Share your experience, challenges and success implementing the McDougall program with family and children.

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Postby Firefly07 » Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:32 pm

My 3 1/2 year old son has been diagnosed as 'autistic.' It took 3 pediatric specialists, the other 2 said they were sure he was, but weren't comfortable diagnosing him. (Maybe cause I REALLY didn't want them too.) He displays some of the behaviors. He doesn't usually make eye contact, (but he can now, & I'll get to why.) He tenses up & still flaps his hands about, especially when he gets excited. He makes squealing sounds, when excited. He rarely holds still, unless he's unconscious.
He is BRILLIANT. He is very physically driven. He is more interested in appliances & tools then toys, but if he gets to figure out how to operate something new, it doesn't matter if it's a toy or not! He is a very physically driven child & as a result of this & his height, people tend to think he's a little older then he is, except for his lack of speech that is. He understands more conversation then we can realize. He has other ways of communicating, non verbal that is very effective. One of the many words he said around six months of age was "yellow". He recognizes many words, & knows what they represent, like 'umbrella'.
Anyway I guess what I'm getting at is that he has even more specific dietary requirements, or rather, restrictions then most. Gluten is one of the worst things for him to eat. Soy created a food addiction. Of course I had him tested & he wasn't 'allergic' (I knew that, I told them that wasn't the problem I asked if the test could tell me more. I'm not a Dr, I couldn't tell them exactly what.
I sound crazy. I'm not... yet. So no soy no gluten & NO dairy. If I ate food with dairy & tried to nurse him, as a tiny infant it made him very sick. He wouldn't stop throwing up. & I don't buy into "they'll grow out of it." If it made him that sick, so what if he doesn't actually throw up or instantly die, it can't be good for him. I was doing alright with vegetarian diet around no gluten or dairy. tricky, but possible, but NO SOY?! I have been struggling with that. It slithers into nutmilks. it's as insidious as gluten.
No wheat,spelt,barley, rye, kamut & because of contamination risks & a similiar protein, so no oats either.
so far that leaves, rice,corn, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth... I'm sure there are many others I just can't think of right now.
I removed things slowly that I thought were unhealthy, I was raised vegetarian so no meat wasn't exactly a tragedy. I had removed eggs, but I'm feeling less creative now, so some oils & eggs have crept in, just because my mind is going blank.
I can't make regular gluten free bread. I've tried. It's a science, not an art. I'm no a scientist. You could play hockey with that bread & that is unacceptable.
I could make decent bread, oil free & it was still good. Just not gluten free. I've been making quick breads, usually as muffins. The kids especially like pumpkin raisin. I avoid foods i know to be gmo. that means if the corn isn't organic, I won't feed it to them. I'm having a harder time using my cookbooks. The good autistic cookbooks push meat, for lack of anything else. I KNOW better than that. Forgetting ALL the health problems one can expect on a diet of animal meat, an autistic child's digestive system doesn't function as it should, friendly bacteria that should be there isn't there in quantities & ratios it should be. (again can't validate the information, but it makes sense logically to me. gluten is a difficult substance to digest, & if a person's system doesn't work right, wouldn't it stand to reason it couldn't handle a difficult substances? There's more to it than that, but this is already enough to fill a small book.)
I have done a lot of internet research. (as the quality of my vision will attest.) I believe it can be fixed or cured, I KNOW it can be, but I'm not educated well enough, no smart enough to really figure this out & put the pieces together.
Autism seems to be caused by heavy metals. Whether from vaccines or some other source. I can't even get an accurate test for mercury, because a blood test won't give me an accurate reading of what's lurking in his system. I don't know how to find a test that will. I have reason to worry there may be arsenic in our water. The test that indicated 'safe' levels of mercury also indicated larger yet still 'safe' amounts of arsenic. When I can get the funds together I'll have our water tested, thoroughly. I sneak a teaspoon of bentonite clay 1 or 2 a day in a bottle of some kind of nutmilk. Clay is supposed to attract the arsenic, & take it out of his system.
When I can, I get hemp milk, but almond & hazelnut are good too. I've tried to blend up cashew & walnut, but I can't seem to make it smooth enough for him... yet. I'll figure it out somehow. anyways, distracted again.
Some parents seem to have noticed results by putting their children on a vitamin D supplement. The reasoning behind this is that deficient children are more likely to have autism, & boys more so than girls. & the theory goes that even a deficient person has some amount in their bodies & that somehow the estrogen in a girl helps her utilize small amounts of vitamin d. I can't verify this. & I don't know ANYONE who can help me to do so. Of course the way the theory actually goes, vitamin d deficiency is the cause. I don't see how that's possible, but I wonder if vitamin d has some affect on heavy metals or the way the body deals with them? I want to know, if it's knowable. I've heard someone else say that an overwhelming 67% of infants who get jaundice are autistic. Again most that believe there is a connection infant jaundice to be the cause. I see it as a possible indicator. If the body doesn't digest or break things down the way it should, & autistic peoples systems dont... but I don't see how it could be the cause, but again, what do I know?
I want to help my son. Since I removed gluten & soy from his diet. I've noticed significant improvement, & so have the other people in his life. He chatters & makes eye contact. He's able to focus better. When he looked my grandmother in the eye & said "Thank you your welcome," & then gave her a hug, (him initiating physical contact in a non painful form!) she cried.
God gave me a perfect child, something in this world is still hurting him & I have to figure out what it is fix it. & I'm so far out of my depth... I'm frightened my stupidity will prevent him from becoming the person I KNOW he is.
I'm feeling less & less creative. Soy is the most difficult ingredient in any cook book to replace. tofu? I can use mushrooms, or if it's soft tofu, a cashew cream sauce instead... but sometimes I just don't know what to do, especially when I'm replacing virtually every other thing in the recipe. a vegetable I don't have/can't afford, oil, no meat...
I don't know where to look. I finally bought a gluten free cook book only find it loaded with soy & dairy. I got a book using nuts to make loafs & sauces, only to find soy is a HUGE part of it, & I don't know how to replace it...

