Lady A’s Energy Bites- Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free and Low Salicylate

unnamedA while back a dear friend (miss you e.b.)

made this recipe and brought it to a recipe snack swap.

They were so yummy! Tonight I am going to a healthy living potluck and

I came across the recipe yesterday, and wondered if I could modify it for Lady A.

Here is what I came up with:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oatmeal
  • ½ cup cashew butter (low salicylate)
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds- w/Sea salt (we like this brand)
  • ½ cup ground flaxseed (in a clean supplement form here)
  • 1 tsp Frontier Alcohol-free vanilla
  • Optional – mini chocolate chips (we omitted these for Lady A’s version, since chocolate is not on the approved food list at the moment)unnamed-3

Mix everything together in a bowl and refrigerate for about an hour.

Remove and roll into bite-sized balls! Pop one in your mouth and ENJOY!

unnamed-2Rolling tip- I rolled the balls in plastic wrap (non BPA!) because when I used my bare hands the stickiness of the mixture kept making the balls fall apart…. oops!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Mommy Book Report: Nutrient Power- Heal your Biochemistry and Heal your Brain

A few weeks ago I finished reading this book:

Nutrient Power- Heal Your Biochemistry and Heal Your Brain

written by William Walsh PhD

Earlier this year our daughter had an adverse reaction to a nutritional supplement that we were trying with her (based on her medical team’s recommendation) in an effort to improve her health.  Unfortunately, after this happened, there were few clues or explanations as to what or why her response was the way it was. In one of the many facebook groups I belong to, filled with incredibly astute parents with backgrounds in engineering, medicine, law, and even biochemistry, I stumbled upon this post that someone had linked to. These words (from Dr. Walsh) jumped off the page at me:

“There is increasing evidence that folates act as deacetylase inhibitors that enhance gene expression of SERT reuptake proteins known as “transporters”. Serotonin reuptake is a far more dominant factor than the amount of serotonin present. Folate supplements (together with B-12) are very effective in improving methylation in most undermethylated persons. However, folate supplements should be avoided for undermethylated patients who suffer from depression, anxiety, or other mental disorders that involve low activity at serotonin receptors.”

and this:

“The benefits from improving methylation are overwhelmed by weakened serotonin neurotransmission for these persons. Methylfolate supplements are a clever approach for coping with undermethylation in persons with MTHFR enzyme weaknesses. However the potency of methylfolate has been greatly exaggerated. The methylation cycle spins constantly with more than a million methylation reactions per second. The methylation cycle somewhat resembles the Indianapolis Speedway with traffic constantly spinning around the track. Methylfolate is what I call a “suicidal” nutrient, that is, a nutrient that acts only once. After a single pass through a portion of the cycle, methylfolate loses its identity and becomes part of the garden-variety THF pool. Methylfolate is somewhat more effective that folic acid and folinic acid, but is not as effective as advertised. The bottom line is that methylfolate and other folate supplements are very effective in enhancing methylation for autism and other conditions that are not dominated by low serotonin activity.”

My interest was PEAKED and I was interested to learn more. Why? Because until I read this passage, I had never heard ANYONE allude that there may be a group of individuals who methylfolate supplementation may not be ideal for. Off I went to the library to get Dr. Walsh’s book and learn more. I already was well aware of the healing properties of balancing one’s biochemistry, so to assume brain disorders could be healed by balancing this biochemistry also, made perfect sense in my own chemistry (turned biochemistry) brain! ;)

Here are my top 10 takeaways from this book- Many of which I am researching further. This book does contain a biblography full of references, but much of Dr. Walsh’s research seems to have been presented at scientific meetings and in poster presentations that I have not been able to access (since I am not a member of those medical groups or did not attend the meeting).

1. Histamine is inversely proportional to methylation status- ie. High Histamine= undermethylation, low histamine= overmethylation

2. because of #1, Whole Blood Histamine blood test can be used as a measurement of methylation status. (Sam/Sah ratio is also a very reliable measurement for methylation, however this test is difficult to obtain commercially). Whole blood Histamine can be done at Labcorp or Quest.

