Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Research in Autism

Here is a very interesting article from Age of Autism, don't worry if you don't understand all the technical language, just get the big pieces. 1) Mitochondrial dysfunction can be a large part of the puzzle for many kids (mine included) and there is a marker than shows this inability to absorb and process very long chain fatty acids (VLCFA). What this says to me is maybe we can get to a point where we are not diagnosing Autism just based on symptoms from a psychiatric/psychological point of view and more from a medical point of view. I personally think that is important because my belief is that many of the behaviors identified with Autism are in some way related to the health (or lack thereof) in the body. The more we can focus on the underlying medical problems associated with Autism, the more we can address them and heal these kids. And if you have the time, go to the Age of Autism site and read some of the comments, they are fabulous. Not sure if they are all parents or not but man, I am always so amazed to be in the company of such determined, educated warriors for our kids. We all need honorary PhDs I think. One comment was a suggestion to focus on the medium chain triglycerides (MCT) from coconuts. We use MCT oil for a natural yeast treatment (I get it from New Beginnings). And we use coconut and olive oil specifically to cook/bake with. The MCT may be better absorbed than the VLCFA which means more fat into the cell for energy. I have had great success using MCT twice daily for my son.

If we can pinpoint a susceptible group (which at this point may mean more of the population than we think) we can educate parents on the risks of vaccines for these kids. Now, whether those absorption problems begin before or after environmental assault is another question. It may mean we can better diagnose children after they have received vaccines (or other environmental assaults) and the damage is done. Or, could these problems be there from birth and be a way to know before hand?

And while we are talking assaults, I really, really hope no one out there is thinking of getting this swine flu vaccine. Please, please, please read my blog and search for some of the older blogs I have done about immune health and vaccines. First off, vaccines do not work as intended. Most of our immune system is located in the gut, injections bypass the gut and our body does not know how to handle an assault from that venue. And the reaction the body usually has is to develop an auto-immunity whereby the body now sees itself as a threat. So, enter many of the diseases we see on the rise today, diabetes, arthritis, MS, Autism, etc. Not to mention this vaccines has not been tested AND still contains thimerisol (as if all the other toxins are not bad enough). They are urging pregnant women to get the vaccine. Ludacris!! Look at the LAST time we tried to do a swine vaccine and how many people died from it or developed neurological impairment, including paralysis. Understand the immune system, do things to HELP it like good nutrition, low sugar, supplements, stress management, sleep, and hand washing. Your immune system is your defense! Take care of it and you can fight the buggies off! Have some basic immune boosters on hand and as cold and flu season approach, start them with your kids and yourself. Olive leaf extract, garlic (like Allimax from New Beginnings), grapefruit seed extract, elderberry, zinc (but not nasally), vitamin C, there are many others out there that I am forgetting too. Lets not fall into the trap of a shot will protect us. We have a whole generation of kids that is showing us those shots are not protecting us and in reality are doing more harm than good. Because if we all looked, MOMS - those mitochondria come from US so if we also have some level of impairment, don't you think all these toxins harm us in smaller ways than we see them harming our kiddos?

A Clear Biomarker for Autism? – The Question of Alterations in Lipid Metabolism.
By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.
(Author’s note – I’m indebted to Professor Richard Deth of Northeastern University for sending me this article.)
The title may be long and confusing, but the findings are what many have been hoping to discover for years. (Novel Plasma Phospholipid Biomarkers of Autism: Mitochondrial Dysfunction as a Putative Causative Mechanism, Prostglandins Leukotrines Essent. Fatty Acids (2009) (HERE).
Given the profound differences in behavior and cognition in children with autism it's only reasonable to believe there must be some trace in the body of what makes these children so different.
Researchers in Canada working for Phenomenome Discoveries, Inc. and the Jonty Foundation out of Saint-Paul, Minnesota believe they may have found the answer.
In prefacing their study the researchers noted, “Neuropathological studies in autism have shown increased microglial activation, decreased cerebellar Purkinje cell density and abnormal brain swelling, particularly in white matter. Biochemical studies have shown increased oxidative stress, abnormal glutathione metabolism, decreased melatonin, and increased docosahexaeonic acid (DHA) in autistic subjects. Although there is debate as to whether autism has a pre- or post-natal origin, it is generally accepted that the symptoms and pathology persist through the life of the subject. These studies suggest that there is an underlying and ongoing biochemical abnormality in autism, regardless of its origin.”
The study conducted by the researchers was designed to find evidence of metabolic dysregulation and toxicity, regardless of the initial cause. Their plan was to collect three plasma samples over the course of a year from 15 autistic and 12 non-autistic age-matched controls. 8 out of the 12 controls were siblings of autistic children, some of whom had impairments in social relations not rising to the level of autism.
The researchers found “consistent alterations in the levels of very long chain fatty acid (VLCFA)-containing phosphatidylethanolamines (PtdEtns) and in DHA-containing ethnalomine plasmalogens (PlsEtns). . . These findings are reported herein and suggest a possible disruption of fatty acid metabolism due to compromised mitochondrial function. Mitochondrial stress was assessed through measurements of reduced glutathione (GSH) and related metabolites. In addition, we investigated and compared the in vitro effects of glutamate toxicity on neuronal, astrocyte and hepatocyte cell cultures to biomarker changes observed in the autistic subjects. Impaired mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation as the underlying cause of elevated plasma levels of VLCFA-containing PtdEtn is hypothesized.”
In plain English, what does this mean? First, the researchers found abnormal levels of very long chain fatty acids in children with autism. Second, it may be due to the mitochondria not working as well as it should (I'd also suggest involvement of the peroxisome). Last, the glutamate derangement which would result from this situation would have different effects on different parts of the brain.
All of the autistic subjects had significantly elevated plasma levels of long chain fatty acids A curious finding was also uncovered in relation to the siblings of the children with autism. “In all eight sibling pairs in which a non-autistic sibling was available for comparative analysis, the autistic child had more pronounced VLCFA lipid changes than the non-autistic sibling. Out of these controls, five showed some impairment in social cognition. When studied as a separate group, they displayed higher levels of lipid markers relative to non-impaired controls. These results suggest that the lipid biomarkers are also indicative of risk in that siblings of autistic subjects are considered to be “high-risk” controls and may share some phenotypic traits of the syndrome.”
In their discussion the researchers observed that their results “indicate that chronic mitochondrial stress is pervasive in autism and that elevated levels of fatty acid elongation and desaturation products are useful metabolic biomarkers of both mitochondrial stress and autism.”
The question of how glutamate may adversely affect the brain was addressed by the researchers. “Glutamate was used for the following reasons: it plays a major role in microgliosis, which is pervasive in autism; its ability to deplete glutathione is well-documented; and it has been reported to impair mitochondrial beta-oxidation, which is central to our hypothesis.”
In their experiments with glutamate on various brain cells they found “In all cell culture assays performed on hepatocytes, neurons and astrocytes, glutamate exposure resulted in a decreased 16:0 mitochondrial beta-oxidation, an increased peroxisomal processing of 16:0 and cytosolic fatty acid elongation/desaturation, as evidenced by an increased DHA-PlsEtn to 18:3-PtdEtn ration. Based upon these studies, the origin of the biomarkers we observed in autism plasma is hypothesized to be the result of impaired mitochondrial function.”
In their conclusion the authors stated, “the data presented herein indicate that a common metabolic phenotype is present in autism, and that this phenotype can be easily measured from a blood sample. This metabolic phenotype is characterized by elevated plasma levels of VLCFA-containing lipids arising from impaired mitochondrial fatty acid beta-oxidation. We further speculate that the elevated plasma VLCFA could be causal to the pervasive microglial activation observed in autism via a mechanism previously established in X-ALD. (X-linked adrenoleukodytrophy is a disease which has been studied extensively by the Peroxisomal Disease Laboratory of the Kennedy-Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins.) Glutamate, a known neurotoxin that is excreted by activated microglia was shown by direct experimentation to reproduce the observed metabolic phenotype in liver, neuron, and astrocyte cultures. A thorough literature review of autism and glutamate revealed that glutamate toxicity arising from neuroinflammation is consistent with all known biochemical, pathophysiological and epidemiological data in autism.”
Although this study was small in nature and leaves many questions unanswered, such as the cause of the neuro-inflammation, it provides potentially breakthrough information. If the level of very long chain fatty acids can provide a clear biomarker for autism we will not only have a way to diagnose, but we'll also know the direction that research should proceed to find a cure.
For further information on the possible connection of autism to very long chain fatty acids you can look at my previous article on the subject HERE.
Kent Heckenlively is Legal Editor for Age of Autism

