Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Yeast-Fighting Chicken



I call this "Yeast-Fighting Chicken" because it has simple ingredients that are helpful when fighting yeast (candida albicans). This recipe is really easy to make and is super yummy.

I make this in a Pampered Chef Stoneware "Deep Covered Baker." It is an expensive piece of kitchenware (about $70), but it is fantastic, and you can make so many things in it. I also like it because Pampered Chef stoneware is supposedly the only stoneware on the market that does not contain lead. (And, if you buy one using the link above, you will also be helping out an autism mom and a Lend4Health family -- Logan's from Florida.)

This recipe is basically from the Pampered Chef website, although I don't follow it anymore. If you want to use the official recipe, it is HERE and is called "Smothered Chicken with Garlic."


Ingredients
1 whole chicken ("fryer") - all natural/organic is best
1 lemon (I've made it with an apple too)
1-2 *heads* of fresh garlic
Olive oil
Herbs/spices (rosemary, sea salt, paprika, pepper, herbs de provence...)

Directions
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. While it's pre-heating, prepare the chicken as follows...

Spread a thin layer of olive oil in your stoneware baker (on the lid too). Take the packet of giblets out of your chicken. Wash your chicken with some water. Put the chicken in your baker with the breast side up.

Quarter the lemon and stuff it in the cavity of the chicken. Now put some rosemary into the cavity (I use dried). Use some cooking string/twine to tie the chicken's legs together. Now take the wing tips and point them up and then tuck them under the back of the chicken. This part can be confusing at first, but kind of pretend like your chicken is basking in the sun with its hands behind its head. (It's already dead so you won't hurt it!)

In a little bowl, mix up your spices. I use salt, some pepper, more dried rosemary, some herbs de provence, and paprika. You can use whatever floats your boat. (And do this part before your hands get coated in olive oil, as in the next step!)

[Take off your rings now!] Put some olive oil into your hands and rub it all over your friendly little chicken. (Ooo, what a nice massage!) Now take your herbs/spices and rub them all over the chicken.

Peel the cloves from 1 or 2 heads of garlic. Yes, that is a lot of garlic! You will be using the full cloves, so you don't need to dice or crush them. I don't always have 2 heads of garlic, but use whatever you have and it will still taste good. Put the garlic cloves all around the chicken.

Cover the baker and put it in the oven for 1 hour. After the hour, take the lid off and put it back in the oven for 20-30 minutes. It's done when a meat thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the thigh reads 180 degrees F.

When it's done cooking, wait 10 minutes before carving it.

Carve it into a dish that can hold the juice too. Pour the juice and all those yummy garlic cloves onto the chicken & serve it all together.

Service
I like this with gluten-free pasta and some veggies of choice. When your pasta is ready, add some GFCFSF butter (Earth Balance), some sea salt, and some of the juice from the chicken.

Yield
This makes enough for a family of 4 plus leftovers. You can also use the carcass to make some yummy homemade chicken broth. Just throw it in a big pot of water and let it simmer all day.

Cost
The all-natural chicken cost me $10.00 at Whole Foods. The lemon cost me less than $1.00. The garlic cost me less than a dollar. And the olive oil and spices I already had in my pantry. So the total cost on the chicken is about $12.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chicken & Potatoes in the Oven


I got a Pampered Chef stoneware baker from one of our Lend4Health moms, Penny (mom to Logan), and I just love it! It really makes baking stuff so easy, and everything turns out yummy! (And Pampered Chef stoneware is apparently the only stoneware on the market that is lead-free.)

I recently did another round of IgG tests on the family, as well as a bunch of other tests too, and it seems like there's not much we are "allowed" to eat anymore. So I need to get really basic with the food.

So I made this last night, and even my 5 year old son (who has been hating everything but waffles and peanut butter lately....ugh!) ate it up!

I forgot to take a picture before it was all gone, but here's what I did...


Ingredients
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I used about 10, enough to cover bottom of baker)
- One bag of small red potatoes, peeled & cut into quarters
- Some peeled baby carrots
- 1/2 lemon
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed
- 1/4 cup + a bit more of Pacific chicken broth
- Some olive oil
- Some ghee (optional)
- Some salt
- Some herbs de provence

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat bottom and sides of baker with olive oil. Place chicken on bottom of baker. Squeeze lemon juice onto chicken. Sprinkle garlic over chicken. Sprinkle salt and herbs de provence over chicken. Put potatoes and baby carrots on top of chicken. Sprinkle a bit more salt if you'd like. Dot top with some ghee (optional). Add chicken broth. Cover and put in oven. Cook at 350 degrees for about an hour and a half. After an hour, stir up the chicken and potatoes a bit to "baste" the potatoes. Leave cover off at end. It's ready when the potatoes are soft, the chicken is cooked, and everything looks yummy.

YIELD
This made enough for our family of 4 for dinner, plus leftovers for 2 lunches the next day.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Turkish Tomato Rice ("Domatesli Pilav")


If you and/or your kids like rice, but the plain ol' white stuff is getting boring, try this. It's easy to make, although there is some stirring involved, so grab some wine and some music and stir, stir, stir! (Recipe from "The Art of Turkish Cooking" by Neset Eren.)

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
Salt to taste
4 medium tomatoes, cubed/chopped
6 Tbsp. butter (I used GFCFSF Earth Balance)
2 1/2 cups beef or chicken broth (Pacific is GF, or make your own!)
Pepper to taste (I did not use)

Directions
Place rice in a bowl. Add 1 tsp. salt and cover with hot water. Stir and allow to cool. Once it's cool, drain and set aside.

Cook tomatoes in butter over medium heat in a heavy saucepan. Stir constantly until it forms a paste, about 30 minutes. Add the broth, salt, and pepper, and boil for 2 minutes. Add the rice while the broth is still boiling. Stir it just once, cover it and cook on high heat without stirring for 5 minutes. Turn heat down to low, keep covered, and cook until the rice absorbs the broth (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat. With a slotted spoon, remove any tomato peels.

Remove cover, place a cloth napkin over the saucepan, and then replace the cover. Leave it covered like this for 40 minutes on top of your stove.

Serve
Transfer the rice gently to a serving dish with a spoon.

Monday, October 26, 2009

GFCF Dinosaur Kale with Ground Beef and Rice


I have been trying to get my son (4 yrs) to eat more veggies, especially the green ones. As I was perusing the lovely veggies at Whole Foods, I spotted something called "Dinosaur Kale." Now, I had heard of kale and knew that it was supposed to be healthy, but I had never bought it before, or cooked with it. But with a name like "Dinosaur" I knew I had to try it. You see, my son is obsessed with dinosaurs, so maybe he would eat this stuff???

I decided to make this similar to the way I make our Turkish spinach and ground beef dish. So here's what I did:

Ingredients
1/2 bunch of dinosaur kale, washed & cut cross-wise
1/4 lb ground beef (other meats would work too)
2 soup-spoon-fulls of tomato-free tomato paste (if you are tomato-free, otherwise you can use tomato paste)
Salt, garlic, whatever spices you like (I think the salt is important)
Olive oil
----------
Separate: Rice, cooked with broth instead of water, if possible

Directions
Coat bottom of pot with olive oil and brown the ground beef. Add tomato-free tomato paste (or tomato paste) and spices. Add a little water to keep things from burning. Now add in your dinosaur kale, and add enough water to keep things from burning but not really enough to make a soup. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until the kale has "wilted" and the flavors have mixed. Serve on top of some rice.

