by Yuval Levental
Introduction: 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.
The results of this diet plan will vary from person to person, but the benefits are very worthwhile.
In my last review article back in January 2020, I predicted that someday, everyone would be eating sourdough bread and would be more mentally alert as a result. I realized that this form of bread, while taking much longer to produce, was far more nutritious than regular bread (https://corticalchauvinism.com/2020/01/14/five-years-of-autism-activism-unifying-opposed-viewpoints/). By pure coincidence, the COVID pandemic started in the coming months, and while this pandemic is very tragic, far more people are now eating sourdough compared to before (https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?q=sourdough&geo=US).
During quarantine, I started experimenting with more kinds of alternative food processing methods, and obtained some interesting results. The three main methods I use for more nutritious food are sprouting, fermentation, and parboiling.
Sprouting applies to grains, beans, and nuts, which involves soaking them in water to convert some of their starch content into digestible nutrients. This process usually takes a few days. The additional nutrients include folate, iron, vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, and protein. Sprouted grains also may have less starch and be easier to digest than regular grains (https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/sprouted-grains-nutritious-regular-whole-grains-2017110612692). I have used sprouting with corn, rice, wheat, peanuts, beans, and many other similar items. I did discuss sprouting in an earlier article (https://corticalchauvinism.com/2019/02/25/yuval-levental-whole-grains-kefir-milk-and-autism/).
Fermentation applies to wheat, dairy products, vegetables, and other items. Sourdough results from fermented wheat dough. I have fermented dough in the refrigerator overnight, and it is very tasty as a result. Fermentation also breaks down lactose in dairy products, making them more digestible. Many fermented dairy products are widely available. To ferment vegetables, saltwater must be added. The resulting veggies like pickles are salty, but the flavor is very tangy.
Parboiling applies to potatoes, rice, and beans. These items should be boiled the day before cooking, and then cooled overnight in the refrigerator. This process increases the amount of resistant starch, which is very similar to fiber. When I parboiled potatoes once and cooled them overnight, I noticed that they turned golden brown the next day and had a far less starchy taste, which I really enjoyed. The name of the chemical process is called retrogradation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retrogradation_(starch) and https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cooling-resistant-starch).
One aspect of autism for many individuals are addictive tendencies, which could possibly be curtailed by changing one’s diet. Research shows that high-density carbohydrate foods could cause dopamine levels in the brain to increase, creating dependency (https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/06/26/195292850/can-you-be-addicted-to-carbs-scientists-are-checking-that-out). The techniques mentioned above break down carbs and sugars.
Finally, I recommend simultaneously using these techniques when possible. Here are some examples I have created:
Enchiladas with sprouted corn tortillas, tomato sauce, spices, and Mexican cheese.
Challah made with sprouted white whole wheat flour, also fermented overnight in the refrigerator.
Golden-brown fries, parboiled and cooled the night before.
Addendum (02/03/2020): Now, when I parboil rice and refrigerate the rice overnight, I soak the grains in water. This helps the rice absorb water more efficiently. Then, I fry the rice in a couple tablespoons of oil.
When making sourdough bread, I now ferment for five-seven days in the refrigerator. This is safe because the probiotics from the sourdough keep the dough fresh (https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/recipes/no-knead-crusty-white-bread-recipe).
Finally, I have also started marinating most meats that I eat. They are far easier to digest compared to most store-bought meat, as the marinade improves tenderness https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/the-magic-of-marinades).