Friday, December 31, 2010

Great tips for recovering from colds and flus

I found a really informative site talking about natural ways to recover quicker from colds and flus. Many of these tips I have already passed on but I am going to copy the whole section on colds and flus and link to the rest of the site if you'd like to read their info on preventing colds and flus as well as other things like avian flu, etc.

From the Quanta-Gaia website
Combating/Recovering from Colds and Flu’s
Okay, if you couldn’t elude the flu or a cold, what to do? With early and aggressive treatment, it is possible to limit your symptoms to a single day. But if you allow it to gain a foothold, symptoms will be more persistent. Although you may limit your symptoms to a single day and even feel good, it is important to understand that your body is still fighting off an infection; proper care is essential to preventing a “relapse.” Especially important is to get adequate sleep.

If you begin treatment the first day with a couple xylitol nasal washes, elderberry extract, vitamin C, a garlicky meal, and drink plenty of water and get lots of rest, you may find your symptoms disappearing within 24 hours. The nasal wash, water intake and rest are likely the most important elements. The nasal wash is important because it washes away many of the viruses which have been multiplying the previous 72 or so hours, and the water and rest are essential for optimal immune system function, which is necessary to kill the remaining viruses which you can’t wash away. Elderberry, vitamin C and garlic further support and enhance the immune system. Note: a nasal wash may not be appropriate for everyone. Children and seniors may have difficulty following the regimen. For those, a nasal spray may work.

First, get plenty of rest. Sleep is one of the most powerful immune system stimulants. Drink lots of fluids. Many people are chronically dehydrated and water is essential to proper immune system function. Don’t exert yourself. Your body needs its energy reserves for a strong immune function. Stay home from work or school. You will not be productive there, you’ll prolong your illness, and you’ll unnecessarily expose others. Be considerate to everyone: Stay at home, get plenty of bed rest, read a good book, and wash your hands frequently to avoid spreading it to others.

Remember to cover your face when you sneeze, and have something to sneeze into, such as a handkerchief; use your shirt sleeve if you have to. Wash your hands afterward.

Drink lots of water, natural fruit juices, or vegetable juices. Adding 5-15 drops of liquid GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract) 2-3 times a day to your juice will have an immune system boosting effect.* Avoid soft drinks, alcohol, coffee and caffeine. You should try to drink at least 8oz of non-chlorinated water each hour. Try to drink continuously throughout the day. Water is essential to help your body fight illness; your immune system cannot function properly without adequate quantities of water. It will also combat dehydration. Dehydration, in severe cases, can be fatal. Drinking adequate amounts of water will also help to abate cold and flu related headaches.

[* NutriBiotic makes a liquid concentrate GSE containing CITRICIDAL,® a formulation which has been endorsed by Dr. Julian Whitaker, Dr. David Williams and others. GSE comes from the seed of grapefruits, as well as the white pulp next to the skin. NutriBiotic’s formula comes from organically grown grapefruit.]
Caffeine and many soft drinks act as diuretics which will actually deplete your body of water. Caffeine or sugar can undermine your body’s immune system (caffeine can also cause a spike in blood-sugar levels). Alcohol, while generally beneficial in moderate amounts when healthy, will both depress the immune system and dehydrate you when you’re sick. It will prolong your illness. The exception might be a glass or two of red wine, which is vitamin and nutrient rich.
If you are having trouble drinking enough water, perhaps due to a sore throat, try adding some lemon juice, natural fruit juice, warming it a bit, or making a naturally non-caffeinated herbal tea. You might also consider making some hot lemonade from fresh lemons, or hot grapefruit juice. If you feel the need to sweeten it, use Stevia (liquid or powder), orange juice, honey, or grape juice — never refined sugar nor aspartame (NutraSweet). Xylitol (a natural Sugar-Alcohol compound), is an acceptable “sugar” substitute, and actually has immune system benefits which could help to combat cold and flu (however it is still relatively hard to find on store shelves in the US).

Elderberry extract is a potent anti-viral (see previous section).

Selenium & Probiotics are both valuable in supporting and enhancing immune function (see previous section).

Eat raw, freshly-crushed garlic. Garlic has anti-viral properties and boosts the immune system in general. It is possible to stop a cold dead in its tracks in three days (with no other treatment) by eating four cloves of freshly-crushed raw garlic three times a day (along with lots of water, vitamins and rest). Although you may find yourself oozing garlic from your pores and smell offensive to your loved ones! However it is more effective to use garlic combined with nasal irrigation and an elderberry extract. And this combined approach requires far less garlic. Deodorized garlic tablets are ineffective (see note about garlic in the section above).

Sore throats (from colds and flu’s) result from irritation by drainage of nasal fluids into your digestive tract. A simple lukewarm salt water gargle will sooth a sore throat and promote healing far better than any drugstore concoction. Pickling salt (sea salt) is preferred, but regular table salt will do. Make the water as salty as you can tolerate, without making it more salty than is comfortable. The salt will tend to sooth the inflamed tissue and promote healing. Adding a few drops of liquid GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract) can be beneficial. For a gargle, add one drop per ounce (so about three to six drops for the average gargle preparation). GSE has an anti-bacterial and anti-viral effect yet is safe if ingested (in fact many people take it as a supplement to boost overall immune system function).

Runny nose. The best treatment for a runny nose is to use a xylitol nasal wash in a neti pot. If you don’t have a neti pot, you can use it in a nasal spray, or sniff up a xylitol wash (or salt water). Some people find that lying down is helpful. A natural decongestant, such as Herbal Vapors salve (a non-petroleum based Vicks/Mentholatum alternative), available from Mountain Rose Herbs and other outlets, may provide relief. You’re best off avoiding decongestant medications you find at the drugstore. While these can be effective in suppressing symptoms, they will also prolong your illness. Aggressive treatment with a xylitol wash will wash away the viruses from their habitat in your sinuses, thus reducing the burden on your immune system. That is key to a rapid recovery.

Let your appetite be your guide. Do not force yourself to eat unless you are hungry. If you are hungry, soup is often a good choice. It will help warm you as well as provide nourishment. If you are not hungry, consider drinking natural fruit or vegetable juices for nourishment. Ice cream is best avoided due to its sugar content and cooling effect. A fruit sherbet or sorbet, while not ideal, would be a better choice. So you have a sore throat and you ate the ice cream, sherbet, or sorbet anyhow: Follow it with a hot beverage to warm you back up.

Increase your intake of vitamin C. Those studies suggesting vitamin C is ineffective against colds and flu are flawed (usually because too small a dose was used). The “Recommended Daily Allowance” (RDA) is far too low. A healthy adult should consume around 2000-4000 mg’s (2 to 4 grams) of vitamin C daily. For a sick person, the amount increases. Your body can actually tell you how much vitamin C you should be taking. Vitamin C, taken in sufficiently large doses, loosens the bowels. When you reach the level of vitamin C intake which causes loose bowels, you are taking too much vitamin C (assuming your bowels aren’t loose due to diarrhea, of course). Take up to that amount, then back off slightly. This is called the “bowel intolerance test.” When you’re sick, the amount of vitamin C required to loosen your bowels will greatly increase, thus indicating an increased need for this vitamin. Don’t be surprised if this goes up to 18-20 grams of vitamin C. In very rare instances, this has been known to go as high as 100 grams in certain individuals. In general, Dr. David Williams and Dr. Julian Whitaker each advise: When sick, take 1 gram of vitamin C every hour you’re awake.

Dr. Linus Pauling personally took 18 grams of vitamin C daily, and suggested a minimum of 12 grams for the average person. Although Dr. Pauling based this recommendation on some very compelling reasoning,* this amount seems excessive (as it would be hard to acquire this much vitamin C through diet alone). This begs the question of bioavailability and the form of vitamin C used. Dr. Pauling’s recommendations may have been based on ascorbic acid, which is what most vitamin manufacturers call “vitamin C,” even though it is only a vitamin C precursor. Bioavailability is thus an important factor in considering vitamin C dosage. Most vitamin C supplements are based on ascorbic acid because it is relatively inexpensive, chemically stable and stores well. Ascorbic acid is only an intermediate form, which the body must convert to mineral ascorbates to use; it is not particularly bioavailable. More bioavailable forms are offered by only a few companies. Also, bioflavonoids are known to help the body utilize vitamin C and enhance vitamin C bioavailability.

Two good sources of vitamin C, both of which come in (1000mg) packet form and are dissolved in a glass of water, are Emer’gen-C and Ola Loa. Ola Loa is a more complete multi-vitamin product, contains fewer sugars, but is also more costly. A good compromise is to take one Ola Loa daily, and use additional packets of Emer’gen-C as needed for your desired daily dose of vitamin-C. It is a good idea to distribute your vitamin C intake throughout the day; do not take it all at once.

[* Dr. Pauling found that most mammals’ bodies, except those of humans and guinea pigs, manufacture vitamin C. What’s more, he found that they all seemed to manufacture the same amount of vitamin C per pound of body weight. Dr. Pauling took that constant and multiplied it by the weight of the average human to arrive at his recommended daily dose of 12 grams of vitamin C. Dr. Pauling said that vitamin C strengthens the tissues in blood vessels and that adequate vitamin C intake would virtually eliminate heart disease and stroke. Extreme vitamin C deficiency is known to cause scurvy, a condition in which the blood vessels literally fall apart, so there seems to be merit to Dr. Pauling’s reasoning as regards heart disease and stroke.]
Take Vitamin D3 supplements, and increase your sun exposure. Vitamin D is an under-appreciated nutrient. It plays an active role in a strong immune system response, is known to help prevent at least 22 types of cancer, protects against heart disease, regulates blood sugar levels, regulates nerve function (and useful in treating depression), can protect children from type 1 diabetes, increases muscle strength in older adults, protects against rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, maintains healthy calcium and phosphorus levels for strong bones, and more.

