Glutathione: Master Antioxident and Key Player for Autism

Nutrients are a huge factor for ASD. There are many nutrient deficiencies at play for most ASD kids and supplementation can help a lot.

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Many kids with ASD have a lack of antioxidants, which means they have low levels of Vitamin C, A & E as well as low levels of glutathione, the master antioxidant — which is required to make the other antioxident vitamins. For some, this may be due to oxalate issues as I explained in this post. But whatever the reason, a lack of glutathione which is typically seen in ASD kids creates problems with immune function, detoxification, and oxidative damage (more on the science here).

Antioxidants are essential for combating free radicals which are molecules which cause damage to cells in the body. The body needs to be able to mop-up and get rid of those free radicals to continue to function well, but without antioxidants it can't get rid of the free radicals fast enough and damage to proteins, cells, and DNA occurs (also called oxidative damage).

So supplementation with the antioxidant vitamins — like high dose Vitamin C which has been shown to be very effective for some ASD kids — or even supplementing with glutathione itself can be hugely beneficial. Susan Levin talked about using glutathione injections with her ASD son in her book Unlocked. They used many different interventions but she wrote that the glutathione injections were so helpful in bringing her son back into connection and clarity that she wished they could plant a glutathione tree in their yard so they could juice up their son everyday — this was several years ago, now there are glutathione supplements that can be taken daily. Levin’s story is very powerful, and a great example of how by doing a lot of different things — diet, supplements, behavioral programs her son went from being completely in his own world and out of reach — never saying I love you, never responding to her — to a connecting, loving, caring child who could express himself and handle social situations without difficulties.

To find out more about what nutrients your child needs, you will need to find a practitioner who has in-depth knowledge about ASD and who can help you find the right nutrients for your child.

Oxalates: What does antifreeze have to do with Autism?

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We all know antifreeze is deadly when ingested. But what I didn't know, until recently that is, is what makes antifreeze deadly. When the chemicals in antifreeze enter the body they convert to a compound called oxalate. And at mega doses, like you’d find in antifreeze, oxalate is deadly.

It is also what has been clogging up my daughter’s body and has started a cascade of biological and physiological reactions that manifest in the behaviors and symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder - or ASD.

Oxalates are found in most plant foods in varying amounts. Foods like rhubarb, spinach and sweet potatoes are very high in oxalates. And in most people oxalates pass through the body and/or they get broken down by their gut microbes and no harm is done. But in some people oxalates build up and cause kidney stones, and in others they build up and cause ASD symptoms including:

  • speech and motor skill delays

  • trouble with linguistic expression

  • lack of social awareness

  • rigidity

  • sleep problems

  • self-abusive behavior

  • pain, especially to do with urination

  • bed wetting

  • problems with cognition

  • fatigue and low energy

  • and many more…

And now to come back to my daughter. Imogen has always been “quirky” but she doesn’t have an official diagnosis — although I now see that much of her quirkiness is really ASD symptoms. She didn’t interact much with other kids as a toddler and wouldn’t go on the playground if there were any other children there. She was slow to learn to speak and didn’t speak clearly for a long time. She didn’t respond to questions from strangers at all and only sometimes responded to our questions. But she did play and interact with us and seemed to be doing fine. By the time she was 8 her teacher noticed that she was falling behind her peers socially — she told the same stories over and over and didn’t seem to be interested in what her peers had to say. Academically she was doing well, but socially it was a growing concern. At home she had tantrums and lashed out at her brother or stormed off during meals or any time she was upset. She didn’t seem to understand how her actions hurt others, instead thinking people were intending to hurt her. She had chronic loose bowels and a rash on her bottom that would not go away.

When she had an Organic Acids Test last fall, the results were very clear — her levels of oxalate were extremely high — 5 times higher than the average ASD child.

After a month of Low Oxalate Diet she had become a different child — the aggression had gone, she was talkative and told many stories about school — including who she was playing with at recess, she was able to be connected and contributing to the family life — following conversations, helping out, noticing if someone was sad or upset. Even her teacher thought this was a different child and said the other students could tell she was able to interact with them differently now. The bowels and the rash cleared up.

However oxalates are complicated, and it’s common for people to go on a Low Oxalate Diet and feel better — for a while. But then when oxalate levels in the blood get low enough the body starts dumping the stored oxalate into the blood stream, and people find the symptoms come back. However, in the long run this is what needs to happen to clear out the oxalates from the body — and when the dumping stops, people typically find that their child is doing even better than before dumping.

