I struggle with how to describe Dr. Reid’s guidelines for the Reid program accurately, all while explaining how we’ve personally implemented it (initially and currently-which are hugely different).
The truth is, our son has come a LONG way since we originally started the “diet.” He was once reactive to everything- headbanging from bananas, shaking from grapes, head to toe rashes, aggressive behaviors, and that doesn’t even touch on his reaction to glutamate. Heck, we also tried to limit fruit to 1/4 a green apple a day (or less) to tackle yeast. He couldn’t even tolerate chicken!! We’ve worked incredibly hard to restore his health with diet by strictly trying to lower inflammation/glutamate levels and striving for the “REID perfect plate.” I remember seeing Dr. Reid’s recipe for pumpkin pie and questioning how she could give her daughter pie, while it would cause significant reactions for our son. I’m proud to say that we’ve come so far. So, I have to confess. Do we strictly avoid the added ingredients with glutamate? Yes, very strictly. Do we currently eat more fruit than we probably should? Yes (and I am so thankful we can now).
Do we make homemade flours for everything? Heck, no, but I try! Do we occasionally eat chips, conventional (non-organic) food, gluten-free pasta, crap oils, and chocolate? Yes. Does our diet consist of 75% high fiber veggies? Not always, but we absolutely strive for it. This is where we currently are in our journey, which is a much different place from where we started and probably not where Dr. Reid would ideally want us. However, this is how we are managing REID as a lifestyle-we do the best we can but are at a place where we can relax a bit.
So here’s what I want to share: yes, this diet can initially be extremely overwhelming! Give it as much as you can, cut out as much MSG and processed junk as you can (or at a bare minimum, the sources of glutamate added as an ingredient) for 3-6 months. Sensitivity can drastically vary based on levels of glutamate produced by the body in response to inflammation, etc. Look at the growth (ATEC is a great way to monitor) and determine how much it is worth sustaining to make a LIFESTYLE out of it. If you’re still struggling, try to dig deeper into managing underlying sources of glutamate by manipulating metabolites with the addition of more veggies and herbs. Know that there will ALWAYS be room for improvement and that sensitivity can drastically vary by person. Do the best you can, but most importantly, allow yourself some grace. We are all just doing the best we can, and you’re doing more than most by just being here.
Also, just a little encouragement- We are not nearly as reactive to glutamate as we once were, but we do still make an effort to avoid it strictly. However, Dr. Reid recently took a long trip outside of the country and allowed her daughter to slack on REID a bit without any behavioral reaction. She was able to tolerate minimally processed gluten DAILY, cured meats, fresh cheeses, and even pizza. Now that they are home, they have resumed REID. If you’re interested in what we eat daily, take a look at my @nourishedblessings Instagram page.