Angela Taylor, MS, CNS, LDN is Board-Certified in Clinical Nutrition and is the author of The BrainFood Cookbook. She successfully recovered her son from autism using the SCD/GAPS/Paleo diet. She resides in Baltimore, MD and holds three degrees from John Hopkins University. Angela is a Licensed Clinical Nutritionist and works with clients via Skype and in-person in Baltimore. She also serves as Adjunct Faculty at Johns Hopkins University teaching Clinical Nutrition.


Bandworm im gastrointestinal tractFrom looking a numerous stool tests I’ve seen most patients have dysbiotic organisms (aka parasites) in their GI tracts. Parasites can cause people to act grumpy, mean, and distracted. Here is a comprehensive chart listing several herbal parasite remedies which may be of potential beneift, depending upon the organisms.

Some examples from Mark Hyman’s excellent article 5 Steps to Kill Hidden Bad Bugs in Your Gut that Make You Sick
– A 3-year-old boy with autism started talking after treating a parasite called Giardia in his gut.
– A 6-year-old girl with severe behavioral problems including violence, disruptive behavior in school, and depression was treated for bacterial yeast overgrowth, and in less than 10 days, her behavioral issues and depression were resolved.

For digestive tract parasties, it’s helpful to take the herbs on an empty stomach so the parasites “eat” the herb.

When killing parasites many people experience a die-off reaction. It’s helpful to take activated charcoal to sop up the toxins the parasites will give off as they die. Since activated charcoal absorbs everything it comes into contact with (including the nutrients from your food, or your parasite herbs) I like to take activated charcoal on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning. Before retiring for the night, I set it on the nightstand next to the bed with a glass of water. I wait 20 minutes before consuming the next thing (usually my parasite herb).

Earthing / Grounding



This excerpt is quoted from an article in the Journal of Inflammation Research: (Oschman, Chevalier, and Brown, 2015)

Grounding or earthing refers to direct skin contact with the surface of the Earth, such as with bare feet or hands, or with various grounding systems… Multi-disciplinary research has revealed [this] electrically conductive contact of the human body with the surface of the Earth produces intriguing effects on physiology and health. Such effects relate to inflammation, immune responses, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases… Specifically, grounding … produces measurable differences in the concentrations of white blood cells, cytokines, and other molecules involved in the inflammatory response. We present several hypotheses to explain observed effects, based on current research results and our understanding of the electronic aspects of cell and tissue physiology, cell biology, biophysics, and biochemistry… Our main hypothesis is that connecting the body to the Earth enables free electrons from the Earth’s surface to spread over and into the body, where they can have antioxidant effects. Specifically, we suggest that mobile electrons create an antioxidant microenvironment around the injury repair field, slowing or preventing reactive oxygen species (ROS) delivered by the oxidative burst from causing “collateral damage” to healthy tissue.

Connecting to the Earth’s natural energy field can provide a source of electron donors which reduce inflammation and speed repair processes. One can’t see the Earth’s energy but some people can feel it as a warm, tingling, and pleasant sensation when they are out walking barefoot along the water’s edge at the beach, or on a stretch of dew-moistened grass.

I have tried earthing and feel a tremendous benefit from sleeping grounded. At our home we’ve placed “earthing sheets” on all our beds, and everyone sleeps soundly through the night. The sheets are made with a special conductive silver thread, and a wire connects the grounding sheet to the 3rd hole on an electric outlet (the grounding hole). Sheets and other grounding supplies are available from

Oschman, J. L., Chevalier, G., & Brown, R. (2015). The effects of grounding (earthing) on inflammation, the immune response, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Journal of inflammation research, 8, 83-96. doi:10.2147/JIR.S69656


Magnesium Supplementation

sea saltMany kids that “can’t sit still” would be helped from some magnesium supplementation.

If your child can swallow capsules, I would suggest first giving a Whole-Food-Based Multivitamin (such as GSG GardenVites). Then if additional magnesium is needed, give capsules in the forms of Magnesium Glycinate or Magnesium Malate, which are the most bioavailable.

Transdermal Absorption:

Epsom Salt: (magnesium sulfate) baths are great for simultaneous magnesium and sulphate absorption via the skin. Tip: I find that I need to rinse off afterwards in the shower with clean water so I don’t feel itchy.

Magnesium Oil: I spray Magnesium Oil on the soles of James’ feet at bedtime. (I find the oil makes us itch if applied to any other place on our bodies). My favorite brand is Essence of Life, which you can order a sample bottle for only $7 which will last you for quite some time. (you may want to pour it into a spray bottle once you receive it.)


Molecule of glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer in many asian food
Molecule of glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer in many processed foods

Obviously you want to avoid all excitotoxins (which literally excite your brain cells to death) including artificial sweeteners and MSG. But did you know the many hidden sources of MSG?

