Tag Archives: picky eaters

Emma and Food

I have been keeping a chart of the new foods Emma has tried these past six days.  To date she has sampled:  pear, banana, apple, blueberry, raspberry, watermelon, honeydew melon, papaya, raisin, dried apricot, homemade granola, oatmeal with banana and raisins, chicken, (catfish, kale – totally pushing my luck last night with those two)  and the piece de resistance – vegetable frittata!  To date her favorites are watermelon, pear, banana, apple, raisin, chicken and the frittata.

I am also reading the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) by Natasha Campbell-McBride.  It is a diet created by Dr.Campbell-McBride who “healed” her own son diagnosed with autism.  It is a daunting proposition, which requires one to forego almost all foods (saving a meat broth which one is suppose to consume every 30 minutes or so) for a few days to several weeks in order to allow the gut to heal before slowly introducing easily digested foods until eventually the child is able to eat a wide range of foods.   This diet is so draconian in the beginning, it makes going gluten and casein free look like a picnic.   Still I continue to do my research.  I guess you either have to laugh or cry.  I’m going with laughter at the moment.  Tears to follow, I’m sure.

Over the long weekend we took the children to the New York Botanical Gardens.  It was in the 80’s and gorgeous.

The Haunted Pumpkin Garden

The “Herb” Garden

As delightful and creative as these pumpkins were, Emma was much more concerned with getting on the tram that runs through the grounds of the Botanical Gardens.

“She loves various modes of transportation,” Richard observed when we finally secured four seats on the tram.

Yup.  That’s our Emma.

For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to:   www.EmmasHopeBook.com


Emma holds an uncanny resemblance to a fictitious children’s book character.

Okay, so we haven’t gotten the whole handstand-on-the-handlebars thing down yet, but I’m sure that’ll be next.

Merlin watches and waits.

He just cannot help himself.

Food update:  Emma ate a blueberry last night.  This morning – one blueberry, (not her favorite) a slice of apple, a slice of pear and a piece of banana!

After eating all of that she said, “No more medicine.”

I’ve got my work cut out for me.

For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism and our attempts to help her, go to: www.EmmasHopeBook.com

Emma and Food

I’ve written about this before – Emma’s limited diet.  It’s self-imposed.   As her parent and someone who struggled with an eating disorder for 22 years, I have been reluctant to get too involved in her food other than to make a few half-hearted attempts to offer her other foods I thought she might like.  By the way, Nic, her older brother eats a wide range of foods, even eating a curried rice with cauliflower and chickpeas dish I made the other night, without complaint.  (He was being a good sport, I know.)

When we first received Emma’s diagnosis I immediately put her on a gluten free/casein free diet as so many families found it helped their child.  Some even found their child lost their diagnosis after going on it.   We had her on the diet for more than three months and saw her lose 10% of her body weight with no other noticeable change.  At the time we were working with a DAN (Defeat Autism Now) doctor, who specialized in allergies and nutrition.  During that time she became even pickier about what she’d eat and by the time we took her off of the diet, she was eating soy yogurt and scrambled eggs, shunning “good” foods she once ate, such as vegetables, chicken or fish.  Years later someone told me that soy is another food to be avoided and that may have been the reason we saw no change.  All these years later, I still wonder whether we did the diet wrong, if we’d removed all soy products, perhaps we would have seen some significant change.

A friend of mine suggested the GAPS diet, created by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride who “fully recovered” her own child with her diet.  The problem is, there isn’t a single thing allowed on this diet that Emma currently eats.  In addition it is a labor intensive diet, requiring one to make homemade condiments – such as mayonnaise, ketchup, etc as well as yogurt.  BUT – I am still willing to look into it and have purchased the book describing the diet as well as the cookbook with various recipes.  (Richard is groaning as he reads this as he no doubt is remembering the fanaticism with which I tackled the GFCF diet.)

Before I even contemplate starting the GAPS diet, I will take her to a new pediatrician who is said to be versed in autism and am trying to encourage her to try some new foods.  I intend to document our progress and (hopefully) hers on this blog.

Last night I introduced Emma to a piece of Comice pear, peeled.

She was tentative, but eventually after smelling it, licking it and touching it, she finally ate it!

This morning I gave her a small bite of a Fuji apple, which she immediately picked up and ate without hesitation.  Tonight I will go out on a limb and try a raspberry.

Emma on her way to the school bus this morning.

