Mixology #1 Clean Up the Diet and Environment

In my former life (before autism hit us head-on), one of my many jobs of youth was bartending.  I learned many valuable skills from this profession that have benefited me greatly in the journey of autism.

Eating Gluten FreeFirst and foremost, I am a master mixer across the board for my son’s programs.






Directly after Kaden’s regression into “autistic-like symptoms” I embarked on my research journey.  Months were wasted asking the “professionals” for help and guidance-all to no avail.  I quickly learned I was on my own.

It was another mom who actually sent me down the correct path, giving me information, sources, facts and support.  I will be forever grateful to her for her compassion and determination:  she constantly assured me that I could do it, my son would get better, and that I wasn’t crazy.

I had the honor of watching her son recover, seeing daily progress as our children attended the same preschool.  In awe, I watched him heal and he lost his diagnosis the summer before kindergarten.

I paralleled my strategies to hers, researched and implemented her basic “while you are on the waiting list” plan.

Number 1: Clean up the diet and environment

There are simple strategies you can use without doing any testing.

Keep a daily log, watch for behaviors, reactions, symptom signs.  If you keep this log you can start to see trends, and take the cues from your child as to things you may need to remove from the diet and the environment.  Always keep in mind that certain reactions will be immediate and others can be delayed. I still utilize this strategy to this very day.

For example, if Kaden ate a banana he would immediately start walking along the wall in our hallway looking at it out of the corner of his eye and flap his arms. This would escalate to running from one end of the room to the other hitting the wall at each end. If he had bananas as a snack at preschool he would walk the fence line for the entire recess.

Once I removed bananas and alerted the school to this fact, this behavior stopped. The same holds true for environmental toxins. I noticed that every trip to the grocery store caused stress, anxiety and eventually meltdown.  I tried an experiment that I highly recommend to others:  go to the grocery store and stand off to the side out of the way and close your eyes. You will realize how overwhelming it truly is—the noises are at various levels and haphazard.  Now, open your eyes and take in the bright lights and blazes of color as people stroll or dash by you.  It’s sensory overload on so many levels.

Now put yourself in your child’s body and think about how it makes him feel. We all have those certain things that make us meltdown:  fingernails on the chalkboard, the sound of Styrofoam, a cat screeching, etc.

Arm yourself with knowledge, try to make sure you go to the store at an off-time so you won’t subject your child to the abuse of “aisle rush hour.”  Normally, stores are cleaned at night so try not to go first thing in the morning-let the toxic chemical fumes dissipate before you tax your child’s already overloaded system.

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Bring something for them to fidget with, to occupy and distract them. Let them help you by placing items in the car, and use the excursion as a learning experience:  practice ABC’s and 123’s, learn food group, etc. Always make sure you have basic detox in place as well.

This is practical for home and the school environment as well. Try to use non-toxic cleaning and personal care products and organic bedding if possible.  Talk with your school about the cleaning products, pesticides and soaps that are being used in your child’s environment. Put a provision in the IEP if you have to. We are lucky that our current school is very aware of Kaden’s sensitivities and calls me if they are going to be using any pesticides, fungicides or special cleaning products due to rampant illness in the school environment.

The main objective is not to re-tox when you are doing everything you can to remove toxins.  The cleaner the diet and environment, the quicker your child will get better.

Being the mixologist that I am, I researched all areas. From my daily log book I would “Google” symptoms to narrow down possible causes.  The immediate reactions and symptoms were easy to track; it was the delayed reactions that eluded me. I wrote down every single thing involved in his day. Every food, everything that entered or touched his body was recorded and trends emerged from this process as well. This should be something you do every day- no matter how “recovered” you feel your child has become.

For me, this type of tracking led to the following correlations:

Dairy=ear infections

J & J body wash and pampers=rashes

Bread/crackers=exploding stools and loss of sleep

I did it-I kept the logs, tracked the symptoms, removed the offenders and my child got better. I DID IT!

Never second guess the “mama bear gut”- it is the one power we all have in common. Every education level, economic status, age or for that matter gender (I have a lot of friends who are fathers of children on the spectrum that have acquired the “mama bear gut”) has this ability. We just have to learn to listen to our gut.

No matter the stage of your journey, newly diagnosed to veteran, these strategies can be implemented. DIY I have found have been the most useful in my experience. Happy trails and I hope these examples have been helpful. Please leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions.

Next week I will continue my mixology reasoning regarding treatments.

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