In Which I Ask for Your Help with a Bland Diet

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Heather says:

Bland diet.

Is that not one of the most obnoxious suggestions ever?

How about, keep your foodie kid on a bland diet for three weeks (minimum).

My poor kid cried on the way home from the pediatric gastroenterologist’s as he began thinking about all of the foods he can’t have:

No red meat, deer, lamb, or pork.

No dairy.

No spices or herbs.

No onions, no garlic.

No caffeine or chocolate.

The one thing that breaks his heart? Salsa, he talks about salsa multiple times a day. I’ve mentioned before he’s high-functioning autistic, so distracting him from this line of thought isn’t the easiest task.


Water, rice milk, or Gatorade.

Breads and cereals.

Fruits and Vegetables

Skinless poultry, fish, fish canned in water

“Most soups”*

Miscellaneous: plain popcorn, jam, jelly, 1 TBSP of nuts / nut butters a day. 1 TBSP per day total of light or whipped margarine, vegetable oil, or light mayo

*Most soups contain so many of the forbidden foods that I do not understand how they can be allowed. Who makes soup without onions? Who makes soup without garlic or bay leaves or even pepper? This doesn’t even make sense to me.

We’re a little over a week into this and I admit it. I’m at a complete and utter loss as what to do for meals.

This bland diet is going to make all of us snap. You see, I won’t let the other kids have foods that will make this one jealous, the dynamic between the siblings just becomes unbearable if they have something they can hold over another’s head.

We have almost two weeks to go and I’m already hating this.

Yes, raw vegetables are great, but steamed with lemon juice can only be sold to a 9, 7, and 5 year old so many times before they look at you like you’ve lost your mind.

So now, I’m asking you, Home Eccers. How do you feed yourself and children -in a somewhat healthy fashion- staying within these guidelines? The amount of sugars and salt that is contained in this diet by default is ridiculous. I’m having a hard time understanding how something so starchtastic can be healing. However, I am doing the best I can by my child and yes, he’s getting an insane amount of fiber (4 TBSP Metamucil) each afternoon in a rice milk shake -this is part of the therapy recommended by the GI.

So help, me out, please share your best recipes / techniques that fit this bland diet. We’ve got two weeks to go and I’d really like something delicious and healthy and within the guidelines on the dinner table tonight.

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48 thoughts on “In Which I Ask for Your Help with a Bland Diet”

  1. As for soups–make your own bone stock minus the onions. Then you can make any number of soups and control the seasonings. Take a look at Sally Fallon’s “Nourishing Traditions” for ideas.

    • Diane, I probably should have been more clear in the post. I’m puzzled not because I don’t know how to make soup -granted it’s nowhere near as good and partly why I’m frustrated- without those ingredients, but the sheet with the instructions is obviously written to people who cannot cook. Therefore I know, without a doubt, that the soups that are considered “okay” are canned.

      For example, chicken nuggets are specifically mentioned as fine as long as you remove the breading. As are turkey hotdogs and turkey lunchmeat.


    • As long as you have some muscle mass, eniatg healthily will allow your body to naturally (yet more slowly) burn off excess fat. However, what do you think it is easier to sell people? Pricey healthy food that they can just replace with items from the store, or get ripped quick exercise machines for $ 20 a pop? Also (and this is just my opinion) telling people they can still eat most of what they want and they just have to exercise is more appealing than telling them that they have to be very strict about what they eat.