Ultraviolet light from sunshine (not tanning beds) on our skin turns cholesterol into vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). The greater the amount of skin exposed to the sun, the more vitamin D is produced. However the darker one’s pigmentation, either genetically or by tanning, or the older a person is, the less efficiently one produces vitamin D from sun exposure. Using sunscreen or wearing clothing virtually eliminates all vitamin D production in the covered areas. Cold and flu season (and seasonal affective disorder, aka SAD) usually begins as the weather starts to cool and cloudiness increases, or at the same time as our sun exposure (and therefore vitamin D production) dramatically decreases. Vitamin D supplementation is recommended for darker skinned people, the elderly, people with minimal sun exposure, or for everyone not living in the tropics beginning in the autumn.

The US recommended daily allowance (RDA) is too low. Canada has established 2,000 IU/day as the recommended dose, and the Canadians are considering raising that to between 4,000-6,000 IU/day. Up to 10,000 IU/day is considered safe. The lowest dose that any form of vitamin D toxicity has ever been observed is 40,000 IU/day, which can cause hypocalcemia. Supplementing with D2 (calciferol, aka ergocalciferol) is only 20-40% as effective as supplementing with D3 (cholecalciferol).

A note on sun exposure and skin cancer: Most skin cancers which have been associated with sun exposure are benign cosmetic cancers. Melanoma, a dangerous and highly malignant skin cancer, doesn’t tend to occur on the most commonly sun-exposed skin (i.e. face, arms, and legs), but rather on less commonly exposed body trunk areas. Furthermore, occupational exposure to sunlight has been shown to reduce the risk of melanoma, and vitamin D has been shown to inhibit melanoma in cultured tissue samples. Interestingly, five out of ten studies indicated that people who used sunscreen were more likely than nonusers to develop melanoma; three of those studies found no connection with sun exposure; only two suggested sunscreen might confer some cancer protection. It seems a reasonable conclusion that, for caucasians who begin developing a natural, gradual tan in the milder spring sun, or for those with genetically darker pigmentation, unprotected sun exposure is completely safe and beneficial, whereas abrupt, intense summer sun exposure leading to sunburning is unwise, risky behavior. Only in the latter case does sunscreen seem beneficial, to prevent burning, and to promote the gradual tan which should have been acquired earlier in the season, when the natural sunlight was less intense; the SPF would have to be very low, around SPF 2-4, to emulate the spring sun; possibly as high as SPF 6-8 if a fair-skinned individual expected to be out in the hot summer sun most of the day, or on water, with reflected sunlight. A person with freckles is the exception as they are incapable of tanning evenly; regulated sun exposure, or a low SPF sunscreen, may be indicated during extended summer sun, or in tropical regions.

Keep warm. Do not neglect your feet; keep them warm too. Put on extra socks, maybe wool socks, wrap them in a blanket, whatever it takes. If you are cold or chilled, drink hot herbal tea or some other hot, non-caffeinated beverage. Nothing is quite as warming as drinking a hot beverage. You need to be drinking lots of fluids anyhow.

Take zinc. Zinc lozenges, dissolved in the back of the mouth and allowed to flow down the back of your throat has been known to stop a cold dead in its tracks in certain individuals. It is thought to shorten the duration in others (but not everyone). This must be administered at the first sign of a cold to be effective! Note: If you feel nauseous, discontinue use as this is a sign of zinc toxicity.

Do not take commercial cold or flu remedies from the drugstore. These preparations do not fight infection and can actually lengthen the duration of illness. Symptoms like a runny nose and fever actually help your body fight infection; suppressing them with drugs undermines the healing process. A saline-xylitol nasal wash, on the other hand, works synergistically with your body to mechanically flush out viruses and prevent them from re-establishing a foothold. It also provides relief. There is another drawback to commercial medications: they can mask your symptoms, making you feel artificially well. This entices you to over-exert yourself when what you really need is to be taking it easy and getting lots of rest. This usually prolongs your illness and the time you remain infectious to others. (Smart employers insist that sick people take time-off rather than come into work and spread sickness around.)

Pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc. should not be needed if you’re adequately hydrated and keeping your nasal passages clear (e.g. with a saline-xylitol wash).

Fever, in most cases, should not be viewed as a problem; it is the body’s natural reaction to infection and actually helps to shorten the duration of illness. Excessive fever (or prolonged duration) is, however, a concern and may require the attention of a health care provider. Aspirin should NEVER be given to children with fevers!

Make sure your environment is not too dry. Adequate moisture in the air is important. Use of a humidifier, vaporizer, or breathing steam from boiling water on the stove-top can help.

Brush your teeth with a combination of salt and baking soda — or use a tooth powder containing these ingredients. This will not irritate a sore throat and will make your mouth feel clean (at least for a while). The salt will also help to fight gum disease — a side benefit. Also pour a little hydrogen peroxide on your toothbrush before you brush and again as you put it away. Actually, disinfecting your toothbrush like this is good to do from time to time even when you’re healthy. Even better is to allow it to soak overnight in a glass filled high enough to cover the bristles. You may use either 100% hydrogen peroxide, or dilute it down to a 50-50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water. (Actually, since a typical bottle drug store “hydrogen peroxide” is a 3% solution, a 50-50 mixture would be a 1.5% solution.)

Crushed eucalyptus leaves or oil and water in a potpourri pot, or eucalyptus oil in a vaporizer, often makes the sinuses feel better.

Avoid using alcohol and tobacco. The exception is a glass or two of red wine.

Nasal Spray/Wash
This formula is useful for treating and preventing colds, flu’s and allergies. It can be used either as a nasal spray or wash. The spray is most useful as a prophylaxis, or for anyone who might have difficulties using a wash (e.g. children and seniors). A nasal wash will more aggressively fight an infection and treat symptoms. A neti pot is the best way to administer a nasal wash, although you can sniff it up if you don’t have a neti pot.

Nasal Spray/Wash Formula
Ingredient Quantity
US Measure Metric
Water 1 cup (8 fl. oz.) 237 ml
Salt ¼ – ½ level teaspoon † 1.25 – 2.5 ml †
Xylitol 1 level tablespoon (3 tsp.) 15 ml
GSE 4 drops NutriBiotic®
Grapefruit Seed Extract
Baking soda A pinch or two (optional)

Instructions: First, wash your hands with soap and water. Mix ingredients using warm (not hot) water. This helps to dissolve ingredients and, when used as a wash, is comforting. Stir mixture occasionally until the ingredients dissolve completely. Water should be non-chlorinated, filtered or distilled.

Salt is both soothing and therapeutic (in the proper concentration). Too little or too much salt will cause the water to “burn” or irritate your nasal passages and sinuses. Pickling salt, which is usually pure salt, is preferable to regular table salt. Table salt usually has undesirable additives (e.g. iodine and flow enhancers). And additives make it more dilute (per volume) thus throwing off the saline concentration of the formula. Do not use a salt substitute! You want real salt (i.e. sodium chloride, NaCl). Be sure your pickling salt is pure salt and does not contain “alum” or aluminum! Morton Canning & Pickling Salt is pure salt.

†: For a 0.9% isotonic saline solution, the amount normally found in bodily fluids, use 1/3 teaspoon (approx. ¼ heaping teaspoon, or 1.85 ml) of salt. Anything less than this is hypotonic, anything greater is hypertonic. Some research suggests a hypertonic solution may be best when combating a runny nose (as it would have a drying effect), so you might want to go to the higher end of the salt range. You may also want to add a pinch or two of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to help buffer the solution. A hypotonic solution, however, would tend to be moisturizing (i.e. the lower end of the salt range), and may be what you want in a nasal spray for general prophylactic use. Any amount of salt within the range indicated shouldn’t be irritating to the nasal passages/sinuses of most people.

Note: “Neti pot salt” (or “aromatic salt”) is just a marketing gimmick to sell salt at a higher price. It usually has some essential oils added, which might have some therapeutic value, or which some people may find pleasing. However it should be viewed as a luxury at a premium price, with relatively little practical value. Use it if you wish, but pickling salt is usually just as pure and free of additives, is widely available, and generally inexpensive.

Xylitol. While the xylitol is optional, it helps to wash away germs and pollutants in your sinuses, and makes it difficult for germs to colonize or re-establish themselves.

GSE. The GSE is useful to attack germs and acts as a preservative. Without GSE, use formula within a few days or discard. If mixing for immediate use in a neti pot, the GSE may be omitted without much consequence; its primary purpose is as a preservative for a nasal spray. If you have liquid NutriBiotic GSE, add 4 drops. Other brands may have different sized drops or potencies, so adjust as needed. NutriBiotic has fairly small drops and is 33% Citricidal. Some GSE brands are triple strength, or 100% Citricidal. Too much GSE will “burn” or irritate your nasal passages and sinuses.

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Baking soda is optional. It may be useful as a buffering agent when using a hypertonic saline solution.

Garlic nose drops. In his book The Healing Power of Garlic Paul Bergner writes: “Garlic nose drops directly kill the viruses that cause cold or flu.” He also writes about a study with mice where some were inoculated with garlic, and some were not. The flu virus was introduced to the nasal passages of each mouse. Those mice that received the garlic remained healthy, where all the others got sick. To make nose drops, Bergner instructs us to crush some garlic to obtain juice, and add ten parts water and mix well. It could be added to the saline-xylitol formula above, if you like, to enhance its germ killing abilities.

In addition to the nose drops, eating raw garlic is also helpful and has a systemic effect. Note: deodorized garlic tablets are not useful in fighting viral or bacterial infections.

As a wash. There are several ways to administer a nasal wash. Some recommend using a bulb syringe or plastic bottle, however a neti pot is by far the easiest. But if you don’t have a neti pot, here is how to “sniff it up”: First, blow your nose and wash your hands with soap and water. Then, over the bathroom sink, put one or two teaspoons of nasal wash mixture in the cupped palm of your hand, close off one nostril with a finger and put the other nostril in the water, then inhale briskly. Try to take the water far up into your sinuses. Then let the water drain out your nostril and into the sink. Repeat this several times then switch to the other nostril. If done correctly, you’ll have a sensation in your nose which is very similar to having recently taken a swim (at least with a salt water mixture; the xylitol mixture may produce a somewhat different sensation). Repeat this process, alternating between nostrils, until your nose is feeling relatively clear.