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Autism underground, biomed treatment

One of my new Facebook Friends, Karen, posted this article from the Huffington Post. What a great article. All I can say is, yep, live it everyday. It astounds me the number of people who try and discredit the biomed approach to Autism treatment. OK so I never signed my son up for a research trial. But, 2 years ago he was screaming as he walked by the integrated preschool classroom because his sensory system was completely overwhelmed, needing the Autism class with its visual prompts, calm, partitioned spaces, and low lighting. He just started regular kindergarten at the first A+ rated charter in our state (which has a waiting list a mile long!) with no more than what I would call normal first day jitters. He still has speech delay and fine motor delay. His auditory sensitivities have gotten better but he still has super sonic hearing and can be distractible. But, what have I gotten each day when I pick him up? "He had a great day Mrs. Hirning". What more can I ask for? 1 year into biomed (with the help of my AWESOME DAN! Doctor, Kurt Woeller) and my son progressed from needing a heavily structured Autism class to being in a fully integrated Kindergarten class of about 20 kids in a very academically focused, A+ rated school. This is what I wished for him, right here. Will there be challenges? Of course, I am not delusional. But, I work my butt off each day, kicking Autism in the teeth as much as I can along the way through supplements, diet, sensory activities and lots of love, reassurance and planning. It is what I do, fight for my son, trying new things, switching it up when I need to. But to hear my son tell me he loves me and that he has a new best friend 3 days in to the school year, and that they will be best friends forever is absolutely priceless. Some of these simple things that many take for granted I appreciate with every fiber of my being because I know how hard it was for him to get here, and I know we still have a ways to go. So, no, my son was not in a formal "study" but he is my proof, my science, and that is all I need to go by.
The Price of Intervention: Autism Underground
My daughter was diagnosed with autism several times. The first time was by her first preschool teachers, who told me they were not qualified to diagnose, but that I should seek professional diagnosis for a syndrome they had seen many times in other children over the years. The second time was by a UCLA specialist named Dr. Alessia di Paolo Gottleib, at the office of Dr. Jay Gordon in Santa Monica. I looked at Dr. Gottleib after she had spent an hour on the floor playing with Lila, wanting a sign that the teachers had been mistaken. Her face was stony. I said "What do you think?" Her face broke a little with a grim resignation. "Lila has autism", she stated. My daughter jumped and whirled before us as the silence took over in my head.
I asked nothing about what I could do for Lila that afternoon. Dr. Gottleib told me she would send a written report as I stumbled from the office, struck numb and destroyed by grief.
The third diagnosis came from a doctor of psychology at the local Regional Center, who also pronounced "autism" quite openly after half an hour with Lila. This was about three weeks after the time with Dr. Gottleib, and my despair had leaked a pin-size hole where I could finally formulate words about my daughter's situation. During my midnight and early dawn pillaging of the internet I had discovered the gluten and casein free diet and had learned a little about what Dr. Rimland was purveying for our children from The Autism Research Institute in San Diego. I mentioned the diet to the Regional Center doctor. She shook her head sadly and reported it was mean and predatory for people to spread such information, when parents getting this diagnosis are so vulnerable. She told me plainly that there is no treatment for autism, the diet is considered a farce, and that anyone telling me different was a quack to be avoided.
Again I was spun by the words from the visit with the Regional Center psychologist as we stumbled home. As a single parent I was processing everything happening to my daughter alone, and I vacillated between questioning my sanity and feeling a determination inside that something could be done to help Lila. Something about pushing her diagnosis under a rug and resigning myself to never seeing her again, never knowing my daughter who was once totally neurologically intact and healthy again, was ringing impossible for me.
That night and for many nights thereafter I did not sleep. This went on for several weeks, but at the beginning, within the first few nights, I found a woman named Mary Romaniec on the internet who claimed in a magazine article, that her son had been totally recovered from autism. Within a day of reading this article a friend of mine called me. I must have fallen in too familiar with the despair that had settled in, she expressed an uncommonly serious concern for my well-being after hearing my voice on the phone. She also told me she had a friend in Orange County whose son had autism, and she gave me that woman's number. I remember that day as a milestone in the life of my child. I called that woman, and we talked for hours, like we had known each other for years. Her son had been diagnosed four years prior, and she had a DAN (Defeat Autism Now) doctor, the product of Dr. Rimland's work. There were doctors peppered throughout the United States who believed autism is treatable, that gains could be made in the lives of these once healthy, now deeply compromised, children. None of the doctors or specialists we had seen had told me anything about this; the party line was firmly in place that autism could not be treated.
This mother's son had not recovered from autism. She and her physician husband (who incidentally ran interference between her and the world after the diagnosis had happened, a luxury I found myself deeply jealous of) had enlisted a DAN doctor named Robert Sears, Jr. to treat their son's autism. Her boy had improved a great deal, had gotten language back after a period of time on "the diet" still took copious amounts of supplements, but he was not recovered. She explained to me that she had finally reached a place of acceptance about her son's condition never going away, and had the experience of raising a neuro-typical child with her daughter, born before their first child had been diagnosed. Part of me wondered if I would ever have that experience again.
Something so powerful, so undeniable, took me over after that talk. I had evidence of a child who had recovered, according to his mother Mary Romaniec. I had further evidence that a child could improve with treatment, from the mother in Orange County. In that moment I decided, irrevocably, that my child would recover. I knew that my life was meant for one purpose only: to find the treatments, protocols, and experts who would bring healing to my child and return her to me again. There was no obstacle that would stop me.
Notice, dear friends, that this dawning of realization came to me surreptitiously, through the Autism Underground, a place filled with pioneering parents and doctors willing to take professional risks to save our children. It sounds dark and forbidden and mysterious, as the medical establishment may actually want it to sound, to scare parents away from seeking treatment, at any cost. But as autism parents, even in the age where autism pervades our population at a rate 10,000 times what is was in 1985, we remain in the position of having to find help for our children through this underground.
