Phenol Addiction

October 29, 2008

Oh dear, oh dear. I have finally found a minute to get back to my research and it’s not looking good for Mr. Gavin. The TACA (Talk About Curing Autism) site has been my go to place every time I have a question/issue. Since I’ve been feeling like some regression has been taking place, I wanted to see what I could find out. There’s an article titled “What is It? When Something Is Going On, Strange Behaviors, A Plateau, An Old Self Stims”. Long title, but that’s just what I was looking for. In it, there’s a checklist of things that could possibly be causing some of the old tendencies. Phenol overload caught my eye.

Phenols, salicylates and additives are a problem that typically needs to be addressed after the Gluten Free / Casein Free (GCFC) diet has been started. Generally it is recommended to address foods high in phenols or salicylates, and additives about 2-6 months after you start a GFCF or other similar diet.

Phenols are a unique properties that can be high or low in foods. The higher level of phenols found in food seems affect children on the autistic spectrum or individuals with sensitive guts or immune systems. In addition, salicylates and additives can also have a negative affect and in many cases these need to be avoided all together.

It is important to note that almost all foods have phenols, just some have more phenols than others, and a child with PST has trouble processing them, so you want to reduce the HIGHLY phenolic foods so the child’s body does not get overloaded in trying to process the phenols it is getting anyway.

People who eat a large quantities of phenolic foods or foods containing salicylates or additives can experience some of these negative side affects:

  • laughing at in appropriate time (at night or when something is not funny.)
  • strange rashes that appear on the body
  • erratic behaviors and moods
  • self stimulatory behaviors
  • night wakenings
  • have a difficult time with their stools (with constipation, diarrhea or undigested foods.)
  • headaches

So, reading through the above list, Gav has every one of those issues right now (maybe not headaches, but I’m not sure since he doesn’t usually say what hurts-he just screams). That would also explain his seemingly obsessive desire for apples lately. I thought it was a good thing-what a healthy snack! Looks like he has a phenol addiction and is feeding his addiction with apples. He had 3 today.

Wow. I just can’t win. I think I’m on track and doing well with this whole diet thing and turns out, what he’s eating is STILL harming his body. I also began menu/grocery planning to begin the Specific Carb Diet in the next 2 weeks so hopefully we’ll see some positive results. To be completely honest, I’m deathly afraid of starting this for some reason. I know we’ve already eliminated a lot of the problem foods already, but for some reason I can’t seem to put one foot in front of the other to make this happen. I keep giving myself a time frame for a start date and it keeps getting pushed back. I’m sure it’s not as hard as it seems, the GF/CF wasn’t that bad. I just can’t wrap my head around changing everything AGAIN.

3 Responses to “Phenol Addiction”

  1. bethany aaaarganbright said

    wow. so much for you to deal with. i can’t imagine, so i’ll just pray for you instead.

  2. Emily said

    You can totally do this Em! I know you have everything you need to take care of your boy. One foot and then the other. There are a couple diets I’ve heard of that totally address these problems. But, here again…it’s something new. I’m so sorry this is so stressful. It does seem that you are on the right track, doesn’t it? It’s amazing that you find exactly what you need when you need it! I will pray that God will continue to show you the right information and that he would eliminate confusion and give you the strength to figure this out. You try one thing…if it doesn’t work you try the next. We have to do that here too!

  3. Jennifer said

    You can do it – I know, I was overwhelmed when I started the family on it. If it helps, just swap out one high phenol food with something else the first week so you aren’t swapping it all at the same time. It was hard for me to stop buying my organic bag of apples – they were such an easy, healthy snack and they were great to have on hand. I felt almost ticked off that I couldn’t have normal food around..again!

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