SCD Packaged Meals Are Here!  Finally,  A Convenient SCD Frozen Food Option For Kids!

Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could send frozen pizza or chicken nuggets with your child to parties and sleep overs so he or she could eat what everyone else is eating?

I’m so excited to let you know that you finally CAN! Thanks to Cindy Frei and her company Caleb’s Cooking Company,life has just gotten a lot easier for those of us on the SCD Diet. Caleb’s Cooking Company creates pre-packaged frozen food that is all SCD Legal.   It’s fast food that’s not junk food!  What an amazing concept!

It all started about a year after Cindy’s son, Caleb, who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease about 4 years ago, started SCD.  Cindy noticed that although he was feeling great physically, being different than his friends was taking a toll on him psychologically and socially.

Cindy not only wanted to help Caleb fit in with his friends, she also recognized the crying need that exists for kids not only with IBD, but Autism, Celiac, Diabetes and other autoimmune diseases struggling on specialized diets.  She also wanted to help kids experience the amazing benefits of SCD.  She hired Chef Travis Bettinson, who specialized in working with SCD to create recipes for delicious frozen kids meals made entirely of SCD legal ingredients and prepared according to SCD instructions.

For example, all of the products in Caleb’s Cooking Company products are not only grain and gluten free, but are made with no added sugars or preservatives. In addition any legumes used in the recipes are soaked for 24 hours, just as Elaine Gottschall recommended. On top of it all, the chef who works in the kitchen actually making all of the food for Caleb’s Cooking Company is on the SCD Diet herself.

I’ve been touched by their mission – and passion — to help our kids.  Their first foods are a Triple Cheese Pizza, a non-dairy Sausage Pizza, Chicken Nuggets and Pork and Bean Enchiladas.  All the foods are nut-free, and the sausage pizza, nuggets and enchiladas are dairy-free.

My kids and I had an opportunity to sample three of Caleb’s frozen dinners recently – YUM!  My son was thrilled with the cheese pizza, and we gobbled up the chicken nuggets with TesseMae’s SCD-legal honey mustard dressing.  The family favorite was the enchiladas. In fact, my son would eat the enchiladas for every meal if he could!

You can purchase Caleb’s Cooking Company’s foods on their online store and have their frozen food shipped directly to your home. Soon you will be able to buy them your local health food store like Whole Foods or perhaps even Trader Joes. I can’t wait to just run by the store and pick up a quick, easy, gut-friendly meal for my son – and the whole family!

In addition, Caleb’s Cooking Company has created a true SCD community resource on their website. It features a blog written by parents and kids alike, a kids’ forum called Caleb’s Club, so kids on SCD can interact and have fun together, and a nice list of resources.

Thank you to Cindy Frei and Caleb for creating fast, healthy, delicious foods for kids (and adults) on SCD.

Check out Caleb’s Cooking Company at https://calebscookingcompany.com/.

A daughter’s story… How one mother who wouldn’t give up healed her child with SCD and went on to help countless others through her scientific research

Sometimes a true story is more riveting than fiction. The story of how SCD (and GAPS which is built upon SCD) came to be one of today’s most effective interventions for bowel and neurological issues is one of those amazing stories of science, compassion and perseverance.

Dr. Sidney Valentine Haas developed SCD in 1920.  He and his son wrote the book about SCD and used it in their practice.  In 1959, Dr. Haas was 94 and still practicing medicine.  His highly successful diet, SCD, would have been forgotten when he and his son died if it wasn’t for a patient’s mother who kept his remarkably effective diet alive.

His patient’s name was Judy Gottschall.  Up until she was seen by Dr. Hass at age 9, Judy had what she calls psychotic night terrors and ulcerative colitis with chronic, bloody diarrhea.  She had been to countless doctors, and her parents had tried every diet and every medication they could find.  Nothing helped.  Judy was dying.

Judy responded quickly to SCD.  Her night terrors were gone within weeks and her bowel issues started improving quickly.

10 year old Judy 1 year after starting SCD

Her parents couldn’t believe that such a simple diet could save their daughter’s life. Why hadn’t they learned of it before?

