Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Jenny's New Book Debut


Jenny McCarthy has a new book out, written with the doctor who helped her recover her son. Perfect timing, as April is autism awareness month. Why don't you tell a friend or relative... or anyone who knows a child. You never know who needs to hear and learn about autism. YOU could be a key in unlocking some of the mysteries and starting the recovery for someone's child, some where.

Click HERE to go to the complete media schedule, posted on Generation Rescue.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

8:00 AM HOUR - GOOD MORNING AMERICA

9 to 10AM HOUR - (Taping, air date TBA) FOX & FRIENDS WEEKEND

10:30 AM - REUTER TV

1:15 PM ET - NPR, Airtalk



Thursday, April 2, 2009

7:00 AM-11:30 AM TV SATELLITE TOUR (mulitple interviews - TBA)


Friday, April 3, 2009

1:15PM-2:30PM - Tape EXTRA (interview with Jenny and Dr. Kartzinel - air date: TBA)

6:00PM - LARRY KING LIVE (interview with Jenny, Jim Carrey, Dr. Kartzinel and JB Handley)


Monday, April 13, 2009

(Taping) ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW (interview to air 4/14)


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

9:00AM - GOOD DAY LA

4:00PM - (Tape) THE BONNIE HUNT SHOW (interview to air 4/16)


Thursday, April 16, 2009

3:00PM-4:00PM - CHELSEA LATELY (interview)



Friday, April 17, 2009

9:00AM - (Taping) THE DOCTORS (interview with Jenny, Dr. Kartzinel, JB Handley, and Stan Kurtz, and a recovered family, air date: TBA)



Thank God for Jenny McCarthy. She doesn't have to do all she does; and unlike so many who have the means and the opportunity - she does uses her platform to help so many children. Our children... Again, I am thankful for her... we need her!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mom's Time Away...

Every once in a while it happens. I run out of patience and I realize that I need to get away. Away from the chaos of our home: kids, dogs, daycare, electric guitar, piano, barking, crying, screaming, growling, drooling, scrubbing, cleaning, ringing, clanging, etc. - and the list goes on.

Running out of patience is tough. No matter how much I rationalize that I have the right to run out of patience, I still feel like a bad mom or that I should be able to magically just whip some up out of nowhere. The truth is, even with all the best vitamins and enough sleep, there are just days when I run out of patience. I have had a couple of those days this year and to cope, I leave after begging Hubs to let me escape. But - this particular night, he took one look at me and just understood. I needed to leave. I did: I just get in my mini-van, with my ponytail and Crocs and left.

It's hard to explain how autism can affect a parent, especially an emotional person like myself. My tendency would be to indulge in some yummy treat such as cheesecake, pecan pie or a filled pastry... and an expensive coffee drink... mmm... I can almost smell it now. But - I have been focusing on eating healthy and developing healthy ways to cope. And, I must remain conscious of my financial budget. Biomedical treatments are far from free. I love my child and I am working so hard to recover him, but - sometimes this mom needs a break.

I left the house, was driving to the city and I decided to call our oldest son. He was also in the city with his girlfriend and guess what they did? They invited me to join them for dinner (where she works), to which I gladly accepted their invitation.

I love and miss the other man in my life, and his girlfriend is a doll. It was good to see them, eat a healthy meal (not to mention I didn't have to cook or clean!) and just hang out with them.

We met at a "pick out your own stir-fry" kind of place. It was fun.


Katiebug and I decided on pasta with our fresh meats (shrimp, pork, rib-eye steak & scallops) and veggies. I eat so much rice and I do like rice, but it was really good to eat pasta.



We also picked out our own sauces and spices. The chefs cooked our food just the way we ordered it and look at it! Mmm. Doesn't it look good? My plate is the one further away.



The kids ordered some kind of raspberry lemonade to share. Isn't it fun looking? Pretty much everything had an esthetically pleasing appearance. "Fun" - being the most descriptively accurate word.




Then, my boy did it. He had to order dessert. Katiebug and I just sat there, and watched him consume this Brownie concoction to his delight.



She begged for a little taste and he gave in. He did finally give her a small bite.




Needless to say, my child was F U L L . He ate a mountain of food and it was fun just watching him consume all that food. Although she was an employee, we were treated and served well. Very well indeed, considering the manager did give all three of us a very nice discount. It was a blessing and all in all, a great couple of hours.





As I recall, it was really cold out that night and I couldn't imagine eating all that cold ice cream. I went home full but happy. I don't think I was gone more than 2 or 2 1/2 hours, but - it was all the time I needed to re-establish my patience.

It is now almost 2 months later and I sure could use another night out. Well, maybe not a "night", but - a couple of hours would be great. It would be even better if Hubs and I could get out alone, together, but - that's pushing it. I don't know anyone who could handle Nicolas or who would even offer. Until then, I will remain thankful for my time away and I know if given the opportunity to do it again, I would. After all, I never know what the days will bring. That's the only consistent thing during this recovery. There is no consistency.

He could be like this: Super silly and goofy...





Or he could be like this: Obsessed with bugs and nature.





And - often, he is like this...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Fun New Game


I need to focus on more positive things. I need to focus more on the positive. I positively need to focus on something besides the negative!

Seems like so much of what I do involves so much negativity. Reading labels - looking for "bad" ingredients; just managing his health care... and that involves Nick's behavior. Whoa.