Neti pot. First, blow your nose and wash your hands with soap and water. There are two ways to use a neti pot. The standard way (Jala Neti Stage 1) is to tilt your head and insert it into the upper nostril and pour, letting it drain out of the lower nostril. However this method may not be sufficient to attack an active cold or flu infection as it primarily washes only the lower sinuses. My method to more aggressively wash the (upper) sinuses is to lean over a sink and, with the forehead tilted slightly forward, plug one nostril with a finger, insert the neti pot spout into the other, and gently inhale, then remove the neti pot and allow the liquid to drain back down my nostril and into the sink. Anyone who has tried the “sniff up” method described in the paragraph above will find the neti pot draws the nasal wash up with far less effort and in much greater volume (thus doing a better job of washing the sinuses). This technique is similar to “stage two” neti and takes a little practice to master. The key is to proceed slowly when learning how to do this. Sometimes a little fluid goes down the back of the throat. Although not harmful (and actually the goal of stage two neti), for our purposes here it is a sign to stop inhaling, and to not inhale quite so much the next time. We can adequately flush out the viruses by allowing the fluid to drain out our nostrils, and this is less difficult than learning how to master stage two neti technique. None of this should be painful nor induce coughing, nor should you be inhaling so hard as to draw fluid into your lungs! Warning: Inhaling fluid into the lungs can lead to pneumonia!

Once the sinuses have been irrigated with a neti pot, particularly if the more aggressive technique is used to irrigate the upper sinuses, it is normal for the sinuses to retain some of the nasal wash. Ideally, one wants to expel all the wash, but this is not always possible. I sometimes find the nasal wash formula draining, usually in small amounts, hours or even days later. Usually this occurs after leaning forward. Standard practice after using a neti pot is to make a series of short, forceful exhales (without blocking either nostril). I do this to clear out the lower sinuses, then (to drain the upper sinuses) add some forward bends (holding them for 10 or so seconds), and come back to an upright position, then add some side bends and back bends, and repeating as necessary. This helps to minimize drainage later on. Here is a more complete and detailed procedure from The JALA NETI Booklet:

Drying The Nose
Drying the nose properly is a very important part of the practice. Never neglect to do this part properly. People with high blood pressure should be careful of this part. If dizziness results when draining the nose, drying should only be done standing upright.
1. First bend forwards from the waist and hang the head upside down with the nose pointing towards the floor, letting any residual water drain from the nose. Then point the nose towards the knees. In each position, gently breathe in the mouth and out the nose about 10 times. A few droplets of water may run down.

2. Then stand up to do some rapid breathing through the nostrils. First, do 10 breaths through both nostrils together, sniffing in and out moderately with a bit more emphasis on the exhalation. Then close off the right nostril with one finger and do 10 rapid sniffing breaths through the left nostril only. Then do 10 sniffing breaths through the right nostril only. Finally, do 10 breaths again through both nostrils together.

This should clear and dry the nose. If it feels as if there is still some water in there, repeat the whole drying process again. Failure to dry the nose properly may manifest the symptoms of a cold for several hours, or leaving dirty water in the sinus passages or eustachian tubes may result in infection.

About the wash. The salt in the water helps to cleanse and soothe the mucus membranes and sinuses, and helps make you feel better (at least for a while). You are attacking the flu and cold viruses where they live, and diminishing their numbers (particularly if you’ve added xylitol, GSE or garlic juice). Repeating this procedure as often as needed during the day will help to shorten the duration of your illness, and make you feel better. Doing this before going to bed can help to promote sleep. This procedure can also be effective against seasonal allergies as it cleanses the sinuses and washes away irritants. In theory, it should help eliminate or prevent sinus infections.

Important note: Once you start feeling better it is vitally important to continue drinking plenty of water, getting good nutrition & and plenty of rest, and to allow your body to recover before returning to normal activities and habits. Failure to do so can result a very nasty relapse. Remember your body is still fighting an infection, even though your symptoms have abated.

If you cannot or do not wish to make your own nasal spray, a commercial formula is available for purchase called Xlear (pronounced “clear.”) It is a very good product.


If you want to check out the rest of their site, click HERE.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Link between gluten sensitivity and selenium deficiency

In one of my previous blogs I talked about the role of Selenium in my husband's eczema healing. He has had extensive issues with eczema on his hands. His hands have been cracked open, bleeding, peeling and itching. This was severe eczema with no treatment proving helpful, including homeopathy. When our chiropractor mentioned Selenium, we went home and began giving him Brazil nuts. Now, there can be a big disparity in sources of dietary Selenium and the soil in which things are grown will be a huge factor in the amount of Selenium in the products, so just be aware of that. HERE is a great site describing more about the role of Selenium in our health, dietary sources, the differences in different soils, etc. We always have organic, raw Brazil nuts on hand (found at our local Whole Foods market). So with adding in Selenium, his hands got much, much better. And when we removed gluten from my daughter's diet when she was just a couple of years old, her eczema on her little feet cleared up immediately. All of these things are clicking for me now as I read this information, especially given Selenium's role in our skin health. So, here is another article discussing the role of gluten and its impact on our thyroid and overall health, and also the importance of Selenium. This could be an even bigger issue if you regularly consume gluten. So, please check out this great article HERE.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Our experience with Homeopathy for Autism, day 4 of the remedy

We started our remedy, just one drop of 1 pill diluted in 1 tbsp water, on Sunday. Since then, it really has been a roller coaster. Yesterday I was beginning to think this was just NOT working. What I had was a screaming, crying mess on my hands who wanted everything HIS way and right NOW! Wow, blast from the past. Then this morning we went out delivering our little goodies to our neighbors. My step-daughter had started to come down with the flu on Tuesday so I pulled out my "doctor Mom" arsenal of supplements, took a "chill day" yesterday and today she is just fine! So we were ready to get those treats delivered! We walked through our neighborhood and I began to notice something very, very different. My son had a pep in his step and more than that he was in FRONT of us! This is HUGE. One of the big things that Pierre Fontaine kept coming back to was about my son's way of walking as if his feet were planted in cement. I have attributed that to his mitochondrial issues and not getting enough energy to those muscles. I often think that my son does not have a "hurry" button. He has one speed, SLOW. My daughter who is 4 is always yelling "He's not keeping up!!!". He usually trails behind and then I need to take his hand so that he can keep up with us. Today he was leading, the whole time. He made it back home before my step-daughter and I did. Holy cow!! Now that is something I have never seen before!!!

I also covered the issue of my son's immediate transition from "I have a need that must be met" to "This need has to be met NOW, I don't care what you have going on!!" with Pierre and we spent a lot of time talking about that. Maybe that healing regression is what we have been seeing with the meltdowns and frustrations that have been higher than normal since starting the remedy. I do see greater clarity in his eyes. There have always been days where he has been "on" and very clear and since starting the remedy, even though he has been ornery as heck, that clarity is there. Then this morning my husband is talking about my son wanting a ball for Christmas and he says "That's PLURAL, ballSSSSSSS". That was pretty funny. So, that's where we are on day 4. I will keep blogging on how things are going as we progress!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Terrorism via our food supply? Too late, already been done!

This came through on Facebook and I thought it was just too true. If you think your food is safe now, think again. With everything "sugar free" and "diet" (read aspartame or Splenda filled), you are already being poisoned. Look on the next boxed food you go to prepare. Does it say autolyzed yeast or maltodextrin or natural flavors? If so, those are more than likely hidden forms of MSG, another neurotoxin. And then lets talk about lunch "meats" and commercial hot dogs filled with nitrites and nitrates. These beauties have been linked to cancers, including childhood leukemia, and yet they are pretty common place in many children's diets. So here is an article from Natural News on terrorism aimed at our foods. I think the terrorists are too late.....

(NaturalNews) Always on the terror streak, the mainstream media is now warning Americans that terrorists may strike the food supply by dumping poison into restaurant salad bars and buffets, for example. CBS News broke the story, quoting anonymous "intelligence" sources who insist that terrorists might use ricin or cyanide to poison foods in salad bars.

I have news for CBS, the federal government, and the terrorists: If you really want to poison the U.S. food supply, just use aspartame. It causes neurological disorders and yet remains perfectly legal to dump into foods such as diet sodas and children's medicines. You don't even have to dump it into the food supply in secret, either: You can do it right out in full view of the public. Heck, you can even list this chemical right on the ingredients label!

Or get into the MSG business. MSG, which is often hidden on "natural" foods under an ingredient called yeast extract, is a potent neurotoxin that promotes obesity and even cancer, according to some experts. Feed people enough MSG and they'll probably die of cancer sooner or later, and that counts toward the goal of terrorism too, doesn't it?

If you really want to get nasty and up the body count, start a hot dog company and dump sodium nitrite into your processed meat like all the other hot dog companies do. Sodium nitrite promotes aggressive cancers -- even in children -- and yet the USDA and FDA allow its use in the food supply (

Better yet, feed the population genetically modified corn and then wait for the mutations to kick in. GMOs might actually be called a biological weapon because they cause so much harm to humans and the environment. (

Why be a terrorist when you can do so much more damage as a processed food company?
If you're a terrorist looking to poison the U.S. food supply, get in line, buddy! The food companies have beat you to it!

In the U.S. food supply right now, you can find toxic mercury, BPA, acrylamides, petrochemicals, dangerous preservatives, synthetic chemicals like aspartame, pesticide residues and artificial colors that alter brain function. The FDA doesn't seem to care about any of this, of course: All these poisons in the food supply are legal!

So here's a message to Al-Qaeda and all the other terrorists trying to kill Americans: Don't bother with bombs and missiles... just get into the processed food business!