For us, after that first “honeymoon” period of one month Imogen’s body started dumping oxalates in massive amounts — she broke out in oxalate rashes, she peed them out constantly, they hurt her eyes and her back — all of which are common signs of the body dumping stored oxalates. And all of her ASD symptoms came back.

Her body is still processing the last 8 years worth of oxalate it has been storing, but with the right supplements now in place she her symptoms are reducing and she is starting to come back to us. She is rarely aggressive, and she is often connected and present with us — though she fades in and out — as does her ability to express herself. Sometimes she is bursting with self awareness and is able to tell us about what is going on for her with amazing clarity. Other times she repeats “Mom, Mom, Mom…what was I going to say…” And drifts away. But we are making progress, getting through all of the oxalates, and helping her body to heal.

And there’s a lot to heal from.

Oxalates also do a lot of damage in the body, which is how they end up producing such a wide range of symptoms. I’m going to get a little technical here, bear with me! I’ll try to make the science as clear as I can.

First up: Oxalates interfere with sulfur chemistry which means that kids with oxalate issues can have problem creating enzymes, proteins, and tissues — pretty basic necessities here. Sulfur chemistry is also responsible for the production of bile to digest fats, for detoxification, and for cellular respiration. So disturbances in all of these processes can occur when there is an oxalate issue. According to Julie Matthews, who wrote the book Nourishing Hope for Autism, the research shows that 73-92% of ASD kids have messed up sulfur chemistry.

Another way Oxalate does damage in the body is by being a mitochondrial toxin. This is important because mitochondria are a little part of a cell and their main job is to produce ATP which is the energy that all of our cells use to do things. It’s the coin of the realm and without it our cells don’t have enough energy and it’s hard to function when your cells don’t make enough energy. Oxalate inhibits mitochondrian enzymes which means that oxalate interferes in the functioning of the mitochondria, and you don’t make enough energy. This leads to kids who are tired, even fatigued, and easily worn out!

Next up: Oxalates like to join up with heavy metals like mercury and lead and then move out of the blood stream and into the body tissues, effectively trapping these toxins in the body. This isn’t the only way oxalate relates to heavy metal toxicity - which is so common in ASD — oxalate also lowers glutathione production — that’s the master antioxidant — it’s also essential for detoxifying heavy metals. Without adequate glutathione heavy metals can build up and cause further neurological problems. And as mentioned above, when glutathione is low it’s not available to fight off free radicals and cells get damaged due to oxidative stress.

And although all of this is tied to oxalates, it’s not just oxalates coming from the what you eat. It turns out that if you don’t have enough B6 (which as Bernard Rimland has shown is often low in ASD kids, and is why they react so well to being supplemented with B6) then your body actually produces oxalates! So some kids can’t process the oxalates they get from food which means they are in the blood stream producing symptoms, and oxalates are also clogging up their tissues sometimes causing pain, and now their bodies are also making more oxalate because they doesn’t have enough B6! It’s quite the cascade and it all turns on oxalates.

Fortunately, by switching to a low oxalate diet you can lower the blood level of oxalates which often decreases ASD symptoms. One family who participated in the initial oxalate and ASD study found that on switching to a low oxalate diet the child made impressive gains in speech, motor skills and cognition - as recognized by this teachers and therapists. He also lost some lingering autistic behaviors, grew 2 inches in 2 months, and his chronic diarrhea disappeared (it turns out that oxalates can be dumped in the stool as well and often results in sandy/fluffy loose stools).

However, as I explained with Imogen, once the oxalate level is low enough the body starts to release the stored oxalate which typically increases the ASD symptoms temporarily, but is, in reality, a good sign because it means oxalates are leaving the body so they won’t be doing any more damage. It’s important to switch to a low oxalate diet gradually, because the body starts to dump the stored oxalate. Cutting oxalates down too low too fast can cause a flood of oxalates in the body which it can’t handle and in very rare cases can be deadly (back to the antifreeze problem here). However, because of all of the other damage that oxalates have done in the body, supplements are often required to help the child heal fully.

It’s not clear if all children with ASD also have oxalate issues — this connection was only discovered in 2007 and more research needs to be done. But Susan Owens, a scientist who worked for DAN! and who is the one who discovered the role of oxalates in ASD believes that oxalates do play a big role for many children with ASD. And this is why: there is a test to check your child’s oxalate levels. It’s the same Organic Acids Test — or OAT test — I mentioned earlier. And it turns out that ASD kids on average have levels that are 7 times higher than their non-ASD siblings. But what Owens has found, is that even for ASD kids who do not have a high concentration of oxalates in their urine, when they go on a low oxalate diet, their symptoms improve. So they do better without oxalates even when the test doesn’t show high levels, which means that a low oxalate diet may help your child.

