Friday, October 31, 2008

Fermented Foods

So here we go, Part 1 of a multi-part recap of the DAN! Conference. I think I will go as the conference went and this happens to be one of the things people ask me most about, especially Kombucha so I will start here.

Fermented foods have been around for centuries. In the "old" days this was a way to enjoy certain veggies since they were not readily available all year long. Fermentation is a GREAT way to get good bugs also known as probiotics. Probiotic means "For Life" as opposed to anti-biotics which means "Against Life". That should tell you a lot. Probiotics are necessary for good gut health. Think of it like a movie theatre. If the seats are all filled with the good bugs, the bad bugs can't sit down. But when the bad guys take over, bad things happen in our bodies, i.e. infections and gut dysbiosis or imbalance. So, we need to take a closer look at these good "bugs".

Yogurt is a great way to get small doses of probiotics. But, if you or your child is on a dairy free diet, that can be challenging. But now there is a whole line of coconut milk yogurt these days which are good and my kids love. It is made by Turtle Mountain under the brand SO Delicious found at Whole Foods - make sure you get Coconut milk yogurt and NOT soy milk yogurt made by the same company and called SOY delicious) But I will also teach you how to make your own yogurt using nut milk. For years I made my own almond milk. I did post the recipe many months ago on this blog so I will not repost. It is easy and so much better for you than commercial nut milks out there. So I am going to post the yogurt recipe courtesy of Julie Matthews and Sueson Vess, both leading authors and advocates for children with special diets.

* Heat nut milk to 160 degrees (you don't have to do this but it will keep the yogurt from seperating)
* Cool milk to 105 degrees (otherwise you will kill the probiotics)
* Add heaping 1/8 teaspoon of ProGurt yogurt starter to the milk for each quart of yogurt, stir well with whisk. You can find ProGurt at
* Place containers in yogurt maker or dehydrator at 95-105 degrees. Leave lids off individual yogurt containers during fermentation to avoid condensation on lids that may thin yogurt. Ferment for 8 hours.
* Place in refridgerator overnight or at least 5 hours, overnight is better.
* Strain yogurt into a bowl lined with cheese cloth to remove liquid. Drain or let drip for about an hour or longer for thicker yogurt. By pressing dripped yogurt further you can make something that resembles cheese. Sueson Vess spoke about using it as a ricotta cheese sub for lasagna, I am going to try that! Straining is optional but homemade nut milk yogurt is thinner than commercial versions.
* Viola! Yogurt! This is great to add into smoothies or serve alone! Puree up your own fruit for added flavor and variety.

Kombucha - I have been asked about Kombucha a lot lately and I have agreed to teach some classes on making your own Kombucha. We are brewing our first batch and I see the Kombucha "baby" or SCOBY growing now so I will have them to pass on at these classes. If you are interested in taking a class to learn to make your own, please shoot me an email or post here. I am still working out how/where/when the classes will be so let me know if you have any days/times that are better for you. In the meantime, we drink GT's Kombucha. It can be found at Whole Foods and Sprouts for about $3.50 per bottle. Be aware, once you start talking about Kombucha someone inevitably is going to say "Oh my, do you know people have DIED drinking Kombucha!!!!!!". You can find some scary stories on the web, as you can about almost anything. It can cause acidosis if you drink large quantities without equal amounts of water throughout the day. Even too much of a good thing can be bad. And yes, if you brew it wrong, it can be very harmful, which is why you need to start with a good SCOBY and know what you are doing and know how to make sure it is a good batch. Until then, I say start with GT's and work from there. I have been drinking 16 ounces per day and am still here, going on 2 weeks later. I would say 2 cups (16 ounces) max per day personally (and much smaller amounts for kids) but you'll want to do your own research and feel comfortable with this product yourself. Given that Julie Matthews pushes it heavily (with no monetary compensation to gain from it) and she specializes in diet and specifically kids on the spectrum, I feel very confident in its safety. Yes, I give it to my children, I aim for about 2 ounces a day for them, ages 5 and almost 3. But I wanted to warn people that you may get some nay-sayers out there. But if you'll remember, a lady died from an overdose of WATER during a radio station contest and that sure doesn't mean we should stop drinking water, does it?

Sauerkraut - this is another great fermented food. And it sounded so easy to make. I am going to try it soon too. If you buy commercial products, make sure you look for the kind in the refridgerated section, yes the really expensive kind which is why I am going to make my own! If you buy the kind on the shelf you are getting the pasteurized kind which will not offer you the health benefits, all the probiotics have been killed in pasteurization.

