Friday, December 31, 2010

Simple (Allergen Free) Feasting

I hope that everyone is having an awesome holiday season! We had a very merry Christmas at our house. Eli had the most fun, of course! Even though it has been almost a week, I still wanted to share our simple Christmas meal on my blog. It has just been awhile since we had a holiday by ourselves, and so although it may seem silly, it was really fun for me to orchestrate the whole little meal by myself. The whole meal was gluten free, casein free, soy free, and nearly corn free as well.

We had on the menu, turkey of course, which you can see below the cheesy smiles in the first picture. The turkey was Norbest Tender Timed. Although not quite as preservative free as I would wish, it did say GLUTEN FREE. And by the way, the timer did not work, which I found kind of amusing. I put Earth Balance spread under the skin, as well as the juice from half a lemon, and a mix of spices including paprika, salt and pepper, and dried chopped onions. I meant to also use rosemary, but I forgot. The results really were surprisingly great.

Sides included green beans, carrot sticks, and green salad. Jason loves deviled eggs, so I made them as allergen-free as possible, using only Canola Mayo, (to avoid soy,) French's Mustard, salt and pepper. Eli, our son with autism, apparently hates deviled eggs, so I didn't have to worry about them bothering his system after all. The mashed potatoes had Earth Balance, Rice Dream rice milk, salt and pepper. Of course I made gravy from the turkey drippings, adding just alittle potato starch to thicken. Although Eli is sensitive to yeast, he did have 2 little pieces of his favorite "Sandwich Bread" from page 21 of Carol Fenster's "Cooking Free."

Dressings included Annie's All Natural Roasted Red Pepper salad dressing, Old Nauvoo homemade style red raspberry jam, and of course our favorite Earth Balance spread. We washed the whole thing down with Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Cider. Yum.

Eli had lots of fun with making cut out cookies later that evening with another recipe of Carol Fenster's, from page 239 of the same cookbook.

And tomorrow is a whole new year. The holidays pass way too quickly once they get here!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pigs in a Blanket

This was an old childhood favorite of mine from when I was very young. My mother would chop hot dogs in half or thirds, wrap each little dog in a layer of biscuit dough, and bake. Often she would make the dough, and other times she would get it from one of those refrigerator popping cans, (those things used to startle me every time!)

Lately one of our favorite family dinners at home have been new and improved "Pigs in a Blanket," thanks to the lovely Linda at Her wonderful blog has made feeding my family easier with her easy gluten free, dairy free recipes with natural ingredients. Here is her recipe for the dough to wrap the dogs. It has an awesome homemade taste, unlike refrigerator biscuits. Totally worth the effort. I wish I had taken a picture of our main entree tonight, but of course they always disappear too fast. (My five-year-old loves these!) Tonight we had our Pigs in a Blanket with Hunt's All Natural Ketchup, French's Mustard, Linda's Roasted Red Potatoes, and some green peas.

I have to admit, I have a thing against regular hot dogs. Even if there are those that are gluten free, I have a serious thing against the nitrates that are often in them, and I always, always avoid feeding my family nitrates. At our local health food store called "Good Earth," they carry nitrate-free chicken hot dogs. They are called "Sheldon's Cooked Uncured Chicken Franks." They are all natural, and as such need to be kept frozen until use. They make the best "pigs" we have had so far. I will be on the lookout for other brands of nitrate-free piggies to try out in the future.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Today is my 30th birthday, and so I thought I would share just afew things about me. Be warned, I ramble.

I am currently 11 weeks pregnant with our second child. Our son will be six years old when this baby is born. I guess in the area where we live that is totally taboo. Oh well, every family is different.

It's funny how with our first, I was kind of hoping for a girl just because I am an oldest girl. Now I find myself kind of wanting a girl because of the higher chance of having a neuro-typical child. (Although I don't know if I am well suited to handling little girl drama!)I know without a doubt that however our child comes to us, we will be completely thrilled to have him or her. Although we feel we are taking preventative measures where possible, we are not afraid of autism because it is not an uncharted path for us.

My major in college was art. I have an associates from a junior college and a bachelor's from a university. Although I love creating things when I have the energy, (has not happened much this pregnancy,) my culinary skills are always in much higher, and more practical demand. This is because of the cooking I do for my son's and my own food sensitivities. (Our main ones are gluten, dairy, corn, and un-natural additives and such.) Some days I feel like I am cooking all day long. On the bright side, there is so much information and so many products out there that used to not be available. It is truly a blessing that the work I do maintains my family's health.

I am currently the room mom of the autism kindergarten class that my son goes to. I hope that the "Winter" party goes as well as the Halloween party did. I have to admit I am not quite prepared just yet!

Currently reading: HypnoBirthing; The Mongan Method. Next I hope to read Preventing and Healing Autism by Jenny McCarthy, followed by The Age of Autism. (My understanding is that The Age of Autism is a in-depth look at the link between autism and vaccines. I HAVE to read it!)

I am such a Jane Austen junkie. With my first pregnancy I happened upon the Sense and Sensibility movie with Emma Thompson, 1995. I found it so entertaining and so calming when I was feeling tired and ill with my pregnancy, that I just about wore out that VHS copy. Now I have a DVD collection, and I am hoping to add to it this Christmas! My obsession has also led to reading and re-reading of the books. I love watching and collecting the different versions of the movies because it's so fun to see all the different ways they tell the same story. My husband doesn't really get it, but he gets them for me anyway. :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010


The founder of my faith once said that all minds are 'susceptible of enlargement.' We have had substantial proof that this statement is true as we have seen our son change, evolve, and grow as we have followed the programs/therapies that we have been blessed to have for him.

My husband and I have always tried to be aware of teaching our son to be independent. This is much harder to actually do in practice than I ever thought! Especially when your child has special challenges, helping them to reach that goal of independence in those things that are within their reach is so extremely vital.

As a mom of an only child, I am the first to admit that I do too much for him. Because he is the only one, and because he did not have typical development, I have a hard time knowing what is age appropriate for him. His teachers always have to get after me for not letting him do things for himself. They have even explained to me that this even extends to helping him learn to control his emotions.