Diet Changes: Food Matters for Autism

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What we feed our kids is so important, and in the case of an ASD kid it’s often crucial for their wellbeing. Being sure that you have eliminated any food allergies or intolerances is a good place to start, but further diet changes often help ASD kids. For instance, around 65% of them have their symptoms improve on a diet that eliminates both gluten and casein (that’s the proteins found in wheat & dairy products). And according to Julie Matthews for one two-and-a-half-year-old boy with ASD it was the difference between talking and not talking. He went from saying zero words to saying 200 words after 3 months on a Gluten-Free & Casein-Free diet. So it’s a good place to start for a lot of ASD kids.

Then there’s the Specific Carbohydrate Diet which eliminates all grains and many other foods based on the type of carbohydrate they contain with the aim being to eliminate those carbs that may be increasing bad bacteria in the gut. This diet is reported to work for about 65% of ASD kids. Then there are diets like the Body Ecology Diet which focuses on eliminating yeast in the gut and encourages large amount of vegetables, or the GAPS diet which also focuses on gut health and uses a lot of bone broth and meat. Then there are further tweaks that might help your child like eliminating Phenols and Oxalates, and often these diets get mapped onto each other, so you might be doing a gluten-free casein-free diet with low phenols and low oxalates.

Just saying that out loud probably sounds daunting to some of you, but taken one step at a time you can get there. One child on a gluten-free, casein-free, Specific Carbohydrate Diet, Body Ecology Diet was doing much better, but continued to rock after every meal. He added low oxalate to his already complex diet and the stimming and rocking went away immediately.

It’s stories like this and seeing improvements in your child that will help give you the confidence to keep going. And you are not alone there are thousands of people doing diets just like this — maybe not anyone you know, but look around online, there are lots of resources and support and help. It is possible.

Gut Health for ADHD

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Our colon, or gut, is home to trillions of bacteria — in fact, their cells out number our cells 10 to 1! For the most part they are friendly bacteria, and in exchange for our providing a nice place for them to live they keep us healthy, stop bad bacteria from multiplying, break down and rebuild hormones, and create essential fats and vitamins for us, amongst other things. Recent scientific studies have found that these bacteria also help prevent a huge range of conditions like diabetes, gum disease, colds & flu, eczema, constipation, rheumatoid arthritis, and many more. Besides all of this studies are also showing that these microbes affect the brain and play a central role in how we think and feel. This means that microbes may be affecting your child’s brain and behavior.

Some strains of bacteria are less friendly and they and their by-products can have negative effects on your child’s brain causing ADHD behaviors. But there are way to test this — one of which is a urine test called the Organic Acids Test or OAT test for short. And correcting an imbalance of bacteria can be as easy as giving your child a probiotic.

Let’s hear Sam’s story from Finally Focused by Dr. James Greenblatt.

At 9 Sam was extremely hyperactive and disorganized. At home he didn’t follow directions and threw temper tantrums. He had been asked to leave preschool twice until his behavior improved. He was diagnosed with ADHD and tried multiple medications — which had very negative side-effects for him — and under went many psychological and psychiatric evaluations. The results of his OAT test showed high levels of a by-product of “bad” bacteria which were causing high dopamine levels. High dopamine leads to super stimulated neurons which cause agitation and anxiety, make it harder to focus and learn, decrease self-control, and impair decision making — many of the symptoms of ADHD.

Sam started taking a high dose probiotic and within 30 days his symptoms had improved. His behavior was more under his control and his teachers said he was able to participate in class — even getting extra stars on his behavior chart.

In this case a simple intervention — taking a probiotic — improved Sam’s ADHD when multiple medications and interventions had not. This is the importance of gut microbes for your child.

Nutrients for ADHD

The brain needs many different nutrients at just the right levels and combinations to function optimally. And when these levels are sub-par the child’s brain may suffer. For instance, take Micah’s story from Finally Focused by Dr. James Greenblatt.

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Micah was 9 years old. He was diagnosed with ADHD at 6 and went on medication but suffered with side effects. At 9, his family couldn’t go out to a restaurant because Micah’s behavior was so inappropriate. This devastated his father, who had fond memories of going out to eat as a child and wanted to re-create them with his own family. Micah had no friends or play dates, he angered quickly and he often told his parents he hated them or threatened to hurt them. His father loved being at work because at home he felt like he was walking on eggshells.