I put Lila on the gluten and casein free diet (another story of heroism we autism parents undertake universally) and took her to see Dr. Sears after over a month of waiting to get off his waiting list. The cost of that consult was my first staggering blow, and I sold photography equipment and used our rent money to pay for it. Photography at that time was my livelihood, so I was selling my work materials to pay for medical treatment. You may or may not know that autism is legally excluded from medical insurance coverage in the United States (in every state except Arizona, whose legislature forced insurance companies to cover autism starting in 2008). So, yes, we autism parents second and third mortgage and sell our homes, sell our work equipment, ransom our time in second and third jobs and in some cases lose close to everything to procure medical and therapeutic intervention for our children. In the United States of America in the year 2009, our kids are excluded, because they have been diagnosed with a permanent disability, from getting medical care.
This is where we look up the meaning of discrimination in the dictionary and discover that autism is a civil rights crisis of the most grievous order. In addition to being barred from insurance coverage for treatment, our children are offered poor, sometimes totally bogus options for education and therapy through the bureaucratic agencies appointed to mete out provisions. They frequently get bound, and sometimes tortured by those same entities, during the school day -- a pervasive problem in the US. They get this inferior provision because, again, they are disabled with a particular disorder called autism. One of the biggest shocks and disbeliefs that has leveled me in this journey with all the other autism parents I have stood beside in Sacramento and D.C., is that the discrimination goes unrecognized by those in power. They simply cannot or will not see the gross level of deprivation these children face because of their disability.
I followed in the footsteps of many parents who came before me into autism and I got Lila some medical treatments that traditional pediatricians told me were absurd. Aside from the odyssey into the world of Candida Albicans and Dublineisis, (aka yeast) that plagued Lila's guts for two years without relent, Lila underwent IVIG (Intravenous Immunoglobulin) therapy like Mary Romaneic's son. Mary was available to me throughout the process and we talked many an early morning about what was happening with Lila. The total cost for Lila's 18 monthly treatments was $45,000, cash money. That money was raised by having a rock concert with friends from college times: Tenacious D. (I later found out there was a way for that doctor to have gotten insurance to cover it, but since that would have meant 50% less profit for him, he had us pay cash, another story for later.)
Of the dozens of medical interventions that Lila experienced, IVIG was the most dramatic. The first time we went to the clinic in Orange County, our wagon filled with toys and books for the all day affair on an intravenous drip, I saw a miracle. My daughter came back to me, fully recovered, verbal, without flapping and flailing, lucid: my Lila. The euphoria I experienced was other-worldly. I dropped to my knees and thanked God. I wept with tears of endless gratitude.
Lila was with me that time for about 5 days until I watched the immunoglobulin harvested from 1500 donors metabolize out of her system and she slowly slipped back in to autism again. This happened 17 more times. Twice she was rushed to the hospital after an infusion in the middle of the night with a 104+ fever that would not go down. About 15 infusions in, a heart murmur developed. (This was later resolved and was found benign when the infusions ended.)
Every month she would return to me calm and lucid, and slip away again. At the end of that year and a half, I contacted two family friends for more money to keep her going. She went three more times, and each time my disbelief that she was slipping away again became more crazy-making. I called a DAN doctor in Florida to beg advice. I called mothers in autism I knew, agonized. Finally, with no more funds, and no sign that the pattern would change, I had to let IVIG go and settle in to the daily life of a child who was fully trapped inside the vortex of autism. I was told that those brief reprieves from the immune component of Lila's autism had given her brain a chance to weave itself together a bit. Some gains remained. Lila was more verbally competent than she had been before.
This is one simple tale of many in the galaxy of bio-medical treatments we seek to help our children regain their neurological and immunological faculties after autism has been visited upon us. The saga of testing, metal load, gastrointestinal plagues, sensory processing disorders, auto-immune disaster, all of it took the time and money to investigate possible cures. Today, five years after the diagnosis, we are fundraising for Lila's Hbot (hyperbaric oxygen therapy) which costs thousands of dollars and won't be provided for by insurance.
One of the flimsy claims the insurance lobby makes for excluding autism is that its treatments are not proven. However, there are now hundreds of children who have recovered through IVIG, diet and chelation therapy. Further, there are thousands of cancer patients who die each year despite having received costly "medically proven" chemical treatments. The difference? There are ten thousand times more children with autism than cancer, and ten of thousands more coming down the pike each year who the insurance lobby don't want to treat. This is a tidal wave epidemic that government and society can longer ignore. As a champion in autism Rick Rollens often says: "Autism is the fire at the door."
To the parents in Orange County in our film, who are living in the guest quarters of their parents home after spending every penny they had on the legal battle for their autistic daughter's inclusion in school, to the parents who have lost their homes in foreclosure from the financial burden of giving their autistic child the chelation and oxygen therapy he needs to recover, to the mothers who don't speak English, and who have dark skin, who never dare to challenge the powers because of their uncertainty in the pecking order: Our children are worth this struggle. Speak to the government, speak to the doctors, speak to the other hundreds of thousands of parents in this country alone who are being involuntarily inducted into the confraternity of autism as their children fall into the void: let them know that this underground struggle must be brought into the light. There is one goal as we enter into this age of autism, and that is to open the doors to access for this new generation to get medical intervention, to avoid vaccinations if necessary, to obtain the highest possible level of educational and therapeutic supports to regain their lives.
I had to come to terms with the fact that Lila is not going to recover from autism, about a year ago. She's come up about 75% with the interventions she's received, and she still continues to improve. She never stops working. Today she has a chance to go to school with typical peers, to enjoy sports activities and play dates, to excel academically to the best of her ability, because of this intensive work we have done. I wouldn't take back a minute of the fight to get her where she is today.
We are here now to bring light to the autism underground, to make intervention open to all children affected by autism regardless of race, origin, or socio-economic status.
More information about the autism journey can be found at, The Pilgrims: the journey to a new world for autism is narrated by Aidan Quinn and directed by Amanda Copeland. Produced by Aaron Ryder and Rodrigo Garcia and sponsored by Iberia Airlines of Spain. Email Amanda Copeland for more info on the film or for help and questions regarding intervention for your child with an autism diagnosis. Autism is reversible.
Civil Rights

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Syndrome of Allergy, Apraxia, Malabsorption

