Essential Oils and Autism – A treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Hello everyone! Today, as you can tell from the title, I will be writing about essential oils and autism.

I usually start off these types of articles by defining what Autism is, so that is what I will do first:

Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a behavioral disorder that can affect how a person behaves in social situations.

Those on the spectrum can also suffer from sensory issues and display intense interests on one ‘special’ interest rather than on a broader range of hobbies. They can also have trouble maintaining eye contact, and are highly sensitive – emotionally as well as physically.

They can also experience other symptoms that ‘hurt the person’s ability to function properly in school, work, and other areas of life’.

ASD is said to effect 1 in 68 Americans.

Today, there is no known cause for Autism, however studies have suggested it is a mix of many factors that could be genetic, maternal vaccinations, Gastrointestinal issues, or exposure to certain chemicals from a young age.

As an adult with ASD, I personally believe it is heavily linked to the gut, which I have talked about in many of my other articles.

However, one of things I have been using over the years to deal with my autism symptoms is essential oils and I strongly believe they can have a huge role in helping those who also have ASD to tackle everyday life more easily.

What are essential oils?

Essential oil, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary, is ‘a natural oil typically obtained by distillation and having the characteristic odor of the plant or other source from which it is extracted.’

The word ‘essential’ in essential oils is derived from the word ‘essence’ or ‘smell’.

Essential oils have been around for many years and have been heavily praised within the aromatherapy community.

(Aromatherapy, defined by the Oxford Dictionary is the use of aromatic plant extracts and essential oils for healing and cosmetic purposes.)

A study published online in 2013 on ‘the effects of aromatherapy on the anxiety, sleep, and blood pressure’ on patients in an Intensive Care Unit explains how after inhaling a blend of lavender, roman chamomile, and neroli oills, patients showed signs of significantly lower anxiety and improved sleep quality.

The 4 best types of essential oils and their uses:

Lavender Oil :

  • Very good for skincare, can help with acne and blemishes; This is due to it having incredible antibacterial and anti fungal properties. *Note* – if you have sensitive skin you might want to first dilute the lavender oil in water so you do not get a skin reaction.
  • It is also used as a muscle relaxant and can have physical healing benefits.
  • Its aroma can help reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Helps with insomnia.
  • Helps with depression.
  • Helps alleviate symptoms of premenstrual tension.
  • Helps with migraines and headaches.

Lemongrass Oil.

  • It is used for its antioxidant properties.
  • Prevents nausea.
  • helps if you have diarrhoea.
  • Relieves stress and anxiety.

  • Anti-inflammatory properties.
  • antibacterial and anti fungal properties – has been shown to reduce gum disease.
  • Good for skin care – a natural toner which smoothes skin and reduces wrinkles.

 

 

peppermint oil

  • very good for helping with digestive issues.
  • boosts immune system.
  • has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • helps combat migraines and headaches.
  • antibacterial and anti fungal properties which again could be used on the skin for reducing blemishes. (dilute it first).
  • One study shows how peppermint oil has properties which can fight against life-threatening diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis, toxic shock syndrome, and sepsis.

Pretty good for a ‘perfume’ don’t you think?

How might this benefit people with autism?

Unfortunately, not enough research has been done on whether essential oils can have a big impact on the behavioral issues of ASD sufferers.

However, having done my own research and combining it with the research done by others there are plenty of theories out there on the potential benefit essential oils can have.

For example; any person suffering from the symptoms of autism can tell you that every day is filled with anxiety. The good news is there have been studies already done (like the studies I have mentioned earlier in this article) and have proved that essential oils can reduce stress and anxiety.

There has been another study done in 2012 that proves the aroma of essential oils (rosemary oil in this case) can have a profound effect on the central nervous system and our ‘fight or flight mode’ in our bodies.

The study also shows how it enhanced the individuals’ cognitive performance and mood.

Essential oils can also help treat depression and give mental clarity.

