Have you heard of the paleo diet before? It has been gaining popularity over the last few years. If you are unfamiliar with it, don’t worry. We’ll go over it in detail below.
But first, I wanted to let you know that this article is apart of a series of related articles about things you can do to improve your child’s autistic symptoms. They are a mixture of diet changes, supplements, and activities that are backed by science to help alleviate some of the harsh symptoms that come with being on the spectrum.
If you’d like all these articles in a nicely designed, easy to read PDF, just click here and enter your email address and we’ll send you a copy!
The general idea of the paleo diet is that you eat what our paleolithic ancestors ate. This is where the name “paleo” diet comes from.
The theory behind the paleo diet is that because our first human ancestors appeared in Africa 1 to 2 million years ago, we went at least a million years eating mostly meat, fish, vegetables, and a little bit of fruit. This was all that was available to our ancestors before the agricultural revolution in 10,000 B.C. when we started to grow crops.
So the idea is that as we evolved slowly into the species we are today, we have spent much more time eating meat, fish, and veggies than we have eating crops like wheat and soy.
Now even the wheat we are eating today is different than the wheat our ancestors were eating 10,000 years ago. With genetically modified foods and the use of chemicals in our farming, our farmed foods aren’t the same as they were.
Another aspect of the paleo diet is that we should only be eating organic foods, since our ancestors only had organic food. Eating organic is important for us because food that isn't organic and uses compounds like Roundup have been shown to change the gut microbiome in ways that contribute to autism, depression, cancer, and more.
Also, when it comes to meat, eggs and fish, you always want to go with organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised and wild caught.
In the past articles we wrote, we looked at why improving your child’s gut bacteria can improve their autistic symptoms, why they could be extra sensitive to MSG, and how adding certain foods and supplements could improve their ability to remove toxins from their body.
Eating paleo forces you to avoid foods that hurt your gut bacteria, foods that contain MSG, and foods that support a healthy waste removal system.
Paleo is like the all-encompassing diet to hit all three of those factors for improving your child’s autistic symptoms.
However, you could simply eat ground beef 100% of the time and considered to be eating paleo. You want to make sure you don’t just eat a paleo diet and skip out on all the great protocols from the above-mentioned articles.
You can think of Paleo as the general outline and the above-mentioned protocols as details you need to fill in along the way. Doing this will give your child the best chance at improving their autistic symptoms.
The second reason I think paleo is a great option is that it's a whole diet that the entire family can do together. Since most people who switch to paleo see good results, there’s no reason for your entire family not to give it a go.
There’s actually a lot of science backing up switching to a paleo-like diet is good for most people, but since this article is specifically about why paleo is good for children with autism, I’ll stick to that. We do link to more resources below that can help.
If you do it as a whole family, your child won’t feel singled out, which will make it harder for them to follow. Also, if everyone is doing it, then you're forced to get rid of junk food and to stop buying it.
If you make your child eat paleo, but you get to eat junk food, they’ll be way more likely to sneak into the cupboard and eat your junk food, which will hurt them and impair their recovery.
Another reason I like paleo as an option as it gives you a direct reference to look for recipes. If you go to Amazon and search for paleo cookbooks, you’ll find a massive amount! On top of that if you are craving some food that isn’t paleo, you can simply Google “Paleo [food you are craving]” and you almost always find a recipe that pulls it off.
Some examples that I’ve made are:
You can start buying healthier ingredients and cooking delicious, healthy meals that won’t only make you healthier, but can have an enormous impact on your child.
Below are some resources that you can check out to further understand the paleo diet and see what kind of recipes you can start cooking up!
Websites with Paleo Recipes:
Casey Ames is the founder of Harkla.
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