Fela’s diet is based on the biomedic approach to treating autism. It involved testing for food allergies and other digestive abnormalities and adjusting the diet to suit, along with vitamin and mineral supplementation. He was under the guidance of a nutritionist trained in this approach for more than two years, and below is a summary of the information she provided:
- Vegetables and fruits contain essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to improve and maintain mental and physical health.
- Protein is needed to provide amino acids, which are the building blocks for neurotransmitters and many other key amino acids and proteins in the body.
- Fluctuations in blood sugar levels can cause irritability and difficulty concentrating, so aim for 3 meals and 3 snacks to keep blood sugar stable and prevent anxiety.
- Artificial colours and flavours can irritate some sensitive individuals, causing behavioural and other problems.
- Over the last several hundred years, wheat has been bred to greatly increase its gluten content. Gluten (in wheat, rye, barley and oats) are common food allergens, especially in children and adults with autism. Certain peptides from gluten and casein can bind to opioid receptors in the brain, and can have a potent effect on behaviour (like heroin or morphine), causing problems e.g. sleepiness, inattention/”zoning out”, and aggressive and self-injurious behaviour.
- Even small amounts, like a bite of a cookie, can cause allergic or opioid problems. Many foods have trace contamination with gluten, such as dusting French fries and raisins with wheat powder to keep them from sticking, so it can be difficult to avoid all contaminated foods.
- Commercial juices are “pasteurised” or heated to destroy bacteria, which also causes a loss of some nutrients.
- The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) or EAR (Estimated Average Requirement) is the minimum amount required to prevent disease but may be less than the amount needed for an individual’s optimal mental and physical health.
- Several studies have demonstrated that children with autism have substantial oxidative stress, suggesting either a low level of key antioxidants or an increased need for them.
- Some children with autism have low levels of beneficial bacteria, and high levels of harmful bacteria and yeast. The harmful bacteria and yeast produce toxins that can severely affect mental functioning and behaviour. Oral antibiotics often cause overgrowths of bad bacteria and yeast, and are suspected as the cause of many of the gut problems in autism.
- Sulphate is used for many functions in the body including detoxification, maintaining the lining of the gut, and hormone production. Some people with autism have a low level of sulphate in their bodies. This can be restored through Epsom salt baths and creams.
Fela was diagnosed as intolerant of gluten, dairy/casein, and is on a low sugar, artificial additive free diet.
On the whole Fela prefers spicy flavours and crunchy textures.
Deep fried foods are to be avoided, and shallow frying is to be kept to a minimum.
A steamer would be ideal to help retain as much of the nutritional content of his food. Due to limitations of storage space in the kitchen, a steamer which can be inserted in a pan, would be preferable and may need to be sourced online.
Preferably keep nuts unsalted and raw with a few exceptions e.g. slightly roasted and salted pistachios from ALDI.
Fruit: pears, apples and bananas are the staple fruit but mix it up since Fela enjoys a variety e.g. grapes, melons, pineapple, bananas, plums, mangoes etc. All his fruit can be sourced from ALDI and more exotic ones e.g. watermelon, tamarinds, lychees from FRESHWAYS.