"What’s Fer-menting Tonight, Hun?": Food Remedies for the Autism Gut

“What’s Fer-menting Tonight, Hun?”

That’s a question my man always asks because more times than not my counter top’s full of sizzling mason jars spreading their sour stink throughout our poorly ventilated apartment.

More times than not my counter top’s full of sizzling mason jars spreading their sour stink throughout our poorly ventilated apartment. My hubby and I used to argue about “the way I eat” and how it would drive him bonkers. But he’s settled down ever since I started sneaking spoonfuls of it into his shakes.

We ferment all kinds of veggies and drinks in our home and we do it for the sake of gut healing. See, gut problems lead to indigestion and malnutrition — undigested foods turn into toxins, and organs malfunction and allow other toxins to grow and thrive. With my son, the label makers liked to call this autism. Autism usually comes with horrific gut issues. And, I learned, that by repairing the gut we allow for the whole body to heal.

We began our recovery with fermented young coconut water (coconut kefir). I am blessed to have found this. Because it was coconut kefir and coconut kefir alone that helped clear the terrain for deeper healing. Kefir brought back eye contact where there was none. Kefir helped him focus. Kefir changed the bacterial make up in his gut, and he began craving greener foods. Soon, he loved all of his green veggies. And, we all know that green is good! Green heals!

Once I had the kefir in my own system as well – I could see the light at the end of the autism tunnel and it was bright!

Soon, my motto for health through food became Green it, Blend it, Ferment it. I use Body Ecology controlled culture starters to ferment, and I highly recommend this if you or your children have severe digestive problems. You can ferment wildly like so many of our raw friends do. But, BED’s starters are very hearty and have been specifically formulated with bacterial strains to conquer candida, create vitamins, and assimilate nutrients from food and more.

When you ferment food you save the body time digesting. You make the nutrients more readily absorbant. You promote detox. The body begins to heal because it’s finally receiving the proper nutrition from every bite. So, even if your child lacks HCL (hydrocholoric acid) in the stomach and has a hard time digesting everything he eats – fermented foods take hold and share their love inside his body. That’s why it’s such a necessary step when trying to undo the autism mess. I advise my clients to begin with a tablespoon of coconut kefir each morning as a first step in the recovery journey. They can usually work their way up to a quart of the amazing drink within time.

Here’s my method of kefir making:

You’ll need:
1 box (9) young coconuts (which can be purchased most inexpensively at your local Asian market)
1 pack Kefir Starter
I glass pitcher
3-4 sterile quart sized mason jars
1. Begin with room temp (75 degrees or warmer) coconuts and starter pack
2. Open 3 coconuts (I just poke hole right below the tip with a screwdriver), and pour into glass pitcher. Make sure that the water is clear and not pink or brown.
3. Pour that liquid into one jar.
4. Add the kefir starter.
5. Lightly stir
6. Close the jar and let it sit out for 24-36 hrs.
7. Then, split that batch into 2 jars.
8. Add fresh coconut water from 3 more coconuts.
9. Close jars and let sit for another 24 hrs.
10. Repeat until you have used all of your coconuts.
11. Refrigerate.

When the coconut water ferments it becomes a bit cloudy, bubby and tastes a little like champagne, you may sense that it smells like bread or beer and that’s fine. Don’t toss it if it doesn’t smell like roses. Sometimes the jars talk, sizzle, make funky sounds and even vibrate and move on your counter top. Seriously! So, if there’s tons of action coming from a jar, I’d watch out. Tops do pop off. Handle this with komucha care. Every batch won’t ferment at the same pace. Too much bubbling could mean it’s done fermenting and you can take a drink. Each jar of kefir can ferment about seven more jars. So you will want to leave about a ¼ cup of this magic juice in each jar to start the next batch.

No need to go to fast when embarking on your fermentation journey. There’s plenty of time to experience the magic. Check out the recipe in this issue of Health in High Heels! Just promise me you’ll go slowly with the kiddos. This stuff is very detoxing and chances are that they’ll be releasing a lot. The detox will be amazing if you support it with colon therapy, skin brushing, spa baths, energetic and emotional reinforcement as well as good old fashioned sleep.

Reactions to probiotic foods like kefir are really as varied as our kid’s symptoms. Some kids get hyper for a while others disconnect. It’s generally a sign that the body is pushing out the old. The body really wants to heal. If you sense that embracing fermented foods as part of your autism healing plan is something you need to do for your child, then please don’t hesitate to contact me for help and support along the way. We can make healing easy if we do it together.


The coconut meat can also be fermented with about a tablespoon of Kefir. This takes about 12 hours. You can do it overnight and wake up to a yummy raw yogurt in the morning!


By Gina Laverde

Gina Laverde is a health conscious contributor to the www.RawMom site. In her efforts to address the autism-related conditions being faced by her son, she jumped on the healthy bandwagon and has been inspiring everyone ever since! You can learn more about her by visiting her websites www.certifiedorganicwoman.com and www.healartfully.com. Or by emailing [email protected]


  1. mmartin says

    Hello! Thanks for the post! Can you recommend other articles or books about fermentation? I’d like to learn more about it. Thanks!


