Warning: If reading about poop makes you nauseated, stop reading.
Of course, if reading about poop doesn’t gross you out, there’s a good chance you’re a parent of a child with autism. And you might have seen already that there’s an actual chart of poop types. Type 1 is hard, separate and lumpy, having spent a long time in the colon. Type 7 is little more than watery mush, having spent almost no time in the colon. Apparently, the perfect poo is Type 4: smooth, unbroken–like a hot dog in the bowl.
This is the Bristol Stool Chart–and I warned you.
Logan’s stool has always registered around Type 5, “soft blobs with clear-cut edges.” Starting the BED diet rich in probiotics was supposed to firm things up a bit for him. But it hasn’t.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that as we celebrated one year of diet journeys, I wondered what other families who have had children recover from autism were doing differently than we were. This far in, I knew we should have seen something more definite, behavior-wise and poop-wise.
We took Logan to a MAPS doctor (which stands for Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs) last week to ask exactly that. We’re still waiting for lab results that analyze his stool, urine and blood for more of a complete picture, but from a quick exam, we learned a few things. Logan’s toenails are curved, or “dipped,” which indicates excessive yeast. His eyes are often underlined with dark circles, another sign that something is lacking in his diet. His ears still occasionally turn flaming red, which indicates there’s still something in the diet he doesn’t tolerate well. And his stools haven’t changed since starting the BED diet. Because of that, the doctor suggested we consider another dietary approach.
Talk about crap, I thought.
The doctor brought up the GAPS diet, saying if Logan’s bowel movements do not change with prescription-strength probiotics (which we began this week), GAPS might fill in the gaps of what we’ve been doing. The GAPS diet is roughly similar to the BED diet, in that they’re both incredibly strict and heavily push vegetables. But there are a few key differences–no chocolate with GAPS, for example.
Crap, crap, crap.
When I learned about the potential benefits of GFCF and the BED diet, I was all for trying them. I pushed and pushed until I got Jason on board. I read book after book about the topic and dived into trying to learn to cook (hence this blog). But I when think about starting again — another new diet — and I just feel all my energy slip right out of my body. I simply don’t know if I’m up for another round.
And that’s just me–who, really, doesn’t matter much. What about Logan? Could he adapt to another special diet? Could he learn again what he can and can’t eat? He’s done such an incredible job of accepting that he can’t have cake at birthday parties — what will he do if he learns he now can’t have his chocolate substitute, either?
And all this isn’t even considering the Intro Stages of GAPS. For the first phase of this diet (lasting three to five days, depending on the body’s reaction), nothing is allowed except broth. How can I give my little kid nothing but broth for a week? I feel like a crappy mother for even considering it.
And for what? Firmer poop? Will it really make a difference with his autism? If it did, is that end goal worth the misery of the journey?
I believe in recovery from autism, and I believe diet is a key component of it. But I stumble when trying to pinpoint where the line is between what’s worth it and what’s not.
Feeling: Like Sh*t