‘Tis the season…to be stressed?

Are you feeling it? The frantic dash to get everything done and not enough time to do it?

If that’s you, I want to share a new guide I created called Mastering Mindfulness for Autism Parents. It is for an upcoming summit I am speaking on (more on that later.) But, you don’t have to be an autism family to get something from it.

I share my 3 favorite mindfulness practices, all are free or very low cost and are not complicated.

I find myself reaching for these techniques more during the holidays. Whether it is the increase in activities to attend, shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, prepping for guests, you know the drill. The pace of the holidays seems to speed up.

And then there are the family dynamics. Whether it is toxic relationships that seem to drain you, the expectation that often comes with family obligations, or the guilt for not buying into the old patterns, it can be a lot.

This has come up in conversations with friends lately. Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to let go of those expectations that end in us not feeling good. Maybe it is being last on other people’s lists but feeling the need to still put them at the top of yours. Or maybe it is feeling like you have to attend functions with people who don’t honor or respect you, again, out of obligation.

What has been made even more clear over the last few years is how short life can be. It has taken me a long time to set clear boundaries but lately they have become even more clear. I no longer prioritize people who do not prioritize me and my family. And not that you need me to tell you this, but let the expectations, guilt, and drama go.

Let yourself off the hook. Hang with the people who fill you with joy, who show up for you, who cheer for you, and who you know will be there when the going gets tough. And man, the going has been tough hasn’t it? Has it brought more clarity on who really has your back? It sure has for me. I am crystal clear on who love me and mine unconditionally and I’ve been letting the rest go with love.

And if you are a special needs family, that all can be magnified. My son used to sense my mood and energy. Even if my mouth said “I’m fine” he saw right through that. And his behaviors would be magnified as a result. It took me a long time to understand the more I controlled my mindset, the better it was for my whole family.

That’s where my new guide comes in. These are practical tips I use every week if not every day. Some help with the physical aspects of stress, others with the emotional, and one with both!

So if the stress of the holidays is upon you, I invite you to check out my guide (even if you are not an autism parent) and see if the tips can help you reduce your stress and increase your enjoyment of the holidays.

Wishing you the healthiest and merriest of holidays.


Paleo Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

We live in an interesting growing area. At high elevation, we can get frost and freezes that destroy our gardens if we are not careful. In fact, that actually happened to our tomato plants at the start of the season.

We’ve also gotten a lot of rain this year, like torrential rain. While the streets and flood zones from the fires did not necessarily appreciate that, my garden sure did.

As such, we have 1 zucchini plant that is producing prolifically. In fact, it seems each time we go out and look, we have another huge zucchini ready to be picked!

That means zucchini-everything around here.

I wanted to make zucchini bread although I don’t like to make breads as much as I like to make muffins.

Muffins are easier to cook (less time baking) and I feel like they are more moist as a result of the reduced baking time. And, these are perfect portion sizes where with breads, I am more likely to keep nibbling and not pay attention to exactly how much I am eating.

So if your garden runneth over with zucchini, this can be a great way to get it into even your most veggie-resistant child. Note, these are not necessarily low sugar. You can play with alternatives like maple syrup or swapping out some of the sugar for stevia. You could also use Lily’s Stevia Sweetened Chocolate Chips which are also allergen friendly as a way to cut down the sugar.

Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate and as such, the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

You will need:

2 eggs (preferably at room temperature)

1/4 cup almond butter

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 3/4 cups almond flour

1/3 cup tapioca flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups shredded zucchini

1 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit .

Line your muffin pans with parchment liners.

Grate 2 cups of zucchini then pour onto a clean kitchen towel, roll up and squeeze the excess moisture out. Unroll the towel and allow the zucchini to dry out further on the counter while you begin making the batter.

In your stand mixer, mix on low eggs, almond butter, coconut oil, coconut sugar, and vanilla

In a another bowl, combine the dry ingredients: almond flour, tapioca flour or arrowroot, baking soda, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix on low until combined. The zucchini adds a lot of moisture so don’t worry that your batter looks thick at this point.

