The Sweet Drink War

Are you fighting the sweet-drink war at your house?  It has become clearer and clearer to me that sweet drinks are just not healthy for anyone.   I feel that those of us who can see this clearly need to educate the people we care about, starting with our kids.

I’ll warn you right now:  Kids will protect their sweet drinks like pirates with a chest of gold!

Is it Really That Big A Deal?

I wish it wasn’t, but it is.  Soda is bad for you on at least 5 different levels.  Put simply, it’s liquid candy.  Drinking soda can lead to insulin resistance, leading to obesity, diabetes and heart disease.  Carbon dioxide in the bubbles is not helpful to health.  And to top it off, many sodas are full of artificial junk ingredients and petrochemical preservatives.  If you go with diet soda, you’ve still got carbon dioxide and junk ingredients, plus, artificial sweeteners.  Aspartame in particular is so dangerous it shouldn’t even be legal!

Fruit juice is better, right?   Unfortunately not so much.  Processed fruit juice contains tons of sugar.  Sugar, whether it’s natural or added, can lead to insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes, heart problems.  Processed fruit juice does not contain the vitamins, live enzymes or fiber contained in real fruit.   These things give fruit more health benefits and make fruit digest more slowly than juice.  Processed fruit juice is a simple carb, and spikes insulin for many people.  Many fruit juices contain as much sugar as a Snickers bar, and metabolize much faster.

Freshly made juice, like the kind from a juice bar, or the kind you juice yourself and drink right away, is healthier and does contain more vitamins, enzymes and fiber, but even with fresh juice, you’ll want to watch sugar levels.  .

What Should We Be Drinking, Anyway?

Water.  Yes, as far as I can tell,  it’s that simple.  Clean, filtered water is the best drink for humans, by far.  We need to hydrate ourselves constantly, and water is far better for this than everything else.   Some other drinks may be OK in moderation.  Some almond or other milk may be OK for kids, depending on allergies of course, but not as their only beverage.  Moderate amounts of coffee or tea or wine may be ok for healthy adults, but not as our main drink.

The sweetened liquids that so many people drink exclusively  – juice and soda – are not useful to our health, and they are making many people fat and sick.

The great thing about humans is that we can change our habits.  Our palates are actually pretty flexible if we are motivated.  Permanent dietary changes are possible, but not easy.  We cling to what’s familiar, and somehow, most of us feel “entitled” to eat and drink what we’re used to.

I know something about this.  I have changed my eating entirely, several times over, in the process of losing 100 lbs in the past 3 years.  In my experience, these are the steps to making a major dietary change:

1. Understand the facts – Be educated and really know what is true about the health implications of your current diet and why the change is necessary.

2. Be supported – by a friend, a support group, a website, a parent, whatever.  Someone who will be there every single day and help you keep your resolve.

3. Baby Steps… then repetition.  Make a small change in the right direction that you don’t hate, then practice it awhile.  Inch a little further in the right direction, wash, rinse, repeat.  It takes 3 weeks to make a new habit, the diet and exercise gurus say.  Change is possible, but it does take time and persistance.


  • It’s easier if you have a plan, written down so you can’t forget.
  • It helps me to put up a picture or photo, to remind me why I’m making the change, in a compelling visual way.
  • Make sure your support system is in communication with you daily, whether you’re having a good day or a bad one.  Bad days are when you need support most!

Very Young Children – Time to get off the Sugar Train!

Any of you out there with tiny children, 4 or younger, here’s my message for you:

Teach them to drink water NOW, while you still have control! 

Remember, baby steps.  There are a thousand ways to do this.  Here are a few.  Use your creative mom instincts to think of more, and post them here!

1. Water it down (slowly).  Be intentional about it, just replace a little of the juice in a new bottle with water, 5% then 10% the next bottle, 15%, 20%.  Write it down so you remember.  Ease their palates toward less-sweet tastes.

2. Make a water rule: Every other cup or bottle has to be water.  Juice, then water… Almond Milk, then water… Soda (if you allow it!), then water…

3.  Little ones sometimes love having a special extra-appealing cup/glass/bottle, to be used only for water.  See if you can use this tool in teaching them to enjoy drinking water.  That’s really where we’re going… by 12, you’d like their routine everyday drink to be water.

4. Outlaw soda in your house today, while you still can!  Draw the line.  At my house, we only have soda when we go out to eat.  Don’t think you can shelter them from soda, they will certainly try it somewhere, but when they are old enough, have a frank discussion about how soda is liquid candy and what it does to your body.

Also, outlaw aspartame (Nutrasweet) in your house, if you haven’t already, and work toward sweetening all your foods in healthier ways.  More about this later.

Older Children:  Inform, Educate, Model and Modify Habits

With older children (age 5-12), many habits are already set.  You can support them in gradually improving their habits, and educate them about food and health.  They may be drinking a lot of soda.   Or they could have a big fruit juice habit, which is almost as bad.     Phasing out any strong habit will probably require gradual steps and flexibility.   It’s great if your kids can get to the point where they actually want to make the change, and ask for your help.

Children 5-9 children are into rules, and if you are careful, maybe you can set some new house rules about drinks that they will not resist too much.    I have noticed that when my kids are successful in changing their habits, they are very proud of themselves, and willing to tell other kids “I don’t drink that”.

Of course, as they get older,  you can always vote with your dollars.  If you refuse to buy juice or soda, they have to finance their own drinks.  I don’t buy soda.  I think  that cutting down on the number of bottles you agree to buy, to help them cut down gradually, might be a good approach, but you’d need to discuss it with them first or it could lead to real resentment.

Soda Drinkers

1. Try stevia-sweetened sodas, available at health food stores.  If they can  switch to these, it’s a good first step.  This would be better for them than sugar, and way better than Aspartame.

2. Experiment with making your own sodas.  Buy bubbly spring water, and add your own stevia and lemon and lime juice, or whatever.  This can be worth the effort, if your children are attached to drinking soda.

3. With teenagers, have an informational discussion with them about their soda addiction that makes a difference.   Be neutral and informative, not critical.  Make sure they know you are on their side and want to help them learn to support their health.

Explain that soda is not food.  Explain the health consequences of aspartame.   This is an important discussion to have, so that they are informed, whether or not they are able to make a change at this moment.  Give them information in writing, so they can read it later on their own.  A big change like this would have to be something they decide is important.

Fruit Juice

This is actually the battle I’m fighting at my own house.  When we run out of juice, it’s like 3 teenage crack addicts who need a fix!  I have taught myself to be a water drinker.  My kids are not there (yet).   I used to think it was ok for them to drink lots of fruit juice.  But now I have realized, after watching Robert Lustig and Gary Taubes’ videos about sugar and obesity, that fruit juice is another concentrated source of sugar, and will not support their health.