Anyway - I am going to focus on something fun! We found a game that Nicolas likes, and it doesn't take hours to play; it has won awards, features safe paint, is made from all wood and it involves some strategy, which is fun... plus, it is good for him (meaning he doesn't get too worked-up or over-stimulated) ! It's called...


Gobblet Jr.

I ordered this game back in November of last year and just got around to picking it up last Friday. I can't really explain why it took me so long to go get it, it just did. Maybe it's because I never really know what to expect from Nick... who knows? There are many things that I can not explain any more. Back to the game.

It is pretty fun, the first 8 times you play...



It is similar to tic-tac-toe, except that you can gobble up your opponent and move your pieces around the board. The object is to be the first to line up three pieces in a row and you win! I really do try to spend time with just Nicolas, doing things that he likes to do. I played Gobblet Jr. with him until I fell asleep and tipped over last night. To which Nicolas said, "Ok, Mom - we'll just play one last round."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Too Much... of Everything


There's just too much Nicolas happening this week. His determination, in a negative fashion is incredible. He will not take his multi-vitamin supplements. Will not. It's his will. And his taste buds. For some Nicolas reason, he can not stand the taste of one of his many major supplements and it shows. Wow - does it show. Whoa... does it show.

I am too something. Not too tired, but - tired. Not too emotional, but - always am emo. Too gray? Why yes - actually. My hair is fading. ARGH... ((Smile)) Why can't I look good with gray hair? Do I have to keep coloring my hair? It's getting so resistant. I mean c'mon... just how old could I look? Ohhh... that's not a good thought. Poor Hubs. I don't want people to think that I am his mother, instead of his wife! Dang... Who woulda ever thunk I would tire of coloring my hair? It's been almost every color, that's not a rainbow color, that is. All those years of working in salons and all the hair colors and stlyes... now here I am: A ponytail and croc-wearing mom, living in created chaos.

See? I am too something.

Go over to Adventures In Autism. It's encouraging and if you're as "something" as I am, you will cry and then smile.

Now go -- get over there.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Why should I care about infant formula?

If you have the time, you should read this. You should. Really. Even if you are "beyond" the need for baby food, you must know someone who has a baby or your children will someday make you a grandparent...

Here's what the headlines are:

Safety Risks in Infant Formula Produced in the United States

Honest - I am not trying to depress you, but - wake up and realize that the only person who is going to take care of you is you. Not the FDA. Not the CDC... not anyone who can and does make money or can be bought with money.

Years from now, I wonder what we will think when we look back at our present situation. We are in our infancy, so to speak, in regards to additives, ingredients, safety and of course - immunizations and vaccines.

So, what do you do? Get an ulcer? Lose faith in mankind? Fall in to deep depression? No.

For myself, I do not deny what is happening. Denial doesn't help.

Hope for the best and prepare for the worst? Well, that's not really all that healthy either.

I think that when we have knowledge of some "evil" that we believe to be true, we need to act on it. Meaning that if I know that aspartame and MSG are excitotoxins and bad for human consumption, well - then, I need to avoid eating them and giving them to my children. I don't tell everyone I meet about Aspartame and MSG - but, I do educate people at least a few times a a week. At the very least, I encourage them to do a little research themselves. And, that doesn't mean that you ask your friends and relatives. Look in different places.

I usually go to the FDA, CDC, and then to google and check out a few of the vegan and vegetarian websites as well as a few over on the other side too. If I only look in the same place, I will only find the same information, right? The library doesn't hurt either, although information isn't as current. Thank God for the internet!

Lastly, I pray that God would protect us, and guide me - as a parent, to make well-informed decisons about our health, diet and the foods we eat. I do believe that He hears me and that alone is comforting.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

Monday, March 23, 2009

What MSG Did to Me

I did a little experiment last week. I willingly and knowingly ate what I thought were foods high in MSG. No big deal; but - I did feel like I had a hangover for the first 2 days after I ate those foods.


Hubs brought home some "home-made" soups he got from a deli. Cheesy broccoli soup and baked potato soup. I was excited to eat food that I didn't prepare and I was equally disappointed when I tasted those soups. Yuck... In fact, I didn't eat all mine and saved it for the next day. So, I ate a little more that following day and threw the rest out. Each morning following when I ate the soup, I woke up to stiff swollen fingers, a nasty headache -- so nasty it required medicine just to function and I was so tired. Not just a little tired, but - even after a ton of coffee, I was exhausted. I do not enjoy waking up with a headache and tight skin on my hands. I can't stand trying to function while in a foggy daze either. It really was icky and I can't imagine feeling that way on a regular basis. At one point, I stood at the bottom of the steps in our home and wondered if I had the energy and strength to climb the stairs! That's pathetic. I felt pathetic too.

Read the ingredient label on good 'ol Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup.
Monosodium Glutamate and Mechanically Separated Meat...
MMM... MMM... Gross!




It's a familiar thing - being disappointed over cheap food. Over the last couple of years, I rarely eat food that I like better than my own, unless it is home-made or unless it is at a restaurant I am familiar with. It's not that I am some super fabulous chef or anything at all. I just do not enjoy a lot of salt or cheap food. Most restaurants serve food that - to me -- tastes like cafeteria food. When I drive by full parking lots of chain restaurants, I wonder if any of the people inside know that they could cook meals that are not only healthier, more affordable, but - likely better tasting?!