Judy’s mother, Elaine Gottschall, wanted to understand how SCD worked.  She completed degrees in biochemistry so she could look at the science of how SCD works, and she wrote the book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle, which has become the definitive source for SCD and kept the work of the Drs. Haas alive.

Elaine’s book has been continuously in print since 1994 and has helped countless people with a variety of health issues.

For the rest of her life, Elaine studied the science of SCD and tirelessly promoted it. Over time, the news of the effectiveness of SCD with autism reached Elaine, and she spent her final years researching SCD for autism and actively supported parents in the autism community.  Elaine died in 2005, but many of the people she has helped keep her legacy alive, and Breaking the Vicious Cycle continues to be published.

Elaine Gottschall is my hero.  If it weren’t for her, my son and countless other people would not have the quality of life that SCD allows.

Check out the 15 minute interview I had with Elaine’s daughter, Judy Gottschall Herod above.  Judy tells her story of recovery and her mother’s real-life story of science and heroism.

Judy Gottschall Herod, now 65 has lived a happy, healthy life thanks to her mom’s persistence in finding a resolution to her health and neurological challenges.

Beth Speaking at AutismOne 2017

Beth will be speaking at AutismOne at their conference in Colorado Springs May 24-28.  Other speakers this year include keynote speakers, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Suzanne Humphries, M.D. as well as top practitioners and activists such as Dr. Arthur Krigsman, Dr. Anju Usman, Dr. Andy Wakefield, and Del Bigtree.

Beth’s talk this year is The Leading Edge of Healing: How SCD/GAPS Can Help Your Child’s Healing. 

In addition, Beth has a booth and will be available throughout the conference to answer your questions and help you learn more about SCD.

Here’s an overview of Beth’s talk which is Saturday, May 27th at 10:30 am:

The Leading Edge of Healing: How SCD/GAPS Can Help Your Child’s Healing

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), and its offspring GAPS, is becoming widely recognized as the diet for children with autism and other GI conditions. Researchers are studying the impact of SCD on children with autism and the Seattle Children’s Hospital uses the SCD for children with GI conditions. Children are having dramatic positive responses to SCD far exceeding the benefits of the GFCF diet alone.

We will discuss why SCD/GAPS works so well and how to quickly and easily get started so your family can benefit from SCD.

In this workshop, we will cover:

  •  What SCD entails and the science behind it;
  • Why SCD works better than gluten-free/dairy-free;
  • What you family needs you to know about SCD;
  • How to educate your family about SCD and to get started quickly and easily.

If you haven’t already registered for AutismOne, it’s not too late.  Register HERE.

Diets that Heal: What is the Difference in SCD and GAPS?

In my last post, I explained why the terms SCD and GAPS are often used interchangeably – SCD is the original gut-healing diet, and GAPS is a protocol built around the SCD diet. Both diets eliminate the same foods (sweet and starchy carbohydrates) in order to starve the pathogenic bacteria that are associated with autism, digestive diseases and a host of other psychological conditions.

I have followed both SCD and GAPS with my son and myself since 2011. In this post, I will explain the differences in the two.

The two core differences in the SCD diet and the GAPS protocol are:

  • The “introductory diets” for SCD and GAPS are both elimination diets, but they are significantly different.
  • Since GAPS is a protocol, it requires several healing strategies that are optional on SCD.

The Introductory Diets: SCD vs GAPS

The introductory diets of SCD and GAPS both work through 6 stages starting with a short list of easy-to-digest foods and gradually adding in other foods. Here are the three key differences in these introductory strategies.

On the SCD intro, it’s nice to be able to have easy-to-digest foods that aren’t soup.

One:  The early stages of SCD and GAPS both recommend healing soups. However, SCD allows other meals besides just soup. For example, with SCD, one can have meals with meat/seafood and well cooked vegetables rather than only soup. With GAPS you get variety by using different meats and vegetables in your soups, but soup is your basic food for a while.

 

Juice popsicles add welcome variety and a bit of sweet to the SCD early introductory diet.