If you are dealing with a serious soda addiction, see if they can switch from sugar-soda or aspartame-soda to one of the sucralose-sweetened ones.  This is not ideal, but is at least a step in the right direction.   Less dangerous.  A transition on the way to something healthier.  Most people do not make dietary changes easily, and will have to come to see the need for themselves, to make it a truly permanent habit.

With older children or adults, it’s best to propose some possible approaches and let them choose what they think would work best for them.  Mostly, they need to understand the issue and want to make the change.

Which Sweeteners should we use?

Stevia is the most desirable natural sweetener, and sweetens many drinks well.  We make homemade lemonade with stevia that my kids like a lot.    The sweeteners that I sometimes use, in order of my preference, are:

  • Stevia
  • Truvia (Stevia plus xylitol)
  • Agave nectar (fructose, but low-glycemic)
  • Sweet N Low (saccharine- artificial)
  • Splenda (artificial)

You will want to experiment with all of these, and any others you find.  They all have pro’s and con’s.  Do not use Aspartame, it’s dangerous.

Useful Resources:

What Happens to Your Body When You Drink A Coke

Robert Lustig on Sugar (youtube video)

Gary Taubes, Why We Get Fat (youtube video’s  – series of 3, worth watching!)

Self-Funded Aspartame Study Finds Huge Tumors

The Dangers of Drinking Soda

Adult Health

Hi all,

Keeping up on the current state of alternative health research is part of my work, and my life as a mother of an autistic child.  I wanted to share some important information with you that has been critical for me in caring for my own health.

I’ve struggled with my weight for most of my adult life, but until recently, it seemed more like a nuisance than a pressing health issue to me.  In the last few years, I have learned to see this as the critical health issue that it is.  Thanks to diligent learning and effort, for the first time in over 18 years, I am now at a normal weight, and my health risk factors have improved tremendously.

From this personal quest I’ve been on for so long, I wanted to share with you some thoughts about adult health.  One of my main long-term personal goals is to avoid spending time in the hospital and minimize my risks of the major chronic diseases – heart disease, cancer and diabetes.     I’m sharing this information in the spirit of you, too, staying healthy well into old age, as so many are counting on us.



Click to Enlarge

1 – Get your weight to optimum levels. A few years ago, I saw master herbalist Christopher Hobbs speak about chronic disease.  He said that getting the extra fat off of your body is the most important thing you can do to avoid the epidemics of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  This is huge, for all of us.  Getting your BMI to normal levels and keeping it there is the single most important thing you can do to improve your long-term health risk, including all these diseases.  The image at right is one that I used as a visual to help me while I was starting to lose my extra weight, showing all the health conditions that improve when you lose weight.

Get your BMI Below 22. Find your bmi by looking up your weight and height on a BMI calculator like the site below, and make the dietary and exercise changes needed to get it below 22 and keep it there.  This may take awhile, and you may have to change many habits.  You may find that your new healthy habits rub off on your children, which is just one more reason it’s so worthwhile.   If you have been struggling to lose weight using other methods, look into the HCG Diet at Happily Thinner After, below.  For me, this method was a life-changer!

Body Mass Calculator

HCG Diet – Happily Thinner After

2 – Get your Vitamin D above 70. The best recent study says we ought to be taking 4000-8000 iu/day.  Whole foods has inexpensive 4000 iu softgels, very small and easy to take.  When you get your annual physical, ask for your vitamin D levels to be tested.  Keep them above 70.  You do need to take supplemental vitamin D in the summer, as well as winter.

Vitamin D Study

3 – Take fish oil daily. Essential Fatty Acids help with so many important areas of health!  They help with heart risk factors, cholesterol, inflammation and brain function, among others.  Take just the dose recommended, not more.  Cod liver oil is a great choice, because it helps with vitamin A and D as well.   To be safe, buy a good quality brand which has been purified of heavy metals, such as Nordic Naturals, not a drugstore or discount brand.

4 – Phase out white flour and sugar from your diet. I am absolutely convinced that this is a major change we will need to make in our eating as a culture.  Most persistent weight gain is due to insulin resistance due to sugar and simple carbs, not due to too much food or too much fat. Lowering your carb intake and breaking your addiction to white flour and sugar is critical for maintaining healthy body weight and low risk factors.   If this sounds controversial or wrong to you, please take the time to listen to Gary Taubes’ series of lectures on Youtube and educate yourself.  What you hear will surprise you, but I absolutely believe it is the truth.

There is really good news here:  with proper guidance, those who have been brainwashed into starving themselves eating lowfat and diet foods can “splurge” daily on delicious healthy high-fat food, and improve their health and their weight!

What To Eat: Eat vegetables and fruits of all colors, particularly berries and crucifers (broccoli, cauliflower, etc.).   Eat plenty of healthy fats, like coconut oil, avocado and yogurt, and clean organic meats like wild salmon and grassfed beef.  Find a sweetener other than sugar (not aspartame) that you like, and use it instead of sugar.   Eat whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice in moderation, or less if you gain weight easily or need to lose.

I believe that as medical science catches up with what nutritionists know, the obesity epidemic will be found to be due to addiction to simple carbs like white flour and sugar, not  fat.  Obviously, you will also want to avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup, as well as artificial colors, flavors, aspartame, and MSG.  Try to cook your own foods, rather than eating pre-made ones or eating out – this is the best way to make sure you’re eating real food.

5 – Buy your Meat and Dairy Organic. Here are the most important things to buy organic:

a. Meats (toxins concentrate in animal fat, so organic is important in meat and dairy)

b. Dairy products (if you don’t buy organic, buy low fat, and get healthy fats from other sources)

c. Strawberries (because of the particular pesticides used on them)

d. Other fruits and veggies (importance varies by type).

This is according to a recent article in Time Magazine.  The higher priority placed on buying organic dairy above fruits and veggies is new, and surprised a lot of people.   Please do find a way to include organic strawberries and blueberries in your family’s diet frequently!  They are an incredible health investment.

6 – Stop smoking. If you need a reason why, look at your kids’ faces.

7 – Address your individual health risk factors. Use your annual physical exam to know and understand your blood pressure, cholesterol, fasting blood sugar, bone density, and anything your doctor says is a particular risk or issue for you, based on your health and family history.

  • Take a notebook to your doctor appointments, ask questions, write things down and follow through.  Nobody cares about your health as much as you do.
  • Get a copy of your test results and understand them – your insurance dollars paid for them – make sure you get your money’s worth!
  • In my opinion, one of the best uses for western medicine is to use it to find out and understand your risk factors.  Then educate yourself, and use practical, inexpensive, healthy non-western methods, such as food, supplements, meditation and exercise, to help improve them.

