AUTISM UPDATE: August 2019
(7 Months on the GAPS diet & 7 years since last holiday)!
Thank you all for your continuing prayers and I just wanted to let you know how Zaria is going on the GAPS diet. Well, Zaria has finally turned the corner and is doing extremely well! For a very long time we just couldn’t seem to move forward on this diet and we seemed to of been on the first 2-3 stages of the diet for what seemed like forever (7 months)! At the time we just couldn’t see much hope in ever moving forward. When we tried to introduce a new food into the diet, the aggressive behaviour would come back, although not as severe as before. As long as she was following stages 1-3 of the GAPS diet and we did not introduce any new foods, she was autism free. Obviously Zaria’s digestive system really needed this time of healing! We have managed to introduce quite a few new foods into the diet recently, which seemed to of happened all of a sudden and we have found that SHE IS STABLE – No Aggressive Behaviour – No Autism – No Medication – Moving Forward – Hallelujah and Praise God! We are finally on stage 6 of the GAPS diet now and we are finally going forward, which has taken us 7 months to get to this point!!! Dr. Natasha said that symptoms will eventually get less and less, or less severe each time and not as long lasting. Well this is exactly what we have been seeing in Zaria.
There are 6 stages in the GAPS introductory diet and you have to go through each step, symptom free, before moving onto the next stage. The introductory diet is a very crucial first step to take for those dealing with severe digestive issues as it includes all the important foods in order for the digestive tract to heal. It can be quite time consuming because you have to start out slow, introducing one food at a time, to see if there is any reactions, and this can take up to 3-7 days for each food. If there is a reaction you have to wait another week or so before trying again to give your digestive system some more healing time. The most difficult part about the diet I’ve found however is going through severe die off symptoms. This occurs when you takeprobiotics to replace the bad pathogenic microbes in the gut with beneficial ones. This is an important step in the GAPS diet because you need this in order to heal the gut wall apart from the diet itself. Introducing good bacteria creates a war inside the gut, it’s the good guys verses the bad guys. As you work towards healing the gut and re-populating the digestive system with healthy bacteria through nutrient-dense foods (no processed sugar, no dairy, no grains) and probiotics, (sauerkraut, fermented veggies, kefir) the bad bacteria are dying as they are being starved of their fuel. But as the bad bacteria die off, they release toxins that the body must process and eliminate before it can begin to rebuild and heal. This process makes you feel like you are getting worse (healing crisis) before you get better and you can have all sorts of horrible symptoms which range from rashes, itchy skin, flu like symptoms, headaches, fatigue, ear ache, moodiness, aggressive behaviour etc. Die-off symptoms can come in waves and must be managed carefully! Therefore taking probiotics has been a slow process for us as we are slowly working our way up to a therapeutic dose.
Perhaps a good explanation as to what has been happening in Zaria’s body before the GAPS diet can be found in the video called “overcoming psychiatric problems by healing the digestive system,” In this video Dr. Natasha gives a good explanation as to what happens in a child to make them become autistic. In the video she explains that most children are born with perfectly normal brains but they acquire abnormal gut flora from day one from there mother at the moment of birth. So their digestive system instead of being a source of nourishment becomes a major source of toxicity in the body. A river of toxins flood these bodies of these children in the first and second years of life. These toxins get into the brain and clogs it up. If the brain of a child is clogged with toxicity, all that sensory information can come into the brain is not processed appropriately and it turns into mush, into a noise that the child cannot decipher anything useful. The brain develops screen saving procedureswhich manifests themselves into self stimulation which means the child is involved in repetitive movements and other commondaily autistic behaviours.
So while Zaria is now free from these autistic behaviours, we still go through some ups and downs. There are times when shestill struggles as toxins are still working there way out of her system as we try and slowly increase her probiotic intake! So she can sometimes come across as cranky and short with people at times, but it is usually caused from one of two things; either we have introduced a new food into the diet that her body is not quite ready for and you can see how this affects her brain instantly, or we have increased her probiotic intake which reacts in the same way. We have found that things like Epsom salts (in a bath, spray bottle, or oil rub) and magnesium has worked wonders in helping her get through these difficult times! We have also found that 7 months without any form of sugar (including fruit) has really been beneficial, as it has helped eliminatesome of the nasty pathogens (eg candida) and we can certainly notice a difference in our overall health!
