I am the mother of a 3 year old daughter with sensory processing disorder (SPD). I have had her on the casein-free version of the GAPS diet for the last 6 months. Since GAPS is not meant to be super low carb long term, after about a month of intro stages we moved to the first suggested ripe fruit addition of spotted bananas...and eventually added in some other fruits, too. One theory behind GAPS (in brief) is that ripe fruits provide primarily fructose over starch (polysaccharides as found in grains, starchy tubers, etc.) - and the fructose is more quickly digested and thus should leave less for bad bacteria/yeast to feed on.
We recently took her to a pediatrician who is widely known in our area (and hailed by local speech therapists and occupational therapists) for her work with autistic and spectrum kids. This doctor's professional specialty is gut healing. My main concern was figuring out the root cause of why my daughter's stool is still mushy 98% of the time.
She told me that she thought the GAPS diet was a good start for a dietary framework, she thought that removing almost all fruit in favor of carbohydrate sources from a little bit of ancient nongluten grains (buckwheat, quinoa, teff, etc. ... and yes, I'm aware that buckwheat and quinoa are not technically grains) could help her stools to form. She also believes that the fruit is what is keeping my daughter's stool mushy.
I tried to get her to explain this in more detail in the exam room, even saying that I was having trouble squaring what she was saying against GAPS' recommendation to avoid grains as a source of SIBO-promoting polysaccharides, but she insisted that ripe fruit was going to feed yeast and perpetuate the problem. I also asked her about quinoa's gut-irritating saponins, but she dismissed these as a threat and said that quinoa is very digestible. This lady works with kids with gut issues all the time, so I want to carefully consider her recommendation with facts in view, but a few major items we discussed simply didn't match up with what I've learned in my own research.
I ask for NO knee jerk reactions here, no poorly thought out, "But grainz are teh evil!!" answers.
What I want to know is: Is there a legitimate gut-healing/stool-stabilizing reason to preferentially feed my daughter carbohydrate sources from traditionally prepared (i.e. soaked/soured/fermented) ancient nongluten grains over fruit while doing a GAPS-style protocol? On one hand I don't want my daughter to regress, but on the other we have not seen the progress I'd hoped in her stool resembling something along the middle of the Bristol stool scale.
ETA: I added a bounty to this in the hopes that somebody might answer with some more specific physiological explanations. n = 1 is a good suggestion per some of the first folks to respond, but I would like the "whys" filled in for me, too.
asked byfamilygrokumentarian (12189)
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on December 16, 2012
at 04:27 PM
If you've seen significant changes in your daughter's SPD symptoms you could let that be your guide. Introduce the "grains" the doctor has recommended slowly and carefully to see what happens. Keep a dairy so you can discuss it with the doctor. If you see an adverse response, you can back off these foods. Kids tend to respond very quickly in most cases so if she's not doing well you should know quickly and if you change her diet back it should improve quickly.
Ultimately you have to rely on your mother's intuition. NOBODY knows more about your daughter than you and you will make the best decisions for her.
on December 16, 2012
at 04:33 PM
I think everyone's gut biome is different & therefore you may need to do some trial & error.
I am intolerant to many FODMAPs, but not all, and can't do fruit, but am able to digest gluten-free breads like Udi's. (Potato & tapioca starch.)
I eat some gluten-free grains with no problem. Specifically organic nixtamalized corn tortillas & rice crackers.
on December 25, 2012
at 10:47 PM
My initial thought was to suggest supplmenting magnesium. I have read somewhere (on my tablet now, no bookmarks) that magnesium has been very helpful in correcting SPD. The only reason i could see that you were recommended those "grains" is that they have very high amounts of magnesium. Magnesium is one of the minerals that we are most deficient in and contributes to over 302 (i think, going on memory) functions in the body. They say magnesium helps to soften the stools when constipated and thickens the stool when needed -like in normal daily life. Would be worth reading more into it.
Here is a good article excerpt about magnesium.."Magnesium
Magnesium is a mineral that???s important for more than 300 enzymes to work properly and is needed for proper digestion and elimination. A magnesium deficiency causes a slower bowel emptying which leads to malabsorption and constipation and those are all contributing to gut flora problems.
Magnesium is also very important for proper and restorative sleep, vitamin D function and immune system function, three things that you want on your side when trying to heal the gut and rebuild a good gut flora.
Most people???s diets are deficient in magnesium because our soils are now deprived of magnesium and our water supplies are softened, which reduces the magnesium content.
Natural sources high in magnesium include spinach, swiss chard, halibut, chinook salmon and pumpkin seeds. If you decide to go with a supplement, I recommend taking from 200 mg to 500 mg per day in a form like magnesium citrate, chloride or glycinate, which are much better absorbed than the cheaper magnesium oxide form.http://paleodietlifestyle.com/you-and-your-gut-flora"
on December 19, 2012
at 12:25 AM
I do fine with starchy tubers and rice and certain fruits. Buckwheat and quinoa tear up my digestive system however (I am gluten intolerant) and some of the fodmaps like onion, especially raw, and apples and pears do the same. I think you just have to take it one food at a time and see what happens digestively and behaviorally.
on December 16, 2012
at 04:17 PM
I see a rather simple compromise here.
She said to ditch the fruit in favor of other carbohydrates, fruit are all like fructose and tubers are all like glucose. I don't eat fruit but I eat tubers. I also don't eat grains but I eat tubers. The advice she gave you might be relatively sound and you can see if it works with your daughter. I mean at least she isn't advising whole wheat bread or something.
But I'd ask her how she feels about potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams and other root vegetables that are starchy.
on December 16, 2012
at 08:41 PM
honestly, i think you should just test a little of the grains your doctor suggests and see what happens. it's frustrating when you follow a specific healing diet 100% and don't get the results that the plan says you should be getting. it just makes you realize how individual healing is. i have been following SCD for 4 months and still have bleeding, urgency, diarrhea- the works. i know the diet says i shouldn't have this, but i am, so i am always testing out foods that are illegal/legal and go by how i feel.