3. Walsh provides an albeit technical but thorough overview of Epigentics and how they impact Mental Health. He defines (scientifically) terms such as methylation, histone modification and chromatin and how they relate to nutrient therapy and epigenetic disorders including OCD, ASPD, Anorexia, and Autism, to name a few. Chapter 4 is a must read if you are struggling with the nature vs. nurture mentality of genes vs. environment. Clue- It is BOTH.. and how they interact and genes only are NOT our destiny!

4. Schizophrenia- Walsh describes in chapter 5 the 3 Major subtypes of Schizophrenia including over, under methylation and pyrrole disorder. He also give an excellent historical background on the disorder and the theories who have preceded his work. You can hear him speak here about some of his work with schizophrenics:

5.Depression- There are 5 different types of depression that Walsh classifies in his book, rather than the ONE diagnosis of depression that mainstream psychiatry uses which equals one size fits all pharmaceutical= anti-depressant. I am sure you know someone who has done WORSE on an antidepressant Walsh explains why through explaining these different types, based on biochemical markers.

6. Autism- a topic near and dear to so many of our hearts. Walsh presents a list of Biochemical features found in Autism that include: low glutathione, under methyation, elevated blood toxins, copper overload, zinc deficiency, vitamin A deficiency, low magnesium, and deficiency of selenium and cysteine (to name a few). He covers oxidative stress and  shares biochemical therapies that he has found to work with the autistic population that he has worked with including normalization of methyl/acetyl levels and reversal of deviant gene marks. He also provides a strong warning about the use of Risperdal and the lessons we should have learned from Thalidomide babies.

Listen here for more of Walsh speaking about Autism:

7. Walsh shares some of his early volunteer work in Prison with inmates in the 70’s , that is fascinating.  More here. This quote/study was particularly shocking to me-

“Our test group consisted of 24 pairs of brothers who lived in the same household and attended the same school. Each pair consisted of a child with a history of delinquency and violent assaults and a brother with ideal behavior and good academics. In essence we found 24 families with a proverbial child from hell and an all-American boy living in the same family….The samples were coded and blinded to the testing laboratory and the researchers. After breaking the code we learned that the most of the well-behaved controls had the expected levels of the trace metals tested. In contrast, most violent subjects exhibited abnormal levels, especially with respect to copper, zinc, lead, and cadmium. In general, the violent children exhibited higher lead and cadmium levels than did the controls. However the test group was about evenly split between children with elevated Cu/Zn ratios and others with depressed Cu/Zn ratios. Note of the well-behaved children exhibited a Cu/Zn imbalance.”

He describes a second study where 96 extremely violent males and 96 nonviolent male controls from the Chicago area were tested. Half of the violent group was incarcerated and the other was living in society. The findings found 35 violent subjects had elevated Cu/Zn ratios, 57 had low Cu/Zn and the remaining 4 tested normal. 3 non violent had abnormal ratios and 93 did not. This led to research funded by the Violence Research foundation which blinded samples were sent from California Prisons as well as non-violent controls. Walsh’s lab was successful in identifying the CRIMINALS in better than 90% of the cases based on chemistry alone!

Here is a speech he gave on the work he has done with the prison and criminal populations.

And another article he wrote here.

And an article featured in Crime Times on sub-types found in killers and criminals.

And a feature in Science News here.

8. On Walsh’s website, he presents a fascinating School Shooter hypothesis based on the nutritional deficiencies and biochemistry abnormalities he describes in this book- you can read some of his theory here or watch it here:

9. Copper/Zinc imbalance can cause a whole host of mental and medial issues- including Post Partum Depression in new mothers, autism, schizophrenia and aggressive and criminal behavior. This is one of the themes and abnormal biomarkers that can be found throughout this book.

10. Video Cliff note version: well worth 2 hours of your time to listen to this lecture from Dr.Walsh himself.

 

This book has opened up some BIG doors (or should I sayBIG rabbit holes) for my research. Big clues for our family were found on page 24 and 25 as walsh talks about METHIONINE and FOLATE in a subgroup or people.

