2f992ba31f9b8fe3438aca2928cf3fe9
2

Carb addiction in vegan kids?

by (60)
Updated 21 minutes ago
Created January 08, 2013 at 8:19 PM

I am a nanny to an 11-year old girl on the autism spectrum. In the past couple years, her weight has gotten out of control. She is about 4'6" and 110 lbs. Her parents are also very overweight and her dad is a very opinionated and fat-phobic 80-10-10 vegan (as of this year). Since he went vegan, she eats almost all carbs- SO MANY GRAINS. A typical day for her: sweetened oatmeal/waffles/pancakes, 1-2 cups fruit, more fruit for snack, pbj, veggies & hummus, pasta or rice dish for dinner, and some sort of dessert. She is always asking for more melon, applesauce, bagels, etc. She doesn't want to eat nuts because they are "fatty". A lot of vegan idealism in the house. I have been adding eggs and turkey sandwiches into her diet with some resistance from dad. She loves it. She and I do "exercise time" every weekday for 30 mins+. Are there any studies relating to youth, carb addiction, weight gain, or autism, that a vegan parent might be willing to consider? I strongly believe her diet has affected her weight gain, and her parents have solicited my help, but they are at this point strongly against meat-eating. As an ex-vegan, I'm hoping they will "see the light" on their own like I did.

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a
4632 · January 10, 2013 at 7:55 AM

I can totally understand that. I remember when my kid's mom explainied his pudding habit, and tried to justify it to herself by saying that "at least it is high in calcium". And the weight problem is also tough, my boy was on risperdol and a few other things that made him gain weight, and he was very self conscious about it, but active, so it never got too bad. It is a sad situation to be in, and not just with diet, but when you see parents making other less than ideal choices. Have you been with the family for long? Toxic dads are hard, when mines came around, he only caused problems for him.

2f992ba31f9b8fe3438aca2928cf3fe9
60 · January 09, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Food is definitely a sensitive subject and I try not to even go there unless my input is clearly asked for. The irony is, her dad is openly critical of my diet, saying I've fallen off the "vegan wagon" while he eats all these soy and gluten "meats". They even told her i am going to get fat on the paleo diet. (Im 135 and 12% body fat, getting even leaner.) So they see my approach working with myself and with her, but it doesn't fit in the vegan paradigm.

2f992ba31f9b8fe3438aca2928cf3fe9
60 · January 09, 2013 at 6:02 PM

Thanks ruby. She does love veggies, particularly "sweet" ones like lettuce, peas, carrots. I load it up. It is a good starting point. I just don't know how far that is going to take her when she is eating so many grains.

2f992ba31f9b8fe3438aca2928cf3fe9
60 · January 09, 2013 at 5:58 PM

Thanks for sharing. Her therapist also follows a paleo diet, and there has always been friendly conversation about it from all three of us. I'm considered part of the family. They've asked me to help her manage her weight and I now make two meals a day for her, so I'm doing what I can. Making sandwiches on one piece of bread, adding flax to her oats and just subtly changing the proportions of her meals. Theyre happy with the progress so far. Shes not my child and I'd never tell parents how to parent. It is just sad watching her eat like this while they're puzzled by her weight gain.

532cfd279d793e8fcc23b9f6d91dde5c
1981 · January 08, 2013 at 11:22 PM

That poor little girl

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a
4632 · January 08, 2013 at 10:41 PM

+1 - food is so personal, and I know so many people who think that paleo is some sort of heart attach diet. When I nannied in college, I saw a lot of family ads asking for vegetarian or vegan nannies only, probably for the same reason.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f
8004 · January 08, 2013 at 10:21 PM

I think I'm gonna cry...

197651282ddd8d675b974ee811d2269e
1826 · January 08, 2013 at 9:13 PM

Gluten free isn't the same as grain free. A lot of gluten free packaged products are higher carb and worse for blood sugar balance. I, too, gained weight on gluten free when I was first diagnosed with celiac. Must cut out all grains, starchs, and fruits for at least a month to see weight loss.

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd
4111 · January 08, 2013 at 8:52 PM

He probably did gluten-free with lots of sugar. A lot of gluten-free products have added sugar and raise bloods sugar even more than wheat. So he really should go low carb first. Than work on paleo. But I doubt you will be able to convince him.

