Thursday, July 29, 2010

Making nut milks

So we will play a little guessing game to see who can figure out what type of milk is in each container. So, the choices are cashew milk, coconut milk and almond milk. I made new batches of all three this morning. Are you removing dairy from your diet or your child's diet and trying to keep strict accounting of what is going into their bodies? Do you wonder at those added ingredients, even in the good brands of nut milks? Or are you just tired of paying a lot of money for the commercially made nut milks? Maybe you just ran out and now need some in a pinch? Well if any of those sound like you, then you need these recipes. They are super easy, I made all 3 milks while my kids played upstairs before school, it took me 20 minutes max to make all 3 batches (not including soaking time for the nuts).

3 cups filtered water
1 cup nuts
2 dates (in the almond milk only)
splash of vanilla (in the almond milk only)

Blend then strain with a fine strainer, except for cashew milk which does not need to be strained.

Here is the breakdown, almond milk is sweeter, especially with the dates/vanilla. Cashew milk tastes the closest to cow's milk in taste and texture. Coconut milk definitely has a sweet quality and coconut flavor. They are all great for baking, cooking, whatever you need them for. I use a thicker blend of cashew milk for an "alfredo" sauce over rice pasta. One word of advice, soak your nuts prior to using. Almond can be soaked in a glass bowl overnight with a pinch of sea salt. Cashews can be soaked in a glass bowl with a pinch of sea salt for 2 - 4 hours. Drain, rinse, add to filtered water in blender and blend away. The coconut does not have to be soaked. But, get plain, unsweetened coconut, no additives.

Viola! Fresh nut milk that you made, no additives, no preservatives, no sitting on the shelf for months. And, if you use soaked nuts you are getting even better digestibility out of the deal too! It can be an easy, cheap and convenient alternative to buying prepared nut milks. My son who used to eat dry cereal rather than have the commercial almond milks now asks for the "homemade almond milk" on his rice cereal many mornings.

So here are the answers A) Coconut milk B) Almond milk C) Cashew milk

Friday, July 23, 2010

A safer way to disinfect!

Check out this little gem, courtesy of another FB Autism mom. I just love these ladies, they share so many awesome things that I could never find all on my own. So, here you go, I am always talking about safer ways to clean that are nontoxic! Courtesy of

Get Answers: How can I safely clean my child’s toys and play area?
Janelle Sorensen

Friday, July 23, 2010 .You ask, we answer. Find all of our frequently asked questions or ask your own by visiting Get Answers.

QUESTION: How can I safely clean my child’s toys and play area?


In your own home, many clean-up duties can be handled by water alone. If your child’s been sick (or someone else in the house has been), you may prefer something stronger.

A homemade disinfectant cleaner can be made with:

I teaspoon of borax
2 tablespoons of white vinegar
1/4 cup liquid soap
2 cups hot water

Mix in a refillable spray bottle and you’re good to go! Plain baking soda will remove stains (make a paste by adding a bit of water) as well as deodorize (sprinkle around, leave for 15 minutes, and then vacuum). Browse our website for easy recipes for cleaning products.

Learn more about cleaning specific items like unfinished wood toys and stuffed animals by reading Keeping Toys Clean to Make Playtime Pure.

You may also be interested in watching our Healthy Byte video “How Do I Clean My Scummy Bath Toys?”

Read more:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Memories explained

So I had a very weird experience this week with my guy. He started talking about memories that happened over 2 1/2 years ago with old hab workers, at old therapy clinics. I am going to tell parents straight up, don't just accept whatever comes your way. Interview your therapists, interview everyone in your child's life. And just because your child is nonverbal, look for clues of a bad fit. I had to "fire" a clinic and their hab program because of how they were treating my child. They were clique-y, they were selective, they were unprofessional, they were too young and not trained enough. It was once a good program and then it went downhill. My son became resistant to going and I listened to his cries and did something about it. So here we are years later and he is telling me about it. I now get verbal affirmation that what I did was the right thing.

