I’m not sure why it bothers or surprises me but up until Jude went out for dinner with his father this evening, he had eaten an entirely gluten free diet for a week. My intentions were to give him a totally gluten free diet for a month and then see if there is an improvement in his emotional well being, his concentration and just his whole entity. But I can’t. Because his father won’t cooperate.
How can I get around this? I have no idea but rather than dwelling on what I can’t do, I will focus on what I can.
Jude is a fruit bat at heart – give him a bowl of fruit over anything any day and he’s a happy boy.
I have started giving Jude an Omega 3 capsule every day and today, bought some magnesium and B vitamin supplements. I wouldn’t normally agree with supplements but Jude’s eating isn’t great at times and can be very repetitive so I wanted to make sure he is getting what he needs.
I think I’m mildly obsessed with essential fatty acids; perhaps it’s because being a vegan I’m used to people scrutinising what I eat but not only that, being a vegan means I am incredibly aware of vitamins, minerals and fats that we need to function properly. It annoys me to my core that we are told to eat fish for ESAs all the time because as I mentioned a couple of days ago, despite never hearing about this from experts, we get ours from sea plant algae.
I have been reading quite a lot about ESA and learning disabilities and saw this cracker of a statement today:
“Deficiencies in essential fats are common in people with autism. Research by Dr Gordon Bell at Stirling University has shown that some autistic children have an enzymatic defect that removes essential fats from brain cell membranes more quickly than it should. This means that an autistic child is likely to need a higher intake of essential fats than the average. And it has been found that supplementing EPA, which can slow the activity of the defective enzyme, has clinically improved behaviour, mood, imagination, spontaneous speech, sleep patterns and focus of autistic children.” (http://www.foodforthebrain.org/nutrition-solutions/autism/about-autism.aspx)
Seriously, Jude can have ESA for breakfast, lunch and dinner if it means he’ll be less annoying at times!! Isn’t the body incredible though? How the body can just remove essential fats faster than normal for no apparent reason.
For non-fish eaters, it is common for people to take supplements or perhaps put linseed oil, flaxseed oil or even walnuts into their food as a form of ESA however, this doesn’t contain the DHA or EPA chain that is vital for brain and eye development. *Here’s me with my geek hat on*
Plant based essential fats such as canola, flaxseeds, linseeds and soybeans form the AHA chain which is the shortest and therefore the simplest form of ESA. To be beneficial, it is much simpler to take a sea plant (or fish!) version of essential fats so that’s why I choose our plant algae as a basis and then add to this by putting seeds in our porridge at breakfast, and using flaxseed oil in pastas and salads, etc. I’m not saying we are perfect at this in any way but this is the ideal!
Here is a brief description of each chain:
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)
DHA is a long chain omega-3 fatty acid important for brain and eye development and function throughout life. It also supports heart health. DHA is the most abundant omega-3 in the brain and retina and is naturally found in breast milk.
Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)
EPA is a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid important for overall health. However, unlike DHA, the body does not store EPA in significant quantities in the brain or retina (DHA is found in every cell throughout the body, EPA is not).
Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA)
ALA, an essential fatty acid (EFA), is a shorter-chain omega-3 that serves as a source of energy and as a building block for long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA)
So there we have it…my current nutritional obsession in a (wal)nut shell. I will report back on if I see any change in Jude after a month or so. Fingers crossed!