When someone has a health condition, they naturally move to do whatever they can to improve the condition or alleviate symptoms. They would listen to a doctor’s advice and might even take medication to help out. In fact, they might even take further steps to help their health such as cutting caffeine out of their diet or exercising more.
Just like any other condition, though, individuals who place on the autism spectrum can find some relief in certain life changes. Many individuals with some form of autism, for example, employ some form of therapy and use sensory tools. However, what about diet? If you introduce a vegan diet into your home, will it help your autistic child? In this article, we are going to take a close look at the effect of a vegan diet on autism.
Is There Risk in Trying A New Diet?
The first thing to consider about any potential treatment for any medical condition is if it poses a potential risk. So, if you try to implement a certain diet, is there any risk that is posed to the autistic individual?
At the end of the day, no. Just like anyone else, someone who places on the autism spectrum can live healthy lives with a special diet such as a vegetarian or gluten-free one. That is, of course, with the condition that the diet is balanced properly. As such, if you give your autistic child a vegan or vegetarian diet, you would need to make sure they still get the protein they need even without the presence of red meat.
You should also, of course, be careful of any food allergies and food sensitivities that you or your child have when you are planning out meals to match up with the new diet you are trying.
What Is A Vegan Diet?
When you are looking into a new diet to potentially treat autism spectrum disorder, you need to know exactly what you are getting into. If someone eats a vegan diet, this means that they don’t consume any animal products.
Much like someone who is vegetarian, vegans do not eat meat. However, they also cut out animal products such as milk and cheese. This might take some research to really get the hang of. For example, did you know gummy bears aren’t vegan? Luckily, you have a handy ingredient label on every product that you purchase so you can quickly reference whether the food in question fits your diet. If you really aren’t sure where to start, there are plenty of online resources for vegan recipes and ideas as to what you should start stocking your fridge and pantry with to keep your family happy with their new diet.
If you are particularly worried about making sure that your child is getting all the nutrients that they need, you can talk to a professional. Most of the time, your regular pediatrician will be able to give you tips on transitioning to and maintaining a healthy diet. A dietician, though, will be able to go over the reality of a vegan diet with you in more detail and even help you with ideas as to what your child can eat and will enjoy.
Does A Vegan Diet Really Help?
So, we know that a vegan diet isn’t harmful to anyone who places on the autism spectrum or otherwise so long as the diet is properly and safely implemented. But it comes down to one big question: is it worth your time? Will you or your autistic child actually get anything out of trying to adapt to a new vegan diet? Unfortunately, there isn’t much research on vegan diets in particular.
One idea that ties into the idea of veganism and autism, though, is a dairy-free diet. When parents put their children on a dairy-free or completely vegan diet, many reported seeing positive changes in their child, especially in their behavior. In all fairness, though, the results seen by others were a little different. Many doctors don’t give a whole lot of credit to the effect of a vegan diet much credit. Other people who saw autistic children regularly reported that they saw little change in the child’s behavior or that the child’s change was short-lived. So, does that mean that a vegan diet is no use? Well, yes and no. While some children saw little to no improvement under a vegan diet, some other individuals with autism or their parents claim the diet worked wonders. At the end of the day, though, it comes back to the idea that not everything works for everyone but it doesn’t hurt to try.