The same is true with other therapists. Dawn Winkelmann, SLP and Feeding therapist is also now one of my best friends. But, when I got the call that she had recently transferred into that clinic that I mentioned and had openings, I wanted to talk with her first. I left messages, no one called me back. It was getting close to the first scheduled appt but I refused to go until I spoke with her. My thought was that I knew what caliber therapist I had already, to make a change for my son I had to know I was getting better. Little did I know I was getting a superstar but I would find that out later. She called just days before our appt and we talked for 45 minutes! We clicked, she understood and supported biomed 100%. YIPPEE!! She even knew of Dr. Woeller's work, seeing some of his other patients when she had her own practice in Huntington Beach (where she once again practices for anyone looking for a rockstar speech and feeding therapist!). When she lectures she tells parents about this encounter, about how shocked she was that a parent wanted to grill her. And I was the first parent to do so.

There was a feeling of "take what you can get" back then, for me early on. Services ARE hard to comeby, I understand that as well as anyone. But, I would challenge the opinion that any service is better than no service. Sometimes a bad therapist or experience will do more harm than good. Finding the RIGHT therapist is key, not just finding any therapist. Your child's eyes should light up when they see this person, they should make therapy fun, they should be loving, not cold and dismissive or ignore your child when they approach them. And if your child does not get that "warm and fuzzy", FIRE THEIR ASS! What else can I say? Trust your instincts, someday your child WILL be able to tell you about these experiences, and you certainly don't want to hear about bad memories. I did intervene and I still feel bad about what he did go through until I found out.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Gluten free english muffins

So I have a new product to recommend! While in Flagstaff, I always enjoy shopping at their local health food store called New Frontiers. And more than anything, I love shopping with my girlfriend, former OT and eternal food guru. She is a raw foodist and can always be counted on to provide several new recipes that my family loves. I needed some cacao butter but she had also told me about these sprouted grain, gluten free english muffins from Food for Life. I quickly grabbed up 2 bags. They even have chia seeds so they do offer a little more in the way of protein, not just those nasty starches that I worry about in terms of feeding yeast. Now that we are home, they have become a staple. In the morning they are a great option with some fresh made blueberry jam that I got at the Flagstaff farmer's market. Or after an afternoon running out to the chiropractor (hurt my neck and back somehow) and nothing planned for dinner, they made easy "mini pizzas". All I did was broil them with a little Daiya mozzarella cheese and a single slice of home grown tomato. The kids gobbled them up along with some asparagus spears. Perfect! The kids love them! So if you are looking for another bread option, I highly recommend these. I haven't looked to see if I can get them here, and they aren't even on the company's website that I could find. I will definitely be on the lookout for these locally!

Gluten and Casein free diet for gut issues

So this summer we picked up my step-daughter (12 yo) for our summer visit. Her mom mentioned some stomach issues she had been having, pain, discomfort and a need to GO if you know what I mean. It was happening daily. Since we were in San Diego and I didn't have my full bag-o-tricks, I stopped at Henry's and grabbed just a few things. First off, I took her off of wheat and dairy, not such a stretch considering most of our family eats that way anyways. My step-daughter has also recently gone vegetarian so that was a new twist and provided some challenges but I think we've rocked it overall. Within 1 week, just shy of 1 week actually, her gut issues have resolved! No more pain, urgency to go, etc. just normal bowel function. I added in probiotics and some kombucha, aloe vera and 1 or 2 doses of slippery elm, that was it! Very simple, very easy. So, if you thought this diet was just for Autism or think that those pesky bowel issues are just "you" or they "run in the family" I would suggest you look at diet and whether the wheat and dairy could be problematic for you as well.

How we spent our summer vacation

So, we survived our trip to San Diego, it was busy but so worth it. Our first night there I ran to the store with my mother in law while my husband took the kids across the street to the neighborhood pool. We pull in the driveway just as they are getting up to come home and I hear a little girl yelling bye to my son. He had already made a friend! A couple of days later we saw Dr. Woeller (our DAN! doctor) and wow, what a different appointment it was this year. He sat and had a conversation with M, asked him who is best friend was. He talked to him about the neighborhood friends he has, what he likes to do, what his favorite toy is. My biggest thrill? Hearing Dr. Woeller say "You're there Terri". Not much was recommended other than staying the course (diet, supps, etc) and maybe getting him onto a basketball team with typical peers. What does this mean for us? Well other than feeling REALLY good about life, not much else. I understand Autism (and its healing) is a marathon, not a sprint. I also know there will be regression. I know these things but to hear my son's specialist confirm what I have known in my heart this past year, that my son is very close to recovery, if not there, was so exciting!

