Category Archives: wellness coaching

Upcoming Reiki Certification Classes: Reiki Levels 1&2 and Family Reiki (Santa Monica, CA)

Hello Loves,

As my hubby and I prep to take our Blissy show on the road, we are offering 2 new Reiki Classes in Santa Monica, Ca before we go. Here are the details:

2 teachers, 2 levels of Reiki and lots BLISS

Class 1: Reiki Levels 1 and 2

Date: Saturday, January 29

Time: noon-6pm

Where: Santa Monica, Private Residence

Class Levels: Reiki 1-2 Attunement and Certification

Price: $333

This class is being offered to you at a $111 savings from my regular fees, and you are getting the Bliss of a 2nd teacher too! We cannot wait to share this with you. A vegan, gluten-free lunch will be served, but feel free to bring your own snacks if you wish.

Click here to learn more about Reiki

Click here to learn more about what each level entails

To register for class, simply send an email to me at gina@blissedlife.com to let me know your interest, and then send payment through paypal. Space is limited.

Class 2: Family Reiki

Date: Sunday, January 30

Time: 1-6pm

Where: Santa Monica, Private Residence

Class Levels: Reiki Level 1 with Advanced Energy Healing Technique

Price: $333

This is a new class that we are offering to families of 2 or 3. Bring up to 3 members of your family (ages 0-111) and, learn about how to use Reiki to bring upon heightened consciousness, better relationships and healing to what ails you. Everyone receives a Reiki Level 1 attunement. There is a charge of $50 for each additional family member.

  • all energy exercises will be tailored to the lovely people who attend this class
  • Special consideration and attention will be put toward involving your child and helping you carry on the energy work at home

Click here to learn more about Reiki

Click here to learn more about what each level entails

To register for class, simply send an email to me at gina@blissedlife.com to let me know your interest, and then send payment through paypal. Space is limited.

Namaste,

Gina

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


Oh to Unschool: The Genius of Autism Education

200 px

Image via Wikipedia

My six year old Bliss Burger is sitting next to me right now at the breakfast table yumming it up on a sweet potato. He slept so well last night. Like he does every night- sometimes between his dad and me, and sometimes in his own bed.

Waking him up for school last year, holding hands on the way to the $10,000 preschool was a dream of mine. Not his. To be honest, we sought out that school for their child-focused  learning, natural, outdoor setting, and amazing diet. The children helped raise chickens, bunnies, and plants. They cooked.  climbed. Did puppet shows. It was oh so cute, but the little man kept telling me he didn’t like it.

Here’s the thing. I was seeking a  school that would help nurture the values we have at home, allow Dougie to socialize, and um — give me a break from being his only caregiver, teacher, mommy and medicine woman. I felt  he  needed to explore. And boy was I right. But, the truth is that  even in their open-mindendness, that school we chose was way too rigid for Dougie.

His teacher didn’t really understand him, and always had issues with what he was saying (like when he would talk about Buzz Lightyear). She falsely “accused” us of owning a TV (oh no!). As if that mattered! Our boy was talking and trying to make friends. We were ecstatic.  If he’d had an awesome teacher, we may still be at that school. So, I’m stoked it  worked out this way.

Ask Dougie now how much he loves his Toy Story School (which he named our at-home un-learning), and he probably won’t be able to stop talking. In fact, he’s reading this now and tells me that he wants me to invite you to join him here.

I grew up in a world that said school was necessary. I learned that education is what is necessary. I grew up in a world that said “choose a career.” I learned to choose a journey and experience many careers. I was molded by a system that said we can’t teach our kids at home, lest they turn into hermit weirdos who wear corduroy in summer. And, I learned to say,  “Whatevha!”

Unschooling is peeling away at what the system has taught us for centuries. And, now is the time for re-awakening anyway. The old systems are no longer working.

But,  I gotta admit, regardless of how well I know my purpose here to help others and blah blah blah –the decision to  home school my son was all about him. I worried about the socialization thing first, as he was once diagnosed with autism, and well — the system tells me to worry about socialization. Then, I worried he would resent me, or he wouldn’t have enough challenge, fun, activities, friends– all that. I spent weeks and months considering this and researching my buns off.

This is what Dougie wants and needs now, and this is what’s best for him now. We all have our purposes, and those of us with children who require unschooling or home schooling have the balls and the guts to do it. Worried about socialization? Your kids will lead you. Worried about teaching subjects that you don’t know too well? Goodness, you will be surprised at how amazing new brains are. Dougie is typing, writing, spelling and reading. He can count money, pay for things at the store, make scrambled eggs, and pretty much run the place if we need him to.