His teachers have explained that immediately hugging is not the best thing to do when a melt down happens. The issue here is that Eli cannot have more time main streaming in the regular kindergarten until he can stop having these emotional melt downs. They have told me that he needs to learn to control his emotions on his own, and I know that they are right. I am trying to learn to ask him if he needs a break, or to tell him in a neutral voice that he is ok, and letting him start to calm down on his own before I ask him if he needs a hug. What a tall order for me to fill! I am really trying though, because this is an important step for him-- an independence he needs to gain. How wonderful it is that we live in a school district that is so aware of the needs of autistic children and that is so dedicated to helping them meet these important goals.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Yep, you have been warned. This post is about poop, or more specifically, a conversation I had in a crowded hallway today about poop. What can I say? It is a heart breaking thing, (not to mention gross,) when your child who is 'old enough' to be potty trained is not only still wearing diapers, but every single day having the messy, dripping out, running up the back... I think you get the idea. When another autism mom approaches me with this kind of issue she is facing, I am certainly not above taking about the nasty poop in the hearing of others. I wish that I had had more real people to talk to about my son's poop woes. Needless to say, it meant the world to me to be able to sympathize and offer suggestions and hope.

A little bit of background.... children with autism often have gut issues, such as chronic diarrhea. (The reason why we started going to my son's DAN! (Defeat Autims Now!) doctor is because his pediatrician was not treating his gut and that felt wrong to us. He had no good explanation for the constant loose stools.) Anyways, in my limited and simple understanding, these gut issues stem can from two problems; food sensitivities, and yeast overgrowth. Improving the gut improves the autism symptoms because the gut issues are a part of the autism.

Since my family has been through all of this, I could tell my poop conversation companion some things that I hope were helpful. Her son is new to the DAN! program, and I explained to her how getting the stomach issues under control with the DAN! program improved things with my son concerning the issue we were discussing. I also felt inspired to tell her about how it took us awhile to catch on to Eli's corn sensitivity. He loved to eat corn, straight from the can. It would go right through him. A light came on, and she wondered if his current issues were caused by corn or another food sensitivity. Her son is currently in testing with his DAN! doctor to figure these things out... I wished her luck with all the sincerity of my whole heart. :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Eli has the opportunity this year to receive some extra speech therapy from college students because he is enrolled in one of the special studies sponsored by the university. He does this during school hours with his regular aides attending. One of the college students called me and asked me some questions about his speech, one being, "Does he use any electronic means of communicating with anyone?" Her examples were texting and email. I told her no because he did neither at the time.

My husband, who is very hard on his cell, snapped his flip phone right in half one day last month. We went and renewed our contracts and we both got new phones. While nothing fancy, these phones do open up to the full keyboard. Eli was so sad that he did not get one. He gets to play with my old phone, but what he really likes to do is text on ours. "I message Daddy," he says, when he wants to text. Or, "I want message Aunt." He says this several times a day, and he can text fairly independently nowdays.

Usually the things he writes are not conversational, or really functional. A common one is, "Eli is 5, Adam is 6." We are all very aware of that fact now. One day his aunt texted him back, saying, "Eli you are so cute." "I not cute, I handsome," he dictated to me. Now that is some hilarious electronic communication!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thomas the Tank Engine and lots of Friends

Eli has been having a good time lately watching "Thomas and Friends" on YouTube. He can do this pretty independently once I set him up. I just make sure I am in the room and that I can hear it, to make sure all the things he watches are appropriate. Believe it or not, there are people who think it is funny to post videos of the toy trains bursting into flames. Most of the videos we find are made by children and are completely child friendly. Watching other children play with and make up stories for their trains on YouTube has inspired lots of train playing in our house lately.

This has made me realize that we sure do have lots of the suckers in our home. There are 4 of the plastic battery operated trains, (Skarloey, Molly, Emily, Duck.) They have their own plastic track. There are also wooden trains, which include his first train, a Thomas that he got on his 2nd birthday. They have two tracks, (generic brands,) with more pieces than I care to count. There is also one small plastic track for the die cast trains. There are about twice as many die cast trains as there are wooden trains. That makes a lot of friends.

These toys really are not that cheap, and we were at the time trying to get through college while raising our boy with autism. Recently when I was trying to put my head around why we have so many, I realized that for awhile there, those trains were all Eli really cared about. He did not care a great deal about playing games with us or getting hugs. He did not care about Daddy coming home from work. He didn't really get excited over anything like that, but he sure got excited about looking at trains at the toy store and picking out one to take home. If the new train was not electric, it would also have a bath with him that night and go to bed with him. Although he was not equipped at the time to understand social things, Thomas trains made sense to him and gave him comfort. His play with them has evolved as he has grown in understanding of the world. Now as a five year old, he makes up simple conversations and stories to play out with his trains. He asks me, "Play with me, mom?" And my job is to "be" a train and play out his script with him. :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Singing Baby to Sleep

When my little red head boy with autism was just a baby, I didn't know what challenges he would face in the next following years. I would try to sing him to sleep just like my mom did with me. I enjoyed singing. I had a rocking chair and I thought that rocking my baby and singing him to sleep was the very picture of happy home life. The trouble was, he never did fall asleep when I did this. It never worked. When he got big enough, about 8 months, he started reaching up and whacking me in the mouth when I sat and rocked and sang to him. I didn't sing around the house much after that.

Fast forward about 2 years later, my son is now newly diagnosed with autism and in an early intervention program with the local school district. They were offering a series of lectures put on by a local woman who is a DIR autism therapy specialist. She explained the nervous system abnormalities that lead to serious sensitivities to stimuli. Her example she used was of her own son who has autism. When he was very young, he was always insisting on wearing hats. He also wanted to wear sunglasses everywhere. This was a big frustration to her, and eventually she just took away all his hats and sunglasses because her son had no language to tell her why he needed them, and she was at wits end and didn't know what else to do.

Fast forward five years later, her son is having a hard time in the class he spends part of the day in for inclusion time. (Although he had an IEP, he still spent acouple of hours each day in a regular classroom.) While they sat at breakfast at a local restaurant, she asked him what was troubling him about the class. He said, (and I wish you could have seen how cute it was how she mimicked her son's unique voice patterns,) "Yeah, I have an allergy to light." She asked him what kind of light, and he pointed straight to a florescent light bulb on the sign of a neighboring shop. She later went to the classroom to discover that a bright florescent bulb was right above his desk. She also discovered why he had his attachment to hats and sunglasses as a tot; her son was sensitive to light to the point where too much was painful to him.

This was a huge eye opener to me. What I discovered is that Eli's sensitivity is sound. Shaking a new garbage bag open around him as a baby led to the saddest display of tears; as well as hearing other children cry. It was not sympathy, it was just that their cries pained him so much to hear. The vacuum always caused an unheard of display of fits, even when he was in the opposite end of the apartment, shut in a room with his father. And this is why he would whack my mouth as an 8 month old.