The other food I ate was an Arby's Roast Sandwich. (I had a free coupon...) After further looking at their website, it claims to be MSG free. Well, something burned my lips, while I was eating the darn sandwich and it gave me little blisters all around the skin on the outside of my lips. How annoying is that? If you wear lipstick, it's annoying. And, it just looks like I am 2 years old and licked my lips while playing outside in the wind... nice - hey? My free sandwich gave me red ringed lips that hurt for 3 days... then they peeled. I've worked in a lot of salons and had a lot of "goop" on my skin and face through the years... never did I experience this before! I need to look at what is in the bun at Arby's... and the sauces. I didn't check the sauces! Label reading never ends...

Don't get me wrong, I dream of being able to go out to dinner or lunch... I so miss eating out. But - I don't miss being disappointed and I do not miss MSG. In fact, I encourage you to go to your pantry and read some soup labels. I would be pleasantly surprised if you do not find any.

You know I just hafta yap about how much I loathe MSG. You do know that it is in the MMR - right? It is.

You do know that is is an excitotoxin, right? It is.

I will post this 'til the day I die. Ok - that sounds really extreme. This blog is just for my own therapy and sanity, if there is such a thing. But - I gotta repeat myself... I can't help it.

Some of us can use MSG with no adverse effects at all; and yet - many others have severe reactions to it, some of them life-threatening. MSG has been linked to asthma, headaches, and heart irregularities. Behavioral and physical problems of children, such as incontinence and seizures, as well as attention deficit disorders (ADD & ADHD), have been diagnosed and successfully treated as MSG disorders.

Here's some news: Labels can be misleading. ((Hugh?))

A label that says "No MSG added" doesn't necessarily mean that the food is free of MSG; it simply means that the manufacturer didn't put in additional MSG. Get it? MSG goes under many evil aliases, one that I often see actually looks healthy: "hydrolyzed vegetable protein," -- an additive used to increase the protein content. ARGH!

Manufacturers also hide MSG as part of "natural flavorings," because it is a natural product. But being natural is not the same as being harmless.

Below is a partial list of the most common evil names for disguised MSG. Remember also that the powerful excitotoxins, aspartame and L-cysteine, are frequently added to foods and, according to FDA rules, often require no labeling at all. I almost never curse, but - this is crap. ((OOPS - sorry!))

I'm getting a little worked-up... and I'll stop. Just as soon as I post this list again! Eat all the MSG you want... but please, don't give it to your children. Please?

Additives that always contain MSG

  • Monosodium Glutamate

  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein

  • Hydrolyzed Protein

  • Hydrolyzed Plant Protein

  • Plant Protein Extract

  • Sodium Caseinate

  • Calcium Caseinate

  • Yeast Extract

  • Textured Protein

  • Autolyzed Yeast -- I have been noticing more and more of this one too!

  • Hydrolyzed Oat Flour

I have every right to be opinionated. If you don't think so, come live at our house for a day. You will understand in about 30 minutes... maybe sooner.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Flu Shots Again?

Somehow, I managed to get off track on the internet. Happens a lot and usually, it's just a waste of time. But, I recently found this website and wanted to share one of the articles I found, just because it's really good.

And, I've shown this video before, but - since we are griping about flu shots, here it is again...


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Oh Laurel? Where are you? Why are you here?

Ever notice these words on your shampoo bottle ingredient label or make up labels: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate?

This additive is a cheap detergent, commonly used in cosmetics, hair shampoos, bath/shower gels, bubble baths, etc. - It is probably the most dangerous ingredient used in skin and hair-care products, from what I can tell - and no, I am not even close to being a chemist. But, I can read and I do have a brain. In addition, I HAVE A CONSCIENCE TOO!

In the cleaning industry, SLS is used in garage floor cleaners, engine de-greasers, car-wash soaps, etc. It is very corrosive and efficiently attacks greasy surfaces. Fine for your dirty garage floor, but - what about your skin?!?


Many of the salons where I once worked, used TIGI (Tony & Guy) professional hair care products.
Guess what's on the ingredient label?

Sodium lauryl sulfate is used throughout the world for clinical testing as a primary skin irritant. Laboratories use it to irritate skin on test animals and humans so that they may then test healing agents to see how effective they are on the irritated skin. So, if you want irritated skin, use it.

A study at the University of Georgia Medical College, proved that SLS penetrated into the eyes as well as brain, heart, liver, etc., and showed long-term retention in the tissues. The study also showed that SLS did indeed penetrate young children's eyes and prevented them from developing properly and caused cataracts to develop in adults.

Ever wonder how Walgreen's can offer Garnier Fructis sproducts for only 99 cents?
Cheap-cheap...


I have also seen mentioned that SLS may cause hair loss by attacking the follicle. It is actually classified as a drug in bubble baths because it eats away skin protection and causes rashes and infection to occur.

I wish I could say something otherwise, but this has to be dangerous and harmful to skin and hair. Cleaning by corrosion? Dries skin by stripping the protective lipids from the surface so it can't effectively regulate moisture.