Micah was tested for various nutrients and it turned out he was deficient in magnesium and had a severe excess of copper with low zinc. Micah was put on a magnesium supplement and a zinc supplement which is a nutrient that balances with copper and so would also correct the copper excess. After 2 months of taking these supplements Micah’s parents and teachers reported dramatic changes. In school he was now participating in class, completing assignments, and interacting successfully with his peers. His father said “It’s a miracle. We can even go out to eat!”

In this example the child and the family’s life were completely changed through one simple intervention: supplementing the child with key nutrients.

The reason that correcting the nutrients made such a difference for Micah is that his brain was having trouble functioning without them. When Magnesium is deficient the brain is compromised because magnesium plays a key role in the formation of the neurotransmitters — which are chemicals that help your brain cells talk to each other. So magnesium is helping the body make the neurotransmitter dopamine (which regulates attention) and the neurotransmitter serotonin (which regulates mood). So without sufficient magnesium Micah was having trouble regulating both his attention and his mood, but once his magnesium level was up he no longer had these problems.

Zinc, another nutrient that Micah was deficient in, is also essential for brain health. It is essential for the creation of every cell in the body, helps create neurotransmitters, the production of melatonin — the hormone that gets you to sleep — depends on it, and it nourishes the entire brain. Without zinc it’s very hard to think! So by raising his zinc levels, Micah’s brain now had the support it needed to function better. And, as I said before, higher zinc levels, will balance out copper which in excess can contribute to agitation, anxiety, poor sleep, and loss of appetite. So this too contributed to Micah’s improved mood because his zinc and copper levels were now optimal.

Magnesium, Zinc, and Copper are just a few of the nutiens that affect the brain. But there are others. For example, lithum. For ADHD kids who are irritable, angry, aggressive, and impulsive lithium can be very effective. Yes, this is the mineral that in high doses can be used to treat Bipolar Disorder, but for ADHD lithium in low doses — sometimes called nutritional lithium — can, in Greenblatt’s words, “dramatically soothe the troubled, turbulent emotions that agitate and upset some ADHD children, leading them to helplessly lash out at others.”

I know it may seem strange but Greenblatt explains that when a child comes to his office with this irritable, aggressive ADHD he does a Hair Tissues Minerals Analysis test and very often finds extremely low — undetectably low — levels of lithium. When he puts the child on low dose lithium the aggression, irritability, an ADHD go away.

Lithium works by balancing neurotransmitters, protecting brain cells, decreasing neuro-inflammation in the brain, and moving Vit B12 and folate into the nerve cells - a must for a healthy brain and nervous system.

Another nutrient that is essential for brain health and therefore essential for kids with ADHD is omega 3. You’ve probably heard of this fatty acid — it’s what makes cold water fatty fish so healthy — their large doses of omega 3s. In the brain omega 3 is needed for just about every aspect of moving information between brain cells which means every thought, emotion, and action needs omega 3. It also decreases low-grade inflammation which protects the brain cells from dying.

The key with omega 3 is getting enough omega 3 in relation to omega 6. Our hunter gatherer ancestors likely had a ratio of 2 omega 6s to 1 omega 3 whilst the Standard American Diet has a ratio of 15 omega 6s to 1 omega 3. This is largely due to the consumption of vegetable and seed oils, transfats, and feeding grain to cattle instead of grass and eating the meat. Eliminating those oilds, fats, and switching to grass-fed beef can make a big difference to omega 6 to omega 3 ratios. And studies have shown that supplementing with omega 3 in the form of fish oil can affect a wide range of ADHD symptoms from hyperactivity, to attention, to disobedience, to hostility, to better memory & learning, to better reading ability and sleep!

Sometimes it’s nutrient deficiencies and imbalances, that are causing your child’s ADHD symptoms and by correcting these nutrient problems the ADHD symptoms will go away.

Why Food Matters for ADHD

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ADHD is all about brain function and thus anything that negatively affects the brain can be a contributing factor to ADHD symptoms.

So one factor is food. Here’s is a real life example from the book Finally Focused by Dr. James Greenblatt.

At age 3 Billy had problems with emotional control. By age 5 he had physically attacked his brother more times than the mother could count, had punched holes in his bedroom walls, and was unreachable at home or school. By age 6 he was diagnosed with ADHD and Oppositional Defiance Disorder. At school he was angry, irritable, and emotionally out of control.