Although I have been mostly out of the habit of singing for years now, I decided to give it another go. Tonight I sat on the foot of Eli's bed and sang him to sleep. It was the sweetest thing in the world, just as if I were rocking a newborn. There was a bustle going on in the apartment upstairs while he was trying to go to sleep. In such cases he usually listens to a quiet CD, but the CD player was having troubles. Eli's autism symptoms are not what they once were, so I tried singing. I sang him a song from "Signing Time," "I'm Trying to be Like Jesus," and "Little One." And off he drifted to sleep. I could not be a happier mom tonight! Singing my five year old to sleep is like filling in a gap that has long wanted to be filled.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Kitchen Gadgets

Here are some recently acquired kitchen gadgets of mine:

manual grain grinder

I bought the hand grinder at the Provo Macey's for $50. Quite a steal, really. Orem Macey's in Utah Valley charges $69 and I heard the Pleasant Grove charges $79. The whole idea was to save .70 cents on white rice flour and 1 dollar on brown rice flour per pound. Quite a significant savings when taking into consideration the price I can buy the rice for in bulk on a good sale. This does take time and some arm, but for the money it is a great grinder. One day I will be getting a good electric model and using this manual one for emergency/back-up purposes.

apple corer/peeler/slicer

I also got this apple/corer/peeler/slicer gadget at the Provo Macey's grocery store. It was just under $20. I am really really hoping to make some apple sauce this year. I used one of these gadgets to make applesauce with a friend years ago, and have wanted one of my own ever since. Homemade applesauce is so very heavenly! Both gadgets are Victorio brand.

It seems as though I blog quite alot about food or related topics. What can I say? I am always thinking about food. I am always planning, cooking, and cleaning, all because of food. It really is the whole aspect of cutting gluten and other common foods, and then trying to eat this way on a shoe string budget. (Or at least as cheaply as possible, while doing my best to get good nutrition down my family. Trouble is, gluten free/dairy free can be an expensive way to eat.) I am always looking for ways to cut down on the grocery budget without compromising fresh fruits/veggies and without making us bored to death of our food. I have looked into several strategies.

Generally, couponing to save money on groceries does not work really well for me. Usually, coupons put out by manufacturers are not for food that we would normally eat, or for what we should on our diet. However, my husband does get sent to work with lunch food that I used coupons on. (He does not have the diet issues of our son and myself and it helps him resist the urge to buy extra snacks while on the road.)

GF/CF mixes are a no go for me. They are convenient, they save tons of time, but really, they are horrid for my budget, (very expensive,) and usually contain one or more of our "eat seldom and with care" list. (Corn, soy, and sugar are among the "eat with care" list.) I do not even buy flour mixes. I mix my own flours. If rice, I grid it myself, too.

Canning is something I have taken to this season. When you know people who can hook you up with free fruit for the picking, that is a great way to fill the pantry. True, it is not the same as eating fresh, but there are many wonderful, tasty, and nutritious things that can be made from my stockpile.

My ultimate solution for our diet/budget situation: eat simple food, and make everything from scratch. Eating simple is for my sanity, our health, and our budget. Making it all myself insures that I know what is in it, and that I am spending even less.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Marker Eposide

I love it when we get Eli new markers. He loves them and he goes through lots of paper as he draws. I have always referred to his drawings as "shapes." That is exactly what so many of them are, which makes them so abstract and wonderful. It is so fun telling him what I like about each "shape" when he brings his work to me.I honestly do not even encourage representational drawing much at all.

One evening I was away from home and I got back just after my husband and Eli had gotten to bed. This is what the refrigerator looked like. I stood there in awe of Eli's little gallery! I was so inspired, (and maybe a little jealous!)

This "mural" Eli drew in the corner above his bed is completely gorgeous. What awesome use of color and space. (Of course, I can't tell him I think it is beautiful and I regret that he will have to wash it off with me because those are the terms and conditions of wall writing in our house. I still love it.)

I am interested to know what these drawings mean in terms of his development. I know for his age it is not normal for so many of his drawings to be non representational. However, I feel that his use of space is advanced. I am going to look into this more and hopefully discover more about my son's unique abilities.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Personal Hair Dresser

Eli had a wonderful weekend. That is not to say that we did not have our moments. (I think when I woke up to the bathroom flooding this morning was my favorite part of those moments. Not. What can I say? I guess he will be a five year old boy.)

Eli has just been so happy. His tummy has shown no signs of bloating. He feels well, and we can see it in is smile. Today in church he sat on my lap and pretended to be my hairdresser, whispering to me about color choices, giving me a little trim around the bottom edges, and I think he said something about staples and glue. (!) Good thing it was pretend!

After these last few years of working on healing his gut, I think we may be at a good place now. That is not to say that he does not have bloaty days. There are times when we are not careful enough about his diet, (meaning that we have had times when we don't realize that too much GF yeast bread would make his belly bloat, and other similar instances.) The true miracle is that his belly will go back to normal on it's own in time when we go back to normal diet. I can't explain how huge this is. I feel such gratitude that I can't express.

On Saturday a man we met at the park said to us, "He is just a bundle of love, isn't he?" He just found Eli so very friendly and sweet. I hope I remember that forever.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Garden Veggie Zucchini Casserole

So much zucchini! I have even let the squash bugs have at it these last few weeks, and we still have so much. Here is dinner idea that I have been using throughout this plentiful season.

It all started with some ideas I gleaned from "The Classic Zucchini Cookbook" by Nancy Ralston, Marynor Jordan, and Andrea Chesman. In this book they describe how to make "Born again Zucchini." For this dish I use this same idea, also incorporating potatoes. I also found some great tips on baking time.

There are no measurements. I never measure when I make this.

First, slice thinly clean potatoes, zucchini (small to medium size,) white or yellow onions, and tomatoes.

Place the zucchini and potatoes in a bowl, toss in 1/2 to 1 teaspoon coarse salt. Let this sit for 15-30 minutes, and afterward drain and blot dry with towel. Now you have "Born Again Zucchini," (and potatoes,) with less water in the squash, it is much more recipe ready.

Next, stir and coat pieces in a prepared tomato based sauce. This is where you can really customize to your own taste. Personally, I start with a pizza sauce base, and start stirring things in. Here are some ideas I like to add:

minced garlic
finely grated cheese (I use soy)
dried sweet basil leaves

Stack the coated veggies in glass pan, adding here and there a slice of tomato and onion. Here is a picture of mine all ready to go for the oven.


I like to spoon whatever sauce is left over the casserole.