If all that isn't bad enough... there's more! I keep finding articles regarding SLS and nitrate contamination. SLS reacts with many types of ingredients used in skin products and forms nitrosomines (nitrates). Nitrates are potential cancer-causing carcinogenics. CARCINOGENIC! Good grief...

Because of the alarming penetrating power of SLS, large amounts of these known carcinogens are absorbed through the skin into the body. A variation of SLS is SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE (Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate- SLES). It exhibits many of the same characteristics and is a higher-foaming variation of SLS.


In its final report on the safety of sodium lauryl sulfate, the Journal of the American College of Toxicology notes that this ingredient has a "degenerative effect on the cell membranes because of its protein denaturing properties." What's more, the journal adds, "high levels of skin penetration may occur at even low use concentration."

Interestingly, sodium lauryl sulfate "is used around the world in clinical studies as a skin irritant," notes the journal. The publication expressed additional concerns:

  • Carcinogenic nitrosamines can form in the manufacturing of sodium lauryl sulfate or by its inter-reaction with other nitrogen-bearing ingredients within a formulation utilizing this ingredient.
  • Other studies have indicated that sodium lauryl sulfate enters and maintains residual levels in the heart, liver, lungs and brain from skin contact. This poses the question whether it could be a serious potential health threat from its use in shampoos, cleansers, and toothpastes.

  • Still other research has indicated sodium lauryl sulfate may be damaging to the immune system, especially within the skin. Skin layers may separate and inflame due to its protein denaturing properties.

  • Additional studies have found that sodium lauryl sulfate is heavily deposited on the skin surface and in the hair follicles. Damage to the hair follicle could result from such deposition.
  • This point alone should raise your eyebrows, at the very least...as often the presence of sodium lauryl sulfate in a shampoo formulation is a "marker" for the use of other undesirable ingredients, a "red flag", including formaldehyde-containing preservatives (e.g., imidazolidinyl urea); possible cancer-causing wetting agents (e.g., cocamide DEA); and nitrosamine-forming agents (e.g., triethanolamine).


It's disturbing and it angers me. Now I have to read more labels! I never knew my destiny would include spending so much time reading labels... ((sigh))

Apparently most of my friends are aware of Miss Nasty Sodium Laurel Sulfate. I never knew... that's why I am sharing this with you!

Now go read your shampoo bottle - ok?

Not only do I order Nick's vitamins from Kirkman, I am going to look at their Kirkman Clean area and I am willing to bet that I can get some SLS-free shampoo from them too. I now have a new appreciation for the phrase, "Who put the pooh in the shampoo?" Don't you?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Best Restaurant All Year

It's been months since Nicolas has been out to eat or has dined in a restaurant. He misses it and I miss it too. I might be able to find some gluten-free and casein-free items on a few menus, but - now that we are yeast-free too AND avoiding all forms of MSG, I have no hope and I don't think it's worth my time. I am learning to be more protective of my time. It's worth it and it helps to reduce stress! Imagine that!

Anyway...

I had Nick with me one fine day, and of course, he was hungry. He is always hungry when he is not full. No in between with him. Our destination was Trader Joe's, and we did eventually get there, but - not before going to a new little cafe' that I had been wanting to check out for a very long time.

We went. We ate. I experimented with 2 new foods. We had a reaction to one of them, however, I don't know which one it was. Here's the details, taken by my camera phone... I wasn't planning on stopping or I would have taken my camera.





Here we are - at Bean Sprouts Cafe'. Cool, stroller parking outside! Very nice for all those who would want to walk here.


Oh good, easy-to-read doors. I have been known to walk into establishments/places and think I had entered another... ((sigh))

What's this? Hugh? A door for little people? Oops, excuse me - "Little Sprouts" ... I am likin' it already and we aren't even inside yet!


Parking is at a premium here - very nice. Can't get much better than free, clean and cute.



This place is obviously THE COOL PLACE for kids. See the wooden step stool at the counter where you place your order? Great for kids who want to ask for a GF-CF-YF entree'.



Nick got a sticker after he ordered and then we waited... wondering if the food would indeed be tasty, fresh and appealing to a 7 year old. As you can see - it was! The Boy ordered soup called "Hi Dahl" (in the orange petal bowl) with an octopus banana, at the suggestion of their very helpful, polite and friendly employee. (She knew exactly which items we could have, which wasn't much...) It came with hummus and some type of bread, which had yeast in it, so - they offered to substitute some edamame. Soybeans. We just got off a 3 month soy-free diet. Our dr. seems to think soy is ok for Nicolas... so - we gave it a try.






I ordered the Turkey, Avocado and Tomato Wrap. Whoa - I had quite the nice surprise. Sad to say that this little cafe' totally blew away the Cool Beans Turkey wrap in the healthy category. The tortilla was the freshest whole wheat tortilla I have ever had. Ever. And, it wasn't just a smushy avocado in there either. I don't know if it has some fresh cilantro (my guess), but - it was good, for being healthy. And filling. Mine came with a side of roasted sweet potatoes, which I think maybe Nick reacted to. Oh, I don't know though... maybe it was the soy beans? By the way, the edamame are served fresh and cold. Not hot. And, they were good too. (Did I admit that?)



The food was very good. It tasted really good actually; fresh and healthy, not flavorless at all! And, not like the salty, processed meats at other eateries. (Yuck - it's hard to even eat some of the meats at sub shops anymore... oh the BHS, BHT, MSG and nitrites at those other places... ew.)