When Richard and I first moved to the area of Toowoomba many years ago, we rented a place in town for quite a number ofyears. Our three children were born during this time as well. But over the years we faced some really scary health challenges. Some of these health issues were really quite scary and life threatening! A few examples include the time when the children were born and they would not thrive, or the time when Reuben was rushed to hospital unable to breath with croup. The children and I had always struggled with intestinal issues, but this wasn’t the only issue we were facing that was affecting our health at the time. What we did not find out for quite a number of years while living in this house was the fact that we were living in a house that was full of hidden toxic mold. This certainly became apparent when it started to show up on walls and under floor boards etc. In fact there was so much moisture in the house that paint was peeling from the ceiling and mushrooms were growing up from the floor boards. I was constantly vacuuming paint off the floor every day as paint was peeling from the ceiling! The real estate at the time showed little interest in trying to help us over come this problem. In the end all they did was repaint inside of the house which did little to kill the mold, but instead it actually increased the amount oftoxins which affected our overall health even more. Thank the Lord we were able to move away from this house to where we are living now, out of town where there isn’t as much fog or moisture in the air. The term “toxic mold” refers to molds that produce mycotoxins that release spores into the air which has been known to pose serious health risks to humans, evencausing death. Having lived with toxic mold for many years has certainly come with a price. In Zaria’s circumstances, it has certainly been an ongoing challenge to try and get rid of all of those nasty toxins out of her body that she not only was exposed to back then, but also from the result of a leaky gut. The good news is we have seen such amazing results in eliminating all of these toxins as we go through the process of healing her digestive system!
When you finish the 6 stage introductory diet, it is time to move onto the full GAPS diet, which is less restrictive and you can choose from a wide variety of foods to eat. It has only been recently that we have found we can finally move forward on this diet and we have been able to introduce many different kinds of foods, including our very first sweet thing – GAPS approved – first desert in 7 months, taking us from stage 3 to stage 6 in a very short period of time! As of September 2019 we are now on the full GAPS diet which means “VARIETY” which is EXCITING! But even though we are now on the full GAPS diet, we are finding that it is still quite a slow process as we still have to introduce one food at a time, taking things slow as we need to continue with the foods we know that will promote healing!
I think our turning point may have been when we were advised by a GAPS practitioner to take dairy out of the diet to see if this made any difference in Zaria’s behaviour! Dairy is really hard on the digestive system and the gut needed more healing time before Zaria could tolerate it. After 6 weeks without dairy, we reintroduced it again, starting with raw goats milk. We have heard that goats milk and camel’s milk is much easier on the digestive system than cows milk. It is important for us to avoid all dairy from the supermarket due to it being processed (pasteurised & homogenised)! Milk needs to be pure, in its raw state, so that the body recognises it as food as it naturally contains everything needed (enzymes) for the body to be able to digest it. Much of the food we buy in the supermarket today is so processed that the body has a hard time digesting it, which can lead to intestinal damage! Many different indigenous groups around the world were known to culture there milk which not only made the milk more digestible, but it also provided additional nutrition (probiotics) to the milk. We don’t want Zaria’s gut to get damaged again from processed milk after all the hard work we’ve put into healing her and getting her so well, so we’ve decided to get some goats of our own for milking! For those of you out there who turn up your nose at the thought of goats milk, you will be interested to know that there are some breeds of goats out there that have pleasant tasting milk!
So it seems as though things are finally progressing and falling into place. We have found that the Lord has gone before us and placed different people in different places at the right time to help us on this journey of healing! We are just so amazed at what the Lord is doing in our lives! We are finally moving forward and can see the light! All the glory goes to the Lord!
FIRST HOLIDAY IN 7 YEARS!!!