The mother brought him in for testing and they found out he was sensitive to gluten and dairy. So she removed all gluten and dairy from his diet. By the end of a month Billy was a completely different kid. All of his ADHD and oppositional behaviors had melted away 100%. His reading ability jumped a grade level in one month, and he was able to talk about making a poor choice and how to correct it instead of running away and slamming doors. He would say things like “I’m sorry. Thank you. and I love you,” which he hadn’t done before. His mother said that for the first time he actually “looked happy.” She also said how liberating it was to find out that her son’s behavior wasn’t due to her “being a bad parent,” but that it was entirely because of his food sensitivities.

For this child food was the one and only problem and by making some diet changes his life and the lives of everyone in his family were utterly transformed.

There are multiple ways for food to cause problems for your child’s brain. One way is a food allergy. In Finally Focused, Dr. Greenblatt states that ADHD kids are 7 times more likely than non-ADHD kids to have a food allergy. And if a child has an undetected food allergy, every time they eat that food, it will trigger an inflammation response in the body.

Now inflammation is usually a good thing — it’s what brings redness and healing to a cut or scrape. But a situation where inflammation is being triggered multiple times a day by a food allergy leads to chronic or nearly constant inflammation. And this inflammation in the gut travels through the blood and crosses into the brain, which starts to make the barrier between the blood and the brain leaky — which means it allows through particles that it shouldn’t. And these particles cause more inflammation — because they are irritating the brain. In response to this irritation we see the symptoms and behaviors common in ADHD.

So this is a basic version of what happens for food allergies for an ADHD kid and it also happens for food intolerances (also called IgG reactions) which are harder to detect because symptoms can show up days after consuming the not tolerated food. But according to Greenblatt, in the kids he sees with ADHD 25% of the ones under 12 have a food intolerance as their main, or only problem. And this figure jumps to 75% for kids under 6 — so of Greenblatt’s patients, 3/4 of kids under 6 who are diagnosed with ADHD turn out to have a food intolerance as their main symptom driver. For this reason Greenblatt has all of his patients under 12 do a finger prick blood test for food intolerances. And treatment for food allergies or intolerances is simply to removed those foods from the diet.

Greenblatt also explains one further mechanism by which certain foods can interfere with your child’s brain function. Dairy contains proteins called casein, and, as you probably know, grains like wheat, rye, and barley contain a protein called gluten. What you may not know, is that in the body they become caseomorphin and gliadorphin which are — as they sound — morphine-like compounds. Some kids with ADHD have trouble breaking down these compounds which results in too high levels of caseomorphin and/or gliadorphin and these compounds then bind to your child’s opiate receptors in the brian — effectively drugging the child. This can result in many of the typical ADHD symptoms like:

  • problems with speech and hearing

  • spaciness and brain fog

  • near-constant fatigue

  • irritability and aggression

  • moodiness

  • anxiety and depression

  • sleep problems

According to Greenblatt one of the telltale signs of this caseomorphin or gliadorphin reaction is that the child seems addicted to these foods and is desperate to get them, maybe throws a tantrum, and then behaves much better after eating them. Due to the morphine-like hit they just received from eating that food.

Food allergies, intolerances, or addiction could be driving your child’s ADHD. You can contact a pracitioner to get your child tested for allergies and intolerances. Or if you have a hunch that your child has problems with dairy or gluten you can try a dairy or gluten free diet. If this is working for your child, you should notice changes within 30 days.

Change as a Process: Coming to a Low-Histamine Diet Gradually

Change isn’t an event; it’s a process. There is no moment when a monkey learns to skateboard; there’s a process.
— Chip & Dan Heath, Switch
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I’ve made a lot of changes over the past two years, for instance: I go to bed at 9:30 after talking to my husband and reading, instead of 10:30 after doing chores straight through to bedtime; I see a chiropractor and acupuncturist every week; I do a 10-minute yoga routine most mornings; I changed my diet to be Autoimmune Protocol Compliant; and I keep the lights low in the evenings. Typically, I approach change cautiously at first. I’m skeptical, I read a lot about the proposed change, and then, when I’m convinced, I jump in with both feet.