Bean Sprouts Cafe offers three different sizes for your meals as well. A kid size, adult size and a big daddy size - with appropriate portions/quantities of food.

Another nice feature that they offer is that they have take out meals. Their menu boasts: "call us from the curb, we'll bring it out to the car for you!"

And, if you should have a baby, they offer organic baby food too. I know, it's an odd concept to wrap your head around... I am there too.

They offer the softest booster seats, which Nicolas wanted to use.. and he did. There's a small retail area and a bakery case with treats. I steered clear of it! I did see smoothies, soy milk and organic fair trade coffee on the menu as well. The decor is bright and clean with child-approriate toys out to play with, which was great while we were waiting. Nick chose Connect Four to play while we waited for our food.

Apparently, on Tuesdays, they offer something called "Tea for Two-sday" for $8/person, which is tea and three course of tiny treats. Sounds adorable! We weren't there on a Tuesday, thank goodness. It's still hard for the boy.

Obviously, I do recommend this adorable restaurant. I have nothing negative to say whatsoever. The next time I go, I will call ahead and chat a bit about our "allergies". Maybe a little notice would give us more menu options? We'll see. All in all, I was pleased and Nicolas was thrilled to go to a sit down restaurant for a meal.

Freaky Friday - Pure Silliness

I've said this before...

When I am too busy to blog, I am too busy.

The good news is that it's Friday!! Yeah!

In the spirit of created chaos, I hafta share the following email. You can't help but smile and lemme tellya - we can all use a good smile!

Enjoy!

BANNED FROM WAL-MART...

This is why women should not take men shopping against their will.

After I retired, my wife insisted that I accompany her on her trips to Wal-Mart. Unfortunately, like most men, I found shopping boring and preferred to get in and get out. Equally unfortunately, my wife is like most women - she loved to browse.

Yesterday my dear wife received the following letter from the local Wal-Mart:

Dear Mrs. Samsel,

Over the past six months, your husband has been causing quite a commotion in our store. We cannot tolerate this behavior and have been forced to ban both of you from the store. Our complaints against Mr. Samsel are listed below and are documented by our video surveillance cameras.

1. June 15: Took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in people's carts when they weren't looking.

2. July 2: Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute intervals.

3. July 7: Made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the women's restroom.

4. July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official voice, 'Code 3 in Housewares. Get on it right away.'

5. August 4: Went to the Service Desk and tried to put a bag of M&M's on layaway.

6. August 14: Moved a 'CAUTION - WET FLOOR' sign to a carpeted area.

7. August 15: Set up a tent in the camping department and told other shoppers he'd invite them in if they would bring pillows and blankets from the bedding department.

8. August 23: When a clerk asked if they could help him he began crying and screamed, 'Why can't you people just leave me alone?'

9. September 4: Looked right into the security camera and used it as a mirror while he picked his nose.

10. September 10: While handling guns in the hunting department, he asked the clerk where the antidepressants were.

11. October 3: Darted around the store suspiciously while loudly humming the ' Mission Impossible' theme.

12. October 6: In the auto department, he practiced his 'Madonna look' by using different sizes of funnels.

13. October 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed through yelled, 'PICK ME! PICK ME!'

14. October 21: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumed a fetal position and screamed, 'OH NO! IT'S THOSE VOICES AGAIN!'


And last, but not least...

15. October 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited awhile, then yelled very loudly, 'Hey! There's no toilet paper in here!'

Sincerely,
Wal-Mart

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sugar By Any Other Name is Still Sugar

Dangers of Too Much Sugar - Besides the calories (no thank you) and glycemic index, sugar makes your blood highly acidic, and feeds candida, which can wreak havoc on our health. The problem is that most processed foods contain sugar in some form or another, but don't list them as "sugar." Below are many names synonymous for sugar.
1. Brown sugar
2. Carbitol
3. Concentrated fruit juice
4. Corn syrup
5. Demerara Sugar
6. Dextrose
7. Evaporated cane juice
8. Free Flowing Brown Sugars
9. Fructose
10. Galactose
11. Glucose
12. High Fructose Corn Syrup
13. Honey
14. Invert Sugar
15. Lactose
16. Malt
17. Maltodextrin
18. Maltose
19. mannitol
20. Maple syrup
21. Molasses
22. Muscovado or Barbados Sugar
23. Panocha
24. Powdered or confectioner's sugar
25. Rice Syrup
26. Sucrose
27. Sugar (granulated)
28. Treacle
29. Turbinado sugar


So, whadda we do? We can try to use natural sugar substitutes, such as:

1. Barley Malt
2. Brown Rice Syrup
3. Date Sugar
4. Honey (raw, unpasteurized honey is best)
5. Maple Syrup and Sugar
6. Molasses
7. Sorghum
8. Agave nectar – which is our favorite

But - we are still taming the yeast. No sugar for Nicolas. We did use a product that we liked.

It's called "Just Like Sugar". Look at the claims it makes:


Healthiest Sugar Substitute Ever!





Just Like Sugar appears that it is the healthiest sugar substitute and all-natural alternative sweeteners on the Earth. It is the only FDA Gras-approved sweetener of its kind and does not cause the laxative effect that other artificial sweeteners can cause. There is no aftertaste, 0 Carbs, 0 calories.