Or, heck, if you really want to kill Americans with poison, get into the cancer industry! The "Al-Qaeda Cancer Clinic" could really rack up some body bags by doing what all the other cancer clinics do: Inject patients with chemotherapy and watch them die (

Seriously, if you want to kill Americans, all you really need to do is keep supporting conventional medicine and the FDA with its do-nothing position on dangerous chemicals that threaten the health of Americans right now. FDA-approved drugs kill well over 100,000 Americans each year -- a statistic that dwarfs the body count of any terrorist group.

Come to think of it, how do we know the FDA isn't already being run by terrorists? Their actions, which blatantly endanger American lives, are entirely consistent with the aims of a terrorist organization. (

By the way, this is all depicted in a CounterThink cartoon I created in 2006 called The Food Terrorists:

This cartoon anticipated today's terror news alerts by four years. That's because when it comes to the U.S. government's rhetoric on terrorism, it's not that difficult to see where they're taking it.

Want to know what the next four years will bring us? I'll soon be publishing a list of predictions for 2011 and beyond. Watch for that announcement.

In the mean time, you might want to steer clear of FDA-approved foods and drugs, because you just never know what's really in them.

Sources for this story include:

Learn more:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The flu and illness as cleansing processes?

Here is a thought provoking article from Dr. Tenpenny on the role of illness in health. I have read other data to suggest that people who do have these illnesses (like stomach flu) and run fevers more often live longer precisely (it was theorized) for the reasons in the article, that our illnesses help cleanse and detox our system.

For many of us, these theories are not so new or "out of the box". Anyone who has had to monitor their child's immune function or learn how their child may have been damage from vaccines or other environmental toxicty can understand this very well. Once the immune system is compromised THEN you get sick. Compromise can come in the form of not enough sleep, too much sugar, a lot of stress, heavy metal burden or other toxicity, etc. We are faced with germs every second of everyday. Why do some people catch the bug and others don't? It is their immune function. My Aunt is a polio survivor, there is a perfect example. She was very young when she contracted polio and lived in a home with her siblings (at least 2 at the time I believe) and her parents. No one else in the family got the disease. It is not necessarily the germ but the way our body fights it.

So get out and do some exercise, sweat (and speaking of sweating, don't clog up those pores needed for sweating with anti-persperants either, sweating is necessary!), eat a clean diet, consider a liver detox at least once a year, or at least add in some liver support like milk thistle and artichoke. Consider sauna therapy, look at chelation if you feel there is an issue with heavy metals, the point is, DETOX. The stomach flu is certainly an effective detox, not a pleasant one but certainly effective. I usually get it every other year, maybe that is my tipping point?? Maybe this year (my off year, fingers crossed) I will put some of these into practice and see what happens for next year. But in any event, I think we need to look at illness differently. It is not some terrible occurrence meant to be feared and avoided at all costs. Illness is how our system gets stronger. See it as a chink in the armor, a sign you need to slow down, look at your diet and really nourish yourself in many ways. And by the way, the germs are ALWAYS around us, the way we don't constantly get sick is through a healthy immune system! Here's Dr. Tenpenny's article:

A Heretic’s View of Influenza’s Role in Health and Disease
Article by Dr Sherri Tenpenny

We’ve all been taught that germs are bad and they are lurking around every corner, waiting to invade defenseless humans. Doctors and the media talk about swine flu as though getting the flu is an inevitable catastrophe unless, of course, we are injected with the life-saving flu shot.
We go to great lengths to combat these potential invaders: frequent hand-washing, learning to cough in our sleeves and grimacing at the thought of eating a morsel retrieved from the floor. Is all this necessary? Or is there a different view? One of the chiasms between conventional medical doctors and those who embrace alternative practices is the view of how the Germ Theory of Disease (credited to Louis Pasteur) impacts health. Many assume a discussion about the Germ Theory is a moot point. Questioning its validity elicits divisiveness and hostility among medical practitioners and laypersons alike. Why? Because challenging Pasteur’s mechanistic idea of disease—finding the right cure (drug) for each germ—was the seed of the pharmaceutical empire. Nonetheless, it is most unfortunate that Pasteur’s premise was accepted as complete to the exclusion of all others. There is little doubt that by the 21st century, a 19th century concept should have evolved. The frailty of the immune system is a medical myth. We need a better understanding of the relationship between humans and microbes to live in optimal health.

The Immune System Explained
The immune system is the complex interaction between white blood cells, antibodies, hormones, proteins, enzymes, and inflammatory molecules called cytokines. All act in silent synchrony to maintain health. The body is exposed to billions of microbes on the skin, in the mouth, in the digestive tract, and on everything we touch. Microbes that coexist with humans are called symbionts—organisms we have a beneficial relationship with, and are considered to be part of, our normal flora.The immune system can easily recognize non-symbionts and effectively eliminates them. This process occurs thousands of times per day with little fanfare. However, it is not the “invasion” by external microbes that leads to symptoms known as an infection; it is the compromise of the immune system due to the contamination of the terrain that allows this to occur. By most historical accounts, Pasteur is considered a luminary hero. Some of his discoveries were undoubtedly noteworthy. For example, Pasteur has been credited with the development of a process known as pasteurization, a method by which microbes are destroyed by heat. Examining his germ theory premises and generally accepted medical history is monumentally difficult, especially regarding someone with the stature of Pasteur. However, there is another view of disease which challenges Pasteur’s 150-year-old premise: Health is about the condition of the body called the “terrain,” or its “soil,” and only when the immune system’s soil is disrupted and contaminated can pathogens propagate.

Renewing the Germ Theory Debate
The germ theory and the opposing view are part of the fabric woven around the history of medicine. Many notable individuals throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s were involved with the debate, but the most vocal figures were Pasteur and his two contemporaries, Claude Bernard and Antoine B├ęchamp. Both strong critics of Pasteur’s work, it was Bernard—a physiologist and heralded as the Father of Experimental Medicine—who made the statement amidst a group of physicians and scientists, “The terrain is everything; the germ is nothing,” creating the great debate. As contrary as it seems, germs are attracted to the diseased tissues; they are not the primary cause of it. A quote from Dr. Rudolph Virchow, the Father of Modern Pathology, supports this idea: “If I could live my life over again, I would devote it to proving that germs seek their natural habitat—diseased tissue—rather than being the cause of dead tissue. In other words, mosquitoes seek the stagnant water, but do not cause the pool to become stagnant.” The symptoms of the flu or pneumonia—fever, chills, cough, and excess mucous production—are actually secondary illnesses; the first “illness” was loss of health in the underlying tissues. Bernard’s view is that disease is an “inside-out job,” meaning that when the body is disrupted by today’s toxicities—vaccines, chemicals, heavy metals, processed food, preservatives, etc. – disease occurs. These molecules create a cellular shift toward an acidic state. When cells become acidic, pathogens find a favorable environment to replicate. What is little known is that throughout his career, Pasteur had doubts about his own assumptions. On his deathbed, Pasteur said “Bernard avait raison. Le germe n’est rien, c’est le terrain qui est tout.” (“Bernard was right. The germ is nothing; the soil is everything.”) However, by the time of Pasteur’s death, the germ theory of disease had become so profitable that modern medicine dismissed his final confessions as nothing more than the ramblings of a dying man. It should always be remembered: The money is in the medicine—not the cure.

The Benefit of Pathogens?
It may be that the role of both the bacteria and the virus is to induce an inflammatory response, a low-level and modified cytokine storm, to help the body to detoxify. It would be very interesting to test the secretions that are expelled during a bout of the flu for chemicals and heavy metals. For example, if a person reportedly died from “viral pneumonia,” perhaps the body was trying to expel a huge amount of chemical-containing mucous. If the person’s immune system was too weak to muster an adequate response or his lymphatics were too congested to drain the accumulated debris—and more chemicals are added during the acute episode, such as aspirin, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and steroids—the body may have become overwhelmed, leading to the person’s demise. In the presence of faulty detoxification processes, toxic overload occurs. Maybe microbes are handy to have around, inflaming the system and cleaning out the muck. If everything on this planet is here for a reason and there are no mistakes, perhaps an episode of the flu, with the increased mucous, cough, nasal drainage, and diarrhea is the act of cleaning out the internal dross. Supporting the body through this elimination process with homeopathy, herbs, and Chinese medicine – instead of suppressing the symptoms with Western medicine’s tools – may be the key to long-term health and longevity. From this perspective, instead of being the problem, viruses may be part of the solution, the “clean-up crew.”It should be noted that the human race evolved because of its relationship to microbes, not in spite of it. What a novel thought! Instead of fearing the flu and doing everything possible to avoid it – including spending billions of dollars to create an experimental vaccine – it may be okay to spend a week or two in bed, clearing out accumulated toxicities. I’m sure many will think of this heresy bordering on the ridiculous. But in the words of Mark Twain, “What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know, it’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.”
Adapted from: FOWL! Bird Flu: It’s Not What You Think order today

and the "swine flu fiasco"

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Selenium and ezcema

As you may recall, my husband suffers from severe eczema on his hands, to the point where it has interfered with his life and daily functioning. We have struggled with this, eliminated foods from his diet, added in supplements, even consulted with a homeopath and tried various remedies, all with meager changes. We were in seeing our chiropractor, Dr. Wayne Christensen of Queen Creek Back Care, and he suggested Selenium out of the blue.

Well, I always have raw, organic brazil nuts in the house because I know they are so healthy and full of selenium, just 3 give you your daily dose! The kids each get 1 per day. I gave my husband 3. The next day, his hands were noticeably better! We continued on with a supplement of selenium to give him more potency and more controlled dose as there is no "set" dose in a brazil nut since soil levels impact concentration in the nut.

