In August of 2002, we received our son Thomas’ diagnosis of autism. He was 32 months old. I knew he was autistic because of the research I had done on the internet. The doctor’s words still grate on me to this day. “He’ll never have the capacity to make friends, possibly be mentally retarded, and you may have to institutionalize him some day.” I think I was only half listening and piped in that I was going to put him on a gluten/casein-free diet. I had been researching therapies for treatment of autism, and diet seemed like a logical step because of my son’s chronic diarrhea and stomach pains at night. The doctor told me not to waste my time and energies on diet because, “It just doesn’t work”. When I left the office and got into my car, her comments came back to me. I laid my head on the steering wheel and cried for the first and last time about my son’s autism. It all seems surreal now, because Thomas is no longer autistic. He is very popular with his peers, well behaved, focused, and very intelligent.
We did have Thomas tested for yeast and the report said it was so high that it could cause neurological problems. What occurred to me was my husband’s first cousin, Donna Gates, author of the Body Ecology Diet, was an expert on yeast. I called her that evening. She said she had known for quite a while that her diet would help autistic children. It was gluten- and casein-free, plus she had something very special for Thomas to drink. She wanted me to find young green coconuts that come from Thailand, and she would send me some starter to kefir the coconut water. What dawned on me quickly was that Donna may have the final piece of the puzzle to a GF/CF diet. Could it be that this special drink, the young green coconut kefir, would help with the allergies to foods containing gluten and casein? Maybe we wouldn’t have to follow a restricted diet forever! It wasn’t easy at first. I lived in the kitchen. What kept me motivated were the results we were seeing within a week. Before the change in diet, the only time Thomas really wanted our attention was to spin him around and around. After the change, he started showing signs of getting dizzy, and he showed me a toe he had scratched. I hadn’t realized he didn’t get dizzy nor felt pain. Little by little he was leaving his world of staring at Disney movies all day long and becoming more interested in things that typical children his age were doing. He was also starting to regain his speech that he had lost after his MMR vaccine.
At this time I found out I was pregnant, and I came down with horrible seborrhea dermatitis of the scalp. I could almost peel patches of my scalp off, and the hair would come out in clumps. I told Donna of this condition, and she said I needed the diet desperately. Little did I know at the time that my chronic fungal infection, as she called it, was the one of the cause’s of Thomas’s autism. When I informed her that I was pregnant, she was insistent that I start the diet if I didn’t want my next child to be autistic. Months went by. Thomas was getting better, and a support group evolved with other families interested in the Body Ecology Diet for their children. Interestingly enough, we all had similar issues of candida (yeast), which resulted in various auto-immune problems like asthma, eczema, and fibromaylgia. Donna was positive about what was causing our children’s autism. While most of us were blaming vaccines as the root cause of the problem, she identified the fungal infection we had passed down to our children as the real source. Our children just couldn’t handle the toxins and live virus’ from vaccines, environmental toxins, and the standard American diet, because the friendly bacteria in their guts were non-existent. I will mention that most of these kids had chronic ear infections, and the antibiotics they had taken were another factor for wiping out any good bacteria they had in their guts. Most of us don’t realize the intimate relationship between the gut and brain. The gut and brain have the same set of neurotransmitters. Most of our immune system and serotonin is produced in our gut. Why do we get butterflies in our stomach when we are nervous? There’s a connection. Donna Gates calls autism a “gut/ brain infection.”
The young green coconut kefir was doing wonderful things for us. It was helping to heal Thomas’s gut by repopulating it with good bacteria, alkalizing his blood so that his starch and sugar cravings were going away, cleansing his liver, and chelating metals at a slow and steady pace. This truly was a magic food having the right proportions of calcium,magnesium, potassium, and sodium. The young green coconuts have anti-fungal and anti-viral properties as well. I found out that in the Viet Nam War they used it for blood plasma, because it closely replicates what our blood has. A mother from Germany came into our group, and she mentioned a dentist in her country was using the young green coconut water to chelate his patients of mercury. We were watching Thomas’s autistic behaviors diminish with each fever or sickness he had. We call it a cleansing now. At one point I thought he would have to be taught how to point. The morning after a high fever, he started pointing.
Five years have gone by. Yes, we had difficult times, especially at first keeping Thomas away from offending foods. It was heartbreaking at times, because he now wanted to socialize, and that meant keeping him away from birthday parties and different celebrations. Many parents tell me they could not find the time and it would be way too exhausting to do what I did. I always reply that undesirable behavior takes time and energy. It’s a proactive thing. Today, Thomas gets to eat what he wants. I am very careful to keep foods full of preservatives, additives, and pesticides away. I have learned the importance of fermented foods, raw dairy products, cod liver oil, and raw egg yolks. He still drinks about a quart a day of the young green coconut kefir with a juice that I make from scratch using various sour fruit concentrates and stevia. Thomas is in first-grade this year. He was discharged from from speech therapy last summer, reads at a fourth grade level; and his writing is a little above age appropriate. He enjoys being challenged by workbooks appropriate for 2-3 grade levels. Whenever someone finds out that Thomas was autistic, they are quite shocked.
There really is a much bigger message here than my son’s autism. Thomas and the other children, along with their parents who have recovered through dietary intervention are messengers telling the world that we need to go back to the basics of eating whole, pure foods, nourishing the gut with friendly bacteria, and rethinking our country’s vaccination program and policies. We are taught that our children are our teachers, and I now know what this means.
– Diane Farr, Director of the Bedrok Community