Phenomenal! I love it as more and more science can support the fact that biomedical interventions for children with Autism are more effective than just traditional therapy alone. Here is a new research study supporting the use of a gluten free diet as well as supplementation for greater success in speech therapy. As many moms of children with Autism know, there are medical conditions that are underlying, you treat those and you have a reduction or in some cases, extinction of Autism related symptoms. This came from Dr. Jacqueline McCandless from her LDN Yahoo! group. Sorry for any formatting issues, I copied and pasted.
SCIENTIST FIRST TO CHARACTERIZE NOVEL SYNDOME OF ALLERGY, APRAXIA, MALABSORPTIONNewswise — A landmark study conducted by Children's Hospital & Research CenterOakland is the first to reveal a new syndrome in children that presents with acombination of allergy, apraxia and malabsorption. Autism spectrum disorderswere variably present. Verbal apraxia has until now been understood to be aneurologically based speech disorder, although hints of other neurological softsigns have been described. The new study, led by Children's Hospital & ResearchCenter Oakland scientist and pediatric emergency medicine physician, ClaudiaMorris, MD, and Marilyn C. Agin, MD, a neurodevelopmental pediatrician at SaintVincent Medical Center in New York, however, suggests that the symptoms ofverbal apraxia are, at least for a sub-group of children, part of a larger,multifactorial, neurologic syndrome involving food allergies/gluten-sensitivityand nutritional malabsorption."While it is critical to treat verbal apraxia symptoms that often include severedelays in expressive speech production with speech therapy, we need to startasking why these kids are having these problems in the first place so that wecan identify mechanisms we can actually target to treat the cause of thesymptoms," says Dr. Morris.Published in the July/August issue of Alternative Therapies in Health andMedicine, the new study takes a major step toward identifying the potentialmechanisms that may contribute to apraxia symptoms. In the study, Dr. Morriscollected information from nearly 200 families with children who suffered fromverbal apraxia in order to better characterize the symptoms and metabolicanomalies of a subset of children. The data clearly demonstrated a commoncluster of allergy, apraxia and malabsorption, along with low muscle tone, poorcoordination and sensory integration abnormalities. In addition, Dr. Morris wasable to gather laboratory analyses in 26 of the children, which revealed lowcarnitine levels, abnormal celiac panels, gluten sensitivity, and vitamin Ddeficiency among others.All children genetically screened carried an HLA gene associated with glutensensitivity and celiac disease. "The sample size is still small and should beinterpreted with caution," says Dr. Morris. "However this is of particularinterest given the recent publication by Eaton and colleagues in the July 6online edition of Pediatrics demonstrating a greater than 3-fold risk of autismin children born to mothers diagnosed with celiac disease. This brings somecredibility to the anecdotal reports of gastrointestinal and behavioralimprovements in children with autism spectrum disorders and/or verbal apraxiawhen eliminating gluten from their diets. Although the implications of theseobservations remain to be determined, this association and the utility ofdietary modifications warrant further investigation, particularly if we canidentify a genetically vulnerable group".Most significantly, the data indicate that the neurologic dysfunctionrepresented in the syndrome overlaps the symptoms of vitamin E deficiency. Whilelow vitamin E bioavailability may occur due to a variety of different causes,neurological consequences are similar, regardless of the initiating trigger. Thestudy suggests that vitamin E could be used as a safe nutritional interventionthat may benefit some children. Growing evidence support the benefits of omega 3fatty acid supplementation in a number of neurodevelopmental disorders.Anecdotally children with verbal apraxia will often demonstrate leaps in theirspeech production when taking high-quality fish oil. The addition of vitamin Eto omega 3 fatty acid supplementation in this cohort of children inducedbenefits that exceeded those expected from just speech therapy alone, accordingto parental report."While data from a case series is by no means conclusive, the results clearlypoint to the need for further attention to this poorly understood disorder, anda placebo-controlled study to investigate the potential role of vitamin E andomega 3 supplementation in this group of children," says Dr. Morris.She points out that it is equally important for children given an apraxiadiagnosis to receive a more comprehensive metabolic evaluation than what iscurrent practice. Many of the nutritional deficiencies like low carnitine, zincand vitamin D are easily treated. By not addressing the nutritionaldeficiencies, the child will continue to suffer from significant medicalconsequences of those deficiencies. The first step is to identify and treat thedeficiencies. The next step is to try to figure out why they have thesedeficiencies and a fat malabsorption syndrome in the first place. However, Dr.Morris does advise families to work closely with a physician rather than tryingpromising but unproven interventions on their own.In the mean time, however, Dr. Morris's study provides the essential foundationfor identifying the children who may need these treatments."By identifying these early red flags of the syndrome, we've provided a way toget these kids treatment at the earliest possible moment. While 75 percent ofthe time kids identified as late bloomers really are just that, 25 percent ofthe time there is a true pathologic condition. To miss it is to miss criticallyvaluable time for early intervention. If a child has all these symptoms, chancesare they are going to fall into the 25 percent who have a condition that needsfurther evaluation and treatment."

Saturday, July 25, 2009

GFCF Buckwheat granola (RAW)

The buckwheat, right out of the dehydrator, sorry you can't see their little "tails"

The finished product!

