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Healing Autism- One Family’s Journey, Part 1

By September 22, 2019Nutrition

This is from a friend of mine who is happy to share her family’s story in the hopes it will help others struggling with autism. Racheal

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for your prayers and to let you know that Zaria is now on the road to recovery from autism!

I know that many of you have been wondering how Zaria has been getting along as most of you have been aware of the extreme circumstances we faced over the Christmas holidays. Some of you may not have been aware of our circumstances and I’m sorry if our mannerism was a bit out of sorts or stand offish at times and we may have seemed like we made so many excuses, but our life has been so extreme and restricted! Some of you may of thought that Zaria was doing well after we introduced milk cultures into her diet some years ago, but didn’t realise that she went backwards. I’ll try and explain to you what happened regarding all of this in this letter.

Life has been extremely difficult as Zaria not only had extreme autistic symptoms, but she was also extremely violent. She verbally and physically wanted to kill us on a daily basis! Things were so desperate over the Christmas holidays that we had to make a difficult decision. My sister kindly offered to look after my other two children for awhile due to safety concerns. Shayna and Reuben had to lock themselves away in a room for hours and days on end for safety reasons. There were times when I wanted to call the police but restrained, instead I took all the blows because I did not want her to end up in some institution some where. There were days when I did not think I’d live to see tomorrow – yes it was that bad! It was so hard because the thought of being away from my children tore me apart, but at the same time I wanted them in a safe environment. We were all living in the most extreme circumstances but I thank the Lord that the family was able to stay together because the Lord answered our prayers and made a way for us in our darkest hour!

Now most of you know that in 2017, something quite remarkable happened which gave us a window of hope in our journey to try and help Zaria. We witnessed a transformation in her and at the time we put it down to the fact that we had introduced some yogurt cultures into her diet. These cultures were made at home that consisted of things like villi, Japanese matsoni, buttermilk, amasi, filmjolk, piima, Bulgarian yogurt etc. For a whole month it was like living with a totally different child with no autistic symptoms whatsoever! We valued this time as we got to know our daughter for the very first time without autism. But after about a month, for some reason she went backwards and slipped back into extreme autism again! Since then we questioned how can a child go from being autistic to being a perfectly normal child? It was always in the back of our mind that autism is caused from gut issues, but we just didn’t have all the answers to try and help her. We always understood the importance of nutrition and all, but we just didn’t know where we were going wrong! We just didn’t have the answers as we had many missing pieces to the puzzle. But this experience showed us that autism can be reversed and it gave us the hope we needed to keep going and to search for answers for a cure even though we were told that autism was not a curable condition and that we just had to live with it for the rest of our lives! Despite this we never gave up!

Five years ago a lady gave me a book called “Gut and Psychology syndrome – natural treatment for autism, dyspraxia, A.D.D, Dyslexia, A.D.H.D, Depression, Schizophrenia by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. When she gave me the book she said it was from the Lord and it was going to cure my daughter of autism. As you could imagine at the time, Richard and I spent most of our time (around the clock) just trying to survive and we already had books sky high claiming to cure autism. We also felt a bit discouraged because we had followed a nourishing traditions diet based on the books “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price and “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon before we had children. We nourished our bodies in preparation to have healthy kids. Later, we were to discover that it wasn’t the diet/nutrition that was the problem, but our already damaged and compromised gut! It wasn’t until recently that the Lord really directed our attention back to Dr. Natasha’s book in some really amazing ways! 

