We'd been on welfare for months now, but my parents would bring food over every once in a while. This helped a lot, as money was so incredibly tight with buying all the organic foods and probiotics, and adding the house bills, utilities, doctor's visits, etc. It became so bad we had to start selling our belongings just to get by. I went through all of my grandma’s jewelry, my own jewelry from childhood, wedding gifts, clothing, and some of Mike’s music equipment. Our quality of food was always the priority, and we would gladly go without material things to be able to purchase these health-giving foods.
Another mother at Applied Behavior Analysis approached me after observing her own child and couldn’t take her eyes off Tula. She couldn’t believe the huge strides she was making and wanted to know everything we were doing for her. Soon after that, I began bringing in mason jars of coconut kefir for parents and children to try. One mom reported an instant change in her older child’s socialization, and that she herself had never had so much energy after drinking the kefir. Some parents were interested in what we were doing, and could handle the GF/CF part, but couldn’t go beyond that—eliminating sugars and getting the fermented foods in their kids was just too hard. Too hard? I guarantee that having a child with autism is harder. I couldn’t understand it when parents gave up so easily.
There was one day when I picked up Tula from ABA and one of the therapists told me she gave Tula an organic cereal for a snack—and she loved it. She told me not to worry since it was gluten- and casein-free. Was she kidding? It was loaded with sugar! I became "the crazy mom," explaining that my daughter could ONLY eat what was in her lunch box and nothing else. When my parents took her out to dinner without me—even with my explicit instructions—it seemed they could never get it right. On occasion I would learn that they purposefully gave her something they knew she shouldn’t eat—and Mike and I would have to experience the consequences. They felt bad for her being on this restrictive diet and as grandparents wanted to treat her. I felt absolute rage hearing that someone made a careless mistake with her food. Nothing could be more important at this point!
During Mike's layoff from work, we had the opportunity to see how diet and live fermented foods and drinks were immensely helping our daughter—and we were beginning to see how it was affecting some others too. We wondered if it was possible to make coconut kefir available to everyone—in grocery stores. We knew that cutting coconuts and fermenting them was not only time-consuming, but overwhelming to many parents. If it had just been me alone and Mike hadn't had the curiosity to become a fermenter, that task would have felt daunting to me, so I understood. After discussing it for a couple of weeks, Mike decided to write a business plan to make coconut kefir commercially available to everyone!
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