Note
I wasn't sure if they'd like this, so I didn't make too much. Both kids ate it; my daughter (7) liked it more than my son. It made enough for a few bowls-worth. I believe this is a meal in itself, since it has veggies and meat and a carb, but it would also work as a side-dish as well.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Overcoming Swimming Issues with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) / Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID) *can* be improved through biomedical treatment, including dietary changes, supplementation, yeast treatments, digestive enzymes, and elimination of bacterial overgrowth and viruses from the body.

This is a part of our story...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Pampered Chef Stoneware on Sale!


If you are on this site because you are doing the GFCF diet for somebody with autism, you know that "the diet" is about more than just using the right ingredients. It's also about reducing exposure to toxins, heavy metals, and other "junk" in our environment. And when you're talking about food, a major source of that "junk" can actually come from our cookware itself.

Many families doing the GFCF diet stop using aluminum foil. They stop using cheap-o baking sheets, and they stop using Teflon-coated skillets. Instead, they use parchment paper, stoneware, and cast iron or stainless steel.

I have followed this discussion for some time and have heard repeatedly that Pampered Chef stoneware is great. I have heard that it is the *only* stoneware on the market that is lead-free. And I got very, very jealous when I met fellow GFCF-er Anna at a "GFCF Cookfest" at her house and saw her very cool Pampered Chef stoneware baking sheet.

Well! That very same stoneware is on sale at Pampered Chef during the month of September! Time to finally get myself one of those awesome baking sheets!

And ... even better ...! During the month of September, if you order your Pampered Chef items from Penny Rogers' Pampered Chef website, she will donate a portion of your purchase to Lend4Health (my other site, where we do interest-free microloans for the biomedical treatment of autism). Just type in "Lend4Health" when you're asked for the "host" when you checkout.

So if you are looking for some great quality, *safe* bakeware, stoneware, cookware, or even some kitchen gadgetry, click over to Penny's site (HERE) and your purchase will automatically help support Lend4Health!

Here is that link again: http://www.pamperedchef.biz/pennyrogers. Just type in "Lend4Health" when you're asked for the host. Happy Shopping!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

GFCFSF Summer Grill


If you have an outdoor grill, this is a really easy way to do GFCFSF in the summer (or other seasons, too, depending on where you live!) My hubbie and I have worked out an arrangement that seems to work well for us. He prepares and grills the food; I clean the grill, set the table, and clean up afterward.

Here we have:
1 large package chicken thighs, boneless
1 bunch asparagus
2 tomatoes
1 pineapple

What we did:
Put chicken in a large bowl with lots of olive oil + whatever spices you might like, marinate for 30 minutes or so, while your grill gets ready. Wash & cut off bottoms of asparagus. Slice tomatoes in half. Cut off green top and brown outsides of pineapple; slice into thick rounds.

Grill it all up on the grill.

Yield: Enough for family of 4 for dinner, plus lunch leftovers for 2 adults.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Looking Back: SPD, Autism, GFCF, and Biomed Over the Past Two Years



I'm not sure how to start writing this, or where to make this post lead, but I have been feeling for a while now that I need to write down some of our "story" with autism and with biomedical treatment. This has been a story two years (plus) in the making, and I know if I hold out too long, I will forget, and this story will be lost, unable to be read and heard by others who might benefit from it.

So I will begin and see where it leads...

Two years ago, in August 2007, my son was 2 years old and received a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder/Sensory Integration Dysfunction.

At the time, I believed he might have autism. Now, two years later, knowing what I know now, I am convinced he had autism. But that was not our diagnosis, and I did not pursue it further because I was happy he wasn't autistic, so I went with what I had. Knowing what I know now, I would have gone to another resource for another opinion; somebody who might spend more than 30 minutes with my child and try to get a full picture of his abilities, or lack thereof.

Let me make a list here of all the things I can remember were going on with my son back then -- these were "the signs." And I'd like to add that many of these could be easily waved away as "normal" or "typical" or "that's just how 2 year olds are" or "that's just how boys are," but I urge you, if you are seeing some of these signs, to listen to your "mommy gut." I listened, but I did not listen hard enough, for I did not trust my "mommy gut." I didn't believe I had one; I was not a maternal-type person, I never had younger siblings, I didn't babysit much as a teenager, and I never cooed and awwwwwed when I saw babies. I was a full-time working mom, so the hours I spent getting to know my kids were decreased, and for some reason I just believed that other people knew more than me about my own kids. It sounds really weird and terrible to me now, but it's the truth. So when I brought up little concerns to my pediatrician and he said, "that's normal," I believed him. And when my brother (whose girlfriend at the time had an autistic child) brought up his concerns with my son's limited speech (which echoed my own concerns), I told him my pediatrician said he was fine, so that was that. I didn't even understand what my brother was saying when he kept repeating, "You have to advocate for your child," I just didn't know what that meant because I was not (yet) in "that world." My pediatrician said my kid was okay, that he passed the test, so he must be fine. And when my day care provider said "You need to find a new doctor," I was offended. What did she know? My doctor was fine, everybody in town went to him, and he is a nice guy. In fact, I remember telling my husband once how much I liked our pediatrician because he "made me feel normal" when I was worried that things were not normal. DUH! That was my "mommy gut" speaking, but I didn't know it, and I didn't trust it.

So anyway, here's that list:

- He didn't respond right away when we called his name. We had to say his name over and over to get him to look at us.

- He had speech, but it was limited. I remember on the way to our daughter's 2-year well child visit, I had found something online that said a 2-year old should have a certain number of vocabulary words and my husband and I laughed because she had so clearly surpassed that number. But on the way to that same visit with my son, I remember actually trying to count them because I wasn't sure if I could come up with that many words. ("Don't compare your kids," the pediatrician later told us when I brought up my concern with his limited speech. "Boys develop speech later than girls.")

- The speech he did have was labeling. He did not have language to express feelings, or at least he did not use them as such.

- He was not present, or involved in what was going on around him. In the car, my daughter and I would be chatting about something, and he would just be sitting there, kind of vacant. (If he wasn't screaming about something.) I could ask him a question, turn around and give him a smile, and he just wasn't THERE. His eyes were empty-like. It's very hard to describe, but if you're experiencing it, you probably know that nagging feeling like something is wrong, like your child just isn't "with you."

- Similarly, he was not interested in playing with other kids. He played by himself. For example, we went to a birthday party that was outside in somebody's backyard with plenty of things to play with, tons of space, balls, trucks, frizbees, swingset, etc. My son went inside, took a car and drove it from one end of the coffee table to the next, over and over and over and over again. I tried to engage him in conversation, "What are you doing?" "What color is that car?" "What does the car say?" but there was no response. It was just repetitive, very focused play with that car. No other kids were in there. When one came in and tried to play with him, my son screamed this anxious cry like his life was out of order and he didn't know what he would do. Nothing could interfere with what he was doing. Another adult came in and sat down. He tried to talk to my son, but he just kept doing the same thing with the car, oblivious to this man or to his mom sitting right there talking to him. I felt embarrassed. I knew it was strange but I couldn't really say why or what this was called. It was just odd, and the man sat back and watched. Now I wonder if he was sitting there thinking, "How do I tell this woman her son has autism?"