If we get a group of people interested in making any of these things I would be willing to teach classes. Let me know if you are interested. Otherwise, take advantage of some of the premade items and feel good about what you are eating. These items will do a body good!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

DAN Conference

All I can say is "WOW". My brain is so full right now, lol. I had an amazing time, heard some incredible speakers and have so much more info in my arsenal against ill health and Autism recovery. I am going to cover things I learned over the weekend slowly here on my blog, since there was so much info presented and I still want to go over the slides again before I delve into all of the topics. I just got home late last night so I will not cover anything today other than a small recap in pictures of what happened. I was brought to tears by some of the presentations. Many doctors who are on the cutting edge of the research also have children on the spectrum and not only do they see these challenges from a research/treatment standpoint but also from a very personal standpoint which is to be respected and admired since we too are doing much of the same, not in the lab but in our own homes each day.

Here I am with Julie Matthews, author of Nourishing Hope and Autism nutritionist. She is amazing and I loved her cooking class.

Here I am with my compass as I call him, Dr. Kurt Woeller, Matthew's angel.

Here is Dr. Woeller with Dawn, Matthew's kick-butt Speech Therapist. She is another angel in Matthew's life. She works at L.I.F.E.

Here is Dawn, me and Abby, another warrior mommy who's son also goes to L.I.F.E. and sees Dawn.

Here I am with Dawn, my DAN! date, lol.

Some topics I plan to cover shortly are:

Toxins in your environment, which to really worry about and how to make your home safer.

How to keep yourself grounded and relaxation tips from Dr. Andrew Levinson (and yes Abby, I totally agree - he's a HOTTIE!!). I loved his talk and plan to discuss some of the issues he brought up to help us keep our stress as low as possible and nuture ourselves at the same time as raising our children and caring for our families.

Other disorders that are indictive of the same types of auto-immune dysfunction as Autism

New treatments out there

New research in causation of Autism

Cooking tips and a further look at fermented foods

Check back often for updates on the above listed topics! I sure loved the conference and seeing friends and family but that equated to staying up WAY too late and still getting up early. I am so tired and very happy to be home with my family!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Last post.....

OK so I should be packing or cleaning or making some sort of list but I am not. Our sitter just called to say goodbye since it was rather chaotic when she left today and she won't see me for a few days. So we got to talking (imagine that...) and we came upon the topic of the flu vaccine. I quickly referred to the Dr. Mercola article I linked to in a previous post. As I read some of the comments on the posts, I found a link to an AWESOME site from a fellow industrious mom that I had to pass on before I forgot about it.

She talks about making her own elderberry syrup, which will be next on my list of to do's once I get home and settled again. She also talks about making her own Kombucha, which I am pleased to report we are already doing!!! I delegated this to the hubby as he used to brew beer many moons ago. Since the process of fermentation is similar I figured this would be right up his ally and I need to delegate more these days anyway. Like a good fellow, he promptly joined a Yahoo! group and got a SCOBY or Kombucha baby from a person here in Tempe. A SCOBY is the starter you need to make your own kombucha. Now we have a science experiment like the one shown in the link below in our kitchen. Here it is:

But I love Kombucha and more than the taste I love what it is doing to my body, cell renewal, tons of great vitamins and probiotics! I am stocked with Kombucha for the trip to San Diego. I leave tomorrow morning and come home sometime Monday. Unfortunately I won't have time to play since the conference is everyday from 8 - 5 and then there are classes in the evenings which I am signed up for. I cannot wait to fill my brain with more info though.

On a side note, the house is done being painted, at least the outside! The inside is still a work in progress as with two kids, a house to run, cooking, cleaning and preparing for a trip, our time to paint is limited. But, the outside looks awesome, love it!! And I love that we hired someone to do it and did not try and tackle it ourselves. That is why it is done and not still in process.

We started Matthew on L-Carnitine this weekend. Shortly after he began to smell of rotten fish. There is a genetic disorder where you smell like rotting fish due to a missing enzyme. This can also be caused by high doses of L-Carnitine. Well, I guess we know what is causing it. I need to email Dr. Woeller tonight, I will see him at the conference too. Meanwhile, no more L-Carnitine for Matthew.

Emma saw me starting to get my clothes together for the trip last night. She asked me where I was going. I told her I was going to Mommy school with Dr. Woeller and Dawn (Matthew's speech therapist). She asked me if I was going to miss her.....she is just so darn CUTE! My little doll....I sure am going to miss both of them.

OK so off of here and back to work! I have so much to do and the night is getting away from me. Eric is at Wal-Mart picking up pictures I had printed today to bring with me to show off to folks at the conference and also to give to my dad whom I will be staying with. Eric is also picking up the last minute stuff I need for the trip out. I need to be packing and getting all my stuff together that I want to bring, clean up, send that email to Dr. Woeller and then some quiet time with Eric hopefully. I hope everyone has a great rest of the week and weekend and I am sure I will have lots to share when I come back next week!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Another reason againts flu vaccines

I just got this today and wanted to post it quickly. Here is something from Dr. Mercola's website talking about all the same stuff I have said about flu vaccines, including the real motive being missed days of work/school. I hope the reputable Dr. Mercola can sway those of you still thinking about getting a flu vaccine, especially for your kids. Click below:

Halloween treats....