Add your shredded zucchini and chocolate chips, mix until well blended.

For ease and precision, I use an ice cream scoop, to fill muffin tins. But you can use a spoon or spatula to fill them 3/4 of the way. I got 16 muffins out of this recipe.

Bake in your preheated oven for 22-25 minutes or a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool and enjoy!

Eagle Scout Court of Honor

We celebrated something really big last weekend.

I wrote previously about how my son achieved his Eagle Scout award last year, amidst a pandemic. This year, we came together to celebrate that achievement.

I’ve been largely MIA from social media, blogging, and any email communication because of the planning, prep, time, and effort needed to get everything done.

We had family and friends begin arriving a few days prior to the big day.

Having a house full of people is always so fun and fulfilling as I really enjoy spending time with those we don’t see very often. It was nice to completely disconnect from social media and just be present, to soak in the moments.

As I sat down to write my parent reflections for the ceremony, I couldn’t help but think this really was a culmination of sorts, a true celebration of how far my son has come and what a huge achievement this was.

In fact, it gave me time to reflect on his scouting years and how they coincided with our journey of autism treatment and recovery.

I remember those early years where he was overwhelmed by his surroundings and how many activities were harder for him than his peers.

I remember worrying when they went off for camp that first year, I was sure I would be called to go get him, despite his dad being there at camp with him. Not because I didn’t have faith in the abilities of either of them. But, things were much harder for my son back then. These experiences were stretching him, pushing him, often past his comfort zone.

But, the young man who came home to me that summer was taller, wiser, and more competent than the one who left. As I said those words when it was my time to speak, I saw him break down into tears for the first time during the ceremony.

But it was true and I don’t think many people truly understand how things that come so easy to others can be exponentially more challenging for individuals with autism.

Activities and skills often took Matthew more time or effort but he persevered. He kept going, even when it was hard. And having a stellar support system helped him do that.

Between the scout leaders, other scouts, his family, teachers, therapists, physicians, and professionals, we all were working towards the common goal of seeing him reach his potential.

I felt this celebration should honor all of that and everyone who participated in his journey, scouting or otherwise.

The attendees reflected that diverse collection and it was pure joy to celebrate my son amongst those that worked right along side me to support him through these years.

One special attendee was Julie Matthews. She is the leading nutritionist in the autism community and we met 12+ years ago when Matthew’s biomedical physician recommended we do a consultation with her to determine the right nutritional intervention given his specific needs and biochemistry.

Over the years Julie and I have become very good friends as well as colleagues and I have the joy of working with her professionally now.

I thought back and remembered Matthew as that little boy who was such a picky eater, had so many food allergies, craved nothing but wheat and dairy, and had sensory issues that made many textures impossible to eat. Here he was, now taller than us both, so strong, healthy, in part because of her help so many years ago.

Seeing my son now is a true testament to the power of hope and I am so proud of the young man he is.

Seeing him honored and celebrated and to reflect on the incredible journey we’ve been on the last decade was both exhilarating and incredibly emotional. Hearing his speeches as he gave out mentor pins filled me with pride.

I could not be prouder to be this young man’s mom.

Stay tuned, I will be blogging on the technical aspects of organizing a court of honor, including crafting, decorating, and the food involved.

But for now, I will bask a little longer in the joy of the week and take in the strange silence of the house with our visitors gone.

Join Me for the Unlocking ADHD and Autism with Personalized Nutrition Summit!

It’s Autism Awareness Month! While I don’t “celebrate” the struggles many of our children with autism have, I do celebrate knowledge and empowerment in families understanding what they can do to support their children.

I wanted you to be the first to know…..

If you have been with me for a while now, you know Julie Matthews and I are good friends, like really good friends. In fact, I consider her one of my best friends.

And we met because of this journey of autism recovery from my son.

Can you relate? Do you have friends who you’ve met through this journey who just “get” you, no judgement about special diets or the way life has to be to make the world a safer place for your child(ren)?

It is a gift for sure.

