|Autism Diet and Nutrition|
The nutritional treatments have shown great success in autism treatment. They suggest for an autism diet avoiding yeast, glutens, casein and any allergens. The Chinese medical diet is determined by flavor (pungent, sweet, salty), temperature (both physical and energy quality) and action on the body. Central to the philosophy and practice of Chinese medicine, it is though that many, if not most, of our health problems are related to imbalances in our diet. Sensitivity to foods is not the cause of autism, but it does appear that certain components of foods exacerbate some of autism’s symptoms. Dietary therapy, by creating a healthy autism diet, helps patients treat illness and maintain health.
Warming foods that have been lightly cooked or steamed are beneficial for autistic people. Medicinally, warming foods warm meridians, strengthen yang, invigorate Blood, open collateral meridians and eliminate cold. A “warming” food refers to the physical temperature of food as well as its energetic properties. Dry ginger and garlic, energetically, are both warming foods – they create heat or warmth in the digestive tract.
All vegetables, particularly root vegetables are considered warming. Suggested vegetables include: acorn squash, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, pumpkins, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens, mustard greens, sweet potatoes, yams, turnips, radishes, carrots, button mushrooms and scallions. Grains such as brown rice, white rice, amaranth, millet, barley and quinoa are beneficial. Suggested legumes include lima, navy, adzuki, kidney and lentil beans. Many animal proteins such as chicken or turkey are also considered warming, but should be additive, hormone and antibiotic free.
- Cold and raw foods should be avoided in an autism diet. Heat or energy allows the digestive system to work efficiently. Cold foods have the medicinal functions of clearing heat and fire, cooling the blood and eliminating toxins. However, cold foods slow the digestive process and contribute to poor digestion. Physically cold food such as popsicles, ice cream and heavily iced drinks, as well as energetically cold food such as soy products and most fruits, should be limited.
- Eliminating damp producing foods is the way in treating autism. Excessive amounts of damp producing foods lead to the development of phlegm. Foods that produce dampness include: dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, ice-cream) sugar, peanuts or peanut butter, fruit (particularly citrus and bananas), eggs, wheat, fried or greasy foods, chilled or frozen foods and excessive amounts of soy are harmful elements of an autism diet.
- Substances to be avoided because of their potential for allergic reactions include all preservatives, food coloring, artificial flavorings and emulsifiers.