FAS Treatment Part II
As far as treatment for FAS, I used a three pronged program including:
Diet. The Family Hope Center , a center dedicated to helping children with special needs and developmental delays, recommends a gluten-free diet. I re-evaluated our eating and begun to eliminate even more simple carbs. Two of the Guire family now eat gluten free. Years ago, I decided on a course of action to add live foods the adopted children. Live foods- meaning in the most natural form-raw. Apples instead of apple pie. Potatoes instead of potato chips. Raw carrots instead of cooked.
“Basically, raw food (sometimes called live or living food) is food that has not been cooked or exposed to temperatures over 118°F. At that temperature, the natural enzymes in food are completely destroyed. Enzymes are essential for all the chemical processes in your body, especially digestion. In addition, nutrients are chemicals, and when these chemicals are heated it causes chemical reactions – just like in your high school chemistry class – the higher the heat, the more volatile, or destructive, the chemical reactions.”
(Read more here.)
The nutrition in the orphanage tended to be poor, only due to the inability to purchase large amounts of quality food. My game plan became to serve as much food as I could in live form-fruits and veggies are always purchased no matter what the food budget happens to be. These items are more important than empty calorie potato chips, crackers and other junk.
What kinds of things do we eat? We avoid (as much as possible) prepackaged foods. Homemade is always better. It tastes better and the body is able to process it. Teresa Tapp, author of Fit and Fabulous in Fifteen Minutes, reminds us to eat God made foods (foods in their most natural form) because that is what our bodies are designed to digest and assimilate.
Too much sugar in a FAS child can give them a pseudo drunk experience. Why? Alcohol turns to sugar in the body. Watch a FAS child following the day his sugar ‘high’, he will have a ‘hangover’ reaction, dark circles under his eyes, emotional, head-achy, he craves more sugar, is more sensitive to noises, lights and sudden movements, and unable to focus.
Mondays have traditionally called hangover days in my household. Weekend events, especially Sunday morning donut- classes provide too much sugar for my FAS children. The aftermath is two days of recovery and brain fog.
Juice is full of sugar, therefore it is only served in moderation, a small juice glass at breakfast is enough. We drink water for the rest of the day, with some occasional glasses of milk. FAS children have a difficult time reading their bodies’s signals and more often than not may walk around slightly dehydrated. Soda and tea both are diuretics and drain the body of vital fluids. In some extreme cases, parents need to measure water to make sure a child is hydrated. The brain and organs need water in order to function properly!
The most important issue in feeding your child is to examine their nutritional needs and go from there. Have they been lacking in protein? Complex carbs? Have they been fed refined sugar and foods with no real nutritional value?
Rafal was born with a cleft palate and the orphanage staff had a difficult time getting food into him. When he came home to us, I began using my food processor to puree whatever we were eating, so that he could eat it too. He began to gain weight immediately.
My children don’t always agree with the eating plan prescribed, but they don’t have too. Take the authority given to you as a parent and parent. My kids still do not jump up and down with joy when I require them to add some salad to their plates or enjoy every green smoothie recipe. When they are away from the home, I am sure they consume their weight in potato chips and cookies. I make home made muffins and energy bites to compensate for sugar cravings. A little grace goes a long way. Legalism will only push the child into a search and hide sweets pattern. What is eaten at home should be varied and occasional ‘food parties’ will not kill the overall strategy. The more live and God made foods served to the child, the better. Build those nutritional blocks when you can instead of throwing up your hands and giving up because the family ate junk food all week end!