Extra: Walsh’s comments about a number of conditions archived from a message board here.

 

Posted in (Mommy) Book Report, ADHD, Allergies, Autism, Genetics, Medical, Methylation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Merry Christmas 2014

Babyfoodsteps yearly tradition… to share with you a homemade gift!

You can see our gifts of 4 years past here, here, here and here. Now on to #5!

This year our gift is a Mason Jar Oil Candle.

The inspiration for this gift and project came from here (gotta love pinterest!).

 

First the materials:

Mason jar with lid

1/8 couplings (Like this)

1/8 nipples (like this, found in the lighting dept of hardware store)

3/8 inch washer (need 2 per lamp, like this)

a brass nut

and a 100% cotton “wick” (like this)

pinecones, pine sprigs, berries, cinnamon sticks

Oil

mason jar candle lid

 

After punching or drilling a hole in the mason jar lid (we found using a center hole punch worked best), assemble the wick holder in the order shown in the photo (coupler, washer, lid, washer, nut, nipple, wick). I tied a knot at the end of the wick to keep it from falling through and tugged on it a bit so it went up into the nipple and stuck.

mason jar candle assembleFill the jars with all things holiday. We chose pinecones, cranberries, cinnamon sticks, pine sprigs and berry sprigs.  Fill the jars with water until you reach the last 1/6 of the jar and then top it off with oil (lamp oil, olive oil, citronella oil, almost any type of burn-able oil will do, we tried canola). Place the lid on and allow the oil to travel up the wick, then light and enjoy!

mason jar candle lit

We packaged these up this year and gave them as gifts to our neighbors and friends! Fun for the holidays and then here are some ideas on other things you can fill it with year round, not to mention and handy thing to have in an emergency when the power is out!

Merry Christmas from Babyfoodsteps! We hope the new year brings health and happiness to you and your family.

mason jar cndle wrapped

 

 

 

Posted in Craft, Oil | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lady A’s Merry Marshmallow Meringues

Merry Almost Christmas!!

It is cookie exchange time! This year I was bound and determined to make a cookie exchange recipe that was “safe” for Lady A, so that when I was baking for the event I could make extras for her to have a little treat!

I happened across this post on pinterest and I was hooked!

cookies4

Well needless to say, I lack the skills of a pastry chef in the kitchen, so what should have been real easy for others to “whip up” … took me 4 days, 7 batches and nearly 2 dozen eggs to “perfect” (well that may be stretching it… how about to “come up with something that looked edible!”)

After my first 2 batches looked like green soup… I resorted to YouTube to “teach” my self how to make the perfect meringue cookies!cookies1

This video helped the most:

and I used this method over the double broiler on the stove to incorporate the egg whites and sugar:

 Here is the recipe I used:

4 Egg Whites

1 cup powdered sugar

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

food coloring (natural if desired)

flavor extract (optional omitted for Lady A’s version due to sensitivity to the alcohol in the  extracts, instead we used natural dyed sugars like these.

  1. Pre-Heat oven to 200 degrees. Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in a bowl. Place bowl over boiling water on the stove (double broiler style- see video above). Whisk vigorously until sugar dissolved. Remove from heat.
  2. Using the whisk attachment on a hand mixer, mix on medium high until egg whites become bright white but still runny. Continue to beat to form stiff peaks.cookies2
  3. Place mixture into device like this  (or icing bag with tip) with large star tip. Pipe cookies onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make cookies about 1 inch in width, 2 inches high and place 1 inch apart on baking sheet. Sprinkle with the multi color sprinkles.
  4. Cook for 2 hours. After 2 hours, turn off oven, open door slightly and let sit in oven an additional 2 hours.
  5. Enjoy!

 

We are calling these Merry Marshmallow Meringues because we have not found a “clean” marshmallows yet for Lady A to have, so since these look (and taste!) like crunchy marshmallows we thought it was fitting!

She Loves them! Two Thumbs up!