It is amazing to think that we have just come back from our first holiday in 7 years! Our last holiday was 7 years ago when we went to Mappleton near Maleny and we had to come home early because this was when Zaria first started showing signs of autism and she was so out of control that neighbours complained in the camp site, so we had to cut the holiday short, come home early and get help! We have now gone back to the area of Maleny (Witta) as a 7 year celebration!!! For the past 7 years, there was no way in the world we could even think about going away on a real holiday with Zaria, so this is a miracle! We had such a wonderful time and because we were on stage 6 of the GAPS diet, we didn’t have any problems staying on the diet while we were away. I was even able to take some GAPS friendly home made treats along for the trip which is so nice to finally have a bit of variety in the diet! Where we stayed there was a really big spa bath where we could continue to detox Zaria with Epsom salt baths. We were planning on going really slow and easy on holidays because we were worried about how Zaria would cope. In the end we packed so much in a day with lots of nature walks, a day at the beach etc. So how amazing is that – it just blows me away the transformation – what a miracle all this has been!
Many of you have been asking me if you could pass our story on to other people, as it may help others who are struggling with autism. By all means, we are more than happy for you to do that. I really do hope that by sharing Zaria’s story it may be of some help and encouragement to someone else that maybe going through something similar. It is really sad to think that when a child gets diagnosed with a condition such as autism, you automatically get put into a system. This system gives you a diagnostic label called “autism.” This diagnostic label is a distraction and can side track you from ever finding the real help you need to find a cure. This system keeps people in bondage without any real hope, keeping you busy with endless amounts of medical appointments such as regular paediatrician appointments, occupational therapy, speech therapy, psychology,medications and endless amounts of recommended autism seminars, making you go around in circles, when precious time is being wasted! I don’t want anyone to have to go through this roll a coaster ride!
The book that I would highly recommend, that has helped us to get this far in Zaria’s journey of healing is by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride “Gut and Psychology syndrome – natural treatment for autism, dyspraxia, A.D.D, Dyslexia, A.D.H.D, Depression, Schizophrenia” by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride This book could benefit anyone and not just those with autism! I just wanted to explain the title of this book because when you see the word “psychology” you may get put off or get the wrong impression! From my understanding, Psychiatrists have so many different names out there for so many slightly different symptoms such as those listed in the title of this book. By having separated these so called “conditions” (or symptoms) into categories with a different diagnostic label has certainly complicated things, as it prevents any chances of anyone seeing the connection between the gut and the brain. So when you have a leaky gut, your body can have an autoimmune reaction and this can affect parts of your body in so many different ways. These symptoms is your body’s way of warning you that something is wrong and is in need of help, as something bigger is going on inside the body. Dr. Natasha always emphasises that all diseases begin in the gut! Dr. Natasha’s book looks into the root cause of all of these problems and treats it as a whole, instead of treating every “condition” (symptoms) individually. There is also a really informative video by Dr. Natasha “Overcoming Psychiatric Problems by Healing the Digestive System.” which I highly recommend. I think this video explains things even better than the book in some ways and it would be really good for those who do not have the time to read! I’ll leave the link below! I also found the book “Gaps stories” – medinform publishing really encouraging, as I really needed this encouragement during my journey through the GAPS diet! 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! Many of these people have left there contact details in the book because thisdiet has healed them and changed there life so much, that they now want to share there stories and be able to help others.There is also a lot of good information which can be found on GAPS Diet Australia website. They have free articles and also a forum where you can get support and chat with others who maybe suffering with various conditions. GAPS practitioners sometimes give people advice on there which I have found to be very helpful. They also sell some products on there website that may assist you while you are on the GAPS diet depending on individual circumstances.