Please note that most of these recommendations go beyond the level of health that most doctors are used to.  If you implement them, you will be healthier than 99% of the patients that most doctors will ever see.  Your doctor may look at you like you’re a little excessive, or slightly crazy (as mine now does!) if you tell him that these are your goals.  But I do not think they will tell you these are bad ideas for your health.  And they may ask you how you did it, when they see how healthy you become!

Recommended Resources


3/25/11 UPDATE: Don’t be fooled by the fact that Fukushima Nuclear plant is no longer on the front page news.   Even though there is now power to the reactor, the situation is actually worsening at this time.  Please read this current article at Natural News for details and some common-sense precautions.  I am still giving my family small daily doses of Potassium Iodide.  I have just added more Vitamin C to my kids’ supplements, and I’m taking both extra Vitamin C and my usual COQ10, per Dr. Mercola (link at the bottom of this blog).  These are good, harmless ideas for helping your body protect itself in a time of extra toxic risk.  I am watching the local radiation numbers, via some websites, and if we see a big increased exposure, I’m ready to take additional precautions.  Don’t forget to eat some good veggies and hug your kids!  Be prepared, but don’t let fear eat you up.

All the news from Japan has me thinking about what we can all do to minimize any effects of even miniscule amounts of radiation.   Just thought I’d toss it out that this is what I’m going to be doing in the weeks ahead, to support my family in dealing with the toxic environment of our world.  The halfway good news, for those of us with autistic kids, is that we may already be doing some of these same things to support them in dealing with heavy metals and other toxins:

MOST IMPORTANT  Potassium iodide – Building up iodine to healthy levels helps to protect the thyroid from damage by radioactive iodine.   I’m planning to give my whole family, especially the kids, a small dose of potassium iodide daily until the Japan crisis is completely over.  With the gulf stream heading right toward us on the west coast, and a history of heavy metal toxicity and autism in my family, I feel that I need to be vigilant.  After Chernobyl, thousands of kids got thyroid cancer due to radioactive iodine.

Something like 95% of Americans have a thyroid deficiency.  I plan to give my family low doses of potassium iodide to support general thyroid health until we find out whether we have a real radiation exposure.  If we do find out there’s a real exposure where we are,  I will give the radiation dose.  Giving the higher dose for a longer period is not recommended.  We are in California, which is one of the most likely places that a real radiation exposure could occur from the Japanese tragedy.  I am also watching the radiation levels in my state daily on a website that is monitoring them.

One very sensible site I read suggested that the best way to protect your body from radiation in the meantime is to “completely nourish your body with whole, organic, prothyroid foods (animal protein, fruits, fruit juices, coconut oil, coconut water, white sea salt, etc.).   Maybe easier said than done with some of our sensitive/picky kids, but words to live by for all of us, nonetheless.

WHO Recommended Dosage for Radiological Emergencies involving radioactive iodine[25]
Age Mg Potassium Iodide
Over 12 years old 130
3 – 12 years old 65*
1 – 36 months old 32
< 1 month old 16

Glutathione – Supports detoxification

Milk Thistle – Supports the liver in getting rid of toxins

Modafilan – Russian seaweed extract detoxifier, developed and tested near Chernobyl

Broccoli, cauliflower – Cruciferous vegetables support the body’s ability to detoxify

Infrared saunas – A great way to sweat out all kinds of toxins, and feel wonderful!

Useful Reading:

Iodine for Radiation Exposure, Natural News

Protocol for Nuclear Contamination: Glutathione, Chelation, Clay, Baking Soda, Natural News

Don’t Go Nuclear: Protecting Yourself from Radiation Sickness (Lessons from Nature), Dr. Bradstreet’s website

Surviving Radiation the Wise Woman Way, by Susun Weed, Master Herbalist,  added 3/24/11

Mercola on Radiation,, added 3/25/11

Natural News – They have been writing good current articles on the status of Fukushima each day.

Getting a Handle on all the Supplements

The biomedical approach to autism supplementation can seem overwhelming when you first look at it. The following is a piece I wrote years ago when my son was much younger, in response to this overwhelm and confusion, expressed by moms on the email lists I read.

Don’t despair.  You can do this.   It just takes some time, learning, planning and most of all, patience. There are really just a handful of basic supplements to understand at first, as you establish a nutritional foundation.  After you’ve got the basics figured out, you can start reading and learning about the next steps, and learn how to make intelligent decisions about which ones are worth pursuing for yourself or your particular child.  I am a big proponent of people being in charge of their own health, and it is definitely possible to do.  The most successful approach I know – healthier for the child, easier for the parent –  is gradual, one thing at a time, and mostly non-prescription.   You may need the help of a medical specialist at various points of the journey, but there’s a lot you can do on your own.

This document puts together a philosophy of supplementation that has worked very well for many sensitive children.  Regardless of your level of expertise, there will be some trial and error involved.  This is for a number of reasons, with several different goals.   In the case of autism/ADHD/multiple allergic children, in particular:

1. Most of these children’s digestive systems are inflamed and out of balance.  Many of these children cannot absorb nutrients well from foods.

2. Due to toxins and genetics, many body systems are out of balance.   Good nutrition can help with this.

3. An initial goal of supplementing vitamins and minerals is to get enough of what the body needs to absorb where it needs to go, to support the body in being able to function better, and eventually pick up some of the work itself and function better on it’s own.

4. Another important goal is to support the gut, so that it can absorb nutrients better.  We want the give the gut enough support — enough good bacteria (probiotics), soothing nutrients to calm inflammation, make it less hospitable to bad bugs, so it can get itself back in balance.

The Basics

You will be implementing the following basic 3 stages:

1. Establish a Nutritional Foundation

2. Balance the Gut

3. Help the Body Detoxify

Stage 1 – Establish a Nutritional Foundation

Here’s how I like to break down the basic supplement list for parents when I talk to them:
1. Vitamins and minerals
2. Fatty acids (i.e. fish oil)
3. Probiotics
4. Digestive Enzymes

That’s really it. There are a hundred different variations within each, but that’s the basic list. First and probably the most important rule: only try or change one new thing at a time.

Everybody Say it with me:


So this means, if you increase the dose of one supplement, don’t change ANYTHING else for a few days. If you start a new supplement, keep everything else the child is taking exactly the same as before. Only ONE change at a time. This might sound simplistic, but you’d be surprised how tempting it can be to mess with several things in the same few days, and then you have no idea what’s up when the child starts climbing the walls!  For my son, my magic length of time for any supplement change, no matter how small, was 3 days.  For some extremely sensitive or young kids, I’ve known moms who needed to go much slower, in 1-week or even 2-week periods between changes.

