smiley riley

Nutritional Support for Autism Spectrum Disorder

smiley riley

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior. Although autism can be diagnosed at any age, it is said to be a “developmental disorder” because symptoms typically appear in the first two years of life. The number of children being diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum is a quickly snowballing challenge of our day. ASD is estimated to affect over 2 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide. This includes the diagnoses of autism, Aspergers, ADD & ADHD.

While lowering stress, incorporating connection, curiosity and play are crucial in therapy, nutritional support helps create a more receptive environment to the other therapeutic modalities at play. For children with ASD, a nutritious, balanced diet can make a world of difference in their ability to learn, how they manage their emotions and how they process information. Every single person and situation is unique and there are no guarantees, but if you believe your child has the potential for MORE in life, I encourage you to consider optimizing their nutrition.

The first thing to do is eliminate processed foods and excess sugar.

Sugar and processed foods are hard on the system and also feed the candida population in our digestive tract. Candida create holes in our gut (leading to allergies) and produce over 70 different toxins, both factors contributing to an exhausted, hyper-vigilant immune system & a heavy toxic load. They also create inflammation in the body and brain which is not at all supportive of living your best life. If you have enough in your budget I’d also consider adding in digestive enzymes & probiotics to improve the gut environment, support digesting and speed up results.

A special note about food dyes, MSG & aspartame: Most food dyes contain heavy metals (which are highly toxic and very difficult to get rid of once they’re in the body). MSG and aspartame are excito-toxins that literally excite our cells to death. It’s best to keep a close eye out for these as people with ASD are already dealing with a compromised immune system.

After processed foods and excess sugar are successfully removed, you may want to consider removing gluten and dairy to see how that might help.

When gluten and casein (dairy protein) break down in our gut they create properties called exomorphins, which mimic your body’s morphine-like endorphins. They have the same effect on the body as opiates, creating symptoms of euphoria and intoxication. It’s no surprise that the ones most allergic are addicted.  Statistically, about 60% of cases notice an improvement once gluten and dairy are removed.

Dietary changes can be a real challenge for anybody; people with ASD tend to be especially particular about the foods they eat. Start with one thing at a time, keep things low stress, and try and find substitutes for the foods you want to remove.

Remember… Attitude is everything. People with ASD have amazing BS detectors and can see right through your behavior. The best results come when you can remain calm, curious and playful throughout the process. As they say, first let THEM show you the way in, and then YOU can begin to show them the way out.

If you’d like support during this process, send me a message! I can help you learn to identify tricky food labelling, create grocery lists, introduce recipes that compare to what your child already enjoys and much more, helping make these dietary changes a lasting success!

Why am I passionate about helping people with ASD?

Because I can relate. I too am highly sensitive & particular. I’ve suffered digestive, emotional & social challenges from a young age. I have a Holistic nutrition education with 2 years into practice. I appreciate and respect our individuality & have always loved solving puzzles (which we all are) – through curiosity and a deep passion to understand. People generally feel safe and comfortable opening up to me, and I am passionate about connecting with others and helping them overcome obstacles.

Mental Health, Digestion and our Microbiome

It’s now widely common knowledge that our gut microbiome influences our digestion, allergies, metabolism and mental health. We’re also realizing how much our brain can influence gut health.

gut-brain

Imbalances in our gut microbiome can eventually lead to systemic inflammation including in your brain, leading to brain fog, fatigue, anxiety, depression and so much more. Going in the other direction, stress (whether conscious or not, acute or chronic) inhibits our digestive function, leading to nutritional deficiencies and an imbalanced microbiome.Continue reading

Candida: a Likely Culprit to your Chronic Symptoms

Candida LOVES sugar!!

Candida is a microscopic organism that typically lives harmlessly in people. A single-cell organism, Candida reproduces asexually and thrives on some of the body’s byproducts: dead tissue and sugars from food. However, if your inner ecosystem is out of balance and your immunity is weakened, you are at risk for Candida overgrowth. Unless its environment is altered and its food sources eliminated, it quickly monopolizes entire body systems, such as the digestive tract, and causes moderate to severe symptoms.Continue reading

The Global Stress Summit & What I’ve Learned

I’ve been tuning into the Global Stress Summit this week where each day several experts speak on the subject of stress.

I have my go-to resources for how I personally cope with stress (yoga, meditation, immersing myself in nature, a relaxing bath with epsom salts & essential oils) and feel like I have a relatively decent understanding of the importance of managing stress and what can happen when you lose your center for too long, but I’m always interested in the chance to add to that knowledge, since it’s such a major part of disease, and an unavoidable part of our reality. Not everyone experiences stress the same, but everyone does feel the pressure that comes from not having enough time, energy or resources to get everything done.

Here are some gems I’ve picked up so far, happy to share with you for your own experimenting:Continue reading

Carrot & Walnut Dip

As you may already know, most conventional dips and spreads out on the market are packed with things like GMO canola oil, sodium, sugar and preservatives.

With the long weekend upon us and the inevitable appetizers that will cross the table, I wanted to share this carrot & walnut pate recipe I discovered in Ann Boroch’s The Candida Cure Cookbook to compliment your crackers or veggies. The walnut content will also help you maintain sanity during your family gatherings with its high vitamin E, omega 3, vitamin, mineral and antioxidant content 😉

The more whole foods you can get onto your family’s table, the less you’ll be eating packaged options that (let’s be honest) aren’t doing you any favors.Continue reading

The importance of SLEEP

Sleep is just as crucial for optimal health as nutrition and exercise. There are so many important processes going on while you’re sleeping. The way you feel while you’re awake depends in part on what happens while you’re sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health.

Ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems. It also can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others.Continue reading

gut brain mind body

How our brain can influence our gut health

Inside our digestive tract lies the enteric nervous system, a complex web of neurons that links the gut to the spinal cord and brain.

Nicknamed the ‘gut-brain axis’, this connection often guides the instincts we experience deep within the belly. It also means that what’s going on in our stomachs can impact our brain function, and our thoughts, feelings and emotions can influence our digestion (including the amount of bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation we experience).Continue reading

6 Brain fuel foods that help boost mental performance

teenage-brainLet’s face it, we all like to think we are in control. But the truth is, 90-100% of our decisions come from a primal, instinctual and sub-rational (below the level of conscious reasoning) part of our brain. The part of our brain responsible for conscious thought either provides rationalizations for our sub-rational decisions, or acts as an override mechanism that allows us to revise them.Continue reading