In a book I recently read called Switch: How to change when change is hard by Chip and Dan Heath, they used some labels to discuss the mechanics of change which I liked. The Heath brothers say to envision The Rider, or your brain, as sitting atop The Elephant, or your emotions. The Rider tries to control The Elephant as much as possible, but of course The Elephant has a will of her own and won’t always do as The Rider says. Therefore, even when The Rider knows what changes she wants to make, she can’t always get The Elephant to go along. I find these terms useful for thinking about making changes, so to apply them to my situation: usually, once I convince my Rider (my brain) to make a change, then I usually can get my Elephant (my feelings) to go along with the changes no problem.

But, a few months, ago I thought that I might have Histamine Intolerance, and as I read more and more, I realized that the only way to know for sure was going to be to make drastic changes to my diet. Again.

I had already overhauled my diet to do the Autoimmune Protocol, and although that was a big success for me, I was very reluctant to make further changes. My Elephant did not want to go that way! But the more I read, the more convinced I was that Histamine Intolerance could explain my heretofore inexplicable symptoms. My Rider was now completely convinced that I need to make further dietary changes to test my hypothesis. But, my Elephant really did not want to change. To give up all grilled, roasted, browned foods; all dried herbs, vegetables, and teas; all pork products; all fermented foods (sauerkraut! vinegar!); and leftover meats, seemed beyond the realm of the possible.

The mere thought of giving up all of these things at once was too much for my Elephant. So instead I embarked on a process. I’d like to claim that it was well thought-out and planned, but in reality it wasn’t. The reality is that I was dragging my Elephant and so I started small. First no fermented anything (in the words of Chris Kresser, fermented foods are “kryptonite" to the histamine intolerant). Then no leftover meat: freeze extras to eat later. Next it was grilled meats: stay off them for a week, then try again — yep, terrible histamine symptoms — OK they are gone. Then I stopped eating any browned meats or vegetables - so no fried patties, or roasted anything. I went through every high and medium level histamine food or cooking process one-by-one and cut it out. Eventually, I even managed to remember to buy fresh herbs at the grocery store so that I wasn’t even using dried herbs. And that’s when I realized, “Hey, I’ve done it! I’ve gotten down to the low histamine diet.” And my Elephant had barely noticed.

What I had done was, in more of the words of Switch, to “shrink the change,” in other words I took the changes in small steps. And in doing so I managed to trick The Elephant into making the changes. Instead of waving big changes in The Elephant’s face, scaring her, and getting no where. I just slipped small changes under the radar. And of course as I noticed that with each change I was feeling better and better, that made it easier and easier to keep The Elephant going.

Although I do sometimes jump into changes quickly without having to drag my Elephant, looking back over all of the changes I have implemented in the last couple of years, what I see more of is the process of change. I see the slow and steady steps that have allowed me to go from doing chores until 10pm to having them done by 8pm, so I can get into bed by 9:30pm every night. I see how one acupuncture appointment, led me to think more about self care so that I now do several things each week to relax and look after myself. I see how by shrinking the change to one thing at a time, I was able to start a wave of change which has carried me on to more and more changes.

Right, now I find myself in another change situation: I am about to start my ADAPT Health Coach Training Course with the Kresser Institute, and it feels like a big change that cannot be shrunk, because I am going “back to work” after being home with my kids. I never intended to be a stay at home mom, and during the last 6 years I have often not enjoyed it — partly due to be sick and undiagnosed — but also due to the fact that I have always wanted to work, to get out there and make a difference in the world beyond my children. And yet as much as I’m thrilled to finally be on the brink of a new career, I find it hard to tear myself away from the promise of a relaxing summer with my kids: the beach, the swimming hole, afternoons at the library, concerts in the park.

I seem to have constant talks with other women over this tension between kids and work, and I am well aware that the best I can do it to strive for a balance that suits me and be happy with that. I know that I can not be there for my kids every moment, and still fulfill my own goals, desires, and dreams.

So I am trying to be prepared for the change. In this case the big emotional change will happen internally and can’t much be helped, but I find myself drawn to working on the practical changes that might help me “shrink the change,” or perhaps more accurately in the lingo of Switch, might help me to “shape the path,” which involves making it easy for one’s self and other people to go along with a change. In this case I am working on the small, practical details that can make the change smoother, less noticeable, less painful for all involved, and easier to implement. If it’s hard for my kids to have mommy working all morning, at least there is someone (the mother’s helper) fun to play with, and fun toys, and snacks at the ready. At least if I am working all morning, but can come down and take lunch out of the fridge/freezer I will not be frazzled by cooking, hungry kids, and dropping blood sugar. I figure at least if I “shape the path” by having food and fun prepared in advance this process of change will be easier for all.