Some new supplements cause more change in the body than others.  For major new things, such as digestive enzymes and targeted vitamins/minerals, you’ll want to give a good while for your child to get used to and settle into a good dosage. This shouldn’t be rushed. For each of these, I’d plan on it taking a few weeks, possibly longer.  Spending the time to get these well started will pay off for you. Start a low dosage and watch your child carefully, increasing gradually when you think he’s ready to, and being ready to back off again or change your plan and slow down if he’s not.

With Brainchild Vitamins and Minerals,  which  I’m most familiar with, it seems to go easiest if people start with minerals only, let the child get a little bit settled on those, then start vitamins, low and slow, being prepared to wait for awhile for the body to settle in at a low dose if needed.    It takes longer than just plunging in, but if your child is extra sensitive, extra small or very allergic in general, I think it’s the most smooth way to introduce them – easiest on the child, and on you. There’s a similar gradual increasing and settling-in period for almost any other supplement you introduce.   Each kid will vary, but for my son, I would plan at least a week for anything he’d never taken before, just so I could take it slow and make sure he was doing well before starting anything else.

If the first product you try doesn’t seem quite right, here are some things to try:

  1. Cut back on the dosage and see if that helps.  Some kids need a very gradual introduction.
  2. BE PATIENT.  Try to resist the need to see instant results or improvements.  We find with Brainchild’s that some children have difficulty tolerating them at first, but after their body has time to get used to getting the nutrients in at a very low dosage, it starts being able to utilize them better, and they are able to move to full dose and have good results. It just really takes patience, in this case.
  3. Try a “sensitive” version of the same formula.  At BrainChild, we have two sensitive formula vitamins and one mineral, designed for those who are not ready to take the regular formulas, or are sensitive to the ingredients.
  4. Do some reading and try to understand the biochemistry involved.  Figure out what might be keeping his body from being able to use these supplements.  Is there some co-factor you could give that might help his/her body be able to use the supplement?
  5. Get testing done that might help figure out what else might need to be in place to help his body along.
  6. Try a different brand.  I must have gone through 10 brands of probiotics, and even though I KNEW my son had tons of candida, none of them were quite a fit until the last one.  After awhile, I’d collect good brands and automatically buy a different brand every time I ran out of the previous one, just throwing as many different good bacteria at his gut until I found some that could colonize.  No matter how good a product is, it’s not a fit for everyone.

My own rule of thumb for starting new supplements is as follows:

  • With most other supplements, you can plan on a week or two startup period. Get your foundation (1-4 above) well established before you let yourself get sucked in by other things.
  • General rule is to start each new supplement at 1/4 of the full dose you have in mind – or even less if your child seems extremely sensitive.
  • After 3 days or so, if all is well, go up to 1/2 dose, then full dose in another few days. Watch the child closely for signs you need to slow down or that the child can’t tolerate it.
  • IMPORTANT: Take notes about when you started what and at what dose. Include any changes you observe in digestion, behavior, sleep, appetite, skin color and so on, and note any time you change the dosage or add anything, and any unusual events in the child’s life that might help clarify.
  • Have a written plan ahead of time and stick to it, don’t try to rush or stop and start lots of things all over the place, or you won’t know what’s helping and what isn’t.
  • If you see a little loose stools when starting new supplements, don’t worry – this is the most common problem and will probably settle down in a couple days. Most often, it’s a result of shifting the chemistry of the body a little, and the body just has to adjust.  Just stay at the dose you’re at until things settle down.

Stage 2 – Balance the Gut

Most of our autistic kids, and many of us who have been eating the standard American diet (SAD), have an excessive amount of yeast and other bugs in their intestines.  If you’re working with a doctor, this will be one of his/her first goals. If not, you may next want to try to determine if the child has yeast, and treat for it. You can read my journal on Rotating Natural Antifungals for more on that.

Heavy Metals, i.e. MERCURY
The large majority of our children seem to be unable to detoxify their bodies, the way normal people do, so they have a lot of heavy metals in their bodies.  This can affect brain function, energy production, and many other things. Once the yeast is under control, it’s time to start getting rid of the heavy metals. See, this isn’t that complicated, is it? Just expensive, and time consuming, and inconvenient, and… well, ok, maybe a little complicated.

When you get to this point, it’s time to find a doctor you can trust to oversee this for you. The best way to find a good doctor in your area is to get referrals from other parents.

Trying Other Supplements
As you go, you’ll have well-meaning people of all kinds, like your doctor, your naturopath, your healthfood store clerk, other moms you talk with, your mother in law, and plenty of others, qualified and not-so-much, suggest other possible supplements to you.  They’re just trying to help, but it can be overwhelming.  The list will get long. As you’re considering each one, there are some good things to check out before even considering trying a new supplement:

Look critically at any possible supplement.  Be sure it contains no heavy metals, artificial sweeteners, colors, preservatives or anything your child is allergic to. Our kids are generally quite sensitive to these kinds of things.

Start to think about what ‘kind’ of a thing it is — is it a vitamin? a mineral? an amino acid? a nutritional supplement? a hormone? Are you already giving or have you in the past tried this ‘kind’ of supplement, intended to do the same thing?  Is the one suggested better than what you have already tried in some way?

What is this supplement supposed to help with? Do you have any evidence (test results, observations, etc.) that your child’s body needs this kind of help?  Try to reason it through. This will get easier as you learn more.

Try to find at least a few other moms, who have tried this supplement and really think it helped kids similar to yours — there are a thousand things you could try, and most of them are not worth your time and energy.   Online groups are great for chatting with moms who have tried a specific supplement, although I never make any decision solely based on things I read online.

If you are trying one or more new supplements,  look at any other supplementation changes you have in mind, and put them in a logical sequence, one at a time. Write down which you are trying, when you start, what dosage and what you see.  Don’t get impulsive and start lots of things at the same time.


How I Decided Whether to Vaccinate

By Terri Mykland

I just read an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, entitled “The Age-Old Struggle Against the Anti-Vaccinationists”, in which anti-vaccinationists are characterized,  as follows:

“simply ignorant about science (or “innumerate”, unable to understand and incorporate concepts of risk and probability into science-grounded decision-making) … a radical fringe element who use deliberate mistruths, intimidation, falsified data and threats of violence in efforts to prevent the use vaccines and to silence critics… tend toward complete mistrust of government and manufacturers, conspiratorial thinking, denialism, low cognitive complexity in thinking patterns, reasoning flaws, and a habit of substituting emotional anecdotes for data”

This post is my response, as a mother who has sometimes chosen not to vaccinate,  to this characterization.  I think there is a huge disconnect between the medical community that characterizes moms (and dads) this way, as we sit in their offices, trusting them and paying them our money, and thousands of parents like me, with college degrees and plenty of IQ points, thank you very much, who are living in a very different reality than these docs.  We do our own thinking, and we are decidedly not of the “my doctor says it so it must be right” generation.

