When looking for recipes, I end up paying close attention to the ingredients. Everyone probably does, but I do it, because there are certain foods I can’t have.
Seafood is the biggest trouble maker, since even a small bite triggers my asthma, and I don’t want to think about what would happen if I had more. Even things like Worcestershire Sauce, which has fish sauce in it, have caused periods of worsened asthma and hypersensitive immune reactions. There are a few other types of food I avoid for health reasons, but my body hates animals that lived in water enough to put my life at risk whenever I eat them.
|I wish I could eat dishes like these. They always look
I’m not alone in needing to avoid certain foods, either. I know several people who are either gluten intolerant, full on celiacs or have similar allergies to mine. One of my friends who goes by High Functioning Mommy on her Facebook page, Blue Eyes and Butterflies
, has extensive experience with this issue, because her beautiful little boy struggled with digestive issues severe enough to warrant hospitalization as a baby.
People on the autism spectrum seem to be prone to digestive issues, like FPIES (Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome) and Leaky Gut Syndrome.
FPIES tends to hit children under the age of 3, and is diagnosed through symptom analysis. Babies and toddlers with this syndrome suffer from severe vomiting and diarrhea, both of which can be deadly, thanks to the dehydration they cause. These episodes are almost always triggered by different types of grains and cows milk. It’s not a form of allergy, either, since allergy tests show up as negative when the child is showing symptoms. However, symptoms do disappear when the offending foods are eliminated from the diet.
Leaky Gut Syndrome, or LGS, happens when the intestinal lining is damaged or somehow malformed enough to allow particles to pass into the bloodstream which would have otherwise been excreted. This causes greater stress on the immune system, and may contribute to worsened SPD symptoms.
Now, food has always been an area of cultural contention around the world. Whether it’s because of scarcity, or tradition, many people seem to see their recipes as being set in stone. In today’s world, food is closely linked to body image, shame and frugality.
All too often, I’ve witnessed people going after parents for what they’re feeding their kids. Nutrition is important, but there are always reasons behind a parent’s choice in food.
If their child has SPD relating to taste, smell and texture, the little one may be struggling along in therapy to expand their diet. They might eventually grow to love the foods the rest of the world says they should be eating, but at the moment, it may not be the case. Think about it for a minute. If spaghetti had the consistency and movement of earthworms, would you want to eat it?
If there are physical digestive issues, perhaps that child can’t stray out of a certain variety of foods without risking illness. A potential hospital stay or excruciating stomach cramps aren’t worth someone’s satisfaction at seeing that child drink a tall glass of milk.
We really need to remember that there’s always more to the story when it comes to food choices. If a child’s on a restricted diet, you can be sure their parents do everything they can to make sure their little one is getting the nutrition they need.
My friend has written quite a bit about her experiences with FPIES and her little boy, codenamed Destructo. If you’re interested in reading about them, here are the entries: