Thursday, October 10, 2013

Acetaminophen and Autism, ADHD and Asthma

Have you read Dr. Shaw's latest published paper "Evidence that Increased Acetaminophen use in GeneticallyVulnerable Children Appears to be a Major Cause of the Epidemics ofAutism, Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity, and Asthma" yet?

If not, please do and then share this info!! We need to bring more people's attention to the role that this commonly used drug may play for many individuals. He is also doing a webinar later this month. Click here for that link as well. 

This is important information that needs to be shared so that others can be educated about the choices they make for their families. I am constantly humbled by my ability to work in this field which is so near and dear to my heart. Not only do I get to grow my knowledge base daily and help others in Autism recovery but I get to work with the people on the forefront of this exciting new research and data. So please, help support Dr. Shaw's work and share this information far and wide! And, parents, please understand the side effects of this commonly used and seemingly benign medication. No medication is without side effects and when you read this data, you will see a far different side to Acetaminophen (Tylenol) than is portrayed.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Grain Free Coffee Cake

I've been asked for this recipe after sharing on FB that we make this pretty regularly and my family LOVES it! I love that it is sweetened with honey and is grain free. The moist consistency is amazeballs! But, it is NOT my own recipe, as a matter of fact, this is one of the few recipes that I follow exactly as written. So, I am going to just share the link of the original site where I got this. Go head on over to Oven Love and check it out!! The picture above IS mine! ;)

Enjoy and remember, don't recreate the wheel, use what's out there if you can!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

My Guest Blog on Nuture Parenting!

If you haven't read my guest blog on the Nurture Parenting website, I would encourage you to get on over there and read our experiences with a Waldorf inspired charter school! Let me know what you think!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Healthy Allergen Friendly Lunch Ideas for Back to School

School lunches....dun dun dun....nothing can strike fear in the hearts of mothers everywhere than those two words.

OK well seriously though, one of the things I LOVE about vacations and breaks is that I don't have to pack lunches!! Sometimes I feel stuck in a rut and of course, nutrition is of utmost concern. I can't just slide, I can't take the easy route. I just can't. And many of you can't either which is why having easy, batch items at the ready in your freezer is key. I'm going to share some with you now.

We've been transitioning to more of a paleo / SCD diet. Why? Well, as someone who has battled gut dysbiosis in my son, grains break down into sugars and feed the beasts. PERIOD. I am not here to tell you never to eat another grain but for us, this is a good idea most of the time. And if you are struggling with any blood sugar issues/diabetes, I would really encourage you to look into it. We eat LOTS of veggies, and no I do not consider corn or potato veggies, lol! But that is a talk for another time. Each lunch always includes veggies, their choice, sliced how they like them. Since tomorrow is a special day, they even got a fruit, lol. You may think that is weird but when you fight yeast, even healthy sugars from fruit can be the demon spawn. Pears do not feed yeast so they are a common fruit for us but even then we limit. So in the stainless container they have their veggies and their fruit. Then they have a paleo granola bar. You can get creative and adapt as you need to. Play around with the sweeteners. Coconut nectar, syrup or honey all work well, it just depends on what you are looking for (I do NOT use agave). You can even add a few allergen friendly chocolate chips for a real treat! I adapt the recipe here from Elana's Pantry. I use sunflower and pumpkin seeds as the base not almond. I add a TON of coconut and then some additional sunflower and pumpkin seeds. I always use coconut oil so more good healthy fats. I have also added hemp seeds, chia seeds, etc. in the past. Get creative, you know what your kids like. Double the batch and use a 9 x 13 pan, works like a charm. Bake them at the same time as your paleo muffins to save energy and time! Slice, transfer to a freezer safe dish, put wax paper between each layer and freeze for easy lunch packing!

 I have already blogged on the sandwich bread I made. It is a pretty common SCD bread with just eggs and squash, that's it. Works well with organic lunch meat or with nut or seed butters and either xylitol jelly/jam or honey! And it looks like a fast food hamburger bun which is pretty cool!

I also usually include some sort of paleo muffin, this time it is a coconut flour blueberry muffin. This recipe is also from Elana's Pantry, with just a few modifications. Once again I do not use any agave but instead use coconut sugar. Works just fine! Double the batch and they freeze really well. And, by the time lunch comes they are nicely thawed and ready to eat, or pull out to pack the night before.

Other lunch options:

Quinoa (soaked overnight of course before cooking) and black beans
Rice (same thing as above) and beans
Paleo lasagna
Hummus with homemade seed crackers or flax crackers and veggies to dip
GF pasta with mixed veggies with olive oil
Leftovers from the night before!