Not only is Julie a great friend but we have become colleagues over the years and when Real Food Mum closed their doors last year, I came on to consult for Nourishing Hope and BioIndividual Nutrition Institute, how cool is that? Well, something exciting is happening! We are launching the all new Unlocking ADHD and Autism with Personalized Nutrition summit soon!

The lineup is amazing, insightful interviews from experts in the field of ADHD and Autism with a wide range of topics, including all new interviews and free gifts just for registering.

I am honored to be included in the lineup! You will see me on Day 1 where I interview Julie on why food matters for ADHD and Autism. Day 2 I also interview Julie on picky eating (my son was a super picky eater and I am sure many of you can relate!) And then Day 3, catch me and 3 other amazing moms as we talk autism treatment and recovery and share our own stories of how food has helped our children heal and why it is one of the most impactful interventions.

It starts May 31st and goes through June 6th with an encore weekend June 12 – 13.

Despite one-in-54 children being affected by autism today, most parents don’t know that nutrition can turn things around — from despair to hope, from struggle to improved behavior.

Those who do report improvements in behavioral issues/meltdowns, sleeping, tummy problems like constipation/diarrhea, food issues, language and development and more. And this is supported by decades of serious science and proven results that show using personalized food and nutrition can help.

Are you wondering what dietary interventions may be right for your child?

Are you looking for solutions for improving symptoms?

Join us and the communities around the world who are celebrating and recognizing those with autism and their families at this important event.

—>>Access resources when you register early for Unlocking ADHD & Autism with Personalized Nutrition!

When you do, you’ll learn strategic diet and nutrient changes you can make to positively influence your child’s health and behavior, with an approach that is personalized just for them.

You’ll gain early access to the following expert interviews:
+ Using Personalized Nutrition to Improve ADHD and Autism, Julie Matthews, NC
+ Calming Anxiety, Aggression and OCD with Amino Acids & Food, Trudy Scott, CN
+ Using Food to Calm, Soothe and Repair the Brain, Terry Wahls, MD

And when you register, you’ll also unlock the following resources from Julie Matthews:
+ Practical Nutrition Steps to Better Health, Learning & Behavior eGuide
+ 30 Recipes and Food Lists for 12 Therapeutic Diets eBook
+ Guide to Food Intolerances, Therapeutic Diets and Personalized Nutrition

We invite you to share this information widely and join us at this transformative event that will educate, inspire and empower you with the principles of using personalized nutrition to support your child.

Be sure to mark your calendar for May 31 – June 6, 2021!

Be well,

P.S. When you register for Unlocking ADHD & Autism with Personalized Nutrition, you’ll also receive early access to interviews, complimentary guides and helpful eBooks about the science and practice of personalized diet and nutrition for children with autism, ADHD, anxiety, and more!

Autism and The Eagle Scout Award

2020….what can I say?

In some ways the last year has dragged on and in others it has flown by.

While our lifestyle didn’t change too drastically – I jokingly say “who knew our normal life was called quarantine?” it was a year largely focused on being home. And for service related organizations who seek to help outwardly, that can be challenging.

But, last spring, my son did a thing.

A big thing.

When I think back to when his scouting career began, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge where he was in his development back then.

He was largely non-verbal in expressive language. He was overwhelmed by his sensory environment a majority of the time.

Many meetings ended in meltdowns as he reached the end of his limits.

But, his dad was there every step of the way.

We learned early on that with our support, he could navigate challenging situations in scouting successfully. Even if they were hard or stretched him, he did it and the growth we saw and he felt was amazing to watch.

In the last 10 years, he has also not only navigated his scouting career but he navigated the biomedical course that would end in him losing his autism diagnosis at the school level.

As he made more improvements in his physical health and wellness, we saw leaps in his neurological development as well.

Conversely, the more engaged he became in scouting, the more growth we saw.

After summer camps, he came home taller and more independent.

That first year of summer camp I was sure I would get a call from my husband asking me to come pick him up.

I was wrong.

Yes honey, I just said I was wrong. And I was happy about that.

For us, seeing him blossom, expand his knowledge and interests, gain friendships, become a leader that others look up to, it is the ultimate blessing!

