Sunday, November 24, 2013

Autism Spectrum Disorder and Our Way of Life

smiling boy in red shirt
We can do better for our children
We’ve all heard the new statistics about autism. 

One in 50 now, and there are no signs of 
improvement on the horizon. But there are things we can do, more than staying away from vaccines. Is it just vaccines that have caused this problem? No, I have to say emphatically, no.
graph showing rise in number if ASD cases
Let me explain why I say this. Our bodies are made up of organisms and systems and cells and chemicals that all must find a way to work together to be healthy. Up until a few decades ago, this wasn’t a big deal. But life gets in the way, sometimes. Think about the last thing you did that you shouldn’t have. Yes, that’s the one. Now think about how your parents or grandparents dealt with that thing you shouldn’t have done. 

toxic smoke stacksWhat was the straw that broke the camel’s back? With all the puzzle pieces, maybe it will make sense. Maybe you can see the big picture. If your child has ASD, it may be that it was that last straw that caused him to stop communicating. Maybe it was the vaccine, maybe it was the food, the chemicals, the air, the plastics, the mercury in the fish you ate. These are things with which you and your children should not have to deal. But our lifestyles are not the idyllic picture we like to imagine. What caused that last straw? Can you identify it? 

DO NOT EAT fast foodWas it fast food? Grandparents didn’t have that option, or at least not in the way we got it. It’s ubiquitous now, and not just one or two places – you can find 5 or 6 places on the same 4 block area, and even in hospitals (CHILDREN’S HOSPITALS!) you will find fast food outlets. How many calories, sugar, and hydrogenated oils in that fancy coffee? Cut it out. Now. Don’t feed it to your kids. They will thank you. How many generations does it take to get sick? Two or three, if you’re eating poorly. How long to get better? Seven generations. OK, that was for cats, but you get the idea. It is a lot easier to eat well and stay well than burden your offspring. They’re supposed to be around to care for us!

young girl sleepingWas it poor sleep? Um hm. I see. Just wanted to finish that movie, or that book, or checking Facebook one more time. Watching that last YouTube video, because that dog was just too cute and you had to share! Or maybe you’re bringing work home from the office, or sewing the button on that shirt that lost one. But when you miss sleep, you have other ways you’re affected that you might not be seeing. For instance, what happens when you wake up tired? Yeah, the cup of coffee at 3pm that you shouldn’t have had that will keep you up late again. Or the candy bar you ate to get you through that meeting. People that scrimp on sleep end up gaining weight. Moms that have kids know that one. Sure, kids need sleep to grow, to keep their bones healthy, to keep their immune systems in good shape. If you don’t ensure they have enough sleep, you may have a piece of the puzzle. 

spoon in sugar bowlWas it having that last drink? So there are good things and bad things about alcohol. One of the bad things is that it turns into sugar in the body. The bad kind of sugar. When you have sugar in your body, you grow yeast. When you have yeast in your body, it craves sugar. You see the problem. Don’t do it too often. It’s not just alcohol. Sugar consumed by college students depressed their immune systems for 4 hours after they ate it. If there’s a bug going around, do you really want to be eating sugar? And sugary cough drops when you’re sick? No, don’t think so! So keep that sugar away, especially from your kids. No, it’s not a special treat when they eat it. It’s bad for them, and we need to stop thinking of sugar as a reward. Maybe this is another piece of the puzzle. 

Was it eating poorly? Processed food or restaurant, our food choices are getting us into more trouble than we can handle. I see people every day that can’t handle wheat anymore. It’s so common, I’m surprised there is bread on the shelves at grocery stores anymore. cabbage salad chicken onions eggplant for dinnerI am not surprised when people tell me how many people in the middle of (and increasingly, across) this country are obese. ‘Fat bombs’ is what one friend calls them. They hit 20 and blow up like balloons. Why? The food we eat has no nutrition in it. It has no fiber, no vitamins, no minerals. Our bodies are starving for nutrition, and we aren’t supplying it from our dead soils anymore. I see ads for food that has no fiber whatsoever, you know the stuff I mean. Pizza with cheese stuffed in the crust, covered with meat. Is it good for you? NO! Are you eating greens? cilantro leavesNO? Change your diet! Your parents didn’t eat this way, and neither did your grandparents. It’s gotten progressively worse to the point where our food supplies so little our bodies need that it is amazing we still function, albeit marginally. Don’t accept your child saying he won’t eat his greens. Grow some with him, outside in a pot if need be. He will be so proud he can grow food! Find something to cook together, engage your children in the kitchen. One child with ASD so loved cilantro he’d help his mother make salad every night, munching on the wonderfully detoxing herb as he helped. Maybe this is a piece of the puzzle? 