We’ve been bitten by the adventure bug again, and are taking this Unschooling organic life of ours on the road. We can’t wait to spread the bliss with all of you. Take a gander at this blog for more info on our upcoming tour de love.

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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Certification Summary

You have completed certifying for your Unemployment Insurance benefits for the weeks of Sunday 02/28/2010 through Saturday 03/06/2010 and Sunday 03/07/2010 through Saturday 03/13/2010. This is a copy of the online Unemployment Insurance benefits certification. IDES recommends that you print and keep a copy for your records.

Important Information 

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.
You must maintain your work search information on a weekly basis. You will be required to produce your work search upon request. Failure to do so may result in denial of benefits.
Work Search Form
Continue to certify if you filed an appeal, even though you may not receive benefits until the appeal is decided.
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.
Next Steps 

In order to continue receiving Unemployment Benefits, you must continue to Certify. To ensure timely payment of benefits your next certification should be completed on Tuesday, 03/30/2010.
To request, edit, or cancel direct deposit, please click here.

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Have you received or will you receive holiday pay? No
You must enter the total amount of holiday pay, before deductions. Enter the total amount of holiday pay for the week of Sunday through Saturday. Sun. 02/28 – Sat. 03/06 N/A
Sun. 03/07 – Sat. 03/13 N/A
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Did you work? No
You must enter the total amount of gross wages you earned for the week of Sunday through Saturday. Sun. 02/28 – Sat. 03/06 N/A
Sun. 03/07 – Sat. 03/13 N/A
Were you laid off, fired, did you quit, were you involved in a labor dispute or are you still working? Please identify. N/A
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Has your dependency status changed during this certification period? No
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Were you able to work and available for work each day during your normal work week? Yes
You must select the number of days you were unable to work and/or unavailable for work during your normal work week for the period of Sunday through Saturday. Sun. 02/28 – Sat. 03/06 N/A
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Did you attend school or receive training? No
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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

Raise Your Vibe and Come See me Here

gemeiner Löwenzahn / Pusteblume

Image via Wikipedia

Energy healing and Intuitive work are  a huge part of my practice because they were the true keys in breaking my family out of illness. Sure, diet is HUGE, and I mean HUGE. But, we cannot all eat the  same diet. In time, I had to develop  better skills to determine what foods were best for us in a moment or for my clients.

I created this website: Raise Your Vibe to help offer you more of my healing services. Visit me there too.

Rock On with Your Vibrant Self

xoxo

Gina LaVerde
Gina@Blissedlife.com

Steps I took to undo my son’s autism

I promised more info and here it is my loves.  This piece is about 2 years old …  We’ve had more progress and made some more changes that I will continue to share. My book goes into greater detail, but I really thought that these steps would be of great value to you. Enjoy!

It is important to note that I studied my son’s deficiencies, intolerances and symptoms both by researching and by paying very close attention to his body. All of our treatments for the first 2.5 years have been either coming from whole food or herbal sources or through energy healing done at home by me. We have never hired a professional for these services (in the first 2.5 years). In the case of mineral deficiencies I have always (because of cost) made my own supplements by simply using foods and fermenting them… or buying whole food high quality supplements. I have listed helpful supplements at the end of this.

The first 9 months: In this time Dougie went from very sick (ear infection, pneumonia, sore throat, cough, and diarrhea) to very healthy. He gained back eye contact, focus and began identifying objects and people by name. This is also the time when we recognized his ability to retain information in memory. He began repeating everything he heard and even reciting it months later. He was still having major tantrums quite often, but was decreasing stimming (hand flapping, toe walking, staring into space, licking everything, brushing his face against the floor, spinning wheels, spinning himself etc, spreading feces all over himself and the walls.. these were not totally gone but were slowly drifting).

1.       Began with 1 tablespoon young coconut kefir and slowly increased to 1 cup per day within a week

2.       Made him lots of soups and blended foods that were easy to digest

3.       Got him to eat cultured veggies by dipping blue corn chips into them or using stevia to sweeten them

4.       Added digestive enzymes (Enzymedica Brand before meals)

5.       Began following strict Body Ecology after 1.5 months of transition (this meant no fruit at all, no acidic veggies or mushrooms etc )

6.       Made cultured foods about 40-60% of his diet (dips, juices, veggies, kefir etc)

7.       Added in another probiotic (fivelac): saw more improvement in focus

8.       Added cod liver oil: saw more improvement in focus

9.       Added vitamin C

10.   Added spirulina (saw amazing results… it was like his brain really kicked in and he began learning new things each day).