The next thing I decided to experiment with was buckwheat. Once again, this comes from my Raw food friend Sunny's recipes (she is working on a RAW cookbook by the way for anyone interested!!). She served this type of granola when we visited a few months back. I ordered by buckwheat from Azure standard. I had been avoiding buckwheat because, well it even has wheat in the name! Surely that can't be gluten free, right? Wrong! It is actually seed from a fruit! Here is more info on this versatile grain:
It is believed that buckwheat was first domesticated in China. As it spread across Asia and Europe during the centuries, it took a particularly strong hold in Russia where kasha is popular. A relatively new grain, it hasn't been in cultivation for much more than a thousand years. Saying it's a grain is a misstatement as it's not really a grain at all. It's actually, technically, a fruit. It's a hardy plant that thrives in poor soil conditions and continues to live through freezing temperatures, droughts and excess rain.
The unprocessed, three-sided buckwheat seed has a thick, hard outer hull that must be mechanically removed before it's ready to eat which is the way it's sold. After the seed has been de-hulled, the inner seed or groat has a light brown or light green coloring and is so soft that it can be easily chewed. Having a distinctive, pleasant, rich flavor all it's own, 100% buckwheat flour makes delicious pancakes. Mixed with wheat flour, buckwheat makes great tasting biscuits, muffins and breads and can be mixed up to 50% with wheat flour for making yeast breads. In Eastern Europe, the groats are toasted and are known as kasha. Commercial food processors mix buckwheat flour with other flours to make pancake mixes, breakfast cereals, breads and turkey stuffing. In Europe, buckwheat groats are used whole in hot cereals and soups. They can also be boiled until they become soft and fluffy and then eaten like rice. The Orient is the largest user of North American grown buckwheat where it's used to make sorba noodles.
Whole grain buckwheat is an amazingly nutritious food. Even though it's protein is relatively low at approximately 11%, the protein buckwheat does have contains the eight essential amino acids and is one of the few "grains" (remember that buckwheat isn't a grain at all) high in lysine. If you use half buckwheat flour with your wheat flour, the buckwheat's amino acids will round out the limiting amino acids in your wheat nicely, giving you a nearly perfect balance of the 8 essential amino acids. This particular balance between half wheat and half buckwheat flour is much more closely aligned to your dietary needs even than lean beef!!! It's also rich in many of the B vitamins as well as the minerals; phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese. In addition to this, it's a good oil source of Linoleic acid, one of the two essential fatty acids we must have to be healthy. Nutritionally speaking, buckwheat is a truly impressive food.
Buckwheat contains rather volatile essential fats inside the seed that aren't protected very well after the air-tight hull has been removed. It isn't a good storing grain unless precautions are taken to remove the oxygen. Like brown rice, oxygen makes the essential oils in the seed go rancid, giving it a bad taste and making it unfit to eat. So, when storing buckwheat for long term storage, be sure you place it in airtight containers and use oxygen absorber technology which should give it a long storage life.
The buckwheat plant is also very useful as honey bees love it's flowers for making dark, rich flavored honey. And farmers also use it as a green fertilizer. Just a couple of years ago, buckwheat hull pillows were the rage. You can still find buckwheat hull pillows advertised in different catalogs. These pillows are famous for providing a soft yet cool pillow that permits the skin next to the pillow to breath.
Buckwheat is certainly a versatile plant and is definitely a seed worth storing to round out the nutrition in your food supply - especially if you'd prefer not to eat beans to get that lysine to augment your wheat.
So now we get to how I prepared it. I soaked it and sprouted it. I soaked them for 4 hours (with a few drops of GSE) - you can soak for 4 - 6 hours. Then I put them in a colander, rinsed and left on the counter for 24 hours, tossing them every so often to get the more wet seeds on top and the drier ones in the middle/bottom. After a while, they started growing "tails" which is indicative of their sprouting. If they don't sprout after 24 hours, you have a bad batch.
After sprouting, I put them in the dehydrator for 8 - 10+ hours. The key is getting them very, very dry so I actually started them at 2 pm and just let them go all that night too so I ended up drying them about 16 hours or so. They cannot be "too" dry but if they are not dried enough, they will go rancid quickly and you don't want that. After drying, I took them out, mixed them with a small amount of raw, organic honey, coconut oil, coconut (shredded) and some sunflower seeds. I will attached a link for the recipe I used but I only had sunflower seeds on hand, not pumpkin so I just went with what I had. That's why I love cooking, you can make it up as you go along! I sprinkled some cinnamon on top and viola! Instant "raw" healthy granola. M loved it, so did I. My little E, not so much but she is a carbo queen, we are still working on that!
After you have dehydrated them, you can also grind for flower and store in the freezer for longer keeping. Or you can store them just like this in the freezer, your choice. I did a small batch to start, not knowing how they would turn out but I think this will become a staple in the house now. When sprouted and dried, they have a consistency that is a cross between a rice crispie and a grape nut. They are not as hard as grapenuts and not as soft as rice crispies. The flavor is very light and almost sweet. And, as you will find with most raw foods, a little goes a looooong way. I can eat raw food and expect to eat a "normal" portion and get full way before the serving is gone. They are so nutritionally dense that your body knows when to say when. So, for anyone wanting to branch out on a GFCF diet or just eat more raw foods, this one was a hit and can be tailored to your family's liking. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

PVC, Lead, Cadmium and other toxins in toys and children's items - UPDATED

Well, as I finished my blog, I left our office to go rip the tags off of those Target bags I just gave props to, I realized I missed one minor detail, the fact that they had MICROBAN in the sacks (which I had never seen before but I don't often buy lunch sacks either!!!). I was so focused on the BPA issue that I broke my own rule READ THE WHOLE LABEL!!! But, I was rushing out the door and figured I would stop at Sprouts for a better alternative. And, while I was out, I got a comment from a reader (THANKS NEEDLE.AND.DAMAGE.DONE!! They wrote "Terri, pvc-free is great, but your pictures show they have microban. Google autism triclosan and you'll see that's a suspect chemical too."). You are ABSOLUTELY right and I am ashamed that I was so quick to scan the tag and miss that completely!! Thanks goodness it wasn't too late and I did get the ones you see above from Sprouts, significantly higher cost but what's new, right?? So thank you Needle.and.damage.done!!! Microban and triclosan are being more commonly used, many foaming hand cleaners use triclosan and we avoid those. I don't think I have ever seen them on lunch sacks, but like I said, it has been a long time since I have needed to buy one. But beware, many of the licensed character ones that are so pupular with the kids have PVC in them. And be even more aware of the ones advertising that they are PVC-free, they could have even worse things in them!! Read below for the original article, minus the plug for the Target lunch sacks! Sorry for the sideways picture, for whatever reason it will not add the picture with the correct orientation!


Here is another disheartening article on toxins in children's toys. I want to also point out, as we get ready for school, choose wisely when picking a school lunchbox for your child. Your child's food will be stored in this for hours, often exposed to heat which will exacerbate any leaching of chemicals so pick ones without PVC. This goes for those plastic water bottles too. I have blogged on plastics before so go to the bottom of my blog and find the link for older posts if you need to read more. BPA is a toxin that is often in plastics. Make sure any water bottle you buy is BPA free!! More and more manufacturers are making products free of BPA but you have to look for them, if it doesn't say it, don't assume it doesn't have it! And then do not microwave or or put in the dishwasher your plastics. The high heat starts the leaching process. I would hand wash just to be on the safe side. Unfortunately we cannot assume that government agencies are keeping our children safe from toxins even in toys. We as parents need to educate ourselves on the things that are coming in contact with our children. If you have a child with Autism, this is even more important due to the faulty detox pathways that are often present with the disorder.
KALAMAZOO -- A lion sitting on a raft -- both pieces made of plastic -- failed. A Doodle Pro, a small, magnetic drawing toy made by Fisher-Price, also failed. "It's a cool toy, if it's not toxic," said Tina Tabulog, holding a small wooden block with painted balls attached to it. Some of the balls, as well as the lion and the Doodle Pro, tested positive for lead. The amount was below the legal level but was high enough to concern Tabulog. She decided to get rid of them. Tabulog had a bag of toys with her at Bronson Park on Monday and wanted them tested for harmful substances. Toy testing, a press conference and a giant, inflatable duck were part of a statewide blitz by the Michigan Network for Children's Environmental Health to raise awareness of and support for the Children's Safe Product Act. The act would require toy manufacturers who have products on shelves in Michigan to notify the state government of any chemicals present in the toys that are known to be hazardous to children, said Mike Shriberg, policy director for the Ecology Center and the coalition. The state would then make that information accessible through the Michigan Department of Community Health. The chemicals Shriberg is concerned about include lead, arsenic, bromine, cadmium and mercury. Shriberg said the coalition has tested thousands of toys and found that a third have elevated levels of harmful chemicals. "It's 100 percent preventable. There's no reason to have lead," Shriberg said as he tested a Barbie doll. The Barbie showed traces of chromium, and Tabulog gave it to Shriberg to keep an as example. Her two children, Morgan Smith, 4; and Lukas Smith, 16 months, already have elevated levels of lead in their bodies. Tabulog said she is concerned that the substance already has caused health problems. The act, a series of seven bills, passed the state House of Representatives 64-44 in May and currently sits in state Senate's Health Policy Committee, chaired by Sen. Tom George, R-Texas Township. George, a physician, said he does not favor the bills as written and that the issue is not high on the Senate's health-policy list. He said of the chemicals identified in the bills, lead presents the greatest concern. Last year the state adopted the federal government's standards for lead and strengthened its testing and abatement programs, George said. A federal law, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, bans the sale of products that contain more than 600 parts per million of lead that are intended for children 12 and younger. George said there are other issues before the committee that are more pressing, and he expressed concern that the bills would set standards and procedures different from those in other states. He said manufacturing standards are usually handled at the federal level. Rep. Robert Jones, D-Kalamazoo, who announced on Monday he would seek the 20th District Senate seat now held by George in 2010, voted for the bills. He spoke in favor of the act at Monday's Bronson Park event. "I think it is just awful that someone would produce and market something that would cause damage to our most precious things," Jones said. Bill Kirk, communications director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, said the act, if passed, would not ban any substances or require companies to label their products differently. The bills, he said, would allow companies to conduct business as usual while equipping parents with information on neurotoxins and cancer-causing and hormone-disrupting chemicals present in toys. Washington, Minnesota, Maine and California already have similar, more strict, laws on their books, he said. Contact Aaron Aupperlee at or (269) 388-8576.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Battling back to school bugs