I hope that this blog helps parents who make vaccination decisions and doctors who are trying to understand us.

In my experience, whether and when to vaccinate is among the most difficult decisions a parent ever has to make.   My kids were born over a period of 11 years, and for each child, I made different decisions about which vaccines to give.

Once you have autism in the family, the decision becomes even harder.  I have experienced an evolution in my decision making, as I learned more and more.  I hope it will be instructive to those who are agonizing over their perfect infant, trying to choose whether and when to hit that tiny brand new immune system with vaccines, in the interest of future health, not knowing exactly what the consequences might be, for the child, the family, or the rest of the species.

There’s a question I asked (and still ask) myself as a parent, when making the hardest decisions.  This is also how I made the decision to have my babies at home, and actually any other serious parenting decision.

I ask myself, “Could I live with the consequences of this decision, if the worst happens?”

For the homebirths, this went,” could I live with myself if the baby dies or is handicapped for the rest of their life because I decided to birth at home?”  And my own personal answer went, “yes I could, because I believe this is what gives the baby the best odds of being born without unneeded interventions, and if the baby is truly not healthy enough to survive a ride to the hospital, I think that playing god and saving him/her  might not be the best thing”.    Of course, I also picked a great midwife who knew her stuff, and would know how to risk me out and send me to the hospital instead of home if there was obviously something wrong with me or the baby at any point.

In the case of vaccines, I considered each baby and each vaccine.  I educated myself about the risk factors, pro’s con’s, various forms of the vaccines.  I have gotten smarter about how to ask these questions, as I educated myself, especially after my son was diagnosed with autism.  Here are the kinds of questions to consider before vaccinating:

  1. Could I live with myself if my child gets this disease because he/she is not vaccinated against it?  How about if someone else’s child or infant catches it from mine?
  2. Am I willing to do what it takes to keep my child from infecting others, if they do catch this disease?
  3. Could I live with myself if my child becomes autistic or impaired for the rest of his/her life because I vaccinated him/her?
  4. Is this the best time of this child’s life for this vaccine, or can I wait until a better time — such as when  she’s a little older, or when she has not been ill or on antibiotics recently?

I did choose to vaccinate my children, and I chose not to, as well.   My decisions were quite different for each child, due to autism and my learning process.

#1 child

This was before autism hit my family.  With her, I stayed at home, breastfed (best odds for future health) and waited until she was 2 to start vaccinating.  I didn’t give all the boosters, and I spaced out the vaccines.  She is on the ragged edge of autism, very bright, passes for normal, but has sensory and social issues, and an extreme picky eater as a young adult.

#2 child

I went back to work full time when he was 3 months old.  We fully vaccinated him on schedule, as he was in childcare full time from a young age.  Some of his vaccines were given not long after a round of antibiotics.    He was colicky and had chronic diarrhea from a couple months old onwards.  He was diagnosed with autism shortly before his third birthday.  He did not receive any more vaccines after his diagnosis.  If I had it do do over again, I would not  vaccinate him at all.   This is a no-brainer, knowing what I know now.  I don’t know whether he would be autistic if he had not been vaccinated, but I think it would have been milder.  He later had documented mercury toxicity, and when we removed mercury from his body, his symptoms improved.

#3 child

She born 9 years later.  She stayed at home, was breastfed, slept on an organic cotton crib mattress, and was not vaccinated, except for a single polio vaccine after her third birthday.  She is completely without autistic-like symptoms, except for persistent stomach aches when she was younger (probiotics helped!).  She also has fairly serious seasonal allergies.

As this evolution illustrates,  once we had autism in the family, I started looking at vaccination through a different lens.  The main question I asked myself was  “Can I live with the worst possible consequences if I don’t give this vaccine now?”.   As you can see, in the case of my #3 child, the answer was yes in every case except for one Polio shot.  Here are the things I looked at, with regard to each disease, in considering whether to give each vaccine:

  1. Incidence of the disease in the United States.  How many cases, how transmitted, over  the past 10 years.
  2. What age is it recommended and how many doses?  I tried to understand why it was recommended at the age it was, as one of my goals was to give vaccines when the child’s immune system was a little more mature if possible, and more able to tolerate an assault.
  3. What treatment was available for each disease.   Questions in my mind: “if my child caught the worst possible case of this disease, is there an effective treatment?  How bad are the lasting symptoms or side effects?”.
  4. Proven effectiveness of the vaccine and of the booster shots.  Many booster shots are given just to pick up the 3% that weren’t effectively covered by the first dose.  I mostly chose not to give boosters.
  5. Side effects of the vaccine.  I used some books and websites to help me do this research.  See Resources at the bottom of this post.
  6. Forms of the vaccine that are available, and relative pro’s and con’s of each one.  Is the vaccine available in a monovalant form (just measles alone, for example, rather than measles, mumps and rubella together)?  I would rather just give one vaccine at a time than several, and space out the shots, to minimize the impact on the immune system at any one time.
  7. If my child was going to travel outside the United States, ever, I would reconsider all vaccines before such a trip.
  8. If there was an outbreak of any illness in my area, I would reconsider the vaccine for that illness at that time.

Why I decided to Give my #3 Child One Polio Vaccination at Age 3

After reviewing all the information, especially the symptoms and health consequences of each illness, effectiveness of available treatments, and incidence (likelihood of actually being exposed to it), the only disease I felt unwilling to face the consequences of was Polio.  The effects of Polio can be lifelong and serious, and there is no cure.  Also, Polio does still exist in the United States.   So after my daughter was done with most of her baby development, at age 3, I gave her one Polio vaccine.  My doctor, of course, looked at me like I was nuts.  In her opinion, if I was choosing only one shot to give, it would have been much smarter to vaccinate for something like Pertussis, which they see regularly, and which can kill infants.  But there are good treatments for Pertussis, we don’t live with any infants, and within 3 days of antibiotic treatment, the patient is no longer able to give it to anyone else, so I felt ok about declining Pertussis.

What would you do if your child Caught one of the Diseases covered by Vaccines?

Well, I had thought about this, of course, and decided that if this ever happened, I would do everything in my power to protect the public from catching a disease from my child.  I had to put this into practice in November, 2010, when my #3 child actually caught Pertussis.   She had a nasty cough for 4 days that just wasn’t moving through her system at all.  It seemed very unusual, and I took her in to her doctor.  Usually I wouldn’t take a kid in this quickly, but somehow I knew this wasn’t a regular cold.  Her doc is very experienced, and she was pretty sure it was pertussis (this was confirmed days later,  but of course we didn’t know for sure until then).  I had no doubts about the right thing to do.  We immediately put my daughter and everyone in the household on antibiotics, and my #3 girl stayed at home – did not set foot outside our house – for the full five days, until she was no longer contagious —  I read up on the data on this, of course!  And that’s how we protected the public.  When it actually happened, it was not a complicated or soul-searching process for me.  It was just doing what would logically protect others the best, which is what I would hope any parent would do, vaccines or no.