So when he reached the point in his scouting career when it came time to pick a project, he knew exactly what he wanted to do. He loved reading and has been an avid reader forever. He wanted to help support other children with that through a Tiny Library. You can read more about this topic, including get plans to build your own or register your on the national registry here.

And then, his troop was contacted by our local elementary school about a teacher retiring and they wanted to find a scout to build a tiny library in her honor!

Hello! How perfect?

So he started looking at plans, creating his design, documenting his project, writing up the proposal, getting it approved. Those were challenging, requiring attention to detail, careful thought, paperwork.

There were parts of the process he balked at, where he wanted to give up.

Then he would think about the kids that would be helped, the love of reading he enjoyed and how some kids didn’t have access to books, especially during a pandemic with no in-person schools, library closures, etc.

So he kept working. He drew up the plans, solicited our local Home Depot store for assistance with a donation of supplies. They so thoughtfully and graciously donated all of the materials, we are so grateful.

Then he got to work. A big part of the Eagle Scout award involves leading others in the achievement of the project. So, he asked just a couple of other scouts (his sister being one) to help him so that we could maintain proper social distancing and keep it a safe environment for everyone.

He asked one other family to come over and help build this, outside of course.

They worked hard and navigated safe distancing and all of the other proper Covid-19 precautions.

And then, it was delivered to the school, with a plaque commemorating the teacher who is retiring. Books were placed.

And maybe tears were shed. OK definitely tears were shed.

When we were given a diagnosis of autism, it came with a grim view of his future. One that didn’t include living independently or achieving such goals as earning Eagle Scout.

While we never believed that our son’s potential could be determined by those words or the limitations that world often places on individuals with disabilities, to see him crush this high award was a joy and a gift.

On my honor, I will do my best

To do my duty, to God and my country, and to obey the Scout Law;

To help other people at all times;

To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

This achievement was a team effort and the support from some of the scout leaders made a profound difference.

Do you have a child with autism or other disabilities who wants to get involved in scouting?

Here are some tips we found helpful along the way.

  • Get involved. As leaders, we had more control over his sensory experiences or knew the plan ahead of time and could prepare him. Over the years, it used to be that changes in the expected were really (really) challenging for him. Knowing what the plan was and prepping him was a huge help. And that doesn’t have to mean this becomes a second job for you or that you lead the troop! While my husband leads our Scouts BSA troop and I lead my daughter’s Girl Scout troop, I LOVE having parents involved in varying aspects over the year. You don’t have to run meetings or devote a ton of time to get involved in some way.
  • Talk to the other leaders about how your child can participate. More people than you think want to help, sometimes they just don’t know how. Other leaders can also be on the lookout for a sensory meltdown, help provide additional activities or accommodations so that your child can participate in a way that works for them.
  • Communicate with council for events/camp experiences. This was big related to food. My son eats a gluten, dairy, and soy free diet. Council events (including summer camp) have always made accommodations to his dietary needs. And listen, sticking to diet is just better for us all, trust me on that! While we always bring options for him, it has been nice not to have to!
  • Get to know the other parents. I have been so touched by other parents who, knowing our son’s challenges, triumphs, and needs, look out for him in little ways. That parent who brings desserts to the potlucks and always makes a version he can have, it seems so little but to our family, it means the world to have my son included and not feeling left out.
  • Each troop can vary depending on the leaders who are involved so if something doesn’t seem like a good fit, keep looking, try other troops. But I will say discriminatory behavior is not a scouting value! Over the years we even contemplated starting our own troop but in the end we found an existing one that became like family. It should feel like a good fit and should honor and support your child. The experiences of learning outdoor skills, concepts of leave no trace, helping to make the community and world at large a better place, skills like outdoor cooking, wilderness survival, camping, those should be available to every child who wants to engage.

If your child is interested in scouting and has a disability, you can read about their policies here.

While we may look back on 2020 with mixed emotions and certainly sadness over the loss we as a world have faced, I will always see this as one of our bright spots in the year.