Category Archives: digestion

School of Life: Undoing the Mundane Routine

As a kid, I refused to wear jeans. From the ages of 9-13, stretchy pants were IT for me. It was a comfort thing, mostly.  I’m ultra sensitive to the touch of scratchy fabric. Still. But,  I also  needed to express my differences. I spent most of my days just on the outskirts of the “in” crowd, and was totally okay with it.  My husband grew up expressing his differences in the ways lots of boys do. I’m not at liberty to spill exactly what that means. But,  somewhere in our charts de destiny — we have been dreamily aligned to raise a “different” child.

But, believe me — we didn’t set out to do anything outside the “norm” when it came to starting our family. We did the doctor appointments, the pampers, the birthing classes. Soon enough, that fizzled though. And, even before my little Dougie’s health began to decline — he was showing us that he was destined for something more.

When it came to schooling, at first we opted to have him evaluated  for special services through the Chicago Public School system. It took them over a year to complete their evaluation, and by the time we had our  first IEP meeting — his label of “severely autistic” was obviously invalid. He was healing through Body Ecology, Raw Foods, and the energy healing and sensory work that we do at home.  Still,  we took the label in hopes of getting him more education.

Dealing with  the red tape, “autism specialists,” and trudging through the snow to get my child to one hour of speech therapy and occupational therapy each week was draining on him.  After one year of speech therapy, he never talked for his teachers. And, just preparing him for the trip was hell on us. He tantrummed and begged not to go.

When I observed Dougie in class, I noticed all of the distractions present in the public school. Bells ringing, intercom going on and off, other teachers walking in, teachers stopping to discipline other kids and more.

We tried private school and absolutely loved their routine and core belief structure. But, then there was the price and the fact that Dougie still wasn’t THRIVING. By this time, we took lots more care to teach him at home.

Teachers were telling me that I should be worried that he wasn’t talking. I thought, “how could he talk when his gut is a mess?” He was healing, and all of the “teachers” and “authority figures” around him were trying to put information into him, and make him do things.

But, Dougie needs to express things, let go of things, be absorbed in positivity, live out loud. Dougie needs to be free. He knew from the start that only I understood that, and I think that’s why he chose me.

I remember being reminded over and over how important it is for children. “especially those on the spectrum” (ugh “the spectrum”… sheesh!) to have a  strict routine. Yeah, I see how that can help settle an overactive mind. We all crave structure for balance. But, that sure doesn’t mean commanding your children to do certain things or be a certain way.

Our Daily Structure is Important to Us

My goal is to get out of Dougie’s way so that he can thrive without having to depend on me forever. I don’t want him fully dependent on a specific routine. Much of my own success comes from being able to handle change. It’s all I know. So, it’s how we roll here.

I know many children whose stories are similar to Dougie’s, and if  one of these children calls you mama or dad — just know that they chose you for a reason. If the homeschool or unschool bus is honking its horn at you — you can jump on.  Remember, I was told to worry because it’s well known that our  kids crave even more structure than the “norm.” Worrying has never done me any good. Ever.

The Routine of No Routine

Unschooling is reteaching my family how to live and be  with each other in deeper love and more productive ways. We feel we lost a lot of time worrying and working hard to do what was normal for our child. Here’s a glimpse into our day. maybe it will help you to:

  • Make and eat breakfast together (Dougie helps cut veggies, scramble eggs, pour smoothies, push blender buttons and choose what he wants. He also helps clean up).
  • Get dressed and spend some outdoor time at beach or park. We often bring toys or books and “work” outside.
  • Go to the store or market (Dougie fills his own cart, asks for what he wants and orders at the juice bar or deli. He also pays the cashier and talks to the workers at our local store. We often eat lunch outside.
  • Come home, light cleaning all together and play time for Dougie (he plays puppet show, Toy Story toys, paints, this is his alone time).
  • Nap time
  • More outdoor time, outside class like yoga or music, park or playdate.
  • Reading, art, music, math through games, puppet show or whatever we feel like — so long as it’s fun and creative.

