Thursday, November 29, 2012

Congressional Hearing on Autism

In case you missed it today, here is the video of the Congressional Hearing about Autism from today. It is totally worth the watch. For my Autism friends, it will leave you cheering, yelling, mad, elated that some in our government DO get it (a few because their grandchildren, nephews were diagnosed with Autism), sad at hearing the reality (especially the "aging out" part) and many other emotions.

And maybe if you don't (yet) have a child/grandchild/niece/nephew/friend's child with Autism, you will soon. And I don't say that to be mean, I say that in sadness and all honesty. With the numbers 1 in 88 and for boys that means 1 in 54, your odds are pretty good (or bad depending on how you look at it). And I know people like that. People who have NO CLUE what it is like to raise a child with Autism. Who cannot perceive the sacrifices we make because, what choice do we have? This is our CHILD. We would sacrifice anything to help them.

I don't normally post pictures of my family on this blog but I decided to break those rules to stand with my fellow Autism Moms/Dads in our "Not born with it" campaign to raise more awareness. My son was NOT born with it. Here are 3 photos, before Autism, during Autism and AFTER Autism. Autism is NOT purely genetic, it is treatable, kids can get better and my son is proof. He will probably ALWAYS be affected by this disorder called Autism. But it is my job to make sure I get those roadblocks out of his way the best way I can.

Before Autism
During Autism
After Autism!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Importance of Probiotics

Not convinced that probiotics are critical to maintain your health? Then read THIS informative website and get a glimpse at just why these little critters are so powerful in helping us stay healthy.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Clostridia, a holistic treatment approach

A lot has been going on and when I say "a lot" I mean "like a million zillion times more things than normally go on in this uber busy household". Hence the lack of blog posts. Although, you can always read new and exciting stuff on the New Beginnings Facebook page, hint, hint.

A few months back we ran an Organic Acid Test (OAT). Holy Clostridia batman! Reference range is 220 for the "high" category. His test showed almost 1800!!! Yowza. Now, anyone in the biomedical Autism world knows this is bad stuff and it really impacts neurological functioning. We had to treat with Vancomycin, 10 days on, 7 days off, 10 more days on. Drumroll please......each 10 day course cost $1700! That is another rant for another day. We ran yet another OAT after treating. Clostridia still high, in 750's. It came down 1000 points but GEEZ!

Clostridia - 1
Us - 0

So, I'm sick of the thought of yet ANOTHER course of antibiotics. I also had a chance to attend the recent ARI conference to work the New Beginnings booth. So of course I took that opportunity to brainstorm where I could. I came home and began to formulate a plan.

1 tsp Manuka honey + 1 tsp of raw apple cider vinegar daily
Rotation of herbs (Oregano, Thyme, Turmeric, Cumin), 3 days on, 3 days off
Rotation of natural antifungals 3 days on, 3 days off, opposite days as other herbs

Rather than dried herbs in some cases, I chose to work with very potent essences. These aren't your foofy "put in a diffuser to make your house smell good" types of oils. These are oils of the highest quality designed even for internal use. Potent stuff, another post for another time since their Cajeput is the bomb diggety for any sort of throat issues with colds/flus. I get them at a place called Wisdom of the Earth. Great place, great people and I HIGHLY recommend them. PS - I don't work for them or get paid in any way, shape or form, this is just my own opinion after years of using essential oils.

So, I am using during our 3 days on:

New Beginnings Turmeric - 1 capsule in the morning in his normal supps
Oreganol with the P73 - 2 drops in the morning in his normal supps
5 drops Black Cumin essential oil on the bottom of his feet in the morning
5 drops Thyme essential oil on the bottom of his feet in the morning

3 days off I am using the Yeast Control Package from New Beginnings

Day 1 - Saturday. Applied the oils and within 1 hour I began to see our "Clostridia behaviors", falling apart emotionally, crying, screaming, angry, sad, just a volatile mess. Scrapped plans to attend bday party with his sister to stay home with Dad. No way we were going into public.

Day 2 - Sunday. Same thing but not quite as intense.

Day 3 - Monday. - Moody, irritable and emotional.

Day 4 - Tuesday - No oils or supps besides the normal ones and yeast control package. More back to normal. Started Manuka honey/ACV. No noticeable change with that. Went down well despite the AVC. He's a trooper.

Day 5 - Wednesday - Crazy busy day with back to back parent teacher conferences and then I had an additional PTA meeting. But it was not an oils day anyways but no honey/ACV was given since Dad was flying solo tonight.

I believe we were really seeing a healing crisis/flare with the oils. I take that as a fabulous sign things are working. I plan to work this for a month or two and retest. It is my hope that I can pinpoint a plan that can help others in this battle as well. We all know how hard the gut is to heal in these kiddos and these bugs are tenacious. But I know there is a solution out there that does not involved constant antibiotics. So I will keep the blog updated as much as possible as to our progress. I am really looking forward to the next OAT. But I will say that other than this gut bug issue, his OAT was pretty much PERFECT! So, yes although this issue is a biggie, I am so proud of how far he has come biomedically and that has translated so beautifully behaviorally as well. Our gut is our second brain and as we've nailed these things down his whole body and brain has healed. So there you have it. I look forward to sharing this exciting new plan with you as we go!!


Day 6 - Thursday - Status cue, normal supps with yeast protocol on board as well as the honey/ACV combo. But, I did decide to give him a dose of his constitutional homeopathic remedy. On one of our consults with Pierre Fontaine he mentioned that giving a dose of the remedy while sick could help the body heal faster. Since we are undertaking a distinct "stirring" of things, I figure it could not hurt.

Day 7 - Friday - Started back with the two oils on his feet at breakfast time. Added back in Turmeric and Oreganol with normal supps as well. No yeast package today. Behaviors not as bad as the first day with the oils. So far.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Baby monkeys given vaccines develop Autism-like symptoms

Have you read this yet? If not you need to. Baby monkeys given the suggested schedule of vaccines developed Autism-like symptoms and unvaccinated monkeys did not. I think we need more safety research on vaccines!!!! Read the article below. Think they have been properly safety tested before they are injected into your child?? WRONG!!! Think research has been done on how vaccines react in combination? WRONG!!!

