Saturday, May 21, 2011


I think most parents can understand having a picky eater.  We've all heard the stories (and told the stories) of the kid who only would eat chicken nuggets or cheez-its or pizza.  Or whatever.  Most kids go through phases like this and we get past them and move on.  A little advice from friends, a chat with the pediatrician, introducing new things, trying new recipes, sooner or later most kids outgrow these issues.

Kids with autism are a little different.  Usually when a kid with autism will only eat 5 things, it literally means 5 things.  Before we started the gluten free (casein free, soy free and yellow corn free), Mr. O literally would only eat pizza (from a pizza place), chicken nuggets (only 2 brands were acceptable), plain chicken and rice and meatballs with plain pasta.  Oh, and occasionally shrimp and crab legs.  That was it for lunch/dinner options.  Breakfast had to be waffles or pancakes.  Not as bad as the girl in his class who would only eat yogurt, but still pretty limited.  Packing lunch for school was a treat - we used to buy a pizza from the place down the street and freeze the slices for him to take to school each day, and they would have to heat it for him.  Super convenient, huh?

I never thought we could do "THE DIET."  My doctor did not encourage it.  I was overwhelmed at the idea of feeding this kid without pasta and pizza.  But we started it and I have been amazed at the changes in him.  For one thing, he has expanded his food options.  Still limited, but he is opening up all the time.  He now eats chicken and rice, shrimp, crabs, meatballs (with rice pasta) - and has added in chili (with beans!), kosher turkey hot dogs on gluten free rolls, rice and beans and most recently tacos!   I'm blogging about this because the tacos made me feel so normal.   I just saw them at Whole Foods one day last week and thought I would try them - I made them, served them and he just sat down and ate them like it was no big deal.  No slow introduction of a new food.  No screams, no tears, no begging.  He just sat down like a normal 10 year old - I said "TACOS" and he said, "Ooooh ... tacos."  And he ate four of them.  FOUR.

Feeling normal is not something that comes easily around here.  I'm kind of basking in the taco afterglow.  If you happen to see these Garden of Eatin taco shells at Whole Foods (and if your allergy kid can tolerate blue corn) - give them a try.  My other kids liked them too. 

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