Today was Matthew's day to bring snack to share with the class. As usual I sent pure, unsweetened applesauce and popcorn. Only this time, in honor of Halloween next week, I put the popcorn in gloves, added a spider ring and viola! Skeleton hands...You can also add in a candy corn for the finger nails but I chose not to. These are great treats for Halloween parties, school events, etc. where you want to have a yummy and healthy treat. Remember my previous blog about the Whirly Pop popper? Use organic corn and coconut oil and you have a super healthy treat that kids will LOVE. You could even through in some sugar for kettle corn or as my friend/fellow blogger/neighbor Shari does, add some cinnamon for great flavor. The possibilities are endless. So, although the kids will inevitably get loaded up on sugar and corn syrup next Friday (and probably the next week even) there are fun and healthy alternatives.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Krazy for Kombucha

In reading Julie Matthew's book Nourishing Hope, she talks a lot about beneficial food for children on the Autism spectrum and all of us really. At some point in food evolution, we've lost the use of many of the fermented foods that have been used for centuries. These foods are very healing. One such food is Kombucha, really it is a drink. The benefits are staggering. It helps protect against almost every tummy bug out there (e.Coli, Listeria, H. Pylori, Salmonella, etc). It helps with detoxification, the immune system, can help fight cancer, etc. I had to run to Whole Foods yesterday anyways so I picked some up. The kids did drink it!! No fight even!! Read more about it here:

I am not sure if I am industrious enough to try and make it myself but it is pricey, $3+ per bottle (16 ounces). And I am going to start drinking it everyday too. So there is my new favorite. Do some of your own research and give it a try!!

On another note, sorry for the lack of posts. We've started the big painting project last weekend and are still trying to find the time to finish. We have to work around the kids so it is taking longer than hoped since we have to wait until they are asleep to get working. We are having the outside of the house painted Monday and then I leave for the DAN! Conference on Thursday and will be gone until Monday. Plus with it being Fall Break I am just trying to keep the kids from going crazy by setting up playdates, and of course all of Matthew's therapies. Today is our super busy day with speech and then hab preschool. So, I may be even more sporadic on posts than usual because of the increased activity. We still need to hit the pumpkin patch tomorrow since I will be gone next weekend. How can it be October already?? I hope YOUR fall is going well.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Naturopath info

Mary requested the info on our Naturopath so here it is for everyone if you are in the Gilbert/Mesa/Chandler or surrounding areas and want a great Naturopath. We see Dr. Carrie Rittling at East Valley Naturopathic Doctors. Their info is as follows:

They are located just east of Higley and Southern. Across the street from Sprouts and east just a bit. They are great, have always been able to get us in quickly when necessary and their receptionist is on the ball, VERY friendly and follows up great. They even submit your insurance claim for you in some cases. You still must pay them and then get reimbursed (as allowed) by your plan but it takes one thing out of a trip to an out of network doctor.

So there you have it. You can read about all the doctors on their website. My husband just recently saw Dr. Porter and really liked him. He focuses on men's health issues. My husband took all of Matthew's labs in to discuss testing him for some of the same things, knowing that many of Matthew's issues are genetic in nature. The doctor was impressed with the cutting edge tests that were run on Matthew which made us feel good about Dr. Woeller for yet ANOTHER reason. He should be getting his results this week and see what the doctor recommends. Dr. Rittling focuses on children, specifically those on the Autism/ADHD spectrum but she also sees our neurotypical Emma. Both kids love her (they never get shots there, lol). And she is great with kids. Hope that helps, we just love that office and hope you find value in them as well. Please let me know how your visit goes!

BTW - Mary, we need to get the kids together. Emma misses her little friend!!!! I hear the Joy School is going well.....

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Plastics revisited

I am pretty sure I posted about this, if not I fully intended to. Here is a GREAT article on toxic chemicals in plastics from Dr. Mercola's website. If you scroll down you will even find a link that is a PDF document that gives a GREAT overview of products that do or do not contain this toxin.