Essential oils like peppermint oils, have also shown to improve gut health. (taken in the form of oil capsules).

Another essential oil, I have not mentioned previously, is ginger – which also has digestive health benefits, prevents bloating, has antioxidant properties and can boost the immune system.

As I have mentioned before in my other articles, by targeting issues with the gut, you CAN bring about positive effects regarding behavioral issues which most people believe is solely to do with the mind.

Different methods of using essential oils…

*Note: please do not ingest essential oils as they can be toxic.*

  1. On your pillow: This is the method I mostly use. I place a few drops (don’t overdo it as most oils have a very strong smell..especially for those on the spectrum as we are gifted with a very good sense of smell) onto some tissue paper and place it underneath the pillowcase of my pillow. My favorite oil to use before bed is lavender to help me sleep better.
  2. On chest: Again, squirt a few drops onto some tissue paper and place it inside t shirt on chest. This can be especially useful during the day if you feel an anxiety attack coming on.
  3. Using a diffuser: Place essential oils within a diffuser and it will disperse them into the air of the room you’re in – you can place them in your office or bedroom.
  4. Bath: There is no better therapy than having a bath after a long day – especially if you apply some Lavender and Chamomile along with bath salts which can detoxify and relax the body and mind.

In conclusion…

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and that you found some it of some benefit… if you have anything you would like to add, or ask please don’t be hesitate to make a comment down below.

I would love to know your thoughts! 🙂

Thanks for reading!

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Meditation and Autism – Can meditating make a big difference?

Meditation has been praised for thousands of years about its amazing benefits of mental clarity, increasing self-esteem, lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, helping depression and anxiety and giving you a greater appreciation for the little things in life.

However when it comes to meditation and autism, they are not often seen in the same sentence… am I right?

But can meditation make a big difference in helping people with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a behavioral disorder where the sufferer struggles with social interactions, sensory issues, specific or ‘special’ interests and repetitive behaviors. They have a difficult time navigating everyday life while their peers appear to ‘breeze by’.

No matter what age you are, if you have autism, these struggles can impact the way we see ourselves and our world.

We might feel very isolated, confused and overwhelmed by the world around you. Meditation can help take the load off your shoulders. I believe, from my own research as well as the research done by others, that people on the spectrum, whether you are high functioning or low, can benefit from meditative practice.

This article will explain how meditation can have a positive impact on Autistic symptoms.

Firstly..what is meditation?

Meditation is about taking time out of our busy schedules to slow down and focus on our breathing, in doing so we engage our senses and root ourselves in the present moment.

This type of practice is also called mindfulness which has been proven to be a very effective tool in improving mental health.

You unlock the magic of the present moment and have a heightened understanding and awareness of what is happening within and around in each passing moment.

People who practice meditation regularly have a unique advantage over other people in that their brains have a better ability of focusing and can concentrate on certain topics for longer than non meditators.

Meditation is a workout for the brain which can strengthen the frontal cortex of the brain.

So what does this mean? Well it means they can process information much faster than someone who does not meditate.

This is especially important for someone who has autism as meditation could effectively help with prevent them getting burnt out from processing too much information – which can sometimes be a daily occurrence.

How does this help with autism?

Since people with ASD have a more difficult time focusing on things (other than on our special interest of course!) meditation might benefit them in lengthening their focus time and concentration. This is helpful when it comes to trying to focus in the lecture hall or doing any type of work.

Meditation can also help ‘ground’ people with ASD during times when they feel like they are about to have a meltdown caused by the brain not able to process so much information all at once.

Factors that can cause a meltdown are sensory overload or thinking about a million things that happened during the day, like a conversation that didn’t go well, or an embarrassing moment from their past that plays over and over in their mind.

This can cause the brain to go into hyper drive – a bit like when a computer is about to crash, except this crash is in the form of a mental breakdown.