Month 10: Gone Raw: We were not progressing fast enough. I was feeling that Dougie was still sluggish and sad a lot of the time. He barely had any speech except repeating and labeling. So, we decided to go more raw…. My new motto became… Green it, Blend it, Ferment it

1.       Began Donna Gates’ antiviral protocol which included no fats, no grains, no fruit at all for 10 days

2.       Added enemas, castor oil packs, Epsom salt baths and skin brushing to our routine. : Dougie released lots of toxins through enema and began talking so much more after each enema… sometimes this speech miracle would only last a short while (10 minutes)

3.       Increased morning green drink to 1 quart and added more greens to it (Vitamineral green etc)

4.       Implemented energy healing (massage, reflexology, eft, reiki – saw amazing results like better sleep, happiness, calmness, less stimming, and again more speech. No colds, infections at all. He was also becoming interested in other people… but not yet really wanting to socialize

5.       Added liver support (milk thistle, artichoke etc)

6.       Cultured beet juice for liver cleansing and  he released lots of toxins (parasites)

7.       Added peter Gillian’s Natural Calm cal/mag supplement

The next year: Here we went almost 100% raw and vegan – no animal products at all. We used highly absorbable super foods and supplements. I began making elixirs of herbs and roots, fermenting more foods, and creating a rotated food schedule that allowed him more than what Body Ecology offered. On such a high probiotic-rich raw diet his body could now handle sweet fruits on occasion, beans, potatoes… we still had (have) an issue with protein digestion. He flourished here and began telling us what he wanted; taking interest in playing with other kids, spoke clearer every day, cognitive speech was really improving. He was very healed by end of year 2

1.       Began each day with 1 quart green smoothie

2.       Consumed 1 qt of yck per day

3.       Baby spa ( skin brush, Epsom salt bath, castor oil pack and enema, then EFT before bed on the infrared mat.. with classical music) amazing results

4.       Lots more time in nature (camping, hiking swimming) resulted in him being much more grounded… tantrums were finally dissipating

5.       Mini juice feast… we began juicing (in rotation with smoothies)

6.       Added hemp, chia, bee pollen , blue green algae, Vitamineral green and earth,

7.       Began tummy massages to help stimulate digestion of protein

8.       Added peaceful planet  supreme meal protein powder

9.       Created sensory learning at home… home school with other children and alone (helped very much socially and with him being grounded in himself

Beyond year 2: We continued on a high raw probiotic diet but I stopped worrying about diet…it was no longer my main focus.  I studied reiki, shamanism, energy healing and began very intricate meditation on my own which helped bring us even further out of the darkness of autism. The movement and spiritual practices have helped him use his body in a more coordinated way. Combining this with sensory learning and practical chores like doing dishes and cooking food have helped him become a lot more balanced all over. – even in his thinking and expression). This is where I have realized that energy healing is a HUGE key to recovery. He has only been sick for 5 days in the past 2 and half years and we treat it all naturally. His autism truly unravels each day

1.       Continued on diet  with baby spa treatments ( he continues to improve each day)

2.       Implemented structured yoga/exercise routine

3.       Grounding exercises ( Gabriel Roth’s 5 rhythms, chakra balancing etc)

4.       Exercises to jog brain development (criss -crossing legs, skipping,  dancing)

5.       Added e3 Live “Brain On” and saw amazing results

6.       Added in marine phytoplankton and he literally lost a tic that he had

What’s Next: Now, his gut is healed to a point where we can really focus on his brain. We continue our diet but are much more flexible in what he can eat. He has had spouted wheat and raw dairy with no bad reaction. He has had sugar with no bad reaction. During winter months he eats more cooked food and has had egg and salmon as needed.  Our energy healing practice increases daily.  He now knows how to wash dishes, put on his own clothes, and turn on lights in bathroom – problem solving skills increase.