Here's why I like it:
1. Healthy (supposedly)
2. ZERO Carbs
3. ZERO Calories
4. FDA Gras-approved
5. Certificate of Appreciation from the ADA (Uh - I don't really trust dentists...)
6. Source of natural fiber - like that though
7. Natural sweetness - looking good
8. NO harmful chemicals - Could it be true? No aspartame, no saccharine, and no sucralose?
9. Kosher-certified in the United States and worldwide. "BDZ" is the highest form of kosher certification that a product can receive from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. This should make me feel good about this product, yet... I am skeptical.
10. Just Like Sugar® contains no Soy, Yeast, Animal derivatives, “MSG”, L-Glutamic Acid, D-Glutamine Acid, Aspartic Acid, Gluten Free, Wheat, Free, Dairy Free or Preservatives; it is not fermentable and will not promote tooth decay.

Ok - time to order some more. We only had one container and it's almost empty. The good news is that Vitacost.com has it and I need a few other things, so I will take advantage of the $4.99 shipping!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pollution Begins in the Womb

I've been too busy to blog this week. Geesh- that means that I am too busy. But - I picked up a couple of projects, so it was good to have some work. Did I really just say that? All kidding aside, it is good to have work, it does cost money to shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.

OOOhhh, fun news! My brother and sil got a new puppy!! I love her. She's sooo sweet. I'll post some more photos of my new "niece" tomorrow (you've got to see her tail!) along with the only restaurant that Nick has been to in 4 months. It was a great experience and it's nice to be able to have some positive flowing around here, among all the negative.

IMHO...

The U.S. faces an epidemic of chronic and childhood diseases that are ofen linked to the pollution in (inside of) people. These include asthma, autism, ADHD, developmental and learning disorders, a decline in fertility, early puberty and childhood cancers. The list could go on...

"Scientists are still in the early stages of exploring the pathways through which environmental chemicals trigger diseases and disorders. This much is certain: Americans, including infants in the womb, babies and toddlers, are being exposed to a vast array of toxins that have contaminated food, water and household items such as stain-proofed fabric and foam furniture laced with flame retardants.

EWG's benchmark 2004 study, Body Burden - The Pollution in Newborns, found a total of 287 chemicals in the umbilical cord blood of 10 newborns. These included eight perfluorochemicals used as stain and oil repellents in fast food packaging, clothes and textiles - including the Teflon chemical PFOA, which the Environmental Protection Agency's Science Advisory Board characterized as a likely human carcinogen, dozens of widely used brominated flame retardants and their toxic by-products; and numerous pesticides. Of the chemicals found by EWG lab tests, 180 are believed to cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests.

In a September 2008 study entitled Teen Girls' Body Burden of Hormone-Altering Cosmetics Chemicals (http://www.ewg.org/reports/teens), EWG found 16 chemicals from four chemical families -- phthalates, triclosan, parabens, and musks - in blood and urine samples from 20 teenage girls. Studies indicate that these chemicals, all found in personal care products, can cause a number of potential health problems, including cancer and hormone disruption.

Also in September 2008, an EWG study of Fire Retardants in Toddlers and Their Mothers (http://www.ewg.org/reports/pbdesintoddlers) found 11 flame retardants in the bodies of 20 toddlers and preschoolers. The children typically had three times as much of these hormone-disrupting chemicals in their blood as their mothers.

Other academic and government biomonitoring projects have documented similarly high levels of dangerous industrial chemicals and pesticides in people's blood and urine. For example, a team lead by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control found bisphenol a, a synthetic estrogen and plastics component that has caused reproductive and neurological system damage in laboratory animals, in 93 percent of Americans over the age of six (http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/environmental--phenols1.htm).

In a pioneering December 2008 study entitled Exposure to Bisphenol A and other Phenols in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Premature Infants (http://www.ehponline.org/docs/2008/0800265/abstract.html) a team of scientists from the CDC, Harvard Medical School, University of Michigan schools of public health and medicine and Rush University Medical Center tested the urine of 41 premature infants being treated in two Boston-area hospital neonatal intensive care units for the presence of BPA and other plastic chemicals.

The scientists detected BPA in the urine of every infant, with a median level of 28.6 micrograms per liter, nearly 8 times the median level (3.7 micrograms per liter) found by the CDC in children 6 to 11 in the general population. The most alarming finding: the infant with the most severe exposure to BPA had a total urinary concentration of 946 micrograms per liter, 256 times greater than levels in older children tested by the CDC.

The shortcomings of TSCA are well-known. Under the law, the EPA approves an average of 700 new chemicals for commercial use each year with or without safety tests. The agency has required testing for fewer than 200 of the 62,000 chemicals grandfathered in and presumed safe by TSCA and has banned or restricted just five chemicals. TSCA is the only major environmental and public health law that has never been modernized and is widely considered to be the weakest.

Last month, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) (http://www.ewg.org/node/27538) included reforming TSCA in its 2009 "high risk" priority list, indicating it is a must-do for the Obama administration."


Looking ahead... "Our Trip to the Best Restaurant in the County", maybe even the state; "Guess What MSG Did to Me" and "A Look at Created Chaos - Shopping with Nick"...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Success! GF-CF-SF Scones

Here in Wisconsin, the weather has gone mad. It does this in the springtime. Nine days ago, it was nearly 60 degrees. When I woke up yesterday, the windchill was below zero. Minus 9 (-9) to be exact. Brrr...