Bake at 350 degrees. The trick I have learned is that the typical 45 minutes to 1 hour used for typical like dishes is not enough for this special veggie dish. An additional 45 minutes or so is needed to really caramelize the veggies. (Always keep an eye on the oven, of course!)

I have even made this in a dutch oven outside my back door with tasty results. :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


My journey with autism in my family has taught me to look at earth conservation in a new light. I believe that many of our current epidemics that effect our children, (such as severe allergies, asthma, and autism,) are brought upon us by the environment, or our lack of care for it.

Here are some creations of mine that I have been running around town in over the summer. These are both made out of recycled fabrics. Now that the summer is sadly over, I just need to make me some recycled goodness for cooler weather. :)

This one I call my hippie skirt. It is made from old flare jeans and linens.

denim skirt

This skirt has been so fun and cool to wear in hot weather. It is made from old t-shirts and cotton jersey linens.

t shirt skirt

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Bakery and Autism

I think that parents of autistic children will all agree that life gets a pretty through overhaul in the early years after your child's diagnosis. I was just reflecting on this as I was washing dishes, which pile up so quick due to all the GF/CF cooking done in our house.

One marker of these drastic changes that I have identified with me personally has to do with my job: bakery clerk. I have held several different positions in several different bakeries since I started as a sophomore in college ten years ago. It has been my job while my husband and I have been going to school and raising our son. Most frequently, I have been on the night crew, because those have been the hours I have been available. We manage product, provide customer service, and most of all, we clean. Boy, do we clean. I currently this position for the time being.

When I meet someone new and I mention my job for the first time, I regularly get asked, "So, do you decorate the cakes?" This occurs almost without fail. I do not blame them one bit. It is that bit of nostalgia that goes with special custom cakes. Weddings, birthdays, bridal/baby showers, etc. We celebrate them all with cakes.

I do know how to decorate. My college degree is in art, and so the creative element has always had a draw for me and I have made it my business to know how. However, being a cake decorator is a position I have never held. My availability for my job with college and family has never allowed it. I used to think that the circumstance was really one of those "too bad" things. I used to really want to be a decorator.

I have done many, many custom cakes for people over the years in my job. I have pictures of cakes I have made for family members. One summer I made two wedding cakes, one for my sister, and one for my sister-in-law. I even remember once watching a video on youtube of someone using fondant to ice a cake. The next day there was a fondant wedding cake order to do, and the decorator needed help, and so with my new knowledge I got to help her. I could not have been prouder.

Interestingly enough, I have recently found that my feelings on the subject have changed a great deal. It is all a direct result of all the changes these early years of my child's diagnoses has had. When I think about being a decorator and spending all that time with the cakes, I think, "Ice hunks of gluten with gobs of trans-fat? No thank you!"

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Growing Experience

My husband and I decided that this year we were going to grow a garden if possible, for several reasons. First, we wanted wholesome veggies that we know the source of. We wanted to learn to be more self-sufficient, and we thought that learning to do this kind of work together as a family would be great for all of us.
The fresh, wholesome veggies have been great. It makes us feel so good to feed this food to our little son because we know that these veggies we grow are not adding to any toxin burdens he has. Oh, and our garden is not done. We are are looking forward to more, and looking forward to putting some up.

We were given a little lot next to our apartment to use for the season. We are so grateful! This garden was started from seed. The first picture was taken afew weeks or so after planting. The picture of Eli and his grandma was taken just last week. Notice our reuse of shopping bags... we have tied some to the tomato cages in hopes of scaring the deer away who have discovered our garden. :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Zucchini Pile

Thanks to very prolific plants in my garden, I have been watching a pile of zucchini grow on my kitchen counter over the last two days. Tonight I set out to find a remedy. I currently have this library book called "The Classic Zucchini Cookbook" by Nancy Ralston, Marynor Jordan, and Andrea Chesman. I may need to purchase this book and keep it forever. I discovered this way easy sweet little starter dish that I had tonight next to a baked potato. The version here has been modified, of course, to fit our special diet and tastes. I have cut out the measurements, too, because I didn't use them. I am gaining a whole new appreciation for zucchini.

Zucchini Pizza Bites

medium sized zucchini or summer squash, sliced into rounds about 1/4 inch thick or a bit thicker.

olive oil

well seasoned pizza sauce (One of my favorites is muir glen organic pizza sauce.)

finely grated cheese alternative (I use vegan gourmet brand, it is a soy cheese that is casein free.)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Brush both sides of zucchini slices with oil and arrange on baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Roast for 7 minutes, or until slices are just tender when pierced with fork.

4. In small bowl, stir grated cheese alternative into pizza sauce.

5. Spread spoonful of sauce on each zucchini slice. Return baking sheet to oven and roast until sauce is heated through, 2-3 minutes.

6. Serve hot. :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Joy in the Journey

The subtitle of my blog reads: Being a parent of a child with autism is a journey to have joy in.

In case you are wondering, no, I do not look at autism disorders with rose colored glasses. I have lived with autism in my life since 1992, and with a brother and now a son with autism I am pretty well aware of some pretty ugly realities that can come into a family where there is a child that has autism.

I started blogging about autism at a time when I needed a positive affirmation to see regularly. The year I turned my blog into the autism journey blog was a year of loud displays of grief on my part, (that my son did not even respond to,) and waking up most mornings to find that while walking from his room, my four year old son's diaper had dribbled poo all the way down the carpeted hall.

When people ask me "What is your son's special skill?" or, how about this one: "So is he good at math?" I stare at them, and then when I realize they are waiting for a response, I stumble to give one. Popular culture only teaches the public about the very mild side of the spectrum, so unfortunately they really have no clue.

It has really been a hard journey in many respects. It was two years ago that we started biochemical intervention with the DAN! program. The first year was rough, but we did see some change. This last year has been MIRACULOUS. Between the medical interventions and also a very wonderful preschool program he enjoyed over the past year, which included ABA, we are at a very happy place.


To define my joy in the journey: it is PROGRESS! Making huge sacrifices on our parts and seeing progress on his, has brought us so much JOY!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Summer Activities

These are some pics of some outings we have had this summer.


Hogle Zoo: comparing his size to the apes

These were all so fun! The zoo and Children's Museum were both in Salt Lake and both class field trips with his school. The zoo wore me out, it was so overstimulating for him that most of the time he was just running around everywhere. Once he wore himself out alittle, he really enjoyed looking at the animals.


On a hike in the canyon with Daddy

Hiking is something we are working with him on this summer. We would like for him to go on short hikes with us. Here you see his dad had to pack him out. Next time we will let him play in the water at the falls, and that will give him some hiking motivation!