Two:  The early stages of SCD include some sweet foods such as fruit juice, homemade Jell-o and apple sauce. GAPS does not allow fruit or fruit juice until stage 5. I encourage people to follow the GAPS principle of refraining from fruit/fruit juice if possible. However, sometimes the availability of something sweet in the beginning with SCD can make the transition easier – especially with children who are picky eaters.

When we added butternut squash, I felt like I’d been run over by a truck.

Three:  Carbohydrates from fruit and vegetables are the most common contributor to problematic gut flora and yeast issues.   The SCD introductory diet adds in vegetables (and fruits) very slowly allowing you to pinpoint specific vegetables and fruits that you or your child are not ready for.  GAPS allows a large number of vegetables from the beginning which can prevent you from discovering certain vegetables/fruits that you/your child are sensitive to or not ready for.  For example, when we started the SCD introductory diet and added in butternut squash, I felt like I had been run over by a truck.  Had we been on the GAPS introductory diet, I would not have discovered my sensitivity to butternut squash.

The GAPS Protocol

The GAPS protocol includes a number of healing strategies that are all allowed on SCD but not required. Some of those strategies are:

  • Fresh squeezed fruit juice is required on GAPS. SCD allows store-bought, not-from-concentrate juice. Fresh squeezed juice is recommended because it is detoxifying. However, for those who are new on the diet, the extra work of making fresh pressed juice can be overwhelming.
  • GAPS introduces fermented foods (e.g. sauerkraut) from the beginning of the introductory diet. Fermented foods have glutamine which can be powerful in healing the gut. However, glutamine can be neuro-provoking in some people and lead to regressions. I encourage people to be tested for excess glutamine and proceed very carefully if they are going to introduce large amounts of glutamine-containing foods such as fermented foods and broth.
  • The GAPS protocol recommends certain supplements. These supplements can be used with SCD if desired.

 

My recommendation

We have used both the SCD diet (and its intro) as well as the entire GAPS protocol with its unique introductory diet. I found SCD much easier to follow because it allowed non-soup meals and juice/apple sauce in the early stages.  We really enjoyed the fresh pressed juice recommended by GAPS, but I eventually got burned out making fresh-pressed juice multiple times a day.  In addition, the SCD introductory diet allowed me to find sensitivities that we would have otherwise missed.

Soon after we started following GAPS my son developed chronic nausea. I didn’t suspect GAPS to be involved because GAPS is a gut-healing protocol.  It took many months of troubleshooting to bring the nausea under control.  Now that I understand that glutamine can be counterproductive for some people, I look back with 20/20 hindsight and wonder if the glutamine in the fermented foods I used in GAPS contributed to the nausea.

My suggestion is that parents start with the straight SCD diet then add in the GAPS strategies as feasible:

  • Though fruit and/or juice is available during the early stages of SCD, hold off on adding them for as long as you can because they feed yeast and continue to foster a sweet tooth.  You can always add fruit/juice in to help with a picky eater or use them as special treats.
  • Make fresh pressed juices as time allows. Otherwise, simply use SCD-allowed store-bought juice.
  • Get tested for excess glutamine  before adding daily servings of fermented foods and large amounts of broth.
  • Feel free to add in the supplements recommended by GAPS or your health practitioner at any time.

My family has now been using one form or another of SCD and GAPS since 2011.   With this experience, I now take the flexibility of SCD and apply the parts of the GAPS protocol that make sense for us. SCD and GAPS have transformed our lives and can transform yours too.

Diets that Heal: What are SCD and GAPS?

You may have heard of the many children and adults with autism and related conditions who have made dramatic improvements with the SCD and GAPS diets, and you may be wondering how SCD and GAPS are similar and different.  In this post, I will outline how the two diets are similar.  In my next post, I will outline how they differ.

Both of these diets are remarkable in that they have helped children and adults:

  • Resolve digestive problems
  • Improve absorption leading to healthy weight gain (or loss) and in children, growth
  • Reduce/eliminate behavior, learning and mood-related conditions

In a broad sense, SCD and GAPS are the same.  The SCD diet was developed in 1951 by Drs. Sidney and Merrill Haas.   For many years, SCD was considered by many to be the most effective treatment for digestive disorders such as IBD, Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, Diverticulitis and Celiac.  However, with the discovery that gluten is a major contributor to these conditions and the myth that medications can “bring these diseases into remission,” SCD was almost completely eliminated from the medical texts.

