When my son was 6 months old I fell in love with Weston Price and the traditional foods movement. I was sold and vowed to never look back. When it came time to introduce my son to foods, I stuck to my guns and shunned cereals and any other processed foods, in favor of whole foods. Soon I had my son on raw milk and homemade bread.
Then, when my son turned three, he started to have trouble. Fast forward to 4 and he was diagnosed with PANS. I went into full blown healing mode trying to clean up what might be detrimental to him in his diet. I cut out and dairy and gluten. [GFCF Diet info here]
I started diving into the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Nutritional Protocol (GAPS) diet. Quickly, I realized that it wasn’t working for us and switched over to Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). Long story short, we were years into SCD, and not only my son but also my daughter, had food sensitivities as long as you can imagine. They each had only a small handful of safe foods. It was a nightmare!
They had phenol/salicylate sensitivities, thiol sensitivities, and we were sensitive to oxalates. When you add all that together, that doesn’t leave much food left to eat.
It was then that I heard that the REID (Reduced Excitatory Inflammation Diet) really helps with healing. I was intrigued and joined the group to learn more. More importantly, one of my long time biomedical mom friends, who made me understand why my son was not doing well on GAPS, was on it and her son was making tremendous progress.
The diet works by eliminating unbound glutamate and working to balance glutamate and GABA which is calming. It increases fiber fermentation in the gut that feeds and nourishes good bacteria, therefore healing and balancing the gut.
I wanted to start it but wasn’t sure where would we begin. With all the sensitivities so many things had the potential to invite regression. So, I started with just romaine lettuce, olive oil and salt. That was pretty safe. My kids liked it, so that was at least a start.
Next, I was able to add fresh squeezed lemon juice but anything more than three times a week and I saw regression. For a long time I just lingered there.
I then saw a video of Dr. Reid talking about green smoothies and the importance of doing them. This was it!!! I thought I could get my kids to do at least some green smoothie every day. Well, I was wrong, my kids wanted them twice a day! Score! I was delighted. Immediately I saw some gains and some regression, which told me I was on the right path. I stayed with it and I am so glad that I did.
Now my kids are no longer thiol sensitive, meaning they can have broccoli and cauliflower and other similar veggies without any issues. They are no longer phenol/salicylate sensitive which means that they can have brightly colored berries without issue.
Oxalate issues are also much better. Oxalates are tiny hard substances that are high in some very healthy foods like spinach. These tiny crystal like substances can get into joints the gut and other places in the body and cause hard including kidney stones.
My kids now eat a great variety of fruits and vegetables and the more we do this diet the more I see healing taking place in them.
Some gains I saw very soon after implementing the REID diet:
- Sleep improved….it was not bad, but it became even better.
- My son used to scream in the morning. This stopped almost instantly.
- My son loved books but would almost always end up tearing the pages in a fit of rage. This stopped!
- For my daughter who has had major bowel issues, I saw gut healing with her almost right away! My son also had gut healing effects.
Interestingly, my kids now have fresh lemon juice daily without issue in their green smoothies.
For myself, I have seen my allergies almost disappear so I can personally attest to how healing this diet has been for our family.
Are you frustrated that you haven’t seen more healing in your kids with diet changes?
If so, I would encourage you to look closely at the REID diet.
Some highlights of the diet:
- This diet is heavy in vegetables, especially raw green vegetables.
- This diet is light in meat. It stresses one serving of meat only once a day. I implemented this some time before starting REID from the advice of my friend and saw good gains.
- This diet stresses the use of herbs, both culinary and other wise for healing. At this time I probably use about half a dozen herbs to a dozen herbs daily with my kids. Some are culinary, some are anti-inflammatory, and some are for gut healing.
- This diet stresses variety.
- This diet stresses no supplements or very clean supplements. This is probably the most controversial aspect of the diet. Often supplements have fillers that are inflammatory. Having a child on a good diet but giving supplements that are inflammatory can undermine much of the good the diet is doing.
To be honest, we are not completely supplement free, but I try to ensure that all our supplements are clean. In addition, I am working on lowering supplements. That said, my kids are living examples that you do not have to be supplement free to see good gains from this diet.
- This diet stresses the importance of daily green smoothies. Getting those greens into small, tiny particles allows the gut absorb them better, which promotes healing.
We have been on the REID diet for less then a year and we have made so much progress in that time, that I cannot wait to see where my kids are at in another year on this diet. Everyone is different and sometimes the diet and path to healing is different… but for our family, this will be the diet that healed when all others failed.
For more information
Please see Unblind My Mind: Improving health one bite at a time and the two videos below.
There is also an excellent blog covering all things REID! Nourished Blessings has valuable information, recipes and so much more. Be sure to check it out!