To read the full article, click here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


This blog on the Thinking Mom's Revolution really got me today. It is very true. As an Autism mom there has been a lot of stress that just comes with the territory. Whether you are talking chronic lack of sleep because your child does not sleep, stress over how you will pay for what truly helps your child (and is never covered by insurance if you even have insurance), stress of handling multiple behaviors (whether it is aggression, OCD, anxiety, meltdowns, etc) and we haven't even touched anything beyond Autism yet. Then there are the everyday stressors, family illness, job loss, or just pain in the ass people who seem to have nothing better to do than to be jerks. It adds up. But this blog is right, it encourages us to focus on the good rather than all of the bad. Now, putting this into practice is a little bit easier said than done, I'm a far cry from some Zen master to be sure. But, we are Autism moms, we are strong. We have done what our mainstream pediatricians could not in many, many cases. We have taken our kids to a place where some thought they would never be. I don't know about you but I will be damned if I am going to be dragged down by the BS. So this is your reminder Autism Moms, take YOUR vitamins, maybe throw in some extra B-12 for good measure. Sneak a little of your child's Glutathione, take your antioxidants and try and get some sleep. Our kids are counting on us to be there for a long time! And above all, don't buy into the drama and BS that even runs rampant in our own community, let alone the stuff people on the outside throw at us. If they don't know, they better ask somebody, we're Autism tough, and it doesn't get much tougher!

Friday, August 10, 2012

One decade later.....

Wow, 10 years of marriage. This time exactly 10 years ago I was sitting in a hotel room, anxious for the day to start, sharing the morning with 3 of my best friends. Giggling like school girls, nervous anticipation, wondering what the next chapter of my life would be like.

10 years has brought all that one might expect, joy, fun, excitement, sorrow, heart break, loss. And through it all my husband has been strong and true by my side. Our life has been like a roller coaster. Lots of ups and downs, especially facing Autism and healing our son. But he and I have a bond that is unbreakable. We take whatever is thrown at us and turn it into something good and something that makes us stronger. We work as a team, we always have. And yes, we have had some pretty big adversity. But the people who want to tear you down usually do so because they are lacking that relationship in their lives. So we use whatever is thrown at us to give us more motivation and purpose to the life and family we have created. Period. End of story.

The vows we took 10 years ago still hold true. But, there is so much more to them than what we said 10 years ago. Our marriage is so much deeper now. There is much more meaning to our lives and what we created with the words "I do". Today I vow to not only to love, honor and cherish my husband but to be the one to build him up when this world tries to tear him down. I vow to always look at his side of things even when I don't really want to. I vow to remember that the past is the past and that's where it should stay even when parts of it rear its ugly head. I vow to never let the past in any way impact our marriage. I vow to protect him and my family with every ounce of strength I have and Lord knows I have a lot. I vow to always remember exactly why I fell in love with him, his caring nature, his intelligence, his sense of humor, his ability as a father and his depth of love for me to name just a few. He shows me every day how much he loves me. Not in flowery words or flowers delivered but in the little things that keep our love alive. It is in the way he knows what I am thinking just by a look, the way we can say just 1 word and communicate much more, the way we have our own special language that many times others don't get, or just knowing when I need to have a break and he lets me, no questions asked or resentment. He is my partner in all areas of life.

10 years ago we said "I do" but it really was "I will". I will grow and change with each day but that growth is with you, not away from you. "I will" let our marriage and love be the example for our children to strive for when their time comes to find their soul mate. "I will" enjoy all the ways you are special and add so much to my life. "I will" respect you and your opinions (even though we know I am always right! :)). And "I will" love you forever!

10 years, not a bad way to start a lifetime together. Happy Anniversary Eric!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bloggers beware of those photos you post!

Bloggers, please read this blog HERE and heed her warning. If you didn't take the picture, don't post it. Yeah, I know, hours of work ahead removing photos.....better safe than sorry!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Food combining and Autism recovery

OK so I am going to need you to hang in there with me on this one. I first heard about food combining from a co-worker back in the 90's and I thought she was crazy to be honest (sorry Brandy!). Fast forward to now and my friend (aka my food guru) was talking about this topic recently. I thought SHE was crazy too. But being the OCD type-A person I am, I started researching it more when we were lamenting about the various food issues in our two houses (and between the 5 kids and 4 adults we probably hit almost every single food and that may not even be an exaggeration!). And listen, I am sure there will be people who refute this whole concept and explain away all the theories. And that's fine because I am the first to say you have to go with what works FOR YOU.

So here goes. The basic principles are that certain foods take more/less time to digest. So when you combine foods that are on different time frames you create a slowing of digestion which allows for fermentation/dysbiosis growth. Given my own personal fascination of what feeds gut bugs, this made sense to me. It also cleared up why I was seeing certain food reactions in some very healthy foods I was preparing for my son. For example, I have a few recipes for raw pancakes that I would do in the morning. Usually they consisted of a blend of sprouted buckwheat, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, sunbutter, maybe some coconut and some maple syrup. I would then top them with sliced bananas. Super healthy and very tasty and yet after there were meltdowns, irritability, etc, etc. that I was connecting clearly to the meal. Well now it makes sense. The buckwheat is a grain and it was being combined with a protein (sunflower seeds/butter) and then fruit was added in to make matters worse. Proteins and starches should not be combined and fruit should be eaten alone or with greens. The protein takes longest to digest so the fruit and starch were sitting there left to feed the undesirables in the gut in the meantime. So we were seeing some irritable behaviors as a result.

