38-year-old Sarah was losing hope that she could ever feel better. Her Asperger’s Syndrome, depression and anxiety have been compounded by the grief she has been feeling over the death of her brother. When Sarah recently came to Amen Clinics for help, an essential part of her personalized treatment plan included a consultation with Nutrition Director for Amen Clinics, Erica Kasuli, MS, RD, CDN. Erica focuses her time counseling patients in groups and individually on the healing properties of food and the ability to achieve optimal brain function.
Erica immediately started Sarah on the Omni Diet, which is a 70% plant based, 30% high quality protein diet, which allows her to eat a wide range of incredibly tasty and nutritious foods, but also eliminates gluten, dairy, sugar, coffee and soda. Gluten and casein (found in dairy) are commonly aggravating to the digestive systems of those who suffer from autism spectrum disorders such as Asperger’s Syndrome. After only 2.5 weeks on the Omni Diet, Sarah’s life has transformed dramatically in 9 important ways:
- Anxiety and depression lessened overall.
- Improved social skills. Sarah is getting out of the house and going to new grocery stores – something that previously stressed her out; and she has had the energy to join a running group and a pilates group.
- Reduction in irritability. Sarah has been able to attend more family functions… although at one party she decided to eat some fried cheese, and on the way home she “blew up” at her husband. “I could see how the foods played a role in reacting emotionally,” she says.
- Improved focus and attention span. Sarah cites simple tasks as improved, such as making grocery lists.
- Improved communication. Sarah has encouraged her mother and husband to follow the Omni Diet with her… and they’re doing it!
- Lost weight and inches. Sarah has already lost pounds; she feels thinner, sees her waist size decreasing and notices changes in her body.
- Less sugar cravings. “I don’t miss the foods,” Sarah says.
- Improved gastrointestinal function.
- Improved ability to cope with grieving. Sarah expresses less emotional attachment to the ice cream and pancakes that she has memories enjoying with her brother. “Now that I know these foods make me sick when I eat them, it is easier for me to let them go and give them up.” Sarah is able to enjoy the memory with her brother without needing to eat those foods. “It has nothing to do with craving the food; it is the emotional attachment to them.” Sarah makes sweet potato pancakes as a way to feel the memory but not compromise her health.
Sarah is a wonderful example of how dietary changes like those laid out in the Omni Diet can make a powerful, immediate impact on life. “I thought it was going to be hard but it turned out not to be difficult at all,” she says. “ And it is simple. It has made so many differences… even spending more time with my husband cooking and shopping.”
Have you implemented diet changes according to the Omni Diet? What have you noticed? Tell us about it in the comments.