The scariest part was, of course, having a very sick child.  She coughed for over 8 weeks.  She coughed so hard she would vomit.  She coughed so hard at night that she needed prescription narcotics to be able to sleep.  I found that California Poppy Extract helped stop the spasms, and for awhile this became a daily ritual.  She sometimes could not speak to ask for it because she was coughing so hard, so we developed hand signs.  She missed some school. I missed some work.  But she is a strong 10 year old, and her body got through it.  I felt no regret about not having vaccinated her for pertussis.  Kids get sick.  Moms take care of them.

Vaccine Safety Mom = Anti-Vaccinationist ?

So am I the anti-vaccinationist that the docs are talking about in their article?  Clearly not.  Am I an educated and experienced mom, who knows more about the downsides to vaccines in the real world than most doctors?  Oh, yes!   Which of the NEJM article adjectives apply to me?  Not many of them.  Am I a radical fringe element? – well, let’s put it this way: I wasn’t until I had a child with autism and started seeing the hypocrisy and callous disregard for children’s safety embodied in vaccine policy in this country.  Now?  Maybe, but I’m pretty harmless.  I’m a working mom – I I have more important things to do than terrorize public officials.

Like many autism moms, I am plenty smart and motivated.  I take the time to read the actual medical studies and data behind what’s in the press.   When I see people who designed vaccines in bed with government agencies who regulate them, and press releases that irresponsibly “spin” the facts that I have read in detail, supposedly “informing” the public, I can’t help but mistrust the sources.  Do I substitute emotional anecdotes for data?  I try not to, but when there’s no substantial data, or only tainted data, and when the anecdotes start to pile up into the thousands, I have a hard time ignoring them.  Wake up, NEJM doctors, I’m who you’re struggling with, not some uneducated mom without a clue.  Please start treating me like an intelligent partner in making our children as safe and healthy as possible, and stop treating me like the enemy.


What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children’s Vaccinations, by Dr. Stephanie Cave and Deborah Mitchell

National Vaccine Information Center

Vaccine Laws by State – Many people aren’t aware that it is not required by law to vaccinate.  In 48 of the 50 states, it is possible to easily waive any or all vaccinations.  Here’s the breakdown of how to do it, by state.  Don’t let anyone bully you into vaccinating if you don’t want to.

Note: These are the private opinions of the author, and do not constitute the official position of BrainChild Nutritionals.

Green House – My Favorite Cleaners

Some days, it seems to me like there are so many toxic things out there in the world that I can’t possibly make a difference, like emptying the ocean with a teaspoon.

The best antidote I know for that kind of toxic overwhelm is to fight back in my own house, one little green step at a time!  I have worked hard to make every piece of my personal little world — my home — less full of chemicals and toxins.

I’m not the best housekeeper.  One thing I am good at, though, after 17 years with a child with autism, is reading labels and choosing things I feel good about. Everything on this list works pretty well.  It has to, because, like I said, I’m not all that good at this!

So many of us are getting extremely sensitive to environmental toxins of all kinds, that I think it’s more important than ever to work on making sure our own homes are as healthy for our bodies as possible.

Laundry Soap

Seventh Generation free & clear – Free of all perfumes and dyes, no petrochemicals or bleach, and seems to work great. Ingredients: coconut-based surfactants, glycerin, non-animal derived enzymes, borax, socium gluconate, salt, less than .05% preservative, water. I get it at my healthfood store, or at some supermarkets.

Hand Dishwashing Soap

Seventh Generation Free & Clear Natural Dish Liquid – Free of perfumes and dyes, vegetable-based rather than petroleum based, so it’s nice to the environment. I like it just great for hand dishwashing. I get this at my healthfood store.

Machine Dishwashing Soap

Ecover dishwashing tablets – I have used these for years now, and wouldn’t switch.  They’re these large “tablets”, each in its own little package. You just unwrap one and put it in the silverware tray or soap container, and voila, that’s it. They’re phosphate and chlorine free, and seem to do a great job on my dishes. I’m not a bigtime dish rinser who washes that dishes before putting them in, and it gets my dishes and even plastic cups nice and clean.  I do not use a rinse aid, and they seem to work fine for me.  I tried a bunch of natural other automatic dishwashing soaps, and liked these best by far!

Spray Cleaner

I use Seventh Generation free and clear.  It’s the one I keep coming back to.  Works great on lots of surfaces, linoleum floors, too, and doesn’t have any weird scents or anything.


Bon Ami – Mom was right, this Comet-alternative is much less toxic and works great. Available at grocery stores. Also works to scrub stuff off of pyrex pans and stainless steel pots, and even, used gently, removes mineral deposits from my Fiestaware dishes.


This is one of the very few places in my house that I will actually use a little bleach (see note on bleach, below)  I buy bleach tablets at the grocery store, and drop them in the back of each toilet.  This is the best way I’ve found to make sure we keep the toilets clean enough, long term, even the ones in the kids’ rooms, which don’t always get attention.  I watch to see when they are gone and replace them every few months.  I don’t feel great about dumping bleach into the water supply, but in my house, with kids, I think these are the best solution for us.

For toilet cleaning, we use Seventh Generation Toilet cleaner.  It works fine for regular cleaning, not as heavy duty as a lot of toilet cleaners, but with the bleach tabs we don’t need heavy duty.

If I see mineral deposits or discoloration, I use a pumice stone to get rid of them. This is old fashioned and low-tech, but completely non-toxic, and it works if you’re patient.  You have to be kind of gentle in scraping off the rings, as you can damage the porcelain if you scrape too hard.   It takes a little while, so keep working on it,  even if it seems like they’re not coming off, they will.   Pumice stones can be found at the hardware store and in some grocery or drugstore cleaning product departments.

Sticky and Greasy Messes
Citrasolv – This is a concentrated citrus concentrate, that works great when used straight, for removing gummy/sticky stuff.    A tiny amount goes a long way.  Don’t let young kids use this, it’s pretty strong.

Floor Cleaning

We mostly have laminate floors, so we do a fair amount of mopping.   I use a Swiffer for everyday light mopping, which I like a lot, but I hate having to use that “chemical” cleaner that Swiffer uses. Here are two things I discovered.

1. You can “hack” your swiffer, and use your own cleaner in the bottle. Cut a hole in it, and hotglue the top of a bottle into it – I actually cut off and recycled the top of a BrainChild vitamin bottle and it worked great!  I found directions for doing this on the internet.