I will say that this diet has been kicking my BUTT!!! I am pretty familiar with special diets by now but this was HARD. But here's what I am seeing. NO meltdowns after meals, no "food frenzy" eating. Do you know what I mean?? Can you look at your child eat and know that their gut bugs are controlling their appetite? Do your kids ever get that frenzied "I want more, I want MORE" quality when they eat certain things? My son did and that was a sure clue that the food was not welcome at our table again. That is gone. His eyes are crystal clear. I hope you Autism moms know what I mean. The sparkle is there, no food fog, he is very, very present.

So what do typical meals look like??

Everyday starts with fruit. And I am talking ALL fruit!!! Not all at once but you know what I mean. I *try* and work around the acid, sub acid, sweet thing (acid and sub acid can be combined and sub acid and sweet can be combined) but it doesn't always work. But, I can give peaches, plums, bananas and even grapes with no flare in yeast, at all, whatsoever!! (Cue the trumpets) We were stuck with just berries and pears for the longest time. There are caveats. Melons should be eaten alone with nothing else and on a completely empty stomach. So, we start with some fruit and then a green smoothie.

My green smoothie is: Water, greens (kale, lettuce, chard, spinach, beet greens, perslane, etc.). I choose a couple of greens. Add in some stevia and blend. Add in some frozen fruit (usually berries). Viola! Now, wait at least 20 minutes.

Then we can have our normal buckwheat cereal but I leave out any nuts/seeds so we are not combining proteins and starches. Coconut is a neutral/fat so it is ok. Or maybe I will do a gluten free english muffin with some coconut oil and a sprinkle of chia seeds. Or I can make some pancakes. Now you want to give yourself at least 2 hours until you are eating again (longer if there is protein involved). Snacks are usually veggies. A nice big veggie tray for the day works well, they can eat all the veggies they want. Lunch can be either a starch/veggie combo OR a protein/veggie combo. So here's where if they want some organic corn chips or organic potato chips then we need to stick with veggies and a starch. And for our purposes today, things like quinoa and beans are considered starches (yeah, that threw me because I consider them more on the protein side). So tacos with black beans or quinoa salad or rice pasta and sauce are all options here. If they want nut butter then I use a paleo bread recipe. I converted it to an almond/sunflower seed recipe and use sunbutter, no jelly because that's a fruit! Sauerkraut is also a staple on our plates to aid with digestion as well. Dinner has the same options. We've been doing some great omelets for dinner with our fresh, organic eggs from our beautiful ladies in the yard. I fill them with tomatoes and Daiya cheese and serve up some grilled veggies or raw veggies. Hamburgers and french fries are out unless I do a homemade veggie burger. The book I read "The Beauty Detox Solution" by Kimberly Snyder has some great recipes. And don't let the name of the book fool you. This isn't about beauty for us, it is about putting the body into a state of healthy normal detox where the body is not clogged with foods in such a way that they cannot be digested properly. But she also advocates things I also believe in like probiotics and digestive enzymes. And the basic premise is eating light to heavy. You want the easier to digest stuff in the beginning and that sets the tone for the day and the harder to digest stuff (especially proteins) are more towards dinner which gives your body all night to digest if needed.

When I did more digging, this is basically the Body Ecology Diet in a sense. I will be honest, I have been very frustrated at times with the combinations and what I felt like were lack of options. But, we are settling in (it was 3 weeks on Friday) and it is certainly getting easier. And there is such an even keel especially around meal times. So I like what I am seeing. Everyone is growing (seems like especially now) and thriving and the clarity in my son's eyes is something I really love to see. So while this may not be for everyone (heck, I didn't think it was going to be for us!!) I think it is a great option for our life. If you ask my son he would say I need to throw that book out. There have been occasions where he says "I don't like that book!! What good is a sandwich if you can't have nutbutter?!?!?!". I had to laugh. So creativity has been a must (especially since you are not even supposed to combine more than one protein source except for nuts/seeds, they are OK to combine). I was thinking of going Paleo because of these food reactions I was seeing and a desire to reduce the starches in his diet. After we started food combining I realized that maybe why Paleo works for so many people is that you really ARE removing the protein/grain combination. Paleo does combine fruits/proteins which is still a no-no in this realm. But, for us this is successful and there are no negative reactions with grains now that they are not paired with proteins. I will keep you posted going forward. And if anyone wants any ideas on meals/snacks, let me know. That could be a follow up post. Bon Apetit!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fourth of July healthy treats

Are you looking for some cute, healthy, quick and easy treats for the July 4th holiday? Well check these ideas out.

Flag Fruit Skewers

 We made a flag out of blueberries, strawberries and bananas. This has been going around the internet for a while, super cute and easy. I had some little helpers who did quite a bit of the work. They sliced the strawberries and bananas for me and even helped put them on the skewers. Tasty, patriotic and healthy!

Star Skewers

The next idea is also super easy and looks totally cute. I remembered that I had some American Flag ribbon so I wrapped it around an empty jar and put a little hot glue to hold it. Then we started cutting 2 sizes of stars out of watermelon slices. Again, kids LOVE helping with this and it was so simple yet delish! Simple cookie cutters work wonderfully here and then you just angle the stars a bit, each one a little offset of the previous and viola! Cute treat ready for any party or gathering!

Whatever you may be doing today, from my family to yours, have a happy and healthy 4th of July!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Chickpea chocolate chip cookies

Photos courtesy of my 14 year old aspiring photographer ;)

Say what?? I read the recipe and I was all in. A healthier cookie?!? Yeah baby!! The 14 year old gave me a look like "What you talkin' bout mom??". The 8 and 6 year olds are used to my wacky recipes, they tuned everything out except chocolate so I had their buy in. 14 year old made me read the comments, "Well they all say these LOOK really good, no one says what they taste like". Hmmmm, scroll some more "Here's one!! They say they taste delicious". Tentative buy in, because after all, it does have chocolate in it.

I got the recipe from Texanerin. I made just a few mods.