SCD — The Specific Carbohydrate Diet

In 1958, Elaine Gottshall was able to heal her daughter’s “incurable” ulcerative colitis with SCD.  As she started seeing this amazing, effective diet being completely forgotten by the medical system, she became determined to keep SCD alive and wrote the book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle, which has become the official guide to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.

GAPS — Gut and Psychology Syndrome

In the 1990s, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride discovered the power of SCD in healing autism after using it to recover her son and other children in her practice.  Dr. Campbell-McBride developed a healing protocol built around SCD.  She called her protocol, GAPS, the Gut and Psychology Syndrome, because she learned that SCD and the protocol she built around it not only improves autism, it also improves psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, learning disabilities, bi-polar, and even schizophrenia.

How SCD and GAPS are the Same

SCD/GAPS allow all healthy forms of protein and fat as well as “specific” carbohydrates.  They eliminate sweet and starchy carbohydrates because those carbohydrates feed pathogenic bacteria in the digestive tract that cause digestive, mood, and behavior problems.  The allowed food lists for these two diets are virtually identical.

Both diets allow certain dairy such as butter, cheese and fully fermented yogurt.  However, most children with autism start with a dairy-free version of the diet because of the high incidence of casein sensitivity in autism and other neurological conditions.  Casein is a protein found in all types of dairy from cows, goats and other mammals.

In addition, both diets have an optional “introductory diet.” SCD and GAPS’s introductory diets start with a small number of easy to digest foods and then add in a new food every 2 to 4 days.  This strategy of slowly introducing new foods is called an elimination diet, and it allows you to watch carefully to determine which foods are currently tolerated.  It will allow you to uncover sensitivities to some foods without the cost of food allergy testing.

Some people choose to start with the introductory diet and gradually move to full-SCD/GAPS.  Others choose to start with full-SCD/GAPS and may go to the introductory diet at a later time.  There are many benefits to the introductory diet besides the ability to determine which foods are tolerated as mentioned above.  The introductory diets also help users to heal faster because the easy-to-digest foods give the digestive system a rest and more quickly kill pathogenic bacteria.

Taylor’s mom described her as “The World’s Pickiest Eater”. As pathogenic bacteria starved, she began to enjoy a variety of healthy foods.

I also find that picky eaters respond very well to the introductory diets because the pathogenic bacteria that are a significant contributor to picky eating are “starved” by the introductory diet.  I find that within a few weeks, picky eaters open up to a wider variety of foods and even begin to truly enjoy healthy foods.  In addition, parents find the structure of the introductory diet helps them overcome their own worries about finding foods for their picky eater because the choices are limited.

We started with the SCD introductory diet and worked our way to full-SCD.  A while later, I wanted to experiment with the healing protocol of GAPS so we went to the GAPS introductory diet and gut healing protocol.    In my next post, I will share my experience with SCD and GAPS and explain the differences in the two.

 

How I Know My Son will Recover from Autism — Fully

Yesterday, I saw a glimpse of FULL recovery!  As I write this blog, tears of joy are flowing!

A little background before I describe what happened:

Five and a half years ago my son, Eli, emerged from autism when we started the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD).  His life and our family’s life was transformed forever.  Within a year, I considered him “mostly recovered.”  At that time, I was certain he would reach “full recovery” soon.

 

It’s been 4 ½ years, and the “full recovery” I thought was just around the corner has not happened.  I have never lost faith.  However, I must admit that I have been weary of working so hard with only a few new improvements in recent years.  It’s like losing a lot of weight but struggling to lose that last 10 pounds.

Since we started the The Son-Rise Program® with Eli 15 months ago, we have started to see those “last 10 pounds” melt away slowly but surely.  But in the past few weeks things have moved more rapidly.  Yesterday blew my mind and brought tears of joy to my eyes.