It's the most wonderful time......of the year!! That's right, back to school time is just around the corner. Literally for us, school starts Thursday!! What does that mean other than a bit more sanity in the house? The sharing of new and exciting germs.....ah the downside. Well, I am going to share a little tip that I am going to try. It is called Allimax from New Beginnings. Here is the info:

Guaranteed pure and highly effective
Allimax Liquid contains 100% pure stabilized Allisureallicin extract, the most important and active constituent found in garlic. Allisureallicin is extracted from fresh garlic using a completely natural process - without the use of solvents – to produce the most stable, pure and potent liquid allicin extract available. Most garlic supplements available contain less than 5% allicin or can provide only unstable “allicin potential” which oftentimes cannot survive the stomach acid, preventing it’s conversion to true allicin. Allimax Liquid, however, contains 100% stable Allisureallicin that is able to survive the digestive process and needs no conversion by the body before going to work.

Scientific studies have shown the multiple benefits of allicin which includes supporting a healthy cardiovascular, immune and digestive system due to its anti-fungal, anti-biotic and anti-viral properties. Each drop of Allimax Liquid delivers the amount of allicin contained in 40 cloves of garlic without containing all the other compounds that cause a garlic scent to come through the skin and breath. As a result, the fresh garlic taste quickly dissipates after ingestion and does not leave a lingering garlic taste in your mouth.
And here is what Dr. McFadzean, the consulting Naturopath for New Beginnings has to say about it as well:

Garlic, or allium sativum as it is known in the plant world, has many medicinal properties and has been used for years as a healing remedy. We are proud to be carrying Allimax Liquid, a potent, stable form of garlic with a multitude of uses and benefits, including immune supportive, antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties. Allimax Liquid can help balance digestive function, ward off colds and flu's, and promote healthy hearts.Garlic, or allium sativum as it is known in the plant world, has many medicinal properties and has been used for years as a healing remedy. We are proud to be carrying Allimax Liquid, a potent, stable form of garlic with a multitude of uses and benefits, including immune supportive, antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties. Allimax Liquid can help balance digestive function, ward off colds and flu's, and promote healthy hearts.Allimax Liquid contains 100% pure stabilized Allisure allicin extract, the most important and active constituent found in garlic. Therefore you can be assured that this liquid gives you the highest quality and potency. Many garlic remedies have low levels of actual allicin, less than 5%, which renders them not very potent - one drop of Allimax Liquid contains the equivalent amount of allicin as 40 cloves of garlic. Many garlic remedies also leave a lot to be desired in terms of residual odor. Allimax Liquid, being so concentrated and with the high levels of isolated allicin extract, omits many of the constituents of regular garlic that cause that smell. Further, because Allimax Liquid is stabilized, it resists breakdown by the stomach acids and can make its way into the intestines, balancing dysbiotic flora, and being absorbed into the blood stream where it can influence cardiovascular and immune function, to name just a few.One of Allimax's key uses is as an antimicrobial. If we look at garlic in nature, the cloves are odor-free until they are crushed or permeated in some way. At that point, there is a reaction between one of its chemical compounds, alliin, and an enzyme called allinase, which results in the formation of allicin. So in nature, if a "predator" such as a fungus in the soil, permeates the garlic bulb, allicin will be created which inactivates the invader. This mechanism is activated in a very small location for a very limited amount of time, leaving the rest of the plant available to mount an attack of its own should the need arise. So you can see that garlic is well designed in nature as an antimicrobial.The list of microbes which allicin has been shown to be effective against is extensive - bacteria such as Escherichia, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Klebsiella, Proteus, Bacillus and Clostridium. These are microbes that I frequently see testing positive on children's stool tests. Allicin also combats H pylori, a bacteria that can cause gastric ulcers, as well as symptoms such as burping, heartburn, reflux, feeling like food just sits in the stomach, nausea etc. Many people are put on antacid medications and such as Nexium and Tagamet for reflux that is actually caused by the H. pylori bacteria. Allicin has been effectively used for methicillin-resistant staph aureus (MRSA) as well as other drug-resistant bacterial strains. One of the greatest benefits of Allimax is that it can be used directly in the ears to combat ear infections. I believe that ear infections in children, and the subsequent antibiotic regimens given, are one of the largest contributing factors to yeast overgrowth, which then has such a significant impact on behavior. Having a natural option for treating ear infections is so beneficial in preventing that whole cascade.Allicin is also a very effective compound in combating yeast and fungal overgrowth. Fungus in the soil is very common and garlic is well designed in nature to resist it. Therefore we see huge clinical application for Allimax Liquid in intestinal candida.What is also nice about using a natural product such as Allimax over pharmaceutical anti-fungals, is that the Allimax has "accessory benefits" such as combating any bacteria and parasites that may be present. Anti-fungal medications are more specific for yeast and do not provide that broad-spectrum benefit.Garlic is well known as an immune enhancing remedy. It is known that allicin enhances phagocytosis, which is the term given when an immune cells engulfs and destroys an invader (such as a bacteria). It also enhances natural killer (NK) cell activity. It is antiviral, and can reduce the occurrence of the common cold as well as the duration of colds.The biological capability of allicin is related to its antioxidant capabilities, immune enhancing capabilities and antimicrobial activity. It can easily penetrate the cell membranes getting into the cells where it can work most effectively.Allimax Liquid has a high safety level. As garlic can potentially act as a blood thinner (advantageous in cardiovascular health in general), it is recommended that those on anticoagulants or about to undergo surgery advise their medical team before starting any garlic supplement. Very occasionally an individual may have an allergic reaction to garlic. I recommend people who have tested positive to garlic on IgG food allergy testing to avoid supplementation of it also.Allimax Liquid is a high potency, high quality extract of allicin, the active constituent of garlic. Being a liquid it is very easy to take, and drops should be first mixed into liquid or cool food. The taste of garlic dissipates considerably when added to water and there is not a lingering garlic smell, nor should there be odor from the pores of the skin later. It is a great immune boosting remedy, while acting as a natural antibiotic, antifungal, and antiviral remedy. If your child has a weakened immune system, evidenced by recurrent colds and flu's, viral infections, or if they have intestinal yeast and dysbiosis, Allimax Liquid may be a beneficial remedy to integrate into their protocol.
My awesome co-worker Lisa told me at the USAAA show that when she starts to feel rundown and about to get sick she will take some and it makes her feel better. Now THIS I have got to try. I have known about the wonderful properties of garlic but you need to get RAW garlic in. I am not a big fan of munching on raw garlic (or the odorous after effects either) and my kids won't touch the raw stuff. This is the best of both worlds, the potency of garlic without the potent smell! I am placing my order today, and its on SALE!! Normally $32, on sale for $25.60. Just in time! Let me know if you need help placing an order with New Beginnings, and don't forget to tell them you heard about it from me! ;)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New BIOMED support group coming to the East Valley SOON!!