I'm sorry this is so long. I'm in way over my head. & I'm hoping I can get help here, I need it. Any information you can give will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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Re: Autism

Postby jamietwo » Sat Oct 30, 2010 2:57 pm

Sounds like you're on the right track! That's awesome that you were able to see such a remarkable change when you removed soy.

I don't know if it will make you feel any better, but my son is a strict vegetarian (we eat honey), added-oil-free, gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free, and we limit tomato to his favorite dish once every couple of weeks. Each time we remove a food, we realize how good we had it before. :roll:

We don't drink milk, but if a recipe calls for it or my son wants it on cereal, we make our own. 1/4 cup cashews + 4 to 5 cups water, blended well. We've found it works better to blend the cashews dry, then add a little water and blend some more before adding the rest of the water and blending. We use cashews because they're softer than almonds and we can get away without straining it.

We didn't eat bread for years (used rice cakes or adapted recipes for dosas or chapatis), but I adapted a gf bread recipe that we make occasionally. It doesn't keep long, and we store it in the fridge. For an even-more calorie-dense treat, my son really likes it with a couple of teaspoons of cinnamon, a half cup of raisins, and a half cup of chopped walnuts stirred into the batter.

Adapted from:

GF, DF, EF, SF Bread
1 1/4 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
1 package yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup sorghum flour
3/4 cup potato starch
3/4 cup millet flour
2 teaspoons xanthan gum (or guar gum)
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground flax seeds whisked with 6 tablespoons warm water)
parchment paper

Dissolve the yeast and teaspoon of sugar in warm water. While it proofs, stir the dry ingredients together. Add the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients along with the remaining wet ingredients. Beat by hand until it forms a smooth batter. Preheat the oven to 350. Place parchment paper (don't omit this step!) in a bread pan and scrape the dough/batter into the paper-lined pan. Place in a warm place, lightly covered, to tise for 30 minutes. Bake uncovered for 1 hour. Remove the loaf from the pan and bake 10 more minutes on the oven rack. Cool COMPLETELY before cutting (this is important).