By focusing on your breath you steer your mind away from being dragged into each individual thought. You just allow them to come and go. By practicing overtime, you strengthen your mind to recognize that thoughts are only that – just thoughts.

I have found that by focusing on my senses during an overload and staying with the breath, my brain seems to calm down a bit. Before it was the combination of my hyper thinking and worrying as well as the sensory overload that paralyzed me.

When you focus directly at that which is overwhelming you, and not focusing on the thought ‘this is too much’ you can actually disarm it, and you will begin to feel better.

Importance of the breath.

The breath is a very important gift we all have, but are rarely grateful for. We take it for granted most days which is very unfortunate.

The breath is a powerful tool that has been recognized as a method of controlling of thoughts and emotions superbly.

Check out this study done on how deep breathing can help with panic attacks: ‘Breathing control

How you breathe has a direct correlation to your health. The better you breathe, the healthier you are. Which makes sense when you think about it: when you are inhaling deeply, you get a better supply of oxygen to the brain and other parts of the body. The shallower your breath, the less oxygen gets delivered to your cells.

Similarly, when you exhale deeply you exhale more Carbon Dioxide waste from your cells which means if you don’t breathe out correctly some waste product still remains.

It has been proven that when we are anxious or fearful, we cannot breathe deeply. During these times when we feel fearful especially for people with ASD we need to consciously breathe deeply into our naval region. This sends a signal to our brain that everything is fine, and you will start to calm down.

How to meditate – helping with autistic symptoms.

  • Find a quiet spot where there are no distractions. Sit or lie down comfortably. Close down your eyes.
  • Breathe in to a count of 4 and feel your diaphragm expanding. If you find this difficult at first, focus on pushing your bellybutton up with your breath. Imagine a wave of breath arising from your bellybutton and ending in your nose.
  • Focus on the pauses between the inhale and exhale.
  • Gently, breathe out slowly to a count of 6. Repeat this a few times until you feel completely relaxed.
  • Next, focus on your senses. What do you feel? Notice the weight texture, temperature etc of where you are lying or sitting down… What do you hear? smell? taste? Spend a few moments gently noticing each sense.
  • Focus on your body sensations starting at your toes and moving all the way up through the body to the tip of your head. This helps create greater body awareness, sometimes people who suffer from ASD hold tension in their hands shoulders and neck so it is important to be aware of this and to release this energy build up.

I have left a video down below of a great meditation for people with autism to use.:

 

I hope you enjoyed reading and learned something of benefit. If you have any questions or comments you would like to leave please feel free to write them in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading, happy meditating! 🙂

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MCT Oil for Autism – A Cure for Autistic Symptoms?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is defined as a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior of those affected. It includes difficulties understanding social behavior and interactions.

Sufferers also tend to have restricted interests and repetitive behaviors. People who have ASD struggle every day to overcome ‘invisible’ obstacles such as sensory issues like sounds, bright lights or strong smells which can overwhelm their senses.

School and work environments can be a nightmarish place for anyone suffering from ASD.

Autism spectrum disorder can affect 1 in 68 people in the US. Since Autism is a spectrum disorder, not everyone diagnosed with having autism reacts to treatment in the same ways.

Although many people believe autism is something that solely affects the brain, it has now been linked to gastrointestinal issues (GI). This is why it not unusual for people who are on the spectrum to also suffer from Celiac Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, gluten or dairy intolerance or other GI issue.

Because of this discovery, researchers now believe that by addressing these problems in the gut as well as the brain, they can affect a positive change in the behaviors of autistic sufferers. One of the potential treatments for Autism is the administration of MCT Oil.

What is MCT oil?

MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglyceride which is a type of fat that can be obtained from coconut oil, palm oil and certain dairy products like goats milk.

Medium chain means each molecule is typically only made up of 7-10 atoms.

Triglycerides is a type of fat molecule that is composed of 1 glycerol with 3 fatty acids attached.

