Thursday, September 30, 2010

Now what? Oxalates!

I'm trying, I really am.  With Grayson's continued bloating episodes (although they have been MUCH better with the homeopathy) we decided to give the LOD (low oxalate diet) a shot.  Heck, we have been through so many "diets" and restrictions, what's one more, right?  WRONG!  This one is NO fun I tell ya, no fun!  If you thought baking with no gluten and casein was rough, you should see what it's like to bake with pumpkin seed "flour", sunflower seed "flour" and coconut flour.  In fact, I don't even think these "foods" deserve the name flour, they are meals, pasty, ground-up seed meals that I am trying to turn into tasty replacements for our breads, pancakes, crackers, cookies....did I say I am not having fun, because I'M NOT!!!  Grains are pretty much ALL out now.

Why are we doing this?  Well, when we did an OAT (organic acid test) on Grayson, he showed VERY high oxalates, high enough to suggest having a disorder called Primary Hyperoxaluria, although he didn't have the other markers that would suggest him having this genetic disorder. So at the time, we knew we had to remove gluten and casein plus 23 other IgG offending foods, oh and plus most simple carbs.  When we reviewed the oxalate list, it didn't overlap much, so we were forced to put the low oxalate diet on hold while we healed his gut by removing his offending foods.  We just couldn't do everything at once. 

Fast forward almost two years and we are seeing signs that his gut is healing.  We have been able to reintroduce many of the foods he had to avoid in the past without a problem, but oddly, the bloating has continued to be one of our bigger issues.  He starts every morning with a flat tummy and by dinner or bedtime, he is bloated like a pregnant woman!  This tells me that it is something he is eating or encountering every day.  Or it could be the constant balancing act with his dysbiotic gut flora.  I have recently noticed though, that the symptoms aren't pointing in that direction, so we are leaning more towards the foods.  Since he is doing so much better with most foods, we thought we would give the LOD a try, why not, right?  In the meantime, we can hope that the homeopathy will address the very void that causes this problem.  No harm in helping that along though.

I have never met a diet so hard to follow!!  Most of the foods we were eating on the raw foods diet are non-nos on the LOD!  GRRRRR  No nuts or grains, most veggies have to be boiled to reduce their oxalates, carrots, spinach and chard are samples of veggies that are avoided completely.  So all these fabulous recipes I have found, and all these great snacks I thought I was making, could all be contributing to a worsening of symptoms.  (sigh)  I still plan to try to make as many raw foods as this diet will allow with oats, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.  I don't go down easy!!

So far today I have experimented with pancakes and bread.....I am not smiling, nor do I like the way my kitchen smells.  The thoughts of baking with coconut flour conjured up thoughts of these fabulous aromas and buttery sweet flavors...nope.  For some reason, a LOT of eggs are used in these recipes, maybe to help them rise, I don't know yet, but the pancakes, or better yet, I should call them souffle cakes, because they were like boring, fluffy (almost gag me fluff), eggy, smelly pancakes!!  Gavin gobbled them up and wanted more, so I guess that is good, but Grayson hasn't tried them yet.  All I know is if someone handed me a piping hot plate of these smelly bland egg-cakes, I would barf!  Seriously!  I couldn't get past the bite I tried, then I sweetened more, added more coconut flour, still nasty.  Sorry LODers, I am just having SUCH a hard time with this.

So now I have a "bread" cooling on the stove, many of the same ingredients, but quite lower egg to flour ratio, so I am hopeful.  I will keep trying, because if my boys' health depends on it, we will find a way, but I am not sure how yet, lol.  They will need to live on pumpkin seed pancakes, ha ha ha.  Those were actually pretty darn tasty, just VERY hard to flip while cooking.

Ok, wish me luck, I am going to check out my new bread.  And for additional reading, here is some more information on the LOD and why it's recommended for many kids with ASDs.


Anonymous said...

where do you get your information about the oxalate content of foods? i can't seem to find an authoritative source. some say oats are bad, some say ok. same for sunflower seeds and many other things i'd like to eat.

great blog, btw, thanks for posting it.

Jessica said...

The best source of oxalate info is Susan Owens who has spear headed the most recent research for the past 15 years. She is part of the Autism One Thinktank group. You can join her group on Yahoo called Trying Low Oxalates. Just be careful with some of the info presented there. While she is wonderful regarding oxalates and their effect on health, she doesn't cross-reference her data with the info regarding those who are mercury toxic. For instance, she recommends taking Alpha Lipoic Acid as a powerful antioxidant supplement, but for those who are mercury toxic (and many with these issues are) doing so would cause significant damage, ESPECIALLY if the person still has metal in the mouth! Alpha Lipoic Acid crosses the blood brain barrier and it mobilizes mercury.

So she is invaluable for the diet and she offers a wealth of pwerful information, she also has the latest data on tested foods.

Regarding oxalate values in food, it's important to note that oxalate numbers are highly effected by the environmental conditions it's grown in, so it is possible/probable for foods to have different results in testing, when those factors vary.