Good luck!
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Re: Autism

Postby jamietwo » Sat Oct 30, 2010 3:00 pm

One more thing. :) I had good results getting vitamin D from the sun - outside during the hot part of the day for about 20 minutes with as much of my skin exposed as possible. I recovered from a D deficiency after high-dose vitamin supplementation didn't change my numbers at all!
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Re: Autism

Postby Concerned » Sat Oct 30, 2010 3:12 pm

I read two books about successful treatment of autistic children - Sonrise and Let Me Hear Your Voice. They are not about nutrition but maybe they will give you some helpful ideas if you haven't yet seen them.
Good luck!
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Re: Autism

Postby Firefly07 » Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:13 pm

Thank you so much for all the information! :-D I REALLY appreciate it! I have a lot of links to look up & books to read, & YAY! a bread recipe to try out!
I'm trying to figure out a way to allow him exposure to the sun without chilling him. It's cold out here. There must be a way... Wow I can't thank you all enough. :cool:
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Re: Autism

Postby Tazi752000 » Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:56 am

One more suggestion.

Concentrate on vegetables. Vegetables can be made very simply and still be delicious. For example last night I made fresh sweet and sour beets, curried sweet potato and lentil soup and stir fried asparagus with mushrooms.

Also rice may seem boring, but there is a huge variety of rice which can be made into different textures and have subtly different flavors. Try sticky black rice, brown jasmine rice and wild rice. Also check out asian markets as you can find rice noodles and other specialty noodles. I've even seen millet and buckwheat noodles there.
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Re: Autism

Postby merriweather » Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:07 am

I don't have any answers, but wanted to give a sliver of hope. My kids had a rather chaotic childhood. Kidnapped by father, then ended up raised by me, but struggle, cause no child support etc.
Any way my middle son did not speak until he was 3. He had elaborate hand signs. Just did not speak. Then when he did it was in complex words and sentences.
When he went to school he was held back because he could not read. Turned out his IQ was extremely High, but the words just slipped around. Guess you would say dyslexic, but I never had money to have him tested.
Any way school was a struggle, but he did graduate.
So how did he turn out. Well, He is a Sargent in the Green Berets. Still gets frustrated with paper work, but is an awsome man. Great father and husband.
Sometimes his wife and I half joke that it is good he has this hangup, or he might take over the world.
Just don't give up. I can tell you are doing so much for your son. You will find the answers you need. Good you realize food has so much to do with it all. Wish our food, and water supplies were not so compromised. Hope the Drs. you work with respect you and work WITH you . We will be pulling for you from here, for sure.
Love is never wasted
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Re: Autism

Postby Julia » Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:21 pm

My heart also goes out to you. You are trying so hard, I am sure that you will help your son be who he really is. I wanted to give you the link to Jeffery Masson's wife who is a pediatrition specialising in autism. She has an excellent website and I believe they have moved from New Zealand to California.

somehow the link didn't copy as one, but just copy it and I am sure you will get there. She has helped many people help their children unlock their doors and come out to be who they really are.

I think this is the most wonderful website. Everyone tries to help and it is such a breath of fresh air when you have no like-minded people as far as health, veganism etc in your immediate vicinity.
Thanks to all of you.

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Re: Autism

Postby Gweithgar » Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:47 pm

I don't have any advice, I'm afraid, but wanted to say that I am very moved by how invested you are in your son and by how hard you are working to help him. He is benefitting so much by what you are doing, probably in ways you can't even see right know. Also, having done volunteer work at a daycare center for autistic children (years and years ago), it is truly amazing how much has changed in the recognition and treatment of autism.