If anyone reading this has had success with any sort of diet, please contact me with what you tried and any progress you saw in your child.

For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to:   www.Emma’sHopeBook.com


Emma loves pancakes.  Until recently she was a purist, adamant that the pancakes not contain any other items.  Ours were not the pecan-raisin pancakes or the macadamia-banana pancakes, just pancakes, plain, drenched in pure maple syrup.  One weekend in a moment of elated inspiration I dumped a container of blueberries into the batter only to watch Emma’s face crumple into sobbing tears of despair by my act of betrayal.  I tried, on a few more occasions, to add something to the batter, hoping to expand her limited repertoire of foods.  Each time Emma refused to touch the pancakes and I learned my lesson.  Don’t mess with Emma’s pancakes.

And then we had my cousin and her two girls over for a slumber party one weekend.  We had discussed the “weekend pancakes in the morning routine” prior to their arrival.  When Liesl and Lily arrived they produced a plastic bag filled with chocolate chips.

“We brought chocolate chips for our pancakes,” Lily solemnly informed me.

“Great!” I said.  I looked over at Emma.  “Look Em, Liesl and Lily brought chocolate chips for our pancakes tomorrow morning!”

Emma peered suspiciously at the bag.

“We can make some with chocolate chips and some plain,” I said cheerfully.

Emma said nothing, but there was no mistaking the look of despair on her face.

The next morning we heated up the griddle and the girls and I got out the pancake mix, milk, a whisk, bowl and the chocolate chips.  The girls crowded around, taking turns pouring the milk into the pancake batter and stirring everything together.  I poured some of the batter onto the grill, making sure Emma would have two pancakes before Liesl and Lily dumped most of the contents of the baggie into the remaining batter.  Emma watched in resigned silence.

“It’s okay Em.  I’ve made you some without the chocolate chips,” I said.  “Look, they’re right here.”  I prodded the plain pancakes with the spatula.

When the pancakes were all cooked I said, “Hey Em, how about trying just one pancake with chocolate chips?”

“No!” Emma said loudly in her sing songy voice, edged with panic.

“Okay.  How about one bite?” I offered her the corner of one pancake sullied with a chocolate chip.

“One bite, Emma?”  Emma said, looking as though I’d just offered her someone’s intestine.

“Yes.  Just one bite,” I said.

Emma reached out and took the offered piece, very reluctantly she smelled it, then placed a tiny piece in her mouth.

“Is it good?  Do you like it?”

“Yeah!”  Emma said.  “Okay, okay, one more bite?”  She looked at me expectantly.

“Okay.  Sure,” I said offering her another piece.

Again she ate it.

“Hey Em, how about you take the rest of this pancake and eat it with the Liesl and Lily?”  I said, going over to the dining room table and placing her plate down next to her two cousins.

Emma then proceeded to eat the entire pancake along with the other two plain pancakes.

The next weekend Emma said, “Pancakes with Mommy?”

Yes!  Come on.  Let’s make pancakes,” I said.

“Pancakes with chips?” Emma asked, rooting around the cupboard for a bag of chocolate chips.

“Let’s see if we have any,” I said.  “Otherwise we will go to the store and buy some.”

“Have to get some chocolate chips,” Emma muttered, still searching.  “Here they are!” She exclaimed holding up a bag.

Emma looks forward to Saturday and Sunday mornings with unadulterated excitement and anticipates our pancake mornings by saying on a Wednesday morning, “Sleep wake up, sleep wake up, sleep wake up, pancakes with Mommy!”

“Yes!  We will have pancakes Saturday morning,” I answered.

“Sleep wake up, pancakes with Mommy!” Emma said the other day, hoping to trick me into making pancakes with her on a non-weekend morning.

I was tired and not paying attention,  “That’s right,” I said.

Emma jumped up and down.  “Pancakes!”

Then the realization I’d made a terrible blunder hit me.  I explained why we couldn’t make pancakes; it was a school day, we wouldn’t have time, the bus was coming, etc.

Now it is a given the pancakes we make will include chocolate chips.  Last Saturday morning I asked, “Hey Em!  What about adding sliced bananas with the chocolate chips?”

“No bananas,” Emma said.

On another Saturday I asked, “Should we add some blueberries?”

“No blueberries,” Emma said.  Then offering an alternative she added, “Do you want pancakes with chocolate chips?”

“Sure, Em,” I said.

“Yes, pancakes with chocolate chips!” Emma said.