Children's Museum

The Children's Museum was really nice. He loved the activities there that involved large soft blocks and cranes, water, balls, and digging. This was alittle easier than the zoo because it was in a more confined space. (And yes, he was wearing a bright orange vest so he would be easier to keep track of.)

Soon his summer program at school will be over, and I am compiling some fun educational activities for him to do for the rest of the summer locally and at home. Please let me know if you have ideas! I will post mine. :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cool Summer Salad

The other day I had a need to develop a recipe for a "summer salad" to share at a potluck. This was the result. I was very happy with it. What a great allergen-free treat that is nice and cool-- great to have on hand in hot weather when you're craving ice cream, popsicles, and jello!


Healthful Pineapple-Orange Gelatin Salad

1 box Knox unflavored gelatin (1 oz, 4 envelopes)
1 can frozen Dole juice concentrate, Pineapple Orange Banana flavor
2 tablespoons sugar or honey
3 cans mandarin oranges in mandarin orange juice, (not corn syrup,) 10.5 oz each
1 can pineapple tidbits in pineapple juice, (not corn syrup,) 20 oz each


Prepare juice as directed on frozen juice can package. Open cans of fruit and drain juice into prepared juice, (optional.) Use prepared juice to prepare 1 recipe “Fruit Juice Knox Blox” on the back of the package of Knox gelatin, cutting knox blox to 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch squares instead of 1 inch as package directs. (Gelatin will take 3 hours to set in the refrigerator before it is ready to cut.) Scoop little blox into bowl and stir in drained canned fruit. This recipe is way versatile. Experiment with your own juice and fruit combinations, or try embedding fruit in the gelatin. Your family won’t even know it is good for them!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


This situation happened afew months ago, and I am still shaking my head in disbelief. The school district where my son attends has a psychiatrist. As part of assessing him for the next school year, we had to go in and see her. She spoke with us, and then observed Eli. She did not interact with him, or test him, and she was speaking to us most of the time he was in the room.

Diagnosis: Eli has autism and also has a hard time focusing.

She was waiting for the word to write on her little pad a prescription for him.

Daytrana, she said, was a ritalin patch. It is easy to control the dose and when he gets it, she says.

I have to admit, I was alittle taken in at the time. My husband was rightfully skeptical with the whole idea. At that time, for afew months there, Eli was getting frustrated extremely easily. I looked back on how I took ADD meds through college, but we said no thank you at this time. I discussed this with my sister later who said, "Ritalin?! I had some of that, never took it because I hated the way it made me feel."

Holy cow was that the slap in the face I needed. I remembered the similar meds I took when I was in high school and then college. I could focus on everything, right down to the way the girl's shoes in the front row didn't match her outfit. However, I felt like I was watching a show or something. I felt like I could not interact with the world around me. Do not even get me started on the "let down" effect. I could never do that to my son, my little son who does not even have the words to tell me that he feels strange.

Now that I have discovered that my inattention can be taken care of in large part by nutrition, I will never be on attention meds again.

Now just months later, Eli's general frustration level has gone down. He has been bringing home raving reports from school, without the aid of Daytrana.

I have to say that I am very concerned over the whole episode of the school psychiatrist, and I fear for families who may not be aware that ritalin is one of the most overly prescribed drugs in the whole nation.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Moving Up!

While we always have our ups and downs, things with Eli are generally moving up and it has been way exciting. Yesterday he brought his weekly note home from school saying that he followed almost all the directions and had only 4 minutes of non compliance during the previous week. (That is down from anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes.) Yipee!

He has been saying more small sentences. "I don't like it," and "No bath today," were two of the more recent ones I remember. So like a boy! And they were used functionally, too. The "I don't like it" was in reference to a shower, which he liked once he got in, of course. He had been watching Signing Time the day before, and it is so visual, I think that is where he learned that one.

He is just growing in understanding everyday, and "What is that?" is something I hear just about everyday!

I read a blog post yesterday that I thought was great. She really got it right on! Read Chef Penny's post here: Our Crazy Adventures in Autismland

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The GF/CF Lunchbox

I had a really wonderful opportunity last month to teach a little class about food sensitivities. I shared our family's stories, (see food sensitivities part 1 and food sensitivities part 2,) and demonstrated some really delicious chicken recipes that we have run across and found helpful with our son. One of the moms that was there asked me what I put in my son's lunches that he takes to school. I had a couple of ideas ready, and I thought I would post them here, along with afew other things I have sent him with. Some of these things will seem odd, like the pasta with peas stirred in, but since this is the main way that I can get green things down him, I take advantage of that, for sure. Every child will tolerate different things of course, but I hope that this list helps some parents out with ideas.

* I should probably mention that my son's lunches are more than just GF/CF. They are also corn, soy, sugar, additive, preservative, and coloring free.

Special things I make for his lunch

brown rice or Lundberg's brown rice couscous cooked in veggie broth, salted, with peas added
rice flour tortilla with filled with flavored re-fried beans
chicken nuggets (recipe adapted from

Leftovers from dinner
making extra dinner is a great way to have an easy ready made lunch

chicken soup made with rice
tortilla soup
stir fry
brown rice pasta (he won't eat spaghetti sauce, so he gets earth balance spread on his noodles with salt added, often with green peas or mix veggies stirred in.)

things I add to above listed main courses

apple slices
green beans
green pepper strips
all natural potato chips
GF/CF muffins
GF/CF crackers (homemade 'fake' graham crackers or store bought rice ones)

I'm sure I am forgetting some things... I will add as I remember. I always send my son with his little klean kanteen full of filtered water as well as a healthy "suits his system" meal.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Potato Starch Caper

We use potato starch ALL the time in our gluten free baking as opposed to corn starch. Our local health food store is called Good Earth, and we can buy potato starch there in the bulk section. When we buy flours/starches in the bulk department, I always worry that the flimsy little bags will get holes. I am happy to be creating less waste, and so I am just careful with them and normally we don't ever have a problem.

One day recently our little Eli was helping us shop at Good Earth. He had a child sized cart that the store provides, and he was pushing our items all around the store. When it was time to put the items up at the check stand, he had to do it unassisted. (He is going through a big "I do it myself" phase.) That was fine, until he decided to grab all three of our bulk flour bags at once. Two of them made it to the check stand, and one of them made it to the floor. The potato starch bag broke open, sending it all over the floor, and even on the black boots and the bottom of the pant legs of the woman in line.