2.  You can also just use the swiffer with a fresh dry pad, and carry a spray bottle of whichever type of floor cleaner you want in the other hand, spray it on the floor, and use the swiffer to mop it up.  I’m doing that more these days, because I have one cleaner for laminate and another for linoleum.

Linoleum:  I “swiff” my linoleum with the Seventh Generation cleaner listed above.  Works fine.

Laminate:   I “swiff” my laminate floors with Earth Friendly Products brand Floor Kleener.  It comes in a spray bottle.  It seems to make laminate floors less streaky and dull than if you use a regular spray cleaner.  Laminates are a more like a linoleum floor than a wood floor, though, so definitely don’t use cleaners made for hardwood floors on them.

I do use a regular mop once in awhile, to do a proper cleaning on the kitchen floor.  Right now I use Bi-o-kleen in my mop water.  It works pretty well.

Allergen Note: To help keep allergens and dust down in your house, make sure to put good filters in your furnace. Forced air heat can add a lot of dust.  Put fresh filters both in the main furnace intake (large) and the floor grates (small) once a year, when you start using the furnace in Fall.

Carpet cleaning
I have a carpet shampooer, but I don’t like the ingredients in the soap you’re supposed to use in them.  Most of the time, I have the carpets cleaned rather than doing it myself.

Instead, I use…

Stanley Steemer – These guys come to your house and clean your carpets, using a hot-water extraction method. They use a soap very similar to laundry detergent, and extract dirt with hot water, and strong suction equipment, so it’s pretty nontoxic, and the carpet is fairly dry when they’re done. I actually own a carpet cleaning machine, but use Stanley Steemer instead because they get the floor cleaner and dryer than I can, and because their equipment is so much better, they end up using much less soap to clean it than my home machine does. I think that the fact that the carpet is pretty dry quickly helps to keep mold from growing in it, which I also like a lot.  It does cost some money, but I think it is better overall than doing it myself and dealing with toxic cleaners and mold.


Orange-guard – This is a nontoxic, citrus-based insect killer.   Kills ants quite well when you spray it, but not all that effective if they come by later.  I use it liberally when I first see ants, especially where they’re coming into the house, and a few times a day until they’re gone.  A combination of this stuff and boric acid usually gets rid of them pretty quick.  Don’t let little kids touch this – it’s not poisonous, but it could hurt their eyes.

Boric Acid – This is a very inexpensive powder.   Ants eat it and it dries out their lungs (ick), but it’s not inert to humans.  Don’t use it on food-prep surfaces, but sprinkle on window sills, and where you think Ants are coming in and it will help.  It’s a little messy – you can wipe it up after the ants are gone.  It’s getting harder to find, as it’s one of those “old-time” drugstore items.  You might have to buy it online if you don’t have an old-fashioned drugstore around.

This sounds strange, but the one other use I know of for Boric acid is as an eyewash for conjunctivitis – bad for ants, but good for our eyes!  Very effective and safe.  Google it, and you’ll see recipes for using it this way.

Cinnamon – I don’t use this, as it can be really messy, but a childcare center I used to work with swears by spreading liberal amounts of cinnamon where ants like to come into the building, to make them stay away – I guess they don’t like the smell of it. You can buy big cheap containers of cinnamon at Costco.

I still will sometimes use one or two pesticide ant stakes along the foundation of the house outside,  as little as absolutely needed, as a last resort if I just can’t get the ants to stay away.  Don’t use these in an area where little kids might get them.

A note about Bleach and Chlorine:
Just FYI, chlorine is a HUGE blocker to sulfation and detoxification function in the body. Sulfation (along with methylation) is critical for the production of glutathione and for the body to be able to detoxify itself. These are the things that are messed up so often in our kids. So it would benefit us greatly to keep our children as far from chlorine as possible.

Please do what you can to avoid using much bleach around your house for cleaning.   I personally  have not found any good alternatives for bleaching really stained white clothes or for toilets (bleach tablets) or for the very occasional health-hazard-level germridden task, like cleaning a house when you move, and things like that.  For almost everything else, see what you can do to make other products work for you if possible. Oxygen bleach is much better, if you can make it work for you. I have tried oxygen bleach for the things chlorine bleach is good at, and so far I am not impressed, so I do not use it.

Oh, and definitely stick the kids in an epsom salts bath and/or rinse them in the shower then put on epsom salts cream (Kirkman sells one) when they get back from the swimming pool! This helps their bodies deal with the chlorine.

Bye for now!

Mom’s Apothecary – Liquids and Capsules

It occurred to me this morning that someone out there might benefit from hearing the kinds of things I’ve gathered and learned over the years, in my quest to make supplements palatable and manageable for my son with autism who is now 17 years old.

I know a number of adults who have strong preferences and need to change the forms of their supplements to be able to take them, too, so I thought these techniques might come in handy for many ages and stages.

I have quite a little pantry full of tricks at this point. My guy took supplements in only liquid form from age 3 to 7, then started swallowing capsules as well. So I know kind of a lot about how to make liquids and pills work.

Please understand that I always prefer to get all supplements into my son in liquid form for super absorption, but this is often not possible.  My son has a strong preference for taking capsules, so other than things I can get in liquid-caps or softgels, most things he takes are in dry capsules.

Tips and Techniques

In our very early days, I used to put supplement powder in his peanut butter sandwiches (this was before BrainChild liquids!).   I stopped hiding supplements in food a long time ago (14 years, actually!), when it became clear to me that my son was wise to that plan.

When he was little, I’d take our supplement powder and add it to fruit syrup and a little water, shake them up and keep them in the fridge. To give, we’d shake up the mixture very well, then use an oral syringe to dose them. You can give a lot of things this way, once your child gets used to it.  I didn’t like using syrup with sugar in it, but we did get the supplements in.   It’s possible to make almost anything taste ok if you keep experimenting.  This dosing method worked very well for us for years,  and I could hide almost anything in the mix without him noticing.

If the child wants more control, let them drink their liquid supplements out of a Dixie Cup.   If they want choice, find two different kinds of cups, and let them choose.   Sometimes they come with cute cartoon pictures on them.  Listen to the child’s preferences and work always toward independence.    Experiment with sweeteners and flavors and make liquids taste good.  But always be no-nonsense about it.  The supps must go in.  Here’s the progression my son made from age 5 to 17:

  • When my son was 5, we switched to BrainChild – we were one of the first customers!  Even easier, no more mixing powders, and no sugar syrups needed.  I’d mix the vitamins and minerals together, and squirt them into his mouth, the same as before.
  • At age 7, my son no longer wanted his supplements from an oral syringe, so I put them in a small paper cup and he drank them.  He also learned to take capsules at this age, and swallowed his capsules at the same time.
  • At age 11, I used to put his supplement cups – liquids and capsules –  on a small paper plate with his name on it on the counter or dining table, and he would know they’re for him, and take them more independently than before.
  • At age 16, I put a printed dosage calendar on his fridge and loaded everything into a pill organizer.  He took his supplements on his own, and crossed off each dose as he did.
  • At age 17, my son manages his own supplements, including loading up the organizer.  We keep a close eye to make sure he keeps up on it.