Mommy thought about calling them Merry Methionine Meringues because egg whites are one of the highest sources of dietary methionine… but more on that later!

 

Posted in Recipes, Snacks, Sugar and other Sweetners | 3 Comments

You Know Your Child Best- Pittsburgh Parent Magazine November 2014

A recent publication in Pittsburgh Parent Magazine about a topic near and dear to babyfoodsteps.com ‘s heart!

Pittsburgh parent November 2014- You Know Your Child Best.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How to feed your family without Losing your MIND!

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

When we began this journey with a very fussy, “colicky” baby girl, all I wanted to do was feed my family. All I wanted to do was nourish the little ones (and one big one) who were counting on me for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Those early days were exhausting and emotionally draining, trying to breastfeed an extremely sensitive child, trying breastfeeding elimination diets, trying to sustain myself on a limited diet so I could sustain my baby, oh and cook different food for the boys who weren’t on our dietary restrictions.  Not soo much fun, but worth it…because in the end we learned the POWER of food (both good and bad!), found a diet that helped our daughter begin to heal, and it is ultimately what motivated me to start this Baby FOOD steps Blog!

Now, almost 6 years later and I have been blessed to meet some amazing mothers along this journey, mothers who really only wanted to feed and love their babies too!  Some of these ladies are part of The THINKING MOMS Revolution- a group of parents who are thinking and questioning everything about children’s health because they have lived and breathed their own children’s illnesses and know that recovery is real. These parents are finding answers for not only their kids but sharing that knowledge with others who need it.

This group is having a Virtual Food Conference coming up OCTOBER 7th, 2014 that I cannot wait to listen to! A star studded cast of FOOD EXPERTS including a few of my favorites (Julie Matthews and Stephanie Senefff) will be speaking and they have just given me a FREE CONFERENCE registration to give away (just leave a comment on this blog with how food has impacted your child and on our Facebook page to be entered, will draw name October 2nd)! The greatest part is that these busy moms know that WE all are busy- so if you cannot make it on the 7th you can still register and have access to all the recordings for an ENTIRE YEAR- to listen to when everyone else in your house is in bed!

Here are the details:

GMOs, Organics and Food Allergies: How To Feed Your Family Without Losing Your Mind eConference 2014

Date: October 7th 2014  | Time: 10 am – 5 pm EST  |  Registration Fee: US $40

Register HERE

 

Posted in Advocacy, Allergies, Conference, Medical, Organic, Pesticides, Research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Mitochondrial Week #1min4mito 2014 Wrap Up

As Mitochondrial Disease Awareness week 2014 wraps up, we are posting a compilation of the 7 Mitochondrial Minutes that we have shared via social media this past week.

Please feel free to continue to share these anytime and anywhere, just link back to http://www.babyfoodsteps please!  By taking #1min4mito you never know who you may help and who’s life you may improve!

For more awareness resources you can click here for Mitoaction and here for UMDF.

Posted in #1min4mito, Advocacy, Awareness, Medical, Mitoaction, Mitochondrial Disease, Mitoxic, Toxins, UMDF | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cancer, Autism, and Faith

A number of years ago, when we were in the thick of reactions, hospitalizations and testing, trying to figure out what was wrong with our little one,  I struggled to find a church home where I could find peace, solace, understanding and renewed faith.  I struggled, because it seemed the churches we visited were set up for neurotypical children and families with no health issues or concerns.  At the height of my frustration and as I was ready to throw in the towel, I happened upon this blog, Autism and the Church, and instantly I knew I was not alone in my religious journey.

After I read Thinking Moms Revolution book, I further connected with the author of that blog, Melanie (aka Booty Kicker) and found such comfort in reading her blogs about special needs, autism and church and faith. This blog hit another nerve, after moving to a new city and starting our search for a new church home all over again, and being met with candy, cookies, artificial everything, EVERY SUNDAY, with a child who cannot eat any of it (due to allergies, intolerance and metabolic concerns), again I was not alone in my struggles… BK had been there and felt that.  Melanie’s words and blogs have really changed  how I view religion, faith and church… I have a strong desire to be part of the solution now, and not complain about the problem. While I still haven’t figured out exactly how I fit into God’s plan to help other in the church religious realm, I do know that he has brought some amazing people into my life recently (including Melanie) that have similar concerns and desires to make His love know to ALL our children, not just the ones who can sit quietly in a pew!