I don't recreate the wheel! I can't think up new recipes everyday and work and take care of my children, husband and house! We need to use the resources out there. Elana's Pantry is great, Real Sustenance is another amazing website. Google then adapt. Don't get discouraged because you can't use one of their ingredients, think of a sub and give it a shot. But use what is already out there if you need to! Pancakes are another way to make a "bread". If your child is on a special diet and you cannot find a good bread, make a pancake (I cut the sugar completely when I do this) and use it! Great shape, usually holds up pretty well, just make a plain pancake. Then freeze with wax paper between each "slice". On the weekends I usually make a double batch of pancakes so I always have some in the freezer too! Plan ahead, making double does not take twice as long and usually ends up saving you time in the long run, especially when talking about muffins. And muffins can be a wonderful form of food that your child will eat and you can add all sorts of nutrition!

Here's to a wonderful first day of school and happy, healthy, well nourished children!!

USAAA Conference Recap

Last weekend I spent working at the USAAA Conference in Salt Lake City on behalf of New Beginnings Nutritionals. That is what I do, attend conferences and talk to parents about Autism recovery and specifically supplements, which were instrumental in my son's improvement. Each time I am brought to tears. Newly diagnosed parents, parents who have never heard of supplements or biomed, parents desperate to help their children (some already adults!). Hearing the stories, either understanding because I have "been there" with that particular issue - regression due to vaccines, destructive, self-injurious behaviors, no pain sensation, food cravings due to gut dysbiosis - or maybe it is hearing their story which is very different than mine, they hit home. This time I got to meet many adults with Autism and it was incredible! I love getting a look into their opinions, ideas and the way they see life. I even got to hear Dr. Temple Grandin speak, meet her and speak with her personally. Talk about an amazing opportunity!!! It was just so crazy. Her keynote speech is one I will not soon forget. She focused a lot on basic skills (that quite frankly as a whole our society is NOT teaching even neurotypical children which is awful!) like shaking a person's hand when meeting them, saying hello, please and thank you. She also spoke about little tips and tricks to help them learn. Like did you know that writing on pastel or lightly colored paper can be easier for children with Autism? She covered things like cooking to help learn math and fractions. They need hands on learning many times. They cannot stand fluorescent lighting. She had some pearls of wisdom:

"Boys who cry keep their jobs, boys that get angry go to jail" - true and a good thing to learn early! We can have our emotions but the way we express them is important.

"Most of Silicon Valley is on the spectrum!" - I have often thought that myself, how else could we have achieved so much brilliance and advanced technology?? ;)

She talked of building on these kids' strengths and those strengths begin to emerge around 3rd and 4th grades. She thinks with "movies in her head" and has a hard time with generalized thinking. She thinks in specifics using the items she has seen personally for reference. She has trouble in math - my son can relate. She says that many times visual processing is an issue and to ask children if the letters jiggle on the page - my son said his did not.

Of course she covered sensory issues, of which my son has struggled with and continues to do so to a point today. He is also an auditory thinker. She made a cute statement "How can I think if my lips don't move". I do think my son feels that same way. She emphasized increasing social interactions through shared interests like Boy Scouts / Girl Scouts, 4-H, school clubs. She spoke about the job shortages in skilled trades and in computers/electrical engineers as potential careers. Beyond it all, she was in absolute inspiration to hear, see and meet! She has accomplished so much in her life and has never let Autism stand in the way of achieving. It is what all parents of a child with Autism wish for their child. A life filled with their passions realized and happy with who they are.

Then on Sunday I got to present a session with Julie Matthews on how to get supplements into your child using fun and creative ways! Our talk was not on problem feeders and we made it clear that hiding supplements in foods is NOT a good idea! But, if your child KNOWS they need the supplements, knows you are giving them but you are looking for more palatable ways to get them in, then this class was for you! What a great time we had, showing parents they can make supplement taking fun and yummy too! We talked a lot about the power of nutrition, how diet is truly your foundation and then the supplements "fill in the gaps". We even covered some supplements that treat specific things. We gave a demonstration on making a nutrition filled smoothie with the Spectrum Mate multi-vitamin/multi-mineral. It was a hit! It was an incredible time helping families begin to understand the power of HOPE and healing that can come when you embark on biomed! It was an exhausting weekend and now right back into the swing of things since tomorrow is the first day of school for my children. I hope your summer has been one to remember, and in the good way! ;)

Monday, August 12, 2013

A one two punch for allergy control

So thanks to the wonderful monsoonal moisture we've been having in northern AZ everything is blooming! Add to that some much needed yard work on our property as a result and my allergies are going crazy! Since moving here I know I am particularly reactive to the tumbleweed which I have never had to deal with before. But even still, I am not one to usually struggle with allergies.