I have developed an intentional habit of baking something in the oven when it's cold outside. Not only does it warm the kitchen up a bit and provide food for Nicolas - it also smells great! I want our kids to associate our home with love, health, safety and scents/smells have a lot to do with creating an environment that they'll remember.




Good smells coming from the kitchen in the morning, should surely help my plan of making them always want to come home to mama (me)... Right?

I have been making scones twice a week for Nick. Not only are the gluten free, casein free but they are sugar free and YEAST FREE too. Of course, Olivia can eat them too, if she wishes to. Hubs and I usually just share one and leave the rest for the kids. We've both really cut back on what we eat. I don't really have the opportunity to "cheat" and eat donuts or muffins since I am home with the kids. But - for all I know, Hubs could be snarfing down donuts and greasy breakfast sandwiches since he can not find food like that in our home anymore. Who knows... and I don't mind. I am not at tempted by those kinds of foods. I have other demons that haunt me though... ((Sigh)) Like some (insanely) delish maple cookies I snuck in the cart from Trader Joe's! Shhh... Don't tell!





I like to use a GF flour mix of rice flour, tapioca flour, garbanzo bean flour and white sorghum flour - that I make myself, but - if I am running low, I can always count on Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour to work for me. I have come to know and respect this flour mix. It is reliable and always acts the same, each time I use it - whether for cookies, muffins, scones, etc. - Bob comes through me.




At the time I took these photos, I used EnerG's GF cornmeal mix. It was good, just a little different in texture. We have had to learn to not let texture bother us. I try to add something bigger than the grain to disguise the grittiness, such as chunks of apples, bit of fruit with the skin on or, in this case, orange zest. It works. It adds flavor and it does the job of disguising the texture.



These are the main ingredients. Sometimes I add a little GF Cinnamon and a drop or tow of organic white vanilla. The important thing is that these taste good, smell even better and that they are gluten free, dairy free, sugar free and yeast free.

Oh - and with scones, one expects them to be dry and crumbly, so I always have success at scones, as long as I use Spectrum shortening and take the time to really cut it in well. I use a pastry blender until my arm feels like it will fall off, or until the pieces of shortening are smaller than tiny peas.

Here's the fail-proof recipe:

6 Tablespoons organic GF-CF Spectrum shortening
1 1/2 Cups GF flour/corn mix
1/3 Cup chunky fruit, chopped - but not too fine (raisins, apples, gf-cf chocolate chips)
1-2 Teaspoons grated lemon or orange rind (zest)
1/4 - 1/2 Cup agave nectar, depending on preference
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup rice milk, Dairy-free or coconut milk
1/2 Tablespoon lemon or orange juice
A "pinch" GF spices to taste - ground cinnamon, cloves, etc.
Optional: 1/2 Teaspoon white vanilla
(I am certain I threw some guar gum in too... 1 teaspoon)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In mixing bowl, cut shortening into flour/corn mix with pastry blender or with 2 knives. In separate bowl, add agave nectar, fruit, zest, egg, milk and juice. Add to the well-blended shortening flour mix and stir it well! I use a fork to smash the clumps and mix.

The next part is where you can get creative, if you'd like. You can try to form the mushy goo into a circular pie-shaped dough-ball and cut it like a pizza, lifting the triangular "slices" and placing them on a greased baking sheet... to get the triangle-look. Or you can "drop - n plop" them onto the greased baking sheet, just like drop-biscuits... or you can gently roll them into little "balls".

Bake at 425 degrees just until lightly brown around the edges. I hate over baked, dry food, so I am very obsessive about getting food outta the oven on time.

Enjoy - the smell and the taste are both wonderful and best of all, they are "safe" to eat. Scones... I think I'll whip some up quick - I'm cold.



Monday, March 9, 2009

"Normal" Isn't

An acquaintance recently told me that she didn't notice anything different with Nicolas. In fact, she thought that he just "walked to the beat of a different drum". Yeah - that's one way to put it. Those artsy people are different - I'll agree. It's the "exchange" that makes them that way, or at least that's how I've always thought. Maybe it's genetic... I dunno. But, what I do know is that if someone who is an artsy person isn't allowed to express themselves through their art - painting, drawing, sewing, music, etc. - then they are merely existing and often just surviving. But - when they are doing what they love, and using their gifts, talents, abilities or just enjoying their own creativity, then they are thriving.


Big difference between thriving and merely existing. When I first suspected that there was something not right with Nick, I thought it was related to his blood sugar or to eating sweets on an empty stomach. After all, he learned to ride a bike, read and was learning to play the piano. There couldn't be anything really wrong with him then, or at least in my limited thinking. For months, I struggled so hard to find a connection to his odd behavior. I journaled about his sleep habits, his diet, his environment - even when he took his baths. I could not find a common denominator. The only thing that was consistent, was that there was no longer a "normal".




Normal didn't exist and it still doesn't. I had never heard of high-functioning autism, autism spectrum disorders (ASD's), or PDD-NOS, (Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified) which in my understanding is a middle condition on the spectrum that those with it exhibiting some, but not all, of the symptoms associated with classic autism. This almost always includes difficulty socializing with others, repetitive behaviors, and heightened sensitivities to certain stimuli/sensory defensiveness. Some of the symptoms are pretty severe and others are minor, but - they are all different; meaning that not everyone labeled with PDD-NOS is exactly like each other or will have the same symptoms/characteristics.







