This article is a follow-up to an earlier one published in April 2015, which details the experiences of Jennifer Giustra-Kozek, a Licensed Professional Counselor, holistic health advocate and author, and her son Evan, who was diagnosed on the autism spectrum.
Through the application of evidence-based, holistic nutrition and lifestyle changes researched and applied by his mother, Evan was able to heal from his autistic symptoms.
Now, seven years later, Jennifer is sharing her son’s story once again, in hopes of showing parents like her what is possible.
Guest Post By Jennifer Giustra-Kozek, LPC
Evan was diagnosed with a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Asperger’s, ADHD, OCD, Speech and motor Apraxia, insomnia, and many social deficits at age four.
The mainstream doctors I had sought help from called off the search for a better understanding of these disorders. Their only course of treatment was medication and a referral to a Physical and Occupational Therapist to address the many symptoms.
There were also many times as his mom that I cried during his school team meetings. I would tell them that my son was not going to spend his life packing groceries at the local store and that I would not allow them to pigeonhole him by putting him in a learning disabled, ADHD, or mentally challenged box.
I would not accept them telling me that Evan could not learn like other children. I would remind the school team that Evan is destined for greatness and that he could learn like any other child and would spread love and joy wherever he went.
I reminded them that I would not allow them to pressure me into sending him to the psychiatrist for medication for fear that it could potentially damage his lively spirit.
Instead, we found better treatments than anyone in the conventional world could offer. At age five, I brought Evan to a naturopathic doctor to treat him biomedically.
Through treatment efforts, we quickly learned that autism was an immunologic and metabolic disorder with digestive woes and how it originated. To heal from them, we must address their gut health, diet, nutritional deficiencies, toxicity in the body, stealth pathogens, and methylation issues to restore their health.
YES! Restore them to health. These disorders are very much epigenetic and not genetics alone.
The toxins we eat, breathe and inject directly affect our genetic code. We could do many things to address the underlying issues, get the body back to homeostasis, and provide support to help the body heal.
It is now eleven years post the initial biomedical treatments.
So, where is Evan now?
Would you believe me if I told you that Evan is approaching his Sophomore year of high school and is one of the most popular kids in his school? Everywhere we go, kids scream his name.
He has become the leader in many situations. His friends call him to hang out, play games online or come with them to a Boston Red Sox game.
Would you believe it if I told you that he is in many traditional classrooms and only needs minimal accommodations in certain classes (but what kid doesn’t)?
He plays sports (basketball being his favorite), conversates articulately with everyone he meets, and joins many activities. Evan is super excited to work his first job, and get his driver’s license.
I am told by many that Evan is one of the most well-rounded kids they know. I am so proud of him. I get it; most moms would say that. More seriously, though, this kid has it going on. He dreams big, and his heart is bigger.
He plans to attend college and become an athletic trainer for a major league team. Evan has no signs of Aspergers, ADD/ADHD, OCD, or insomnia.
His biggest challenge at this stage is a slight learning difficulty. He is now happy, typically developing, and a well-adjusted kid.
10 Things This Journey Taught Me
1. My Doctors Weren’t Reading the Same Medical Journals I Was
I started collecting many data, studies, and articles on these subjects from esteemed medical journals. The more research I read, the more I realized how much information was out there.
Unfortunately, I quickly realized that pediatricians and the mainstream medical community weren’t on board. With all my studies and articles in my hands and hope in my heart,
“I asked a pediatric GI specialist about the possibility that my son Evan’s developmental delays, anxiety, and autism may be due to a gut issue or food sensitivity.
“He raised his eyebrows and said, ‘You must be reading too much.’ It became apparent at that moment that this doctor wasn’t reading enough.”
2. Big Pharma Writes Our Doctors’ Textbooks
Drug company money is tainting medical education. Big pharma writes medical school textbooks and uses their money to finance drug studies.
Dr. Marcia Angell, former Editor-in-Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, stated how corporate dollars corrupt research and education at academic medical centers — including Harvard Medical School.
Pharmaceutical companies spend millions of dollars to implement carefully designed plans. According to R. Webster Kehr of the Independent Cancer Research Foundation, “The FDA, NIH, NCI, ACS, and medical schools are their puppets.”
3. Our Medical Community Ignores the Power of Plant Medicine and Calls It ‘Pseudoscience’
Pharmaceutical companies have set out to discredit holistic treatments — especially in areas with the highest drug profits, such as cancer, heart disease, psychiatric disorders, and allergies, even though they are widely used in other countries and steeped in tradition. D
rug companies use the term “scientific evidence” as a political definition to control the FDA and the National Institutes of Health.
They buy investigative journalists with their advertising. They pay doctors and psychiatrists to speak on their behalf and offer expensive trips and steep payments.
They block financial contributions using terms like “unproven treatments,” and many “charitable organizations” are entirely controlled along with Congress.