  2. So, obviously I don’t know your son’s issues…BUT I do know doctors don’t know everything…is there a reason he can’t have REAL butter (instead of margerine grossness) or coconut butter (super healthy and healing)…Popcorn with coconut butter is delicious and could be a good snack…why not make them some green monster smoothies…or any smoothies? Can he have honey? A teaspoon in a smoothie makes a big difference to me at least…but the combo of spinach, banana and whatever other fresh fruits you want to put in, in the green smoothie tastes like a treat but is super healthy, especially when avoiding red meat for that long (hopefully he’s on an iron/vitamin supplement in the mean time just to be safe.) Also, is he on a probiotic? That totally helps with gut healing as well…I have a friend is very informed on that topic that I will see if I can get to stop by and give her two cents. 😉 Can he have fresh squeezed juice? My kids love homemade lemonade, but even fresh orange juice or apple juice/cider might be a welcome treat occassionally from water, rice milk, or gatorade. Also, maybe some raisins or craisins as a snack/treat just because they have a little sweetness…you can also try throwing raisins in with veggies (try a veggie mix, all the veggies will help to flavor eachother, especially if you can add a mild pepper, like red or orange bell) and raisins in rice are good as well…if you want a treat, a yummy rice pudding can be made with rice, rice milk and raisins as well…coconut butter and milk both also taste yummy and can help add flavor to meals. I’m not really understanding some of the things that are on the “can have” list since they contain stuff from the “can’t have list.” I would make sure you are avoiding anything with soy or hfcs as those can both be detrimental to the gut…as can white bread and well, most cereals, sans organic, whole food type granola, are just garbage if you are trying to heal your gut…I would seriously limit those type of foods…you can make whole grain pancakes though with wheat germ and flax seed in them as well as muffins…both of which should help with gut healing…and the pancakes you can make thin like crepes and serve with a thin coating of jelly then roll up…we love them that way! After that I would say get creative, and contact me if you want any recipes! 😀 Boil a whole chicken, or even boil skinless chicken breasts (although for flavor it would be better if you boiled the whole chicken then skimmed the fat) then add in veggies and make chicken stew, or chicken rice soup, or chicken and dumplings, or cook it down and make chicken pot pie…tomatoes can add a nice flavor to meals too…but with their high acidity I’m kind of surprised he is allowed to eat those…spinach or kale served in rice adds yummy flavor…oh and could you get a butter flavored (hopefully good oil based) cooking spray that you could add just a small spray to a pan to sautee veggies stir fry style? It would be well under the allowed amount and just add a little flavor…also try roasting veggies…you don’t need any seasoning to make them delicious! Can he have beans/legumes? I didn’t see those mentioned…but if so you can make a tasty hummus from just garbanzo beans, lemon juice and roasted red pepper and a smidgen of olive oil…it’s better with garlic but just for something different or to dip veggies in it could be good. 😀 Ok, sorry that got ridiculously long…but feel free to contact me if you need any help or want more recipe ideas! 😀

    • He has reflux that is being caused by a partial intestinal blockage. This diet is his doctor’s IBS diet that is being used in addition to the high fiber smoothie to try to get everything regular and moving along to stop the reflux.

      Like you, I’m puzzled by the garbage foods that are allowed – CANDY is specifically mentioned as okay as long as it’s not chocolate. If after these three weeks are up we still are having issues, I believe I will find a doctor who focuses more on nutrition than this one. I get that the point is to allow his esophagus to heal from the damage caused by stomach acid.

      (He already has scarring from reflux as an infant – the pediatricians I took him to all did the, oh you’re a first time mom, babies cry, he can’t have reflux, he’s breastfed).

      I suppose I should be glad he didn’t immediately suggest a drug like Nexium.

      Technically the only liquids he’s supposed to have are water, rice milk, or gatorade. I have been letting that one side a little with apple cider that I use in cooking so his oatmeal at least has flavor.

      Thank you for your ideas. His fat intake for cooking or flavor is supposed to be 1 TBSP or less per day.

  3. Here is one menu idea.

    Sample Meal Plan:

    Cereal such as Cheerios
    Skim milk
    Scrambled egg


    Turkey sandwich with lettuce, cheese, light mayo on white bread
    Light yogurt


    Baked chicken
    Mashed potatoes with small amount of butter
    Green beans
    Vanilla pudding


    Banana and Peanut butter
    Skim milk

  4. Ok, I forgot I was also going to suggest sweet potatoe fries! Rather healthy, and easy to make, and if you are so inclined, Ore Ida even makes them now and I don’t think they really have anything bad in them…but they are pretty easy to make yourself in the oven too!

  5. How about smoothies? I’m no genius in the kitchen, not even a half way genius, but challenge yourself or your kids to figure out what color the mixes of fruits, veggies and rice milk will end up? I love the blueberries and spinach ones myself. If you need something to thicken them, could you use unflavored gelatin? I could be totally off base, but if it sparks another more realistic idea, then bravo!

  6. Two suggestions (although not what you specifically asked). Can you go see a nutritionist? Medical doctors aren’t trained in nutrition, oddly enough. If you can afford or your insurance helps cover the cost, I would highly suggest finding a nutritionist that specializes in what your son has.

    Also, has he ever been checked for Celiacs or Gluten Intolerance/Allergy. Lots of people with GI issues find out it’s because of one a problem with gluten, myself included in that. While that also seems like a daunting elimination diet, I’ve actually found it’s not that bad to go gluten free if I stick to single ingredient foods like we should eat any (meat, fruit, veggies, dairy, etc). People say to me, but GF foods are sooo expensive. I tell them if you buy all processed GF foods, yes, it’s expensive, but not when you eat lots of real foods. Anyway, my point is, GF has made a huge difference in how I feel and the more I study it, the more I find so many links between the high amounts of gluten we now eat and the # of GI and autoimmune diseases and how many people eliminate these problems by going GF.

