by Sean Croxton
I couldn’t imagine having a child with autism.
Just the thought of it gives me a bit of anxiety — the unpredictable behavior, the tantrums, the head-banging.
If I had it my way, I’d have two kids — a boy and a girl. But knowing that — according to the latest figures — one in 54 boys is affected by autism, kinda scares the bejesus out of me.
It should scare the heck out of you, too. Because even if autism does not impact you directly right now, you’re not human if the statistics don’t make you wonder what the heck is going on here. Statistics like…
* One in 88 children are diagnosed with autism by age 8.
* The rate of autism increased 23% between the years 2006 and 2008. (I wonder what the 2012 numbers are!)
* Autism has increased 1000% in the past 40 years.
To give you more understanding as to the magnitude of this issue, the rate of obesity has increased 300% in the past 30 years. Again, autism is up 1000% in the past 40.
We have an epidemic on our hands, folks.
Unfortunately, although the rapid proliferation of autism may very well be one of the most pressing health issues of our time, the national conversation has taken on the tone of a whisper rather than the bullhorn it deserves.
Maybe this has to do with the fact that there is no poster child for autism, as last Thursday’s UW Radio guest Dr. Cate Shanahan suggests.
Then again, it could have to do with the fact that it is such a frustrating and emotionally charged issue — for both parents and researchers — that any discourse on the subject leads to very little progress, just bickering and ad hominem attacks, as exemplified by the vitriolic emails I receive in my inbox EVERY SINGLE TIME I do a show on the topic.
I don’t have the answers on autism. I admittedly haven’t spent a ton of time studying it. All I do is interview those who do — those selfless individuals who spend their free time scouring the research in hopes of uncovering another critical piece of what seems like a very large puzzle. The ones who have the courage to share their findings with the 30,000 people who listen to my show.
But since it seems like sooooooo many people want to know, my take on autism is this…
I really have no idea what the heck causes autism. If I did, I promise you’d be the first to know. What I do know is that at no point in the history of the world have people eaten such shit (pardon my French) and experienced such shitty health, while at the same time expecting to produce healthy offspring.
Can you tell how much this bothers me? If you want to know how I really feel, read the Mindless Procreation blogs I posted last year.
Before now, when has a pregnant woman eaten low-fat processed food throughout her entire pregnancy and expected to make up for her nutritional shortcomings with her prenatal vitamin?
When has a man expected to make a healthy baby out of his sugar-drunk sperm?
And when the eff did it become acceptable to build a baby’s BRAIN with infant formula made out of hydrolyzed soy protein (which contains neurotoxic MSG), vegetable oils (half of which are toxic trans fats), and corn syrup solids?
Like the rappers say, “What part of the game is this?”
As adults get sicker due to their increasing state of malnourishment, children seem to get more autistic.
No, I’m not suggesting any causal relationship between autism and the fact that our dietary guidelines — and actual real-life diets for 90% of the country — lack the nutrients to build a healthy newborn brain. Nope, not me. That would be, uh, quackery.
These are just my observations. No science. Just my thoughts.
If you want science, listen to people to like Dr. Shanahan, who on this episode discusses matters of autism including…
* How MRI technology is finding that the gray and white matter in the brains of autistic children differs from that of normally developing children.
* How excess white matter and insufficient gray matter in the autistic brain may be the cause of sensory overload often experienced by autistic kids.
* What diffusion tensor imaging has found regarding faulty connections in the autistic brain.
* How the raw ingredients for proper development of the gray and white matter are often missing from the adult and infant diet. No bricks. No brick house.
* The startling research showing that regressive autism occurs TWELVE times more often in formula-fed infants whose formula has insufficient long-chain fatty acids for brain building, as compared to breastfed infants.
* Dr. Cate’s interesting take on the gluten-free, casein-free diet.
* A hidden source of aluminum commonly found in the infant diet.