Something for you to hang on to... I have a friend who is autistic. He is also a doctor and a nationally known researcher in cardiovascular issues. Undoubtedly the most brilliant person I have ever known; it is a priviledge just to talk with him. He is also married to a wonderful woman and they have a lovely and brilliant little boy, who, among other things, can whup most grownups at chess. Keep up your great work; it is sooooo worth it.
Cet animal est tres mechant; quand on l'attaque, il se defend
(This animal is very wicked; if attacked it defends itself)
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Re: Autism

Postby Firefly07 » Sat Nov 13, 2010 1:48 pm

Oh no! Tomatoes! He can't have tomatoes now either... Ok, if I understand things correctly. Autistic children don't digest & process many things correctly, & can have what's called 'leaky gut.' I have raised him strict vegetarian. No meat, no dairy... eggs were allowed briefly, till I even replaced those. He has a healthy diet, rice, potatoes, quinoa, organic corn, buckwheat, millet, & beans. Those are what he gets.
No gluten or gluten containing foods, those seem to do the most harm. I know he's celiac, & that severely aggravates autistic symptoms when he'd eat it, (before i knew, now it's 100% gone, & I REALLY try.
Knowing all this, & that his behavior has improved DRAMATICALLY since just the removal of tomatoes. Should I be looking into some kind of chelation therapy? I suspect some heavy metals at play here, diet isn't, & even at it's worst, was vegetarian & diary free. Bad diet isn't the cause... but better diet certainly helps & heals. I'm trying to figure out if it heavy metals or something else can cause leaky gut & if that's what I'm looking at here. If that's what's causing his reactions to food, how do I help him heal? I notice reactions more now because the worst offenders are gone. That means foods that do harm, but not as much become far more noticeable than before, like tomatoes & I can remove them.
If he has leaky gut, & I learn how to help that heal, does that mean that tomatoes, & maybe one day even organic soy, ( gmo is not fit for human consumption, they can use animal & even human genes & they don't tell you what they've done, some potatoes for instance are registered pesticides because of gmo. I can't afford to get everything organic, but I do my level best to avoid anything gmo.) could be added back into his diet? obviously with celiac problems, gluten is out, & I'm not going to destroy him with animal 'food'. But it's been so very long, & I see reactions to new foods, & I don't know what to do. Obviously he's not healing then... is he?
Is chelation something to look into? I realize drugs are dangerous (evil & intentionally destructive for the most part, in my opinion)
I need more information. I'm missing something, something key, but I don't even know what to look for...

I sincerely appreciate all the information you have shared. I am ordering the books recommended via mail order library. Thank so much for your support & the information & recipes :) you have shared. It means more to me than I can say to know that somewhere, people I've never even met, who don't know me or my son, care enough to offer words of encouragement & information.
God bless you all.
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Re: Autism

Postby Firefly07 » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:51 am

Thank you. I have been going to the websites & links, but it takes me some time. I still haven't found their information on chelation from the Generation Rescue, but since I KNOW it's there, I'll keep looking. It takes me 3-6 hours, depending on websites & just how quirky my computer gets, (occasional reboots require) to do what it takes between 30 mins to an hour to do high-speed. good old dial up! It seems much of the information all of you have provided even answers questions I hadn't asked yet! Thank you :-D & I'll read them all more thoroughly before asking for more information, sorry about that! :oops: & thank you again!
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Re: Autism

Postby veggiegal » Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:01 pm

I had to chime in here on this one because I TOTALLY know how you feel! My 5 1/2 year old was born with Down syndrome and at 2 developed autism and then a few weeks later developed systemic juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and life went from hard to harder to OMFG! :o

I, like you have been trying everything I can to help her recover from the autism and the JRA and have had some success and many failures but keep trying and would love to share what has worked and maybe some of them will work for you as well.

I think the clay is a great idea and to put it a step further you can do clay baths. I'm sure you have read about them and normally to buy all the stuff you are are going to pay a ton and just have this huge mess to clean up but I found a great way that is clean and cheap. Go to Walmart and buy the cheapest bag of cat litter. Make sure it is only cat littler and say clay as the only ingredient on the back with no fragrance or anything, should cost 3-4.00! Buy some chunks of ginger and a cheap bag of long tube socks. Fill the tube sock up with the clay and tie it shut on its self. chop up a 50 cent piece size of the ginger and boil in water (distilled or filtered) for 15 minutes and throw away the ginger. Pour the ginger into warm bath water along with the sock and let the water run over the sock to allow the clay to come out. Soak your child in this for a minimum of 20 minutes. The ginger opens the pours to allow the clay to pull the toxins out of the system. It works great and do this 1-5 times a week.