    I hope you don’t mind my suggestions, I just see your frustrations on the suggested diet for your son and hoped this would help you.

    • Yes, he was checked for Celiac a few years ago (holy cow can it really have been 6?). I do write about GF foods here on occasion and I try to make sure I mark every recipe that is naturally GF as such. (There are so many, like you said, it’s not as hard as you think).

      One would think. .. hope… that a doctor that specializes in the health of the digestive track would have a strong background in nutrition, but just looking over the suggestions it certainly doesn’t seem so. Or perhaps he’s just so frustrated by the general lack of kitchen competency by the majority of his patients (there’s a reason I started this site after all) that he just gave up and structured the guidelines to fit that skill level.

      I don’t know. I’ll ask at the next appointment.

      Heck, maybe we could team up and offer cooking classes / seminars as a service so he could have healthier options for those that are looking for them.

  7. Okay, I’m no doctor, and I’m not going to suggest that you not listen to yours. At the same time, I will say that as I read their recommendations I was flabbergasted to say the least. Starchtastic doesn’t even begin to describe their “diet.” If (and when) this doesn’t heal the problem, I’d recommend that you check out the paleo diet, or primal lifestyle. This book, does a good job of explaining everything. It’ll point out that all the grains are exacerbating the problem, causing inflammation of the gut, and the lack of oils and healthy fat will CAUSE the reflux, not solve it.

    Here is some deep science since you love that stuff:

    Another good book for the younger crowd:

    Sorry to send so many links, but this info will be the complete opposite of what your current doc is telling you. I think it will be enlightening, informative, and hopefully help heal your little man’s gut!!

    • See, that’s what I was thinking, too. I know every couple of years people rethink nutrition, but I look at the highly processed foods suggested on the page and: pasta, rice etc are all exceptionally gluey foods that tend to cause issues.

      I’m pretty sure as soon as we’re cleared to be off of this “diet” bread and pasta are going out the window for a while at least. (maybe in small amounts, a side here or there, or as part of something much larger)

      I tend to eat a lot of protein and vegetables, it’s just what has always appealed to me. Lately with this stupid diet, I’m finding myself craving bread and sweets and I cannot wait until I can get that off the daily menu.

      • I have to agree completely. The sugars definitely make you want even more sugar. It’s because you’re burning simple sugars aka carbs for energy, and as soon as they’re gone, your body is wanting more of that rather than using fat stores. Also the processed foods are more difficult for your body to break down and will likely result in more issues, not less. It just wouldn’t make sense to up the processed foods which we know aren’t good for us.

        I am only on week 8 of “going paleo” and sugar cravings have diminished a lot. When I do cheat and binge, I normally feel crappy afterwards, it’s a nice reminder of why I’m eating the way I am. The first 2 weeks of no sugar were hardest for me. Also, as you go on, you can add certain foods back in and see how your child responds. I am perfectly fine with beans here and there, and so I eat them. I go as unprocessed as possible…I soak overnight, etc. Also, I don’t even believe in the whole paleolithic evolution basis of the diet, but if the science makes sense, and it works, well, I’m sold. All my IBS symptoms, (I know, not the same as reflux issues, but still related) disappeared within about 30 days.

        Another idea, I don’t know where you are located and what specialists you can find, but if you can’t find a good nutritionist, I know this will sound crazy, but find a crossfit gym. Those people are all crazy about paleo and have been doing it for years. I first heard about it from a very knowledgeable crossfit person who recommended that I give it a try and answered tons of my questions/concerns. SO GLAD I did it. Life is different now, and it’s been a fantastic change.

        Best of luck!

    • I’m with Kari on this one. I don’t have access to my links right now for citing my source purposes, but the actual science (as opposed to “the book” doctors practice medicine by) is moving toward grain fiber being the cause of most intestinal problems rather than the cure. It irritates the intestines and causes the food to move through too fast for your gut to absorb the nutrients effectively. The diet that works best for my family (just the hubby and me for now, in the interest of full disclosure) is a modified Paleo type diet. No grains, legumes, and sweet only as a -treat- and then I try to lean toward honey, fruit juice, stevia, or organic cane sugar. I call it modified Paleo because they can have my dairy when they pry it from my cold dead genetically Scottish fingers, though I have cut back a lot for the hubby tummy’s sake.

