This blog is a way of sharing the information and resources that have helped me to recover my son Roo from an Autism Spectrum Disorder. What I have learned is to view our symptoms as the results of underlying biological cause, which can be identified and healed. I say "our symptoms" because I also have a neuro-immune disorder called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

And, of course, I am not a doctor (although I have been known to impersonate one while doing imaginative play with my son)- this is just our story and information that has been helpful or interesting to us. I hope it is helpful and interesting to you!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Healing Power of Food

Nutrition and special diet has been the cornerstone of Roo's healing as well as for the rest of our family.  The first major realization for me along those lines was how much damage the intake of certain foods and other substances could do, but the second realization was how much healing could be gained from incorporating the right foods into our diet.  The idea that food is medicine has been around for a long time, but I realized several years into our journey of special diets just how literal that phrase is.  Healing foods are amazingly powerful forces in our bodies.

Where does one learn which foods these are?  modern medicine and science have only scratched the surface in discovering what components in which foods are beneficial, so we are left to look for ourselves.  It seems to me that the common advice to eat as varied a diet as possible seems to be a reasonable way to increase the variety of components that we are exposed to.  We also know that produce that is fresh, local and organic is higher in nutrient value than the conventionally grown versions at the grocery store that were picked before they were ripe and grown in depleted soil.

When eating a restrictive diet, especially when feeding said diet to a child who is a picky eater, it can definitely be a challenge to broaden the scope of foods in the diet.  However, I believe that as time passes we will see more and more evidence of the importance of doing this.  Below is a TED talk that was given about the central role of angiogenesis  (the growth of new blood vessels) in cancer, and how powerful some foods are in preventing this.  The speaker makes the point that rather than waiting for advanced stage cancer and then trying to reduce the supply of blood vessels, perhaps a diet rich in these foods to begin with will help many of us avoid cancer and other diseases altogether.  The speaker claims that there are at least 70 diseases know to be linked to abnormal angiogenesis.  The speaker begins talking about the role of food in angiogensis at about 11 minutes into the talk.

Here are several ways that I have been able to increase the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in Roo's diet:

Fresh juices-  Use a good quality juicer, and experiment with combinations of ingredients that provide the nutrition you want with flavors that your child enjoys. Juices can be frozen as popsicles or made into snow cones with an ice shaver.
Dips for fresh vegetables and fruit-  This has had limited success, but has been one way that Roo has been willing to eat some veggies raw, such as carrots.  Dips can incorporate whatever flavors your child enjoys.
Pureed vegetables hidden in other foods-  Many foods such as winter squash, cauliflower, carrots, beets (if not avoiding oxalates), and greens can be hidden in muffins, pancakes, meatballs, hamburger patties, and even bread.  Steam the vegetable, puree it, and freeze it in an ice cube tray to have a convenient supply available.