The Holiday season can be a very stressful time for anyone but it can be especially challenging for our children who may experience an overwhelmingly amount of sensory overload with all of the different sights, smells, new people, places, and especially food. Add to that the unpredictable schedule at both school and home and the result is an undoubtedly and quite understandable series of meltdowns, withdrawals, frequent and exaggerated stimming and even regression for many differently-abled children.
It is because of this fact I personally try to keep holidays as calm and routine as possible with few guests and mostly my own cooking(which also pleases my strong introverted tendencies). If we do travel, I try to bring side dishes for the twins with enough to share with the host and their guests. Since moving closer to family, my need for travel has all but halted and so we have the wonderful pleasure of entertaining ourselves and a select few on the holidays. My entertainment and joy, aside from my ever animated children, comes from blogging and eating….. okay and cooking ….but mostly eating and the great feeling of witnessing someone else, especially the kids, enjoying what I’ve made!
So….below are some wonderful dishes by very informed and helpful bloggers that I have tried and revamped (though not much is needed) for our special dietary preferences that are perfect for families looking for yummy holiday alternatives that their children will actually eat and LIKE. YIPEEEEEE!!!
GAPS: Pecan Pie
The Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet aims in healing the Gut-Brain connection and thus ultimately healing disorders such as Autism and ADHD as well as digestive disorders such as IBS and IBD. The diet it outlined in Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome. It is a whole foods diet, like others on this list, that is comprised of different stages leading to a fully functional and healthy gut where by common physical, behavioral, neurological, cognitive symptoms often associated with skin, neurological, immunological (frequent infections, allergies) and digestive disorders are virtually eliminated. Foods allowed on the diet include: Meat and Fish Stock, Pastured Poultry and Eggs, Grass-Fed Beef and other wild non-GMO meats, non-starchy vegetables, fruit, cultured dairy, fermented foods, nuts, seeds, and non-starchy beans. If you would like to learn more about this diet, www.Healthhomehappy.com is a great resource.
GFCF: Honey Cherry Stuffing
The Gluten-free and Casein free diet aims at eliminating the most common potential culprits of an inflamed and dysfunctional gut, proteins of wheat and milk. Wheat and milk are very common allergens and can cause symptoms ranging from hives, itching, swelling, and anaphylaxis shock to the less life-threatening and obvious such as diarrhea, constipation, gas, eczema, asthma, leaky gut, fatigue, behavioral problems, poor concentration, etc. associated with food sensitivities. The diet is the basic starting point for many families raising children on the spectrum. It requires the least amount of dietary adjustment since there are loads of information about the diet and many wheat and dairy substitutes out on the market, though all are not created equal, with a little research and label reading, it is by far the easiest diet to adapt to in comparison to others on this list. I actually started with this diet and you can check out my YouTube video on my favorite GFCF substitutions.
Feingold: Deviled Eggs
The Feingold Diet, developed by Benjamin Feingold, M.D., addresses salicylate (both pharmaceutical and naturally occurring in foods) intolerances. Its aim is to eliminate drugs, (such as aspirin), foods (such as apples and red grapes) and common food additives (such as artificial colors, flavorings and preservatives) that are high in either chemical or natural salicylates which have been shown to have an effect on child behavior. For more information on the Feingold Diet, check out www.feingold.org.
SCD: Roasted Turkey
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is much like the GAPS Diet but minus fermented foods and bone broths. It eliminates complex sugars (dissacharides) on the premise that individuals with poor digestion and malabsorption issues do not have adequate amounts of enzyme to breakdown and digest complex sugars for proper absorption and thus to be utilized properly and effectively by the body. Instead, these undigested sugars become food for pathogenic gut microbes like yeast and bad bacteria, which then proliferate, crowding out good, beneficial bacteria leading to gut dysbiosis and its many symptoms, like constipation, chronic yeast infections, leaky gut etc., which perpetuates further dysfunction in digestion. Simple sugars though, such as fruit and honey, are allowed on this diet. Check out Mrs. Ed’s Research and Recipes blog for more information on SCD and GAPS.
LOD: Mashed Cauliflower
The Low Oxalate Diet allows foods with a low oxalate content. Oxalates are found in high amounts in many plant foods, including nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits which makes it a very difficult diet to follow long term. In a healthy individual, oxalates are either used by normal gut flora or eliminated in the stool. A person with leaky gut or compromised digestion, will absorb oxalates. The oxalate molecules then bind to calcium and crystallize in tissues causing symptoms and conditions often associated with pain such as kidney stones, genital and bladder pain, fibromyalgia and an inflamed gut associated with autism, IBS, and others. As a result, high oxalate foods are avoided which makes this diet extremely restrictive since there are so many common health foods that are high in oxalates. This diet is usually not recommended as an initial diet to start because it is so restrictive, but as a last resort if other diets don’t seem to work. You can get more information about LOD at www.lowoxalate.info and lowoxalateinfo.com.
I hope you have a wonderful and blessed holiday!!
Be Blessed and Well Nourished,
P.S. If you would like to know more or need help in deciding which diet fits you or your loved one, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and subscribe to my newsletter to get updates on when I will be offering more recipes, meal plans, and webinars specifically on this subject. And for a limited time, anyone who schedules an appointment for a Child Wellness Intake by midnight November 16th gets a 30% discount .