Click the PLAY button below to listen to the show in its entirety. Or watch the video clip for a teaser.
Thanks for putting up with my foul language!
“Thanks Uncle Sean, for telling my daddy what’s up before I was born” -baby Fernandez, 2014
WoW! I can’t believe this, you have taken the words right out of my mouth. My baby girl become extremely sick and hospitalized due to this trash we call baby food. The doctors could not figure out what was making her so sick. I decided I was going to figure it out myself. It finally dawned on me to look at the ingredients in her “organic” formula. My mouth dropped! Yes, I get why our children are so sick. Sick with autism, ADD, ADHD, cancer, diabetes etc. I actually got so mad I researched how to make my own homemade formula. Within four days of making my own formula she was healed! Amazing what a little “real food” will do. I ended up starting my own company Designed By Nature which is handmade, pure, organic formula with NO GMO, SOY or Corn products. You can read more of my story at http://www.designedbynature.net. Thank you for putting this out there. The more people talking about this the more the word gets out. We most start protecting our children.
Love you Sean! Keep talking because we are listening and agreeing and passing your comments on.
I can NOT believe the disgusting ingredients in that baby formula. This has to be STOPPED!!!
Oh Sean the ingredients in that photo are shocking! How on earth can people think corn syrups are a good idea – to feed to infants!
I was working in my church nursery the other day, and one of the babies needed to be fed… formula. Knowing how bad it was made me feel a little sick having to feed it to him. His mom breastfed for a couple of months, but then stopped for some reason.
I don’t think that the phrase “you are what you eat” really has much meaning to most people. It’s all carbs, proteins, fat, and calories, and not much else matters. I used to think that way until my memory problems got so bad that I couldn’t remember people’s names or keep characters straight as I watched a movie. I found out that it was the aspartame that had destroyed my memory; in high school, I had nearly photographic memory.
Even then, I only responded by avoiding aspartame. You’re doing a great job letting people know that there’s so much more to what you eat than avoiding poison and eating the right amount of macronutrients. You have to wonder what the autism rate is of children whose parents follow a truly nutritious diet like you are an advocate of.
How about Mums breastfeed their babies for as long as they need & avoid vaccinations – a good start surely.
Ha!! You’re welcome, Baby Fernandez!
Way to take matters into your own hands, Dara! We need to get your formula into supermarkets!
Thanks, Serena! 🙂
They DON’T think. I can’t understand how ANYONE can think it’s okay to feed their babies this garbage.
Thanks so much for doing a no-bullshit post on autism. Everybody is afraid to approach this topic because, as you say, there are a lot of very strong opinions on all sides. But true to form, you are not afraid to tell it like it is–go Sean!
My son is autistic and I am convinced that the poor state of my health when I was pregnant has something to do with it. He was exclusively breastfed, but that cannot make up for 9 months in an unhealthy womb. My diet wasn’t even all that bad, but I suspect I was gluten intolerant and didn’t realize it (my problems have been resolved with a Paleo diet).
Now he is of course GF and CF (and Paleo-ish) and doing better (not all autistic kids have tantrums and bang their heads by the way–he is actually quite sweet and fun!). There are lots of biomedical treatment options for autism that can make a difference, but of course they are all very pricey (because nothing is covered by insurance)–the whole thing drives me crazy!
I see above that a lot of the comments are about formula feeding. Obviously women should breastfeed, but that’s definitely only one piece of the puzzle. Here in Quebec most women breastfeed but we are still having an autism epidemic. My son was breastfed exclusively for an entire year. At six months I introduced solids but he couldn’t take much because he was delayed (still had a very strong gag reflex at 6 months, so couldn’t swallow solids). He was also delayed in the womb from very early on (I did the Down’s screening test and his risk factor was extremely high, although he did not turn out to have Down’s. That test looks at developmental markers, so his high risk score suggests he was delayed from the start). I’m convinced it’s because I was sick when I conceived (I had peripheral neuropathy and a host of other complaints, but of course the doctor’s could find nothing).