  8. Potato pancakes with applesauce….(use Pam butter spray) or regular pancakes…..

    CannedSalmon patties (croquettes)(butter spray)

  9. Your salsa comment broke my heart….it won’t be the same, but what about a fruit and veg salsa made from diced mango, avocado, tomato and a tiny bit of lime juice?

  10. I was reading on another food site (I hate to give others time here… email me if you want it) that if you freeze banana pieces on a tray and then whizz them in the food processor, you get… Ice cream!!! It’s the best. I’m lactose intolerant with creamy/cheesy/buttery French tastes and this totally does it for me. Honest.

    • I have made this banana “ice cream” many times and I can also attest that it totally works. you sometimes have to add in a little liquid (the rice milk would be just fine) to get things going in the blender or food processor, but other than that you really just need bananas. I sometimes add in some cocoa powder to make a chocolate flavored version, not sure if that’s allowed in the current diet. There are lots of other options though – you can garnish with carob chips maybe, or coconut flakes. My son thinks it really is ice cream and it hits my sweet tooth too.

  11. Huh. I bet even canned soups have garlic and onion!

    This is a really tough situation. Could you make a fresh salsa with no onions? At least it looks like you can make food salty, which is the main flavor my kids love : )

    Chicken baked in rice
    Chicken noodle soup
    Salmon croquettes (this is the only canned fish my kids will eat)
    Grilled chicken skewers with stir fry veg
    Corn and potatoes are the starchy foods we avoid, but my kids will eat in any form.

    If anyone can do this, Heather, it’s you! Good luck!

  12. Huh. I bet even canned soups have garlic and onion!

    This is a really tough situation. Could you make a fresh salsa with no onions? At least it looks like you can make food salty, which is the main flavor my kids love : )

    Chicken baked in rice
    Chicken noodle soup
    Salmon croquettes (this is the only canned fish my kids will eat)
    Grilled chicken skewers with stir fry veg
    Corn and potatoes are the starchy foods we avoid, but my kids will eat in any form.

    If anyone can do this, Heather, it’s you! Good luck!

  13. Ugh, poor kid. A picky kid would be thrilled but a foodie child (mine is too) would be in hell. Hopefully this will do the trick for him and he can dip into some habanero salsa in a few weeks.

    I do have a couple of ideas for you of dishes. No solution but some recipe ideas. I did some kind of baked fish dish a few years ago that was pretty healthy and might work (from the SlimFast website of all places). Take something really plain like tilapia, brush with some lemon juice, smear a little mayo on it (I use the olive oil mayo), sprinkle on a little bread crumbs (and of course salt and pepper if allowed) and bake for a bit. I balked at the mayo but it added moisture and was oddly tasty. You could even bake it on a bed of rice cooked in stock and I bet it would be pretty yummy.

    Also, if you can get some of those REALLY awesome red grapes right now, toss with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and grill them briefly on a super hot grill. I know it sounds crazy but it totally works. The heat intensifies the sugars and you get that little char that tastes so yummy. It’s oddly savory. Works well with chicken or pork, particularly if you glaze with a little honey and lemon. Or do one of your awesome roast chickens.

    Other good easy sides that you don’t need to doctor too much with spices: grilled or roasted grape tomatoes, roasted cauliflower or brocolli (just toss with olive oil and roast in a hot oven, turning maybe once to get even caramalization), mango chutney (that you would have to make of course) in lieu of salsa perhaps?, roasted green beans. . . . hmmm, I roast a LOT of veggies, don’t I? But they just taste so GOOD!

    Hang in there!

  14. I think your doctor is way off. I would suggest as others have that you see a nutritionist or a homeopathic doctor. Chicken Nugget? That isn’t even good chicken. I am gluten sensitive and have a lactose allergy. I am on the Low fodmap diet to help my gi issues. I can use onions if I keep them whole just to give me the onion flavor. I don’t understand not being able to use herbs. Some herbs would probably be healing. Good luck to you. I will keep you in my thoughts.

  15. Your poor boy. I realized that one of my family’s comfort foods would work with his restrictions, assuming cream of mushroom soup is on the approved list. Basically you brown turkey patties in a pan just until they have good color, remove and set aside. Put in a ton of veg into the pan and saute until starting to get soft. Return the patties to the pan. Add in a can of cream of mushroom (cream of chicken or celery is also really good) mixed with a cup of milk. Pour soup mix over sauted foods. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until burgers are done. Serve over rice.