We sign Dougie up for a few low-key activities where he can get time away and explore. He loves his yoga class. We also try to help him forge relationships with other children. He has his favorite friends and loves to play with his cousins.

We take trips all over the city, show Dougie how to use the bus and read the signs, allow him to experience the different cultures we have here, and visit beautiful places. We walk, we climb, we never stop enjoying.

Dougie is kindergarten age, and has learned all of this kindergarten lessons through play and fun. What a life!

xoxo

Gina


Raw Cream of Mushroom Soup (with hidden ferments)

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Image by su-lin via Flickr

We eat raw, living foods whenever we can. But using raw food for autism recovery means paying extra special care to the digestibility of the food and the sugar content.

I’ve worked with hundreds of children on the autism spectrum, and ALL of them have had gut imbalances including candida (yeast), food intolerance, allergies, and  nutrient deficiencies. So, we’ve got some pretty delicate systems here. Finding a balance of green, raw, fermented and blended (easily absorbable) food is a must. We also keep as close to the  Body Ecology principles of food combining (fruit is eaten alone, on an empty stomach,  and proteins are not combined with carbs) and  80/20 (keeping our meals 80% vegetable and 20% protein or carb) as possible. This ensures that we can get the most nutrient bang per bite.

This recipe is blended and contains live beneficial bacteria that can help you digest it.  It also contains some nuts — which do cause reactions for some people.  I wouldn’t call this one of my healing recipes but, it’s a darn delish way to enjoy raw food.

Raw Cream of Mushroom Soup (with hidden ferments)

Ingredients:

1 lb of mushrooms (shitake and maitake are delish and healing)

½ cup olive oil

1 tsp sea salt

pinches of black pepper, oregano, thyme, sage, pinch nutmeg and any other herbs you may like

3 cups  homemade Brazil nut milk (recipe below)

½ cup pine nut cheese

Process:

Marinate 1 lb of mushrooms (I  get a bag from farmers mkt.. any kind you like will do) with ½ cup olive oil, 1 tsp sea salt, black pepper, oregano, thyme, sage, pinch nutmeg and any other herbs you may like for about an hour. Then, blend the entire mixture with 3 cups  homemade Brazil nut milk and ½ cup pine nut cheese. You can warm this on the stove top or blend in vitamix until warm. We like to have this with peas. Then again, we simply love peas.

Tiny Kick in the Pants:

Add some ume boshi plum vinegar to the end result before you eat.

I like Brazil nut milk with this recipe. You can make it by soaking 3 cups of Brazil nuts in enough water to cover them for about a day. Then, rinse the nuts and add to your blender with 6 cups of water. Blend for about 30 seconds and  strain the pulp through a nut milk bag (or strainer). The liquid is “nut milk,” and the pulp can be used in muffins, crackers and raw breads.

Mangia!

G

Fermented Quinoa Milk

The Incas knew about this magical grain…. have you tried it yet?

If you haven’t already added quinoa to your diet, you probably should. This grain-like gluten-free seed is so versatile and absolutely delish.

I used it to make my vegan guacamole burgers last week, I use it in salads, wraps and even make milk out of it.

You can make quinoa milk much like you make rice milk or almond milk and  add  it to smoothies, soups or chocolate — YUM!  Of course, I like to take it one step farther.

I’ve been known to ferment just about anything I get my hands on, and why not? Fermented foods are the most powerful of all super foods because they are predigested.

When you ferment quinoa milk you add living bacteria and enzymes to it. These bacteria live in your digestive system and create your immunity.

Make your own fermented quinoa milk

Equiptment

  1. High speed blender
  2. 2 quart sized sterile glass jars with lids
  3. nut milk bag or strainer

Ingredients

2 cups raw quinoa ( I buy mine in bulk)

1 quart pure water

pinch sea salt

1/4 cup coconut kefir, home-made kefir or strong probiotic powder.