People who use MCT oil often combine it with a Ketogenic Diet. MCT oil can be absorbed into the bloodstream and converted into energy quite quickly. The advantage for taking MCT oil is that it encourages the body to run on fat for fuel instead of glucose.

MCT oils boost brain power.

People on the Autism Spectrum who have trouble digesting high quantities of fat could benefit from using MCT oil as it is a more easily digestible source of fat.

A fat based diet has shown to improve cognitive functioning and overall brain power.

It is shown that ketones are a better source of energy than glucose for the brain because fat diffuses from the blood capillaries into brain cells unlike glucose.

This means brain cells have a better supply of energy. Unlike other fats that once they are digested by the gut they are stored in the body, MCTs go to the liver which are immediately turned into ketones to be used for energy mainly to supply the brain.

The brain is made up of 60% fat. The brain contains thousands of tiny neurotransmitters composed of fat, which are responsible for sensory information and behavioural issues.

The consumption of MCT oils can supply the brain with fat to help repair and make neurotransmitters which in turn can potentially help improve behavioral issues in ASD suffers as well as help with sensory overload problems.

MCTs and gut health.

Most behavioral issues stem from inflammation caused by the gut that impairs proper cognitive functioning in the brain.gut health

Some researchers have discovered that when individuals who have previously been suffering from a neurological disorder such as autism, changes their diet from glucose-based to fat-based the symptoms improve, however more research is needed to prove this.

MCT oil can also help balance beneficial gut bacteria and can help preserve the gut lining.

If you have a healthy gut you have a better chance of having a healthier mind.

MCT can optimize the growth of good bacteria and support the gut lining. Studies have shown that it is now estimated that the human intestine is ‘colonised by a large population of above 100 trillion microbial cells orgainsed in several taxa and constituting the gut microbiota.’

There is approximately ‘1kg of bacteria‘ found in the gut.

The fact that there is such a high number of ‘foreign cells’ means our immune system has to work hard to ensure it is tightly regulated.

MCTs also help fight against harmful bacteria, but do not have any effect on the good bacteria. This means they have a unique ability of maintaining a healthy gut microbiome which in turn can have a positive effect on the brain and improving digestive function. MCTs have also been linked to improving our immune systems.

Types of MCT oils.

There are 4 main types of MCTs:

(The shorter the strain of MCT the quicker it can be broken down into energy. The shortest strain here is C6 and the longest is C12.)

  • C6 –Caproic acid. Quickest at converting into ketones but it is in a smaller quanitity than the other strains of MCT. It has a bad taste according to many and can cause stomach upset.
  • C8- Brain Octane oil also called caprylic acid. Probably the best MCT oil on the market. C8 can quickly be broken down to use as energy – even faster than sugar and producing 4 times as many ketones as coconut oil. It’s the shortest of the MCTs, which makes it the easiest for your body to break down into fuel. Has antibacterial properties. Can help restore gut lining and reduce gut inflamation.
  • C10 – capric acid. Cheaper than C8, however it takes a longer length of time to turn into ketones.  Having antifungal properties, it is superb at fighting infections in the gut and boosting the overall immune system similar to C8.
  • C12 – Lauric acid. Main strain found in coconut oil. Does not create the same effect on brain as C8 or C10 as it takes longer to break down because it is a longer strain. Has the strongest antibacterial properties of the 4. Can aid in weight loss. Because of its strong antibacterial properties it has been used to fight against acne.

The Conclusion..

MCT oil can be easily added into meals and drinks and can be used as part of a ketogenic diet.

Unfortunately there are some side effects from taking MCT oil, some include intestinal cramping and or stomach upset.

MCT does not have essential fatty acids so it is important to maintain a balanced diet when taking MCT oil. Before taking it, it is advisable to consult a dietician.

MCT oil is different from other fats as it is a small molecule, it can be easily digested. So it gives you an immediate brain boost, energy boost and creates a feeling of fullness.

Thanks for reading!