  • 1 1/4 cups canned chickpeas, well-rinsed 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons natural sunbutter
  • 1/4 cup combo of part coconut nectar and part coconut sugar (low on honey)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup mini Enjoy Life chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Combine all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in a food processor and process until very smooth. Make sure to scrape the sides and the top to get the little chunks of chickpeas and process again until they're combined. Put in the chocolate chips and stir it. The mixture will be very thick and sticky. With wet hands, form into 1 1/2" balls. Place onto a piece of parchment paper. If you want them to look more like normal cookies, press down slightly on the balls. They don't do much rising. Bake for about 10 minutes. Yields about 32 1 1/2" cookie dough balls. The original recipe said 14, ours didn't look a lot smaller than hers but we sure got a lot more than 14!

Enjoy and either divulge that these are healthier (or not)! Now off to grab another before they are all gone....

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Quinoa breakfast cake

I adapted this recipe from the Whole Food's site found here. This is the original recipe with my adaptations in blue.

Cocoa-Almond Baked Breakfast Quinoa

1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups unsweetened hempmilk, soymilk or almondmilk, I used homemade coconut milk
1 cup pitted dates (about 5 ounces)
1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce, I used one pear, sliced and thrown into the blender to reduce yeast feeding
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup almond meal, divided, my second time baking this I omitted completely and it was fine


I soaked my quinoa overnight first. Rinse quinoa in a fine sieve until water runs clear, drain and transfer to a medium pot. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside off the heat for 5 minutes; uncover and fluff with a fork.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper; set aside. In a blender, purée hempmilk (or whatever nut milk you choose), dates, seeds, applesauce (or pear), cocoa and salt. Transfer to a large bowl; stir in quinoa and 1/2 cup almond meal. Transfer to prepared pan, scatter remaining 1/4 cup almond meal over the top and bake until firmly set, about 1 hour.

Set aside to let cool for 1 hour, and then carefully run a paring knife around the pan to loosen the edges. Turn out onto a flat surface, remove parchment paper, cut into squares and serve.

To freeze, wrap individual squares tightly and store in the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator or microwave (do your health a favor and get rid of your microwave and buy a toaster oven! They work great without the negative health effects of a microwave).

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Graduation money/candy lei


 This project is so easy, especially if you buy the 40" roll of cellophane. You need 80 " to make a nice, longer sized lei. You can combine two 40" pieces and it works perfectly. Cut 2 8" x 40" pieces. Overlap them by several inches, like 3 or 4 so it does not come apart. Start spacing out your items in the middle of the cellophane. I used 5 of the money rosettes and then filled in with candy. I used only candy at the neck so it was not so bulky. Then you fold the bottom cellophane up and the top down. Tie curling ribbon to secure. I would suggest you start in the middle and work out. When you tie it takes up a lot of space so that gives you the opportunity to readjust as needed without having to start all over (talking from experience here). Then you just add on tags, stars, hearts, whatever. I did 2 layers of curling ribbon, one of the pearl color and then I alternated red and blue over that. I used the red/blue to tie on my accents. Viola, graduation lei!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Quinoa Buckwheat Cookies

Quinoa buckwheat chocolate chip cookies (adapted from the Gluten Free Goddess, found HERE). Below is her recipe with my adaptations in blue.

1 1/4 cup organic quinoa flour (Her recipe called for quinoa flakes and quinoa flour. I just combined the two amounts and used ground organic quinoa)
1 cup buckwheat flour (I used soaked/sprouted/dehydrated that I ground fresh)
1/2 cup tapioca flour or potato starch (not potato flour – I used Tapioca)
1 1/2 cups organic light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup light olive oil (I used grapeseed instead)
3 tablespoons real maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large organic free-range eggs or Ener-G Egg Replacer (I used replacer)
Warm water, as needed
1 cup dairy-free dark chocolate chips (or less, see note below)


In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flours and dry ingredients.

Add in the oil, maple syrup, vanilla and eggs/egg replacer. Combine the wet and dry ingredients with a sturdy wooden spoon until you get a thick, sticky batter.

If you need to, add 1 tablespoon of warm water at a time, as needed, to achieve a (cookie style) dough that sticks together when you pinch it. As you may know from working with buckwheat, it tends to soak up liquid, a lot. I ended up adding 8 TBSP of warm water to get it to cookie dough consistency.

Stir in the dark chocolate chips with a wooden spoon. You may want to consider using less, especially if you use the Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips. I know, ME saying less chocolate?? But seriously, anyone who has ever made chocolate chip cookies with these knows they can make the cookie very crumbly (and hey, when cooking GF who needs additional crumble??). Towards the end there were so many chocolate chips it was hard to mash together enough dough. Lucky kid who gets that one eh? Cover and chill the dough for 30 to 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

 Round 1, not very flattened
 Round 1, much "taller"
So, the 2nd batch I flattened them quite a bit more and cooked for 10 minutes. Perfection! They remind me of Chips Ahoy and boy have I missed Chips Ahoy!

Round 2, slightly wider but flatter

Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes; then carefully remove the cookies with a thin spatula and place them on a wire rack to continue cooling. I removed them immediately onto a cooling rack.

Lovely warm and melty. Store in a covered container for up to a day or wrap cooled cookies in recycled foil, bag and freeze for longer storage.

Makes 24-30 cookies. My batch made about 4 dozen.
Gluten free, rice free, soy free, dairy free, egg free, nut free chocolate chip cookie.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

New Beginnings Nutritionals SALE

If you don't know about New Beginnings Nutritionals and you are doing biomed to help your child with Autism, you should!! They are a supplement company designed to support the very unique needs of our kiddos on the Spectrum. My son's DAN! Dr. Kurt Woeller is a huge supporter which is how I came to know about them. Once we began the biomed protocol and saw phenomenal results with testing and supplementation they asked me to begin attending western conferences since they are based in Kansas and I am in Arizona. So, that began my more professional association with them. I can talk to parents about the supplements and many times I have personal experiences to share about getting them into my own kids. And this is a common theme with the employees at New Beginnings at the home office. They are parents of recovering/recovered children. So when you call and talk to someone, you are getting someone who has been in the trenches with you! And I should mention that even though they are geared towards the Autism population, anyone can use them! They just are formulated to be super pure, highly absorbed, come in many forms for ease of administration and allergen free. And what New Beginnings doesn't do themselves they source from the best! So they have a great product array including toxin free personal care and even food items! If you haven't found them on Facebook or Twitter, you really should since they are running a discount for their followers until May 31st. And they are having a 20% off sale on some very popular summer items. Time to stock up!! Want to read more? Check out their May Newsletter where you can link to FB and Twitter and see what deals they are offering. Click HERE.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Losing it....