- My son could speak, as I have explained, but much of what he said was stuff he had heard on TV. I now know this is called "echolalia." It wasn't speech that he originated, it was like he was a tape recording of Diego or something.

- He had eye contact, in that he would sometimes look at you, but it was fleeting. He did not LIKE to look at you. One thing I remember well is that it was so hard to take a picture of him, and for this reason I really don't have many good pictures of him from that time. I remember I'd have to call his name over and over, making silly noises, or all of a sudden yelling or making a startling sound, and then he'd quickly look up and I'd snap the picture, and he'd look immediately back down again. My camera had this annoying delay, so it was very rare that I got a good picture of him. If you were to see the pictures I do have of him (the ones I didn't delete because they were of the top of his head), you would think, "Wow, he looks so happy and cute and is looking RIGHT AT YOU," but really what you're not seeing is how hard it was to get him to look up, how hard it was to push the button at the exactly right moment to factor in the delay so that it snapped RIGHT when he was looking for that split-second. I even remember sticking my camera down under his face and snapping pictures without looking through the viewfinder, just trying to get pictures of his face.

- I remember all of these weird, dazed, and kind of obsessive things he was doing. I would think he was asleep and would come upstairs 2 hours later and would find him passed out in a different room, with lines of colored marker all over his body. Like he had been up there for an hour just dragging the marker back and forth on his body in a trance, until he fell asleep. One time I went upstairs and he had taken a bathtub crayon and drawn a little green line in every single one of the little bathroom tiles, and then I found a trail of little green lines on every vertical post of the upstairs balcony. I can't imagine this little 2 year old awake at 10:00 in a quiet upstairs, in the dim light, obsessively putting green lines on tiles.

- I remember him doing similar things with lining up his cars and other toys. He would make a line of cars, end to end, and then would move one forward, then move each one up in turn to progress the line forward. We had lines of cars, big and small, all over the dining room. And while he was doing this, it wasn't like he was having fun, really, and he wouldn't proudly show us when he had made a line. Instead, it was like he was obsessed with this work, like the rest of the world didn't matter. It was like he HAD to do it, and if we knocked one over by mistake, or if we moved one from its position, all HELL broke loose and he absolutely freaked out. I have a video of him ON CHRISTMAS DAY when the rest of us are opening presents. Our tradition is to take turns opening presents, and there's this video where we're calling his name and saying "It's your turn to open a present! Look! Look at this big one! Wow, I wonder what it is?!" And then the camera turns to him in the other room lining up his cars. He doesn't look up, he doesn't even seem to know that we are there. His entire world is lining up those damn cars. And we just laugh and say, "Okay, who's next?" and my husband jokes that "One day he will be in logistics for the military."

- Speaking of cars, my son also did a lot of the "inappropriate play with toys" which at the time I didn't even know what that meant. In my mind, "inappropriate play with toys" sounded like he was being sexually inappropriate or something with his toys?! What?! But NOW I know that this means taking a toy and not playing with it in the way that you're supposed to play with it. So, for example, my son SHOULD HAVE BEEN taking his cars and cruising them along the floor saying "vroom vroom" and stopping to get gas and screeching to a stop and driving over pillows like a mountain. THAT would be "appropriate play" with a car. Instead, if he wasn't lining them up, my son had his car upside down in front of his face, spinning the wheels on it, over and over and over again. Or opening and closing the doors repeatedly. Or contorting his body to get his head on the ground, parallel to the floor, while he rolled the car back and forth in front of his eyes, over and over again. I remember bragging that my son was going to be an engineer because he was so interested in how things worked and how they were built! Ha! NOW I know that this was visual stimming, and he got some sort of input or stimulation from watching these things repeatedly go round and round, open and closed, and back and forth. (I remember very clearly a time we took a walk outside and somebody had a pinwheel in their yard. I ended up sitting on the curb for about an hour while my son squatted down and spun the pinwheel for an hour, not noticing anything else going on around him, or not wanting to show it to me. It was as if I wasn't even there. It was just him and the pinwheel for an hour, round and round.)

- Another way he would visually "stim" (although I didn't know it at the time) was to open up all the bottom cabinets in the kitchen and then line up his eyes right on the top of them, apparently looking across all 4 of them. The doors had to be JUST SO, and if we shut one of them, TANTRUM!

- Tantrums. Oh my gosh. I know all kids have tantrums. But the tantrums of a child affected by autism are different. My son was only two, and two year olds have not a care in the world, right? Wrong. This child was STRESSED OUT. He was anxious. His tantrums were anxious ones, the fight or flight kind. I don't really know how to explain it, but if you have experienced them, you know what I mean. They are the kind of tantrums that don't just make you want to give your child whatever they want because you don't want to hear the crying anymore, they are the kind of tantrums that make you want to give your child whatever they want because if you don't, you are afraid they might kill themselves, or kill somebody else. I was afraid of my 2 year old, and I'm really not joking. I was not in control of my child, and my child wasn't in control of himself either, it was this OTHER, this PHANTOM psycho thing that was controlling our lives. They are the kind of tantrums that could draw blood when he would bite me in sheer panic, or draw blood as he took my cheeks in his claws and grabbed so tight as he pinched and twisted and scratched my skin, with this look of terror and rage in his face. And what would bring on these tantrums? Who knew?! They could happen at the drop of a hat. The breakfast wasn't served fast enough. He found a pea in his mac and cheese. I turned right when I usually turn left. I walked down the stairs before him. His car got out of its line. I never knew what would bring it on, and that, frankly, made me feel how I imagine an abused wife might feel. So you try to make sure everything is JUST SO and you watch like a hawk to foresee anything that might cause him to blow so you can fix it just in time. You walk on eggshells and when things are going smoothly for a couple of hours, you learn not to drop your guard, not to get too happy or feel too blessed because at any moment you will be slapped down again by this phantom tyrant living in your home.

- Going out in public. What? Going out in public?! Impossible! My husband and I would take turns doing the grocery shopping and running errands so that one could stay home with the kids. I honestly could not take them out in public without feeling absolutely petrified and stressed out the entire time. I would see other parents with their kids, happily enjoying some outing together, and even if that child were whiny or having a tantrum, it was nowhere near what I was dealing with.

- My son did not seem to understand things. I have kind of mentioned this above, but I want to go a little deeper. For example, he would watch TV and just sit there in front of it. We would watch Dora the Explorer, and Dora would ask things that you were supposed to answer, and he would just sit there. I don't think he even knew that something was being asked. It was really weird. I remember when I took him for an evaluation at "Child Find," our county's free assessment program to help identify kids who would need special assistance in school later on. The person doing the test would say things like, "When it's cold, I put on my ...." and my son just sat there. "When it's cold outside, what do you put on?" and he just sat. I remember thinking in my head, "Oh my gosh there is no way in hell he knows what you're saying to him! Is he supposed to be able to respond to that? Because he can't do that. If you pointed to a coat in a picture, he could say coat, but what you are blabbing to him probably sounds like a foreign language."