Optional

vanilla, stevia or agave, mesquite, maca

Process

  1. Soak your quinoa overnight in quart-sized  glass container with a pinch of sea salt ( in fridge or on the counter)
  2. Rinse quinoa and add to blender with 1 quart pure water
  3. Blend for 30 seconds
  4. Drain quinoa pulp by using a nut-milk bag (found at natural grocers) or a strainer
  5. Pour the liquid into a sterile glass jar
  6. add 1/4 cup kefir or tbsp probiotic powder and seal jar
  7. Make sure jar is sealed and clean
  8. Set out to ferment at 70-80 degrees for 18-24 hours
  9. Drink as is or add sweetener and flavors listed above

This is so much healthier than the store-bought pasteurized probiotic drinks, because it doesn’t contain added sugars, colors or preservatives. It’s raw, its delicious and I hope you love it.

photo credit: “Hand in Quinoa” by:FranUlloa

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Date of Certification: 03/16/2010 04:27 PM
You will receive a Statement of Certification in the mail. Keep this form as it includes a confirmation number which you may need for your next certification period. If your certification answers remain the same during future weeks, and no other changes have been made to your claim, this confirmation number will allow you to certify without having to answer each question every time you certify.
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If you are eligible, you will receive benefits for the weeks claimed. If there is a question about your claim, you will receive a claimant notice of possible ineligibility in the mail. This notice will indicate the question involved and what action is required by you.
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Fermented Pine Nut Cheese with Body Ecology Starter

Pine nuts

Image via Wikipedia

I have learned that fermenting nuts means that I can have more of them. This is probably because the good bacteria in the culture starters I  use helps to break down the nuts, However, I still try to keep them varied and in small amounts for balance.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups organic raw pine nuts
  • juice of 1 lemon

Props

  • Sterile glass jar
  • Strainer (like a metal strainer with handle)
  • Cheese cloth
  • Bowl and plate
  • Good blender

Process

Blend 2 cups of pine nuts  in your Vitamix or high speed blender(you do not have to soak these) with enough water to make a creamy consistency in . Add juice of 1 lemon. Scoop into sterile jar. Ferment over night using 1/4 cup coconut kefir or other fermented liquid or 2  digestive enzymes.

Close the jar and allow to ferment for about 12 hours.  Remember that the friendly bacteria eat sugar, so foods like this ferment quickly, and the bacteria will die if there is no more sugar to feed them. If you wanted to ferment it longer you could add some inulin (chicory fiber) to feed the bacteria… but I have never done it that way.

After 12 hours, remove cheese from jar and place in cheesecloth. Lay the cheesecloth in strainer, and place the strainer over a bowl in the refrigerator. The liquid will drain into the bowl and make a thicker cheese. Cover the bowl with a glass plate (to keep it as sealed as possible)

You can then add herbs and sea salt to your cheese for a delicious dip, spread or addition to your soup, salad or any other meal.

You can even dehydrate this on raw crackers and make cheese crackers.

(You can skip the cheesecloth step if you like. The cheese will still be delicious, but softer).

P.S.  Lots of children on the “autism spectrum” have food allergies because they do not have the bacterial digestive make-up to break down some of the proteins and sugars. Nuts are a big trigger for many of our kids. We never had a problem with fermented pine nuts in  moderation. Then again, pine nuts are not really nuts.

If your child is allergic to nuts, depending on the severity — you may be able to reverse the allergy by repairing the gut. And, if you still want to try this cheese recipe you can replace the pine nuts with sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or a combo of them.

Mangia Mangia

G

Listen to my free teleseminar with Raw Mom Tera Warner!

Listen as I talk about autism recovery and undoing the symptoms of autism naturally with Raw Mom founder Tera Warner.

The interview was on June 23, 2010, and can be found here.