Miss Compassionality

Miss Idaho’s visible insulin pump undeniably promotes diabetes awareness and acceptance as illustrated in NPR’s article, “Hey, Miss Idaho, Is That An Insulin Pump On Your Bikini?” Good for Sierra Sandison (Miss Idaho) and the minds she will open and the others she will encourage by her act of courage to show her medical device, her difference in this world, her challenge to champion. We need awareness and acceptance because we belong to each other.

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“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” – Mother Teresa

My first children’s book, Moby’s First Day of Kindergarten, is about autism acceptance and awareness. Sharing a hand-flapping, headphone-wearing, eye-contact avoiding cute furry marmot named Moby with children and adults is easy. Awareness and acceptance is easily accepted and applauded.

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“When the first day of kindergarten was finished, Sunny said, “Goodbye, Moby.”
Moby quickly tucked his head down and did not say goodbye. Sunny knew nothing was wrong with Moby. She knew it was okay for him not to say goodbye. She knew he was a marmot just like her. She knew she had a treasured friend.” – Aileen Swenson, illustration by Christian Marie McGowan

I love the message of my first book inspired by the heartbreaking and isolating all-too-real events of being “kicked out” of a library storytime, a health food store, and a church and my son being severely bullied, all by unaware and unaccepting hearts and minds of people that did not understand autism.

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“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.” – J.K. Rowling

My first book fulfills the first step criteria of understanding and acceptance. What’s the next step according to the Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling? Recovery, or to use my preferred word, healing.

Healing autism through delicious nutrient dense broths, ferments, and juicing is the message of my second children’s book, Moby’s First Day of Summer Vacation, and the topics of my gut healing cooking classes.

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“That summer Moby’s mom prepared delicious meats and fats served with soups, yogurt, and cultured vegetables that Moby grew to enjoy. Moby loved happy shakes the most, because they made him feel better.” – Aileen Swenson, illustration by Cassandra Joy Swenson

I love even more the healing message of my second book that connects food with feelings and health, but I confess it is a bit more challenging to read. To encourage people to heal themselves with food counters the modern medicine mode of pharmaceutically managing (not healing) illness, not to mention it holds them accountable for their health. After all, what a sense of relief to go to the doctor and be told that diabetes type 1 (and autism) are genetic diseases. The genetic card is the “get off the hook” free card requiring no further responsibility than to diligently take the prescribed medications. While being diligent in your self-care and well-being is important, including taking necessary medications, I recommend that you consider what you eat as well.

Ten years ago when I started dietarily treating my son’s autism, I had a conversation with another mom of a child also with autism. She knew that food could not and would not help her son because she had the brain scans to prove that her son’s brain was and will always be genetically wired differently. She was “off the hook” for playing any nourishing role in her son’s recovery.

The NPR article clearly mentions that Miss Sandison has type 1 diabetes four times, maybe to make her appear blameless, because fault mostly seems to lie with people who allegedly eat their way to type 2 diabetes, one donut at a time. It seems we lose our compassion for people when we blame them for their illnesses. Even emphysema received, what seems to be, a public relations make-over by changing its name to COPD to distance itself from the emphysema/smoker blame game.

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“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Blaming others and blaming ourselves is counterproductive to healing. People with diabetes type 1 are not better people than those with diabetes type 2. In both types, the pancreas no longer produces enough insulin to lower blood sugar levels. Both types 1 and 2 should be value-free, judgment-free conditions, even though they are somewhat different. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease, a GAPS™ (Gut and Psychology/Physiology Syndrome) condition, that can be successfully treated with broths, ferments, and juicing along with a grain-free, sugar-free diet, just like Moby, the marmot, consumes to recover from autism in my second book. Type 2 diabetes, often attributed to lifestyle choices, likewise responds well to this protocol due to the removal of the major contributors of glucose – grains and sugar. Healing the gut leads to healing many mental and physical illnesses, which may lead to a reduction or discontinuation of medication as deemed appropriate by your physician.

My hope is that Miss Idaho continues to champion the diabetes awareness and acceptance cause and that sometime in the near future we have a pageant platform, or better yet a societal movement, that promotes what Hippocrates knew long ago, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

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Now that we have understanding and acceptance, let’s take the next step to recovery and healing and let’s do it with great compassion! You matter! What you eat matters!

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“Compassion is a verb.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

P.S. My oldest son, no longer on the autism spectrum, healed with the GAPS™ protocol, often encourages me to write a third children’s book in which Moby takes a field trip to Monsanto headquarters and hears the CEO of Monsanto say, “No, Moby, I am your father!” Ha!

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