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This is my 6 month update of our experience with the Nemechek Protocol. My daughter is 12 years old, on the Autism Spectrum and developmentally delayed. If you read my first article, you know that we began the Nemechek Protocol in November 2018. After about 3 months, I reported improvements and increased comfort with social interactions. I am not an affiliate, or compensated in any way for my updates. We are simply a family who is using the protocol.
Overview of the Protocol
The Nemechek protocol helps to heal the gut through the use of inulin fiber, and reduce inflammation with certified extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), while feeding the brain with fish oil. The book explains that many processed foods today use Omega 6 oils (like Safflower oil, vegetable oil, and sunflower oil) which are inflammatory, and it’s imperative to avoid them. The book goes on to say that once the gut is healed, there won’t be a need for a special diet (like GFCF), and that developmental delays will catch up slowly but surely with healing.
The Nemechek Protocol diet is easy to follow, especially because we have worked to avoid processed foods for a number of years. That’s not to say that we don’t use some prepackaged foods, and it seems that many have omega 3 oils that need to be avoided on this protocol. I’ve had success finding items with Palm Kernel Oil and Canola oil (both permissible) at Aldi’s — in particular, gluten free chicken nuggets that my kiddo loves. Other than taking a bit of extra time reading labels, shopping on the protocol is simple.
6 Month Progress
If you’ve read the book (and I encourage you to), you know that Dr. Nemechek talks about the speed of progress like ‘watching hair grow.’ I would agree. It’s slow, and sometimes progress comes in spurts, or so slowly that you hardly realize it.As parents of kids with special needs know, the small stuff is big when it comes to improvements, growth and milestones. Click To Tweet
Six months on the protocol, I’ve noticed an improvement in memory. My daughter will now remember that she needs clothes for phys-ed, for example. (Granted, it’s usually 3 minutes before the bus is to arrive, but she remembers!) She follows through with directions given before she leaves the house, such as turning in paperwork. Working weekly with a PROMPT speech therapist, no regression was reported after she had two weeks off.
Ability to follow verbal directions
There has been improvement with self-starting and follow through with verbal directions. Recently she asked to take a shower (She requires my help with this task). A shower request, in and of itself is awesome, as personal care task avoidance is the norm. Folding laundry when she asked, I told her that she had to wait 15 minutes. She responded, “Just talk me through it, mom.” Our house is small; if I’m in the bedroom folding laundry, I’m never further 6 steps away from our bathroom. That said, I talked her through it. Doing what she remembered, asking for cues when needed, ultimately taking a successful shower.
Interest in Personal Care
Increased interest in personal care is something we’ve noticed. Perhaps this comes with her pre-teen age, but it is not something we saw prior to starting the protocol. In fact, she would always give me a hard time about taking baths or showers, saying she didn’t like them. Most recently, she began brushing her own hair.
Occasionally her afterschool program does social outings into the evening. As a result, her afternoon dose of medication is given late (since the program can’t administer). She takes 1 small pill daily. At the last outing, I showed her where the pill was (in a special pocket of her backpack) before she left for school. That afternoon, I called the program, asked to speak with her, and successfully talked her through taking it. n
With regard to self-starting, there was a game she wanted to play (Splash Out), but had lost the directions. Using the cards, she went to the computer, typed in the name of the game, and found a You Tube video that showed her how to play. She struggles with reading, so this to me was pretty amazing.
Perhaps these things seem small, but to me, the ability to be able to talk her through a task rather than give hands-on help is huge! It’s one step closer to independence.
We follow a gluten, dairy free diet and have for the last 8 years. It’s routine. Dr. Nemechek’s book says that when the gut heals, there isn’t a need for special diets. Honestly, I’ve been a bit nervous about deviating from our GFDF life. One thing my daughter has always missed, however, is ice cream. Dairy ice cream, historically, has resulted in stomach pain. Since starting the protocol, she’s had dairy ice cream about once per month, without issue.
We will continue on the Nemechek Protocol
Overall, we see steady improvements and plan to continue on the protocol. It is easy to follow, and incorporating olive oil into recipes and daily cooking is simple. Check back for more updates!
For more information, Dr. Nemechek has a website, blog and many YouTube (free) videos with great information. I’d recommend getting the book as a first step, as it explains the proper dosing based on the age of your child, along with the preferred therapeutic brands.