It is very interesting to me that the article discusses the immune system and the role of T1 and T2 cells. After reading Jacqueline McCandless' book Children With Starving Brains, I learned more about the immune component to Autism. And, the explanation in this article is very, very close to what has happened in many children with Autism systems. Hmmmmm......maybe yet another connection. So, turn those plastic bowls over and check out those numbers. I did this a few years ago and got rid of ALL the bad stuff. I was very pleased to see that Tupperware (for the most part) was OK. Their Rock N Serve stuff was not good and I remember wondering why they suggest you cook at 50% power and now it makes sense. When you heat these plastics with the bad stuff in them (through microwave or dishwasher) it makes the toxins leak. So, that must be why Tupperware suggested to only heat at 50% power. I used to sell Tupperware, I started right after Matthew was born. At least I didn't have to get rid of all my stuff, just the Rock N Serve. But, I have gone with more glass and even switched to Corelle plates/bowls since you have to be careful even about painted ceramic dishes because of lead (and the high breakage rate). And there is a Corelle outlet close by! :) But all the bottles we used had the bad stuff and we used to steam sterilize those and also dishwasher them. Man, I wish I knew all this stuff years ago.....So, check your cupboards for the bad plastics and get them out. We can all benefit from less toxins, especially in the stuff that holds our food.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Heirloom seeds

Here is a site I found for Heirloom seeds. It says on their site that they are all open pollenated and non genetically modified (yeah!!). They even have a medicinal herb package - we can experiment with the actual herbs Shari! Before long we will be making our own essential oils huh? We will be the medicine women of Higley Groves, lol.

I have never purchased from this company but do intend to. If anyone does before me, please let me know how your experience goes!! Lets get those gardens going!! :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Great video......

When you have time (it is over 30 minutes) please check out this video from Dr. Mercola's website.

I had to keep hitting pause and stretched this out over several days to find time to watch it all. But, HUGELY important. This is a discussion with Hugh Grant the CEO of Monsanto and Michael Pollan author of "In Defense of Food". If you don't know who Monsanto is, please find out! This is the biggest threat to our food supply. They started as a chemical company (creating agent orange and Round Up). They then moved into seed production and made the first "Round Up Ready" seed. Round Up kills anything green and yet these plants are genetically engineered to resist Round Up. Yuck. And they discuss the production of the main crops (soy and corn for feed). Our dependance on meat is also a huge drain on our grain supply.

A few takeaways......TRY to look for NON-Genetically Modified (GMO) foods. GMO corn produces inflammation in our system plus all the pesticides, etc. and we do not know the long term effects of genetically modified food. Try and be more aware of how your food is created. We have probably all planted a seed and watched it grow. Then when we eat the fruit or veggie you can take that seed and make a new plant from it. Not with Monsanto seed. It is engineered NOT to reproduce after that first time so that farmers must buy new seed each year. This is all about money and production whereas I think we need to eat less but eat mindfully and locally. That means eating what is in season and supporting your local farmer's market or CSA.

I have no answers for the world crisis. It seems amazing in this day and age of extreme wealth of the select few that we can still have some areas in such dire poverty and famine. It is pretty ridiculous actually. I am not going to get polictical because I want this blog to be as bi-partisan as possible and not alienate people. But, if you are a McCain supporter urge him to force labeling of GMO products. He is currently the only candidate that does not support mandatory labeling of GMO foods. I think it should be mandatory, I think the next step is mandatory labeling of all 200 forms of MSG as well. We should KNOW what we are eating dangerous chemicals and what they do to our brains and then make the choice to eat it or not. So many people have no clue what it is they are eating. Part of that is education and part of that is transparency. If these products DO the same thing yet are not called Mono Sodium Glutamate the packaging can read "NO MSG". That is unfair and deceitful, which kind of goes along with the government way but that is another topic.

It was amazing to hear how many seed varieties we once had and how many we have now. We need to move away from GMO crops and get back to basics. I urge everyone to think about creating their own raised bed gardening and using heirloom seeds. I will post some sources here sometime soon, along with sources for local, quality grass fed beef and turkeys. We have to fight for our right to basic, healthy food. I do not want "Franken-Food". Sometimes more isn't always better.

Food for thought.....

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Practice what you preach....

So, I got to do this last week, practice what I preach I mean. I got sick (as expected) after a few too many nights of burning the midnight oil to get "everything" done. I could feel it coming. So a week ago Thursday I was down. I did mega vitamin C doses, eucalyptus, tea tree and thyme oil steams, epsom salt foot baths, other supplements for viral support and stuck to good foods and lots of sleep! I did have that luxury, which I know many don't. The day was pretty easy for my husband and he was able to take Matthew to his therapy and our awesome sitter/surrogate family member was able to watch Emma for me so I could get a nap. Then I went to bed at 7 pm after the kids were down. By the next day I felt SO much better. Had I pushed through Thursday, I would have been sick for days. Sleep is my achilles heel. If I start losing sleep, my immune system takes a BIG hit. I know this and yet I still scrimp on sleep. I guess my lesson is to listen to my body, ignore those last few chores or that nonsense show on TV and hit the sack!