Hi Sean, i just discovered your website and podcast today! (a friend told me about you) I”M LISTENING TO SHOW #3.
This is a welcome breath of fresh air for me after reading a debate on attachment parenting on Slate.com where Hanna Rosin works to justify formula feeding with arguments from feminism. To some, careers and personal fulfillment are the highest priority and baby’s health shifts down the list. I don’t understand how supposedly super smart people can think that way.
Thank you!!!!! I am working on it 🙂
Hospitals shouldn’t give out free infant formula packages because they have been shown to discourage breastfeeding. Even though these samples are “free,” and therefore held in good favor among many, they end up costing more because mothers are likely to stick with the particular brand they receive in hospitals. These can cost up to $700 per year more than the cheaper alternative brands.
The infant formula industry makes its profits by ensuring that less women breastfeed their babies. Hospitals should stop serving as marketing platforms for infant formula companies and start educating new mothers earnestly about the full range of feeding options. When formula is necessary, women should be able to decide for themselves which brand to use.
This will definitely make me think twice about giving any future children formula. Thanks for the informative post!
There is a HUGE link between Vitamin D deficiency and autism. Her research/data is corollary not causative, not that I am saying that formula is good BECAUSE IT ISN’T.
Also, as someone who is giving birth in June, I have wondered why we can’t dehydrate our own breastmilk? Doing that would be able to solve the convenience and health issues. Formula is formulated to replace breast milk, so anything that might be destroyed during the process should be conceivably able to be added back in.
Convenience IS a valid issue and mothers who are making a choice to give their children formula are not ‘selfish’ for not being tied to the teat. But neither should the only other option be to give their child corn and vegetable oil based crap.
(*I have seen the Weston Price recipes for ‘home made’ formula and what concerns me about them is the fact that, if something were to happen to me, no one could just step in and feed my baby. As someone who was in foster care, I don’t just assume that parents are always going to be in the picture.)
I just read this and am overwhelmed. I totally agree that the processed food we eat in this country is causing huge problems. I am a little surprised at how unbalanced your view on baby formula is. I 100% think that breast feeding is best, no questions asked. However,what about what happened to me…I tried desperately to breast feed all 4 of my kids. I saw every lactation consultant I could find, used every nipple shield on the market and rented a hospital grade pump just to give my kids as much breast milk as possible. The problem was that my nipples split open regardless of what I tried. There was nothing any lactation consultant or woman from la leche group could offer. I read your article and it made me cry, partly because I agree with so much of what you wrote but had wished you could have been balanced and acknowledged that there are some women who want to breast feed but end up having to use formula.
Please do some research on the GAPS Diet. My son is autistic as well. You don’t need biomedical treatments all you need to do is heal & seal the gut to improve autism symptoms. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride had an autistic son who healed on this protocol. Check out gapsdiet.com & gaps.me
Very familiar with Dr. Natasha. She’s been on the show — http://www.blogtalkradio.com/undergroundwellness/2010/08/11/the-nutrition-and-brain-function-connection-with-d
In my opinion, healing the gut is one piece of a big puzzle.
I am as dismayed by this as ErinP. I tried breastfeeding my infant for over 6 weeks to no avail. I went to the top clinic in Toronto for help, but my body wasn’t naturally producing enough milk (among many other issues) so I had to use pills to create milk, and by the time I was perscribed these pills, 5 weeks had gone by. My baby had to eat something, so formula it was. There is only formula on the market to help feed your baby, and milk is not an option at that young age. Breastfeeding is best, but there are so many women out there who cant for whatever reason despite their best efforts (hence wet nurses). More should be done to help bring to the market natural products, the way Dara Ree is trying to do. I only wish I had thought of making my own homemade formula. Thank you for bringing light to this, but please respect the fact that some women who use forumla do it with a very sad heart.