  2. says

    Hi There mmartin —

    Here is a good site/book about fermentation with benefits and recipes. There are endless combos of veggies, grains, liquids etc to ferment:


    My recommendation is to read through that to gain a good understanding, but to use starters to culture your veggies etc You can either use a good probiotic powder or Body Ecology Starters ( I prefer the latter)

    also http://www.bedrokcommunity.org is an oprganization of moms recovering their kids from autism using fermented foods and other healing modalities. join their message board for tons of great recipes.

    Donna Gates Book The Body Ecology Diet and her site explains a lot about the benefits of culturing foods for health.

    Along my journey I have found endless benefits to this type of food so you better belive that I will keep sharing my creations and findings as well.

    PS The BEDROK community (.org) is also helping to conduct a study at Clemson University about how and why probiotic foods are heloing with autism and how controlled starters make a difference.

    Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you!



  3. nicky says


    I have started kefir for my 21/2 yr old autistic son 3-4 dys back and from next day he has cold and he has more repeatative behaviours and fussy for no reason.do you think its the adjusting period?

    can i give him fermented coconut meat also?

    what veggies do you ferment?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks and Regards,


  4. says

    yay! congrats on starting the kefir. Its amazing stuff!

    How much are you giving him? begin with a very small amount and make sure to support the detox with non food related things like skin brushing, enemas, epsom salt/ clay baths, castor oil packs, easily digestible non toxic food, lots of sleep and water.

    Kefir is very detoxing and we often see this. do not worry. My only concern is that toxins will not be able to escape. That’s why i suggested those other things above you can easily do at home.

    YOu can support his fussiness with the baths, and classical music..

    I also use EFT http://www.emofree.com and the Roth Five Rhythms which is a kind of dance that balanecs the body and helps open us for healing and grounding. http://www.gabrielleroth.com.

    EFT instructs you to tap with affirmations on the energy meridians of the body. I find that in the beginning, simply tapping does wonders.

    My next article here will address this very question. so look for it in a few days. but feel free to email me priovately at [email protected] if you need further explanation.

    I wish you all the best and applaud your work!

    have a sunshiny day



  5. says

    Wonderful article about fermenting. Making coconut kefir/yogurt, and other ferments can be such a compliment to a healthy lifestyle, and or healing journey.


    Jason Janiak


  6. Shannon Shakaya Breeze says

    I love Kim Chi and msio and ume boshi, and my boys love plain yogurt with fresh berries and my hubba bubba loves saurkraut- and long-lived cultures do tend to eat more fermented food than westerners…great post Gina :)


  7. says

    Wonderful article, Gina! I have a fair number of parents with “autistic” children calling me for sessions. I’m going to bookmark this article for them. Many thanks and blessings,


  8. says

    Hey Laura.. Thanks so much! You do Reiki, don’t you? I am quite familiar with and inspired by your work. In fact, I have recommended your book to some of my clients :) I have also begun practicing energy healing as well and sensory therapy (movement/sound touch/vibration) with so much success. To me, autism is a true wake up call that we must care for and heal all of our systems physical, emotional, spiritual, mental in order to get well — but that it can be done.

    Contact me if there is any way at all that I can help you or your clients. autism is no mystery.. its but a challenge that I appreciate because it gave my femily the opportunity to get so much healthier and conscious.

    Tons of love and light,

    [email protected]


  9. nicky says

    Hi Gina

    Thank you very much for the response. I started with 5 oz /day of Kefir. Will follow your suggestions for detoxification.



  10. says

    Thanks, Gina, yes, I offer and also teach Reiki and other forms of energy and intuitive healing. We are most likely moving to the Pacific Northwest again, where there’s an unsually high proportion of autism, so I suspect I’ll run into more people to send your way, too.

    These kids and their families have so much to offer the world — so many of them have big gifts and, as you’re finding, are challenging their parents to open up to their own love and light in a bigger, brighter way.

    Blessings and lots of love,


  11. mini says

    Hi Gina,

    I m going to start with the kefir for my 4 yr old son who is autistic.so how much should i start with???what amount???and how to increase it and when to???

    with regards


  12. Kristin says

    I have been making kefir for a year now, and it has had profound effects! I use raw goat’s milk and fresh kefir grains. It is much easier than making yogurt, as you make it at room temp, overnight or during the day.

    I found the kefir grains by putting a note up on craigslist in my area. Kefir grows slowly, but continuously, so anyone using real kefir grains will likely be happy to share. Just ask!

    Fresh kefir is a living organism and looks like mini cauliflower heads. Quite funky! It has been passed down from generation to generation for possibly 1000s of years.

    My digestion is so much better. I am 3 months pregnant now and I feel great having my raw goats milk kefir to nourish my gut and to get all the yummy nutrients of the milk. I actually can’t stomach the goats milk if it is not cultured.

    I also add a dash of agave and a few drops of vanilla extract to the kefir when it is done and like to drink it refrigerated. When I get really hungry in the middle of the night sometimes as a result of being preg, it has worked perfectly as a nourishing, easily digested snack.

    Peace, Kristin



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