Archive for the ‘Our Diet’ Category

Autism Facts

  • 1 in 91 individuals is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined.
  • 1 out of 58 are boys, making it the fastest growing developmental disorder we have ever seen.
  • The economic impact of autism is more than $90 billion and is expected to more than double within the next decade.

The Nutrition Link

Not only has the prevalence of Autism skyrocketed, the rates of asthma, ADHD, and allergies are also growing. One thing that can improve all of these conditions – diet and nutrition. One thing that every child I’ve ever heard of recovering from autism had in common – diet. Some only required an allergy avoidance diet. Others, an allergy avoidance diet plus other nutrition and supplementation, plus therapies. For Jordan, allergy avoidance was the foundation of his diet. We didn’t see anything spectacular developmentally when we avoided his allergies, we had to get super healthy on top of that plus do supplements and detoxing. However, if we hadn’t done the diet (or when it was accidentally broken, everything else we had done (therapies, brain exercises, etc) and the improvements he had made  fell apart.

When I started studying nutrition 3 years ago when our journey with Jordan started, I was shocked to find that everything I had been taught through school, the media and while growing up (such as the food pyramid, milk is a good source of calcium, etc) was flat out wrong. Three things were right. Those three things are…drumroll please – fruits and vegetables are good for you (that’s two). Third, sugar is not good for you! Those are the sum total of accurate things I learned about diet and nutrition throughout all my first 30 years. As I began to learn, the amount of misinformation and conflicting information surrounding nutrition can create a lot of confusion. But after studying, learning trustworthy sources, sources that can’t be trusted, and learning some basic foundational guidelines it became much easier to confidently make truly healthy choices.

To say the least, diet and nutrition are the cornerstones of a healthy body – for everyone, not just children struggling with physical or neurological issues. Next to diet and nutrition (what goes in the body) in importance, is digestion (what you absorb and eliminate). I’d like to invite you to come with me on a journey, sharing some of the things I’ve learned through the research I’ve done to recover Jordan and in my studies to be come a CNHP.  I never know what to share or where to start sharing what I’ve learned, so I’m going to walk through the book, Digestive Wellness for Children by Elizabeth Lipski Ph.D., C.C.N. As I read the first couple chapters I thought, wow, so much of the basics of what I’ve learned the last 3 years are right here, packaged neatly in this book. Of course, I’m not going to plagiarized the book, but each week I’ll review a section of the book and post some highlights, with comments.

So that you know what is coming, below is the Table of Contents. We’ll start slow, in the first 2 1/2 sections and then pick up speed as we make our way through.


  • Our Kids: Overfed and Undernourished
  • Chemicals and Convenience: Consumer Be Aware!
  • A Journey Through the Digestive System
  • Enzymes: The Body’s Workhorses
  • Probiotics and Prebiotics: Keys to Healthful Resilience
  • Dybiosis: An Unbalanced Body Ecology
  • Acid-Alkaline Balance: Optimizing Cellular Function


  • We Are What We Eat!
  • Making The Change
  • How to Feed Your Kids So They’ll Be Happy and You’ll Be Happy


  • Introduction to Part 3
  • Food and Environmental Sensitivities
  • Leaky Gut Syndrome
  • Care and Feeding of Infants and Toddlers
  • Issues of the Mouth, Esophagus, and Stomach
  • Issues of the Small Intestine
  • Issues of the Large Intestine
  • Inflamed or Irritable Bowels


  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Autism
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Diabetes
  • Down’s Syndrome
  • Influenza
  • Migraine

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“Prioritizing the NonToxic Conversion”  (my last posting) spoke of “The Dirty Dozen, the fruits and veggies with the most pesticides. I thought I would go ahead and list them here. These are researched and published by The Environmental Research Group. As I mentioned in my last post, as you prioritize where to spend your money, and whether organic this or that is worth it, I would start with oils, then meats (grassfed), then corn or soy and other genetically engineered or modified foods, then fruits and veggies. But if you bear these in mind, while shopping it can help you decide if the extra cost of the organic foods are worth it. Environmental Working Group even has a handy printable form of this that is a convenient size for the wallet. Click here to go to where  you can download your own copy.  The “Dirty Dozen”  (highest level of pesticides)  

