Introduction by Yuval Levental: I am a person on the autism spectrum who critically analyzes autism advocacy. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Michigan State University and a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from ESIEE Paris. Other hobbies of mine include recreationally solving complex math puzzles, traveling, eating new foods, and learning about different cultures.
Last time, I realized that gluten sensitivity could possibly be a cause of some of my autistic behavior (https://corticalchauvinism.com/2018/12/24/yuval-levental-gluten-sensitivity-and-autism/). Although my Vitamin D levels significantly increased according to one test after eliminating gluten from my diet, it proved to be really difficult for me. Many foods that contain gluten also contain significant amounts of fiber, which is really important for good digestion. As a result, I have attempted to modify my diet by re-adding whole grain bread and kefir milk. Whole grain bread is low in gluten, but high in fiber and other nutrients. Kefir milk is low in lactose, but high in probiotics. Although I haven’t had my blood levels retested yet, as of now, I haven’t experienced the feeling of inflammation again at this time.
My favorite kind of whole-grain bread is sprouted grain bread. Before the industrial revolution, this was often the only kind of bread available, since it was really hard to refine bread. This is bread made from whole grains that have begun to sprout, or germinate, which changes their nutritional profile. Sprouted grain bread has a lower calorie density and glycemic index compared to regular bread. There are more nutrients in sprouted grain bread compared to regular bread. Finally, it is about 50% lower in gluten than regular bread. I eat about one slice a day of this kind of bread (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sprouted_bread).
I have not mentioned this before, but I also believe that sensitivity to lactose also plays a part in my autistic behavior. For a while, I reduced the amount of dairy products in my diet and felt better. However, this also reduced the amount of probiotics in my diet, which isn’t good for digestion. As a result, I started to consume kefir milk, which has low amounts of lactose but is high in probiotics. It is made from a combination of fermented milk and kefir grains. Before the industrial revolution, this was the kind of milk that was mostly consumed since fresh milk would quickly spoil. This kind of milk seems to do a much better job of calming down my stomach (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kefir).
Overall, perhaps one of the reasons behind the increase in rates of autism and autistic behavior is the change in western diet in the past 100 years. Before this change, many sensitivities would have gone unnoticed since the body would have an easier time consuming unprocessed foods. As an added note, in China, where the diet is very different, there is no word in their language for “calories”, because the only focus is on food quality. A 1990 survey in China found that Chinese people consumed 30 percent more calories than Americans, were not necessarily more active, and were slimmer than Americans. This says that the type of food consumed is far more important than portion size, which is something to seriously consider (https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/healthy-living/use-your-noodle-the-real-chinese-diet-is-so-healthy-it-could-solve-the-wests-obesity-crisis-873651.html).