If you would like to leave a comment or if you have any questions regarding this topic, please feel free to comment down below and I will be more than happy to assist you. 🙂

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Intermittent Fasting and Weight loss. – how to lose weight effectively.

In my opinion, Intermittent Fasting (IF) is probably the best (and possibly the simplest) ways of losing weight – and keeping it off long term.

There are lots of fad diets out there on the internet which make promises to you that if you ‘follow this’ or ‘eat this’ or ‘eat less of this’ then you’ll lose weight. And in some cases, yes, it works but in the long term many are just impossible to stick with and extremely bad for your health.

Well I’m here to tell you just how Intermittent Fasting could be your secret gem in helping you look great and more importantly feel great. It’s a very simple method that can be incorporated into any diet and is completely flexible in how you use it.

Intermittent Fasting (IF) and Weight loss.

So what is IF and what does it do to help you lose weight?

IF is a method of fasting for short periods of time which helps your body use up its fat stores.  

If you aren’t eating then your body will look for other ways of getting the energy it needs – so it turns to the fat stored already in your body.

And before you begin thinking that your stomach is going to start digesting itself – it absolutely isn’t. Our bodies have been evolving over thousands of years.

Many of our ancestors had to survive days without food – simply because they couldn’t find any.

Because of this, our bodies adapted to using up the fat stored already in our bodies( It was stored for times when we couldn’t find food, that’s why its there!).

Our bodies are therefore clever enough to know that digesting our own stomachs in times when we couldn’t find food is just plain ridiculous when there is fat already stored in the body.

Fasting and Ketones.

Fasting is a process that allows the body to tap into fat-burning mode. This process is called ‘ketosis’ and has been proven to be a much better way of giving the body energy than burning glucose.

Benefits of ketosis include:

  • uses up the body’s fat reserves – as a result you lose weight.
  • Ketosis does not affect muscle mass – as with other diets a certain amount of muscle is lost when losing weight.
  • `ketones (fat-fuel) is a much cleaner form of fuel for the body compared to sugar-fuel (glucose).
  • Ketosis gives you MORE energy. So you get more energy AS you lose weight. Sounds good right?
  • Can help people suffering from ASD, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other mental disorders like depression and anxiety. 

IF – the pros. 

One of the things we love about intermittent fasting here a Myketomadeeasy, is how flexible a ‘diet’ it is.

On other diets it is very tricky to stick to ‘healthy eating’ when you are trying to live your life.

We all have weddings, birthdays and parties to go to, and it would be unfair to ask ourselves to not join in on the fun. IF allows you to still enjoy eating your favorite foods with no guilt!

The only thing you have to do is allocate a time when you don’t eat. It’s that simple!Types of IF:

As mentioned before, IF is incredibly simple and flexible. Depending on your lifestyle you can always choose to incorporate intermittent fasting in order to lose weight easily. Here are just a few popular methods of IF:

  • The 16/8 method: This requires the person to only eat within an 8 hour ‘window’ and fast the remaining 16 hours. This is ideal for people starting IF and is a super flexible method for people who have busy days.
  • the 18/6 method: this requires the person to only eat within a 6 hour ‘window’ and fast the remaining 18 hours.
  • The 20/4 method: This requires the person to only eat within a 4 hour ‘window’ and fast the remaining 20 hours.
  • The 22/2 method: This requires the person to only eat within a 2 hour ‘window’ and fast the remaining 22 hours.
  • The OMAD diet (One Meal A Day)/ The 23/1 method: This requires the person to eat within a one hour ‘window’ and fast the remainder of the day. The OMAD diet is popular amongst the most advanced fasters. It’s great as it saves you money on meals (because you are only cooking once a day) as well as saving you time and energy.
  • The alternate day fast: Eating only every second day or eating under 500 calories on the fasting day if you find it too difficult to go a full day without eating.
  • 5:2 diet: eating normally 5 days a week and fasting 2 days a week.

