‘fast food’ for kids with autism…

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Autism is described as a developmental disorder that has a collection of symptoms in three major areas such as, social interaction, language and behavior.  But not every child is exactly alike with some showing signs in infancy and others in the first few years of life.

The Mayo Clinic has given some more specific symptoms:

SOCIAL SKILLS

    • Fails to respond to his or her name
    • Has poor eye contact
    • Appears not to hear you at times
    • Resists cuddling and holding
    • Appears unaware of others’ feelings
    • Seems to prefer playing alone — retreats into his or her own world
    • Doesn’t ask for help or request things

LANGUAGE

    • Doesn’t speak or has delayed speech
    • Loses previously acquired ability to say words or sentences
    • Doesn’t make eye contact when making requests
    • Speaks with an abnormal tone or rhythm — may use a singsong voice or robot-like speech
    • Can’t start a conversation or keep one going
    • May repeat words or phrases verbatim, but doesn’t understand how to use them
    • Doesn’t appear to understand simple questions or direction

BEHAVIOR

    • Performs repetitive movements, such as rocking, spinning or hand-flapping
    • Develops specific routines or rituals and becomes disturbed at the slightest change
    • Moves constantly
    • May be fascinated by details of an object, such as the spinning wheels of a toy car, but doesn’t understand the “big picture” of the subject
    • May be unusually sensitive to light, sound and touch, and yet oblivious to pain
    • Does not engage in imitative or make-believe play
    • May have odd food preferences, such as eating only a few foods, or craving items that are not food, such as chalk or dirt
    • May perform activities that could cause self-harm, such as headbanging

Since there is no one cause of autism, and no single treatment, making some changes in the diet might help with a few behavioral or developmental challenges!  Try to remove gluten, milk products, sugars, soy and artificial flavorings and coloring from his or her diet.  Remember that protein, fiber and good fats are needed to stabilize blood sugars .. which is critical in autistic children.

SO WHAT DO WE DO?

First of all, STAY AWAY FROM SODAS!  Instead try giving your child water or diluted juices, vegetable juices or seltzer water.

PASS THE PROTEIN, PLEASE!  Try chicken, turkey, meat, eggs, beans, or seeds.

REMEMBER SOME FIBER!  How about some high fiber options such as fruits, beans nuts or seeds.

ALWAYS CHOOSE ORGANIC!  If it’s USDA Organic, then it has been produced without the use of harmful pesticides, artificial fertilizers, growth hormones or antibiotics and other nasty’s that shouldn’t be in our food anyway.

SOME IDEAS TO PACK IN YOUR CHILD’S LUNCHBOX!

  • carrot sticks and hummus
  • fresh fruit or fruit salad
  • hard boiled eggs
  • gluten-free crackers with nut butter
  • rice cakes and tuna or chicken salad
  • gluten-free spaghetti noodles and meatballs
  • chicken drumettes or wings with boiled potatoes
  • apple slices with nut or seed butter

Avoid plastic wraps for sandwiches and opt for wax paper or parchment paper.  Let your child help you pick out their lunch container and remember to keep it fun.  Use a cookie cutter for unique shapes for sandwiches!  Make it interesting and remove all the stress out of lunch or dinner time.  Most schools give the kids 20-30 minutes for lunch so pack what is healthy yet in small bites and focus on healthier options.

Planetbox-lunchbox(source)

Spirulina, the Protein Queen…..a crowning achievement…

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Spirulina….a lovely algae, no?  The Aztecs knew what was up, back in the 16th century and were known to mix it with chocolate.  Chocolate, people.  I’m already on board.

This is one bad (as in good) protein and here is why:

  • It contains the highest concentration of protein (by weight) of any food known.
  • Spirulina is the richest beta carotene food
  • It is the highest source of B12
  • A disease fighter
  • A blood builder
  • An immune system booster

Unlike animal foods, (which day by day I am talking myself out of) Spirulina is a pure, raw source of protein.  It does not have to be cooked and in fact, never should be cooked.  Yay!  Less cooking!

It is readily absorbed and can be easily blended into your favorite beverage, such as a smoothie, or juice.

Spirulina-Powder

According to herb wisdom, “every 10 grams of spirulina can supply up to 70% of the minimum daily requirements for iron, and about three to four times of minimum daily requirements for vitamins A (in the form of beta carotene), B complex, D,and K. By itself, it does not contain vitamin C, but it helps maintain this vitamin’s potency.

Spirulina is rich in gamma-linolenic acid or GLA, a compound found in breast milk that helps develop healthier babies. Moreover, with its high digestibility, spirulina has been proven to fight malnutrition in impoverished communities by helping the body absorb nutrients when it has lost its ability to absorb normal forms of food.