1. Peach (imported)2. Carrot   

3. Pear  

4. Apple  

5. Bell Pepper  

6. Celery  

7. Nectarine  

8. Strawberries  

9. Cherries  

10. Kale  

11. Lettuce  

12. Grapes  

The CLEAN 15  – (least amount of  pesticides)  

1. Onion

2. Avocado

3. Sweet Corn

4. Pineapple

5. Mango

6. Asparagus

7. Sweet Peas

8. Kiwi

9. Cabbage

10. Eggplant

11. Papaya

12. Watermelon

13. Broccoli

14. Tomato

15. Sweet Potato




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I was asked a great question this week, and thought I’d share it and my answer with y’all.


I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the different ways toxins get into our lives and the healthier alternatives.  It’s rather overwhelming as I’m sure you know!  Although I’d love to implement many of them, we are not going to spend a lot of money on it, so I am trying to prioritize what would be the most important areas to change.  For example, would it be better to put money toward things that bother me, like a filter for our chlorinated tap water, or to buy natural body care products or organic foods or replace aluminum cookware,etc?  We may do all of the above mentioned things eventually, but right now I’m trying to figure out if certain things are more likely to be problematic and should be addressed first.   


I totally understand your prioritizing question and went through that myself…still going through that a little.

 The way I determine what to do first is:

1. A balance of cost and benefit, and if it’s one time or ongoing (e.g. Organic foods, substantial ongoing cost vs. replacing aluminum cookware, one time cost. Personally, I’d be tempted to delay organic produce for a bit and save that money to buy a water filter or stainless steel/cast iron/stone cookware).

2. Level of toxins for each. This is hard to determine, different toxins affect people differently. However, in looking at organic foods, you may choose to buy organic apples since they are in the top dozen of most pesticides, etc and buy conventional avocados, since almost no chemicals are used on them anyway. Or replacing toxic surface cleaners/disinfectants (you breath them 24/7 and touch those surfaces a lot) before buying organic bananas (not on the dirty dozen list and has a thick peel which helps some). 

3. Just do one thing at a time, then the next, and before you know it you will have converted most of your stuff. I know it’s easy to panic and want to do it all at once, but slow and steady does win the race. This one is a marathon, not a sprint!

How I would Prioritize Going Non-Toxic:

1. Water filter

2. Household cleaners, laundry detergents, air fresheners, etc (this ranks high – afterall, we have to breath this stuff 24/7, and little feet and hands touch and absorb it. It’s also relatively easy to transition.)

3. Natural body care products that stay on your skin or are cheaper than conventional.

4. Organic oils, meats, eggs. (This could easily be higher on the list, it’s a toss up in my book.)

5. Cookware (replacing aluminum, copper, non-stick and Tephlon)

6. Other body care products and other top priority organic foods

7. Food Storage (replacing plastic with glass)

Explaining My Choices:

 Of these items, a water filter and cookware are mostly one time costs; where body care products, cleaners and organic foods are ongoing costs. So, I would list the one time cost items in order of priority, and do the basic minimums (as money allows) on the ongoing items alongside of that.

Without a doubt, I would get a Water Filter first, and not just a chlorine filter, but one that takes out fluoride, pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, VOC’s (volatile organic compounds, I think) etc. We drink water a lot, it’s obviously very essential to the body. We’re made of mostly water! It’s extremely important to our health to have pure water. There are tons of different types of filters available. Personally, we decided to get a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system that mounts under the sink. It seemed the best balance of cost, purity, and ease/convenience of install and use. The prices vary greatly, as does the quality and most expensive ones are not necessarily the best. We got ours from Costco for around $200. I know Sam’s Club has them too. And replacement filters (every 6 months) run around $50. My husband is quite a handyman and installed it himself, so there was no plumber cost.