Total Views
744

Recent Activity
363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

Last Activity
42D AGO

Followers
0

Get Free Paleo Recipes Instantly

9 Answers

best answer

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a
3
4632 · January 08, 2013 at 10:38 PM

I have to agree with miked on this one. I nannied for a boy on the autism spectrum (severe end) and with a number of other neurological issues back when I was in college. This was a single mother family who was a busy professional and had been used to giving into the cravings of her son. When I arrived, he was living on chocolate pudding cups (like 6 a day), fruit gummies, cake, frozen french toast, fake maple syrup and breakfast sausages. The sausages were the only meat he would eat, otherwise it was mushy, sweet, processed foods. I wasn't paleo back then, but I knew what he was eating was not healthy.

I read the same books and magazines that the mom read, and we discussed diet a bit, but I could tell that it was a sensitive subject. She had a lot going on, her husband basically abandoned them after they learned that their adopted son had all of these issues. There were no restrictions (like vegan or 80-10-10) so I bought groceries to fit into meals I had planned, and they both loved it. It was still SAD in that there was bread at every meal, but clean SAD, with lots of meats and fats added in, as the mother really liked decadent food, and fat was welcome in the home, but it was just a natural transition.

Anyway, I've been there and have seen it, but I never felt comfortable pushing the mom on putting him on some super strict diet, though she acknowledged the existence of these diets on her own. In fact, I am not into pushing diet on anyone, though I offer helpful suggestions if someone asks. It is really personal. I would let it go, and just do what the parents want, it seems like it would be a hassle for you and possibly annoying for them. If the turkey sandwiches stick, then consider that a win.

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a
4632 · January 10, 2013 at 7:55 AM

I can totally understand that. I remember when my kid's mom explainied his pudding habit, and tried to justify it to herself by saying that "at least it is high in calcium". And the weight problem is also tough, my boy was on risperdol and a few other things that made him gain weight, and he was very self conscious about it, but active, so it never got too bad. It is a sad situation to be in, and not just with diet, but when you see parents making other less than ideal choices. Have you been with the family for long? Toxic dads are hard, when mines came around, he only caused problems for him.

2f992ba31f9b8fe3438aca2928cf3fe9
60 · January 09, 2013 at 5:58 PM

Thanks for sharing. Her therapist also follows a paleo diet, and there has always been friendly conversation about it from all three of us. I'm considered part of the family. They've asked me to help her manage her weight and I now make two meals a day for her, so I'm doing what I can. Making sandwiches on one piece of bread, adding flax to her oats and just subtly changing the proportions of her meals. Theyre happy with the progress so far. Shes not my child and I'd never tell parents how to parent. It is just sad watching her eat like this while they're puzzled by her weight gain.

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73
6
20908 · January 08, 2013 at 9:50 PM

I don't think this is something you want to get into as a nanny. I (well my wife) spent a bunch of time looking for nannies that would respect and understand our paleo approach to feeding our little guy. I wouldn't stand for any nanny giving me vegetarian literature or trying in anyway to change his diet. They would be immediately fired and get negative references from me forever. As a nanny, your job really is to keep the kid alive and do what the parents want.

2f992ba31f9b8fe3438aca2928cf3fe9
60 · January 09, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Food is definitely a sensitive subject and I try not to even go there unless my input is clearly asked for. The irony is, her dad is openly critical of my diet, saying I've fallen off the "vegan wagon" while he eats all these soy and gluten "meats". They even told her i am going to get fat on the paleo diet. (Im 135 and 12% body fat, getting even leaner.) So they see my approach working with myself and with her, but it doesn't fit in the vegan paradigm.

363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a
4632 · January 08, 2013 at 10:41 PM

+1 - food is so personal, and I know so many people who think that paleo is some sort of heart attach diet. When I nannied in college, I saw a lot of family ads asking for vegetarian or vegan nannies only, probably for the same reason.

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d
2
12540 · January 08, 2013 at 9:06 PM

Actually, there has been a great deal of success with ketogenic diets (80% or more fat, 10% or less carbohydrate) in managing autism-spectrum disorder. Here are several journal articles. I would encourage the parents (or you) to hit your local library to request copies of these to actually read the studies. Ketogenic diets started out as a low-side-effect option for managing epilepsy, but over the years, the relationship between saturated fat intake (in particular, including liberal consumption of cholesterol) and brain health have been scientifically documented.

In fact, just this year there was a early abstract at one of the conferences I attended discussing turning around early-onset Alzheimers and Parkinsons with a high-saturated-fat, ketogenic diet!