Travelling with Liquids

When you travel with liquid supplements, mix them up ahead of time, and take in a bottle inside a small thermal lunchbox on ice.   Don’t forget a measuring cup and Dixie cups or an oral syringe for dosing – these store easily inside the lunchbox, in a ziplock bag.  Put them in the fridge or ice bucket in your hotel room when you arrive.

Fun With Capsules

My son likes taking smooth capsules, but the texture or flavor of many pills bother him.  Many of the supplements he took over the years other than BrainChild only came in dry form, so I had to learn a lot about making capsules.  He loves the liquid-caps we make at BrainChild, and still takes these today.

Here are some of the capsule-making tricks I learned in getting him to take so many things over the years.  These are mostly applicable to dry ingredients, rather than liquids:

1 – To turn most kinds of pills into capsules, you can split the pills and put the halves into in an empty capsule.

2 – To make large pills into capsules, grind them to powder, then make capsules. Make sure you write down how many pills make how many capsules, and calculate the dosage per capsule from this.

Do not do the above techniques with enterically coated pills, and if it’s a prescription, ask your doctor first.

3 – If lower-dose capsules are desired, you can add rice flour or other inert ingredient that your child tolerates as a “filler”, to take up the extra space, and give you a reliable dose per capsule.  Each “00” capsule holds 1/4 tsp of powder, for your calculations of how much filler you may need.  So for example, if the dose I want to give means capsules that are only 1/2 full, I’d calculate

1/2 x 1/4 tsp x the number of capsules I want to make = how much of the nutrient I’ll need

And then calculate how much rice flour to put in the same way.  Mix the nutrient and rice flour really well, so the nutrient is evenly distributed, then put the mixture in your capsule maker and make capsules.

4 – You can get fresh garlic, oil of oregano, herbal tinctures or other nasty tasting things into a kid by putting them in an empty capsule and then having them take it that instant, before it melts. Veggie caps melt slower than gelatin (gelatin is also made of icky bovine stuff, so use veggie!)

5 – Money-saving tip: You can buy some individual nutrients in powdered form for a lot less than they cost in capsule form, then make your own capsules.   Be careful about the quality of what you are buying.   Beyond a century is one place I’ve used to buy good quality bulk nutrient powders.

6 – If you have more than one type of capsule that looks identical, you can use a toothpick and food coloring to put a colored dot on the end of one of them, so you can tell the difference (like for example if you fill up pill organizers and need to know which is which). Food coloring isn’t a great thing for our sensitive kids, of course. You could also mix a touch of paprika or turmeric or other colored spice with the powder when making one of them, to make it look slightly different than the others (assuming they tolerate the spice ok).

7 – Pill organizers come in very handy.  Usually we use the 7 day ones, and just put in alternating AM and PM doses, with compartments marked with masking tape.  I also have bigger ones around, quite a collection.  Back in our Yasko days, I was giving many capsules, 4 times a day.  I used this awesome Craft Mates craft organizer that came with it’s own zipper case to keep all our capsules  straight.   Be sure to get yourself some good organizers, to make sure you don’t get confused about what you’ve made and which is which.

8 – Write everything down in detail.  I used to keep lots of logs and journals.  Remember that you could really mess up their body if you make a mistake with this stuff.

Just a few of the many situations I’ve used my capsule making skills for:

  1. Make large or sharp-cornered pills into smooth, easy to swallow capsules
  2. Make bad-tasting pills into neutral tasting capsules
  3. Combine several smaller pieces of pills into one capsule
  4. Give children (or elders, or picky adults…) nasty-tasting tinctures and other liquids and fresh garlic, as above
  5. Make fewer things to take by making larger-dose capsules out of ground-up smaller-dose pills or powders
  6. Give green food supplements, to help him get some veggies (he doesn’t eat any). You can’t get a large quantity in this way, but at least there’s something green going in!

Useful Tools and Supplies

Here is my ‘inventory’ of stuff I use for this purpose:

  • Dixie cups, 3 oz and 5 oz size – 3 oz for pills, 5 oz for liquids
  • “00” size Cap-m-Quik capsule maker and tamper (makes up to 50 capsules, but you can make as few as 5 at a time – just tape a 3×5 card over the holes you don’t use.
  • “0/1” size Cap-m-Quik and tamper –  I picked this up when my youngest daughter couldn’t swallow the “00” capsules yet.
  • 3×5 cards – used for smoothing powder in capsule maker, also for blocking off part of capsule maker to make just a few at a time.
  • Brand-new pencil – I use the eraser end to tamp down capsules when making just a few.
  • Small size paper plates (used to hold empty caps or extra powder while making capsules)
  • Pill splitter from the drugstore
  • 2″ mortar and pestle, for crushing just one or two pills if needed
  • Old coffee grinder, completely cleaned out for grinding pills into powder.
  • Veggie capsules (I buy a big bag mail order at a time at Wonderlabs – much cheaper than small bags at the health food store)
  • Various juices and fruit syrups – used to flavor liquid mixtures
  • Sweetleaf Liquid Stevia – used to sweeten liquid mixtures
  • Oral syringes, used to give liquid supplements to little guys – you can get these from BrainChild here.
  • Masking tape and sharpie marker, to label bottles with capsules in them (need to write down how many mg in each cap when you put powder into them yourself); also used for taping 3×5 card onto capsule maker to block off part of it.
  • Tiny plastic funnels, from Bed, Bath and Beyond, for pouring stuff into capsules or tiny bottles
  • Measuring spoons
  • One-ounce shot glass measuring cup, from Bed, Bath and Beyond, for measuring liquids
  • Clean glass dropper bottles – can dissolve pills in distilled water, to measure tiny doses; can also use the droppers to measure things by drops.
  • Tiny whisk, for mixing teensy amounts of liquids.
  • Coffee frother, battery powered, for mixing liquids in a drinking glass.
  • Small disposable covered containers, like you get salad dressing or salsa in, for taking liquid supplement doses with you in the car, to restaurants, etc. Can buy big packs of these at Costco type stores.  Make sure you tape them securely shut, so you don’t have a spill!  Sometimes I have used sippy cups or tiny Tupperware to carry doses when we were going somewhere for dinner, etc.
  • Extra glass bottles from supplements we’ve used up, so I have them to store new capsules I make up.

Hope this helps some of you just starting out on this quest.  Feel free to post your own tricks!