    Growing up I always looked forward to this dish. Later my mom confessed that it was a desperation meal that she only made when money was tight (left over frozen veggies and a chub of ground turkey). When I’m feeling stressed, I still make it for myself. I love it.

  16. I have to agree with what most have said, most docs have no idea of proper nutrition and real food. Buying chicken nugets and taking the breading off does not make it a healthy dinner. Margarine is not a real food and in no way is it healthy for anyone! I would suggest along with others maybe looking into the paleo or the GAPS diet and modyfing what you can for the next few weeks. Also if he doesn’t already take them some good enzymes and probiotics, there are some really good ones out for kids. My kids use “Wnzyme SOlutions formula 30-p” for kids, it is expensive but it requres a little tiny bit so last a long time. I would replace the margarine with butter or coconut oil…preferable coconut oil as it has healing properties.
    A couple of suggestions for food make a pot of stock, you might be able to ad a minimal amount of onion and garlic (very little) but a whole lot of veggies especially carrots. Take some of the stock blend it up till its orange and cook your rice in that, it comes out orange and my kids think its wonderful. I also add spinach to the water to boil rice noodles then add a pinch of soy sauce to the noodles after it cooks. My kids do not like cooked spinach so I usually strain that out before the noodles go in but it still has all the benifits of the spinach.
    Also, if he cannot live without salsa you might want to try some fermented salsa, there are several recipes online. Yes it has onions and garlic but the natural occurying probiotics in it might outweigh the unnacaptable, especially if you cut those down.
    You are in a difficult position, but will get through it. Make the best choice you can and if you feel its right to go outside the box of doc orders it is ok, because they do not always know. I think this goes against the grain of most, but really if you think of the list does it really make sense to give you child all the candy he wants but limit homemade salsa with some eggs? even if it is only for a few weeks. Maybe you could come up with a salsa like dish that does not include the no- nos.
    Best of luck to you, it will be ok. Also, you said no spices but does that include herbs?

  17. I have a couple ideas.

    First, I second the baked fish idea above but cover it with sauteed veggies (celery, bell pepper if allowed, tomato) and then bake. It comes out very moist and flavored by the veg. Second, lentil soup with vegetable broth, LOTS of celery and carrots, green beans and maybe some spinach or kale.

    I have to admit that diet sounds off to me too, but I really never got any nutritional training in med school. It’s not something they focus on.

  18. I had picky children. My son loves, loves salsa too!

    Tons of great ideas up there…potatoes, btw, are a super food. I discovered this while researching what the Irish ate before potatoes. (same as other Europeans: grains) Potatoes are full of good things and are an excellent base for a diet.

    I don’t understand why cooked onions are not an option, or garlic.

    My mom used to make fried fish patties using mostly potatoes (we were poor). I used to make ‘green stuffed potatoes’ by blending the potato with green things the kids normally did not like. (they liked them). Once I made batches of ‘baby food’ because I had no time to eat normally, and the teenage kids thought it looked gross, but then it started to disappear from the fridge cause they actually liked it. Just broth, yams, green veggies and skinless steeped chicken sliced thin and everything mashed so I could just scoop, eat, and run.

    I concur with others about seeing a nutritionist. Doctors seem not to know a whole lot about nutrition; although yours knows that chocolate is constipating; he may not know that the Aztecs mixed cereal into their beverage (fibre).

    Also, I have replaced milk with defatted coconut milk. Like another on here, I don’t know why coconut is being excluded, but he could be wanting to eliminate as many foods as possible to determine where the threshold is.

    I know you are just asking about a bland diet, but I wanted to mention a couple of things I have discovered researching diet ( my son has mild aspergers and a very touchy intestinal tract)

    Potassium Chloride is an excellent substitute for Sodium Chloride (called No-Salt in the same grocery aisle as regular salt). Lots of info in google.

    Xylitol (sugar made from birch bark or corn husks) is an excellent addition to a diet. It’s 5 carbon structure (as opposed to 6 carbon structure of cane sugar) starves bacteria that eat it: they cannot metabolize it for food. It eliminates cavity bacteria, Strep B bacteria (and is used as a nose spray by diabetics and lupus sufferers who have frequent sinus infections) and it can be used exactly like cane sugar in cooking (same properties of solubility) but cannot be used to make bread as the yeast starves. Comes up on google easily.

    It also helps in gut infections. Having fewer stray bacteria always help sick people to rally. ( I have an autoimmune disease have found tremendous benefit: no more athletes foot, no more acne, food digesting much better)

    I am now researching nicotine. Nicotine isolated from tobacco: not cigarette smoking. If you google and focus on government and actual medical websites (not the quackery and health forums) you can find it is an excellent anti-inflammatory. I read a study on Chrone’s disease and how nicotine reduces inflammation in a certain part of the intestinal tract, but I didn’t pay much attention to it as I was looking for a relationship to something else.

