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.