As any family with a special needs child can attest to, life is like a roller coaster, hence the name of my blog. We've faced big challenges, made tough decisions and questioned those decisions over the years. This past year has brought many extra challenges for our family. Most recently it was my husband's job loss that provided that sudden dip, where you lose your stomach on that roller coaster. But we are no different than many, many others all in the same boat right now. My husband has never been out of work, NEVER. We met in the workplace as a matter of fact. So this is a huge change for us as it is for many of my Autism friends who have experienced the same. And just like many others, I gave up a well paying career to devote myself to my son's recovery. My son's needs, even from the very beginning, meant a traditional daycare was out of the question. We could not afford a private nanny either. So we did what we had to in order to afford to pay the bills. We moved out of state where my husband could get a job that afforded us a modest life on one income. Our move to Flagstaff was similar. In order to provide our son with the education most suited to his specific needs, north we went. And I do not regret that one bit and I firmly believe our whole family has benefited from this move.

And yet here we are. I am so blessed with friends and family who understand our situation. Life has changed, we are in crisis mode quite honestly. Every penny scrutinized. We do not have the liberty of the dollar menu, we have special diets to accommodate and supplements are not free. And just like any other medical issue, how do you sacrifice your child's health for non-essential expenditures? And for those who don't understand that, I hope they know how lucky they are that they don't have to make those decisions.

 But one thing has rung true. This experience has brought my husband and I even closer. As we near our 10 year anniversary in a few months I think back to how easy and carefree our early years were. We've been tested in ways I never thought possible, had our share of downs beyond any I could foresee. And yet here we are and I love my husband more now than when we got married. I have seen the man he has had to become. There is a depth to him that was not there before our life together. We were chosen for this, chosen to parent these children together and chosen for an even bigger role that I hope to share with you all soon. Never have I had a time in my life where I truly feel inspired by a higher self or calling until now. And yet it all seems to converge at once, seemingly in the worst of times, but isn't that just life? We will rise to these tasks and be grateful for this journey, our amazing family and the love we share each and everyday.

 So I want to hear from my blog readers, are you in the same boat? What is YOUR best tip for saving money on a special diet? How is your family coping in these times? I know we are not alone! We can use this experience to share our ideas on how not just to survive but to flourish. I will begin sharing our frugal tips, as I come from a long line of conservative (ok cheap) women, making those ends meet no matter the gap. One big goal for us is to get our garden in, which we've been working on. Growing as much of our own food - and we primarily eat fruits and veggies - is a huge way to cut our costs. So that is one thing we are definitely focused on right now. And later this week I will have a giveaway opportunity for one lucky blog reader, generously provided by Tropical Traditions! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut oil - 5 ways!

Click HERE to see their selection of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil.

Sorry for the delay, our 2nd move in 6 months and whew! I can now say we are safely on the other side of it! We have finally arrived, acreage, animals, critters, gardening, oh my! Let the adventure begin!

But I must play catch up for the moment, trying to find my to do list and figure out where I left off. One thing I have been wanting to do is to review the Gold Label Virgin Organic Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions. You see we are HUGE fans of their Expeller Pressed Organic Coconut Oil. I like the fact that without any coconut flavor it can be versatile and fit in with almost anything I prepare. I have blogged before on the health benefits of coconut oil and I love what it does to my body and how I feel when I eat it. If you want to learn more, you can visit the Tropical Traditions Website and read their information on how to use coconut oil HERE.  Or you can watch this video on ways to use coconut oil

So, we wanted to try the Gold Label version and see what happens. Check out what we did below:

1) Popcorn. We make our own popcorn on the stove, the old fashioned way. We added in 3 TBSP Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil and 1/2 cup organic popping corn. Same lightly buttery feel and taste but with a hint of coconut flavor. This would be excellent if you wanted to make a batch of homemade kettle corn!

2) Pancakes. We make pancakes every Sunday morning. I usually do a blend of buckwheat, rice flour, tapioca starch and sorghum. The Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil gave it a very light, sweet taste of coconut. But it was very faint and not at all over powering. They were delish!

3) Cinnamon spice muffins. When I made these muffins, honestly I could not tell the difference between the Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil and the Expeller Pressed oil. They were moist and flavorful with the coconut flavor lending itself nicely to the overall tone of the muffins. The kids begged for more.

4) Raw "cookie balls". The kids needed a snack. I wanted it to be healthy. So raw cookie balls it was. This is a combo of sprouted buckwheat, sunflower seeds, soaked dates, I made this one a little cinnamon-y and added some pumpkin pie spices as well. But I switched it up and added 2 TBSP melted Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil to it as well. Put it in the food processor, process then roll into balls. I vary this recipe up lots of ways, adding in sunbutter, maple syrup, cocoa powder, etc. I didn't know how this one would come out since I didn't add the cocoa to bring that strong flavor. You could certainly taste the oil but again with the cinnamon flavor it worked very, very well. And if you refrigerated the balls I bet it would make them very firm and not so fall apart because of the oil.

5) Raw cinnamon rolls. This morning I finally got around to making raw cinnamon rolls for the kids for breakfast. I adapted THIS RECIPE from Gone Raw. Here are my tweaks:

I used more dates instead of the raisins
Used ground sprouted buckwheat instead of almond meal
Used Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil instead of olive oil
Used Coconut nectar instead of agave
Left out the cayenne

They were super easy to make and WOW! There was silence at the breakfast table, until they both asked for more that is! I sliced bananas on top and the kids went crazy for these! They will be a staple around here for sure. Once again, there was no detectable coconut flavor from the oil but just an overall blending of flavors to create super yumminess!