couple jogging early in the morningWas it sitting in front of the TV all night after work? In this country, we do so little for our body’s health and expect so much. This evening I went to the gym, and was stunned. A Friday evening and there were more people there than I’d ever seen in 10 years. I thought about why. People need connections, and not just the Facebook or LinkedIn or Google+ kind. They need to talk to each other and interact. Go out and do things. We’ve become very communicative on our posteriors, and those posteriors are growing. Gastric bypass or the lapband are not the way to go. Your bones will lose the weight instead of your body. people playing bocce in the grassIf you eat for comfort, when you do these procedures, you’re not dealing with the reason you put food in your mouth in the first place. Once you put the crimp on your stomach, you won’t have the one pleasure you’ve used to cheer yourself up. Don’t go for the quick fix. Fix the whole thing. Go for a walk, find a routine you enjoy. Do it with a friend, your kids, the dog, or plan a routine and stick with it. Wear a pedometer. Just do SOMETHING. Make sure your children see it’s healthy, and it’s a great thing to do. Let this be another piece in the puzzle. 

basket of fresh fruits and vegetablesWas it taking a laxative? If this is the case, you’re in bad shape (literally!). Your gut needs cleaning, and this is so important for your kids, too. They watch you eat, and they follow suit. Don’t give them bad examples. Stand up and be proud! Eat those kale chips. They DO taste good! Get that system moving. When your colon doesn’t process food, as it sits, it ferments and rots. The fluids in this mess are being recycled by your colon, and it dries out the waste and gets hard as it sits there. The fluids are now toxic, and your body has to deal with this stuff. You wouldn’t eat out of the toilet, so don’t let your gut go bad. Start with some fiber, like an apple – it’s got soluble and insoluble fiber. Drink more water, or tea, or something else healthy! Your body needs vitamins and minerals, and if you don’t eat a balanced diet, you won’t be healthy. Neither will your children, so don’t let this be the reason. Another piece of the puzzle?

children harvesting kale in the gardenOsteoporosis has become quite a problem in the last decade, and it looks to get worse. Are you the type of person that really doesn’t like to eat greens? Get over it! They’re necessary, and you must change your outlook. Go to the store and buy some kale. Dry-fry it with some garlic (no Teflon, please) for 5 minutes on high heat and you will be amazed. Chop up some baby kale, drizzle it with olive oil, lemon juice, some pine nuts and feta, a little white balsamic, and poof! Instant lunch. Delicious. And it has fiber! Dehydrate a head of kale (OK, washed in the package is alright) by mixing a tablespoon of peanut butter, the juice of a lemon, a teaspoon or two of miso, and add apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s!) till it’s like salad dressing. Toss them around in a big bowl and if you don’t have a dehydrator, put them on a cookie sheet at the lowest setting your oven has (below 118F keeps it in the live-food range). Check it after an hour or so. When you taste it to see if it’s done, you won’t be able to stop yourself. You are now a chef! 

quiche cut into squares with a side of carrotsStart fixing meals ahead of time, maybe on the weekend. Make a big pot of chili with REAL food, stuff that tastes good all by itself, and add greens and zucchini and lots of onions and garlic and beans. Freeze some of it if you need to, but in one-container meals. Three in the family? Freeze enough of this meal for next week. Use a slow cooker, make some soup. Leave it on low while you work. Easy dinner! Roasting a chicken? Throw the carcass in a stock pot for 3 or 4 hours on low and you’ve got stock for the next time you make soup or rice. We need amino acids we can only get from eating a rounded diet. Don’t throw away things your body (and your family) needs. 