As I have written about before, allergies are important to control especially for your child with Autism who may battle yeast overgrowth. If you need a refresher on that, here is that past blog. I regularly start using New Beginnings Nutritionals' A & I Formula for my son in his morning supplements when allergy season begins. It is a pre-emptive attempt to keep the immune response at bay. Then today I read this article that talks about mast cell activation and mitochondrial dysfunction in relation to pollen exposure. Clearly allergies are something that need to be addressed when the barrage of pollen begins.

So the other day after some time weeding in the garden plus the normal exposure plus the fact that we have acres (and are surrounded by additional acres) of pines, tumbleweeds, native grasses, other weeds and flowers, my allergies were going crazy! I had it all, itchy eyes to the point where I wished I could scratch them right out of their sockets, itchy throat, runny nose and sneezing. I was a mess! That night I took 2 A & I capsules (they also come in chewables) and then 2 of our new Curcumin/Quercetin capsules. Wow! The next morning I woke without the itchy throat and eyes and no sneezing! I was pretty blown away. I had been meaning to try the new Curcumin/Quercetin but to be honest I had been just giving it to my son. Us moms are like that, not taking something we really need to save money so they can have it! But you need to take care of yourself too! You can't care for your family effectively when you are under the weather. The blend is so helpful when it comes to inflammation in general but when you add in the quercetin you also get that respiratory/allergy support as well!

So there you have it, if you have someone who really battles with allergies, I highly recommend trying these supplements. And if you do, please share your experiences!

Monday, August 5, 2013

USAAA Conference in Salt Lake City Utah

I'm just about bursting with excitement! I have been asked to speak with my friend and mentor Julie Matthews at the upcoming US Autism and Asperger Association (USAAA) conference in Salt Lake City Utah on August 18th! We will be covering the topic of getting supplements into your child through the incorporation of food. Now, this is not to confuse the issue of feeding problems, which can be very problematic in Autism Spectrum Disorders! This is not about that and we would never advocate hiding supplements in foods as that can cause worsening of picky eating/problem feeding, lead to loss of trust with your child, and make a bad situation worse! But, if you have a child who knows they need supplements and you are looking for a way to incorporate them into foods/beverages to make them go down easier, then this is for you!!

Our session is called Nutrition Workshop: Supplements, Kids, and Fun with your Blender and it runs from 9:00 am - 10:00 am Sunday, August 18th.

You can read my speaker bio here.

I will also be at the New Beginnings Nutritionals booth during all exhibit hours. If you are attending this conference, please stop by so I can meet you in person!

I cannot say what an honor it is to be asked to speak and share tips on getting supplements into children at a conference of this magnitude. I will admit that I am more than a little nervous. The funny thing about this journey of Autism recovery, I would never have chosen this but I feel extremely fulfilled and purpose driven. I wish my son did not have to go through what he has. But through his journey of recovery, and all I have learned as a result of healing him, has given my life so much more purpose and the ability to help others in a way I have never could have dreamed. I have learned you always have to look at the bright side and if there is a bright side to Autism, this is it! I am blessed to utilize what I have learned over the years and be able to work in this field sharing what I know with others to help their children. I wake up each day loving what I do and feeling so honored to help others in their Autism recovery journey.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, SCD Legal, Paleo, Grain Free Buns/Bread

Ok this is seriously the easiest bread in the whole world! It even looks like a fast food burger bun. It tastes good, holds up well, freezes well, it is like the holy grail. And, it could not get any easier with just 3 simple ingredients.

We've used this with hamburgers and sandwiches both with all the fixings. They held up both times.

So here goes:

6 eggs separated
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup pureed squash

Whip the egg whites and salt until you have fluffy peaks. Blend the egg yolks and squash together. Once the whites are nice and whipped, gently fold in the squash and yolks. I drizzled the squash/yolk mixture from the blender into my whites while gently folding so that I kept the fluff and didn't have too much of the squash go to the bottom. This is what it should look like:

Drop by 1/4 cup fulls onto a pan lined with parchment. Here is our "buns".

 I also decided to try some hot dog buns.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes. Here's what they look like all done.

Viola! Now go enjoy that sandwich!!

Credit goes to various SCD websites, this is NOT my original recipe!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Adrenal Support and Autism

As I was writing a blog post for Integrative Medicine for Mental Health (IMMH) which can be read here, it set off bells in my own head. While I have been taking AdrenalEssence for my own adrenals, I have not been giving it to my son. As an Autism parent, I have faced chronic sleep deprivation, heightened stress response, almost constant "flight or fight", etc. I know that my adrenals need a little love and attention but when I read the article that I posted in the IMMH blog, it clicked that my son probably needs adrenal support as well!