I explained to the checker that our son had made a mess with a flour bag while trying to help, and I apologized to the poor woman in line. They were all really nice about it. It was cleaned up in no time, and we got another bag of potato starch. The woman in line was making comments about how cute our son is and seemed completely cool with everything. That is when the checker asked me if the woman was my mother! I don't know what she was thinking, but I guess the woman was about 30 years my senior and was being extremely nice about the whole thing.

"No, just a poor woman we covered in potato starch," was all I could say!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Food Sensitivities part 2

Last summer I was ill. The ache in my stomach was constant, although sometimes it was just a "dull" ache, and sometimes more stabbing. Often I was very tired. I didn't seem to have the energy to do much of anything.

I went to a specialist that calls himself "The Gut Whisperer." After moments in his office he ordered a full endoscopy procedure. I think the gallon or so of nasty stuff I had to drink was the worst part. It was hard to keep down. After the whole thing was over, he told me that it looked like possible celiac disease, so he would send the biopsy he took to the lab and I would see him in his office later to see the results.

I went home and for the next week or so I tried to avoid gluten. I thought I felt myself starting to get better. Imagine my shock when I went in to see "The Gut Whisperer" again the next week, and he says that the results of the test were negative. I told him about my dietary experiment, and he said that "non celiac gluten intolerance" may be the cause. He did not seem to think that eating gluten free was a good treatment method. He sent me home with a recommendation for probiotics and some little pain pill prescription, and the advice to "eat whatever I wanted."

I was so confused. I did not want to put a band-aid on an inner wound that he would not seem to fully acknowledge. I went home angry and drowned myself in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that caused me to spend hours in bed that afternoon. That is when I decided to ban gluten and "The Gut Whisperer."

I ate gluten free for months, and I was mostly doing great, but I started noticing those little crampy aches at times. I was starting to suspect dairy as the cause.

It was at that time that I heard some interesting stats from friends. (Of course I do not have sources for these, they were by word of mouth, but they made me think.)

-45% of people with celiac disease also have a dairy intolerance.

-People with celiac disease are 40% more likely to have a child with autism.

As mentioned in Food Sensitivities part 1, my son did an allergy screening, and I decided to do the same.

My results were practically identical to my son's!!!

The exceptions are that he has strawberries and celery on his, while I had cantaloupe show up on mine.

Now Eli and I eat mostly the same. (Gluten free, casein free, banana free, peanut free, and as much corn, soy, sugar, and additive/coloring free as possible.) I have to say that I am feeling the best I have ever felt, and I am thinking so much more clearly. When I say that I am thinking more clearly, I mean that my ability to control my focus is improved. I have had trouble with attention my whole life because of ADD.

ADD and autism appear to be related genetically in many families, and in this case I would venture to suggest that in my family the relationship has to do with food sensitivities.

I think that this little "discovery" of mine is NOT an isolated event. While many parents are aware of their child's food sensitivities, are they having themselves tested for the same food intolerance? It would be a good idea. On my new diet, I feel empowered with greater energy and focus to help my son recover, and I wish that for other parents, too. Oh yeah, and I also urge parents to take a lesson from my experience and find the right professional to do the testing, like one that actually believes in food sensitivities and offers alternative allergy therapy for long term treatment.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Pablo Picasso once said,
"Art washes away from the soul
the dust of everyday life."


I love this quote.

I think that at least for me, the word "autism" and "art" are interchangeable in this quote. My son with autism always forces me to look at life in a new way when we are are going about our everyday things. It is very "present" and usually very creative. In the "present-ness" of the way we experience life together, there is no dust collecting.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Food Sensitivities part 1

When my son was 2 and 1/2 he received his diagnosis of autism. I remembered that when my brother was little he had behavioral reactions to many types of foods that could be quite severe. (Hence the inspiration for my story, "The Chocolate Effect.") I found an allergist and took Eli in. I wanted to know what foods we should be avoiding. The traditional allergy test revealed nothing. The blood test to look for celiac disease revealed nothing.

In the meantime, Eli's pediatrician was calling me. He was concerned about my plan to ease Eli onto a GF/CF diet by eliminating milk to see if that improved his symptoms. But as good as his intentions were, the same man who could not give me answers about my son's diarrhea was calling me in the evening to tell me that my son needed milk. Looking back, the irony of it is kind of maddening.

We became confused as to what to do. We dedicated ourselves to trying our best to eliminate preservatives, additives, and colorings as much as possible, because what little we did know at that time told us that these things were burdens on his little body.

One year later when I discovered the book, "Changing The Course of Autism" by Dr. Bryan Jepson, things became much more clear. We were converted to biochemical intervention and we found the DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) Doctor in our area. It was easier for us to make the change to gluten free/casein free with our new knowledge and with the support of a health professional on our side.

After Eli had been GF/CF for a little while and we had addressed some of his gut issues, we had an allergy screening done. It was anything but the traditional model. This time, it was a test using a little electric current, and it showed sensitivities right on a computer screen. As far as foods go, we got these:

-food additives

For a good part of a year now Eli has been getting Low Dose Antigen therapy for his sensitivities. It is just a little injection he gets at the clinic about every 2 months. While we limit his intake of all of the items on this list, gluten, milk, peanuts, and additionally preservatives, additives, and colorings are always avoided in his diet.

It's been truly wonderful to have some answers and to see him improve and enjoy life more.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Melatonin is something that our bodies produce to regulate our sleep patterns. People who have autism often have insufficient levels of melatonin in their bodies. One of the first things that we did when our son was diagnosed with autism was put him on a nightly little dose of melatonin. When I finally got my hands on Changing the Course of Autism by Dr. Bryan Jepson, I saw that melatonin was one of the suggested biochemical intervention treatments. I thought, Oh good. We are already going something right.

We were both working at the time and my husband was going to school full time. We were desperate to solve the sleep disturbance issues that Eli had that went along with his condition. He was constantly getting up in the middle of the night and staying awake until the wee hours of the morning. We were so tired!

We got the idea of using the small dose of melatonin from my mother. My brother with autism has been using melatonin most of his life, and without it his sleep is very disregulated. We started with a quarter of a milligram dose and worked it up by small increments night by night until he was ready to go to bed half an hour after taking it, with his regular bedtime routine, of course. In the beginning I think he only took like one tablet each night, which was half a milligram.

Looking back, I realize that the smartest thing to do would have been to consult his doctor. The problem was that his pediatrician, who was really quite good, knew little about autism. He could not tell me what to do for Eli's diarrhea or other symptoms. He did know enough to recognize some of the autistic behaviors in children and send us to get a diagnosis, and for that we are ever so grateful.


