Yesterday we made another visit to Back2Basics at Telok Blangah to get Rayyan's favourite pancakes premix and cakes. As mentioned in my earlier post, we try our best to control Rayyan's diet. When I first found out about Rayyan's condition and started reading on autism, I realised that almost every autism book that I read advocates GFCF (gluten-free, casein-free) diet. It is not medically proven that GFCF diet improves autism but many parents have vouched that after they switched their child's diet to GFCF, they see instant improvements! Improvements such as the child being more responsive, less hyper, some even started talking and many more! Some are not immediate improvements but these parents believed that GFCF diet played a huge role in the differences they see in their children.
So we decided to give GFCF a shot. It was really hard at first. Gluten-free means the child has to forgo any food that is made of wheat and grains, that means no food made of flour such as biscuits, breads, cakes, etc. Pasta has to be avoided too. Casein-free means the child has to forgo food that contains milk... yes, no milk! It was difficult because before we started on GFCF diet, Rayyan loved eating bread and biscuits and Rayyan loved drinking milk!! Another concern was that, we were afraid that this diet would affect Rayyan's health. As a toddler, he needs proper nutrition and we don't want him to grow up feeble and sickly.
So, before we embarked on GFCF, we searched for calcium supplement to ensure he has enough calcium after we remove milk from his diet. Apart from that, we also give him multi-vitamins. We had to ensure that these supplements are GFCF too. Btw, we can actually substitute his milk (he was drinking Gain IQ that point in time) with soy milk or other casein-free milk. Well, we tried but Rayyan hated other forms of milk! Refused to take more than a sip! I tried these other milk too and understand totally why Rayyan hated them, they tasted... blearghhh!! In the end, we had to rely on the supplement and other calcium-rich food.
And well, it was really, really difficult at first. We removed milk gradually and it was heart-wrenching to see him going to the kitchen time and again, searching for his milk. We had to divert his attention and provided other forms of food that are GFCF. Removing gluten was equally hard. He was always looking for his favourite bread, favourite biscuits, favourite curry puffs.. We hated the fact that we had to torture him like this... Other toddlers are all enjoying different kinds of food, eating all kinds of sweets, ice-cream... but Rayyan's diet was totally controlled. It was really, really difficult for us but we kept telling ourselves that it is for his own good.
Anyway, after a while, it got better and more manageable. Especially after we found shops that provide GFCF food such as Back 2 Basics at Telok Blangah and Brown Rice Paradise at Tanglin Mall and Siglap Centre. There are many GFCF food at these shops... GFCF biscuits, GFCF breads, rice pasta, etc. But of course everything comes with a price! These GFCF food definitely cost more, sometimes twice or three times more!
So, is it worth all the effort and money? Well, we must say that we don't see much or any drastic changes in Rayyan. We do realise that he is more responsive and less hyper (although he is still very hyper now) after the diet so I guess slight changes is better than no changes! Apart from that, we must also admit that we can get pretty lax at times. This is especially so when we are outside, at a friend's or relative's house. It is so difficult to hide his vision from all these gluten-laden food and to avoid him from throwing any tantrums, we let him take a bite here and there and realise that we need to clear his system all over again. And yes, I have read that it usually takes six months to clear gluten out of our system!
Nevertheless, we shall continue with this diet and continue to persevere and continue to hope that it brings on greater changes and improvements in our boy...
'Back 2 Basics Alternative Diet' shop all the way at Telok Blangah...
Rayyan holding on to his favourite GFCF cake bought at the shop.
$12.50 for a box of 6 cakes. Before Rayyan was on GFCF diet, we bought him Polar Puffs cakes which cost about $1 each...
Another favourite... pancakes! No more McDonald's pancakes for him but we are glad that these are really nice too!
Rayyan helping me with the pancake mix :)
If you want to know more about the shops I mentioned, you can check out these websites..http://www.b2bdiet.com.sg
I am definitely not helping them to promote their shops but just want to help those who are looking for shops that sell GFCF food :)