As we've progressed in our Autism recovery, anxiety is still one of the things that remains. GABA, Theanine and Inositol are daily supplements along with others for mito support, methylation support, inflammation, etc. But still the anxiety persists, just not at a level where it used to be. So, could adding in some adrenal support help? With all of HIS stress and anyone who knows and loves a child with Autism can attest, just feel their heart when they are in meltdown mode, I am sure his stress hormones are overactive and then there is the data discussing the role of gut dysbiosis (like clostridia) with receptors and neurotransmitters.

I decided to start giving him one capsule of AdrenalEssence. As I gave it to him at lunch he said "Will this help with my anxiety?". What?!?!? Are you even kidding me????? My son astounds me with his intuition. He is used to me giving him all sorts of things and we usually talk about it but this time I just told him it was an adrenal support. HE came up with the anxiety connection all on his own. And most times, we don't talk about managing his anxiety, healing his gut is commonly cited as for why he must take something. This kid amazes me, he really does. So, we are just on day 3 of adrenal support but I will keep blogging on it.

Also next up I will be doing a series on eating healthy wherever you are. As we face a crisis with obesity in this country, I have spent a lot of time wondering why. And a large part of me thinks it has to do with education and using what you have available. I know in some parts of the country, specialty and health food stores just don't exist or are scarce. So, I am going to be hitting up everyday stores like Wal-Mart and showing people healthier choices with what you have to work with. I will be highlighting what to avoid (sometimes THAT is more important that what to choose!) and why. So stay tuned and check back. We will be going on vacation so I will have the opportunity to work with this personally! There ARE healthy choices, hint fresh veggies (avoid ALL CORN unless organic), fruit and meats. Organic is best but sometimes you have to go with what is available. So we will cover what to avoid and what options ARE out there for EVERYONE.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Autism Recovery with Gluten and Dairy Free Diet

More research is confirming what many parents already know, that wheat (gluten) and dairy can really mess a child (or anybody) up. And low and behold, that when you remove these foods, many of the signs and symptoms of Autism can get better or even go away entirely. Autism parents have had to think outside of the box if they wanted to help their children get better. And I mean really get better, not just "therapized". Autism for my son was related to inflammation, auto-immunity, gut dysbiosis and food intolerances. Address these biomedical underlying issues and look at that, he got better. It really is not rocket science and yet so many physicians out there are missing the boat or worse steering parents away from some of these effective treatment options.

But, we are seeing science catch up. Many sit back and say "Duh, we knew that years ago". Yes, I agree but to see this in mainstream media is exciting. The more attention we can give to this topic then the more we can further move our cause.

So here is a recent news article featuring a child's recovery from Autism. Hurray! Let's get even more kids on the news, share even more stories of recovery. And if anyone wants to debate the "health" of gluten or dairy, just have then search NIH dbases. The scientific evidence is mounting that these things do not "do a body good" and are doing greater harm when it comes to auto-immune disorders (allergies, eczema, asthma, etc.). But in the meantime, keep sharing your stories, keep celebrating the progress of recovery and if you are new to Autism recovery, KEEP HOPING AND MOVING FORWARD!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

World Autism Awareness Day

Before biomed and recovery. This was the best I could get all the while calling his name repeatedly to get him to look at me.
After biomed and recovery - This photo courtesy of Arne Kaiser, my son's wonderful teacher. This was taken at school.
Oh goody, World Autism Awareness Day. If you are an Autism parent I'm pretty sure you are very aware already. So who is supposed to be aware? Would I have listened before I had a child with Autism? Probably not. I would not have made any of the changes in my life that would make having a child with Autism less likely. That includes what can be done prenatally or how we feed our children once they are born, the toxic onslaught from day 1 of life starting with a vaccine to prevent STD's (which is so freaking ridiculous I still don't know how they get away with it), or what toxins they come into contact with in their lives. We need World Autism RECOVERY Awareness Day. I'm sorry to say with recent numbers coming out that 1 in 50 children have or will have Autism (and that puts rates for boys in the 1 in 38 range) more and more mothers will join our club. The club nobody really wants to be in, sorry but true. It is a hard road and often you are criticized for your parenting, your "extreme" dietary choices, your aversion to the toxic shit other people are ok with pumping into their childrens' growing bodies and even your views on avoiding the very things you know caused your child's Autism. Heaven forbid you expose "the herd" to something like a flu bug. Yes, cynicism often runs deep. We've been told we are stupid, don't know what we are talking about, just trust us we're the Drs. Except many of us have had to find a workaround and find "alternative" practitioners or do it ourselves to heal our children. There are good Drs. out there but they often get persecuted too. No one seems to give a rats ass about helping our kids, they just want you to keep with the status quo. Our world is more toxic than it EVER HAS BEEN. There HAVE been twin studies on the fact that there is a HUGE environmental piece to Autism. If there wasn't, my son could not have recovered to the point where he is today. PERIOD. It is not all genetic, in fact it is more epigenetic in nature. We are changing our DNA with our toxic world. There you have it. Listen up because with number the way they are, someone close to you is going to need info on Autism recovery in the near future.