Now to back up a little, I have had a sneaky suspicion that my husband's hands were related to mercury poisoning as well. I just had a hunch, knowing the way the adult body works to eliminate toxins and metals, that what we were seeing was a desperate attempt at mercury detox. And add to that the fact that we saw a change when I would have him bump up his N-Acetylcysteine, which also contributes to metal detox, mercury was definitely on my mind. Oh and he has a mouth full of fillings and has had his share of vaccines, being a military child and all. So we are seeing progress and on Facebook I keep seeing posts on selenium, its benefits, etc. Then I see one about selenium helping to remove mercury from the body!! Read it here. Ding, Ding, Ding we have a winner!!! Who knew? Not me. I've heard of many other chelators, not selenium. Here is more info on selenium. Were you aware that children with food allergies are more likely to have a selenium deficiency? And people with a selenium deficiency are also likely to have high cholesterol (which my husband also had until recently!). So, I urge you to take a look at this often forgotten mineral and see if this might be a good one to begin adding in. Even if it is just as simple as a brazil nut a day.

Of course, before you add any supplements into your daily regime or that of your child, you should always check with your trusted health care provider first.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

More immune systems tid bits

Here is a great article on growing your own superfoods as well as a source for buying the seeds. Preparedness is key, in any event and in any economy. But the world in which we live now, I feel it is even more important to take some common sense precautions. Understanding what herbs and supplements can help protect your body is one of the most important things we can do to protect our health, in any event. And, the ability to grow our own food and herbs that support that health is a right which we all have and many don't take advantage of. Gardens can be grown anywhere, even in doors. You can use containers, elaborate raised beds, we've even started seedlings in an old plastic bottle that we cut in half! It takes a little effort but the rewards are great.

And, here is a good article on how we overdone it on antibacterial everything. Unless you live in a hospital, you probably don't need to antibacterial wipe everything you own or come in contact with, just sayin'. I am a recovered germaphobe and understanding how the immune system works (and gets stronger) helped cure me of my antibacterial wipes addiction. Add to that the fact that we are contributing to super bugs that are resistant (not to mention exposing ourselves to chemicals which our bodies don't always know what to do with) and the use of these wipes can pose more problems than cures.

But what does work to help prevent getting sick (and remember our bodies NEED to get sick occasionally, that is how our body gets stronger!) is to get good nutrition, cut the sugar, reduce stress, get your sleep and add in some supplements. I have blogged a lot about vitamin D3, here is another article on the importance of D3.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The importance of Zinc

I recently attended a mental health conference put on by Great Plains Labs. New Beginnings Nutritionals has recently released a whole line of supplements geared to support mental health functioning, with the advice and guidance of Dr. Greenblatt. Dr. Greenblatt is the chief medical officer for Walden Behavioral Care in Massachusetts. He has successfully treated many patients (adults and adolescents) with mental disorders ranging from eating disorders to other psychiatric problems. He was talking about the use of zinc in many functions of the body. I had no idea zinc was so important. Zinc is critical for neurological and behavioral development in young children, immune function and even in DNA replication and RNA transcription.

If you'd like to learn more about zinc, here is a great article written by New Beginnings. We use the liquid zinc as both my children cannot taste the zinc (which means you are deficient). It is so easy to put a few drops in their water cups (away from calcium supplementation).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


As it is Thanksgiving eve, I am reflecting even more on what I am grateful for. I try and start each day with my gratitudes, I believe that gratitude opens the door for even more abundance in our lives. But this year what is going through my head is the statement "What am I NOT grateful for?". I am hard pressed to think of one thing in my life that I am not grateful for. No, I am not going all "Pollyana" on you guys but I think I have tried to change my mindset this year. Could I focus on all the negatives like never having enough money, enough time, enough patience? Sure I could, just like everyone else I have things I like to complain about. But then getting into that negative downward spiral is a bad thing. I am sure you all have those "energy vampires" whom always seem to take a turn to negative town and you can't help but follow them even though you really hate the trip. I feel like I need to sage or do a cleanse after I am around them. That is not how I want to live my life, constantly thinking of the things I don't have, haven't done, can't seem to attain or who has pissed me off (that alone would probably be a long list). Instead, this year all I can think is that I am grateful for every piece (or peace) of my life right now. I am grateful for a loving husband who supports me, listens to me, and loves me in spite of (or because) of my faults. I have the most wonderful children on the planet. There is not a day that goes by where I don't think how much I love them and how proud of them I am. My son is continually able to make his recovery from Autism, he is doing what many say cannot be done, he is DOING IT! He is so full of life, makes everyone laugh and has a smile that will melt your heart. My daughter is simply amazing, funny, sweet, empathetic, charming and sassy as HELL. I love it! She will be able to take my place easily when the time comes. My step-daughter is a beautiful, intelligent and caring young woman. My family listens to me and supports me, even though I am pretty sure many of them think I am a little crazy. Unless they have seen my son's recovery first hand, then they are the ones asking my advice on diet and supplements! My friends are the greatest, new and old and this last year I have been able to reconnect with several of them and it has been the greatest just spending time with them after many years physically apart. And I am so thankful for my blogging friends, ones I know in person or just in the blogosphere. You have enriched my life, made me think even more, encouraged me to look at things I may not have otherwise and I am so grateful. So while this year is lean and we struggle to make the ends meet like many, we never lose our grasp on the truly important things. It isn't what stuff you give your kids, it is the time you spend with them and by that definition our children are rich! We will spend a very quiet Thanksgiving tomorrow, just us, preparing a meal together that nourishes our body and our souls. We will give thanks for our many blessings, the food we have and the love that we share. So from our family to yours, happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Help protect small farmers and growers

Thanks to your phone calls and emails the Tester-Hagan Amendment is now attached to the Food Safety Bill known as S510! Read about it here. That is wonderful progress but we still have work to do! Now that we know this amendment is at least attached, we can urge Senators to vote NO on the whole bill. Here is a great website that explains why this bill is bad overall and has a link where you can send emails right to your senators. If the bill passes, we at least know there are some safeties put in place to help protect our small farmers. The best things is still to defeat this bill entirely. But, now we at least have a better version, should it pass. Thanks for anyone who made calls/emails. If you can make one more telling them to VOTE NO on S510 that would be awesome!!! Food safety is critically important but this bill does not help protect our food supply.


There is legislation that is being negotiated today that, if passed without this amendment would severely cripple local growers. I for one am much more comfortable buying my family's food from local growers whom I can meet, ask about their growing procedures, etc. than I am the giant food producers who see our food simply as dollars going out the door. Our food supply should be diverse, as it was intended to be, and we should have local options available to us. Consumers should make the choice to support small, local growers if we want. Legislation should not mandate unrealistic requirements suited to large scale producers, it would effectively shut down most local growers. If legislators want to "protect" our food supply they should focus on things like removing the hidden sources of MSG (a known neurotoxin and chemical designed to addict people to their food) and other chemicals that most consumers don't even know about rather than shutting down the local farmers who are producing the real, healthy food we should be eating. Call your senator today and ask them to support the Tester-Hagan Amendment!! Here are links explaining the issue more.

Letter from an organization supporting the Tester-Hagan Amendment.

Information on what the existing legislation would require and what the Tester-Hagan Amendment would change.

For those in Arizona, our Senators are:

John McCain (602) 952-2410
Jon Kyl (602) 840-1891

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cholesterol levels, Autism, and brain function - how low is too low?

If you are like me, your trips to the doctor sometimes include lab workups and for the most part, your cholesterol focus is on lowering, not raising. I have always been "blessed" with low cholesterol. I have been praised for my cholesterol levels and even tried to reduce them to below 100, because if low is good, lower is better right?? Well, having a child with Autism has definitely been an education in all aspects of health, including my own. Did you know that adequate levels of cholesterol are needed to activate oxytocin receptors? Maybe that contributed in some way to why I never went into labor on my own, had a failed induction after tons of pitocin, had to have a c-section and then had problems with milk supply (many of these things are influenced by oxytocin). My son also had low cholesterol which we were able to raise thanks to a supplement called Sonic Cholesterol from New Beginnings. My son also had an egg allergy which made it very tough to get dietary levels of cholesterol into him. So, here we are a few years later and I am finally getting my own act together with labs, check ups, etc. Cholesterol levels for me? 119. YIKES! Normal range is about 160. And this is with a hard boiled egg every morning! So, looks like I will be taking Sonic Cholesterol as well to bring my number up to at least 160. Why is cholesterol important? Here is a great article by Dr. William Shaw on the importance of cholesterol and brain function. So maybe we can stop focusing only on high cholesterol and look at people with low cholesterol and how that may negatively impact their brain function. People with low cholesterol suffer more from mental conditions like schizophrenia than people with cholesterol in normal ranges. Please note, a physician's referral is needed to order Sonic Cholesterol. You need to be under the guidance and supervision of a physician while taking this and periodic labs need to be run to check your progress.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

More info on Respen-A from Dr. Kurt Woeller

Dr. Woeller, my son's DAN! physician, was interviewed on The Autism Tomorrow internet TV site yesterday. Clink HERE to listen to what Dr. Woeller has to say about Respen-A. We were among the first of his clients to try Respen-A and it has been one of the most transformational therapies for my son. It is available by prescription, easy to apply and so worthwhile, in my opinion. I have blogged our experiences with Respen-A since we started.