 The rest aren’t as clear cut. I would switch to Natural Body Care Products as I used up the conventional ones, and spread out the initial change-over cost over time that way. And, you can do things like switching to natural bar soap instead of using liquid soap. The natural liquid soaps are really expensive, but the bar soaps are cheap and long lasting, so I actually spend less now on soap than I did before I went nontoxic! I do get liquid soap (nontoxic, but not organic) for the kitchen though. And here you really have to think through how you use products and where to spend money. Personally for kitchen soap, it’s on my hands briefly and I wash it right off, so I just get something real basic, not the best. Now lotion, where I rub it on and it soaks in (so some of it ends up in my blood fairly quickly without the slight benefits of filtration through the digestive system) I’m willing to spend a little more. Make up falls in this category as well!

Non-toxic Cleaning Products – I would do this similar to the body care products, where I replaced things as I used them up, and spread out the initial cost that way. Something easy to forget is that most cleaning products have fragrance, the chemical kind, not the natural God-made kind. By far, the majority of these fragrances are toxic (not to mention all the actual toxic chemicals for cleaning in these products), then combine tens or hundreds, even thousands of the chemicals in one product and we spread them around our homes, in every room, on most surfaces where we breath them in and touch them repeatedly. Just think of little feet and hands crawling across a freshly mopped floor (absorbing all those chemicals through the skin), and then sucking a thumb, all while breathing in the vapors! Or wonderfully smelling freshly laundered clothes, covering the body, sitting on the skin 24/7 allowing skin to touch and absorb those detergents and dryer sheet chemicals and fragrances.  Since these impact us 24/7, and they are completely loaded with chemicals (that’s what they made of) replacing them ranks pretty high on my priority list!

 Cookware and Food Storage –  As a  one-time cost priority, I would put it after a water filter. I don’t know about you, but for wedding gifts and hand-me-downs from grandparents and stuff, I got corningware ceramic casserole dishes and glass bread pans, etc. Yet, I totally forgot about the corningware when I went to bake something I had always baked in a 9×9 or 9×13 aluminum pan. I had to realize that it was okay for bread or brownies or whatever to be round or oval and not square. That alone saved some money and let me feel like I could wait to buy alternatives. I’m not always the best at thinking outside the box! That’s baking.

Cookware – fortunately, I had bought a stainless steel set with wedding money when we were first married, so I didn’t need to replace much of my cookware. If you garage sale (or visit antique shops), you can often find some great cast iron skillets and things for cheap – and that can generally go in the oven or on top of the stove! Also, many of these items fall in price ranges where you can put them on a wish list for gifts.

 Food Storage – I would do this after cookware, replacing plastic with glass (pyrex-type).

 Organic Foods – There is such a range here, from eating only organic, to just getting a few things organic, so it’s hard to say, and it can eat up a lot of money. Personally, I’ve come to where I try to get “The Dirty Dozen” organic, and things extra hard to wash (not that washing actually gets the chemicals out of them, but probably does reduce exposure a little) e.g. spinach, lettuce, broccoli; and things close to the same price as conventional e.g. carrots I can usually find organic for about the same price, but if they happen to be way expensive that week and we need them, I get conventional. You can look up the Dirty Dozen – the fruits/veggies with the most pesticides on the Environmental Working Group website (I need to look it up again myself!) Oh yes, and for foods that are mostly genetically modified (GMO) nowdays – corn, soy – I try hard to get those organic too, so that we don’t eat GMO stuff. So, for example, nacho chips (corn) – we only get organic, but Costco has huge bags really affordable.  This area, and how far you can go, is something you really have to decide for yourself.

 Someday, I hope to be able to do more organic (we will soon, my husband is building an aquaponics system in our backyard to grow our own veggies and fish), but for now, we do the most toxin containing foods organic (prioritized in this order): oils (fats/oils are where toxins are stored, so we only get organic oils), meat (grassfed or wild), eggs (preferrably free-range, but at least organic), foods normally genetically modified (corn, we stay away from soy, generally), and the “dirty dozen” fruit/veggies.

My nontoxic carpet spot cleaners! A lemon juice water mix in spray bottles.

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Jordan's first "milkshake". He loved it!
Jordan’s first “milkshake”. He loved it!

I came up with this after not having dairy for 2 years and longing for a milkshake that actually tasted like a milkshake. They are healthy too, so they’re not only guilt-free, but good for you! My husband even endorses them – and he hasn’t been dairy-free! Have I mentioned I love my new Vita-Mix!!