So shall we all "Light it up Blue?". I won't say how I really feel but I will say "SCREW THE BLUE!". As a newly diagnosed parent I "walked" for Autism Speaks. I raised a lot of money. And then I found out the money primarily goes to the big wigs' salaries (6 figures!) and marketing/PR. Yes, do we need the word out? Yes, do we need activism? But I'm sorry, we need HELP! We need grants for supplements, Dr. visits to people who know how to successfully treat Autism, we need help paying for therapy, WE.NEED.RESPITE!!!!! If you are considering donating (and I thank you if you are) please look at organizations like TACA (local chapters in many states), NAA or local Autism support groups that give to the families, not spend money on genetic research and pay their top dogs hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. The info is out there, look into how they spend their money. You will be astounded. And maybe like me you make even feel a little bit taken. If you want to do real research, look at the effects of toxins in our world. Look at what supplements HAVE been helping our kids. Look at the recovered children, find out what they did and study that.

We are not alone thankfully. More and more parents are educating themselves on what they can do to help their child. We are not helpless victims to a purely genetic condition. Autism CAN be treated, recovery CAN happen. Don't be overwhelmed, be EMPOWERED!!! Parents have a huge responsibility here but with that is great control. You can help your child. It is not easy, it is not cheap, but it is possible. You will meet a lot of haters but you will also meet the strongest parents. Parents who will spend their night hours (even though many times we are exhausted ourselves) emailing you back about test results, supplement recommendations, therapy options, how to navigate your state services, IEP help, etc. We spend our very limited free time helping others because we are a family. My online group of Autism parents is one I am constantly humbled by. They are courageous, knowledgeable and we at our core, just want success for YOUR child as much as we want it for our own. I cannot tell you the tears I have shed over an accomplishment after a recommendation I gave worked for someone else's child. Or the tears I've shed when a dedicated parent HAS done everything and yet little to no response that time. We have to stick together because we've been hung out to dry by our government and society. They want to cover up the real causes of Autism because they line the pockets of those who are tasked with regulating them. So until that changes we have to stick together, share what works, encourage each other.

So, plenty of us are Autism "aware". We need Autism empowerment. You only become aware when you are thrown into our club. But I must say that now that I'm here, I'm in very good company. You want stuff changed, you want research done, you want out side of the box thinkers, then go find yourself an Autism mom, especially a hard core biomed mom!! She can probably spout the methylation cycles, talk to you about the MTHFR gene mutation all while making some kick ass GFCFSF paleo pancakes and a green smoothie chaser. She can probably look at your skin and tell you that you need some liver support and ask you about your poop. Forget Cher, after the apocalypse I can guarantee you us Autism moms will be around! Hey, we know how to detox just about anything! ;)

So while the hype is out there to "Light it up Blue" just realize that Autism is very real. And until we make some serious changes, it is coming soon to a child near you.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bye bye clostridia!

Over the past almost 5 years (I can't believe it!) that we've been delving into Autism recovery yeast and clostridia have been our unwanted companions. We've tried many, many things. Some helped, some didn't. Some made things worse. That's what you get in Autism recovery (or ANY biomedical protocol) trial and error. There is no clear cut road map which can be frustrating but it can also take you places you never thought you would go. One such road led to our recent success.

Camel's milk has been very helpful for my son in terms of his immune system healing. And through that connection I learned about a probiotic called Body Biotics. I read the personal experiences in the Facebook group, read documents online, heard from the owner of the company. I was still skeptical (as I usually am). But, I read blog account from other moms about clostridia and yeast levels. So, we took the plunge. It is a heavy boogie regime. You give the probiotics several times per day, 20 minutes prior to meals. You start slowly of course.

Our numbers were bad.....I cringe whenever I sit in on a talk by Dr. Shaw or other leaders in this biomed world talk about clostridia and what those high levels do to the brain on a constant basis. Reference range is 220, over the summer my son's levels were 1800. Yes, 1800. We saw explosive behaviors, aggression, fly off the handle type stuff. It is not pleasant. He is grouchy and everything bothers him. I feel it from both ends, who wants to feel like that and who wants to deal with a child who acts like that? So, after 2 (yes 2) rounds of heavy antibiotics (which I HATE) we had levels in the 700's.....still. UGH!!!! Researcher mom kicked in again.

