Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Food Allergies and Autism Revisited...It's All about the Gut

This started out as a Facebook post, but quickly became so long that I decided to make it a blog entry instead. I tend to keep my Facebook posts neutral--about my kids, our cat and our travels and not dwell too much on "autism" and all the medical conditions that go along with it, so the blog seems more appropriate anyway. Today I have some good news to share and maybe someone with a child with similar issues as Ryan can be helped, so here goes...

Godiva's antics are a frequent topic of Facebook posts...

Ryan has so many life-threatening food allergies that we're always on high alert with his diet...and he was very self-limiting because of these allergies, which are associated with all the gut damage he sustained. He would only eat meat, rice, seaweed and a few fruits and veggies. Eating out with him has always meant bringing food along and we feel guilty enjoying a good meal while he’s eating plain chicken and rice from a Tupperware container.

For the past year or so we have been working hard on detox, gut healing and we have been trying allergy elimination using an Asian medicine method called Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET—pronounced “Nate”, for short). I'm an engineer, so the first time I saw his doctor waving crystals over him and having him hold allergens and what she calls "neurotransmitter repair" in glass tubes, I was more than skeptical. That said, allopathic doctors haven’t helped him in the least and even deny autism is anything but a psychiatric/psychological condition, so didn’t think I had anything to lose.

I decided to check my reservations at the door and give NAET a chance to help Ryan. My husband (also an engineer) went along to an appointment and upon seeing a treatment asked me, "Do we need to believe it for it to work?"—a thought that had gone through my head more than once, but we had an early success that I thought could be attributed to NAET.

I don't know what that thing is either...

At our first visit I explained that Ryan’s anxiety had risen to what had proven to be dangerous levels. Ryan was literally eating his clothes from stress and I had actually found him choking on a long piece of his t-shirt that had lodged in his esophagus, unable even to cough. I still shudder when I remember that day, and am so thankful I was able to get to him in time to dislodge a piece of fabric about 8 inches long. I felt like a magician pulling on the scarves that just keep on coming as I extracted Ryan’s t-shirt collar.

Check out the neckline--this is what Ryan did within minutes of putting the shirt on

With anxiety reduction as the immediate goal, at our first visit the doctor treated him with her device—I don’t even know what one would call this machine--and he stopped chewing his clothes and hasn't since that day. Just like that, nearly a year of destroying every shirt we put on him was over.

I honestly found the whole thing very odd. Next she had Ryan hold a glass tube and she used a device on 10 different points on Ryan’s extremities in a clockwise fashion on Ryan’s “energy points”. The doctor opened a package and gave me a device to use at home on Ryan to help speed the process of healing along. There were several “heads” for the device and I asked what those were used for. She looked rather embarrassed and told me I would actually be using a vibrator on Ryan to stimulate energy points—but I could massage his hands, wrists, feet, etc…and achieve the same effect, but vibration was faster and more efficient. 

Yep--that's nothing more than a, ahem, "personal massage device"...
From Boise Natural Health

OK…so now I’m using a “personal massage device” on my son to heal allergies. I had to let that sink in but, you know, open mind...

Several visits in, using a crystal and what looks like a ball attached to a stick with flexible metal, she told me Ryan had high levels of Strontium and Uranium and these were causing DNA damage. I was becoming a believer after she was able to successfully treat his anxiety and save me hundreds of dollars in wasted clothing, but I'm a "trust but verify" kind of a gal, so I had him laboratory tested for metals and sure enough, he showed very high levels of both Strontium and Uranium!

The next visit, the doctor "waved her magic wand" over Ryan's abdomen and told me he had two large ulcers in his bowel and gave me a treatment for those. Our kids frequently have undiagnosed digestive tract issues, so this didn't shock me. After these ulcers were healed according to her assessment (and not to be graphic, but I was no longer seeing mucous in his poop), he suddenly became interested in all sorts of foods, which I took as a good sign. Before this he showed no interest in any foods other than "his".

I asked that we work on almond allergy elimination next because that would allow him a milk-like beverage to drink and I could cook for him using almond flour. Five weeks later he was able to eat almonds! We've been working on eggs (which he has been deathly allergic to since he was an infant). He was always so allergic to eggs that even a small amount baked into an item would cause a severe reaction--try baking GF/CF/SF, nut and egg free and achieving anything other than a hockey puck.

Which brings me to today…

Last night Ryan found a piece of cheesecake (think eggs and milk—life-threatening food allergies for him) and he quickly ate the whole thing before we noticed it was missing (the telltale sign was the incredible mess he made on the floor!). We were on pins and needles--should we administer the Epi-Pen and take him to a hospital? We're currently in a foreign country on vacation where English is not spoken so this was not a preferred option.

We literally stared eyes wide at Ryan for about two hours to see if he would have any sort of visible allergic reaction. Having two parents sit across from him staring intently at him didn’t seem to unnerve him although what exactly he was thinking, I’ll never know. It has now been 24 hours since the "Cheesecake Incident" and I'm so happy and relieved to say he seems to feel great and no outward signs of inner turmoil.

Calling Ilse simply a NAET practitioner diminishes all the good she’s done for Ryan that goes way beyond food allergies. Because of the “quack factor” so many use to describe a clinician who doesn’t follow traditional medical dogma, I point out that she is a licensed physician and surgeon who decided years ago that allopathic medicine treats symptoms and looks to cure rather than prevent illness. She is treating Ryan for physical manifestations of the damage that was done to him at a cellular level.


I have come to look at Western-style medicine as really quite odd, viewing the body as a set of separate and distinct parts--organs and tissues that operate independently with little relationship to each other, rather than as a sum of its parts—and these parts are to be studied and treated separately. The mind-body relationship is pooh-poohed, unless of course the physician is unable to make an accurate diagnosis—then your illness is “all in your head” and you must be referred to a psychiatrist after several unsuccessful courses of different prescribed treatments.

The engineer in me has come to think of the human body as a “system-of systems” and the whole person must be treated for healing to actually occur. Ryan also sees a naturopath to restore his immune system. She treats him biomedically and with traditional Hawaiian medicine, with great results.

I don’t know where we’ll end up on this journey to recover Ryan, but his nasty rashes are gone as are the “raccoon eyes”; his gut is healing and apparently his many, many food allergies are being resolved. As his overall health improves, he is better able to learn.

Ryan's rashes were so bad, we were afraid of being accused of child abuse. 

While I’m sure much depends on the skill of the NAET practitioner, I have become a believer in alternative practices. It took a lot of mind-bending to retreat from the “just give me a pill” mentality I had developed over the decades, following the Western medicine model, which I feel compelled to point out isn’t nearly the success story it’s touted to be. Americans are sicker and life expectancy has actually declined.

To hammer this point home, a study released last year by Johns Hopkins estimates medical error to be the third leading cause of death in America, accounting for over a quarter of a million deaths annually (BMJ 2016; 353 doi:; Published 03 May 2016). And further, a study released last month by Yale found that a third of all drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration are flagged for safety concerns in less than five years.

Chew on that before you “ask your doctor if {insert drug name here} is right for you”.

Side effects include "complete stoppage of the heart", which most of us would just call "death"

But that’s a topic for another day. For today, I just want to be happy my kid who has lived on one of the most restrictive diets ever for nearly his entire 9 years was able to enjoy a piece of cheesecake.


  1. To the best of my insight, drinking apple juice vinegar does not help decrease allergy side effects.

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  2. OK--I don't believe I mentioned drinking apple cider vinegar for allergy elimination, although it does have other therapeutic uses.

    Thanks for reading and for your comment.