1 C. Hemp Milk

1 C. Almond Milk (or water)

1 Banana (can even be frozen)

2 tsp. Vanilla

3 pks Stevia

1-2 Tbs. Agave Nectar

2 C. Ice Approximately (to thicken to desired consistency – around 2 Cups, give or take. Add slowly after mixing the rest. For Vita Mix users – use tamper to get it thick enough and smooth all the ice.)

Josiah enjoyed the new treat too!

Josiah enjoyed the new treat too!

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"That's my bread"

What does our typical day look like? What do we eat? I’ve gotten these questions many times, so I thought I’d share.

Supplements and Prescriptions Jordan is taking:

L-Glutamine – an amino acid that helps heal the gut wall – 2 times/day.

Digestive Enzymes- enzymes that help him break down his food and absorb the nutrients – every time he eats

Fish Oil – essential fatty acids, Omega 3 & 6 particularly, that make up the cell wall of every cell in the body. Fights inflammation, strengthens immune system, coats nerves so that impulses can communicate correctly, necessary for brain growth – 1 tsp./day

Probiotic – the good bacteria in the body’s gut – 2/day. (Given at a different time than the anti-fungals or S. Boulardii)

Nystatin/Diflucan/or Saccharomyces Boulardii (rotating)- the good yeast in the body’s gut and fights bad fungus – 1/day. Nystatin and Diflucan are prescription anti-fungals. These prescription anti-fungals completely messed Jordan up. He was only on them for 1 month, but he totally regressed, lost all his speech and emotional stability gains that he achieved between December and April. It took us about 10 months to gain back what he lost while on the anti-fungals for one month, it was a hard road and he struggled so much to gain back what he gained so quickly the first time. I pulled him off the program the DAN dr had him on. I retained the nutritional supplements, but no prescription anti-fungals and no LDA shots. I sought out other options and went an all natural route, it’s working great!

FungDx/CanSol (rotating) – all natural/herbal anti-fungals.


Hemp Milk – although a food, I list is as a supplement because I get it in him any time I can because of the Omega fat ratio. It has the good Omega 6’s, not the polluted and damaged ones we are normally overdosing on in the American diet.


OSR – an antioxident that is also a chelator, pulling heavy metals out of the body.



If I were to describe these, most of you would think I’ve completely fallen off the turnip truck, as my Dad says. However, there is no arguing with the results we are getting from them. The theory behind them is to stimulate the body in specific ways to develop the deficient pathways in the brain. These have been assigned to Jordan by his cranial sacral doctor/chiropractic neurologist to stimulate areas that Jordan specifically needs to improve. So at the risk of many of you thinking I’ve lost my mind, here we go.

I hang Jordan upside down by his ankles, swinging him back and forth and in circles.

We “fly”. Jorday lays on my arm belly down and we zoom around the house looking for his blanket (or other favorite toy or pictures) anything to get him to extend his head up and back.

We have crawling races around the living room. (I now have a hole in the knee of my favorite jeans 🙂 )

I lay him on an exercise ball on his back and roll him back an forth and try to get him to reach backward to grab a toy on the floor.

I lay him on his stomach on the exercise ball and try to get him to lift his head and look at things or grab for a toy.

We play astronaut. I pick him up with his back toward my chest and grasp each of his thighs firmly so he’s in a seated position. Then swing him back and forth and – eventually, hopefully, upside down back over my shoulder. Right now he is WAY too scared to go very high, or fast, but he’s improving.

Recently we have added assisting him with doing sit-ups (where I pull him up as he hangs onto my fingers) but he’s pretty much like a wet fish just flopping and not joining in at all and his head lags way behind. We try one and he starts screaming. I pin his feet down and try to keep trying to do them, but we don’t usually get very far.

We have several others sprinkled in that we do occationally but these are the core ones we try to do daily.

We work them in throughout the day, but especially at night before bed time. Our living room is now littered with exercise balls of various sizes and a mini trampoline.



What we Don’t eat:

He is allergic to:

Dairy  – casein and whey proteins and anything that has them in it. Including goat milk. ie: cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream, caramel, graham crackers, most commercial breads, most commercial baked goods, etc.

