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Today’s product recommendation is a book about healing autism through natural methods. It’s titled, Healing and Preventing Autism: A Complete Guide, and is co-authored by Jenny McCarthy and Dr. Jerry Kartzinel.  This book contains quite a bit of information about the GFCF Diet as well as other nutritional therapies and supplements. It is not light reading, and if you are squeamish about detailed information about poop, you may have a tough time getting through at least one chapter! However, the reality is that for many people with autoimmune disorders, including those on the Autism Spectrum, poop is something we usually have to correct (either there is not enough or there is too much, to be polite). In addition to this information, there is also a great deal of information on environmental toxins, allergy testing, and dietary intervention.

I realize that if you are not a big Jenny McCarthy fan it may be tough to take this book seriously. However, while Jenny provides the human, humorous touch to the subject, the “meat” of the information comes from Dr. Jerry Kartzinel, a well-respected pediatrician specializing in the biomedical treatment of autism and autoimmune issues.  (To learn more about Dr. Kartzinel, go here.) I found that the combination of their voices helped to make a difficult and potentially boring subject quite readable. The book is set up in a Q & A format and is packed full of resources. My copy is dog-eared and I’ve probably re-read it about 4 times because it is such a good source of information.

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve read this book and what you thought of it. Please comment below!

elisa_test

ELISA is an acronym for Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The ELISA can be used for food allergies, like dairy or gluten intolerance. It can also tell you whether you are allergic to other things, like watermelon or garlic. Many people with autoimmune diseases, like Aspergers/Autism, have what is called a “delayed food reaction” which causes them to experience bowel issues, general stomach discomfort, or even behavioral reactions. The ELISA is a screening tool to determine what foods are causing problems and is often recommended to be done before starting any type of specialized diet, such as the GFCF Diet.

However, it is difficult to walk in to your typical doctor’s office and request an ELISA test because many doctors considered this to be “fake science.” (I would bet they don’t have someone in their household that has seen dramatic results from eliminating certain foods, though!) In order to get an ELISA test done, the best route is to either work with a physician who is considered an advocate of biomedical treatment of autism and other autoimmune diseases, formerly referred to as DAN! Doctors. You can submit all the samples and pay for testing on your own through various companies (see below), but by working with a physician, you will be able to discuss your testing results and then devise a plan for better health based on your ELISA test results.

When my son did his ELISA test, we found that he tested very high for garlic and yeast, but lower for other things like nuts. Through the advice of his biomedical specialist, we have eliminated garlic and yeast from his diet, but he does eat nuts sometimes. Some doctors will even have you eliminate anything that showed a reaction and then slowly rotate these foods in to see how the person will react.

Here are several well-known companies that offer ELISA tests for food allergies/intolerances. The only one I have personally used is the Great Plains Laboratory and they were very thorough. (Please use the following links, at your own risk; I am not a physician and cannot recommend any testing protocols specifically for you!)

Great Plains Laboratory   (need a physician to authorize testing if you live in the U.S.)

Accesa Labs (claim that you don’t need a doctor’s authorization)

Complete Nutrition & Wellness  (require a physician to authorize testing)

Discussion Questions (please add your comments below) –

Have you done food allergy testing and did you find it helpful?

What food(s) did you eliminate from your diet as a result of the testing?

Do you recommend a specific doctor and/or lab?

Yes, I really did get to go see Ms. Temple Grandin speak live last night, here in the Orange County area.  She spoke to a packed gymnasium about a variety of topics related to autism and aspergers. For those who may be a bit fuzzy on who Ms. Grandin is, she is one of the “more famous people on the spectrum” right now thanks to a movie that was made a few years ago about her life that starred the immensely talented Claire Danes. (Ms. Danes even won a Golden Globe for her performance.) But, as Ms. Grandin so eloquently reminded us all last night – she is not autism only, she is a college professor at Colorado State University and a respected authority in her field of industrial design.

I found it interesting to see the marked difference in the audience members watching her speak. There were those of us who “live” with someone on the spectrum everyday and were soaking in as much knowledge and advice as we could from Ms. Grandin.  And, there were those who seemed to be expecting her to entertain them or do tricks, or maybe they were even expecting Claire Danes to come? I’m not sure, exactly.  For those of us who were looking for insight into the autistic mind, we certainly had our cups filled to overflowing last night.

Ms. Grandin, although she has clearly worked hard to improve this, has a lot of marked autistic mannerisms. I’m sure that for the uninitiated, she would come off as “abrasive” or “eccentric” perhaps. She was wearing her trademark fancy Western-style shirt that one would expect a cowgirl to be wearing, complete with silk tie. But, she was clearly comfortable in her own skin and so excited to share her insight with us, it was impossible not to enjoy her speech.  She also has a very dry wit and cracked us all up many times.

I was also chosen to get my book signed by Ms. Grandin, so that made the night even more special. I had the opportunity to quickly thank her personally for all that she has done and is doing for the autism community.  She did not make eye contact and very uncomfortably thanked me; just as my son, who is on the spectrum, probably would.  I was not offended in the least.

If you ever have the opportunity to hear Ms. Grandin speak live, I highly recommend it. It was a wonderful evening and I’m so glad that I was able to go.

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