Here is a list of new supplements we will add for brain swelling, and cognitive development as well as immune support:

1.       Zango brand mangosteen juice ( fermented)

2.       Acai and goji juice fermented and fermented treats with these

3.       Multivitamin (looking for highest quality)

4.       Fish oil ( looking for highest quality)

5.       Vitamin D

6.       Selenium

7.       VSL 3 probiotic

8.       Body Ecology brand ocean plant extract

List of some helpful healing herbs, supplements and super foods that we have used

  • Young coconut kefir
  • Cultured vegetables
  • Cultured homemade juice and herb blends
  • Blue green algae (spirulina, chlorella)
  • E3 Live brain on (frozen)
  • Marine phytoplankton (Ultimate super foods brand)
  • Cod liver oil (green pastures brand)
  • Peter Gillian’s brand magnesium calm (with calcium)
  • Hemp protein
  • Chia seeds
  • Bee pollen
  • Vitamineral Green
  • Vitamineral Green earth
  • Vitamineral Green Vitamin C
  • Vitamineral Green Liver rescue
  • Delenolate (olive leaf extract blend for antibacterial, fungal viral)
  • Peaceful planet supreme meal protein
  • Oil of oregano
  • Garlic
  • Colostrom
  • Lipolic acid
  • Burdock root
  • Holy basil
  • Milk thistle
  • Ginger
  • Biosuperfood
  • Cilantro
  • Dandelion

Finally, an autism post

My time away from posting here has been spent working closely with families to restore and improve their health. It’s been a blast and is teaching me so much about life.

As children get well, and families experience the ups and downs of healing –I gain perspective on what autism really means. A few years back, I wrote “Autism Undone” to help explain to my mom  and family what was going on in my son’s life and body. Since then, I get daily emails about how that little article has helped so many of you. I am stoked that it has. But I have so much more to share.

Autism has deep spiritual and energetic connections that I only touched on in this article. I have so much to share about how we are healing and how we are embracing the gifts of autism. When I said that children with autism have the key to saving the world, I didn’t even know how deeply correct I was.

So, as you may have guessed, I am writing a book and it will be done soon. But, because I want you to benefit more from the gifts that I  have been given, I will be posting helpful snippets of the book here on this blog.

My book will cover the spiritual, emotional, energetic and physical connections to the causes of autism as I see it from experiences with my son and my clients, as well as information that has been granted to me through research and (nothing less than) divine intervention. I also will reveal our exact diets and recipes (as it may help you), and everything else we did to get where we are.

You know.. I don’t much like labels. That’s why I wanted to undo and bring out the truth of the diverse meanings behind the autism label. My book also covers how my family, thanks to my husband, has detached form the label.

It’s gonna be  a rockin book and a rockin’ year. Stay tuned for tons more helpful blogs while you wait.

Happy New Year!

If any of you are interested in kick-starting your family’s healing I’m offering 1 hr consults that include a personal written follow-up and a huge intro pack that teaches Body Ecology, Raw Foods, Intuitive Eating, Recipes, Sensory Exercises, Colon Therapy, Seasonal Eating and so much more. email me @ gina@blissedlife.com for more info

Namaste,

Gina

Dougie’s Dad Speaks out on his Autism Recovery

This Article was first Published on BodyEcology.com in April 2010.

Today, Dougie’s father, Doug has shared his experience as a dad on this journey to help his son recover. Body Ecology was the first step in really helping little Dougie regain his health. But, as his dad puts it, it was a struggle for him to understand the importance of diet until he tried it on himself. Doug’s candidness and honesty are an inspiration to any parent.
Q: Doug, will you share your feelings about how you discovered that your son had autism?

A: I would love for those reading this interview to know that when we brought Dougie home from the hospital, he rolled to his side at two days old. He made eye contact with us. He slept through the nights, loved to be held and even came on dates with my wife and me. He was beginning to walk and talk at eight months old. He was pointing. He remembered relatives.

We started him on organic baby foods when he was around seven months old. He absolutely loved zucchini squash, rice cereal, spinach and blueberries. Gina often made baby food from scratch. We were so in love with our little guy. We would have family dinners where we sat him on a cushion between us, and talked to him as if he were an adult just like us. It was just so much fun!

We made all of our Well-Visits to the pediatrician and were so excited that our son was never sick. Other children around us were sick all of the time.

Until my beautiful, alert, active baby boy regressed from all smiles to tantrums, illness, and eventually –loss of eye contact, loss of language and stopped wanting me to hold him — the only thing I ever understood about autism, I learned from the movie, Rain Man. My wife was the first person to mention the word “autism” to me regarding Dougie. And I was furious with her. To me, autism was a disability, and my son was not disabled. My son was sick.