Here’s What Happened

Yesterday, I had a meeting scheduled to meet with an NC senator with my friend, Laura, and her son, Colson.  Laura, Colson and I make frequent trips to the NC legislature.  Eli has never chosen to join us.  Though Eli loves Colson, an extremely accomplished neurotypical 14 year old, he never chooses to join us for meetings with lawmakers.  In fact, until recently, Eli has refused to do much outside of his comfort zone which consists of our house and our neighborhood.

Yesterday morning, I was giving him the scoop on my plans to be gone to the legislature for a couple of hours – not even dreaming he would ever consider coming.  Then, he asked if Colson was going to be there.  I said yes, then he asked, “If I come would you give me a square of chocolate?”  (It was unsweetened baking chocolate btw.)

I explained that I’d love for him to come, but Colson and his mom have an appointment afterward, so we won’t be able to hang out with them afterward AND he would have to dress up AND he would have to let me talk about his vaccine injury and his autism with the senator AND he would have to make eye contact and shake the senator’s hand.  Normally these terms would have shut him down completely.

Instead, he said he’d agree to my terms IF I would also take him out to lunch afterward at our favorite restaurant.  We had a deal! (He has only willingly eaten out at a restaurant a hand-full of times in the past year and a half.)

I was wondering if this is all too good to be true when he returned to the room in dressy clothes he usually refuses to wear.  OMG!  He was doing it!  He even let me help him comb his hair, and he washed the chocolate (he’d already started eating) off of his face.

It was really happening!

When we arrived at the legislature, I was still pinching myself.  The cavernous halls were extra full with the noise and commotion of a group of elementary school kids and a group of high schoolers.

When we met up with our friends to await our turn with the senator, Eli was relaxed and chatted freely with perfect eye contact.  Laura said that she’d never seen him use such eye contact – even in the comfort of our home.

Then the senator came to get us.  Eli was prepared for a hand shake which he let me coach him on before we left the house, but the senator gave the boys a fist bump instead.  Eli went with the flow and fist bumped him.

After the meeting, Eli shook the senator’s hand and we retreated to a conference table in the hall.   This picture of Eli (right) and Colson was taken right after the meeting with a not-very-friendly senator.  As you can see, Eli was relaxed and not stressed by the meeting or all of the commotion going on in the hall.

We headed over to our restaurant and had a wonderful, relaxed lunch.  Eli told me, “I could tell you were a little nervous in the meeting, but don’t worry.  I could tell only because I’m your son, and I know you well.  You did a great job.”  My heart swelled with pride – not because of the compliment itself, but because he freely gave me such heart-felt, encouraging feedback totally unprompted.

Just a few months ago, the simple act of eating out in a restaurant with me was considered great progress!  Yesterday was so much more than that!

When I got home and received this picture of the boys and saw just how relaxed Eli was in the picture, tears poured down my face.  I had spent the day with a high functioning, neurotypical child.  And to add icing to the cake, last night at bedtime, Eli said to me, “Mom, we had a great day today!”

I know there are still ups and downs on the road ahead, but now I know for a fact that he is capable of a completely neurotypical life.

Want to know more about what’s been helping us move from “mostly recovered” toward “fully recovered”? 

We have continued with the SCD diet for 5 ½ years.  We have allowed in unsweetened chocolate and stevia, but otherwise, Eli and I continue to eat only those SCD foods that make us feel good.  The diet is our cornerstone for every other intervention we use.

We started The Son-Rise Program® from the Autism Treatment Center of America in January of 2016 and brought a Son-Rise teacher, Susan Humphries, to our home for 2 days in November of 2016.  Son-Rise was helping, but having Susan spend 2 days really getting to know Eli and helping us set goals and develop strategies was a turning point for us.

We have 4 wonderful volunteers who I have trained in the Son-Rise method.  They spend cumulatively 16 hours a week playing with Eli using the Son-Rise method.  They go with Eli into his autistic world and with their love, enthusiasm and joy, show him how awesome life can be in the neurotypical world too.