The author of this book, Dr. Natasha Campbell – McBride has helped so many patients recover from so many different conditions. She was able to find the common link as to what was the real underling cause of all of their conditions/symptoms. Dr. Natasha had done years of medical training and was even a neurologist and neurosurgeon, but when her own child was diagnosed with autism she realised that her own profession had nothing to offer to help heal her child. So during her search for answers, she discovered that many people who came in to her clinic were all diagnosed with all sorts of slightly different conditions, but they all had one thing in common which was gut issues. Dr. Natasha was able to cure her own child of autism by first healing the gut. So she implemented a special diet for people to heal their gut and she called it the GAPS diet. Not every one necessarily had gut symptoms, but after they implemented the GAPS diet they no longer had symptoms of ill health! Dr. Natasha’s book explains how all diseases begin in the gut! Not only is the gut and the brain connected, but over 85% of the immune system is found in the gut! If your gut is damaged you cannot digest food properly and therefore the person cannot absorb important vitamins and minerals to be able to function properly. So, you can try and provide your body with the most nutritious food in the world, but it will be of little benefit to you while your gut is damaged/compromised and your gut flora is out of balance! When your gut is damaged, the stomach doesn’t recognise food as being food, so the body has an autoimmune response to try and protect itself by attacking it, causing toxins to be released into the blood stream and up to the brain. This in turn can attack parts of the body causing all sorts of auto-immune conditions such as arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, fibromyalgia, food intolerance, celiac, environmental allergies, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, autism, behavioural problems and the list goes on and on… Dr. Natasha’s book was so successful that she was flooded with emails of people thanking her and telling her about their success stories. So Natasha published another book called “Gaps stories” – medinform publishing. Natasha did not write this book but was written by the people from the emails Natasha received explaining there journey as they cured there own conditions by implementing the GAPS diet as they focused on healing the gut! 

Richard and I have always been aware of good nutrition even before we had children. What we did not realise however is that we can eat the most nourishing foods in the world but it will be of little benefit if the gut is already damaged and you lack important gut flora. This is the piece to the puzzle that was missing for us as we tried to work out what went wrong in the health of our children. Food intolerance is just one of many symptoms of a gut issue. It is not necessarily the food that is causing the problem, especially if you are eating a healthy diet of unprocessed organic foods, but the problem is caused from a leaky gut. Once the gut lining is healed, many people find that there symptoms/condition disappears and they no longer have food intolerance anymore as they find they can eat normally!

Our bodies are bathed in a sea of microbes, but our lifestyle is killing off these important microbes that have so many important functions in the body. It is extremely difficult to put them back in after they have been destroyed, even with the best probiotics, because they contain only a handful of different species! We all require very acidic stomachs which also makes it difficult for microbes to survive when we try to put them back in orally! Also, reintroducing good bacteria back into the system must be done very gradually due to die-off symptoms! Many professionals say that some species of microbes will eventually become extinct perhaps within the next 10 years. This is because we lack certain microbes in the body to be able to pass them on to the next generation and the ones we do have left are getting destroyed by things like antibiotics, medication, modern diet, pesticides and environmental issues etc. But all of these microbes are needed as they all play different roles in the body to keep it healthy! A baby gets its good bacteria from the mother. As a baby goes down the mothers birth canal during labour, the baby swallows the mother’s gut flora. But today a lot of babies that are born are not obtaining the good bacteria from their mother, which is causing so many problems in children today starting with the so called normal colic and food intolerance. We live in a world full of antibiotics as doctors have been pressured to prescribe it for just about anything and everything! Antibiotics can be hard to avoid as it seems to be everywhere, it is even found in meat! So while we are slowly killing off our good gut bacteria, each generation is getting sicker and sicker. This damage gets passed from generation to generation as abnormal gut flora is what will be passed onto the next generation of children. Probiotics = (Pro = For); (Biotic = life) = (For Life) = helps you live! Antibiotics = Against Life – kills the good and the bad bacteria! When the good gut bacteria is damaged, this makes way for pathogens and bad bacteria to multiply and take over the body because the body no longer has the good bacteria to keep things in balance. Each of these microbes is capable of causing various health problems which starts in the gut and from there causes all sorts of other toxic symptoms!

So the family has been on the GAPS diet since the 9th January in support of Zaria to help heal her gut and to try and increase her gut flora. Since the diet, Zaria has shown huge improvements! I realise however that it is early days yet and we have a long way to go. There are 6 stages just in the introductory diet alone and we are only on stage 2-3! It hasn’t been easy, but now because we have been made aware of what causes autism, we can now clearly see what is going on in our daughter’s body to cause her to become autistic and this has helped us to persist as we see improvements. At the moment Zaria is stable for the most part with no autistic symptoms. The only time we really see any sign of autism is if we introduce a new food into the diet too early, her gut hasn’t had enough time to heal, or her body is not quite ready for that particular food yet and we can clearly see how this affects her brain as it reacts instantly! She has extremely bad behaviour the day before she shows signs of an upset stomach or headache (toxins) which is interesting! But besides that, she is a healthy, vibrant 9 year old child! For the most part, she has been waking up really calm and happy. But as you can imagine this restricted diet of endless amounts of stock, sauerkraut juice and fermented vegetables is asking a lot from a child and there can be times of frustration. We continue to reassure her and encourage her to persist with it and she is doing extremely well! We’ve also found that it is not just about a diet of healing the gut, but it’s also a life long journey of learning and developing healthy lifestyle choices, so that we can continue this journey of maintaining good health! 

