If you read the background post then you'll already know how dire our situation has got. For those who didn't, we were all the way down in Schitt's Creek so to speak. (Love that show...)
Protein Shakes Changed Everything. They were only a fix for a few days during a bout of illness but they triggered what I hope is one of the biggest snowballs we have yet experienced on this crazy journey!
When poorly just before Christmas, C could not eat the foods he would willingly eat. Being thick, chewy or crunchy they got stuck in his throat. Weight was visibly dropping off him. The tiny amounts of energy he did muster were spent being aggressive and destructive because he was just so darn fed up and hangry.
In my mind, food was medicine right now. He was not going to feel better anytime soon without his body having fuel to fight the virus. The only way to get medicine into C is through a drink or by stuffing it into chocolate spread, standing over him and counting through the time it takes to get it down. So...
I bought a protein shake, poured half of it into a cup and told him he needed it to feel better. Yes there was a fight, but because he was so used to this with medicines when not well, there was no throwing or pouring away (which is the usual reaction to foods) it was literally just shouting at me. Telling me he hate it. He got about halfway into the drink and stopped complaining, just finished the whole lot.
Went to sleep for a while, woke up asking for more medicine drink.
Without thinking, I got the orange juice and put in a spoon of ibuprofen and paracetamol. ((Chuffed he recognised he needed something to feel better again!)) But when I gave it to him, he told me he meant the chocolate milkshake.
C doesn't usually drink milkshakes, orange is his favourite, so this wasn't a case of fancying the chocolate shake. Trust me on that. I promised him a drink of that in a little while but first to have the orange. (He needed the medicine.) An hour later, he had the protein shake again. This time he noted it tasted weird and didn't want to drink it. Typical!
But, it did spark a conversation - about why protein was important. The next day I again gave him a shake and told him he had to drink it. Not happy about it, he did it and again I saw the positives.
Soon enough though, C was well again and refusing the shakes completely. I bought some Weetabix protein and we have made it a point every day that he eats at least one of those with milk and sugar when he gets home from school before he can have the password to his computer. It's not the way I like to operate when it comes to food, as it does feel a bit forceful, but the benefits are undeniable. And he liked Weetabix anyway, so it seemed fair enough.
Gradually, he's started to recognise that it is the protein he needs. No matter how many carbs he can get his hands on, he's never going to be satisfied without balance. We told him that beans were an alternative (baked beans are one of his orange foods) and he tested it out. He had refused beans for over a month at this point. It worked for him, his mood lifted, and it reinforced this idea that he's starting to really understand why protein matters.
And that is key to us reaching this point where I feel that actually we can tackle food again now.
Because HE is ready and HE realises the natural benefit of eating well. Not because he is under duress for a reward.
As we are currently in the midst of the greatest food battle of our lives with the biggest guy, we decided we'd share what we are using, doing and trying; And some things that maybe don't suit us but could help you.
As well as providing a really fun way to engage with your child, sensory activities are beneficial to all children... but especially to kids on the spectrum, with sensory processing disorder/dysfunction and other special needs.
Here we share lots of fun ways to challenge sensorial boundaries and satiate intense sensory demands.