Conclusion

Whichever method you have chosen to do is a good one. As long as you fast and allow your body to access the extra fat stored in your body you’ll not only be losing weight and looking good, but it will do wonders for your overall energy levels and performance as you will be running on those all important ketones.

Make sure you check out a review I did on 4 of my favourite books to read on fasting.

—> Reviewing 4 of the Best Books on Intermittent Fasting<—

 

Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions or comments you would like to make feel free to leave them down below and I will get back to you 🙂

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KETO SNACK recipe review -KETO GRANOLA BARS.

Granola bars. Are they healthy or unhealthy? Surprisingly, most people do not know that granola bars you buy in your local petrol station as a ‘healthy snack’ are loaded with sugar.

 

People often mistakenly believe it is one of the ‘healthier’ snacks out there but this is far from the truth.

On average there is around 40g of sugar for every 100g of bar. That is an insane amount of sugar for your body! – ESPECIALLY for someone that is trying to stick to a keto or high fat low carb diet!

Keto snacks don’t often sound too yummy do they? No carb snacks – is that even possible? Well believe it or not they exist AND they taste amazing too!

So as a present for you lovely readers I have taken the time to write down one of my favorite keto treats that will leave you feeling full and your taste buds satisfied without that additional guilt!

My sugar addiction story

A few years back I might have gone through 2 packets of chocolate digestive biscuits, malteasers, murdered a tub of Ben and Jerry’s and still would have had room for more. I was a complete sugar addict to say the least.

However, it did have a really bad side effect on me and I would experience heavy mood swings throughout the week. I would also never feel full at all and would constantly be reaching for more.

I would also beat myself up when the scales’ number skyrocketed – which of course would only lead to me wanting more chocolate to comfort me.

This vicious cycle continued until I started reading up on Ketogenic Diet, which, thanks to it being a high fat low carb diet, it kept me feeling full for longer without the mood swings.

However that doesn’t mean I still don’t have the occasional craving for something chocolate-y. On these days, I like to have prepared something keto-friendly and of course tasty.

The Ketogenic Kitchen

I got this recipe in the Ketogenic Kitchen recipe book which I have mentioned before on My Keto Made Easy.

–>Click here to see why this book is a must have for anyone considering going keto. <–

This book is highly recommended for anyone starting their keto journey as it has many wonderful simple, quick and above all HEALTHY recipes that can help kick start you into the best shape of your life (mentally as well as physically).

Thanks to both Domini Kemp and Patricia Daly, I have found the best keto granola bar that satisfies my chocolate cravings but doesn’t make me feel guilty about eating it!

So without further ado… here is the recipe:

The BEST keto granola bars (possibly everrr)

what you will need: (makes 12 bars)

100g unsalted macadamia nuts (if you don’t have these I recommend using walnuts instead as they taste quite similar)

90g walnut halves

50g dark chocolate (any)

65g desiccated coconut

45g ground almonds

– 240g hazelnut butter

– 50g coconut oil melted

– 1tsp vanilla essence (optional)

One of the great things about The Ketogenic Kitchen is that it shows you how much fat, protein, carb and fiber you are putting into your body which is ideal for someone who is trying to do a high fat low carb diet.

For this particular recipe per portion of granola bars :

– net carbs is 2.7g

– protein is 6.3g

– fat is 37g (very good amount of fat!)

– fiber is 2.3 g

This is a very good ratio for someone who is sticking to strict keto as you get a good amount of fats and a low amount of carbs.

Recipe:

place all nuts and the chocolate in a food processor and grind to a course flour. In a separate bowl mix together the hazelnut butter, coconut oil and vanilla.

Combine with dry ingredients and put into a small loaf tin.

Put in freezer for 1 hour to set. Cut into 12 bars. Store in the fridge.

This simple recipe is very easy to prepare and is a big favorite in my household. I recommend preparing night before and make as many batches as is possible (tends to be eaten quickly lol).

It is very filling so be careful eating too much at once!

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