When we moved to Vancouver Island from the Lower Mainland one year ago today we were excited for the opportunity to start over and be able to provide an amazing space for our children to learn and grow. With that said, there were still many times I thought, “what the hell are we doing?” There is no doubt that it has been a roller coaster ride and we are still learning new things every day. Finding a good doctor, dentist and even a new hairdresser can prove to be challenging. Life has slowed down which has given us more time with the kids and more time to be in the moment. There is time for card games, building forts, blasting Michael Jackson and rocking it out on the trampoline, painting tree houses, organizing community block parties, biking in the forest, spending time with neighbors, play dates and quiet times reading in the swing on the back porch. The childhood memories I remember.
It has just been within the last month that we have started to really feel our roots settle here in Courtenay. The end of the school year has proven to be the best year school year EVER for Abigail and Nolan. Both kids had amazing teachers and have connected with some great friends that have wonderful families. Nolan has settled into routine with his chickens, reading often, trampoline time and looking forward to his baby chicks hatching. Abigail has become excited about new things like sewing, horseback riding and doing her gymnastics flips every chance she can. Marty and I have found our groove with him travelling back and forth to the Mainland for work. We are grateful to our friend Rav who allows Marty to stay in his condo in Surrey, while he is currently living in England. Marty’s self- care has improved significantly too as he is taking time to go to the gym, working outside on projects and making time for friends and family too. I have connected with some very special people working (and now running) the salad bar at the kids school and volunteering at a local Farm. I come alive when I am around great people that are inspired to make a difference and open to talking about all the ebbs and flows that life brings.
Staying at home has also allowed me to focus on Nolan and Abigail’s healing. We have connected with a great Doctor in Kelowna (Dr Bratt). She is a DAN (Defeat Autism Now) Naturopathic Doctor. She also has a son with Autism so she can relate to what families are going through. If you did not know already, our son Nolan is diagnosed with Autism and is also gifted. We took hair samples that show that Nolan is still very high in Mercury (due to the fish, seaweed and sushi we have been eating). He was also very high in arsenic which was very surprising to me. Because we eat gluten free, we often eat a lot of processed rice products (pasta, crackers, bread, and waffle mix). Rice that is grown in North America has a lot of arsenic in it because it is grown in the soil that previously grew cotton. Cotton farmers used to use arsenic-based chemicals to kill boll weevils and to remove plants leaves before harvest. Now rice is grown in that toxic soil. The other interesting thing Nolan was high in was Manganese. Manganese is a mineral that naturally occurs in rocks, soil and has tested high in our well water. Exposure to high levels of manganese in drinking water can affect children’s brain development. We have recently put in a whole house water system to decrease the manganese.
Finally we did comprehensive stool analysis on both Abigail and Nolan. Yes, sounds disgusting but a really great way to see what is going on in the digestive system. Did you know that in years past, the Kings and Queens of our time would have their stool examined daily to determine their health? With that said, the test looks at: beneficial flora, imbalanced flora, dysbiotic flora, parasites, yeast, digestion / absorption, inflammation, and more. With Abigail and Nolan being twins it was very interesting to look at the two tests side by side. This test gave us a window into the affects the gut has on the brain as Abigail’s test came back significantly more positive than Nolan’s. Often people mistake Autism for a mental condition only and we are looking to “fix” the brain. But if we know that the gut controls the brain… we know that gut health is key to helping Nolan and others with Autism and sensitivities. The part of the test that was the most mind blowing was Nolan’s Secretory IgA. Reference range is: 51-204 mg/dL. Secretory Iga is secreted by mucosal tissue and represents the first line of defense of the GI mucosa and is central to the normal function of the GI tract an immune barrier. Abigail’s was in range at 105 but Nolan’s was out of range at a staggering 566 which means his gut has been chronically inflamed for YEARS. Chronic inflammation causes the body to constantly be on high alert and can cause lasting damage to the body and brain.
So what are we doing to help heal Nolan and Abigail’s GI tract you ask?
- Curcumin (bioavailable form of turmeric) – for inflammation
- 5HTP – to help with anxiety and sleep
- Grapefruit seed extract to kill the bad bacteria
- A great probiotic to increase the good bacteria
- Broccoli sprouts, garlic, cilantro, MCT oil, chlorella daily for detox
- Reduce rice (bread, crackers, pasta) to decrease arsenic
- Reduce seaweed/sushi/seafood to decrease mercury
- We replaced our whole house water system to decrease manganese
This probably feels like a lot but we just take it day by day and do the best that we can. Because Nolan (and many kids with Autism) detoxification pathways do not work as well as most of ours, it makes sense that his toxins are higher than Abigail’s. With all this said we are excited to see what unfolds in Nolan’s healing journey in the next six months.
“The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” Albert Einstein.
Great book to read: Healing the New Childhood Epidemics – Autism, ADHD, Asthma and Allergies by Kenneth Bock, M.D., and Cameron Stauth
Dr. Anita Bratt – Naturopathic Physician – https://drbratt.com/