Which brings me to Body Biotics. We ordered them and anxiously awaited their arrival. We started the product on a Friday. Wow! Immediate response, not in a good way. We had major meltdowns, sensory overload, etc. I knew this was a good sign but still, it is always hard to handle for everyone involved. As we progressed on, we upped the dose.

Here we are about 3 months in. I just received his most recent organic acid test from Great Plains Labs and his clostrdia levels???? Drum roll please............................74!

74? I don't think I have EVER seen his levels so low. I am amazed. Really. So there you have it, our own experiences on this stuff. It does have Lactobacillus Casei (and as with everything else) so do your own research on whether you want to use it for your child. It worked for us!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Never a dull moment.

So last night we got word that today would be a snow day (HURRAY!!). No alarms to be set, no morning rush to get up and out the door. But of course, in the world of Autism and Autism recovery, there really is no such thing as a day off. So, although the alarm didn't wake me, the subtle sounds of footsteps did. You see we had planned to do an updated Organic Acid Test (OAT) from Great Plains Laboratory to see what is going on and if what we are doing is helping the clostridia. And when you do an OAT you have to avoid certain foods for at least 24 hours. One of those foods is anything pear. Well, the one juice we like is an organic pear juice to use to mix his morning and evening supplements. Pear juice is said to not feed yeast and it is a great mask for the plethora of supplements he has to take twice a day. He is a trooper for his supplements in general but to have to take them with just water for 24 hours prior to a test, yeah he deserves some sort of a medal or honor of some sort. So, whenever possible we like to get the testing over and done with quickly and efficiently. It has to be a morning urine sample. I thought about locking the kids' bathroom door so they he'd HAVE to come to our room to go. But I didn't. So, I heard the telltale pitter patters down the hall. I jumped out of bed half asleep running towards their rooms asking "Did you pee yet?!?!?". I know, the makings of lots of therapy in the future for them. So luckily we got the sample and off it goes to Kansas. Hopefully soon we will see the effects of tackling clostridia yet again. Just another day in the life.....

Friday, February 1, 2013

Natural treatments for ear infections

Well as a happy 7th birthday to my daughter, she began to develop her very first ear infection post last week's cold. Wednesday night she ended up being up almost all night with a "headache". I assumed it was nasal congestion and mucous from the recent cold. The next morning we started to bump up her normal supplements and even added some additional to kick what I thought was the tail end of her cold. I gave her some A & I chewables, D3 of course, garlic, and chewable C. Her complaints of her "headache" persisted through Thursday. After being up all night I decided to take her to school late and let her sleep in. That didn't last and not long after she showed up on the kindergarten playground where I was working.  Home she went. She was in tears that night. Hmmmm. Something wasn't right, nor was she sleeping through the night which was incredibly rare for her.

So come Friday morning and I am once again asking her about her headache. I finally ask her to show me where it hurts. She points to the side of her head above her ear. And she says it is hard to hear out of that ear (the one she normally sleeps on). The lightbulb went on, EAR INFECTION. My children rarely have ear infections. It is not something I'm all that familiar with in anything other than theory. My son only has had one ear infection, when he was 4. I know they can be quite common in children with Autism but that was not one of our issues. My daughter has never had one. So, garlic drops in the ear, later in the day I did some other ear drops with both garlic and mullein. We did all of our normal supplements plus a few more. I also picked up some Ibuactin (all natural pain reliever) and a homeopathic ear/sinus remedy. So when I got home from work I had a plan! She was once again in tears. The Ibuactin went right to work. Then some ear oil with a warm heating pad. I also gave her a few drops of Oil of Oregano. Within an hour she went from laying on the couch to being up and active. After dinner we did the ear oil again. I also did a topical rub of eucalyptus essential oil down the path of the ear tubes behind and under her ear and down her neck. I followed that up with tea tree. I also did the other ear for balance. Then we started the "cold sock" process by soaking her feet in warm water first. By bedtime her headache was finally gone! It had been a constant (unwanted) companion since Wed night. Hallelujah! She also got her probiotic before bed. So, we shall see how the cold sock treatment goes. While I have known about this, I've never really been at a point to use this. This is about the longest illness she's had. But likely it will be her only time really sick for the next year.