Ok - as long as we're talking about labels, let's l
ook at Asperger's again. Asperger's can also surface at a later age, after 3 or 4 and PDD-NOS is so close to Asperger's I often confuse the two. Again, it's my understanding that those with Asperger's usually don't show signs of major cognitive difficulties and pretty much hit most of their milestones within reasonable time markers. Because of this, Asperger's kids are often called “high-functioning” or as having a “mild” form of autism, at least compared to others in the spectrum. To most, they may seem just like other kids… but not quite — socially awkward in a way or using mannerisms thataren't easily understood. Nicolas is not understood. His happiness and delight is frowned on, just because he is happy or enjoying himself in a way that seems “uncool” to some kids. I watch it happen. It’s sad, but – again, I am coming to terms with this.


Nicolas is also very literal. Poor kid, if only everyone used proper grammar...

I personally think that doctors and healthcare providers miss seeing it in younger kids, until there are enough wrongs for autism to show. Especially if it shows later and has "built up" with multiple factors contributing to this illness or condition. For us it took some time. It takes time for the damage to occur, build and then, when symptoms are more pronounced or displayed - we see it. And, by this point, for many of us, it is really, really hard work to recover our kids. But we do… and I will.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Autism Speaks Video

Spectrum Hope is a blog that I visit. It is also on Facebook, which is where I saw this video...





If this video doesn't move you, grab a tissue and read today's post at Spectrum Hope... she pretty much says it all. And, you need to read it.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Different Benny...B-B-B-Benny and the Jets...

I am old enough to know songs off of almost every Elton John album, including Benny & the Jets from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, from the early 70's. Sir Elton was a part of my childhood, which makes me wonder just how old he is now?? Speaking of 'Benny", I think of that song every single time I see an ingredient with the word "benzoates" in it. Good grief, shouldn't I know what a "benzoate" is? After all, I went to cosmetology college just a mere 25 years ago... and, and - I homeschooled my kids through high school, including biology and chemistry... and... do you know what benzoates are? Well then - let me share with you, a little about sodium benzoate. Really, sit a spell and let me tell ya what I have discovered over the last few weeks about "Benny".

Sodium benzoate (and potassium benzoate) are preservatives that are added to many foods, beverages, medicines, cosmetics, mouthwashes and nutritional supplements/vitamins. They prevent the growth of yeasts, bacteria and fungi. Sounds like an ok thing – right? Read on…

From what I understand, products with benzoates that are exposed to high temperatures or light can react with vitamin C (ascorbic acid) to form the powerful carcinogen benzene. Benzene exposure has been linked with leukemia. Fact – true.

The U.S. government did tests in 1990 showing that benzoate preservatives do break down to form benzene. Apparently, the beverage industry was informed to monitor themselves and then work to reduce using this additive. As usual, nothing changed and the problem didn't come forth until a private citizen had beverage samples analyzed; he found they contained four times the permitted levels of benzene. Surprise ya? what about in soda??

Additional studies have also shown that sodium benzoate can cause hives, asthma and anaphylactic shock in sensitive people. I think it just gives some of us “the itchies”.

Here's what got me: benzene has the ability to affect mitochondria in cells and cause cell death. Scientists have called for the US Food and Drug Administration to retest the potential dangers of sodium benzoate and citric acid in soft drinks, because the tests proving its safety are old. I’ll hold my tongue.

Here’s a list I found online, that you may find very interesting - see if you recognise many of these: I sure did!

Benzoates: Benzoate's includes any of the following permitted preservatives (E numbers 210-219):

E210 or Benzoic acid

E211 or Sodium benzoate

E212 or Potassium benzoate

E213 or Calcium benzoate

E214 or Ethyl 4-hydroxybenzoate or Ethyl para-hydroxybenzoate

E215 or Ethyl 4-hydroxybenzoate, sodium salt or sodium ethyl para-hydroxy-benzoate

E216 or Propyl 4-hydroxybenzoate or Propyl para-hydroxybenzoate

E217 or Propyl 4-hydroxybenzoate, sodium salt or sodium propyl parahydroxybenzoate

E218 or Methyl 4-hydroxybenzoate or Methyl para-hydroxybenzoateE219 or Methyl 4-hydroxybenzoate, sodium salt or Sodium methyl parahydroxybenzoate.

Again, benzoates have been linked to allergies, asthma, skin reactions, ADHD, hyperactivity, gastric irritation and migraines. See that book over on the right -- by Dr. Bock? Healing the 4-A Disorders: Allergy, Asthma, ADHD and Autism? I've read that book. Twice, in fact. Doesn'tmean I understand it all, but - I wonder what Dr. Bock would have to say about benzoates... am I over-reacting?

Benzoates can affect the natural balance of bacteria in the intestines.

Tylenol contains sodium benzoate.

Tylenol also reduces glutathione levels, and glutathione is an important part of our detoxification process.

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Once again, my head is spinning... and I am sad. I am sad that there are so many factors that have contributed to Nick's condition. I've never run out of information to blog about. I wonder if I will. Will it end?

Time will tell...