We like the Nutrition Now Melatonin. We like it because:

-It is in a chewable peppermint tablet
-It is easy to split with a pill splitter
-It is in a half milligram dose, which makes it easy to give only the littlest dose needed.
-Nothing artificial and no gluten, milk, or soy

Nutrition Now used to sell their own products on a very nice site and with great service. Now it is only available through supplement distributing companies. The site I currently use is HerbsMD.

I am providing this link for some friends who have asked to have this address.Click here to go to the Nutrition Now Melatonin listing on

Disclaimer: As you may be aware, I am not a medical professional and I am not qualified to give medical advice of any kind. I am providing this information for my readers as a piece of our autism journey.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Eli is 5!



After having a bit of technical difficulties, it is so great to be able to post a couple of pictures of Eli's birthday from earlier this month. He was so excited about his birthday this year. I wrote it on the calendar for him, and he showed everyone that came to the house his birthday on the calendar.

Eli read a book about Thomas the Tank Engine's birthday about a week before his. He decided that because Thomas had balloons and silly hats for his birthday party, that he needed them for his birthday party, too.

The desserts we have for birthdays at our house always require a bit of planning. Usually we avoid sugar for him like the plague, because his stomach is so sensitive to it. For birthdays among the three of us, however, we make an exception for small portions of the birthday treats for him. They are always GF/CF, of course.

If you were looking at his cake closer and right-side up, you would see it is a homemade cake with a simple glaze that was baked in pan the shape of a simple train engine. I found the recipe for his cake in my cookbook, "Cooking Free" by Carol Fenster. The recipe is called "Apple Spice Cake." I chose this one because it was lower in sugar than the other recipes I saw. Of course, like always, I made it my own way by eliminating walnuts and raisins and adding a small can of crushed pineapple. EVERYONE complimented us on the cake, not just my sister in law with celiac! It was moist and yummy! We served it with Bryer's all natural vanilla ice cream and we had a small serving of Berried Treasure sorbet from Ben and Jerry's for Eli.

Another fun thing we did for Eli's birthday was take him to the arcade. Yes, that was major over-stimulation, (he was jumping up and down excited!) but he had a blast and had no melt downs. Here's a pic of his dad helping him play skee ball for the first time. We played everything, even air hockey, (where he would score on himself and then say, "I did it!") Near the end he had singled out the racing games as his favorite. Some of them were car racing games and some were motorcycle ones. That's my five year old. All boy!

Eli's birthday was a reflective time for me. When my husband and I got married, we figured that by the time we had a five year old we would probably live far away from our college town, own a house, and have more than one child. In our family we are constantly reminded that life simply does not always happen the way we plan it, and it is ok. Life is much more like a journey than it is a destination, and we have so much joy in that journey together!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010

I Have Been Published

A new, local online magazine has published an article on my work in it's March edition. It is about sustainable fashion and how autism is my motivating drive to create it. To see the article, click on the link below and go to page 22 of the magazine.

Thank you, Rebecca, for allowing me to be a part of this and for helping me spread the word!

Click here to see Provo Orem Word

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dear BYU Psycology Department

Dear Dr. Mikle South,

Hello, my name is Celeste. I am BYU alumni and a Giant Steps parent. I attended the presentation that you and your students put on for the parents of the Giant Steps Preschool several months back. I was impressed with the work your students presented. You mentioned that as part of your research you meet with many parents and note their concerns. I have felt since that time a need and a desire to express to you some things about my journey with autism.

I have lived with autism in my family since 1993, when my brother with autism was born. Now I am the parent of a Giant Steps student. For most of those 17 years when my brother was growing up, I believed that autism is a neurological disorder only and that education is really the only thing that could help a person with autism. After my little son was diagnosed I studied a book called Changing the Course of Autism by Dr. Bryan Jepson. Dr. South, this book was revelation to my mind. I explained the behaviors and phases of my brother over all those years, and also the ones that were emerging in my son. Now I believe that autism is a disease of the body greatly affects the brain. Meaning, persons with a genetic tendency slip into autism when their bodies cannot cope with all of the toxins that enter it.

Since the summer of 2008 my son has been seeing Dr. David Voss at the Freedom Medical Center who treats his condition medically. My son eats gluten free, casein free, and usually sugar free. He is on a variety of dietary supplements that are closely monitored by his doctor. The results over time have been eye contact, communication, and awareness. Giant Steps has of course accelerated his progress even more. This biochemical intervention program is difficult to do, but it is much easier than having a child who is more severely autistic. When I am in a group of Giant Steps parents and they talk about their children’s different troubling behaviors, (such as screaming, running away, and making family life difficult in other ways,) I usually find myself thinking, “I grew up with that, and my son used to be just like that, but not nearly so much now.”

Unfortunately the compilation of research that Dr. Bryan Jepson presents in his book is a bit sparse. There are many gaps and many topics that need more looking at. There is no research whatsoever touching this program from psychology professionals as far as I am aware.

And so Dr. South, it is my plea that If you have any students that are at all interested in pursuing this area in their graduate studies, please encourage them. More substantial research in this area from a department such as yours would do a world of good, not only for children with autism in Utah , but for people with autism everywhere.

Thank you very much for your work in support of Giant Steps. I am very appreciative of what you and your students do.

Celeste Jean

This is the email I sent to Dr. South today. I know it is a bit presumptuous. However, here in Utah we have one of the highest rates of autism in the entire country, and I feel that this professor and his team of graduates have a great deal of influence. Already they do research that justifies to the minds of lawmakers the funding of the Giant Steps Preschool.

Yes, I am hopeful enough to think my small efforts could make a difference in his student's studies. At the least I know I will receive a short, kind reply. I have met Dr. South. He is a nice, fun loving guy. (This is the man who held a free drawing for candy bars at the above-mentioned presentation meeting. LOL!)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!


This is a very recent picture I took of Eli with his beloved teddy dubbed "Pink Heart Bear." Eli picked him out at a Macey's grocery store last February. I was surprised that he picked out the one with the most pink on it. He has never been huge into stuffies, but he still loves this bear a year later after all the different ages and phases he has been through.
It all seems so ironic considering his most recent 'like' is Spiderman. :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Earth Balance Spread and Veganism

For awhile we were using ghee as part of our son's gluten free/casein free diet. Now we have found what we feel is an even better alternative. It is Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread. The cheapest place to pick this up in Utah County is Sunflower Farmer's Market. As compared to ghee, you get much more for your money.