Dawn Winkelmann, speech and language goddess/feeding therapist and I are starting up a new biomed group for the East Valley. We plan to offer monthly (until we need to do more) classes that give hands on info on GFCFSF diets, ways to get supplements in kids, recipes, seasonal topics like back to school lunch ideas, GFCF holiday recipes, etc. We plan to have 1 hour lecture, 30 min Q & A and 30 min chit chat. I will have New Beginnings products on hand to try, we will have Dr. Woeller's Autism Action Plan on hand to check out and Dawn will be available to discuss private consults. We will start at the beginning, why is it important to adopt a GFCF and maybe even SF diet for your child? We will bring in each of the building blocks including a review of some of the biomedical challenges these children face to help parents truly understand the root causes of Autism and why these interventions are important. We will also provide tools (i.e. reputable doctors, therapists and supplements) to help support children who have Autism. It will be a Meet Up group online and we will meet at a local place (TBD). The dates have been set as the 2nd Thursday of the month from 7:00 - 9:00 pm beginning in September. We will have guest speakers, you will get to try recipes, we will share ideas and resources, offer hope and support. I will post the link to Meet up on my blog when we get it all set up. We hope to see you there!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Update to safer cleaning products

I LOVE when my readers ask questions, then I research and learn more too!! Thanks Sharmila for asking about better alternatives to the handi-wipes at every store these days to wipe down your cart handle.

Sharmila asked "I use the alcohol hand sanitizer on the shopping carts instead of those courtesy wipes. Rubbing alcohol isn't bad for the kids the same way bleach"

I am guilty of using the Purell (gratuitous use of a trade name, I know) too. I try and avoid it but for example, they require it at the gym daycare. I hadn't really thought much of it until now but here's what I learned:
Earth Talk: Safety issues with gel hand sanitizersby the Editors of E - The Environmental Magazine
Dear EarthTalk: My pediatrician swears by those gel hand sanitizers for lowering the risk of my family getting sick during cold and flu season. But I've also heard that these products can be dangerous to kids if ingested. Are there any safer alternatives that work just as well?
A 2005 study by the Children's Hospital in Boston compared illness rates across a study group of 292 families-half of them got hand sanitizers while the other half were given literature advising them of the benefits of frequent hand washing. The findings revealed that those families who used hand sanitizers experienced a 59 percent reduction in gastrointestinal illnesses and that the increased use of sanitizers correlated to a decreased spread of contagions in general.
Another study conducted at Colorado State University yielded similar conclusions, that alcohol-based hand sanitizers were as much as twice as effective as either regular soap or antibacterial soap at reducing germs on human hands. A Purdue University study, however, concluded that while alcohol-based hand sanitizers may kill more germs than plain or triclosan-based soaps, they do not prevent more infections that make people sick. Instead they may kill the human body's own beneficial bacteria by stripping the skin of its outer layer of oil.
The down side of the gel/alcohol products is their danger as poison, especially for young children who may ingest the gel by licking it off their hands or eating it directly out of dispensers. Purell and Germ-X, two of the leading brands, each contain 62 percent ethyl alcohol. While this alcohol is what gives the products their germ-busting power, it also puts kids at risk of alcohol poisoning. A few squirts of the hand sanitizer-which is equivalent to124 proof booze-is enough to make a kid's blood alcohol level .10, which is the equivalent of being legally drunk in most states.
So what's a concerned parent to do? Unfortunately, the so-called greener alternatives out there aren't safe to swallow either. EO Hand Sanitizer, for example, though it uses organic lavender oil also contains alcohol to sanitize the skin surface, and would also be considered poison if a large enough amount was ingested. Similarly greener (but still not safe to eat) products are available from Avant and All Terrain.
For now, soap and warm water-and constant nagging of your kids to wash their hands-may be the safest way to sanitize. Also, make sure that any hand sanitizer dispensers you may still use are kept out of the reach of little hands.
But who knows how we'll be sanitizing our hands in the future. Researchers at Arizona State University have found that certain types of natural clays pulled right from the ground are highly effective at killing bacteria. One type of green clay has been shown to do a number on E. coli, salmonella, staph and other bacteria known to make people sick. But the research is still in its infancy, so don't expect to see moms pulling jars of clay out of their purses anytime soon.
CONTACTS: EO Products,;,;,
Here are some additional links about the use of these products. I love the tip in one of the following articles of just using a regular old baby wipe.

A couple of things I forgot to mention earlier, I preach immune support, immune support, immune support. Proper nutrition, sleep, removal of processed sugars, PROBIOTICS and other supplements will do your child much better than ANY sanitizing wipe. Our bodies are made to deal with the buggies, chemicals - not so much. The more we boost our system up (rather than tear it down by poor nutrition for example) the more we will be protected from the germs out there. We can't live in a bubble so lets make sure the immune system is as strong as it can be and ditch the chemicals made to kill them (and to a lesser extent, us). And, if you are at all interested in aromatherapy, the essential oil Tea Tree Oil is a very potent antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal. I put a few drops in a water bottle sprayer and use as "lysol" spray that is safe for kids, pets, etc. You could put a drop of that on your hand and swipe across the handle of the cart too!! I LOVE Tea Tree Oil.

Safer cleaning tips to reduce toxins in the home

I have blogged about this in the past but as I reached for my vinegar and baking soda today, it made me think of how more and more I am seeing people use caustic and toxic cleaners to clean their homes and the Clorox/Lysol surface wipes on kids' hands. I wanted to cover this topic again. In today's society, we have so many things that have become commonplace that can be dangerous to our childrens' health. The use of bleach and disinfecting wipes is one of them. Here is a link to the Clorox FAQ page where they specifically say that these disinfecting wipes are for hard surfaces ONLY, not hands or bodies:

Although the Clorox wipes I mentioned above do not contain bleach persey, they fall into the toxic category anyways. Then we move onto the topic of bleach itself. I would challenge each of you to get rid of that bleach and reach for natural, safer cleaners. Here is some additional reading on the hazards of using bleach.

So you germaphobes may be asking at this point "what will I use?". I used to be a germaphobe too. But, the bleach is gone and in its place is vinegar and baking soda (when combined will foam and has good grit to scrub those tubs!) and hydrogen peroxide. Life is all about PH I have decided. Once you know an organism's PH you can find a way to counteract it. If you are looking for a disinfectant, the acidity of vinegar will do the trick. Don't believe me? Read more here:

It may take you a little more elbow grease but you will be sure your little ones are not breathing in toxic fumes from the chemicals. Bleach fumes hover right around calf/ankle level, perfect height for crawlers and new walkers. Do you really want your child breathing in Dioxin, one of the most harmful man made chemicals on Earth? Of course you don't which is why you dump the bleach and chemical cleaners and reach for natural (and CHEAP) alternatives! You children and your pocket book with thank you!!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Home from The USAAA Show!