Many years ago before Richard and I had children, we read a really interesting book called “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price. This book I believe was the very first piece to the puzzle we needed to know in order to get to where we are today. So, when I found out that Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride was part of the Weston. A. Price foundation, I just knew that we were on the right track. This book is about a dentist who in the 1930’s travelled the world for 10 years, travelling to hundreds of cities in a total of 14 different countries in his search to find healthy people. Western A. Price was a dentist who was all too familiar with the common tooth decay, rotting teeth and poor health. But he wanted to find out why the isolated indigenous people around the world were in perfect health, while the civilised society around him was suffering from so many illnesses which ranged from crippling arthritis to degeneration. As Dr. Price travelled the world, he discovered that when isolated groups of people ate their indigenous foods they appeared to be in perfect health. They were free of chronic disease, dental decay and mental illness; they were strong, sturdy and attractive; and they produced healthy children with ease, generation after generation. Dr. Price had many opportunities to compare these healthy so-called “primitives” with members of the same racial groups who had become “civilised” and they were eating modern foods such as refined grains, white sugar, refined vegetable oils, canned goods, and pasteurised milk, these people had crowded and crooked teeth, narrowed faces, deformities of bone structure, arthritis and susceptibility to every sort of medical problem. This book along with the book called “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon seem to go hand in hand. Nourishing traditions is a book that is based on the work of Weston A. Price but it offers modern families a fascinating guide to wise food choices and proper food preparation techniques. It is said that this book is a challenge to politically Correct Nutrition and the diet Dictocrats!
At the beginning of the GAPS diet, we immediately saw incredible changes as Zaria’s autistic symptoms and aggressive behaviour became less and less. One of the first changes I noticed was when Zaria started to brush her own hair with a hard brush for the very first time, or when she could actually have a conversation without screaming or having a meltdown! While I wanted to scream out to the world that Zaria was cured, I just knew that I had done this once before, back in 2017 when she was free of autism for a whole month due to what I thought was from the yogurt cultures. But I truly think that this time it isdifferent, as it has been over 7 months now and she is now free of medication. I truly believe she has turned that vulnerable corner and things can only get better from here! I just can’t express how wonderful it has been to spend time with Zaria now and to be able to have a real amazing mother and daughter relationship with her as we spend time together in conversation and affection. This is the same girl who did not like any form of affection and would communicate with deafening screaming, meltdowns and abuse! You would appreciate this a whole lot more if you remember reading the desperate, heart breaking, hopeless letter I wrote in 2014 when Zaria’s list of autistic symptoms was pages and pages long! To be able to see the transformation in what she was back then to what she is today is just mind blowing to me and a miracle! The time we have spent with her now is just so precious and priceless. I just have to stop what I am doing and take it all in. The whole family has had to readjust our lives from just barely surviving, always being on high alert and cautious of what we say or do, to now relaxing and trusting that Zaria is now on the road to recovery! We also have a sense of freedom for the very first time as we can now go out without having to plan in advance or have to rush home to deal with a nightmare! All of these new changes are certainly hard to get use to! But while all of this is good, we all have to remember that while all this is exciting and although we are seeing such amazing, incredible life changing results through the GAPS diet, we realise however that we still have a long way to go. It is a long commitment that can take up to 2 years or even longer to get complete healing! We do not know what the future holds as life is full of ups and downs, but we know we can put our trust and faith in the Lord for all of our daily needs as we are truly thankful and grateful for everything!
I understand that when you know someone who has autism, you just wish you could do something to help them in some way, but most of the time you are left just feeling so helpless! There are times when I just wish everyone had this information so that people didn’t have to suffer so much. But while I want to scream it out to the world so that people can get some kind of relief, I also realise that even when people do have this information, there can be times in our lives when we just can’t manage it for whatever reason. It took us 5 years after receiving the book to do the GAPS diet. This is partly because Richard and I spent most of our time around the clock just trying to survive and we were completely exhausted. So to expect someone to be able to read a book or prepare meals under such circumstances can be overwhelming for those going through such trials!
It has certainly been a journey with the Lord and things happen in His good timing and for His purpose! Someone recently told me that we cannot predict what will happen to us in our lifetime, however, we can choose to either blame God or glorify Him and enable our messes to be turned into messages! So I really hope that Zaria’s story and journey has been an encouraging and inspiring message to you all!
All the glory goes to the Lord!
…when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. Job 23:8-10
* I have recommended a few books and videos that has helped us on our journey to recovery, but while these have been such a blessing to us in so many different ways, it does not mean that we totally agree with everything they say!
Overcoming Psychiatric Problems by Healing the Digestive System – Dr. Campbell-McBride