Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Diet Game

The Diet Game

by Andi Durkin

This page is here to help you. Please think of it as a tool to best support your dietary efforts. It’s not a bat to beat yourself up with. It’s not entitled “55 More Reasons Why I’m a Bad Parent.” Leave your guilt for your mother-in-law or your cat. We have enough to deal with!

Think of your family’s diet as a card game — we each have been dealt different cards and are playing with different players. We all do the best we can with the cards we are given. In my game, my 25-month old son is an adventurous eater, has no texture issues and has never had a cookie, ice cream or candy so doesn’t know what he’s missing. My husband and extended family are supportive of his diet and do not sabotage me behind my back. So, the deck is stacked in my favor and I can play this game with relative ease. I would venture to guess that you are playing with quite a different deck and your players may not even be willing participants! Perhaps your child will only eat six things and the idea of “drawing a new card” would cause a melt down. Perhaps the game goes really well — until you leave the table — then all bets are off!

Whatever your playing field is, you need a game plan. Let’s look to Dr. Sidney Baker — a man full of wisdom — and common sense. (I know — but he’s taken.) He suggests that we think of each diet as an experiment. And to give it a good 20 days — enough time to be able to see some results of your efforts.

He recommends using this very complicated evaluation process:

The Thumbs Test

Thumbs up:
Great! You got results you like and may want to continue.

Thumbs down:
Okay, it didn’t go so well, but you learned something.

Thumbs in between:
No need to spend more time on this — next!

So what is do-able for you? Would you be game to avoid casein for 20 days to see if it would change any of your child’s symptoms? Or perhaps you want to start small: What would happen if you switched out your child’s pasta with gluten free pasta (rice spirals, kelp noodles, tofu noodles) for 20 days? Dr. Baker would simply, and profoundly ask you to consider: “What is your next, best step?”

You know your situation better than anyone, you can’t see all the cards I am holding, and I can’t see all of yours. We are just here to support you in whatever decision you feel is best for you and your family — not to judge you. So feel free to take a peek at what dietary games your fellow caregivers are playing and see what cards they have up their sleeve! We hope this collection of articles and stories will give you some guidance and support.

If you’d like to show us your hand or share how your 20-day experiment went, please write to We’d love to hear your experience with these diets in particular: Lactose Free, Specific Carbohydrate, Sugar Free, Yeast Free, Allergy Elimination, GAPS, The Body Ecology Diet or the Paleolithic Diet.