This trip also gave us tons of time with my kids' grandparents. My dad and mother in law are both retired now. We stayed with my mother in law so she was with us the whole time. My dad came and met us for just about everything we did. My kids played with their cousins, swam until they were pruny, ran in the waves and built sandcastles, even sat through the Shamu show at Sea World! It was a vacation like I had never been able to expect until now. No meltdowns, not one. We stayed at Sea World hours later than we thought we would. I could tell he was getting to his limit so we got out of the gift shop quickly and yet still no meltdown.

We got home Saturday and then left town again Friday to see our dear friends in Flagstaff for the holiday weekend. My friend was M's very first Occupational Therapist, she was going back to work as an OT at the same time M was getting an early intervention referral, she specialized in Autism and DIR/Floortime therapy. She helped me navigate this process so much easier and has also been my food guru ever since. Our elder kids have been friends since they were 18 months old. The thing is, her daughter is neuro-typical and until the last year or so, my son wouldn't actually "play" with her daughter to the full extent. Now they talk about being boyfriend and girlfriend and can be found wandering their 5 acres telling secrets and handing out hugs and kisses to each other.

Here's the catch, he will always have Autism and I know that. He will probably always have a hard time with certain sounds. He will probably always do a little self talking, some of these things WILL set him apart from his peers, just like any child who is "quirky" or a bit different. And here's something for the Neuro Diversity crowd, I love him just the way he is! But I know that I have removed many, many stumbling blocks for him. The diet full of wheat and dairy that was clogging up his brain, providing the gliadomorphines and casomorphines that had him "high" off of his food are gone. His pain perception is now appropriate because of it. His speech has developed because of it. He has supplements to help his brain and body work the way they were intended. The methyl B-12 aids in so many processes, including helping with sleep (it is a precursor to melatonin production) and detox pathways. The Respen-A is fixing the enzymatic processes that may have been broken with 20+ hours of pitocin during labor, I credit this therapy for the biggest WOW factor yet. We've treated gut yeast and bacteria, whose toxins also interfere with normal brain functioning. All of these things took roadblocks out of his way. I love him just the way he is but now, he can love me back. Now, he can make meaningful relationships, two-way relationships with peers and family. That he couldn't do. He couldn't even look me in the eye when we started this process of biomed, now he reads ME to see my emotions and to read those unspoken words, something I never thought possible. I remember a day, heartbreaking and vivid, I was exhausted from lack of sleep. He would go about 20 minutes at a time sleeping, that's it. He was screaming most of the day and I was just totally worn out. I began to cry and he thought I was laughing and began to smile. Here I was, totally desolate and my child (who was supposed to FEEL my emotions or so the baby books said) was smiling instead. Flash forward a few years and I was nursing my neurotypical daughter and I began to cry, she stopped nursing, looked up at me and started to cry along with me. So to see his eyes bore into mine and read my unspoken emotions makes me want to shout from the rooftops, it is such a cliche but it really does.

So that is how we spent our summer vacation, actually vacationing. A first for our family. Along with our first fireworks display this year too even after a ride home from Flagstaff and a weekend of staying up later than normal. School will be starting for him in just 2 weeks, 1st grade here we come. It has been an amazing summer, lots of memories made, lots of fun times had. I am sad that it is over but excited to see what the new school year has in store. Once again, I do this blog for me as a way to document our story but also to offer hope to other parents out there. I was the parent crying each night, wondering what was going on with my child. I was the mom carrying a screaming toddler out of the grocery store because some sound set him off and I had no clue what had happened. My child was the one who could never "play" at playgroups, I was chasing him out of their back bedrooms, out of their kitchen cupboards, etc. So I stopped going to playgroups because of it. He wanted nothing to do with the kids or the toys, he wanted to sit and spin Tupperware lids, chew on things and make all of the musical toys go at once. Now he makes friends at the chiropractor's office, not wanting to leave because they are playing (with a child 2 years older than him who is the other chiropractor's son!). He makes friends wherever we go now! So for me, biomed has given my son the future he deserves. It has helped remove those barriers to love, learning, sleep, etc. that were impacting him greatly. It will always been a hard road but I feel like we are past one huge hill. Who knows what lies ahead but I am ready for the journey!