Well, tonight I am writing this blog because it is time to give back and pay it forward. Melanie, who has already fought and beat breast cancer and bone cancer, is facing cancer for a third time. My heart is broken that this is happening again to such a sweet, faithful and caring soul.  Many in the autism (and beyond) communities are rallying together for a fundraiser for Melanie and her family, to help with treatment and with care for her autistic son while she heals.

Please consider doing what you can, be it prayers, good wishes, words of encouragement or a donation to her fundraiser.

Text from fundraiser:

Thinking Mom Melanie Baldwin suffers spine, liver cancer after having beat breast and bone. Son suffers profound autism: please donate!

An amazing woman by the name of Melanie Hamilton Baldwin changed the face of autism and cancer culture by telling her story to thousands as “Booty Kicker” in the Thinking Moms’ Revolution’s book Autism Beyond the Spectrum. Having once beaten breast and bone (hip) cancer; she now suffers liver, spine, and bone cancer in her other hip. For anyone who knows Melanie, two words come to mind. “Faithful” and “Godly.” As she struggles to overcome her current issues, her severely affected son Luke, still requires 24/7 care and attention as he is self-injurious and quite ill, suffering the lingering effects of severe autism. Please consider donating generously to help her family care for Luke as she regains her health, and please help their family establish financial security that will help them thrive during her absence.

 

***Note to other Bloggers… If you would like to help by writing a blog, Give Forward is willing to donate $ to this fundraiser for each blog post written and shared about Melanie’s fundraiser. For more information, leave a comment or send a message to us.

 

Editor’s Note- It is with extreme saddness that I post this. Melanie passed away last evening- October,, 5, 2014. Her family still needs our prayers, love and support- financial and otherwise. RIP Melanie- thank you for sharing your faith with all of us.

Posted in Advocacy, Autism, Hope, Medical | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Vaccination: A Conversation, Pittsburgh, PA

Yesterday, I had the amazing opportunity to attend an event in what has to be one of the most beautiful spots in Pittsburgh: The Phipps Conservatory. Surrounded by the most beautiful plants, tress, and flowers: thought leaders, practitioners, and parents gathered to have a conversation about a topic that comes with much emotion and controversy in today’s world.  But instead of arguments, name-calling and disagreement (as happens all too often in cyberspace) the atmosphere was one filled with respect, thoughtful discussion, and support for a parent’s individual right  to determine the best course of care for the health of their child.

The day was filled with a thought-provoking seminar on immunity and how T1 and T2 cellular response differ, and how each are impacted by vaccination, by Dr. Chris Powell, followed by a talk about our genetic differences, methylation cycle abnormalities and susceptibilities by Dr. Noah Erikson. The day culminated with a talk by Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center about her own very personal story of her son’s severe reaction to the DPT shot, followed by a history of vaccine legislation in the United States and how that impacts parental rights.  Her keynote address was met with a standing ovation from the packed room of attendees.

The day concluded with 2 panel discussions: A practitioner’s panel, highlighting an MD, RN and ND’s views on vaccination and then a Parent’s panel with 3 moms who all had different experiences with their children: one who experienced mitochondrial disease with her child, one with down’s syndrome, autism and leukemia, and severe autistic regression after MMR vaccine with a third child.  One of the many things I loved about the conference was there was ample time for questions and discussion around all the topics that were discussed. And while no one person could answer all the questions, given the extremely educated audience, it seemed other attendees could easily jump in and answer what they knew about the questions at hand. It was a true respectful CONVERSATION and DISCUSSION.

Patricia Lemer, the organizer of the event, and the author of Outsmarting Autism, concluded the day by highlighting some takeaways from the event:

  • Patricia stressed that we all need to KNOW WHAT A VACCINE injury looks like.

