Wow… this is hard. I hate controversy. I’ve spent my whole life trying to be “normal.” I especially hate “getting in trouble” with those I respect, which is what it feels like I’m about to do. Awhile back I became aware of a blog post about food and the choices we make (by someone I admire a great deal) which demanded a response. I started to comment, but realized there was a lot more to say. More specifically, there are books and books worth of “more to say.” So I tabled it because well, I was busy trying to heal my family and couldn’t be distracted. But some time has passed and I have seen some bad fruit come from those posts, so I dusted off the draft I had written and here it is.
When I speak of natural cures, I want you to know I am not a natural foodie. I’m a natural Big Mac attack girl. In my weak moments, I still am. I am also not a doctor or a nurse or anything else fancy. But I promise you, I know how to research. And by that I don’t mean “look it up on the web.” I mean index cards with one thought per card with the reference listed. Remember those? So when it comes to “natural” things, here is my street cred: I have an autistic son, or rather… I did. He used to be severe, but now you would never know it. To accomplish this has taken 14 years of research, radical diets, essential oils (yes, you can smell us coming), alternative therapies (Infrared Sauna, Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber, etc.) prayers, tears, trials, and yes, having him prayed over by the elders of the church. Our pastor is not a foodie, but is in full support of everything we have done, because he has seen the results first hand. Yes, I had to humbly “get my husband on board” because he didn’t have the time to do the research. It fell to me because I didn’t work 50 hours a week. But man, is he on board! It wouldn’t be possible without him. I’m so grateful that he would never choose his selfish interests over the well being of his children. When we received the diagnosis, the doctor told us that he would have to be medicated for the rest of his life on a cocktail of meds and that natural cures were a waste of our time and money. The end of the story is that he has a future and a hope. We are ready to lose the diagnosis. What a remarkable stroke of Providence!
You would be surprised how many books I’ve read and tapes and sermons I’ve watched on the topic of discipline and child rearing: all in a vain search for *some* answers. Night after night. Book after book. And if I had to characterize the whole of Christian thinkers on the topic of autism, many of whom have very strong opinions, I would say that as a rule… they just don’t have a clue. Many know they don’t understand and have wisely kept their opinions to themselves. Others though… Well, their answers range from “It doesn’t exist” to “You aren’t spanking hard enough.” I haven’t seen one of them hit the nail on the proverbial head. Not one. So it goes. We struggled through with the Bible, a LOT of research, and a handful of really good docs.
It can be discouraging to be trying to do everything you can for your son, while the “Christian” community stands in judgment. You are often the “odd man out.” Nobody wants to know how you parent. You don’t get invited to dinner much. You don’t get asked to teach the church parenting classes. LOL People look at you sideways when your little guy belly flops to the ground and army crawls under the pews to the front of the room. If you had time to worry about the sideways glances, comments and judgments, they might be bothersome. But you don’t. You just don’t. You’re too busy counting pills and cooking food and researching the cause of your son’s autism and fighting with insurance companies and sending in stool and urine samples and weekly IVs and dealing with the 24/7 Job that is being the mother of a child with Autism. All you know is it isn’t “normal” and that you love him so much, you can’t stop. Not for a moment. It would be unthinkable. You *must* take DOMINION over this because underneath that wound up little guy is a smart, loving, passionate person just waiting to be released.
But people are so helpful, yanno? They try to be anyway:
- “The problem is you don’t spank every time he does the wrong thing.”
- “The problem is the sugar in your diet.”
- “The problem is the TV.”
- “Have you tried whispering at the dinner table?”
- “You know, I just don’t see autism or celiac in the scriptures. They are just over diagnosing now.”
- “Jesus is the Bread of Life, so if you hate bread, you hate the God of the bible.”
- “You aren’t spanking hard enough.”
And bloggers too. They’re helpful: (Paraphrased)
- If you don’t have a doctor telling you this, you are just a self-diagnosing hypochondriac.
- You who are concerned about food choices are being sinful and divisive, and if the ingredient won’t send you to the hospital, you should just buck it up and eat whatever.
- You care too much about what your family eats, and you are acting like an earth-worshiping radical nut case, using food as an idol and making a scene over the ingredients in the sweet potatoes.
- You’re just trying to fit in with the “allergy du jour” club.
- And now it seems we are just being bossy.
Folks have told me I should write about this but until now I wasn’t inspired. Well, that last blog post by that last blogger just pushed me over the bloggy edge. It was the bloggy straw that broke the bloggy camel’s back. The nerve and inspiration I had been lacking just smacked me upside the bloggy head. So for the blogging record:
- Tried it. Yes, for more than 3 days. We didn’t even have sugar in the home until he was 2 years old. No TV either. Yes, we’ve tried whispering. It’s not that he is disobedient. It’s that we can’t even get the concept *in*.
- You don’t see diabetes in the scriptures either, but I see you taking your insulin.
- I am a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. The bread of the bible has nothing to do with the bread of 2015 America. Nothing. It isn’t the same thing. Read Wheat Belly. The Bread of Life doesn’t give you Celiac or Crohn’s Disease. That’s not how God works.