In general, if a food is processed you can assume it contains MSG (or one of its pseudo-ingredients). Eating a whole, fresh food diet is your best, if not only, guaranteed way to avoid this toxin.

This excellent article contains a chart with the many hidden sources of MSG.


Angela Taylor, author

I’m Angela Taylor, author of The BrainFood Cookbook. I successfully recovered my son from Autism using the GAPS/Paleo/SCD diet when he was 4 years old.

The GAPS diet is the fundamental therapy we used to recover our son from Autism. Prior to GAPS, we did speech therapy for a year and saw very little results until we changed his diet. Once removing all the foods he was “allergic” to (gluten, lactose, soy, etc.) James’ brain became receptive to other therapies. (Speech, ABA, OT, etc.) This companion blog contains over 60 articles on health topics including Speech Therapy, ABA Therapy, blood testing, supplements, ADD, ADHD, detox, drinking water, parenting tips, sleep tips, and more.

I hope you will ultimately decide to try GAPS, and I suggest you implement the GAPS diet in a methodical fashion. (See Getting Started with GAPS and The BrainFood Cookbook for implementation resources.) After you’ve got the GAPS diet rolling, this blog contains many additional ideas and resources to help parents and children struggling with Autism / Asperger’s / ADHD. I know it is tempting to just go out and try EVERYTHING, right away! But it is best to start with GAPS, and then try one new thing a week. Chart behaviors so you can determine what IS working, and what is NOT working.

If all this information seems overwhelming to you – and you need a little extra help – I am available for consultations to guide you on your family’s path to recovery.

Please remember that 
no matter your dreams or obstacles, you have the power to change your child’s life. I sincerely hope our resources can help you do just that.

#1 Our Story – Before/After GAPS

We achieved remarkable results using the GAPS diet to recover our son from Autism. After about a year on the diet James’ speech, eye contact, and swimming remarkably improved.

Before GAPS diet:

James was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. He would often exhibit autistic behaviors such as flapping his hands, toe walking, and banging his head on the ground when frustrated. James would run around aimlessly in circles. He did not point at objects. Potty training was not even a consideration. James would obsessively play with trains for hours. He had no interest in opening Christmas presents, literally dropping them on the ground and walking away. James would play by himself, even in a roomful of children. He rarely looked people in the eye. A standardized speech test put James down in the 6th percentile. When he did speak, he used one word utterances like “cracker” or “train”. When my husband and I spoke to James, he literally couldn’t understand what we were saying to him. He also exhibited echolalia, where he would repeat things that he heard without understanding a word of it. James never asked any questions.

After GAPS diet:

Within a year of starting GAPS James was enrolled in regular preschool, speaking in complete sentences, using pronouns correctly, potty trained, playing with other students, and asking questions. I could hold actually conversations with my child, and he was popular with friends at his school. Within 2 years we dissolved his IEP completely, and he discontinued OT and speech therapy. James lost his Autism diagnosis.

In order to track your progress, you’ll want to keep records before and after. I suggest you take a moment today to:

  • Complete the free Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC) ARI offers the ATEC in several languages. Be sure to date it.
  • Shoot videos of your child’s challenging behaviors.
  • Make a list of what your child is currently eating, and date it.

Please remember that no matter your dreams or obstacles, you have the power to change your child’s life. I sincerely hope our resources can help you do just that.

#2 What is the GAPS diet? Summary of GAPS Legal/Illegal Foods

The Paleo, SCD, and GAPS diets share most of the same basic dietary restrictions. Grains, gluten, soy and lactose are eliminated; emphasized foods include non-starchy vegetables, nuts and seeds, grass-fed animal products, and fruits if well-tolerated. (In The BrainFood Cookbook I focus on the GAPS diet, which is the most restrictive of the diets.)

Basically, we are avoiding foods that are:
– known allergens
– have opiate qualities
– difficult to digest

pumpkin-cornucopia-sharpenedAllowed Foods: (organic foods whenever possible)
Honey (raw honey is best)
Vegetables (fresh or frozen – not canned)
Glass-Jarred Tomatoes / tomato sauces
Nuts / Nut Butter (preferably Soaked/Sprouted/Dehydrated)
Eggs (free-range & soy-free is best)
Poultry & Meat (grass-fed is best)
Fish (not farmed)
Ghee (clarified butter)
Fermented Raw Dairy, only if tolerated (such as Yogurt and Kefir)

All Grains (even “gluten-free” are prohibited)
Corn/Corn Syrup/Cornstarch
Most Dairy* (but clarified butter (ghee) IS allowed)
Most Beans*
Peanuts (due to aphlatoxic mold)
Canned Foods (but canned tuna allowed in moderation)
Sugar/Brown Sugar/Molasses/Evaporated Cane Juice
Maple Syrup
Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial Food Dyes and Preservatives
Annatto (natural yellow food dye – triggers ADHD)
Soybeans/Soy Milk/Tempeh
* see The BrainFood Cookbook for more info

What happens when your child consumes “illegal” food which is an allergen/opiate/incompletely digested?
All of these cause irritability and/or brain fog. Once you clear up the brain fog, your child’s brain will become receptive to all the OT / Speech Therapy / opportunities you are offering him!

