Saturday, November 28, 2009

Why my austistic kid may be better than your autistic kid.

We all think our kids are better in some ways than other people's kids.
But mine truly may be.
Back in the Dark Ages, oh around 1983, my best friend Sherry went to the Dark Side -- yes, she went MACROBIOTIC *gasp*!
Talk about culture clash - I was still smoking at least a pack a day. I woke up, lit up and tossed down a full glass of cool aid with a hand full of cheap vitamins for breakfast. After all, I was a health nut - I worked out at a downtown gym in my shiny lycra tights, leotard and leg warmers every day! I ate vegetables -- if they came with my Chinese take out or happened to sneak on to my sausage pizza.
Sherry came over one day and cleaned out my pantry. And I mean, Cleaned. Out.
She tossed all 'White Death': White flour, sugar, rice, bread, Crisco, salt. She pitched all the rancid oils in my house, from salad dressings to cooking oil to olive oil. All pre-made and boxed foods went sailing into the trash. The freezer wasn't left unmolested, either. Almost everything in there was freezer burned and old. Out it went.
Sherry changed a bunch of people's lives, mine included. I learned that nothing is more important than pure salts, fats and water. Organic meant quality food, with no hormones or antibiotics. Whole grains were the staff of life. Meat was okay as a treat, just like ice cream. And to pay attention to what you put ON your body as well as IN it. Like pure soaps, body oils and shampoo. Simple tooth powder, a crystal salt rock for deoderant. Every day and every thing mattered.
When we got our sons, this became even more important for us. I took the boys to a naturopath doctor, who used homeopathy. She stressed that Ryan could not tolerate dairy, and to be suspect of soy too; to try a product new out from Odwalla - Odwalla milk. It was WONDERFUL - Ryan was by then 8 months old, and we were having such a time with ear infections, diahrrea and vomiting. The Odwalla milk did have soy, but it also had rice and oat milks and fruit. I added flax seed oil to every bottle, and other good things too, like bifidophilus or other remedies prescribed by his naturopath. He thrived. When we moved on to solid foods, I made all his food by pureeing steamed organic veggies, grains and fruit. Our meat has almost always been organic, free range when available.
Then, well, he wasn't meeting progress markers by his 18 month appointment, and we noticed personality changes as well. We started in with intervention when he was 20 months old. He stopped eating anything except yoghurt and crunchy carbohydrates -- but at least we made sure they were organic and whole grain.
I did this because I have known for years that you are what you eat. I knew it was essential to eat good food to have a more disease-free life.
But what I had no idea was that I may have also helped Ryan in his struggle with autism. An author read at a fund raiser that Barnes & Noble hosted for our school. Her book is The Unhealthy Truth and it will open your eyes about the connection between food and allergies, asthma, autism and ADHD in our children.
Tears of anger are squirting out of my eyes reading this book. Even with as informed as I was compared to my peer group, I made some huge mistakes in my children's diets. I can't go back, but I can do better in their lives ahead. And my husband and I will profit from eating better, too.

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