Gluten – (maybe) – so we eliminate it since the protein is so similar to dairy and can cause other problems in the brain, this includes wheat, barley, and others

Oats – in their own right, not because of gluten cross-contamination

Eggs, Yeast, Buckwheat, Honey, Food Colors, Pineapple, Pear,  Chocolate, Peanuts, Ginger, Gelatin

And a bunch of other things we haven’t identified yet. We’re careful of beef, he used to be very allergic to it.

We severely limit refined sugar. We do NOT eat Splenda (sucralose), or Nutrasweet (aspertame) – both very bad, sugar is actually better.

 UPDATE: As of October 2009, his allergies are beginning to resolve. I haven’t been too brave to try things, but he is no longer sensitive to beef, eggs, or oats (or at least not when he just has them once in a while).

What we DO eat

We mainly eat a whole foods diet. That means food in their whole form, as close to the way God made it as possible. Not processed, or only minimally processed.

Fruits – the ultimate fast food. It takes all of 3 seconds to peel a banana! Blueberries are his favorite!

Milks – almond milk, hemp milk, coconut milk

Organic Oils – olive, coconut, grapeseed

Sweeteners – stevia, xylitol, agave nectar, real maple syrup, (Jordan can’t do honey, but the rest of us do)

Grains – quinoa, amaranth, millet, brown rice, corn

Seeds – sunflower, pumpkin, sesame

Flaxseed –  a great replacement for eggs when cooking and SUPER healthy. I know, it’s a seed, but we eat it so often I listed it seperately.

Nuts – pecans, cashew, almonds, brazil (Jordan refuses to eat these, but the rest of us love them)

Almond or Cashew Butter – we use this all the time. Again, I know it’s a nut, but we use it so much I listed it seperate.

Ghee – milkfat without the protein, organic of course

Veggies – The rest of us eat a whole range, but Jordan eats a couple. potatos or sweet potatos cut, baked, and salted as fries. Corn (I know, actually a grain or starch), tomatos and any veggies mixed into a marinara sauce or salsa. I’m starting to slip things like kale into his morning smoothie. Once in a while he’ll slip something else in, like bok choy or carrot, but that is highly variable.

Herbs – garlic, chives, rosemary, cilantro, basil, oragano, thyme, parsley, cumin – I think that captures the most commonly used. And we use these a lot!

Meats, grass-fed – venison (ground, steaks, chopped, etc), turkey, chicken (only occationally since we can’t afford organic grass-fed) although we do use organic free range chicken broth liberally (no boullion cubes though). We do eat eggs, free range.


Menu Samples

Breakfast Options: smoothies, fruit, special corn flakes (ingredients as follows: cornmeal, grape &/or pear concentrate, sea salt) with alternative milk, or pancakes (made with allowable grains, milk, flaxseed, vanilla powder, etc. Took awhile but I now have a great recipe).

Snack (mid-morning and mid-afternoon): fruit, nut/date bar called LARAbar, fruit leather, rice/nut chips

Lunch: left overs from dinner, fruit, applesauce, pancakes, fries (the homemade baked kind)

Dinner: taco salad, venison burgers, spaghetti made with quinoa or rice pasta, grilled meat and veggies (a grilled rosemary and garlic venison steak is one of our favorites – Jordan’s too), stir-fry over brown rice (specially made sauce of course), vegtable soup, quinoa mexican “goulash” (a creation of my husbands that is a family favorite), turkey & grain meatloaf (agian, a creation of my husbands). To name a few of our current most common meals. It tends to change seasonally and as we find new favorite ingredients.
*Note: according to the boys, “Planes and Paint” are the blue corn chips and avacado & salsa we have with taco salad.  And spaghetti is “Worms and Dirt”.  Our green smoothies are “Monster Juice” and well, if it comes out more yellow, then it’s “Monster Snot”.  Have I mentioned I love having boys 🙂
Drinks: V8 Fusion (great for hiding medicine, but not ideal because of the sugar content), water, smoothies, “milk” shakes, and most recently peppermint tea