And, if you want some additional info on some of the frequently asked questions about Respen-A, you can click HERE to watch Dr. Woeller answer, and address, some of these issues. Hopefully if you are curious about Respen-A and whether it may be a good therapy to try for your child, this will help.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

New research on the impact of Roundup to human cells

This should not come as any surprise to people. What it should do it force people to wake up and start looking at their environment and food more closely. Monsanto is the creator of Roundup, they are also the main supplier of GMO seed. Their seeds are genetically modified to withstand Roundup. They can spray the plants with this toxin and they will survive. GMO food has been shown to increase inflammation in the body and theoretically would carry a bigger toxic burden since it would be able to withstand Roundup application. Another very good reason to buy organic produce lies in this article HERE. While we cannot control all of our toxin exposures, we have to be mindful of the tipping point. I had to laugh when the article says "Monsanto, Roundup’s manufacturer, contends that the methods used in the study don’t reflect realistic conditions and that their product, which has been sold since the 1970s, is safe when used as directed. Hundreds of studies over the past 35 years have addressed the safety of glyphosate." Well, should we look at Autism rates back then, ADHD rates, juvenile diabetes rates, juvenile obesity rates? Do we not see a correlation? Just because something has been in use for that long does not make it safe. And what does it say that our rates of neurological and auto-immune diseases have skyrocketed during the same time period? Roundup is a piece of that pie, not the whole pie certainly, but a piece. More and more of our food today is GMO food, everything from schools, playgrounds, churches and HOMES are sprayed with these toxins. The human body is miraculous but come on, we have to help it out here (and let's compare this to our mother Earth as well). Pollute it to this level and yes, bad things happen. Lets wake up and smell the dandelions growing wild in our yards (well if dandelions had a distinct smell but you get the metaphor, right?). I have blogged before, weeds are the least of our problems, same thing with germs. These toxic chemicals we spray all over everything are far more harmful. Dr. Stuart Freedenfeld does an amazing talk at DAN! on protecting yourself in a toxic world. Look at the chemicals found in a newborn baby's cord blood. Hundreds of toxic chemicals are already polluting our precious infants. There are other ways, less profitable to the powers that be but when will we learn that we cannot eat or drink money? Every plot of land soon will be developed. We will only produce GMO corn and soy and import all of our "food" from China. And then we will be up in arms and revolt when we are all obese and everyone has been poisoned with melamine. Educate yourself on the quality of food going into your family. Our food should be pure and unadulterated. Put down those coupons for "fruit" by the foot, goldfish crackers, pop tarts and "juice". Head to your local farmer's market. Buy a juicer and expose your family to true, healthy juice with all those live enzymes, not the dead, pasteurized stuff with dyes, high fructose corn syrup and fillers. Enjoy a smoothie with your kids, throw in some frozen bananas and make this your nightly "ice cream", we do! Eat a salad with fresh greens, red and yellow bell peppers, fresh broccoli or put together a stir fry with fresh veggies, organic rice and maybe some organic chicken. That is what we had for dinner last night. It doesn't have to be hard or expensive. But, it does take getting out of your comfort level and maybe some extra time. A whole cart at the farmer's market runs me about $20, a whole cart FULL of beautiful produce. Homemade sweet potato fries are a huge hit in this house. But, it can take some time to get used to the fresh tastes and remove the tricks that high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils and MSG (all 200 forms!!!) have played on our brains. I remember grossing out at a date roll. Now I can appreciate the sweetness, I couldn't then. But, take control of your diet and that of your family. Just like anything, it is hard at first but you get used to it. Don't fall into the trap that your kids NEED capri suns or the crap that they see at school. Rise above it and know you are making a better choice. Know that you are giving your child a better chance than the 1 in 3 that will have diabetes in the future. Make sure YOUR child is one of the other 2!! It may not be easy at first, but I promise it WILL be worth it!

L-Carnitine changes

So some who have been following this blog may know about our issues with L-Carnitine and Acetyl L-Carnitine. When we tried to introduce these supplements, after 3 days of use my son began to smell very strongly of fish. We started with L-Carnitine and then later switched to Acetyl L-Carnitine, same thing occured with both forms. After some talking to Dr. Woeller and a quick internet search we came up with this HERE. Once again, it comes down to enzymes. So, after our success with Respen-A for almost a year and the tanning that we are seeing as a sign of enzyme progress, we decided to reintroduce Carnitine but very, very slowly. We did 250 mg every 3rd day. By the 2nd dose we were seeing lots of emotional outbursts, screaming "NO, I DON'T WANT TO" when we made requests, craziness. That sealed the deal and we will rest knowing we tried yet again. The last thing we wanted to do was flare clostridia since that had happened in the past when we used Carnitine.

That was last week. This week we are making the transition to Ubiquinol (read more about Ubiquinol HERE) instead of the CoQ10 we were using. This morning is the first dose so we shall see what happens.....always interesting around here. But, We always have to be learning and trying new things to maximize our kiddos' healing I think. I came back from the DAN! conference with a few new tidbits and wanted to see if anything I heard would make a difference. I will keep the blog posted on what changes we see (if any) with this new form of CoQ10.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The importance of vitamin D3, especially during cold and flu season!

I blogged something similar last year as well. Each year there seems to be more data suggesting the important role vitamin D3 has in immune function and protection against the flu, including H1N1. I firmly believe that the only defense is a good immune system. That IS our protection, period. So, the more you can do to boost your immunity, the better you will fare during cold and flu season. And lets remember that contracting and fighting these bugs is what enables our system to continually get stronger. Life is not about NOT getting sick, that is impossible, it is about getting sick, fighting it effectively because you've supported your immune system and then moving on quickly with greater immunity in the future. Nobody likes being sick but it kind of goes with the territory of being human. But our bodies were designed to fight these bugs, we just need to make sure we optimize our health to allow it to do so. Below is an article from on vitamin D3. (By the way, the 1200 ius that the doctors suggest for children to cut risk of flu by 64% is just 2 drops of the mycellized D3 from New Beginnings, FYI).
News on viruses and viral diseases

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its flu message on its website on Oct 19 to promote use of influenza vaccine and get ready for the 2010-2011 flu season.

In the meantime, some medical researchers suggest people should take high doses of vitamin D in winter to have additional protection because flu vaccine is not as effective as thought.

The CDC said right now flu activity is low, but everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated even if they received a seasonal or 2009 H1N1 vaccine last year.

According to the agency, the influenza vaccine for 2010 to 2011 season has been updated to include three flu viruses including H1N1, which media reports have said will not be a pandemic in the near future to say the least.

Children, pregnant women, elderly people and those whose immunity such as HIV, cancer patients has been compromised are considered at high risk for flu complications.

At, the first message that shows up on the website is for pregnant women. It says "Protect Yourself and Your Baby Get A flu shot." also reminds consumers that other measures like washing hands need to be taken to prevent influenza.

One important preventative measure, taking vitamin D3 to boost innate immunity against influenza, was not mentioned on both and Recent evidence is convincing that taking high doses of vitamin D can highly effectively prevent flu including H1N1 the swine flu.

Lapinsky S.E. in April, 2010 published a study in Critical Care Medicine saying that pregnant women and immunosupressed patients are at increased risk of severe A (H1N1) influenza.

To respond to Lapinsky's findings, Dr. William B. Grant, PhD, Sunlight, Nutrition, and Health Research Center (SUNARC) in San Francisco, CA and John J. Cannell, MD, The Vitamin D Council in San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 commented in the journal that the risk of influenza is linked to low serum vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D helps make antimicrobial peptides, which can prevent influenza viruses including H1N1. The role of vitamin D in innate immunity has been known for some time now, even though many people may not have heard of it.

Dr. Cannell said in his newsletter issued last year that two physicians, one in Wisconsin and the other in Georgia reported their observations that taking high doses of vitamin D in winter protected against H1N1 virus effectively.

According to Drs. Grant and Cannell, a Japanese trial has already demonstrated in a trial that children who took 1,200 IU per day of vitamin D3 and no additional vitamin D3 had their risk of influenza reduced by 64 percent.

One needs to know the efficacy of influenza vaccine to appreciate the protective effect of vitamin D reported in the Japanese study. Often, the effectiveness of influenza vaccine is likely no better than what vitamin D3 can provide as shown in the Japanese study.

High levels of serum vitamin D can help prevent other bacterial and viral infections, cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases as well as adverse pregnancy outcomes in addition to influenza and pneumonia, Dr. Grant and dr. Cannell said in their comment.

Drs. Grant and Cannell said in their comment "pregnant women should be encouraged to increase their serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels to 40 to 80 ng/mL through supplementation with several thousand international units per day of vitamin D3 or solar ultraviolet-B when the sun is high enough that one’s shadow is shorter than one’s height."

It is generally advisable that no matter a person gets influenza vaccine or not, he should make sure to maintain sufficient levels of vitamin D to protect seasonal flu and H1N1 in any flu season. This is necessary because in most cases influenza vaccine does not work as effectively as thought.

Jimmy Downs

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Toxins in Halloween face paint

I posted something similar last year but it is worth repeating. Here is an article from Yahoo Green about face paints. It is worth the read and something to be aware of. There are so many ways our children are exposed to toxins that if you can eliminate one, why not? At least you are armed with the knowledge to make an informed decision!

The Food and Drug Administration is warning parents to be wary of Halloween face paint, which the agency has limited jurisdiction over.

Halloween costume makeup is recommended as a good alternative to masks for kids who will be walking the streets trick-or-treating, since masks can obscure vision.

But Halloween face paint can have toxic ingredients (like lead and mercury) if not formulated according to the law; it can cause reactions in those who are allergic to certain ingredients; and it can cause reactions if applied to the wrong parts of the body.

The FDA recommends these simple steps to keep safe:

1. Follow all Halloween face paint directions carefully, including warnings against using around the eyes.

2. Don't decorate your face with products, paints, and colorings that aren't intended for your skin (and check out The Daily Green's 14 favorite homemade Halloween costumes for kids and adults).

3. If your Halloween face paint has a very bad smell, this could be a sign that it is contaminated. Throw it away and use another one.

4. Before using new Halloween costume makeup, perform a simple patch test, particularly if you or your child is prone to allergic reactions, a few days before Halloween.

5. Read ingredient lists and don't buy any product that has non-approved colors. The FDA lists coloring agents approved for use in cosmetics. Go beyond the FDA list and check your Halloween face paint label against The Daily Green's list of six cosmetics ingredients to avoid.