    There is a product being made from nicotine that has proven so effective in trials the public trading shares have gone from $1 to $4.50 in a very short time.

    Well, sorry if this information is off topic and I apologize if it seems in anyway a diagnosis, which it is not intended to be.

  19. Heather, Have you looked into the GAPS diet? I’m not sure how it compares to your diet but it is fairly restrictive and may have enough recipes and techniques to get you through the next two weeks.

    I also have an elimination diet plan specific to reflux that I purchased from Nutritional Concepts (, a Chicago-based practice of nutritionists. (I don’t live in Chicago either.) It is fairly restrictive but seems to be nutritionally sound and is inexpensive. You may be able to use the elimination portion of the diet to heal. Check out their website and let me know off-thread if you’d like more information about the diet.

    Worse comes to worse, make a sticker chart and give the “We’re a team and we’ll have to just suffer through this together” speech. Reward as appropriate when the goal is achieved. Y’all can do anything for two weeks!

  20. Some things that don’t appear to be outlawed… super veggie fruit smoothies… fire roasted tomatoes, maybe red peppers with the seeds well scraped (could redo salsa base like this… maybe add some smoked sea salt to perk flavor)… avocados (mashed in lieu of dairy or mayo on sandwiches)… whole grain oatmeal with honey… Rice milk is sweet (and thin)… how about some homemade almond milk as a bit creamier?…

    Also, I saw a recipe for pancakes with just bananas, eggs, and coconut flour… or one for roasted carrot chips / slices…

    I have to agree with looking into a homeopathic doctor… a lot of the allowed foods are way off base…

  21. Hmm… biscuits and gravy (with turkey sausage and rice milk?)
    Shrimp and broccoli? (cooking light, may 2011) You’d have to leave out just the salt pepper and red peper flakes.
    Chicken and bacon (turkey bacon!) roll ups. (cooking light July 2007) find a dairy free mayo, skip the tarragon. I knoow it’s FAR less tasty that way, but the same foods with different presentation might help.
    Spaghetti squash with (turkey, chicken) sausage and spinach.
    Plantain fritters, adapt the spices out
    Chicken and Rice casserole- with zucchini and squash, rice milk subbed and skip the cheese. I *loved* this recipe, it wasn’t a big hit with the family.
    breaded zucchini chips.
    corn casserole, leave out the butter

    I know some of these won’t work… I just flipped through my magazine recipe file and shared ones that were close. I would probably make typical things without the seasoning. I will come back and check to see if you want any of the recipes and/or links.

  22. That diet scares me – of course, I’ve never had reflux, but months of poor intestinal function due to a diet that was somewhat high in starch led me to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (, and eventually the Body Ecology Diet (both outlaw starches and sugars because they feed the bad bacteria and yeasts in our guts, both use spices). Daily bowel movements were a weird luxury before switching, but doctors could only tell me it might be an intestinal infection and set me up with antibiotics. I think SCD is recommended for IBS, as well as Celiac disease, and a few others (it was developed by a doctor too, if that helps with credibility) :). Anyways, as for recipes, we eat a lot of fish with just a really light cornmeal breading, pan fried.

  23. How about:
    Baked potatoes topped with Earth Balance (dairy free)
    Chunks of butternut squash and/or sweet potatoes cut in hunks, brushed with olive oil and roasted
    Soups: Start with mirepoix (w/o onions) of sauteed carrots, celery, peppers, then add water and chicken and cook on low to get a good broth. Add salt to taste. Then use that stock as a base for a vegetable lentil soup.
    Chicken tenders made with matzo meal crust (matzo meal has no seasoning or dairy and is a good dairy-free substitute for breadcrumbs)
    Also, is soy sauce allowed? What about sesame oil? If yes, you can make a dressing of them with 4 TB soy sauce + 1 tsp sesame oil and drizzle on steamed green beans or other vegeys. It’s really good
    Another good dressing is 1 Tb umeboshi vinegar+ 4 TB EVOO. Delicious on steamed asparagus or steamed or roasted cauliflower . Serve with roasted or grilled chicken breast and rice for dinner.
    I hope that helps Heather!