As I said before, I love the expeller pressed because of the lack of taste. But, I feel that the Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil was a fabulous addition to my baked goods and raw recipes that have that sweet quality. As with all of the Tropical Traditions oils I have used, it is easy to work with, smooth, creamy and I know I can count on the awesome quality of the oils. I feel comfortable knowing my family is being nourished with healthy fats! While I won't give up on my Expeller Pressed oil for my more savory dishes, I must say I am going to be adding in the Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil for my sweeter creations. If you want to learn more about their product selection, please visit Tropical Traditions Website.

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review in return for the free product.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Wow, where has the time gone? Seems like forever since a blog post. I have many of them swimming around in my head but no time to get them to keyboard. Let's see, March has been a whirlwind for sure, trip to Las Vegas to work the TACA and MAPS event for New Beginnings, then my bday, 1st anniversary of my Dad's death 2 days later. Following week my best friend of 30+ years had to have open heart surgery (her 3rd) so I was on hand to see her through that, as I was 30 years ago after her 1st. Let me tell you, it sure was scarier THIS time around, funny how growing up and knowing about "what ifs" will do to you. Then I came home but hubby was gone all week and in between it all, our new house to get ready to move into. Yes, big things, septic being installed, cistern getting up and running, painting almost every room, packing and unpacking yet again.

And also in the midst, 3 year retest for Mr. M. My (not so) little guy, more testing for him. Every 3 years the school system looks at retesting to see what supports are needed for him. Hard to believe 3 years ago we were preparing him for kindergarten. For that was my own personal time limit of sorts. I knew the clock was ticking and I wanted to do as much in the way of what I call "roadblock removal" as I could prior to kindergarten. I don't know why I set that limit but I did. Just shy of 1 year prior we began seeing Dr. Kurt Woeller and our path to recovery began to skyrocket. So 3 years later, I was quite excited to see, on paper, the changes I know I have seen in my son both cognitively and communicatively. And here we are in a new school to boot so yes, testing was really needed to get a clear idea of what he needs.

Testing round 1, the Psychologist. A little trepidation. Our last eval with the school psychologist (Apr 2009) resulted in a paper being slid towards me, eyes averted. Well yes, he fell on "THAT" end of the bell curve.....hmmmm, you know, the one on the left.....far left. That's OK I said to myself, trying not to let the tears form. These tests are all bullshit anyways! (I know my Alma Mater is threatening to revoke my degree in Psychology right this moment for such blasphemy!?) Maybe he will be a child who tests differently. And in the end I said "Screw you!" to the tests and we kept plodding on. But yes, that day is still back there in my memory banks. I felt like somehow that test was counting him out, and I was determined never to let that happen! So here we are, another year (or 3), another (different) psychologist. Imagine my excitement when on their first break the psychologist comes out and says that M knows vocab words that a child in 5th grade would be beginning to learn! Hey hey! Not to shabby. So I was excited to hear the full results. He had strengths in the areas of reading and writing. Math was more challenging. His recall was better on verbal things vs. visual. His perception of his body in space was a challenge. That was certainly nothing new. So we have some strategies to help him as the curriculum changes in the next few years. All in all, I took it as a very positive thing.

Testing round 2, the SLP. Our last round (Apr. 2009), CELF-2P was done. Core language - 8%, Receptive - 4%, Expressive - 8%, Language content - 5%, Language structure - 5%. "The results indicate that M has a significant receptive and expressive language delay". Yes, no surprise there. But this time around was very, very, VERY different. Our school speech therapist approaches me one day at pick up (her son and my son are in the same class). She says "Will you be disappointed if I really don't find anything?". Are you kidding me?? This is what we have been working towards!! Yesterday we get the results, besides a little articulation with "s", that's it! Zip, zero, nada! And she was specifically watching him for social issues. And what's more she said that if she had not read Autism in his file she would never have thought of that in regards to him. Say what?!?!

I must say, it did make me feel a bit odd. The Psychologist said that this was just astounding and how he's never heard of this ever happening before. That makes me squirm a little. I talk about Autism and Autism recovery all the time, I mean alllllll the time, to anyone, anywhere. And I know many parents who are doing biomed and see fabulous things so to me, this is (or should be) the norm. I try and avoid the "cure" debates because to me, my son had some serious underlying medical issues that impacted his language and cognitive functioning. Do I think my son is amazing and has wonderful gifts for the world? Yes! Would I want to "cure" him and take those gifts away? No. But, what is significantly impairing his ability to interact, love, feel and express emotion and connect with other souls in this world has got to go! I put that on notice years ago and no one can tell me a child filled with yeast, clostridia, inflammation, auto-immunity, untreated food intolerances, etc. wants to live that way! The child could hardly sleep, screamed most of the day and night, did not interact with us and certainly had to have a hard time learning with all of that going on. So, that had to stop. And I know many parents out there doing all the same stuff without as many gains. I am humbled by this journey. My son has taught me so much and although I wish he never had to go through this we are all healthier for it now.

And part of me wonders at whether his new school contributed to the gains we saw this time around. I believe that the way he is being taught now is the absolute BEST way for him (and every other child by the way, ASD or not! And he has phenomenal teachers. I have never seen him so open and receptive and each day is filled with sensory experiences and meaningful ways to use his body to help him learn. If you don't know about Waldorf inspired charter schools, you really should. Click HERE to learn more. It is a little bit of "What came first, the chicken or the egg?". I have seen him blossom and grow (literally as well as figuratively) before my eyes in the almost 6 months that we have been here. His desire to learn is there more than ever. The environment is loving yet has clear boundaries and all children (as I see it) are supported in the way that they need. I went into this meeting with no issues. And I know that if an issue arises, the teacher will seek me out. We decided that the plan will be set in place but really we will implement when HE needs it. What a novel concept huh?