I knew something was wrong with him, but I didn’t know what to call it. There were so many layers to what we were experiencing. My son was sick. My son had a toxic overload.

I still refuse to call it autism because I completely disagree with the way that label is used and thrown around these days. So, yes, my son was labeled as having autism. But, I was never one for labels.

I was feeling like I should know what to do, but I had no clue how to help him. Here I was, blessed with this amazing child who needed my help, and I was helpless. It wasn’t about getting him to be like anyone else. You hear that a lot when you attempt to recover your child from “autism.” It was never about that for us. My wife and I have always lived outside the norm on many levels. We just wanted Dougie to thrive. We wanted him to have great health.

I think most people in my shoes would feel the same. We are simply not taught that there are toxins in the environment and that the way we eat can affect our brains and our development. So, how did I feel? I felt angry. And, this lead to so many difficulties between my wife and me.

She just wanted me to come to grips with this idea that Dougie had “something” so that we could work together to get rid of it.

Gina and I couldn’t sit down to talk very much to even come up with a plan for how to make things better. Dougie was so sick that Gina would pass out from exhaustion after spending 24+ hours awake rocking him; walking him or whatever else she could do to soothe him. In the beginning of his health issues, our home would be loud with crying tantrums. Toward the worst part, our home was silent with the fear that Dougie would never communicate with us again. And, as he healed, he went through months of dangerous behaviors, no sleep and sadness.

For a long time, Gina just held the emotional, and physical burden of this all. And I buried my pain. Gina never stopped working. If Dougie slept she was on the computer looking for answers to help him. She wasn’t talking to me much because I didn’t understand her. I missed her.

Both of us were so young and confused that I feel grateful that we found answers to make it out. But, I have to admit; there were times when I didn’t see that light at the end of the tunnel. Gina says she couldn’t talk to me because she had to focus on the positive in order to pull our family out of the situation. It seems like so long ago that we were in that place in our lives.
Q:   How did you feel about the diet changes in the beginning?

A: I resented these changes for sure. When we found Body Ecology my son was physically ill with viral and bacterial infections. He didn’t want to eat anything. The antibiotics he was on completely killed his taste for vegetables and healthy food. Gina told me this was called candida, a yeast overgrowth that becomes pathogenic, feeds on sugars and causes us to crave processed foods. She assured me that she was doing the right thing by introducing healthy foods and fermented foods.

We could get an occasional French fry into Dougie, but that’s about it. So, when my wife wanted to give him this sour smelling coconut drink, coconut kefir, that took days to make and would spill everywhere when Dougie spit it out – after a long day’s work, I really resented this. I knew that if I had given Dougie a fry or a cracker he would settle down and be happy. And, we would be able to get some food into him. When Gina first began Body Ecology with Dougie I did not agree with it at all.

I was afraid he would get malnourished just because he wouldn’t eat at all. In hindsight, we were not starving him. Gina was giving him foods he liked between bites of Body Ecology style foods. And, it didn’t take too long before we found some foods that he really liked. Stevia became a savior for us. Because of its sweet taste, he loved it on anything from quinoa, to kefir and even his cultured vegetables.

I was a meat and potato fan myself. And soon, my wife, who once made me a one-pound burger – the best burger I’d ever had, was refusing to make the dinners I loved because she felt they were toxic to have in the house.

Dougie didn’t seem to like the food. And, I would sit there and have to listen to him tantrum while his mom struggled to get him to eat a green bean or a piece of spinach – things he previously loved.

Now, I see the stress that my disapproval caused our family. I believe that even if Dougie didn’t understand my words, he certainly understood my negative energy; I didn’t make these changes easier on them in the beginning.

Really, in almost no time, Dougie was eating fermented foods, loving quinoa and vegetables and gesturing for green smoothies. This was a great thing. When he started loving the foods I was totally fine with the diet changes. His health improved right away after beginning Body Ecology and he hasn’t needed medications for the last three and a half years.

But, it even took me a while to catch on that the diet was the reason he began to heal. I just attributed it to my wife’s healing abilities. I was still sneaking my fast food on the side and still really feeling confused about what was going on at home.

But, Gina began to get happier too. She began calling me at work to tell me that Dougie threw a ball to her or called her mama or pretended to talk on the phone. When Dougie started to heal I would receive 5-10 calls from Gina each day. We were so excited about his progress.
Q: What did you do to change things around for your family?