Over the past decade, as a society, we have become so much more dependent on ‘time-saving’ inventions so that we can get more work done. Is this a good thing? I think not. If we can go back to doing things that take the time, maybe we would see that all time-saving has done for us is make us tired, fat, and unhappy. 

young girl blowung bubblesSome of the children I see with ASD are the sweetest kids. But they have toxins in their little bodies and can’t get them out. Is it just the vaccine? No. It’s also the gut that isn’t digesting, it’s the parent that thinks it’s OK to just let them eat Chuckie Cheese this once, it’s the food that comes straight from the microwave or wrapper. We need to get back to cooking real food and sitting down to real dinners. We need to take our child’s hand and go for a walk and just enjoy being out of doors, without checking the iPhone every few minutes. It’s the flu vaccine that the moms are given while pregnant. It’s the doctor that insists on a C-section for whatever reason (I always say I’ve never heard a doctor admit he did a C-section because it wasn’t needed!). It’s the medicine you’re taking for acid reflux when a change in your diet is all that’s needed. It’s the candy and the garbage we put in our children, thinking it’s normal or a special treat. No, vending machines don’t belong in schools. We need to teach our children about healthy food IN SCHOOL. 

young girl choosing carrots in the school cafeteriaRecently I watched Jamie Oliver on a YouTube series. I was horrified and couldn’t stop watching. The lunch ladies were saying, ‘Let’s see if they eat it.’ WHAT? You teach them about healthy food and they will eat it. They follow what they are taught. They follow what they see their parents doing. This is the first generation that will die younger than their parents. Shame on us. 

How about diet foods? Don’t. 
poster from Natural News showing food products which may contain aspartame

Aspartame should never have been allowed on the market. It is an excitotoxin and kills brain cells by opening the calcium ion channels and toxins flood the neurons. Once we lose 80 to 90% of them, plan on Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s or ALS, or diabetes. Don’t use fake stuff, don’t use MSG. Look at those food labels. Autolyzed yeast extract? That’s a fancy name for MSG. In the 60’s they put MSG in baby food. Did they know better? Yes, but they did it anyway, until Congress was forced to act. Don’t believe these huge agro companies care a smidgeon for your sweet pea. They will sell your grandma poison and make her believe it’s good for her. The word ‘natural?’ Don’t buy anything that says ‘natural’ on the label. It’s pure baloney. And no, don’t eat baloney! 

baby brushing teethMake use of your computer to research things like what’s in your shampoo, or your kid’s toothpaste. Go to and find out what’s in your mascara or new couch. SLS? Bad stuff, found in toothpaste and shampoo, used to wash floors (an industrial detergent!). Doesn’t belong in your child’s mouth. Find out what’s in your food. Find out what’s ON your food. Don’t believe that the restaurant doesn’t use MSG, ASK! Your computer is a wonderful resource when it comes to finding out what’s healthy and what’s not. Share recipes. Share exercise routines. Share inspiring healthy stories! 

We haven’t even talked about GMOs yet. Let’s save that for another time. Too scary. 

home-made popsicle in non-BPA plasticWhat ties all these things together? We’ve been sold a bill of goods by companies looking for a profit. Not just the big screen TVs, the drug companies, and the fast food places. By the companies looking to sell us on saving time, on immediate gratification. We need to get back to basics, and start eating whole foods. That will take some getting used to. But it’s cheaper, and it’s healthier. We need to stop relying on our doctors to give us a pill to make something better. You can improve your health. But you have to work on it. 

You may think I harass my clients into improvement. I don’t make suggestions much of the time. I often let them find their way with supplementing a few things. Suddenly they feel better and after a homeopathic remedy, they start wanting to improve. Often the parents of my ASD kids are wonderful loving parents that do everything possible to keep their child from slipping away. It’s often not something that they had control over. But we need to take control of our health back into our own hands. 

people buying fresh whole food at the farmer's marketLet’s start planning things. Find out what’s fun in your area – maybe a market or a festival, a street fair or local group meeting you’ve always wanted to join. Take a cooking class with your spouse or your kids. Have someone show you how to really shop for good food. Learn about nutrition. Get the Nutrition Almanac and study what you crave. Maybe you can find why you crave those particular things! 

Start somewhere, start small, but just START.

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