- Speaking of foreign languages, my son could not repeat a word and have it come out the right way. This always seemed really weird to me. I could say, "Say cup" and he would say something like "Toca" or something COMPLETELY different. It was like the sounds came into his ears, fell into a brain full of cotton candy, and came out his mouth all flossy and wrong. Sometimes I thought he was kidding, but he wasn't (plus he didn't really know how to "kid.") I would praise him for at least trying and never told him he was wrong, but it always struck me that he COULD NOT repeat my words correctly.

- Kind of similarly, my son could not figure out what you were pointing to. If you said, "Look! There's an airplane in the sky!" and you pointed up to the sky, my son could not find the plane if his life depended on it. If you pointed out the window and said, "Look at that bird," he would look in a totally different direction. It was so frustrating, but he just could not figure out what you were pointing at.

- Sensory Issues. It was the crazy sensory issues that got me online night after night, trying to figure out what was going on with my son, and that lead me to then also Googling "autism." There were so many sensory issues, but here are some I can remember...Seams on clothes. My son would constantly run his fingers along the seams of his clothes, like he was reading Braille. If he had a button on a shirt, his fingers were constantly there, fondling or holding the button. If his shirt had an ironed-on decoration, he would run his fingers along the lines where the iron-on stopped and the t-shirt started. He did this obsessively. He was both focused and absent-minded when he did this. But it got to the point where I had to switch to all-cotton, no-decoration clothing because it just got so intense it both annoyed and freaked me out at the same time. It just seemed to kind of take over his whole being, making him dysfunctional and unable to do other things because he was so "into" the seams on his clothes (or mine; once I switched his clothes, he started running his fingers along my seams and decorations). Fingernail clipping. Clipping my son's nails were impossible. Just impossible. I know many kids don't like fingernail clipping, but, again, for my son this was something that brought sheer terror to his little body. I started reading books with him while I clipped his nails, and it would take close to an hour to get it done because it was like I was torturing him. Haircuts were just as traumatic, and were to the point of people commenting negatively, not just laughing sympathetically and saying, "Oh, poor thing" it was like our child was somehow bad, as he sat there screaming and flailing about while my husband held him down. Light. Every time we went from inside the house to the outdoors, my son would wince as if in pain and bury his head against my body, or turn his head. Noise. My son was over-sensitive to noise. He could hear something a mile away and would stop everything to listen to it. He would absolutely SCREAM when I turned on the radio in the car, or at home. "TURN IT OFF! TURN IT OFF!" he would scream, again, in this anxious, fight or flight type of way. It didn't matter how loud it was, it was too loud for him and he just could not STAND it! His day care provider told us that he wouldn't sing and dance with the other kids when she turned on the music. Instead, he would go to a corner and roll his cars back and forth on the ground. (But this came out from the daycare provider as that he was "playing nicely with his toys." I think because he was able to "play" by himself and stay quiet for hours, he was somewhat easy for her. She didn't have to entertain him. He would just "play nicely with his toys" in the corner for hours, and she didn't have to worry.) Taste. My son did not eat normally. Not the type of food he ate, I will get to that later. But the way in which he tasted things. My son would SHOVE food into his mouth in a crazed manner, not chewing. He choked and gagged continuously. He did not take a bite, he shoved. It was as if he was under-sensitive in this department, like he couldn't feel that there was food in there unless it was filling his every crevice of his mouth. He would shove an entire cereal bar in his mouth. An entire cereal bar. And when he was doing this, it was not happily, like you would think of a regular 2 year old happily eating food they loved. It was that frantic, anxious, fight-or-flight thing again. I had to watch him constantly to make sure he wouldn't choke. It was frightening. And then, at other times, he was under-sensitive. When I put peas in his macaroni and cheese, he picked them out. And if one mistakenly got into his mouth, surrounded by all that macaroni, he would throw up. And then the tantrum. Ugh, it was just awful. Temperature. I remember one winter we had a beautiful, gentle snow, and we all bundled up to go out and enjoy it. My son was terrified. He touched the snow and felt the cold, wet stuff, and absolutely freaked out. No snow angels for this boy. I had to pick him up and carry him as I took him on a little walk up and down the sidewalk. He clinged to me and looked around frantically, hating every moment. We quickly got him inside, and that was the last time for at least a year he went out in the snow. On the days I had to get him from the house to the car, if it was raining or snowing, I had to have his head, face, neck covered. If one little drop of rain got on his skin, it was torture for him. Pain. My son was both insensitive and oversensitive to pain, or at least he felt pain from things that are not painful to most other people. My son would hide under the table, or the chair, a lot. When he was small enough to walk under the table easily, I remember he would bump his head on the table all the time. Constantly. He never cried. He never even seemed to feel it. But, yet, if he got water on his skin, he cried out in pain. If his swimming suit got wet, he freaked out and immediately screamed "OFF! OFF! OFF!" and would pull at it to get it off, regardless of where he was. (Cross swimming off the list of things to do!) But yet the bathtub was okay. Something about the wet fabric on his skin was torture. When he would get a drink of water from a water fountain and some of it dripped on his shirt, he freaked out and tore it off. I had to bring a second shirt with me everywhere on the chance something got on him. Vestibular. My son was unsure of where his body was in space. He could not tilt his head back, for example in the bath to get the shampoo off his head, or when drinking out of a cup, he wouldn't tilt his head back. He hated the swings unless somebody was under him, giving him a sense of place. He hated merry go rounds, and couldn't handle going up and down and around and around all at the same time. He got nervous climbing the stairs, especially if they were "open" stairs.

- Yet he would drool nonstop and this did not bother him. I would say "Water in your mouth" to try to remind him to swallow. His daycare provider put him in bibs even when it wasn't meal time to catch all his drool, and these bibs were soaked.

- Sleep. This poor boy could not fall asleep at night. It took TWO HOURS every night, and I truly am not exaggerating. Two hours. Every night. He would toss and turn and toss and turn. He would try all positions, all over the bed. He would wedge his body between the bed and the wall. He would pile all of his toys (cars, airplanes, and books, *not* soft stuffed animals) on his bed and flop himself belly-down on top of it. Most nights I would lie down with him, trying to soothe him to sleep. He didn't want me to sing (noise). He didn't want the fan on (noise). He didn't like the aquarium with the lullabies (noise). He would just toss and turn and flop and flip until two hours later, he exhausted himself.

- Poop. My son had some serious bowel issues, but for some reason I didn't get it. He was either constipated, pooping out hard balls of rabbit poop, or he had slick, black, diarrhea. Most of the time, though, he had this fluffy mushy stuff that filled his diaper. It was kind of like soft-serve, or mashed potatoes. And the smell was horrendous. A toxic smell that you could smell from other levels in our home. For some reason I guess I thought this was "kid poop" and that only adults had formed poop. I really don't know what I was thinking, but this frothy fluffy mush didn't concern me. What did concern me was when my son would get constipated and wouldn't poop for days. I started realizing that about once a month, this would happen, and I'd get a call from his daycare provider after a few days of no poop that my son had a fever and was whimpering all day, non-stop. I had to go pick him up from daycare and take him home. And one he got his poop out, he was immediately fine. It took me a while to figure this out, but what must have been happening was the toxins from his stuck poop were getting absorbed into his body, and his body was fighting it like an infection.

