Note from Julie Matthews on Autism Awareness Month

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Being April, the words “autism awareness” are being strewn everywhere. JulieGGBridgeHowever, “awareness” of autism prevalence alone falls short. People need to know WHAT autism is, and HOW you can improve the lives and families of those affected.Sadly, too many Autism Awareness articles do not honestly tell people what they can do to help. The greatest “autism awareness” that you can share, is the fact that the trajectory of the disorder CAN be influenced by the CHOICES a parent makes regarding treatment and therapies. Things cannot improve until you know that they can! Improving what you feed your child is very powerful, any family can begin right away. When a child’s body is healthier and functioning better, mood and learning improve, and subsequently children can get even more benefit from ABA, speech, and other therapies. For Autism Awareness Month, I propose we adopt Autism Action Month. During this month, help spread the word that diet and nutrition intervention can improve autism. Some ideas:
  • Talk to a family at the playground whose child is eating a blue lollipop, tell them what you know about the influence of the dyes and chemicals.
  • WRITE SOMETHING to share with your child’s teachers and therapists on how making particular food choices has helped your child be healthier and learn better – this way, those who work with other families will have knowledge of the benefit (they have their “hands tied” to some extent, but everything starts with awareness).
  • SEND a link, video, article…to someone you think can benefit from a small bit of awareness.
  • Point them to my Free Parent’s Guide.
  • Share/read a comment on this page below about how diet and nutrition has helped you/your child
Thanks for nourishing hope, and allowing me to do the same. Appreciatively, Julie Matthews

Julie Matthews is a Certified Nutrition Consultant who received her master’s degree in medical nutrition with distinction from Arizona State University. She is also a published nutrition researcher and has specialized in complex neurological conditions, particularly autism spectrum disorders and ADHD for over 20 years. Julie is the award winning author of Nourishing Hope for Autism, co-author of a study proving the efficacy of nutrition and dietary intervention for autism published in the peer-reviewed journal, Nutrients, and also the founder of BioIndividualNutrition.com. Download her free guide, 12 Nutrition Steps to Better Health, Learning, and Behavior.

References for this article:

  1. Manikam, Ramasamy, and Jay A. Perman. “Pediatric feeding disorders.” Journal of clinical gastroenterology 30, no. 1 (2000): 34-46.
  2. Mayes, Susan Dickerson, and Hana Zickgraf. “Atypical eating behaviors in children and adolescents with autism, ADHD, other disorders, and typical development.” Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 64 (2019): 76-83.
  3. Levine, A. S., J. E. Morley, B. A. Gosnell, C. J. Billington, and T. J. Bartness. “Opioids and consummatory behavior.” Brain research bulletin 14, no. 6 (1985): 663-672.
  4. Masic, Una, and Martin R. Yeomans. “Does monosodium glutamate interact with macronutrient composition to influence subsequent appetite?.” Physiology & behavior 116 (2013): 23-29.
  5. Goto, Tomoko, Michio Komai, Hitoshi Suzuki, and Yuji Furukawa. “Long-term zinc deficiency decreases taste sensitivity in rats.” The Journal of nutrition 131, no. 2 (2001): 305-310.
  6. DeJesus, J. M., Gelman, S. A., Herold, I., & Lumeng, J. C. (2019). Children eat more food when they prepare it themselves. Appetite, 133, 305-312.
  7. Heim, S., Stang, J., & Ireland, M. (2009). A garden pilot project enhances fruit and vegetable consumption among children. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109(7), 1220-1226.
  8. Ghanizadeh, A. “Parents reported oral sensory sensitivity processing and food preference in ADHD.” Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing 20, no. 5 (2013): 426-432.

8 Comments

  1. Diet has made a BIG HUGE impact in my sons life
    It decides the day he is going to have
    The choices that he makes
    It controls the clarity in his brain
    Yeah it pretty much is , the center of EVERYTHING
    Plus it keeps him Healthy
    WIn WIN

    Reply
  2. Within weeks of implementing an elimination diet for my son, who was diagnosed at two and half years old on the autism spectrum, his vocabulary exploded and he started putting two words together for the first time. Between the diet and therapy intervention, within six months Sammy appeared “typical.” He is now, at six and half years old, been mainstreamed for kindergarten with no assistance. He recently “graduated” from his IEP. My son is in “managed recovery” from autism. There is no doubt in my mind that diet intervention plays a key role in his optimized brain function. I myself lost over sixty pounds and a long list of health issues including depression, anxiety and chronic body pain after removing inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, soy, etc. Thank you, Julie, for the work you do to help parents connect the dots between what they’re feeding their children and what’s manifesting in the children’s behavior.

    Reply
    • Kim, So happy for you and your boy’s progress!
      Could you please share more about the elimination diet and therapy that you used to get him this far? All the best!

      Reply
      • Hi Lily,
        I basically eliminated almost all processed food for the initial healing process. He was eating organic vegetables, fruit, lean/clean protein and organic brown rice. No dairy, gluten, soy, chemicals/additives, etc. This is when he made the most dramatic progress. He now eats some GF bread and other products and seems to be doing okay with them. We also did vitamins and supplements as needed as well as OT, speech therapy, social skills and physical therapy. He is now finished with all therapies. Let me know if you have any more questions.

        Reply
  3. Milo at 4 years old was a mess drowning in Autism and not speaking. We did GFCF diet for two years,repaired his immune system with glutathione and supplements and he got better. He talked and was able to live in our world more comfortably. The diet helped heal his gut. The turmeric and the oregano oil killed the candida that ravaged his digestive system. The probiotic and enzymes helped get everything back in tip top shape. And I also credit the coconut oil and essential fatty acids for helping his brain activity and lessening the seizures. At 9 today he is healthy.has friends, and is doing well in school.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your sharing Robin and everyone else. Its my first time on this blog.
      I also noticed lots of improvements after i started using GFCF diet together with digestive enzymes for my son for about a year now. You said you did GFCF diet for two years, did you stop this diet after the two years? Could you please tell me more about glutathione and other supplements you used to repair his gut?

      My son is six years, However, his speech is still a big challenge, he has very few vocabulary and will only use them when requested, like repeating after someone else.

      Reply
  4. Wow! Just saw her in Raliegh NC. Started My daughter on the GFCF diet a week a ago and the social interactions have been amazing. This Easter she actually sat at the dinner table and socialized with everyone. My whole family is amazed! Thank you Thank You!!!

    Reply
    • I’m so thrilled to hear it Tiffanie! Thanks for sharing your experience!

      Reply

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