I am forever grateful to Raun K. Kaufman, the original recovered Son-Rise child who is now a recovered adult, for encouraging me to give Son-Rise a try.   Son-Rise and SCD are two of the most effective interventions we’ve tried.

XOXO,

Beth

P.S. The Son-Rise Program® has a friend’s referral program, so if you call them to inquire, give them my name, and you’ll get $350 off of their program.

 

Convenience Foods for Autism Diets

On September 10, 2016, we celebrated our 5 year anniversary of being on SCD!  The quality of my son’s life and the rest of the family’s life has transformed because of SCD.

Today, I’m preparing to send Eli camping with his Y-Guides troup.  I remember 4 years ago when I sent him on his first camping trip.  It was a lot of work to get his foods ready.  We were still eating everything homemade, and it was worth it.

Now, here we are 5 years later, and thanks to years of healing and new foods on the market, there are so many SCD “junk” foods I can send on his trip that he will love.  Other kids will love them too.

Packing foods this year was a breeze!  All of these foods are GFCF, SCD, and GAPS friendly (except for the cheese crisps — we added cheese recently with the help of our NAET practitioner.)

Except for the plain nuts, these foods are all special treats in our house because they are high in carbs, so Eli is totally pumped about having so many treats for his trip.  I’m happy that packing foods for camp has become so much easier over time.

I hope seeing how easy SCD, GAPS and GFCF can be will encourage you to persevere on your journey!

xoxo,


P.S.  A quick disclaimer. the pecans are roasted in soybean oil and the broccoli bites are made with rice bran oil.  I make an exception with these kinds of oil when eating out because they are fats, and fats don’t have the carbohydrates that are dis-allowed on SCD/GAPS.

Autism One — Bringing the Pieces Together

Beth Secosky is so excited to be speaking at the Autism One conference later this month in Chicago.  She’ll be giving away helpful tools for getting started on SCD or GAPS to every person who attends her session.

AutismOne is the world’s largest and most comprehensive annual autism conference and will be held May 25 through 29th in Chicago. The focus of AutismOne is to provide information to preserve and restore health and function to children and families, especially those affected by autism.  Teri Arranga, AutismOne’s executive director, said:  “This is an excellent opportunity for parents to choose from among renowned speakers including many medical doctors and credentialed researchers, in order to increase their knowledge toward helping their family.  The onsite networking and positive energy are empowering and energizing.”

In Chicago, Beth will talk about diets that heal and how to choose and start one that is right for your child.  Following is an overview of her presentation which will be held on Saturday, May 28th at 3:00 pm.  Hope you can come!

Diets that Heal: The Most Effective Intervention You Aren’t Using and How to Get Started  

Success Tools for Getting Started on SCD and GAPS Diets

Diet is one of the most important tools you have to heal the body, but with so many diets how do you choose the right one? Many top practitioners recommend the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) or GAPS diets. Dr. Sidney Baker has said, “SCD is the best treatment that I have found so far for many children on the Autism Spectrum.”

How do you get started on one of these healing diets? In this interactive session, health coach, Beth Secosky, will give you tools and insights to get you started on the diets to improve your child’s health and quality of life – and your family’s too!

This session is all about helping make it easy for you to take action. Learn about:

* The difference between the SCD and GAPS diets

* How to choose the diet best for your child’s healing and health goals

* Overview of the “introductory” stages of diets, including detailed foods lists by stage

* Quick start tools for success including grocery shopping lists, essential kitchen supplies, and more

* Delicious, child-friendly recipes for the introductory stage of the diets (SDC and GAPS)

Health coach, Beth Secosky, will give you the tools to take action so you can more quickly improve your child’s quality of life – and your family’s too!

The 3 Best Autism-Friendly Treats You Can Give Your Child on Halloween

​Is your child on a special autism diet, e.g. GF/CF, SCD, GAPS, Paleo?  If so, you’re probably starting to think about what kind of treats you’ll have for Halloween.  Perhaps, you’re also concerned that the season of candy might bring on a regression.  I will share some of the lessons I’ve learned from Halloween and some specific treats you might want to consider to prevent a gluten/sugar-induced setback.