- *so tempting to offer a personal demonstration upon the person making the assertion*
- We’ve had doctors. YOUR doctor may not agree with MY (MD) doctor, but that’s because YOUR doctor isn’t educated on this topic. And there have been dry seasons where we didn’t have a doctor who could help and we were left to our own research. (Folks, heal yourself. Don’t wait around for the lab coats! Take charge of your OWN health! The sailors fighting scurvy didn’t wait for a prescription before they ate the lemons or the sauerkraut, did they?) But even still… what about the folks who can’t *afford* to spend thousands of dollars on doctors? Shall they just eat cake?
- Yeaaaah… Well… Um… Hard to know where to start. There are, you know, books written on these topics. Books written by MDs and PhDs. Science books. Books which I have read, but I’m guessing you have not. We could talk about IGG vs. IGE allergies. We could talk of Th1 cells and Th2 cells and how the breakdown of certain foods in certain environments sends compounds to the brain that are akin to drugs and alcohol. We could talk about the interplay of Mercury and Yeast. Or Mercury and Aluminum. Or ethyl mercury vs. methyl mercury. We could talk about how allergies form in the first place and that none of our diseases happen in a vacuum. Yes, they are all under the Providence of God, but it’s a bit like taking a gun and shooting yourself in the foot and expecting not to bleed. Our Lord has made our world to function with certain scientific laws. There is such a thing as cause and effect. Just because something doesn’t kill you immediately doesn’t mean it won’t kill you slowly… in God’s perfect Providence of course. Still, that does not mean that when I toast you, as you drink your liquid Drano, er, I mean Coke with my bottle of Kombucha, I’m being idolatrous. It means I made a different choice. That’s the cool thing about jurisdictions. I have mine and you have yours and we can be happy together! So happy together! Cheers!
- Not only have I never seen a scene being made of the ingredients in the sweet potatoes, those of us on special diets are usually so starved for fellowship that we will cook an entire meal and schlep it to someone’s house just to experience a little “hospitality.” It is we who will bend over backwards to not give an offense or be an inconvenience. Actually, it’s easier than trying to explain how to make grain free, egg free, yeast free, sugar free bread taste anything but taste free.
- Well, ya got me. I do want to fit in. I really, really do. But do you really believe getting labeled “Crazy” by 95% of Americans, Christian and non-Christian alike is the way to go about it? Oh, if you only knew the nasties that have come my way. The “unfriendings”, the bashings. Just from being. I do NOT try to force my views on others. And you know, I’ve been “crazy” for a long time now. I was crazy when crazy wasn’t cool. If you really believe I am just trying to fit in, I have a bridge or two to offer you.
- Yea…. undo 2 years of work to help my child be able to think for a little “unity”? Let me think for just a sec…No.
So to my fellow Christian foodie friends who are trying to heal their families or just be wise: Overlook the offense. Give grace where it was not given to you. Bless them who curse you. Just do your ever-loving best and know some of us are praying for you.
To those who have offered advice through the years: Thank you for loving us enough to risk saying something. I appreciate the heart that it came from.
To the famous pastors, authors, and bloggers who pushed me over the bloggy edge: I know you could pick apart my little blog. I am *not* trained in the finest private Classical Christian school in America with the finest rhetoric and grammar. I cannot parse Latin verbs. I was… a little busy these past 16 years, simply trying to survive. And what I know, you don’t seem to be interested in learning. You could poke holes in my lack of logic with playful ease. I’ve witnessed your skill. But I am asking you to hear my heart with your Shepherd ears.
I wish we were buddies and I could just call you up and invite you to Sabbath dinner. You taught us to do it, you know. Wow, would we have fun! I would serve you whatever your heart longed for. Or you could walk a day in our world and experience the yummiest grass-fed cow with Real, Raw ice cream and succulent veggies. We could sit around and laugh and tell stories about all those things which we have in common.
Truly, I am shocked that I stand here in opposition to what I *think* I heard you saying. It did seem a bit like you were mocking me and trying to bind my conscience. The truth is I thank God for your ability to eat white bread, sugar, and GMO corn with no apparent difficulties in yourself or your children. Bon appetite!
I extend to you the grace I have not received. I believe your intentions are good. But the reason you have the luxury to argue these points is because you have never watched your child have 20 seizures a day when the crop duster sprayed the farm next door. You have not had a baby who would not stop screaming from hunger, no matter how much you fed him. You have not had to change your baby’s diaper 24 times a day from the diarrhea. You have not watched in dismay as your 7 year old’s ticks got worse and worse. Your trials were “normal people” trials so you believe us to be abnormal– and unbiblical.
My friends and I have had these experiences, and so while you think I am trying to boss you around, I want to assure you this is not the case. But I am grateful for those who would make documentaries and give speeches and gently counsel friends. They are the ones who see the problems coming and are brave enough to warn others. They love you enough to want you to *not* walk the walk they have trod. Yet you insist I just eat whatever is served. Really, who is being bossy now?
My request from you is this: stop it. Just stop. Stop motive judging. Stop supposing you know what it is like to be us. Stop speaking on topics about which you know nothing. It isn’t helpful. It’s discouraging, and it emboldens others to judge us. “Ya! It’s about time someone told off those foodies! They’ve always bugged me!” If you suppose me to be the weaker brother, then so be it. My son doesn’t have autism anymore. So, well… there’s that. Perhaps you could just … assume the best of our intentions? Perhaps you could give us a little grace and a bite of grain free communion bread? And if not, then perhaps just the grace.