, I realized that although I miss the adorable (but essentially non-verbal)
3-year-old she used to be; I much prefer the almost 5-year-old who's singing songs in the backseat… and thankfully, the food
guilt was gone.
Two summers ago, Caroline lived on McDonald’s hamburgers, chicken nuggets, pizza, french fries and
cookies. No wait, that’s not right, she also ate giant Costco muffins.
She blatantly refused fruit snacks, ice cream, anything with frosting and most other things that even the
pickiest eater would usually eat. Offer her a frosted cookie and you’d swear you were dangling a spider
in front of her face.
I tried all the usual tactics and even enrolled her in feeding therapy, where they spent months trying to get her to move from
a green M&M to a green gummy bear, all the while I sat there, usually enviously eyeing the candy, wondering how any child
of mine could refuse sweets.
Two days a week, we went to Easter Seals for speech, OT and PT. During the lunch break, we’d race over to the nearby
McDonald's drive through. As we sat and ate our burgers and fries, the guilt was nagging at me with every bite she took,
but I had no idea what to do.
And then, one day, it happened, the unthinkable… I noticed a sign at the McDonald’s telling us “This location will be closed
for renovation…” Literally I was mortified. Thinking back.. mortified... about a McDonalds being temporarily closed.. really?!
But it was THAT bad. Caroline would literally starve herself rather than eat something not on her short list of acceptable
The Wendy’s sign across the street was calling us, but I knew Caroline’s answer would be “EEEEEW!”
and more starvation.
And so it began, the road to healthier eating began with Wendy’s. Talk about irony.
As I disguised a Wendy’s burger in a McDonald’s bun and wrapper and snuck a few Wendy’s fries
among the McDonald’s fries, I wondered if deception was the best way to solve this issue. You bet it
was, because IT WAS WORKING. She gave them a strange look, but ate them and eventually we were
May 14, 2011
Changing your Child’s Diet… one French Fry at a Time.
When faced with the daunting task of changing Caroline’s diet, I was practically certain I would fail. So sure, that I put off trying
time and time again. Being up against one of the worst eaters of all time was not a battle I wanted to partake in. Yet still, I kept
hearing how greatly a child's diet can affect their behavior and I knew it was a battle I was going to have to choose.
Today, Caroline will eat almost anything and take a slew of yucky supplements. People often ask how I did it. I wish I had a
one-size-fits-all answer, but I don’t. All I can do is tell you our story and hope it might help.
|For Regarding Caroline Blog notifications
|Since February 2010, Caroline's been on
the Specific Carbohydrate Diet
It's completely grainless and generally helps
children more than the GFCF diet.
Her language, attention span and behavior
remarkably improved and the SCD has
been critical in her recovery.
|UPDATE 4/29/12: You're in luck... the upcoming Autism One Conference is an excellent place to learn more!
Among the options:
Don't miss it!
|Her sensory issues were so severe, she would not touch
the muffin. And notice the duck... he was never far away!