Gina LaVerde healed her son, Dougie, of autism by focusing on the Body Ecology diet, probiotic-rich fermented foods and drinks and other healing practices. Find out how this passionate mom changed her life, her son’s life and the lives of her family.
We recently met with Gina LaVerde, a BEDROK mom (Body Ecology Diet Recovering Our Kids) who shared her inspiring story of healing her son of autism.
Q. When did you first learn that your son, Dougie, had autism?
A. I first suspected autism when Dougie was about a year old. While he was born with some complications, he developed normally in the first year. At nine months, he was walking, talking and identifying things.
I have always known about health...I even made homemade, organic baby food for Dougie. I thought I was doing everything right.
But around age one, Dougie stopped talking.
At the time, I only knew a little about autism, so I called my aunt, who was a special education teacher and asked her to come over and help determine if Dougie had autism.
My aunt brought a colleague who was a speech therapist and while they were not certain if Dougie had autism, they suspected he did. My aunt told me that autism was not curable, but I chose not to believe her. It was then I began my journey to find the answers to heal Dougie.
Q. What steps did you take to help Dougie heal from autism?
A. I didn’t make a lot of changes at first and focused mostly on research.
But around Dougie’s last set of vaccines (he had most of the vaccines, but not the MMR) at 18 months, he got really sick with sore throats, rashes and high fever. At that time, he went on five different antibiotics for a period of five months.
It was at this time, my research led me to information about candida.
Dougie’s medical doctor didn’t really know about candida, so I continued my search until I found Diane Farr’s story about healing her son of autism on the Body Ecology website.
This is when I started working on changing Dougie’s diet and my own, because I felt that I had candida as well.
Q. Was it difficult to change Dougie’s diet?
A. It was challenging because when Dougie was on antibiotics, all he wanted to eat were foods like pizza and French fries. But we overcame that by slowly introducing fermented foods and drinks , like cultured vegetables and young coconut kefir. We also introduced healthy soups.
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I started out slowly, but giving Dougie a teaspoon of young coconut kefir and then a French fry and gradually increasing the amount of young coconut kefir while reducing the amount of French fries. Within 3 days, Dougie was drinking a cup of young coconut kefir.
I was always looking for inventive ways to get Dougie (and my husband!) to eat healthy foods. Stevia was particularly useful because Dougie would eat anything with a little stevia, even his green juices.
These days, we ferment everything from coconut water, mangosteen juice, acai juice, and beet juice to all kinds of veggie mixes, dips, sauces and salad dressings.
The probiotic-rich fermented foods and drinks made a HUGE difference in Dougie’s health.
Within less than a month, he began to have eye contact. This was a big relief and we took Dougie off antibiotics, even though the doctor said he still needed them. Since Dougie and I both had the same symptoms of candida, I took him to my doctor and we used all the same remedies for Dougie that I did for myself.
Around this time, Dougie became physically well, even though he still had some behaviors of autism.
Within two months of starting the fermented foods and drinks and changing his diet, Dougie became very healthy physically and he has not been sick since January of 2006.
While Dougie was always vegetarian, I thought following Body Ecology meant we’d have to give him meat. But after learning more about Body Ecology, I realized that the Body Ecology principles were the most important and I could follow them as a vegetarian, vegan or with raw food.
These days, we focus on a vegan, high raw diet (mostly raw food diet) with plenty of vegetables, algae, fermented foods and drinks and blended foods.
Dougie also occasionally wants things like eggs and when he asks for something like this, I feel he’s doing it for a reason, so I give it to him. We are still eating low to no sugar and no gluten.
Believe it or not, the biggest challenge was with our family.
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They felt like the changes we were making in Dougie’s diet would hurt him, so we had to distance ourselves from family members who did not support what we were doing.
Q. How are things going with Dougie today?
A. Dougie is doing really well today. We have recovered his health and he shows no signs of autism.
I am so grateful for what Dougie taught me. My health, my husband’s health and even my extended family’s health has improved. Formerly skeptics, everyone in my family is now on probiotics.
My experience with Dougie changed my life. I went from doing work in advertising and freelance writing assignments that I didn’t really like, to helping people heal. Helping others is my passion and I feel like I am doing meaningful work consulting with other moms and families to heal themselves and their children.
While I have definite opinions on how to help people heal, I also value the beliefs and opinions others have for their own healing journey.
With Dougie, Body Ecology was a major part of his healing path and we also incorporated a variety of energy healing practices, like Reiki, along with dry skin brushing, baths, castor oil packs, movement therapy and sound therapy. All of these things help to relax the body to promote healing and open up the avenues for detox.
The most important thing for everyone to remember, whether addressing their own health or the health of their child is the principle of step by step. Getting well and detoxifying your body takes time and it’s important to work on one thing at a time.
And most of all, be willing to say “I don’t have to be like everyone else, I have to do what’s best for myself or my child.”
Gina LaVerde is a writer, Body Ecology/Raw Foods Nutritional Coach and energy healer. You can learn more about Gina and the healing practices she recommends by reading her blog: CertifiedOrganicWoman.com. You can contact Gina by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone: 773-540-9328.
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