Several years ago my friend, Laura, and her family who were already on SCD  (the Specific Carbohydrate Diet) went trick-or-treating with us.   At the time we were in denial about our 4 year-old being on the autism spectrum, and we had no idea that the “crazy” diet that our friends were on could transform our son’s quality of life and the rest of the family’s too.

I knew our friends were off of sugar, but I assumed that they would make an exception for their 6 year-old neuro-typical son on Halloween.  (Imagine having the moxie to put your family on an uber-healthy diet like SCD when there is no autism, no Crohn’s, and no other serious health issues.  I am blessed to have had them as role models.  But, I digress from my Halloween tale.)

The kids had a blast trick-or-treating.  Then, we came back to the house, and they dumped their stash on the floor.  What came next blew my mind.  Our friend’s son took 1 piece of candy and packed up the rest and gave it to his dad!  They explained that their son was getting a new toy when they got home.

I couldn’t believe it!

  • How could they deprive their son of his childhood right to gorge himself with candy?  (OK, I knew candy isn’t healthy, but I thought an occasional gorge was no problem.)
  • How could they put their son in a situation where other children are experiencing such joy that he couldn’t partake in?
  • How did they get him to be content with 1 piece of candy as he sat in front of a huge stash?

Fast forward almost 2 years to September.  My son’s behavior has become so severe (including 3-hour violent tantrums) that we can no longer deny his autism.  That September, we adopted SCD, the same diet my friends were on.

By the time Halloween came around 2 months later, my son had dropped 22 ATEC points and the violent tantrums were gone.  My daughter’s severe anxiety was completely gone.  Our quality of life was immeasurably better.  All of a sudden, I totally understood Laura’s approach to Halloween.

My son felt so much better, and the entire family was so much happier that I was not willing to give my kids even 1 bite of sugar.  I wouldn’t risk our newfound happiness just so my kids could have a “party in their mouth” and “fit in” with the other kids.  It simply wasn’t worth it.

So, I had to get the kids on board.  It wasn’t as hard as I expected because I had already taught them about the impact of sweet and starchy foods on our gut flora.  I had also made sure that they were clear that the disappearance of my son’s severe stomach aches and my daughter’s anxiety were directly related to our new way of eating.  They understood that sweet and starchy foods feed the bad bacteria and make them feel bad.

Their knowledge helped, but they were still kids.  They wanted to have what everyone else was having.  I had to sweeten the deal without using sweets!  So, I took a play from my friend Laura’s playbook and let them pick out a really exciting toy.  The deal had 3 parts.  First, I found some recipes for SCD-legal candy.  Second, I let them each pick out a really exciting toy. Third, they would give their candy to daddy so he could put it out in the break room at work.

On Halloween, I held my breath.  Was the plan going to work?

The kids snacked on their SCD legal treats while trick-or-treating.  Check.  Then came the moment of truth.  Would they turn over their stash for their new toy? … YES!  They did it.  They were so excited about the new toy that sat waiting for them when they returned, they ran to their toy and left the candy behind.

I share this story with you to encourage you that you can prevent gluten/sugar-induced regressions by staying true to whatever autism diet you are using – even during Halloween and other holidays.  And, in fact, you can turn Halloween and other sugar-filled holidays into a time for learning profound life lessons.

How to turn Halloween into a teachable moment AND Specific sugar-free treats to offer

Whatever dietary restrictions you stick to this Halloween, you are also teaching your children 3 profound lessons (treats) that will last them a lifetime:

  • The knowledge of true nutrition that will keep them healthier and happier for the rest of their life
  • The idea that they can set and achieve audacious goals (In this case recovery from autism and anxiety) but it will take sacrifices
  • The confidence that they can do what’s best for them even when everyone else is making different choices

I didn’t see the brilliant lessons my friend Laura was teaching her son.  Your neighbors, friends, and family may not “get” what a brilliant thing you are doing either.  That’s ok.  What’s important is that you “get” it.  You see that the profound lifelong lessons of Halloween are true wisdom that we autism parents have the privilege to pass on to our children.  Without autism, most of us wouldn’t know what we know and be able to pass this wisdom on to our children and ultimately future generations.