Right now he is doing very, very well. And what else could I ask for?? I know the future is not certain, regression happens, puberty happens and we'll cross that bridge when it comes. But right now I have a happy, HEALTHY, vibrant young man who keeps me laughing each and every day. What a blessing to be called his mother. And tonight, after a very long, rough month for me and an even more not so great day, I walk in to kiss him goodnight. He is reading "Love you Forever" by Robert Munsch. It is a book I cannot read without crying. He is nearing the end, reading it by himself. He looks up at me just as the part of story goes where the son is singing that song to his elderly mother. He gets tears in HIS eyes. He says "This story makes me teary eyed Mom, can you read the rest?". But he continues on to read the last page, then looks up at me and says "I love you Mom".

Autism - 0, M - INFINITY!!!!!!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

GFCFSF Thin Mint style cookies

We made these little gems recently and all I can say is dang they were good. As I write this I think that I may even whip up another batch. I love the Nourishing Our Children site and that is where this recipe came from. You can find the original recipe on their site HERE.

But as usual I made some modifications to suit our family's needs so here goes:

½ Cup Coconut Oil Softened
1 Organic Egg
¼ Cup Coconut Nectar (SEE HERE)
3/4 Cup Coconut Flour (sifted)
1 teaspoon Non-Aluminum Baking Soda
¼ Cup Organic Cocoa or Cacao Powder
Several drops of organic Peppermint Essential Oil.

Blend together the softened butter and the coconut sugar with a hand held mixer. Add the egg and beat to make a soft batter. Mix in the flour in small increments. You want it to be soft and pliable. Mix in the cocoa powder until combined and add the peppermint essential oil. Roll the dough into a log and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice dough from the chilled log approximately ¼ thick and place the rounds on the parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 7 – 9 minutes. Let cool completely then freeze.

Take some Enjoy Life allergen free chocolate chips and melt them down. Take each frozen cookie and place on a fork. Spoon the melted chocolate over the cookie. Hold cookie over melted chocolate chips so the excess drips back into your pan/bowl. Place back on the parchment and allow to set. Using frozen cookies will help the chocolate set much faster. Store in the freezer, trust me they are even better frozen! You can see that we do deviate from the original recipe quite a bit in terms of sugar. We do not eat refined sugars on a regular basis, but these are more of a true cookie so the coating does have evaporated cane juice. We do lots of healthier cookies so I don't feel bad about doing this version once in a blue moon. Plus, if you are like us, the kids won't end up getting too many! ;)

Getting your hopes up, the Hirning Family story

We are thrilled to post that Julie Matthews has featured our story on the Nourishing Hope website. She is doing a whole series called "Getting your hopes us" so that families can hear the positives that come from dietary changes. I post our trials and tribulations here and all of my blog readers know my feelings on diet and its impact on health. But it is critical that parents of children with Autism/ADHD/etc understand that dietary changes do help many, many children and they are easy to begin on your own with just some guidance. And these changes impact the whole family. There is much hope to be had and parents need to be empowered and encouraged to try these things. So here is our story, courtesy of Nourishing Hope. Click HERE to read.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What diet are YOU?

One of my friends posted this article HERE on Facebook and it hit a nerve. Whether you are talking about diets for weight loss or any sort of diet for medical reasons, I feel like there is such pressure put on the question "What diet are you???". Within the Autism world there is the GFCF diet, SCD, GAPS, LOD, I could go on and on. And there are just as many weight loss diets around. The point is, nothing will work for everyone meaning we are all different and different bodies respond to different diets. And, just because you are following XYZ diet doesn't mean you can't deviate should your body need it. We should not be defined by the way we eat or what we do/don't eat. We should eat to nourish our body, no guilt trips, no competition, just what works for you.

The main point is HEALTH, or it should be. I had this discussion with the same person who posted this article. She happens to be a Beach Body coach. We were talking about healthy as opposed to thin. There are lots of shortcuts to thin. Most of them are filled with soy proteins, chemicals, artificial sweeteners, etc. Yes, there are shortcuts to losing weight, there are no shortcuts to health. That is indicative of all of the latest "hot" diet trends, many filled with convenient "bars" or shakes or prepackaged foods because we have gotten so busy that we can't even cook ourselves healthy meals anymore. The problem lies in their ingredients and the fact that high soy diets often lead to thyroid damage, read the recent Cheeseslave blog HERE that speaks to this. And when you hurt your thyroid you make it harder for your body to lose weight in the long run. And of course all of those prepackaged meals do not address the issue of eating in the real world.

And the same goes with the various diet options in the Autism realm. No single diet is going to fit every child. We've had lots of variations, we've made changes and adjustments as necessary. Our goal is the health of our children and sometimes you have to switch things up to accomplish that. It is a long road ahead, assuming you plan to continue to eat all of your life that is. So being flexible is the key. For us, we continue to be GFCFSF, no refined sugar, no preservative, and lately even more vegetarian options. The last one is new, since our move, and not even a conscious decision really. It has just been a migration of sorts that seems to be working and leaves us feeling really good after. Soaking nuts and grains is still a big part of our diet and we do still eat many raw recipes as well. And to be honest, much of our diet is (no pun intended) based on my gut feeling. We take bits and pieces and fit them together with what works for us. There is an intuitiveness to eating and cooking and I try and listen to that gut feeling. But whatever your path, your diet should reflect the level of health your are attempting to achieve.

And speaking of, coming soon, my modified recipe for a healthier "thin mint" cookie and a cornbread recipe that is out of this world!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

GFCFSF Chickpea "Chicken nuggets"

I posted a picture of these chickpea "nuggets" that I whipped up today and got a few requests for the recipe so here it is. I adapted it from THIS blog. I decided to leave out some things, add in others so here is MY rendition;

Wet ingredients
3 C cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained (I used canned chickpeas because I decided pretty last minute that I wanted to try this. I used 2 cans, rinsed them then cooked them in water on the stove until tender, about 30 mins)
4 T toasted sesame oil
Juice of 1 small lemon, or ½ of a medium or large lemon
1/2 of an onion, diced

Dry ingredients
1 C brown rice flour
2 tsp xanthan gum (you can use either chia or flax seed and water but I have heard they fall apart unless eaten really quickly. I made plenty for leftovers so I used Xantham gum)
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp rubbed sage
½-1 tsp smoked paprika, to taste
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp black pepper

Mash the chickpeas in a large mixing bowl. Add the oil and lemon juice. Mash again a couple of times to mix in the liquids. Chickpeas should be pretty mashed, some smooth, some still partly whole.