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Jordan won’t be 2 for a few more days and Josiah still has 3 weeks until he’s 4, but we celebrated Monday since the grandparents were visiting. What does a birthday party look like without dairy, wheat,food coloring, eggs, yeast, honey, and minimal sugar? Well, it was GREAT! It took a bit of planning ahead of time, and keeping my eye out for something he might actually enjoy. He has yet to eat a gluten-free baked item. He takes one bite and spits it out – even things I consider quite good. So, I happily finish off his blueberry muffins and sweet potato biscuits (they taste like a pumpkin spice cookie/muffin cross!). However, I didn’t go to all that work making these special things for my enjoyment. And, with his birthday fast approaching, what was I going to make for his birthday dessert? And, with grandpa and grandma here, it must be something people with normal eating habits would enjoy too…that’s a tall order. Grandma is known across their region of the midwest for her wonderful homemade pies and other such delectables. And grandpa is a self-proclaimed beef and white potatos man, oh, and don’t forget ice-cream conossier! So, the way we eat here, well, not so much to their liking. But, we have a birthday party coming…so I started with what Jordan LOVES – berries – and went from there.

Just in case the food was a flop, I thought I’d get some decorations this year. We usually do birthdays REALLY simple: normal dinner, special birthday dessert, presents. I pull out the birthday candles that are still in the cupboard from last year (well, actually the last 4 years), and that is the sum total of our birthday celebration. But, this year just in case we didn’t have food to help us celebrate, I bought some balloons, foil stars to decorate the table with, streamers, plates and napkins with balloon on them, and a candle in the shape of a “2” and “4”. Jordan LOVES balloons! And they’re 1/3 of the cost of all the Disney or cartoon character decorations! Ok, so I only spent $7 or $8 dollars for all this, but for us, this constitutes going all out!

Back to the food, particularly, the dessert. I saw a recipe for biscuits that can be adapted for shortcake, so thought that since Jordan LOVES berries, maybe, just maybe, Strawberry Shortcake would work for him AND for everyone else. Although, I had never tried this shortcake before, so you just never know how something will turn out. But it was GREAT! Very delicious! Jordan got half way through his, before he realized he was eating shortcake with his berries. He didn’t spit any out, but must have tired of it 1/2 way through because the rest of his bites, he sucked all of the strawberry sauce off and left the shortcake 🙂 He was quite delighted with his dessert and with getting to blow the candle out!  Even Grandpa had seconds – wow! So here is the recipe should any of you wish to try it. The shortcake recipe is taken from “Special Diet Solutions” by Carol Fenster.


1/2 C. white or brown rice flour

1/4 C. potato starchbirthday-cake-1-15

1/4 C. tapioca flour/starch

1/4 C. sugar (or fructose powder)

1 tsp. agave nectar (or sugar, or honey)

2 tsp. baking powder (aluminum free)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

1/4 tsp salt

1 Tbs. egg replacer (by Ener-G)

Sift Dry Ingredients together.

1/4 C. Casein-Free Butter or Oil-based spread. (I use Earth Balance found in the natural/organic cooler section of our local Kroger. It is gluten and dairy free, but does have some soy.)

Combine butter with dry ingredients using pastry blender, knife to initially “cut in”, or rubbing ingredients together with your fingers.

1/3 C.  of this mix: 1 tsp. lemon juice with enough milk (I use almond milk) to equal 1/3 cup.  (Milk options: almond, hemp, coconut, rice, soy, DariFree mix)

Stir just until moistened. Place mixture on greased baking sheet- I lightly pressed it into a cake pan. Compress it as little as possible! It won’t be very thick and it won’t rise much, if at all.

Bake 425 degrees. 20-30 minutes (depending on thickness and pan used) .



2 quarts strawberries chopped/crushed to desired consistency.

Add sweetener to taste.  (I used a combination of sugar, agave nectar, and stevia. Because I like to minimize our refined sugar intake.) 

I use an opened can to chop and crush the berries (Like from canned peaches or something. Use a bottle opener to puncture the bottom so the air pressure can get out and the berries don’t squirt you).

Refrigerate for 1 hour or more.

Top the shortcake with berry sauce just before serving.

Add ice cream if desired. I used organic Coconut Bliss ice cream (dairy, gluten, soy, sugar free). Very good!!

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