Please remember that 
no matter your dreams or obstacles, you have the power to change your child’s life. I sincerely hope our resources can help you do just that.

#3 Ease into GAPS – the BrainFood Intro

macaroniandcheesenoQ: My kid only eats macaroni and cheese? Why?
A: The opiate-like affects of the gluten and dairy are actually addictive. The “addict” craves the very foods to which he is allergic, and the vicious cycle continues. There may be withdrawal when you change your child’s diet, so I suggest implementing in this order:

• Go dye free
• Eliminate sugar and “sugar substitutes” (honey & fruit still allowed)
• Go gluten free
• Go pasteurized dairy free (GAPS raw dairy allowed: Yogurt & Kefir)
• Start making most of your meals GAPS-compliant
• Full GAPS
• Do the GAPS Intro / Stages
• Full GAPS

Additional Considerations:
• Changing your child’s diet is much easier when your entire house is emptied of illegal foods, and his school is fully informed of dietary restrictions.
• When my family made the transition from Gluten-Free to GAPS Intro/Stages, I was grumpy for about 2 weeks straight due to withdrawal and die-off. If your child is in school, you might consider making the GAPS transition during Winter, Spring, or Summer break.
• Blood tests (igG tests) can tell you if your child is allergic to Wheat/Dairy/Soy/Corn, but your child must be eating those foods in order for the results to be accurate. So if you are curious, get igG blood tests ordered before removing those foods from the diet.

Please remember that no matter your dreams or obstacles, you have the power to change your child’s life. I sincerely hope our resources can help you do just that.

#4 The official GAPS Intro

gutandpsychologysyndromecoverElaine Gottschall (author of Breaking the Vicious Cycle) originally created the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) legal/illegal food lists. Subsequently, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride wrote Gut and Psychology SyndromeTM (GAPS) and innovated the GAPS intro diet and GAPS full program.

To reduce withdrawal, I made my own suggestions in The BrainFood Cookbook (as seen in #3 – Getting Started):
• Go dye free
• Eliminate sugar and “sugar substitutes” (honey & fruit still allowed)
• Go gluten free
• Go pasteurized dairy free (GAPS raw dairy allowed: Yogurt & Kefir)
• Start making most of your meals GAPS-compliant
• Full GAPS
• Do the GAPS Intro / Stages
• Full GAPS

Do I have to do the GAPS “Intro”?
Yes, it’s highly advised as it serves to reboot the gut – but let me explain. Many people start on Full GAPS, then go back and do the GAPS Intro/Stages after they feel they are ready. For fullest healing, yes, you should do the Intro and all the Stages at some point. (the sooner, the better)

Once you are ready, here is the complete GAPS Intro/Stages protocol:

Intro/Stage 1
Homemade meat or fish stock
Cooked vegetables
Homemade vegetable soup with your homemade meat or fish stock.
Probiotic foods (kefir/yogurt; juice from sauerkraut/fermented vegetables)
Ginger tea with a little honey between meals
Stage 2 (in addition to previous foods)
Organic egg yolks
Stews and casseroles made with meats and vegetables
Increase daily amount of homemade yogurt and kefir, if introduced.
Increase the amount of juice from sauerkraut or fermented vegetables
Fermented fish
Homemade ghee
Stage 3 (in addition to previous foods)
Ripe avocado
Nut butter/egg/squash pancakes
Egg scrambled with plenty of ghee, goose fat or duck fat
Introduce the sauerkraut and your fermented vegetables
Stage 4 (in addition to previous foods)
Gradually add meats cooked by roasting and grilling
Cold pressed olive oil
Freshly pressed carrot, lettuce, mint juices
Bread made with ground almonds or any other nuts
Stage 5 (in addition to previous foods)
Cooked apple puree
Peeled cucumber
Freshly pressed apple, pineapple, mango juice (avoid citrus)
Stage 6 (in addition to previous foods)
Peeled raw apple
Other raw fruit
GAPS legal “cakes”
Dried fruit

Please remember that 
no matter your dreams or obstacles, you have the power to change your child’s life. I sincerely hope our resources can help you do just that.

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