Some of you may remember the letter I wrote in 2014 when Zaria was four years of age. Zaria was 2 years of age when she started showing signs of autism and was diagnosed with autism. By the age of 4, we were so desperate to get help for Zaria as we had what seemed like an endless list of symptoms to manage. One of the hardest things we ever had to do was resort to medication, but at the time we felt like we didn’t have any other alternatives. I remember that day well, crying all the way home from the doctors thinking what a terrible mother I was having to resort to medication. But we were living in the most extreme circumstances. If you remember we had to pack everything away in boxes and practically live in an empty house and tape up all the glass due to safety reasons. We had to change our cutlery to plastic so they weren’t used as weapons to do us harm! We literally couldn’t go anywhere because Zaria would try and get out of a moving car and try to smash the car windows. She was full on around the clock, needing very little sleep – destroying things and getting up to endless amounts of mischief. On top of all of this, she was extremely violent as she physically and verbally wanted to do us harm on a daily basis! There were days when I wondered if we would live to see tomorrow as we experienced the physical and verbal abuse every day! This is just a small taste of what it was like living with her condition without medication! Due to lack of sleep and high energy levels, Zaria needed around the clock care, but she had worn out all of those who tried to care for her. This was becoming a huge concern for us and alternatively led us to medication. The medication did level out her brain and make her stable for the most part, but we know that with all medications comes side effects which creates more complications and we worked hard to try and find a cure to try and get her off it. During the Christmas holidays we were told by the doctor that we had to increase the medication because she had outgrown the dose. Over the years we tried to give her only baby doses of the medication so that the side effects weren’t so severe and therefore the medication wasn’t as effective. The day I was told to increase the medication was the day we implemented the GAPS diet.

This week on the 17th May 2019, I am excited to say that Zaria is now officially off her medication for autism!!! I have been gradually reducing it since the 9th January when we first started the GAPS diet. I’m not saying that she is totally cured just yet and it remains to be seen what the future holds and whether she may need the medication in the future, but things look VERYpromising! That HUGE list of symptoms she had before the medication and what we were dealing with up until now is none existent as far as we can see which is a miracle! The diet can take up to 2 years to heal the gut in severe cases – we have a long way to go and its been two steps forward and one step back etc. I am just more and more convinced that conditions such as autism is caused from gut issues, as I can now clearly see what happens in Zaria during stages of the GAPS diet.

In the book called “Gut and psychology Syndrome” on page 339 it says “In case of severe GAPS conditions like autism the longer this situation goes on, the more normal learning these children miss and the more they fall behind their normal peers. Normal children never stop learning, so for an autistic child to have any chance of catching up with them he or she has to learn at double speed.” Well, this is exactly what Zaria has been doing since she started the GAPS diet – learning at double speed! She was very behind in school, but she had the determination to catch up. Without any prompting from me or anyone else, she has worked around the clock to catch up with school and is now where she should be for her age – I really hope she keeps up with the motivation! She no longer struggles with dyslexia and other forms of learning disabilities! No more daily melt downs or deafening screaming all day, no more dodging heavy flying objects or having to protect ourselves or the house from endless amounts of abuse!!!

It has been a very long journey and the Lord has been so gracious and merciful towards us, helping us and directing us every step of the way! All the glory goes to the Lord!

Over the Christmas holidays I was trying to find a video of someone who maybe going through something similar with there autistic child and to see if they had any answers, as we were so desperate for answers ourselves! This video although slightly different to our situation, shows the closest thing I could find to what we were going through and the desperation of it all! “Maximum love: Part one – Living with severe autism | 60 Minutes Australia” 

The second video is the author of the GAPS diet “Overcoming Psychiatric Problems by Healing the Digestive System – Dr. Campbell-McBride”

Just Remember: “All diseases begin in the gut”

Thanks to you all!

Karen

Maximum love: Part one – Living with severe autism | 60 Minutes Australia

Overcoming Psychiatric Problems by Healing the Digestive System – Dr. Campbell-McBride

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