Kimball has long been a fan of everything spicy. He loves hot sauces and jalapeño peppers and anything that has a good kick. I think this comes from Betty feeding him jalapeños when he was barely on solid foods. He would scrunch up his face and then ask for more. Sometimes it reaches a point where we have to tell him to back off a bit because we are concerned about the safety of his tummy.
What a bummer it was when we found out that many of the yummy salsas and jalapeños and even pickles that Kimball has long loved were now off-limits because of the Brain Balance diet. I don’t want to get into all of the details, but most of these spicy and tangy treats contain preservatives and food coloring that may negatively affect people. Let’s look at pickles for example:
The folks at [Ingredient Detective] have pulled up a nice list of the ingredients in a Vlasic dill pickle: * cucumbers (who knew?) * vinegar * salt * calcium chloride (makes things taste salty without actually using salt) * sodium benzoate (preservative currently under investigation because of a possible link to hyperactivity) * polysorbate 80 (keeps those pesky pickles from clumping together — as we all know they are wont to do) * natural flavors (which could be any of over 1000 ingredients that food companies like to slip into our food without our knowing exactly what it is) * yellow #5 (currently under investigation because of a possible link to hyperactivity when combined with sodium benzoate)
Crazy. My grandma used to make dill pickles with cucumbers, vinegar, and salt. They lasted plenty long and were scrumptious. They even looked like cucumbers without being painted yellow. And somehow she was able to keep them from clumping together with the polysorbate 80.
When I realized that Kimball wouldn’t be able to eat pickles anymore I was pretty bummed out. Take away candy, fine, but pickles? C’mon.
Then I was poking around at Lin’s grocery store and found [Yee-Haw Pickles]. These things are the best! No artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. Even the sweet pickles are sweetened with local honey. And Kimball loves them. His favorites, of course, are the “Hot-Damn Dills.” He loves them in lettuce-wrapped "unwiches," or on the side of a bunless burger with some yummy fries. But most of all, he loves them straight out of the bottle.
Nothing makes me smile quite like hearing my sweet Kimball say: “Hey dad, can I have a hot-damn dill?”
As always, please feel free to comment on and share this post with your friends and family. We hope our story helps other people working with children and adults with autism. Feel free, as well, to click on the thermometer and donate to help us pay for the Brain Balance program that has done so much for us. Every little bit helps!