6. Don't use products with fluorescent colors near the eyes. You can identify fluorescent colorings by looking for the following ingredients:

D&C Orange No. 5, No. 10, and No. 11
D&C Red No. 21, No. 22, No. 27 and No. 28
D&C Yellow No. 7
7. Don't use luminescent (glow-in-the-dark) colors (like zinc sulfide) near your eyes.

8. Wash thoroughly (and follow label instructions) once trick-or-treating or the party is over. Don't go to sleep with Halloween costume makeup on your skin.

9. Before using an older product, check it against the information included in the May 2009 recall of Fun Express children's face paints, and the June 2009 expansion of that recall. See all children's product and toxic toy recalls.

10. If you have a bad reaction to Halloween face paint, report the incident to the FDA, so that other consumers can be protected.

The Daily Green adds that you can look for natural makeups and cosmetics to cut down on the chance of an adverse reaction (though allergens come in natural and synthetic forms).

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Allergen free Halloween candy list

Well, if you are like me and dreading Halloween only from the standpoint of the allergen-filled candy bags that we bring home, then you are going to love this list! Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love the excitement in the air, the dressing up, coming together as a community and seeing everyone fill our neighborhood streets and going door to door. But, I don't love coming home and not being really sure what my kids are allowed to have. Not only do they suffer from food intolerances but we keep a tight rein on any refined sugar as well. Sugar feeds yeast, affects behavior and depresses the immune system. So, we don't use refined sugar at all except for the very rare cupcake or cake and my dairy free "buttercream" frosting recipe. Other than that, we use all natural alternatives like Stevia or we use honey, dates, fruit, or even crystallized coconut sugar which is made from the sap of the coconut tree. But, I do want my kids to have SOMETHING yummy and something on our "no-no list" once in a while. So, while searching the web about candy corns, I found this gem. As always, read labels to double check whether your child's allergen is listed, but I found this resource very helpful. I am passing it on in the hopes you will too, click HERE. Have a safe and fun Halloween!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Toxins in our environment

Reducing everyday toxins is a big focus of mine and has been since I have learned more about my son's Autism and some of the things that I believe have contributed to it. It really bugs me to see the hypervigilance on things like disinfecting sprays, wipes, chemicals when our bodies are really designed to handle the bugs, it is the chemicals that it doesn't know what to do with! And we are also contributing to the rise in super bugs. Good handwashing and common sense practices can cut down your chances of getting sick. And common sense things like staying home while sick, and keeping your kids home while sick, covering your cough with your elbow, etc can reduce the risk of you spreading bugs to others, believe me, everyone thanks you for keeping those germs at home! But more than anything, I would challenge you to do an immune system assessment. Our immune system IS our defense. A good, healthy, predominantly plant based diet, maybe a good multi-vitamin, some common sense supplements and herbs and very little "junk" will go a long way to keeping our system working well (did you know that sugar depresses immune function?). Stress and sleep are also big immune system saboteurs. So, finding healthy outlets for stress and getting enough sleep will also help keep you well. Here is a wonderful newsletter by Great Plains Labs, in it Dr. Shaw and others talk about some of the commonplace chemicals that are not so pretty these days, one is Triclosan. It seems that Triclosan, and its evil sister Microban, is showing up all other the place these days. It was even hard to find child's lunchbox or scissors without Microban on them! Do some research of your own on these two gems. I avoid them personally at all cost. Dr. Shaw has some things to say about Triclosan and some great tips on helping the body detox after exposures, and we ALL have exposures. So, understanding what things will help the body get rid of the bad stuff to keep running effectively is important. Read his newsletter HERE.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

T*E*E*M Products

I always have a ton of new ideas floating around. I usually lack the time (or energy) to implement them. But, I have finally decided to bite the bullet and get started so I am jumping in with both feet! I am introducing T*E*E*M GREEN products. I am starting out small, with reusable sandwich and snack bags at first. But, look for a more broad product line as I get packaging and ingredients together for our T*E*E*M CLEAN line. All of our items will focus on health, wellness and environmental impact with an emphasis on green items. We are T*E*E*M-ing with excitement!

So pop on over to our T*E*E*M blog, there you will find my very first products for sale in the T*E*E*M shop. More colors and designs are coming soon, and special requests welcome! I will also have family size assortments to handle snack sized baggies and even larger baggies as well.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More information on the negative effects of BPA

I know I have blogged this before, BPA is something I avoid for our family. That can be challenging since it is a very prevalent component in many commonly used things. Plastic bottles, containers, canned goods, etc. all can have BPA exposure. Below is an article talking about why BPA may want to be avoided. We have switched to glass for most food storage and I never put hot food into plastic anymore, even in plastics without BPA. Canned foods are a no-no for me unless they come from EDEN FOODS. Eden foods has a commitment to provide quality foods without GMOs and their cans do not have BPA. Here's a link about their cans, click HERE. They are one of the only companies that does offer a BPA free can. If I find any others I will certainly pass that info on. Food storage is something I have been learning more about for the last few years. I like to be prepared for anything and that means being able to feed my family in the case of an emergency. But, unless they are Eden Foods, we don't use too many cans. I do break down once in a while and get the organic pears from Fresh and Easy but that is about it. Eden Foods has canned tomatoes (which will leech more toxins from cans since they are acidic) along with beans, rice and lentil combos, etc. Check them out and I would encourage you to support them.

BPA: Studies suggest it should be avoided
By Dr. Terry Gaff
Sunday, 26 September 2010 00:00
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used to make plastic and epoxy resins, among other things, that have been both common and useful in our day-to-day life for more than 50 years.

The problem is that it may be toxic, especially to fetuses, infants and young children.

BPA, a key ingredient in polycarbonate plastic, which is clear and nearly shatter-proof, is used to make a variety of common products including baby and water bottles, sports equipment, medical and dental devices, dental fillings and sealants, eyeglass lenses, CDs and DVDs and household electronics.

Epoxy resins containing bisphenol A have also been used as coatings on the inside of almost all food and beverage cans. BPA is also a color developer in carbonless copy paper and thermal paper, commonly used in receipt paper at your checkout counter. BPA-based products are also used in foundry castings and for lining water pipes.

There are literally millions of tons of BPA produced every year. However, in the U.S., less than five percent of the BPA produced is used in food contact applications. Even that small percent may be too much.

When you look at the bottom of a plastic container, there is a little triangle with a number inside. That number indicates which of the seven classes of plastics is used in making the product.

Type seven includes several types of plastics, some of which contain polycarbonate (identified with the letters PC near the recycling symbol). Type three (polyvinyl chloride or PVC) can also contain bisphenol A. This is particularly true for “flexible PVC”, but not the PVC pipes used in household plumbing.

The concern about bisphenol A is that it can mimic the body’s hormones and may lead to health problems. However, some of that concern is more opinion than science.

A panel of experts appointed by the National Institutes of Health determined that there was “some concern” about BPA’s effects on fetal and infant brain development and behavior. This was seconded by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), regarding “the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and children at current human exposures to bisphenol A,” as well as a small concern for effects on the breast tissue and an earlier age for puberty for females in fetuses, infants and children at current human exposures.

On the other hand, the NTP expressed no significant concern about exposure of pregnant women to BPA resulting in fetal or neonatal death, birth defects or reduced birth weight and growth in their babies.

Other reviews of BPA data have concluded that BPA exposure before and after birth may increase body weight and obesity.

Some research has suggested a connection between BPA and interference with brain cell connections vital to memory, learning and mood. Highly controversial claims have been made that BPA could be involved in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and other neuralgic problems.

There are lots of studies about whether BPA is related to cancer or the sensitivity to chemotherapy treatment of specific tumors. However, those questions have not been clearly answered.

A large study of health effects on 1,500 people associated with bisphenol A exposure found that higher BPA levels were associated with heart disease, diabetes and abnormally high levels of certain liver enzymes. However, these findings need to be confirmed and a second study found an associated increased risk for heart disease but not for diabetes or liver enzymes.

Studies have suggested that BPA exposure is associated with recurrent miscarriage, altered hormone levels in men, declining male sexual function and other concerns.

The problem is that plastics with BPA can break down, especially when they are washed, heated or stressed, allowing the chemical to leach into food and water and then enter the human body. In fact, the CDC has found BPA in the urine of 93 percent of surveyed Americans over the age of six years and 90 percent of newborns.

The Environmental Protection Agency has set the current U.S. human exposure limit set at 50 micrograms/kg/day. The federal government formally declared bisphenol A as a hazardous substance in October 2008 and has placed it on its list of toxic substances.

Companies like Nalgene have stopped using the chemical in their products and Toys-R-Us said it too will stop selling baby bottles made from it. Many U.S. states are considering some sort of BPA ban and other countries, like Canada and Japan, have restricted and/or eliminated the use of BPA in many products.

Even Sunoco, a producer of gasoline and chemicals, is now refusing to sell the chemical to companies for use in food and water containers for children younger than 3 years.

What I recommend is that you heat your food and drinks in glass, stainless steel or BPA-free plastic containers, which are marked with recycling codes 1, 2, 5 or 7 without the PC (polycarbonate) marking. Also, store food or drinks in these types of containers.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

What a difference a new teacher makes

So I just blogged our experiences from school the last few weeks. As I said, our new teacher has been staying in constant contact, what's even better is that it has all been good news.

So in keeping with that theme, I received a reply from her yesterday. The special ed director was wanting an update on how we felt the transition was going. Since I have not been in the class yet to volunteer, I emailed the teacher to find out how things were going from HER perspective. I heard that all reports had been good into the Principal and special ed from their viewpoint but it really comes down to what the teacher is seeing daily.

The email I got back was insightful and very, very positive! She said he needs gentle reminders to stay on track, but they are nothing out of ordinary from what all of the other (neurotypical) first graders need. He is getting help from parent helpers on the math sheet in class but she feels that once he gets into the groove he won't need that since he is doing really well working independently on the "math facts" sheet already. She said he is a very happy little boy who is very proud of his hard work. She has assessed that his self-esteem can be low and when you encourage him, he thrives!! Usually this is a concept that I have to tell teachers about and she already knew that 1 week in. Positive reinforcement is key with my son, his fear of failure is huge. She had good things to say about his ability to sit and focus, as is age appropriate, and that he is not needing any more "wiggle breaks" than what she is already providing. One of the things I liked best about her class were those chances to move along with learning. She said he is a great kid and she is glad to have the opportunity to work with him.