A: For a long time I hid behind the idea that I did what I could when I was home, but that my role in the family was that of the financial provider. In the beginning, when I would step in the door after work, it was like I entered a disaster area. I never could understand how our little apartment got so messy with green gooey smoothie spills, broken toys and our child, still crying like he’d been in the morning when I left.

I never came home to a happy family anymore. That was rough.

I argued with Gina over nonsense, like stating that I was doing my half by working and she was not doing her half because our house was a mess and our child’s and her health were disastrous.

But, Dads – Listen up – Taking care of a child who is recovering from a severe toxic overload and working a 9-5 corporate job are not equal jobs. I was not doing HALF. I was barely doing my share.

So you know what I did? I finally gave in and began implementing Body Ecology on myself. I gave up pizza, bread and candy. It was so hard at first. But, it was literally the only way I could see and feel the effects of this diet. It wasn’t long before I realized that I could still eat delicious foods, even the foods I loved with some minor adjustments. Quinoa is a great replacement for pasta and rice. Green smoothes take some getting used to, but man, do they make you feel good. I literally felt like the good food I was eating was making my cravings for sweets and junk foods disappear. In the beginning, I would get angry with Gina when she told me that I probably had a candida yeast infection too, like Dougie and her. I guess I just wasn’t ready to heal. But, now that I feel the effects of the fermented foods, green smoothies and proper food combining I am healthier than I’ve ever been.

Body Ecology and raw foods reduced my stress, gave me energy and helped me deal with my own health issues.

Once I did that, I was able to jump on board with all of the changes Gina was making for our health. With my support, we felt like a team again and the energy in our home really settled down.

We believe that it’s very important to create structure in a family. In the beginning when I was eating differently than Dougie, I know he felt strange. Now that we all eat the same way, we are one solid unit. Dougie knows that he is cool for eating cultured foods.

Then, besides Body Ecology dietary changes, Gina and I decided to take our healing one step further and simplify and detoxify our home environment. We got rid of Our TV, microwave, washer and dryer, house phone and desktop computer to reduce electromagnetic fields. We keep cell phones and a laptop, but we unplug all electricity when we’re not using it and we don’t let Dougie use the phone.

We made a commitment to cook only in non-toxic cookware or keep our food raw. We got rid of toys that had any toxic chemicals in them – sadly this was most of our toys at this point. And now, our most recent step was to move our family to a warmer climate where it’s easier for Dougie’s body to heal.

We never had any real funds to help Dougie recover. We were able to accomplish all of this with hard work, research and a lot of faith that he would get better. If it seems crazy that we got rid of his toys – it’s not! We now spend much more time together in nature. We make art, ride bikes, go rock climbing – all things that are also very healing.

Green smoothies are highly nutritious and gentle on the digestive tract. Try adding some Vitamineral Greens, Spirulina, or even Body Ecology’s Potent Proteins to your green smoothie for a heightened nutritional value.
Q: What was the most important step you took to help your family connect during this time?

A: We needed balance. In our family, that meant beginning by eating healthfully and eating together in a peaceful manner. I had to join in on eating the foods that Dougie needed for recovery. We created love and peace at the table where there was once fighting and chaos. Because of this, our son can look at eating as an enjoyable experience rather than a struggle.

Families need to get on the same page and stick together. Whether you are the mom or the dad of the affected child, trust each other. If one of you discovers an answer, decide together to make that your plan. Act it out together. Support each other.
Q: What does autism recovery mean to you?

A: Autism recovery means that Dougie is engaging in social interaction now. He wants to talk to people. He introduces himself to kids and asks them to play with him. Dougie can communicate his needs to us. He understands us when we talk and is interested learning more. He asks so many questions. When he doesn’t understand something he tells us.

Once his digestion was clean, our main focus was eliminating behaviors that caused harm to Dougie, like hitting himself, putting everything in his mouth, banging his head – he no longer has these behaviors. Next, we wanted to be sure that Dougie would be safe in social situations, like understanding to stop before crossing the street – He now totally gets it.

Dougie is happy. He laughs and makes jokes. He makes up his own songs and plays pretend. Dougie can express his feelings. He can tell us what he wants.

Just yesterday he said “ It’s just so boring here, dad. I want to go ride my bike.” You can’t imagine how my heart filled up because my son knew how to express that he was bored.

Autism recovery means that nobody knows my son had autism. Nobody knows that he was even sick. My son is happy and everything about him shines. He is a rock star and I am so thankful to know him.

Read The interview at Body Ecology, here