4. The Biggest Corporate Sponsors of the American Academy of Pediatrics Are Pharma Companies
The Academy of Pediatrics was created in 1930 as an “independent” forum for the health and well-being of our children. Today, corporate Friends of Children Fund members include Pfizer, Sanofi Pasteur (The vaccine Sanofi-aventis group,) Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, etc.
A conflict of interest? Have our doctors been bought? I believe so.
5. Conventional Doctors Tend to Address Only One Organ at a Time
One of the fundamental flaws of our existing medical paradigm is the tendency to approach health and sickness only through a disease-based or single organ-focused lens. We treat the body as a machine with separate parts, assign a diagnosis label, and match it with a corresponding pharmaceutical.
In reality, our body is a complex, interconnected web of biochemistry. Therefore, we need more medical doctors who understand that we must start to treat the “whole body” like holistic and functional doctors do.
6. Our Genetics Is Not the End of Our Story
Just because ADHD, depression, or even autoimmune issues run in the family does not mean that is our fate. We have more control over it than the medical industry wants us to believe. We may start with a genetic vulnerability; however, we need to start recognizing that our lifestyle and environmental factors instruct our genes on how to express themselves.
The foods we eat or don’t eat, the nutrients we take or don’t take, our stress levels, our sleep habits, and our exposure to toxins determine our gene expression.
7. Most Doctors Know Very Little About Nutrition
Most disease is preventable and related to nutrition, yet doctors today do not know the science of how healthy food heals the body. Nor do they see the impact “fake” food, pesticides, and toxic chemicals have on our health. According to The American Journal of Clinician Nutrition, most graduating medical students rate their nutrition preparation as inadequate.
According to Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, a physician and internationally recognized professional speaker on some important public health issues, medical students are still getting fewer than 20 hours of nutrition education over four years.
Even most of that has limited clinical relevance.
8. Allopathic MDs Do Not Heal Autoimmune Disorders
You cannot get health from a pill. When referred to a specialist like a gastroenterologist, endocrinologist, rheumatologist, and alike to treat an autoimmune disorder, they rarely discuss healing foods, detoxification, and other modalities that heal the body.
Instead, they prescribe drugs, namely immunosuppressants or steroid therapy, to mask symptoms — never getting to the root cause of any illness or healing any disease. And these medications often do more harm than good.
9. Insurance Companies Do Not Cover Important Treatments and Therapies
Health insurers can limit coverage they deem experimental or not medically necessary, and they often do. Many consider “alternative” interventions medically necessary only if adequate evidence of safety and effectiveness in the peer-reviewed published medical literature supports it.
I find this funny, weighing more than 100,000 people die each year from complications caused by prescription drugs. And thousands more die of drug overdoses after getting hooked on prescription pain medication.
But, again, money and politics are why insurance won’t cover safer alternatives. The more services they exclude from coverage while still selling policies to patients, the better for their bottom lines.
10. Healthcare Today Puts Band-Aids On Splinters Instead of Pulling Them Out
Current pharmaceutical and surgical methods are beneficial for treating acute, life-threatening health issues. However, these approaches do not consider the complex communication between the body’s various systems for more nuanced disorders.
As a result, they can ultimately lead to a breakdown in communication followed by a loss of function. Often the side effects of these treatments can be as harmful and worse than the original symptom itself.
Eastern medicine modalities are ancient systems of healthcare that take into account all of the biological systems of the whole body. Natural Medicine practitioners strive to stimulate the body’s natural capacity to heal itself, leading to healing on a much deeper level.
Calling for a Shift in Our Mental Health Paradigm
Although many parents claim that psychotropic medication has improved their child’s life, we must not forget that giving a six-year-old medicine does nothing to improve the conditions that derail their development in the first place.
Policymakers have all but called off the search for a better understanding of the conditions — even though these medications often cause many short-term and long-term side effects.
Therefore, I encourage all parents everywhere to let love guide them to explore all available options rather than simply settling for what conventional specialists suggest.
It isn’t enough to be alive. The quality of life is also essential.
We need more due diligence in our healthcare system. We need an “Integrative Medicine” approach, a healing-oriented medicine that takes the whole person (body, mind, and spirit) into account — including all aspects of lifestyle.
We must emphasize the therapeutic relationship and use all appropriate conventional and alternative therapies. We need a medical system that neither rejects traditional medicine nor accepts alternative therapies uncritically.
Good medicine should be based on sound science, inquiry-driven, and open to new paradigms. We must use natural, effective, and less invasive interventions whenever possible.
We need a system that promotes the prevention of illness as well as the treatment of disease. We need to wake up and make a stand for real change. We can no longer put a price tag on our physical and mental health. The pain we are creating for our families and our children is a high price to pay for how we conduct our business.
Jennifer Giustra-Kozek is a licensed psychotherapist with 21 years of clinical experience treating clients with various health disorders, including Asperger’s depression, ADHD, and more.
Her book is now available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble; click here to get a copy. You may also contact Jennifer on her Facebook page, ‘Healing ADHD & Asperger’s Without Hurting,’ and on Instagram here.
Evan’s original story was published on AltHealthWorks in April 2015. You can read that article by clicking on this link.