  24. Also we have found homemade rice milk tastes so much better than store bought and it is not hard to make. you can add vanilla for a little flavoring. If he can have coconut milk that might be an option also, the canned not the box stuff they are selling in the dairy case (see ingredient list). If nothing else even if you do not follow the diets fully, several of the diets mentioned, GAPS, south beach, Specific Carbohydrate Diet, elemination diet all have a starting period of two weeks or more of strict diet to eleminate the body of toxins etc, you might be able to find recipes that work for your family in any of those, or look into raw food (although there are lots of nuts used for raw food). There are several salad dressing recipes that use healthy oils and sesame seeds or other none spices for flavoring, might work for dips or spreads.

  25. I had a book of baby food recipes, which of course I can’t find. There was a soup idea you might use. Take last nights leftover veg and put it in a blender with 1/2 slice of bread and some liquid ( veg water, rice milk etc) – makes a creamy soup for lunch. … use apple juice to cook oatmeal instead of water, add raisins (oatmeal and raisins would be pureed for babies, not for older people) …other baby food recipes would have simple ingredients and might give you some ideas.

  26. A couple of sandwhiches that always work for us are…

    Chicken, either a sauteed breast or leftovers, with mashed avocado, sliced tomato and basil, all tucked into a whole wheat pita pocket or on a hearty bread.

    Tuna made with lots of additions…chopped apple, grapes, celery, really whatever I’ve got on hand. The ratio is about 1-1, tuna vs add-ins. Just enough light mayo to moisten and barely hold it together. Stuff into a pita with tomato and greens.

  27. Here is a recipe my kids eat as fast as anything. It’s called Peas Cake and comes from family friends who are originally from Syria. It’s supposed to be topped with browned pine nuts, but I usually skip that when I’m cooking just for us.

    Brown around a pound of beef. Cook a bag of of frozen peas, and two cups of rice.

    If you want to be pretty layer in a bunt pan. Half the beef, half the peas, half the rice, then repeat. Press down and let it cool. It comes out really nice. Otherwise just layer in a bowl, beef, then peas, the rice. Something about packing it all together makes tasty. A little salt helps too, but it can be skipped if absolutely necessary.

  28. I grew up barbequing in all weathers. Smoke gives both meat and vegetables a unique flavor.
    To try to keep the moisture in a meat, you might try a sauce of honey, tomato and pineapple juice or lime juice and swob it on the meat both prior to cooking and during. Maybe kebobs with meat (chicken or shrimp) and vegetables (bell pepper, squash and pineapple).
    Have you called the doctor’s office and asked what makes a food an herb and not a vegetable? If it is fresh is it an herb? Could you use fresh parsley in dishes? (My mom would add a few drops of lemon juice, parsley and margarine to boiled potatoes) . My heart goes out to you, your family and the foodie who is banned from anything that has taste.

  29. Heather, I’m going to second all the recommendations that you go see a nutritionist and get them to work with your doctor to develop a functional diet plan. Among other things, I don’t think the diet described will provide the calories and fats a growing child needs.

    The autistics I know all have some variety of GERD and intestinal issues, most have lactose intolerance (which may or may not have typical symptoms) and intolerance to wheat that does not manifest as celiac. Many react badly to corn, too, and it’s starting to look like they are all reactive to GMO foods. Sugars and simple starches that readily metabolize into sugars (like rice milk) probably should be avoided, too, especially if there is any tendency to hyperactivity or excessively demonstrative behavior. I would suggest unsweetened coconut milk instead of rice milk because it has better flavor, fat balance, and more useful nutrients.

    Try using quinoa instead of rice or pasta. Recently I found an “ancient grain” (einkorn) wheat noodle that I find perfectly digestible despite being a wheat product…it has an interesting flavor all on its own, too. A blend of sorghum flour with coconut flour, tapioca flour, and Xanthan gum (to mimic gluten) makes hearty scones or biscuits.

    A daily probiotic is also helpful, one with a prebiotic to encourage the flora to actually grow (you can take a probiotic and have it go right through you and do no good if it doesn’t like the growing conditions). I also would recommend oatmeal (steelcut) as a regular morning item. A smoothie that includes plenty of greens would also make a great addition…the greens help calm the digestive system. If he likes sushi…seaweed wraps might be a treat as well as providing a shot of green and iodine.

    Good luck and I’m sure the nutritionist will have lots more good ideas for you.

  30. Poor baby. Before you commit him to all of this, I would find a nutritionist…but even then, be wary. I had one come speak to my class once, and she told them PB&J was a healthy, “any time” meal. WTH? No!!! That’s way too much sugar for an “anytime” food!