We've found that our kids don't get really sick for very long or often. I'd like to think it is a reflection of their diet and the attention we pay to nurturing their immune system on a daily basis. But it is also good to remember that an immune system is a lot like a muscle, it cannot get stronger without giving it a workout. We have to fight bugs because that is what we are meant to do. But we are meant to fight them and move on, stronger than before. We may have a sniffle or a few days of a cold and then not much more. This has been our worst illness and really her cold last week was mainly fever and lethargy and the only reason she was out of school as long as she was is because I abide by the school  rule of being fever free for 24 hours before returning. And since I've been working with kindergarteners, I appreciate the wisdom behind that so much more, the amount of illness that tears through a school is quite astounding! ;) Otherwise she would have been back sooner.

So we shall see how effective all of this is on her ear infection, I will update my blog with the results! I hope you all are staying healthy during cold and flu season this year!


Saturday morning update: She got her first FULL night of sleep since Tuesday night. She woke with a slight headache, only slight ear pain but no issue with hearing out of that ear. She is now writing her bday thank you notes and making Valentine's Day crafts. We will do the wet sock treatment for 2 more nights as per the recommendations. And, this morning we kept up with the D3, Oil of Oregano, A & I, C, Ibuactin and will do the ear drops/heat and essential oils on the outside of the ear for good measure. But, it sure looks like she is well on her way to recovery!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fever - to be feared or revered?

The topic of fever can be a touchy one. You know those parents who automatically grab for the Tylenol or Motrin at the slightest hint of fever? Yeah, I kinda was that parent. But then quite honestly Autism changed that. Just as Autism changed my outlook on health and wellness in general. I no longer grab for a fever reducer, it has been years since either of my children have had them. Fevers should be respected and treated only when necessary in my opinion. And my children have no history of seizures so let's get that on the table. There are circumstances where treating a fever is appropriate but for most of us, the best course is to let it do its job. That's right, fever is a defense mechanism to make the host (your child) less hospitable to a bug. It is one of the earliest defenses until the immune system is fully developed. And really the number on the thermometer is less of a worry (or should be) when in reality it is how fast the fever gets from zero to 60 that is the issue. Fast rising fevers are typically the ones that cause concern. I just recently posted this article on the New Beginnings Facebook page.

Our school is seeing kiddos dropping like flies (like most around the country I am sure). In our school we are seeing headache, sore throat and fever. So when my daughter was less than her normal energetic self yesterday I knew something was up. She just wanted to lay on the couch. All day. She even napped a couple of times. When I took her temp out of curiosity, sure enough it was elevated. Good. Her body is doing what it needs to. A few doses of elderberry, extra D3, a few drops of garlic, a few chewable vitamin C's, a couple of homemade cough drops that I blogged about last year (click here for that blog) and some rest was on tap. She had just a slight cough but every time I asked her she said she felt fine. I vary my treatment options based on what's going on and frankly my intuition. If you watch your child and understand how the body responds to illness you can figure out the best treatment. So what I did above is what I needed for THIS round.

When she woke up this morning she had just a slight sore throat. A day home from school and more rest is on tap. My son also woke with a slight fever but nothing more (he was a tad grouchy and out of it this weekend which could have been my cue something was brewing). Both fevers have dropped already so as long as they don't spike again today they will be 24 hour fever free and will go back to school tomorrow. More immune boosting treatment like elderberry tea with some cherry bark for throat support, supplements and homemade soup will carry us through today. I will probably pull out the essential oils like black cumin (add to their tea) and put some thyme oil topically on their throat as a rub and do some internal cajeput for any sore throat issues and then we'll go from there. I believe that the body does have the capability to heal, give it some support, don't shut it down with synthetic drugs that actually block healing and just suppress symptoms, nourish it with good, healthy foods and make sure rest and water is in abundance. We CAN get through cold and flu season calmly, without the fear and hype and with minimal pain and suffering! ;) Be well!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The road of recovery

This afternoon my son was in his room "kicking his ball around". This is one of those solitary things he likes to do to decompress. Well, I heard him doing some verbal stims. He loves all things truck. He likes to make diesel truck sounds sometimes, typically when we are dealing with yeast. I called to him and said he needed to stop. He came to me and was upset about that. He said that one day he wants a diesel truck, he likes to pretend that he has one now and if he made these sounds at school people may make fun of him. I pulled him onto my lap and we talked. Yes indeed, people may make fun of him because sometimes people make fun of behaviors they don't understand. I asked him if he did that at school. He quickly said he does not do that at school. Home needs to be his soft place to land. I told him that he was safe at home, no one would make fun of him here and he can do what he needs to do.

So does Autism recovery mean no stims? Nope, not always. Does recovery mean no more supplements or diet? Nope, not here. But our recovery includes a child who understands his brain works differently and he needs an outlet that may mean some teasing. So he realizes that and only does it at home. Wow. How far he's come. His ability to understand that whole concept and to be able to tell me about it is huge and a testament to his recovery.

