ABR Dietary Guidelines

las-reglas-de-la-alimentacion-saludable1Many families have asked about ABR and diet. Because ABR is about building small increments of health from the very basic level, it is of course important to include a sensible diet as one of the basic foundations of health building and health regeneration.

As described in the ABR assessments all parents should have attained the understanding that the special needs children have generalized metabolic and digestive weakness.  Therefore anything one can do to assist the digestion and metabolic system can relieve it of stress and help it to work better.

Below we will give some general guidelines.

Size and Consistency of the Food

If the child cannot chew well – and most of the Level III, Level IV and Level V children do not chew sufficiently – then it is always good to think about the size of the food pieces and whether the food should be pureed or not.  If the child cannot chew the food sufficiently, then the big pieces that land in his/her stomach turn into a problem for the child.  The digestive enzymes that are already in under-production cannot handle the big pieces.  In fact digestive enzymes are not meant to be able to digest big pieces – they can only work from the outside layers of the food.  Therefore large pieces will either stay in the stomach for a long time or they will pass the stomach as large pieces where they will be even more indigestible for the system.

Therefore – observe how your child eats and adjust the piece size or pureed state of the food accordingly.

Your ABR Team is always observing the condition of the jaw of your child and works on giving you appropriate exercises for jaw and palate strengthening.  Still, until the chewing capacity of the child has advanced enough, remember to take care and not give food in too large pieces.  If one would like the child to have some “chewing practice” regularly, then try with raisins or dried fruits and see how the child handles these.

Type of Food

In general it is best to buy food that is organic in quality and as little processed as possible.  This means “food” in its raw state:

  • Fresh vegetables
  • Fresh grains
  • Fresh meats or fish
  • Dairy Products (non-pasteurized if at all)

All of the above should be in as fresh a condition as possible and as little “altered” as possible – through being treated or industrialized or refined.  It is important to avoid and eliminate:

  • Processed foods and frozen foods
  • Sugars – especially refined white sugar – but in any case – use sugar with discression – (especially with children with epilepsy eliminate sugar all together.)
  • Already prepared foods such as frozen pizzas, frozen dinners, chips, etc.
  • All colas and soft drinks, sweet sugary drinks

In addition we recommend that parents also eliminate grains that have gluten in them and milk products.  Children with weak metabolic systems all seem to thrive much better when casein and gluten are taken out of their diet.

Food Combining

Due to the fact that the children do not have a very robust digestive activity, it is a great help to reduce the types of foods that a child receives at one meal. The different types of foods require different enzymes for digestion, and if one gives the child both proteins and carbohydrates during one meal, such a meal will not be so easy for the child to digest.

Therefore if one wants to make the meals easier for the child to digest then one suggestion is to build each meal around vegetables.

The vegetables should be steamed lightly and not over cooked until they are in a soft or mushy state.  Broccoli and cauliflower may be crisp.  When the “bright green” colour appears, then most of the green vegetables are sufficiently cooked.

With the steamed vegetable base of a meal, one can then add either grains such as rice or millet or buckwheat – or some fish or meat.

One can successfully use nut-butters like cashew or almond butter – mixing it with grains or vegetables for a nutritious meal.  Or add fresh pressed flax seed oil.

In respect to food combining it is most important to try to avoid mixing proteins with carbohydrates.  Fruits can be given separately of both protein and carbohydrates.


Coconut oil has proven to be a very highly nutritious and high-grade oil.  All children should use it.

Children with epilepsy should try to eliminate all fats except for coconut oil.  This has eliminated seizures all together in several children with epilepsy.  In some cases the children can also tolerate “ghee” or “clarified butter”.

All oils should be non-hydrogenated and high grade.  It is always good to give the child high grade flax seed oil each day – as fresh as possible, buy in small bottles and buy and store cold.  Give this oil non-cooked – on the food or in vegetables.

Dairy Products

There are many arguments for the reduction or elimination of milk and dairy products from the diet of children with special needs.  If one does chose to maintain dairy products in the diet, then try to find farm fresh organic milk or yoghurt products. Yoghurt products – if not over processed are sometimes more tolerable than milk itself.

Sheep and goat’s milk products – if fresh from the farm are easier to digest than cow milk products.

Gluten Free

Again, many parents of special needs children have chosen to give them a gluten free diet.  Gluten is difficult to digest. For children with special needs gluten can be a poison and prevent their further development and improvement.  Gluten free grains are:

  • Rice
  • Millet
  • Buckwheat
  • Amaranth
  • Quinoa

Grains with smaller amounts of gluten that some children tolerate are:

  • Rye – questionable tolerance
  • Oats

For children with epilepsy it is highly recommended to go over to both a dairy, gluten and sugar free diet.  This is a first step on helping to control seizures through dietary measures.

The above contains highly general guidelines that can be followed when trying to improve the diet of the child.  More specific measures can of course be adopted.

Non- Dairy Drinks

One can prepare drinks for children using coconut water and coconut milk. If one wishes to add more fat and protein, then mix in some almond or cashew butter.  One can also add turmeric or ginger (carefully).  Turmeric needs to be simmered lightly for 20 minutes.

Other Highly Important Foods

Research has shown that children with brain injury have high levels of inflammation in the tissues. This can help to explain the tissue degeneration.

Several spices are highly anti-inflammatory and should be added to food daily.  We recommend:

  • Turmeric – cooked with grains or vegetables or made into Golden Milk
  • Rosemary
  • Ginger
  • Cloves

These can be added to the foods on a daily basis. But also use:

  1. Cinnamon
  2. Jamaican allspice
  3. Oregano
  4. Marjoram
  5. Sage
  6. Thyme
  7. Gourmet Italian spice

Raw Food Sweets

If one wants to create highly nutritious sweets for the children then try the following:

  • 250 grams walnuts
  • 250 grams dates
  • 250 grams shredded coconut

Mix the above in a food processor until fine.  Then melt together and add:

  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons coconut cream
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa butter

Mix together.  Form into balls.  Cool in refrigerator a few hours.

Water Intake

Essential for the success of your ABR work is the water intake.  We find out time and time again that especially the more severe children are severely dehydrated.  They simply do not want to drink. But one needs to ask oneself:  “Does the desert crave rain?”

When they do not drink then the tissues cannot hydrate.  When the tissues cannot hydrate – then they become even more depleted and more fused together.  It becomes a vicious cycle. The child does not get thirsty and crave water, because most of his body has gotten used to a low supply of liquid.

Parents need to understand the seriousness of this issue and work hard to increase the water consumption.

  • If necessary, use a syringe to get water in
  • One can add some “taste” to the water – a little bit of apple juice or coconut water.  It is easier for the child to swallow when the water tastes of something.  The stomach reacts to tastes and creates a downward movement making it easier for the child to swallow.
  • One can try to find a natural thickener for the water – avoid conventional corn thickener due to the probability of it being a GMO product.

By working with ABR one is working on replenishing the fluid intake to the tissues.  But of course this cannot happen, if the child is not given a high supply of fluid – basically water.

Therefore a sufficiently high intake of water is a central priority.

On the other hand try not to give much water when eating meals – unless it is part of a soup or sauce.  Especially important when eating carbohydrates as liquids dilute the stomach enzymes needed for food digestion.

If you have questions or comments, please contact us.

Diane Vincentz

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