    One of my favorite “healthy eating ” blogs to read is this one:

    She gets into the science behind why things are good or bad for your gut and general health.

  31. Ugh – so sorry for your poor little guy!

    Your daily nut butter could go into something we call “fried Elvis Oatmeal” – pancakes made from nut butter, oatmeal, milk (rice milk is fine) and bananas (I have a recipe on my blog.) Kids love it.

    If he’s missing salsa but is allowed fruit, why not do a fruit “salsa” without the onions but with cilantro? You could use mango, pineapple or kiwis – even ripe persimmons – if those are allowed (I would check, because all of those strike me as being similar digestively to tomatoes.)

    Could he eat nori? You could put the tuna into Japanese Onigiris – they are made from unseasoned rice. Nori isn’t neccessary, but it makes a nice “handle” and it’s salty and appealing. In fact, Japanese food – because it is minimalist and rarely uses garlic – might be something to look into. Japanese soups, for instance, often only use onion as a garnish.

    Also – try switching out your lemon juice for orange juice (it’s better if you squeeze it yourself because you get the flavor of the peel) occasionally. Changing things up even a little will make it not seem so hard.

    Good luck!

  32. It is not surprising to me that a pediatric gastroenterologist would not have a solid grounding in nutrition…the many years he spent learning medicine were extremely full! We can’t all be experts in everything. What is surprising to me is that you were not immediately referred to a registered dietitian, whose many years spent learning were, well, all about food.

    Gatorade? Seriously?

    This sounds to me like a lowest-common-denominator diet (and not a very good one) that is hopefully intended to be very short term. If you don’t already have a follow-up appointment booked, get one, and get a referral to an RD. and if your GI won’t do that, consider a second opinion.

  33. I haven’t read all of the comments yet… I just have a moment….

    First I’d like to say don’t worry about the salt/sugars/etc. It’s only for 3 weeks, right? You could live on candy and french fries for 3 weeks if you had to. If this becomes a permanent change then it makes sense to worry about proper nutrition but for this short term treatment just let it go. You have enough to worry about as a mom right now!

    My first thought given your restrictions was chicken pot pie. I don’t have a recipe handy but there must be a dairy-free way to do that.

    My second quick thought is to Google renal diet recipes. A lot of your restrictions sound similar to what’s recommended for patients on kidney dialysis. There’s enough people out there on dialysis that you should be able to find some recipes that would meet your needs.

    Also, maybe look for traditional English recipes. English cuisine is notoriously bland. 🙂 You’ll have to filter out recipes that include red meat but you might be able to find something useful.

    Good luck and I hope you’re all back to a more normal diet soon!!

  34. Hi Heather,

    I’m not sure what else you’ve investigated in your treatment plan for your son, but I’d like to recommend this mom’s experience to you.

    As a spectrum person myself I’m implementing many dietary and detox strategies similar to the ones in the above blog to heal my gut and eliminate asperger symptoms. On a personal note, I struggled with constipation my entire life and it wasn’t until I stopped eating fructose and fructans that I started experiencing normal bowel movements for the first time. That’s right – almost no fruits or vegetables, much less fiber and THEN I stopped being constipated. So I’d just caution you saying that constipation does not always mean eat more fiber, in fact many sources of fiber are fructans.

  35. I found a new probiotic line called Goodbelly. They have juices,coconut water and a smoothie, although I can only find the juices at my local Kroger in the health food section. They taste great, are dairy free and have helped my minor gut issues. Hope your little man feels better soon!

  36. I know the diet is probably over (and good riddance!), but as I read over the comments and shook my head at the ignorance of the doctor (most doctors only get a few hours of nutrition–if they even take it, and ideas about healthy change frequently), I was hoping someone would mention GMO’s, and I am glad one lady did. You need to see the movie Genetic Roulette (you can rent it online if you don’t want to buy the DVD). I was amazed when I saw it. I have gotten rid of all the GMO foods in my house (actually called companies of the few canned foods I did have) and refuse to buy anything that I’m not sure about. My baby’s eczema has improved since I’ve done that.

    I also cannot understand why so little fat is allowed in that diet. We do not eat low fat here. But we do eat healthy fat. No canola (unless it’s non-GMO, such as Vegenaise, and that only rarely), nuts, seeds, olive oil, etc. My 4-year-old allergic-to-everything son drinks hemp milk (is that ever expensive!). I put flax oil in green smoothies (omega 3 oils are healing to the GI tract, and flax is easier to hide than fish and doesn’t smell if burped like fish does).

    I hope there is a follow-up to this post soon. I’d love to hear what you have learned.


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