Application of a Ketogenic Diet in Children With Autistic Behavior: Pilot Study J Child Neurol February 2003 vol. 18 no. 2 113-118

The Ketogenic Diet: One Decade Later Pediatrics March 1, 2007 119: 535-543

The Ketogenic Diet ICAN: Infant, Child, & Adolescent Nutrition 2010; 2:6 370-376

A Ketone Ester Diet Increases Brain Malonyl-CoA and Uncoupling Proteins 4 and 5 while Decreasing Food Intake in the Normal Wistar Rat J. Biol. Chem. 2010; 285:34 25950-25956

Experience in the Use of the Ketogenic Diet as Early Therapy James E. Rubenstein, MD; Eric H. Kossoff, MD; Paula L. Pyzik, BS; Eileen P.G. Vining, MD; Jane R. McGrogan, RD; John M. Freeman, MD J Child Neurol. 2005; 20 (1): 31-34

Branched Chain Amino Acids as Adjunctive Therapy to Ketogenic Diet in Epilepsy: Pilot Study and Hypothesis J Child Neurol 2009; 24:10 1268-1272

6df687f771c8c3bbf2c37b2333645991
2
158 · January 08, 2013 at 8:34 PM

I'd get some research together on the role of gluten in autism spectrum disorders and see if they would be willing to read it. There was recently an article I read which not only talked about the impact of gluten on the author's child, but also she talked about how before she saw it in action, so to speak, she thought people who were gluten free were just trying to be trendy, etc. I think the gluten is really going to be a bigger problem for this kid than the lack of meat - maybe they'd be willing to start there. Wow, what a tough situation. I wish you the best of luck. Here is the article: http://www.anchoragepress.com/news/the-gluten-made-her-do-it-how-going-gluten-free/article_39e2478e-4585-11e2-a80c-0019bb2963f4.html

7efe820ea2b10a1d2a78977ce7a4f215
1
348 · January 08, 2013 at 11:40 PM

That's not even healthy from a vegan perspective. Adding more whole foods seems like it would be a really good starting place that wouldn't interfere with her parents' ideals.

2f992ba31f9b8fe3438aca2928cf3fe9
60 · January 09, 2013 at 6:02 PM

Thanks ruby. She does love veggies, particularly "sweet" ones like lettuce, peas, carrots. I load it up. It is a good starting point. I just don't know how far that is going to take her when she is eating so many grains.

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986
1
11683 · January 08, 2013 at 8:23 PM

From the little I know, sounds like the worst diet for someone with autism.

1b247b3ca673cb9a5c547c69d490de8f
0
237 · January 08, 2013 at 9:07 PM

With parents permission take the child to her pediatrician and have a non sad diet done up for her. My doctors office has a dietitian tied to it and she is a whole foods diet believer. Have the doctor give the parents reading material. Always helps soothe over nonbelievers when it comes from what they consider professionals. Not that your not but us dietitians get treated like chiropractors do.

055adc76d4c8b93fb4d5d0996778ad05
0
10 · January 08, 2013 at 9:06 PM

You may want to look into ketogenic diets and autism. There was a study that seemed to show a link: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201104/autism-and-ketogenic-diets

There seems to be a lot of literature on ketogenic diets improving many brain related disorders.

Also, ketogenic diets work really really well at getting rid of fat. Although, I can't speak for its long term effects on health.

2f992ba31f9b8fe3438aca2928cf3fe9
0
60 · January 08, 2013 at 8:42 PM

I should also mention, dad mentioned they tried gluten free (I'm guessing only a couple of weeks), and he said they noticed no difference and he gained weight. I'm hoping they'd reconsider and try that or an elimination diet for a period of time. She eats so much wheat. I used to bake at a gluten free bakery and knew many families whose children benefitted dramatically from GF. It seems obvious to me that gluten should be the first thing to go when it comes to autism.

197651282ddd8d675b974ee811d2269e
1826 · January 08, 2013 at 9:13 PM

Gluten free isn't the same as grain free. A lot of gluten free packaged products are higher carb and worse for blood sugar balance. I, too, gained weight on gluten free when I was first diagnosed with celiac. Must cut out all grains, starchs, and fruits for at least a month to see weight loss.

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd
4111 · January 08, 2013 at 8:52 PM

He probably did gluten-free with lots of sugar. A lot of gluten-free products have added sugar and raise bloods sugar even more than wheat. So he really should go low carb first. Than work on paleo. But I doubt you will be able to convince him.

Answer Question

Login to Your PaleoHacks Account