Another health benefit of spirulina is that it stimulates beneficial flora like lactobacillus and bifidobacteria in your digestive tract to promote healthy digestion and proper bowel function. It acts as a natural cleanser by eliminating mercury and other deadly toxins commonly ingested by the body.”

Ok, so let’s get down to taste.  It is a deep green, slightly blue dry algae powder.  Have you ever been in a bait store?  You know, with your grandpa to go fishing…..well, it sorta smells like that.  Fish. In a wet sock. 

You want to be sure that it has a ‘fresh’ smell.  I’ve heard that bad spirulina smells sour or rancid.  Now that, my friends will be hard to tell.  You should speak to a qualified person at your health-food store….and not the temporary Christmas help….you are going to want good quality spirulina.  Or a better option is to check out David Wolfe and read about his incredible knowledge when it comes to superfoods and nutrition.  You will be ASSURED to get the best quality, organic superfoods!  The website will tell you where you can purchase his products or you can go straight to http://www.longevitywarehouse.com/

Look for it to be sold like this:

  • powder (dried)
  • powder (with lecithin)
  • tablets (what I take…with orange juice to get ’em down)
  • protein powder products
  • blue pigment extracts
  • raw spirulina chocolate bars and spirulina energy bars

I usually add spirulina to my smoothies to mask the taste, when I am using the powder.   I am throwing spinach, kale, blueberries, acai berries, raspberries, banana, and cacao nibs in my blender.  A little spirulina tossed in cannot be tasted….just don’t obsess over it and think of the fabulous benefits!

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what the heck is moringa?

Glad you asked…..or maybe you didn’t’….. but humor me while I tell you what I dug up…

According to the book Lost Crops of Africa, volume II” by the National Research Council, moringa leaves contain seven times the vitamin C in oranges, four times the calcium in milk, four times the vitamin A in carrots, two times the protein in milk, three times the potassium in bananas and twice the amount of iron in spinach. Optima of Africa, Ltd., a group working with the tree in Tanzania, also points out that 25 g — or close to an ounce — of moringa leaf powder per day provides a child with 42 percent of his daily protein requirement, 125 percent of calcium, 61 percent of magnesium, 41 percent of potassium, 71 percent of iron, 272 percent of vitamin A and 22 percent of vitamin C. Various parts of the tree also contain the minerals zinc, manganese, phosphorus and copper. (via)
Now there’s a nutritional powerhouse!!
Turns out this little miracle tree can not only provide for you medicinally, but it can even purify your water! Virtually every part of the tree can be used!
Craaazy! 
Natural News says, “The immature pods are the most valued and widely used of all  the tree parts. The pods are extremely nutritious, containing all the essential  amino acids along with many vitamins and other nutrients. The immature pod can  be eaten raw or prepared like green peas or green beans, while the mature pods  are usually fried and possess a peanut-like flavor The thickened root is used as a substitute for horseradish  although this is now discouraged as it contains alkaloids, especially  moriginine, and a bacteriocide, spirochin, both of which can prove fatal  following ingestion. The leaves are eaten as greens, in salads,  in vegetable curries, as pickles and for seasoning. They can be pounded up and  used for scrubbing utensils and for cleaning walls. Leaves and young branches  are relished by livestock. The Bark can be used for tanning and  also yields a coarse fiber. The flowers, which must be cooked,  are eaten either mixed with other foods or fried in batter and have been shown  to be rich in potassium and calcium.”
So where the heck have I been?  Even Dr. Oz has been talking about it!!!  It’s practically a money tree….of nutrition!
Moringa Leaves are full of essential disease-preventing nutrients:
  • Vitamin A, which acts as a shield against eye disease, skin disease, heart ailments, diarrhea, and many other diseases.
  • Vitamin C, fighting a host of illnesses including colds and flu.
  • Calcium, which builds strong bones and teeth, and helps prevent osteoporosis.
  • Potassium, essential for the functioning of the brain and nerves.
  • Proteins, the basic building blocks of all our body cells.

And here’s something cool…..Trees for Life is helping to spread awareness of Moringa’s benefits, and helping people grow their own Moringa trees.   That is waaay cool!  Helping people help themselves!!

They are also encouraging scientific research on Moringa and its potential uses.  Your gift of Moringa trees can help hungry people lead healtier, happier lives.

Wanna try some Moringa in capsule form?  I just purchased some HERE.  You can choose from a tea, leaf powder or the capsule form.  Since I am a bit silly when it comes to something new, I decided on the capsule form.  I will keep you posted on my new super-powers to come!