Special Needs Parenting

2 weeks of Diet Changes with my Autistic Son

Starting the Diet

So it’s Oct 16. We are one day into our new diet. I know that I said I was going to start on Nov 1st, but I was so anxious to start that I moved the start date to Oct 15. (The only reason it was Nov 1st was because of a wedding and I just wasn’t confident that we could follow a diet on a trip. But I talked to my in-laws and they are 100% supportive. So yes, I started on Oct 15!!! And the first day was rough.

This last week, I had stopped buying processed food, and was replacing the items with approved food on our diet. I’m still not exactly sure which diet we will do long-term (foods four thought diet, paleo diet, Autoimmune Protocol AIP diet…they are all quite similar. I’m leaning towards paleo because then I can eat steak, haha.)

On the first afternoon of the diet after school, Luke kept going back and forth from the pantry to the fridge, wondering where all the “good” food was. Eventually, he drank some smoothie, tried a frozen blueberry, and ate my homemade blueberry muffins! This is progress because usually he won’t try ANY new stuff.

But then in the evening, Luke got really sad. He cried a lot and decided to put himself to bed early!! He just took his pillow and went to bed. Wow. Poor guy.

This is what my fridge looks like now: Pretty healthy, right?

And when we were on our trip to Salt Lake City, I found a restaurant that serves really clean food! It’s called the Pulp Lifestyle Kitchen. It was delicious!


The next night, I had a meltdown too. I had tried to make some more coconut flour waffles earlier that day…and they had failed miserably. Like total fail. And I had quadrupled the batch and wasted 16 eggs!!!

I was also trying to eat this coconut curry soup that I had made for dinner…and I hated it. I didn’t want to eat it at all! I was hungry and feeling like there was NO WAY we were going to survive.

That is when Ian, my husband, stepped in. He isn’t following the diet strictly while he is at work, so he has a lot more energy and clarity I guess. Ian helped me salvage the waffles a little bit. He reassured me that everything was going to work out just fine.

Coordinating with Schools

Thankfully, Luke’s teachers at his ABA school were SUPER cooperative. They were committed to helping Luke stay on the diet at school and not sneak food from other kids. This is no easy task, so I was so thankful for them.

Nov 4, 2020

Okay, now it has been about 2 weeks since we started diet changes. After doing more research and thinking a lot about it, I’ve decided that instead of the paleo diet, we will do the Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet. It feels better to me. It aligns more with The Word of Wisdom (a guide to a healthy life by my church leaders – see Doctrine and Covenants 89). And I must say…I am so happy to be eating grains again! I just felt like I had to eat so much meat in order to be full on the paleo diet. And I don’t want to eat that much meat.

So what do we eat now? Whole grains, legumes, beans, vegetables, fruit, nuts…anything plant based. We eat some meat, but we try to do it sparingly. We have cut out all diary for now. And we don’t eat any processed food anymore.

It feels pretty awesome! It may be just that my thoughts around food are like this: “I am eating so healthy! My kids have only healthy options now!”, but I think I am actually feeling a lot more energy as well.

The downside is that it is a steep learning curve. I feel like I am cooking all the time! And doing dishes. I think it will get easier in a few months.

Luke is trying new foods

And Luke is slowly trying new foods! He started eating oatmeal this week. And he tried brown rice. He has tasted spinach and chickpeas. He eats nuts and raisins and apples. It is still a struggle to get him to try new foods. But he is getting better.

He actually seems happier. He is sleeping a little better. And he does seem to have more energy as well.


Sometimes I think about how I would NEVER had made this change to eating healthier if it wasn’t necessary for Luke. Really. I thought all those people who eat vegan were crazy. But now I am one of them! So in this way, I can actually be grateful for Luke’s autism.

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