You are right about vitamin D being super important to supplement for 1000 IU a day or like others have said 10-15 minutes daily of sun is the best. I'm sure you know about methyl B-12 being super important for autism.

Another great thing is juicing, carrot apple juice is an amazing one and your child gets the best nutrients and even some protein from it. If you can get 3+ of those a day in it will really detox the body to help the clay work internal and externally even better.

There is an extream thing you can do that I am just now investigating and have done on myself to test it and it is amazing but have yet to do in on my daughter and that is coffee enema's. If you read about Dr. Max Gerson and the book healing the Gerson Way it explains in great detail about detoxing through coffee enemas. It is not inserted deep into the colon only just a inch or so just to release it into the body. It is then held for 12-15 minutes and then released and wow you won't believe what happens. If you have any pain it is almost immediately gone. It cleansed the liver by dilating the bile ducts and allowing toxins to break free and leave through the colon. You must be sure to juice enough to replace any possible lost electrolytes but tons of research shows it to be a safe treatment for detox. I am no expert but again i have tried it myself and wow. I had the worst migraine I have had in years after having to take some antibiotics and within 8 minutes of the coffee being held it was lessening the pain and within just 20 minutes it was gone. Just amazing. I'm sure there are going to be some attacks about this but each person to research it for themselves and then decide. You can watch her videos on Youtube to see how interesting it is.

The therapy is mainly designed to treat cancer but it is also shown to treat all disease of toxicity which in my opnion autism is one. I understand about the soy free thing being a problem I have also done that and have had some success with some recipes that I post on my blog, just pick soy free to see. It is a challange raising a child with special needs and to be strong enough to fight so hard for their health but you sound like you are doing a great job. Please feel free to email me privately if you want to and we can compare notes and help each other.

Good luck
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Re: Autism

Postby judyseelye » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:44 pm

Hello Firefly,

I appreciate all you are going through. My advice is to take it day by day. Dealing with autism is challenging and requires caring support. I hope you can find it. Hang in there. My grandson has a form of autism and I, too, find that gluten and dairy-free baked goods taste strange. I have altered a bit one of Mary McDougall's muffin recipes and submit it below. Also you could try Bob's Red Mill GF Oat Flour. This I have found is the closest equivalent to wheat and white flours. It needs no other additive flours in this recipe. I found it at a health food store and have also bought it at I imagine Whole Foods or a big chain grocer might carry it as well. But, definitely directly from Bob.

Easy Apple Muffins ( I have been making this for years and it is so quick you can memorize it and get it into the oven in minutes!)

apple............1 peeled and dice then put aside.

Into a medium-sized bowl measure and combine well:
Bob's GF Oat flour................1 cup
baking powder.....................1/2 teaspoon
baking soda..........................1/2 teaspoon
cinnamon..............................1 teaspoon

Into a 2-cup measuring cup add and stir well:
Rice Dream Vanilla-flavor enriched rice milk.............. 1/2 cup
Unsweetened applesauce.............................................1/4 cup
Agave syrup........................................................1 tablespoon or more if desired.

Pour liquid in measuring cup into bowl of dry ingredients. Mix sparingly until just combined..............Fold in diced apple.

This is enough for a 6-cup muffin tin. No need for liners in cups.
BAKE: 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

***This recipe lends itself as a base for many other tasty additions. I have used Dole canned pineapple tidbits or chunks to it.

You could also make a cornmeal bread this way by doubling the recipe and using cornmeal (which is gluten free) as the second cup of flour. Also, for a cornmeal bread, double the baking powder.

Other thoughts. Add Dole pineapple tidbits to brown rice dishes and to Quinoa dishes......seems my grandsons (ages 2 and 4) like this a lot. I babysit them full time.

For the apple muffins, I imagine any dairy-free milk would work, I find that the rice milk works best taste wise for me. Also Musselman's apple sauce is particularly good texture wise for this recipe.

Good luck and let us all know how it goes.

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