OK – Enough of the mushy stuff.  I promised you I would share the 3 best treats for Halloween this year.  Here’s what I recommend:

  • #1:  A toy in lieu of candy.

  • #2:  Fruit bars or fruit candy made without sugar

  • #3:  Honey-sweetened candy that is in compliance with your child’s diet.
    • Honey Delights — Pure Honey Candy  (The lemon is yummy!)
    • http://www.wellbees.com/pure-honey-candy-3806.html

I would never wish that autism had impacted my son and our family.  However, the lessons we are learning and the fortitude and strength we are building are truly a blessing.  May your family receive the same blessings.

Epsom Salt and Other Detox Baths Can Reduce Irritability and Even Prevent Meltdowns

Sometimes I find the best remedies for my son by observing what works for me.  I hate to admit it to you but I must be honest.  I can get really irritable.  Ever since I’ve started employing this simple habit, my irritability has gone down a LOT.  I’ve started using it with my son, and he is much calmer too.

Detox Baths Are Amazing!

I’ve started taking 3-4 detox baths a week, and I can’t believe how much calmer and easy going I feel!  I’ve taken detox baths for years, but I had never done them consistently enough to notice how much calmer they make me feel all week long!  I’ve found that my son is much calmer when he has regular detox baths too.

What’s a detox bath?

There are many things you can use for a detox bath.  Probably the most common is Epsom salt baths.  Some parents who are concerned about parasites are giving their children swimming pool salt baths.  I’ll say more about that later.

For now, let’s focus on perhaps the most common type of detox bath, Epsom salts.

Why Epsom Salts Help:

Epsom​ salt, magnesium sulfate, contains magnesium and sulfur, and just as with a medication patch, the magnesium and sulfur in a bath penetrates the skin and provides nourishment that helps us feel more calm and relaxed.

Magnesium:  Many of our kids are low in magnesium (and sulfur).   Magnesium helps with stress, anxiety, and concentration.  It even helps our body regulate blood sugar.  So, you can imagine how magnesium can reduce irritability.

Sulfur:  Sulfur is one of the most common elements in the human body and is associated with many important functions.  For our purposes, sulfur is especially helpful with Phase 2 detoxification of the liver.

How to take an Epsom Salt bath?

Fill your bathtub with the warmest water that is comfortable for your child.  Use ½ cup of Epson salt in your child’s first Epsom salt bath.  Let the salt dissolve and then let your child enjoy playing in the tub.  Ideally, keep your child in the tub for 20+ minutes.

Add Epsom salts to your child’s (and your) bath 1-4 times a week.

Gradually increase the amount of Epsom Salt to 1 or 2 cups per bath.

Where to Buy Epsom Salt

​Epsom salts are easy to find at your drug store, Costco and other warehouse stores.  Buy a large bag.  ​

Why Some Parents are Using Pool Salt Baths Instead?

If your practitioner is concerned that your child has parasites, he/she may suggest that you use pool salt baths instead.  This is because parasites feed on magnesium.  Pool salt, unlike Epsom salt, does not have magnesium and is a better option for children with parasites.

To make a pool salt bath, purchase a 40 pound bag of pool salt from a swimming pool supply store or your hardware store.  Put 9 pounds of pool salt in the bath.  (No, that’s not a typo.  I said 9 pounds!)  At first, I found it difficult to dissolve 9 pounds of salt in the bath.  Then, I discovered that the trick is to swish the pool salt throughout the entire bathtub.  I was just trying to dissolve it at the end of the tub under the faucet of running water.  Didn’t work well!

Your child won’t take a bath? 

If your child refuses baths, try giving him/her a foot bath using a smaller quantity of either type of salt.

Detox Baths are a Quick and Easy Way to Help Your Child Feel Better and Behave More Calmly

Whether you use Epsom salts, pool salts or other types of detox baths, you are going to be pleased to see how much better your child feels and thus, how much calmer he or she is.

Be sure to treat yourself to regular detox baths too.  You’ll feel the difference!