***

Recognizing Vaccine Reaction Symptoms

(from the NVIC website)

If you or your child experiences any of the symptoms listed below in the hours, days or weeks following vaccination, it should be reported to VAERS.  Some vaccine reaction symptoms include:

  • Pronounced swelling, redness, heat or hardness at the site of the injection;
  • Body rash or hives;
  • Shock/collapse;
  • High pitched screaming or persistent crying for hours;
  • Extreme sleepiness or long periods of unresponsiveness;
  • Twitching or jerking of the body, arm, leg or head;
  • Crossing of eyes;
  • Weakness or paralysis of any part of the body;
  • Loss of ability to roll over, sit up or stand up;
  • Loss of eye contact or awareness or social withdrawal;
  • Head banging or onset of repetitive movements (flapping, rubbing, rocking, spinning);
  • High fever (over 103 F)
  • Vision or hearing loss;
  • Restlessness, hyperactivity or inability to concentrate;
  • Sleep disturbances that change wake/sleep pattern;
  • Joint pain or muscle weakness;
  • Disabling fatigue;
  • Loss of memory;
  • Onset of chronic ear or respiratory infections;
  • Violent or persistent diarrhea or chronic constipation;
  • Breathing problems (asthma);
  • Excessive bleeding (thrombocytopenia) or anemia.

***

  • Patricia highlighted the NVIC’s brochure: Ask 8 Before you vaccinate- stressing that a sick child or one that is on antibiotics should never be vaccinated while they are sick.
  • Patricia reminded parents that Acetaminophen can lower a person’s glutathione making it more difficult for the person to detoxify, and therefore it may not be the best choice to be given before (or after) vaccination.
  • Patricia stressed the importance of eating REAL FOOD and that for children who are damaged, the nutrition they get from food (even real food) may not be enough, so supplementation may be necessary.
  • Patricia declared a CALL TO ACTION- to become vaccination educators and to join NVIC’s advocacy portal.

My day ended with a stroll through the breathtaking gardens of Phipps and a view    a-top Mount Washington, a perfect ending to a thought-provoking & intellectually stimulating day.

Posted in Advocacy, Conference, Genetics, Medical, Methylation, Mitochondrial Disease, Mitoxic, Research, Toxins | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mommy Book Report: The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing, Genius, and Autism

 

 

The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing, Genius, and Autism

I picked up this book at the library almost by accident. I was perusing the special needs and health sections and the title jumped out at me- Genius and Autism in the same sentence? … hmmm, a concept which I believe with such passion in my heart: that these children who are diagnosed with Autism do in fact have genius like qualities (albeit many are trapped within those who are non-verbal, or masked and subdued by physical, medical illness that is labeled as Autism), but I had NEVER read these words in the same sentence since years ago in middle school when I completed a term paper on May’s Boy and Idiot Savants (a term rarely used now, but meaning a person who is considered to be mentally handicapped but displays brilliance in a specific area, especially one involving memory).  This amazing book brought me full circle… with the beautiful story told by a mother, Kristine Barnett, as she, like many of us, struggle to help our children reach their full potential.

Simply put this is a book about a nonverbal child, Jake, who at 3 was disconnected from his world and diagnosed with autism. It is about a mother who was a day care owner by day and a warrior mother by night, never giving up on her son. What transpires over the course of this book… is nothing short of amazing, as Jake is discovered to have a genius IQ and unbelievable abilities in math, astrophysics and physics.

So as to not spoil the whole story… I will simply leave you with this (and a few links for future reference): This story struck an accord with me because it embodied the love a mother has for her child and her determination to fight with all her might to bring him back to her world, while never loosing site of the fact that he is a child and should relish in childhood! It also struck me because I feel the lines between autism (or ASD) and Giftedness have been blurred over time, severely limiting many of these children in their potentials to grow because they are labeled very young.

 

Here are a few links should you want to learn more about this amazing family:

Jake’s Wikipedia entry 

Jake giving a TED talk

Jake and family on 60 minutes

 

 

Posted in (Mommy) Book Report | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment