If it hadn’t been for my son, there wouldn’t have been a Pickl-It…
The Greek word, diagignōskein, from which “diagnosis” is derived, means “to know”. When our youngest, adopted at the age of 11-months, remained at a 2-month old level of development, we began searching for answers.
Diagnosing and even defining autism is challenging… the spectrum of the disorder is so wide that proper diagnosis is a puzzle with too many pieces. No wonder the prevalence, causes, and treatments of autism are so hotly debated. Autism Odds
We spent dozens of months, wait-listed for developmental pediatricians, neurologists, and neuro-psychiatrists we hoped would diagnose our son’s condition. The majority of them dismissed us, because, “….he’s adopted…you lack genetic information….”. As if the field of genetics is advanced to the degree it holds answers?
Continuing the Search….
I couldn’t sit back, passively watching my child suffer from self-injurious behaviors, auditory and visual hallucinations, digestive and bowel issues, as well as, scream-inducing shooting pains in his legs, arms and head.
A friend-of-a-friend connected us with a pediatric neurologist brain development researcher, specializing in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) who was “curious” about some of the “more unique aspects” of our son’s case. Meaning: our son was an intriguing study-specimen. We were delighted! What might benefit research, might also benefit us!
The doctor’s first available opening wasn’t for 11-months, a cold hard fact we’d grown used in trying to find answers. Unlike the other doctors, who kept us idly waiting for months, this doctor orchestrated a whirlwind of events – MRIs, EEGs, BEAM (kicked-up EEG), IQ, competency exams, as well as, stool, urine and blood panels, in order to collect hard-data, all beneficial information!
Food as Medicine
With the doctor’s blessings, we implemented a biomedical nutritional approach.
“Gastrointestinal abnormalities, immune dysfunctions, detoxification abnormalities, and/or nutritional deficiencies or imbalances have all been suggested as potential biomedical “triggers” for autism spectrum disorders.” Biomedical Options – Indiana EDU
Following Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF), Nourishing Traditions Dietary Guidelines, we exchanged grocery-store food for that which was locally-raised and grown. The contents of my entire kitchen – cabinets, refrigerator and freezer – needed to be culled and restocked!
My kitchen counters became cluttered with an assortment of bowls, jars and crocks, bubbling with lacto-fermented foods: sauerkraut, beets, carrots, sourdough and kefir.
Within three weeks, the physical and psychological changes in our son, were nothing short of a miracle.
We felt hope, but strangely, we also felt doubt.
Could something as simple as food – grass-fed meats, pastured dairy, goat kefir and a variety of lacto-fermented veggies, really have made such a fast and positive impact?
On the fourth week of our new food lifestyle, a school-“authority” phoned, demanding, “Which medication did you put your son on, and why didn’t you inform us.”
Explaining he wasn’t on medication, but instead, “We’d ‘put him on’ fresh-off-the-farm, nutrient-dense, whole-food…”….
I was interrupted, commanded to attend an “emergency” meeting to “sort this mess out”. A few days later, we presented our biomedical diet plan to our son’s teachers and occupational therapists, many of whom took extensive notes and asked good questions.
In turn, they confirmed and shared their own observations, that our son, “had become a very different child, in a very short amount of time – surprisingly more teachable…more reachable…and a great deal more calm.”
What had begun as a tense situation, ended as one that confirmed to us, we were on the right path!
Our 11-month wait over, we finally met, face-to-face with the world-renowned Autism doctor, listening intently to the test results ruling out a number of disorders including, epilepsy, seizure activity, brain tumors, and Fragile-X.
The next batch of results were from tests – blood, stool and urine – taken two weeks before our meeting, and would give us the best picture of his current body chemistry. After 30-minutes of explanations of each line-item, the doctor summed up the results as being, “abnormally normal”.
The way the doctor said, “abnormally normal” didn’t make it sound like a good “thing”. Seeing the shocked look on my face, she explained….
“This is the first time in all my year’s of practice”, she explained, “that I’ve ever said that about an autism spectrum child. Normally, there’s at least a mineral, metal, or vitamin imbalance, but your son’s levels are perfect. “Abnormally” so! Don’t change a thing about his diet, but do tell me more about what you’re doing, so that I can tell others…!”
Pickl-It To The Rescue
Encouraged by the test results and the doctor’s enthusiasm, we were more determined than ever to continue making traditional foods: churning butter, feeding sourdough cultures, and scouting out more local resources for pastured, grass-fed beef, poultry and eggs.
The doctor emphasized the important role – “for the entire family!” – of lacto-fermented foods, their natural probiotic benefits, “very effective at replenishing the intestinal mucous lining, and a healthy microbial balance…”.
Frustratingly, the wild card in the diet? My lacto-fermented foods which I’d been making in mason jars!
They never turned out the same, varying wildly – one batch, lip-puckering sour one week; the next, mushy and bland. The inconsistencies were testing my family’s adventurous, “Can Do!” attitude.
When my husband took a beer and wine-making course, a solution to our flavor and texture problems became obvious.
Just like wine and beer-making, the good bacteria in lacto-fermented foods, were also anaerobic! That meant the less oxygen that was in the fermenting chamber, the better!
Looking at my odd collection of fermenting equipment – glass bowls, wide-mouth canning jars, and assorted crocks – all of them required a lot of hands-on, skimming scum, yeast and battling keeping the food under the brine! I’d followed the advice of others – “you don’t need any special equipment” – when quite the opposite was true. I needed special equipment and fast!
- anaerobic conditions
- tight-fitting seal and lid so no oxygen could get in
- automatic release of excess carbon dioxide and oxygen
- reducing oxygen’s access to fermented food, eliminating discoloration and texture changes
- pest-proof barrier
- reduction in mold/fungus/yeast
- consistent flavor and texture
- toxin-free container free of lead, BPA, petroleum products, cadmium, or phthalates
Reclaiming the Lost Years
Pickl-It simplified the entire process of making lacto-fermented foods, eliminating the need for whey, or processed starter-cultures.
Refrigerator storage was easier, too! Since Pickl-It containers have straight, not rounded sides, they lined up neatly on our counters, as well as fitting tightly together in the refrigerator without wasted space.
Among the many benefits Pickl-It offered our family, the best is that Pickl-It is easy enough for my children to use!
Two generations of my family abandoned 8th-generation family recipes, opting for dead-nutrient factory products. Instead of making traditional sauerkraut, half-sour dill pickles or sourdough breads, they became the 1st and 2nd generation experiencing epidemic levels of cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
I want a better life for my children – one that looks back to the wisdom of traditional, natural foods that the Lord intended. The no-fuss Pickl-It fermentation system makes having really good food, easy – a tradition my children are already claiming every time they say, “Mom, I can’t ever imagine living without these pickles!”
Time to Get a Grip – Environmental issues and Autism
Fermented Foods are Important for Autism – Sauerkraut is especially rich in Vitamin K, an important nutrient for Autism
Vitamin K Deficiency as a Cause of Autistic Symptoms – Sauerkraut is especially rich in Vitamin K, an important nutrient for Autism
Chlorophyll & Vitamin K – Repeats information that sauerkraut is a good source of Vitamin K
Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. (James 5:13-20)
Did you know...
“On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally’s cellar.”
Thank you to my mentor, KathleenMills, the brain behind Pickl-It. Kathleen steered me to the science behind it all and the means to provide the correct conditions. Thank you, Kathleen, for all your wisdom and patience.
—Lisa Herndon of Lisa's Counter Culture