Recovery takes time and is as individual as each child. There is no finish line. I see it as a continual work in progress. And each step should be celebrated!

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Vegan Chickpea Pot Pie

 I love pot pies, I really do. And it has been a while since I have had one. I got the idea for a vegan version using chickpeas since they do really sub well (see my older post on chickpea nuggets here) for chicken in various forms. So let's start with the crust. I did use grains for this version and look for a paleo version coming soon.

3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup coconut oil
1 cup of nut milk or water - added by the tablespoon, mixing well after each tablespoon

Start by greasing a 9 inch pie plate. Mix your dry ingredients together. Cut in the coconut oil (you will have chunks, that is OK). Once it is crumbly then begin mixing in the milk/water. I used coconut milk but you can use whatever nut milk you want or even water. Add one tablespoon at a time until the dough sticks together and can be rolled out. Divide the dough in half, roll out. Put the first crust in the bottom of the pie plate. Save the other for the top.

3 tbsp coconut oil
6 tbsp rice flour
4 cups water
2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups veggies (use what your family likes, I chose organic corn and organic green beans)
2 cups chickpeas soaked

Start a roux by melting the coconut oil in a pan (I used my cast iron). Sprinkle in the rice flour and mix until absorbed and crumbly. I planned poorly and did not pull my stock from the freezer so I just used water. If you use your stock then you may want to adjust your seasonings to compensate. You don't want it overly salty. Add in the water and whisk. Remove from heat when thick and bubbly.

Now, I was using frozen veggies so I threw them into the hot, bubbly gravy to thaw. Then I added the chickpeas. Once again, I did not pre-plan this meal so instead of using dried chickpeas that I soaked I used canned. If you use canned, make sure you drain and rinse them. And one can was perfect for this recipe.

Pour everything into the crust. Lay the top crust on top, cut slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Pinch the top and bottom crusts together. Don't judge mine, I was in a hurry, lol. Bake for 10 mins at 400 degrees then reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 40 mins. There was nothing left, no left overs to saver, I felt like the dad on Christmas Story with the turkey. I had hoped for something the next day. This was so good it was gobbled right up. Next time I will make two.

Like I said, a grain free version is next on my list but if you want a hearty, flexible meal without meat (or with, you could just add in the 2 cups chicken instead), this one is for you. And if you do make it, please leave me a comment with how it turned out and whether it was a hit at your house too!

Zinc Deficiency and Autism?

Could zinc play a role in Autism? THIS article from Psychology Today suggests that this be another area studied. I know from experience how prevalent zinc deficiency can be. While working a conference for New Beginnings we would often do our zinc challenge. You have a solution with zinc and a little water. The person takes it into their mouths and usually you can tell instantly if they are adequate on their zinc. The taste is pretty bad, very metallic/sour and it can be hard to get that taste out of your mouth. Those we are zinc deficient however have no such reaction and remark that it tastes just like water. I can tell you from a quick counting standpoint, there were more who thought it tasted like water than those who tasted the zinc. And this was adults, not children. When I give my son his liquid ionic zinc from New Beginnings he also reports no taste.

As the article states, zinc is incredibly important to many functions, including immune function. So why couldn't it be involved in some way with Autism. The story has yet to fully unravel and yet for every individual impacted by Autism there will be unique circumstances to look at. But, looking at a zinc supplement (or making sure your child's multi-vitamin/multi-mineral has adequate zinc levels) can be a wise move in many cases.

Psychology Today
Evolutionary Psychiatry

The hunt for evolutionary solutions to contemporary mental health problems.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Gluten free, dairy free, soy free chocolate crinkle cookies

Well, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Season's Greetings and all that fine stuff. We are rolling into the new year and I am way behind on blogging. So, although the holidays are over, these cookies are great for just about any time you want a cookie. They taste like little mini chocolate cakes, who doesn't love that?!? They should be eaten within a few days of baking (they get hard over time) and they are best right from the oven.

I adapted this recipe from the Betty Crocker's Cookie Book a few years ago. I can't believe I haven't blogged this before.

1/2 cup coconut oil
4 oz unsweetened chocolate (each ounce consists of 1 tbsp melted coconut oil mixed with 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder)
2 cups crystallized coconut sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups gluten free flour blend
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Powdered sugar for rolling cookies in

Mix oil, chocolate and sugar together in a mixer. Add one egg at a time until each is thoroughly mixed. Add vanilla. Add in flour, baking powder and salt into mixture. Chill overnight. Heat oven to 350 degrees, roll by the teaspoonful into balls. Drop into a small bowl with powdered sugar, roll to coat, place on baking sheet with parchment. Place about 2" apart and bake 10 - 12 minutes. Do not over bake. Makes about 6 dozen.