In a small bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together.

Add the dry ingredients into wet and stir until fully mixed. It may be crumbly at this point. Add some water until you get to a thick, almost bread dough consistency. It should be wet enough to mix well without crumbling but not soupy. I added the onions in at this stage (they were not in the original recipe but I think many things are better with onion!).

Form into little balls or patties and brown on each side in a cast iron skillet with a little coconut oil. Salt a little more once cooked.

I let the kids eat them with their fingers with a healthy (No MSG, HFCS, etc) ketchup to dip into. They loved them! Now if only they would eat their chard :/

I also see us making these with some mashed potatoes and gravy, YUM! So for a meat alternative, I think this one is a hit!

Dow and Monsanto

If you are watching what Monsanto is doing these days and care to get involved, here is a little issue you should check out. There is still time to weigh in with your opinion if you are so inclined. And if you haven't already figured out that Monsanto is bad for us and our food supply, you should check out the copious amounts of info on the subject. But for now, check out THIS blog.

Update Feb 2012

We just ran an IgG food allergy test and Organic Acid Test to look at what is going on after just a few months of Camel's milk. The IgG test was pretty amazing, he's gone from 5 "High" IgG foods to just 1. His Organic Acid Test showed some elevated yeast, bacteria and oxalates but I have a strong idea as to what is causing that and a game plan. But the most exciting part is that he is less reactive to the byproducts of these nasty little organisms! We used to have a completely goofy/silly/giggly child who would not sleep but would rather laugh in the middle of the night and whose name you had to call at least 50 times to get even some eye contact with yeast overgrowth. Bacteria brought a very short fuse, no patience and even aggression which was very uncharacteristic. That speaks of neurological and immune healing! And we did test both wheat and dairy (one isolated exposure to both) with no behavioral or gut reactions.

In my consult with Dr. Woeller to go over everything we both feel that at this point we are looking at child specific issues (i.e. personality emerging, his own traits) and less "Autism". I am hard pressed to find things to "work on" (unless someone has a supplement somewhere for back talk or sibling fighting???). That is a pretty cool place to be considering where we came from. I had grand hopes of integrated kindergarten, and yet even when I made that resolve to heal him by that point, there was that small spark of doubt within me that we could achieve that. And yet we made it. We struggled a little but had an amazing, wonderful, loving, caring teacher to help guide him through (and a loving class full of very accepting and helpful children!). We continued with the healing and things have just gotten better ever since! Now, does that mean we have zero issues? Of course not! We pull out the stops when we need to. I know when he needs his homeopathic remedy, I know when I need to add in some herbs for yeast, I know when he's growing and it throws his sensory system into utter chaos. And I know the future will bring its share of curve balls for us. And I don't even want to THINK about the hormones kicking in. But, it is nice to appreciate where we are, today, in this moment.

He will always face challenges from Autism, despite this thing called "recovery" and I totally get that. But, the fact that we have removed many, many roadblocks for him is incredible. This is a child with almost zero language who never slept and who would be content to spin Tupperware lids all day and who screamed bloody murder at even a quick trip to a grocery store due to sensory overload. I am so thankful for our team from doctors to therapists, teachers and just friends and family who support us through this. And more than anything I hope to share our story with others and impart some hope for recovery from this "incurable" disorder we call Autism. You have to try new things, you have to see what will work for your child. There is no magic bullet no matter what anyone says. Each child is unique and should be treated as such. And above all, never give up hope for improvement!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Homemade cough drops/throat losenges

Yes, it is that time of year....the dreaded bugs are circulating schools and homes. As we got hit with colds this week, I remembered this blog I stumbled across a while back. I knew I wanted to try and make this. My son woke on Wednesday complaining of a sore throat. So, I figured it was a good time to give this a try! So here they are, I am linking back to the original blog, and please look around. I found this blog when homeschooling through the Waldorf style. This blog had so many wonderful ideas and when I came across it yet again for these losenges, I knew I had to promote them even more! You can click HERE to find the recipe. I have to warn you though, your kids will not understand these are actually medicinal. They are yummy and I do find myself having to limit them or they would eat them all day. I love that there are no refined sugars in them like in most commercial losenges, and you can tailor them to your needs, adding or reducing whatever herbs you need to.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

GFCFSF Newton style cookies

This post is a long time coming as I first attempted it back in September. But hey, life has been a little hectic lately so here it is! I have to warn you, these make wonderful treats for lunches or after school but once you get your hands on one, YOU will be the one who needs to be told "Just 1 more!". I could seriously eat these all day. And with a few tweakings, you can make these very low on the glycemic index so they won't feed yeast like other cookies may.

In a food processor grind 2 cups almonds (preferrably soaked/dehydrated). Add in 2 cups potato starch, 4 tbsp coconut oil, 1/2 cup coconut nectar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt. ** Note - I usually add in all the dry ingredients and mix a few times to ensure that it is all evenly mixed before adding in the "sticky" stuff.

Combine until a dough forms and sticks together. Divide in half. Roll out between two pieces of parchment paper, make into a long rectangle. Spoon a layer of jam/jelly (for lower sugar content use a xylitol sweetened jam/jelly) leaving a border around the edges.

Fold the dough in half so you now have a long skinny rectangle. Gently pinch edges to seal. Square the edges. Using a sharp knife, cut into 12 cookies (or to your size preference). Cook in a 325 degree oven for 12 minutes (DO NOT OVER BAKE!!). Repeat with other half of the dough! Enjoy!!