- Skin. I remember one well child visit when my son was younger, and the pediatrician was practically climaxing on his skin. "It's so soft!" she was saying. "I've never felt skin that soft!" She kept rubbing and carressing him. Fast forward a year or so, and he had eczema behind his knees, weird rashes in his diaper area, and red pimply bumps all over his torso. His skin was a mess.

- Food. In addition to the shoveling of the food I explained earlier, my son's food choices started to get really, really limited. He drank a TON of milk. I bought gallon after gallon of milk. He drank it with gusto, which I was proud of. I knew that many kids drank juice all the time and it was apparently bad for your teeth and had too much sugar, so I was all proud that my child liked milk instead of juice. I had no idea it could cause him problems, or that maybe it was contributing to his crazy congestion and coughing. My son liked bread, pasta, and crackers. He didn't like pizza but he did like cheesebread. At one point my kids were splitting a box of cheesesticks from Dominos, 1/2 a box each. I remember dinners when all I could get him to eat was bread and milk. He liked peanut butter and jelly. He did not like meat. He did not like vegetables. He didn't even like fruit, except for applesauce and grapes (although I was worried about choking). His diet was terrible. He didn't like to chew; I think his body/jaw lacked the strength to do so. So even chicken nuggets or hamburgers were out of the question because he just couldn't chew them. He liked soup, but you had to be prepared when the soup dripped on his shirt. It was just nuts.

- Breathing. My son could not breathe well. He had this constant cough that became so common that we didn't even pay attention, and he would go through his days with this terrible congested cough that would strain his face and keep him from breathing normally. I can't believe it now, but I actually gave him Tylenol cough syrup for this -- that red dye crap that has since been taken off the shelves for causing deaths. OMG! He would wheeze and breathe rapidly, and there were many, many nights that we stayed up till the wee hours of the morning with him because he could not breathe, and therefore, he could not sleep. When he got wheezy like this, he got crazy too. Very wired and hyper, like because his breathing was on overdrive, so too needed to be his body. It was awful, constantly awful. But for some reason we just thought it was normal or something. His pediatrician said he didn't want to diagnose him with asthma because he was too young for that diagnosis, so they diagnosed it as "Reactive Airway Disease" and put him on nebulized Pulmicort every morning and every night, plus albuterol every 4 hours when he was actively coughing. A few times they gave him an oral steroid, prednisone or maybe orapred, to help him breathe. Every time he got a slight runny nose, he started the coughing. He was coughing all the time. So we had to start doing these nebulizer treatments twice a day, and let me tell you, a sensory kid does NOT do well with a mask on his face for 30 minutes a day. We had to lay him across our laps face up, put one arm behind our backs under our arm, hold his other arm with one hand, hold the mask with the other hand, and bend over him to hold his legs down. He screamed and fought and went nuts-o every time. We did this for a year, and it sucked.

- My son had no core strength. He sat with his legs bent outward, like a "W." He couldn't figure out how to run well, with his arms and legs working in unison and back and forth. He didn't have the strength to do a wheel-barrow walk. He was skinny. He was weak.

- My son did not sweat. His extremities were cold, and when he was doing strenuous exercise, like playing on the playground, he would get really flushed, but he would not sweat. Not one drop.

- Hoarding. My son hoarded things. He always had to be carrying something in his hands. Always. Usually it was a little car or train, one in each hand. He would walk that way, he would sleep that way. And that, while I thought it was weird and got me looking into sensory type issues, seemed okay. But it got bad. It got to the point where my little guy was trying to carry multiple toys, a couple pieces of garbage, and a toy animal all at the same time in his two little hands, a little mound of crap. One thing would slip off and fall, so he would bend over to get it, and then another thing would fall. And on and on it would go.

I remember many nights, I would hold him in my arms, swaying back and forth in his bedroom trying to get him to fall asleep. He would look RIGHT in my eyes, but he was not there. His eyes were empty, they were not connecting with me. I stared right back at him and, although our faces were inches apart, our worlds were miles apart. My boy was just not THERE. And I remember crying, and just whispering to him over and over again, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I will help you. Mommy will help you. I'm sorry." But I swear I did not know why I was sorry. And I did not know what I wanted to help him with. Everybody told me he was "fine," and so why did I need to help him? But those nights in his room, those nights with my lost, empty boy, looking at me blankly in my arms. THOSE were the nights that my mommy voice was speaking to me. I *knew* something was wrong, and I told him I would make it better. But these words came out of my mouth and I did not know why. Perhaps his soul was speaking to me in ways that his eyes and his mouth could not. Perhaps he was telling me so loudly that he was *not* fine and that he needed my help. Thank god I listened, and thank god it was not too late.

I remember one day watching as my son held his little mound of stuff, anxiously, getting increasingly agitated and frustrated that he couldn't carry it all, with the little pieces of trash (albuterol foil pouches) slipping off the mound. He was at the top of the stairs and it took him a few minutes of this anxiousness and effort before he got his little mound of crap settled. Then he wanted to get down the stairs but couldn't figure out how to hold onto the railing while holding onto his crap. And he just broke down and was crying like his little 2 year old life was over, and it was there that I realized he had become dysfunctional. I could no longer sit by while my pediatrician and others told me he was "fine." This boy was NOT fine. He was unable to sleep, unable to breathe, unable to poop, unable to play, unable to eat, unable to understand, unable to speak, and now he was just unable to come down the stairs. I had to get help. I called the pediatrician and said, "It's not getting better." And that was that. We were referred to a developmental pediatrician, and I got on the LONG waiting list for an appointment.

In the meantime, I became obsessed with Google. I spent my nights trying to figure out if he had autism. I would watch YouTube videos of kids with autism, and I would just cry and cry. I could not believe that my little sweet child would have this terrible future, would be non-verbal, and would not be able to show or receive love. Then I would go to another website about autism and I would feel better, thinking maybe he didn't have autism. Then I would find another site and would see my son in all the lists of symptoms. It was a sad and scary time.

I told my daycare provider that I thought he had autism. "NOOOOOO!" she said! She was absolutely adamant that he did not. So I printed out a sheet on autism in Spanish (she is a Spanish speaker). I didn't know what it said but I hoped it talked about some of the red flags. I gave it to her and asked her to read it that night and let me know the next morning what she thought. "Okay, Tori, I will read it. But he doesn't have autism."

The next morning when I dropped him off at her house, I said, "So? What do you think?" And she said slowly, "Yes....I think maybe he does." I remember sitting in my car and driving 1/2 a block and then just not being able to see anymore through my tears. I was absolutely devastated. It's one thing to think something yourself, it's another thing to have somebody agree with you. I remember going to work and just not being able to hold it together. I cried the whole day on and off. I remember I went in to tell my co-worker, and I started off with a smile on my face, but then I immediately started crying, and I had NEVER cried at work before. She hugged me in her office, and I said, "But I know why this is happening to me." "Why?" she said. "Because I am going to do something about it."

I didn't know why these words were coming out of my mouth, but I felt certain that God had chosen this path for me for a reason. Because I am a person who can make something happen. I didn't know what I could or would do, but I knew that there was a reason that this thing had chosen ME, and not somebody else. I would do something about it. Whatever that meant.

I got a call at work one day that the developmental pediatrician had an opening on August 1st due to a cancellation by somebody else. So on August 1st we went. She spent about 30 minutes with him, and the entire time he screamed, "I want to touch the blue one!!!" in reference to the blue tap on the sink and "I want to wash the hands!!" While he screamed about "the blue one," the developmental pediatrician just sat there in the sterile hospital room and asked me calm questions about how old he was when he first walked, and when he said his first word. I grew increasingly stressed out. I didn't know what to do? Why is she still talking to me when my son is having this crazy tantrum? Should I let him touch the blue one? Would that make me a good mother or a bad mother? Is this normal for a kid to obsess over a blue tap like that? Why don't they seem phazed by this? So I stood up and went to the sink, and I let him touch "the blue one." The rest of the appointment, then, I was bent over the sink, holding him in my arms so he could touch "the blue one," which he turned on and off. On and off. But he had stopped crying.

The developmental pediatrician told me that he was not autistic because "he has good language" ("I want to touch the blue one!") and because "he looked me in the eyes once."

"But he might have some sensory issues."

So she wrote me a prescription for occupational therapy, and that was that. I felt really confused. I was stressed out to the max. I was happy he didn't have autism. I was upset that he had a "disorder." I was embarrassed that my son couldn't sit in a doctor's office like a normal kid. I was unsure of my competency as a mother. I was annoyed at this doctor for not being kind or feeling in any way. I felt ripped off, cheated, saved, and alone. I put my little boy in his car seat and drove home from the city, looking back at him while he blankly stared out the windows, held onto his little toys, and drank his milk from his sippy cup.

I got him into occupational therapy, and I didn't understand it. Nobody evaluated my son any further. Nobody really told me what sensory processing disorder was. All I knew was that he was supposed to jump in the ball pit, and I was supposed to give him "heavy work" at home, like carrying 2-liter soda bottles or large bags of dirty laundry. I like occupational therapy because I felt like I was doing something to help my son, but I also hated it because after every session he was in such a terrible mood and would have a tantrum every time. The appointments took him out of his routine, and it just threw him off for the whole day.

I found a Yahoo group for SPD. I stayed up late every night reading posts and asking questions. One mom, Anna, told me about the gluten-free casein-free diet and biomedical intervention for autism. My son didn't have autism (supposedly), but I learned that many kids with autism also had sensory issues. So I joined the other Yahoo group she recommended, the GFCFKids Yahoo group.

And I became obsessed with that group, again up all night reading and posting. We started the GFCF diet in October 2007. It was hard, and he didn't want to eat anything I gave him. He just screamed and tantrumed for days it seems. But finally he ate. And 3 days after we started, we saw differences. He was looking in our eyes. The change was dramatic. He was asking us questions. He told me one night in bed, "Mommy? I'm happy."

I was hooked.

Now, it's 2 years after we got the SPD diagnosis. I am considering making another appointment with her to get re-evaluated because I am sure he would not qualify for the SPD diagnosis anymore. My son is doing AWESOME and every single one of the issues I wrote in that list above are GONE. Absolutely GONE.

I cannot believe our good fortune. I can't believe how really easy it was, even though it wasn't easy. The thought of him still being like he used to be makes me shiver, and I can't believe he has gotten so much better like this, simply by changing his diet and giving him supplements.

I love this little boy something fierce. I love him like a son, but I also love him like he's my savior. Like I'm his. I wonder if he knows all that I have done to help him get to this point? It doesn't matter at all, but I wonder if he remembers how he used to be?

The other day I dug through my drawer at work and found some little Post-It notes where I had scrawled my son's ATEC scores, and I just did the ATEC again. Check this out:

MY SON'S ATEC SCORES
October 2007, baseline.......................49
January 2008.................................41
October 2008..................................3
August 2009..................................3


What have we done to cause all these changes?

GFCFSF diet, removal of other IgG foods (eggs, peanuts, walnuts, coconut, rice, tomato, peas, sunflower, safflower), digestive enzymes, supplements, and yeast control. We do not have a DAN doctor. The only test we did was the IgG test. We drastically reduced and then completely stopped occupational therapy. I am thinking of going back one day to show the OT how far he has come!

At this point, I feel ready to get a DAN. I want to get some tests done and see what else could be done, just to make sure I can help keep him healthy and be aware of any weak spots I may not already know about.

I am thrilled with how far he has come. I am amazed, and I am helplessly in love with him. Yet I am also sad, very sad, for what was lost, and what ill health he may one day suffer because his health was weakened for approximately two years.

Friday, July 31, 2009

My Friend Lost Her Home in a Tornado!



On the afternoon of July 30, 2009, a tornado touched down in Tennessee. While that normally wouldn't make me take notice, this time it did. Why? Because this tornado took the house of my friend, Jeanne.

Who Is Jeanne?
Jeanne is a wife, a mom of 3, an activist, and a friend. She is also an avid Lend4Health lender and the creator of the Cinco de Linco loan days on Lend4Health. Jeanne's son, Charlie, has autism, and she blogs at Charlie in Wonderland.

Supplements, Legos, and Robots

When the tornado was on its way, they grabbed Charlie's supplements, his beloved Legos, and his robots. The family is safe and unharmed, but the house is ruined and will need to be rebuilt.

"What took us years to create was torn down like a house of cards in under one minute," Jeanne posted on Facebook.

Four Months
Jeanne and her family have moved in with her mom, Jan, who is awesome in every way. She lives nearby, knows the special dietary and supplement protocols Charlie follows, and has the room in her home and her heart to have the family stay there until their home can be rebuilt -- a process that the insurance company told her will take FOUR months.

What Can We Do?

While Jeanne has emphatically posted on Facebook that she does not want people to send her money or gift cards and that we should be spending money on our own kids instead, many of us want to do something to show our support for Jeanne.

If we lived nearby, we certainly would bring by a gluten-free, casein-free meal, or a steaming cup of Starbucks, or a nice book we found to help replace her beloved book collection. But, alas, we do not and we cannot. And so...we created a ChipIn.

Here are some ideas on how you can show your support for Jeanne:

* Send a few bucks to Jeanne by clicking on the "ChipIn" button. The money will go directly into her PayPal account for her to spend on whatever she needs, or to hold on to in case she might need it four months from now.

* Copy the ChipIn widget to your blog or website. Share this page on Facebook and Twitter. Post about it on your online forums.

* Make a tax-deductible contribution to Autism Cares, a non-profit that provides grants to autism families during natural disasters and other catostrophic life events.

* Make a micro-loan on Lend4Health (whether it's Cinco de Linco day or not!) and note that it is in honor of Jeanne.

Thank you for reading this, sharing it, and/or taking action on behalf of Jeanne, Charlie, and the rest of this wonderful family.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chicken with Garbanzo Beans


The whole family loves this! It is super easy, made in only one pot, it's nutritious with lots of protein, and it's cheapo too! This is gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free, egg-free, corn-free, rice-free (unless served with rice!), and I make mine tomato-free!

Ingredients
8 chicken drumsticks (I use the ones with skins)
2 large cans of garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas)
3 large soup spoon-fulls of tomato paste or my tomato-free tomato paste
Olive oil
Salt
Water

Directions
In a large pot, coat bottom with olive oil. Add chicken drumsticks and "brown" over medium-high heat, cooking until you don't see pink anymore. Dump in the garbanzo beans. Add the tomato paste (or tomato-free tomato paste). Add enough water to cover the beans. Add salt (I use a lot). Cook over medium heat, stirring every now and then to make sure things aren't burning on the bottom. Cook until the garbanzo beans are soft enough to eat and the chicken is starting to fall off the bone.

Service
Serve this in a bowl. Each person can get a drumstick plus some saucey beans. For the kids, I usually take the chicken off the bone and cut it into small pieces and mix into the beans.

This tastes good with a side of a hearty bread, like Breads from Anna (as shown in photo). It's also really good served on top of (or next to a bowl of) rice, if you're not rice-free.

If you have a family of 4, this makes enough for 2 drumsticks each. The garbanzos with the sauce make a nice little dish by themselves too. Serve with some plain yogurt on top for those who aren't dairy/casein-free!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

GFCFSF Breakfast - Green Nose Face!

Another smiley face breakfast. Click on "Meal: Breakfast" tag to see more!

This breakfast is:

1. Two Breads from Anna apple muffins for the eyes (raisins w/toothpicks for pupils)
2. A green apple slice for the nose
3. Two strips of Applegate Farms turkey bacon for the smile.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Vote for Lend4Health!

THANK YOU for voting everybody! Voting has now closed!


My other website, Lend4Health.org, has been selected by a panel of five judges to be one of 10 finalists in the "Designing for Better Health" competition sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and hosted by Ashoka's Changemakers website.

Online, public voting is currently open through May 28, 2009. The top three entries with the most votes will each win $5,000. Winners will be announced on June 1.

There were 281 entries to this competition, from 29 countries. The fact that Lend4Health was one of the 10 finalists chosen is quite exciting!

To vote, you must first register on the Changemakers website. The link to register and vote is: http://www.changemakers.net/en-us/designingforbetterhealth. You will be required to vote for a total of three entries. Make sure Lend4Health is one of them!

Lend4Health facilitates community-funded, interest-free micro-loans as a creative funding option for individuals and groups seeking optimal health. Currently, Lend4Health is facilitating loans for the "biomedical" treatment of children and adults with autism spectrum and related disorders. Other health issues may be included on Lend4Health in the future.

To date, approximately $24,000 in micro-loans has been facilitated by Lend4Health for 40 families pursuing biomedical treatments for their children. Fifteen of those loans have been fully repaid, with money going back to the original lenders and made available for re-lending to subsequent families.

Friday, May 15, 2009

GFCFSF & Egg-Free Breakfast Pancakes

Here is another smiley face breakfast idea. Search on the "MEAL: Breakfast" link for more ideas.

This smiley face is made with:

Eyes: Mini pancakes made with Bob's Red Mill gluten-free pancake mix
Nose: An organic medjool date
Mouth: Apple slices

Note: I make the pancakes using water instead of milk sub (because I'm cheap), and I use Ener-G egg replacer since we're egg-free. When I make the pancakes, I use a 2-Tbsp. coffee measure to pour it onto the griddle. My kids seem to like them small like this. These pancakes kind of puff up, and I use a knife to cut them in half and spread jelly inside, so they're like pancake sandwiches. I make a double batch and freeze them in glass storage containers, then I just pull them out and pop them in the (gluten-free) toaster. Quick and easy!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Enhansa/Curcumin: Week 4

Notes in a series on trying Enhansa from Lee Silsby for my son, 4 yrs. old.

WEEK FOUR

My Dosing Protocol
Day 1: One full cap (150 mg) at breakfast; 2/3 cap at dinner.
Day 2: One full cap (150 mg) at breakfast; 2/3 cap at dinner.
Day 3: One full cap (150 mg) at breakfast; 2/3 cap at dinner.
Day 4: One full cap (150 mg) at breakfast; 2/3 cap at dinner.

Observations

Day 1 (Tuesday): Behavior is great. Area above eyes still dry. Still sneezing a few times per day. Slight runny nose. A few red spots on his torso. Lots of pee in his pull-up when he woke up in the morning.

Day 2 (Wednesday): Pee accidents at school and at home. Some oppositional behavior. Red spots (kind of like pimples) on groin area and on buttocks. Area above eyes still dry, but starting to move up more onto forehead and not eye area. Slight runny nose.

Day 3 (Thursday): Forehead area is dry. Still has pimpley things. Sneezing a few times. Oppositional/defiant. Eyes itchy. Wants wet washcloth again at night for itchy eyes.

Day 4 (Friday): Woke up with lots of pee in his pull up. Upper half of forehead is dry. Belly hurts in afternoon (most likely from blueberry sorbet; this happened last time he had it too). Tired and lack of energy in afternoon.

GFCFSF Breakfast Smiley Face!


Again, the smiley face rules at our house during breakfast time. So easy to do, but the kids never tire of it! :)

In this lovely version of breakfast, we have:

1. Two Breads from Anna maple muffins
2. A peeled clementine
3. A slice of Applegate Farms deli meat folded over

Enjoy!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Chewy, Gooey GFCFSF Brownies (Egg-free and Rice-free, too!)


Since becoming rice-free I haven't been able to use the prepared brownie mixes (like Namaste). This recipe was posted by "danniah1" on the GFCFKids yahoo group, so I tried it. It's really great. My son doesn't like chocolate much, but my daughter likes these in her lunchbox, and I've been sneaking one every now and then for a yummy chocolate fix. My husband says these are "the best brownies [he's] ever had!" These are gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free, rice-free, egg-free, corn-free, and coconut-free.

Ingredients
1 cup + 2 TBSP garbanzo bean flour
1/2 cup + 1 TBSP potato starch
1/4 cup + 1 TBSP tapioca flour/starch
2 cups raw or unrefined sugar (use less if you'd like)
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon GF baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 cup oil (olive, canola, grapeseed, coconut would work)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup GFCFSF chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Pour in water, oil, and vanilla; mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and mix until evenly combined. Spread evenly into a greased 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. (They may need slightly more baking time if you like the brownies a little less gooey inside.)

Yield
I cut these into 24 small brownies (see photo). They are rich enough that one smallish brownie is sufficient. :)

Note
These do get gooey in the middle, but we like them that way. Let them cool a lot before slicing/removing them (if you can wait, we usually can't)! I then freeze the individual brownies in a glass storage container, stacked between wax paper. I eat them straight from the freezer; they are sufficiently gooey enough that they are not rock-hard when frozen. They're just nice and cold brownies. Delicious! Pop a frozen one into a small container and stick it in the kids' lunchboxes. These would work well for a bday party or to keep frozen at school as replacement foods for other kids' bday parties too.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Enhansa/Curcumin: Week 3

Notes in a series on trying Enhansa from Lee Silsby for my son, 4 yrs. old.

WEEK THREE

My Dosing Protocol
Day 1: One full cap (150 mg) at breakfast.
Day 2: One full cap (150 mg) at breakfast.
Day 3: One full cap (150 mg) at breakfast.
Day 4: One full cap (150 mg) at breakfast; 1/3 cap at dinner
Day 5: One full cap (150 mg) at breakfast; none at dinner (mommy was out!)
Day 6: One full cap (150 mg) at breakfast; 1/3 cap at dinner
Day 7: One full cap (150 mg) at breakfast; 1/2 cap at dinner

Observations
Days 1-4: All is good. Behavior is good. No rashes anymore. No itching anymore. Sleeping well. All is good!
Day 5-6: Over-sensitivity, emotionality, aggressiveness has returned. Inside corners of eyes (skin underneath) looks red.
Day 7: Emotionality is gone. He peed in his pants at nap time (this happens sometimes with yeast die-off). The area above his eyes is dry (this is not normal for him).

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mother's Day 2009



Today I had lunch at my son's pre-school. It was a Mother's Day lunch.

I saw my little guy (4 years old; 12/2004) line up on the line, wash his hands and dry them, get back into line, sit in the right spot as he was instructed, and stand up and sing 3 songs with his classmates who range in age from 3-6 (a song in Spanish about colors, a song about the continents, and a song about "I love you"). He sang with a big smile, he knew all the words, and he looked right at me. Then he came over to me when they were supposed to and gave me a huge hug and kiss and said he loved me. Then the teacher called his name to go up in front of the class of 25 kids and moms, get the vase and paper flowers he had made for me, carefully walk it over to me and say, "Happy Mothers Day, Mommy." Then we sat at a little table with a classmate and his mom. He enjoyed his GFCFSF lunch with gusto (lentil stew, Breads from Anna, fresh pineapple, a teff/almond cookie, and water to drink), talked to me, his friend, and his friend's mom during lunch with his butt in the chair and a cloth napkin in his lap, and then he packed up his lunch bag and put it away on the cart. He asked if we could go home and I told him I had to go back to work but I'd get him later. He kissed my arm and said, "Bye mommy!" then went to get a book to read.

Last year at this same Mothers Day event, he had already been on the GFCFSF diet and doing some supplements for 6 months. He was so much improved at that point, but he couldn't follow directions, ran to me when he saw me and buried his head in my legs for the entire time while his classmates sang. He was distracted and acting goofy during lunch, couldn't sit still, and cried unhappily when it was time for me to leave.


**Today was a tremendous Mothers Day gift.**


Some background:
My son was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder in August of 2007. I believe he had autism. His symptoms at that time included alternating diarrhea and constipation with no formed stool unless it was "rabbit pellets," lining up toys, massive tantrums, rigidity about schedule, watching things spin like pinwheels and car wheels, eczema, reactive airway disease (on nebulized Pulmicort 2x/day and albuterol every 4 hours when he caught a cold), sensory issues (hated haircuts, nail clipping, wet clothes, rain, snow, bright lights, loud music), he touched the seams on his clothes obsessively, difficulty sleeping (2 hours to fall asleep with somebody in bed next to him; sleeping on a pile of cars/trains/books), always sick, not responding when name was called repeatedly, no interest in playing with others around him, "reporting" type speech (labeling, not expressive), constant drooling (we put a bib around his neck to keep his shirt dry), muffled/distorted words and unable to repeat new words correctly, very picky eater (tons of milk and bread items), pointing with his thumb, difficulty with/disinterest in eye contact, "empty" look in eyes, shoving food into his mouth then gagging, very low tone, "W" sitting style, separation anxiety, and meltdowns.

Our idiot of a developmental pediatrician (I know now) in August 07 determined after 30 minutes of asking me questions while my son had a massive tantrum & screamed that "He does not have autism because he looked at me once." With our Sensory Processing Disorder diagnosis, we started occupational therapy (OT) right away, then in October 2007 (thanks to a recommendation from Anna Letaw) I joined the GFCFKids Yahoo group and we started the GFCF diet cold turkey. Three days later he started looking us in the eye, asking us questions, and he told me "Mommy, I'm happy."

I gave him basic supplements that I could get him to take (biotin, melatonin, probiotics, carnitine, magnesium citrate, Epsom salt baths, and enzymes) and I treated yeast with grapefruit seed extract (GSE) and bacteria with oil of oregano. I learned everything from other moms on the GFCFKids yahoo group; we never saw a DAN! doctor. I got all our supplements from Whole Foods or Amazon, and we didn't do any tests.

More recently he has learned to swallow caps, so he now is taking biotin, calcium/magnesium, zinc, lysine, olive leaf extract, vitamin c, folic acid, carnitine, probiotics, TriEnza, and (newly) curcumin/Enhansa. I recently did the IgG test and have since also removed (in addition to gluten casein and soy): rice, coconut, sunflower, safflower, tomatoes, eggs, peanuts, peas, and cashews. He sleeps through the night on a chemical-free bed (now without melatonin), plays with toys appropriately, has friends, eats a wide variety of foods, loves to sing and asks me to turn up the music in the car ("I love this song!" he says about each one!). He runs and jumps and plays outside with the neighborhood kids. His poops are formed and regular. He rarely gets sick. He got his first haircut last weekend without any crying, and he asks me to clip his nails when they're long. He's off the Pulmicort and albuterol (although I kept the albuterol for times I think he has had an infraction, he wheezes). He doesn't drool, he looks people in the eye, and there is "life" in his eyes once again. He laughs and makes jokes, he initiates conversation, and he is very aware of what's going on around him. He attends a regular Montessori pre-school and is in the largest class with 30 kids ranging in age from 3 to 6.

Happy Mothers Day 2009 to all you mom's out there! Keep it up!

GFCFSF & Tomato-Free Crock Pot Chili


Chili in the crock pot is great. It's hearty, it's easy, it's nutritious, and it can even be tomato-free. Serve it with corn-free cornbread (a.k.a. millet bread) and you're good to go!

Ingredients
1 lb. beef stew meat (you can cut it smaller if your kids need small chunks)
1 can (organic) red beans, water too
1 can (organic) kidney beans, water too
1 can (organic) pinto beans, water too (I've used white beans instead too)
Chopped onions (I use about 1/3 cup but can use more or less)
Tomato-free tomato paste (amount is up to you, I use about 5 soup spoons full)
1 jar sweet potato baby food (optional)
Spices to taste: chili powder, garlic powder, salt, cumin

Directions
Put everything into the crock pot and mix it up. Cook it on high until meat is cooked and flavors are mixed nicely. Then keep it on low or "keep warm" until ready to eat. Serve with corn-free cornbread!

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COPYRIGHT. All words and images on "Tori's GFCF Blog" (unless otherwise credited) are (c) 2007-2009 Tori's GFCF Blog (http://gfcfblog.blogspot.com).
DISCLAIMER. I am not a doctor. I am not a nutritionist. I'm just a mom who has been implementing the GFCF diet since October 2007 (and soy-free about 5 weeks thereafter). Please do not rely upon my blog as your sole source of information or advice. I only offer my personal experiences for your consideration and can not be held responsible for any adverse reaction or experience you or your child may have should you choose to try something I have tried. Remember that every child is unique, and what works for mine may not work for yours.