Hmmm, very different than "He's just not getting it, and he's not going to get it, even with the supports being suggested". OK, I confess, I have been slipping him a "get it" pill for the past week. I know, snarky comment, I couldn't help it. There is an amazing world out there for our special kiddos, and for those who teach them. They will gain as much from these children and the children do, if you are open. So I end this week with a very positive message from his new teacher and the hope that we've once again found a teacher (like his Kindergarten one) who sees him not for his disability but for his ability to shine and to illuminate those around him with the right help, the right direction and the right understanding.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Educational choices for our children with Autism

So here comes the drama post! It has been a very busy month or so. Here's what happened. I had been in constant contact with my son's teacher. I was volunteering weekly and in contact via email in addition to address some issues we were both seeing. The main issue being focus and needing to be redirected for weekly math tests and math worksheets. It was a very different classroom this year, a big change in classmates as well as schedule and amount of work expected so I expected a period of adjustment. So the teacher and I spoke about many things and one of those was whether the all day format was a better fit for him or not. He was currently in a program where the day is shortened, they only had 1 recess, but he was at school for less time. Now, this is a mainstream school, they support our IEP but it is not a school specifically for children with special needs. At the end of last year we all spoke about which format would be best. I personally believe that our kids spend too much of their time in school and we expect way too much of them too soon at these early ages. I understand people have different viewpoints on this but that is how I feel. That and the fact that we had a very good therapy schedule set and less time in the classroom really seemed like a good idea. I was assured by our 1st grade teacher when I broached this topic that the longer day really wouldn't help in the areas where we needed it and that the pace was not that much slower. OK. So what do we need to do to help him be successful? I came up with some ideas, as did the teacher and I contacted special ed at the school.

I got an immediate response. They had their Autism specialist observe him in the class and had some additional ideas at our meeting. My husband and I felt heard and supported when we left, having a clear vision of what they were going to do to help us make sure our son was successful. We grabbed lunch and then it was time for our parent/teacher conference next. As we walked in my husband said that basically this was just a formality right? I said yes, we've touched base so much, I thought I knew everything there was to know about the situation. The teacher knew about our meeting with spec ed prior and asked us about it. I expressed my enthusiasm and happiness over their response and shared some of what they said. The basic takeaway was that most of what they saw could be handled in the classroom with some supports/suggestions given to the teacher and that pull out did not appear necessary. Apparently that was NOT what she wanted to hear. Again, I thought we were on the same page as to the help my son needed and her feelings on the subject. The parent/teacher conference took a detour south at that point. The bottom line was that she was telling us he could not be successful in that classroom, not even WITH the suggestions/supports special ed had suggested. WOW. I told her that because of issues like fine motor delay and auditory processing and auditory sensitivities, we'd have to adjust the expectations accordingly. I told her how his kindergarten teacher really rolled with the punches and she figured out ways to asses what he knew so that when a task came where it really pushed him in those weaker areas, she could set attainable goals. We were told "I have higher standards". I told her that the Autism specialist at school had the same suggestions, we need to meet him where he is to encourage that feeling of success, not set him up for failure.

My husband said as we left "I thought you were going to ghetto on her". Over the years I have learned that you pull that out only when you really, really need it. Don't get me wrong, catch me on the wrong day and it could get ugly. But, I could tell her words were coming from frustration, not malice. Now my emotions quickly morphed into anger over that weekend but I have worked very hard on NOT responding out of emotion, especially anger, until I can process it a little and look at the various sides. But, here was a teacher who even said to me "I feel like a failure because I don't know how to teach him". I think we are going to see this issue as a common theme in getting our children educated. Especially those kiddos, like mine, who seems to be in "no man's land". They don't need the Autism specific programs anymore but do need a little help in a mainstream class. Sometimes the teachers have a hard time understand all of the issues that go into a disorder like Autism. And one big factor this year was class dynamics as well. Not only were there teacher issues but also kid issues.

So, I sent him back to school Mon/Tues and then said "forget it". I kept him home. I sent an email to the teacher basically saying I can't be fake, I cannot believe you said to me what you did about my child. I did not work the last 6 years of my life removing obstacles from my son's way that prevented him from learning more effectively to short change my son when it comes to his education. I told her that I felt she was telling us that we were letting him off easy in his education by changing the range of what we expect. I told her it was like telling a child in a wheelchair to walk up the stairs to reach the top because everyone else was.

Believe me, I was formulating my next step. Wed I got a call from the Principal. We played phone tag and I tried to set up an appt for the following day. Thurs I got a call from the head of special ed, she must have heard rumblings. I told her the whole story. She was shocked and dismayed. Within 30 min both she and the Principal were on the phone, scheduling a meeting for the following Wed (we had Labor Day holidays in between, Fri and Mon). They asked if I was ok sending him to school after the Labor Day holiday on Tues. I said I would.

Tues he got held in from recess, for not finishing his writing. Oy vey! Can you say fine motor issues??? My meeting on Wed went well, but again, we had very good meetings with special ed before. I told them he was held in from recess, the special ed director looked very upset at that and immediately said that would not happen again. We had even been given suggestions from spec ed to give him MORE opportunities to move, the child (and EVERY child) needs movement to facilitate the learning process. Holding him in from recess is only going to make all of those issues worse, not better. They asked if we were in a place where we'd consider working with them on new placement or working with the teacher to determine how to move forward. We said yes. All that week my son was sent into the hall because he "got frustrated". To me that is a sensory issue that was not addressed and escalated when it probably didn't need to. Or it was (as I saw first hand) an issue of another child antagonizing him to the point where he melts down and yet unless you were watching you can't really tell that it was the interaction with that other child that caused the reaction. On Fri he was sent into the hall 4 times. No one else is sent into the hall. Way to set him apart even more. Mom is done at this point.

I did not send him to school Monday. He'd also had a very busy weekend, his bday party and a friend's birthday party and the foods with sugar and possible cross contamination were catching up. Sending him in with those reactions would have been a recipe for disaster anyways. I got an email saying they wanted to put him into an all day class. I told them no thanks and proceeded with homeschool. We have great therapy schedules set and losing those was only going to make all of the issues worse in my mind. I had already begun to think of the unthinkable....dun dun dun.....homeschool. I only say this because I thought I would fail miserably at it, I was resistant to it, said I would "never" homeschool, etc etc. But you do what you have to do. The school came back and said they were heartbroken over our decision, wouldn't we consider looking at the new class. Then I began to think about potentially regretting it if I did not explore ALL of the options. We sat in for an hour and a half of the new class. It seemed to be made up of those "gentle souls". The teacher gave the kids many chances to move their body in the time we saw, we watched their math lesson since M was struggling there. They use a smart board (which is so cool) that the kids get to use.

After class let out I stood and talked with the teacher. She was honest, she said she had never had a child with Autism in her class before but she considers communication very important back and forth. I totally agreed. I explained some of the issues (food allergies, fine motor, auditory, etc). The next day I took M in to see the class and meet her. Every Fri is a half day so we went just after the kids were released. There were only 2 children in the room, one boy he really seemed to hit it off with in just those few minutes. After just a few minutes, we were ready to leave and he gave her a hug, a good sign. I spoke with a mom whose daughter is in the class, one of our kindergarten families. She had only good things to say about the teacher thus far.

Monday was his 1st day in that new class after being homeschool all of the prior week. We are still in the adjustment period. He is seeing old kindergarten friends he missed in the morning before the whistle blows which he loves. He is coming home with completed math sheets (something he was not able to do before) and math seems to be "clicking" for him this week. I have gotten emails from the new teacher every day after school. I love that! And they have been "He had a good day, stayed focused and on task". NICE! I love to hear that.

See, I KNOW our kids can be successful, it takes the right teacher and the right environment. And that is why I am so thankful (yes you heard me) for this experience. Up to this point, we have had nothing but good experiences with school/teachers. This experience taught me that not only will I do exactly what is necessary for my children, but that I CAN homeschool if I choose. I also see homeschooling in a whole new way. It gave me the freedom to teach my child in whatever way he/she learns best. I could use whatever format, medium, curriculum I needed to. And, I know them best, hands down. We got SO much done in just a few hours! It was amazing how much you could cover without all of the "processes" of school. I am also not scared of the social issue that so many want to bring up when you say homeschooling. Knowing me, I polled lots of people, including my therapist friends who know a lot about Autism and social issues. They all consistently said the same thing, the social part is easy! Parks, playdates, karate class, boy scouts, etc. are all various ways to encourage that social component. My issue was the social interaction he was getting in school was BAD. To me, bad social is not better than less social.

All in all, I only have good things to say about the way special ed and the Principal responded and handled this issue. It clearly was an issue with bad teacher/student fit. As I told the teacher, I get how frustrating it can be *I really do*! I had my own ideas of mother hood and M came along and pulverized them! He challenges you to think outside the box to motivate him, to teach him, to enrich him. It is possible, it can be an amazing experience, and YOU get to grow right along with him. I speak from experience on this one, heck he got me homeschooling him, LOL. M will make YOU grow as much as you make him grow. He is an amazing child, as are both of his sisters, and my commitment will always to give them what THEY need, no matter what.

I am also thankful for my newly acquired meditation skills or the last month would have been harder than it was. This whole process has been stressful but I think my way of dealing with the stress is better, at least I keep on trying anyways! So here's to change (since that is the only thing constant in this house!) and new beginnings! Change used to be a scary word but I have realized, change is much better than sticking with something that isn't working. Hope YOUR last few weeks has been a lot less stressful than mine!!

And my next blogs will be about yummy treats!!