*gluten/casein free
*varieties include a soy-free option
*completely vegan


I admit, the vegan aspect of this product is a big draw for me. According to The McDougall Plan, by John A. McDougall, M.D. and Mary A. McDougall, the higher you are on the food pyramid, the higher the amount of fat-soluable contaminants your food will contain. For example, the grains on the bottom of the pyramid will have the lowest amount of contaminants, while the breast feeding child on the top of the pyramid will have potentially the highest.

Concentrated contaminants can be avoided to a large degree by eating vegan. Another more current book on this subject that is very popular is called The China Study. I personally haven't read this one yet, but I plan to in the near future.

My family and I do not eat vegan, but since learning more about the health hazards and also the markets promoting meat and dairy products, meat has become much more sparse in our home. It is used once in a while for a flavoring, not as a main course. As for dairy, Eli does not eat dairy, and products like Earth Balance make limiting dairy so much easier for the rest of the family.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Current Eco Friendly Obsession

My journey with autism in my family has taught me to look at earth conservation in a new light. I believe that many of our current epidemics that effect our children, (such as severe allergies, asthma, and autism,) are brought upon us by the environment, or our lack of care for it.

Here is my current eco friendly obsession. It is housing built from shipping containers. Steel shipping containers come to us in the form of imports. Once we take out the goods, these shipping containers pile up... it is simply not cost effective to send them back. Architects and builders are latching on to the idea of using them as building material. Here are a couple of links I found while searching "shipping container house" on Google. The photos on these links are great.


I made a little preliminary floor plan sketch based on 40' by 8' foot containers, using the method of just laying them on some type of leveled ground/foundation and cutting rooms between them. (And windows and doors, etc.) The really lovely thing about this type of building is that additions are easy to add as your family grows. The containers are all made the same and this makes them easy to stack.


I have all kinds of ideas for my container house should I ever have the opportunity to build one. The containers would be in a semi circle shape, which would shelter a green house that is glassed in the interior. Imagine, garden fresh organic vegetables in the winter! We would use salvaged and refurbished cabinetry, and sustainable bamboo flooring. I am sure there are so many other eco friendly things that can be used to make the container home very comfortable. I just haven't thought of them all or researched them all just yet.

Friday, January 22, 2010

School AGAIN?

This morning I looked in on Eli when it was time for him to get up. I thought I saw his little eyelids blinking, so I said, "Eli it is time to get up so you can get ready for school." As I walked down the hallway I heard him say, "Again?"

I laughed all the way down the hallway! Since I have only heard him say the word "again" only a handful of times, I wasn't 100% sure of what I heard. I went back to his room where he sat on his bed rubbing his eyes.

"Did you say 'again' because you are getting up for school again?" I asked him. "Yes," he said. He has a field trip today, so I told him that he was going to go to the fire station today and see the big fire trucks. I asked him if that sounded good. "Yes," he said, and he got up to get ready for school.

And I am still laughing....

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Toxin Tip and Canaries

When you are looking for the answer to a troubling question, and then you find it, you feel like it fits and you have a clarity of mind that tells you that you have found what you are looking for.

When I was in high school I did a research project on autism because I wanted to learn more about what made my brother the way that he was. At that time the sources I ran into said that the occurrence of autism was 1 in every 800. Just last month I was informed by an Autism Speaks representative that the Center for Disease Control has come out with a statement declaring the occurrence to be every 1 in 97. What an astounding difference! Even if the sources I read in high school were a decade old, and even if you account for better awareness and diagnostic methods in the medical community, there is still a ginormous increase that demands the question of "why?" Why is there a greater occurrence of autism today?

Dr. Bryan Jepson explains in his book, Changing the Course of Autism, that persons who become autistic have a lower toxin tip genetically. The increasing toxicity of our world, (plus medical interventions such as heavy metal containing vaccines,) causes toxin overload on their bodies. Because of their lower toxin resistance their body cannot deplete these toxins, causing autism.

Jenny McCarthy, while not a medical professional, had an interesting analogy in her book, Mother Warriors, that medical professionals specializing in autism use. Miners used to take caged canaries with them in the mines, she says, because the canaries were more sensitive to the lethal gases that could lurk in the mines. When a canary started having problems with the air, the miners would leave the mine quickly. In the sense that they are more sensitive to our toxins, and in the sense that they react first, the precious persons in our lives with autism are functioning as our canaries.

So why does cleaning up our earth matter? I think I just answered that question. In addition to the joy and wonderful abilities they bring to this world, our children are trying to show us what to do. Despite their communication challenges, this message could not be clearer. Let's listen, please.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Pizza Recipe

This is our favorite pizza recipe. It is gluten free and yeast free, which is important for Eli's special diet. I am also gluten intolerant, but unlike Eli I do eat some dairy products. Usually I will cut one third of the pizza off after the first bake, before I put the toppings on. Eli gets the third with no cheese and Jason and I eat the rest.

Modified from "Pizza with Easy Tomato Sauce," page 153 of The Kid Friendly ADHD and Autism Cookbook by Pamela J Compart, M.D. and Dana Laake, R.D.H., M.S., L.D.N.

1 1/3 cups garbanzo bean flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil
1 1/3 cups water

Blend all ingredients thoroughly, beating for two minutes. Cover pizza pan with parchment paper. Spread out the dough using a wet spoon back. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Take it out and add sauce and toppings. I use Muir Glen Organic Pizza Sauce. (It is sooo yummy!) Bake for another 15-20 minutes. It will brown very well around the edges.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year!

Dear readers, thank you for a great 2009!


What a great goal raising awareness is for the new year. I love this necklace that my mother gifted to me for Christmas. It is true that when I wear it I am forced to tell curious people why I am wearing a puzzle piece charm around my neck, but really that is the beauty of it. It really is a pretty effortless way to raise awareness.

I am excited to continue my blog into the new year! This month marks my one year of blogging about my journey with autism in my family. My primary goal was to share resources with other parents, because I know how maddening it is to try to find out what your child needs when he/she has autism. I hope I have been successful in making the search easier for someone else this year. This blog has also also been a good outlet for me to voice my frustrations, AND to share some of my JOYS!

My journey with biochemical intervention started when I read "Changing the Course of Autism" by Dr. Bryan Jepson. After all the numerous experiences I have had with autism over the course of my life, autism finally made some sense to me when I read this book. I knew then that my son was meant for the DAN! program. I will forever be indebted to Julie of the Etsy for Autism Street Team for recommending this book to me. I have seen incredible improvement in my son's health and skills over the past year. Explaining it all would fill volumes, and I hope to continue to share the journey in 2010.

Best wishes to you all in the new year!

-Celeste Jean