Wow, what a fun filled weekend!! I was on my first assignment for New Beginnings, to attend the US Aspergers and Autism Association show at the Westin LAX representing New Beginnings Nutritionals. This conference was a great chance for parents, caregivers and therapists to hear wonderful speakers and see the other companies who work to help us recover our children with Autism. I had a chance to sample some of our own products for the first time! I tried the chewable A & I support which is an allergy and immune support, a natural antihistamine. I also tried the chewable enzymes by Houston that we carry and the chewable Vitamin C. I loved them all. Some parents even report using the chewable Vitamin C as a reward. I just ordered some myself so we'll see if it goes over as well in our house.

It was great to talk to other parents about what is helping my son. Talking to other parents who live this life just like I do was so therapeutic!! To be in a room filled with people who understand your bloodshot eyes, your stress lines, and your grey hair is invaluable!! Often times families who have been touched by Autism feel loneliness and isolation. I LOVE these conferences because we ALL understand. Even though Autism in our house may look different than Autism in your house, we all understand, we're in the club too! We understand quirks, perseverations, feeding challenges, etc. We can share tips and gain knowledge and understanding from other parents. We can vent about challenges with school districts, being out in public when others don't understand, and even the toll it can take on your marriage. We all mourn the loss of the life we thought we'd have with our children and celebrate the successes that we have created for our children through our interventions. We feel empowered, supported and most of all, accepted. It was a great conference, I will post more details and info as soon as I can!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Antiviral therapy for Autism Treatment

We are onto the stage in my son's treatment that I was most hopeful about, antivirals! Given our family history of viruses, specifically Herpes strain, I have always had a hunch that this was a big piece of the puzzle. Given that my son has had chicken pox twice (6 months and 3 years of age), I am hopeful that this leg of our treatment will bring big gains. We are 14 days in as of today. He is on both Valtrex for the actual viral issues and Diflucan for the subsequent yeast overgrowth that can come from treating viruses. If you are doing any sort of antiviral approach (including natural remedies like olive leaf extract, Virastop, Oil of Oregano, etc) you should always add in an antifungal component as the dead viruses usually become food for the yeast so you can have a yeast flare. We have seen some improvements already in usage of new words (like "meanwhile") and recall of people/places/events and more engaged, prolonged conversation with our hab worker at one point~he sat talking with her for over AN HOUR recalling details of the class he used to be in where she was one of the teachers. He was even recalling people SHE had forgotten about! But, we've also seen the regression that often accompanies these new therapies like more meltdowns, higher escalation over small things, aggression, and perseverations are back to an extent. We've been doing a combo of bumping up natural antifungals like Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) and doing activated charcoal to 1) kill the yeast and 2) mop up the toxins that can produce these negative behavioral aspects. We noticed a big change yesterday after doing charcoal Friday night. Friday was filled with screaming meltdowns, not the most fun times of my life. But, I am hopeful that this is going to end up bringing us good gains so we keep pressing on. Yesterday morning I forgot that my husband was going for an early morning bike ride. My son came into my room and he asked where his dad was, I told him he must be downstairs. He headed off downstairs only to come back into my room to say "sorry mom, but my father isn't downstairs". Wow, that is a great way to wake up, hearing a sentence like that! So the gains are happening and I know this journey is a marathon, not a sprint, so we keep plugging along. I also understand that doing an antiviral approach can also be a good chelator as well. My son did not really show very high metals except for aluminum. We have never done chelation but I certainly think anything that will increase his detox pathways is a good thing. Speaking of, if you know of anyone with a Heavenly Heat FIR sauna that they are wanting to sell, please contact me. I would love to pick up a gently used one for increased detox for my son. Time to run, my son just woke up and said he's "especially hungry" this morning. The day is already giving us some wonderful new gains!! I hope you all had a great 4th of July!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Great book!

I read a book called "Ultra Metabolism" by Dr. Mark Hyman. The material was not new to me at all, many of the things I have blogged about. He also discusses the issues of chronic inflammation, stress, metabolic disorders, etc. I have been blogging about how I feel that many parents with children on the Autism Spectrum should look at themselves since many of the problems their children have, they do too! I have started taking some supplements that we have Matthew on. This book talks about many of them. So, if I were to refer a person looking to improve their own health, I would definitely suggest this book. It even has recipes to help get you started, and there is a whole seperate book of recipes that he has written as well. I got both books at the library but am thinking of buying them, that's how beneficial I think they are. I think many people have the same problems present in children with Autism, just not to the level where they have interfered with their development or manifests so strongly in their behavior. And, this book is not even focused on Autism! He has great advice about why we NEED fats in our diet, daily (YES, including dark chocolate, how can you NOT love a book like that). He talks a lot about this not being a diet but a lifestyle change. I got some great reminders out of it and yes, have even made some changes myself. This is not about deprivation, the fact is if you do not consume enough calories, your body goes into starvation mode which then means loss of muscle, then you go off of the "diet" because it doesn't work and you gain all the weight (and then some) in all fat. It is a cycle that so many are on. He states you need to eat at least enough to fuel your resting metabolic rate (RMR) which generally is your body weight times 10. So, if you weight 150, you need to at least consume 1500 calories. If you try and restrict your caloric intake to 1200 calories per day, you are actually doing yourself no good in the long term. As your weight goes down, so will your caloric need. But, it is about feeding your body the right stuff to spark that metabolic fire and addressing issues like mitochondrial dysfunction and inflammation which all impede your metabolism. I loved this book, I agreed with what he said and it made so much sense!! And, from what I have learned about the body and all of these problems (inflammation, mito dysfunction, etc) it was great to see this presented to the general public, not just the Autism community. He talked about nuts, seeds and legumes that give us great fat and protein that our body recognizes, understands and can process. And, if you add into that soaking and dehydrating of nuts that I have recently shared, you get even MORE of a protein boost! I think adding in some raw food principles here work really well with his advice. Overall, 2 thumbs up!! Do yourself a favor and read his book!! You won't regret it.
Here's a link to his site

New adventure!

So this should explain my lack of posts lately! While at our annual in-person visit with Dr. Woeller, he mentioned an employment opportunity with New Beginnings Nutritionals, the only supplement company we use for Matthew (and the rest of our family too!). They were looking for a parent marketing rep to attend California trade shows. He asked if he could refer me for this. He did and the rest is history! I start training next week at a trade show. It will be very part time, which works great for my schedule. But, it is one more thing going on and may mean less posts. But, if ANYONE is interested in high quality, allergen free supplements from a trusted source, let me know. I would be happy to help you get started!!

Raw (GFCF) mango, flax, coconut cookies

Here is another raw recipe inspired by Sunny. It is just 1/4 cup ground flax, soaked about 2 hours (it will become a gelatenous mass, just drain some of the top water off), 2 mangos peeled and sliced and shredded coconut to your liking. Put all in a blender and dehydrate for about 24 hours. They are a hit!!