Practitioner Spotlight: Kris Barrett

KrisBarrett_NETell us about your specialty and clinical focus, and how you use nutrition to help?

I work specifically with families who have children on the autism spectrum. I help families implement dietary intervention to help improve their children’s behaviour, sleep and health.

How do you incorporate BioIndividual Nutrition into your practice?

Because there is no “one diet suits all,” I work very closely with my clients to formulate the right combination of foods that will be best for them. I also take into account the extent of the child’s sensory and textural issues with foods and their symptoms to find the right starting place.  I think Bioindividual Nutrition is the perfect description of how I approach my clients as I don’t try and make any one particular diet fit, it’s all about what works for the individual.

Do you have a favorite diet you use in your practice, or a set of favorite diets when working with clients. Tell us how and when you use them.

My favourite beginner diet for kids with autism is the GFCF diet. Usually kids on the spectrum have very limited diets – mainly consisting of gluten and dairy foods! When these are removed, you can see positive changes very quickly. This is a great motivator for parents to continue the dietary changes and go even further into healing and understand the power of good nutrition.

After this great first step in diet!  Do you have any other important food/diet principles you find many children on the autism spectrum benefit from after you’ve removed gluten and dairy? 

Definitely looking at numbers/additives/preservatives to make sure the diet is clean – unfortunately is is very easy to do a “bad” GFCF diet, with loads of products being gluten and dairy free but  containing nasty additives. This is something I think everyone can benefit from. With many kids too we will need to look at salicylates.  Removing high salicylate foods temporarily while focusing on healing the gut can have a profound effect on many of the kids who are still experiencing behavioural and sleeping issues after gluten and dairy are removed.

Are there any nourishing foods you consider important for most people with this condition?

Definitely stocks and fermented foods. It’s all about the Gut so I love to teach people how to increase the nutritional value of everything they’re making by adding in these wonderfully healing foods.

What other factors do you consider essential in supporting clients? Are there other supplement or lifestyle choices people should consider?

I love fish oil, digestive enzymes and probiotics as a base for people starting out. I always recommend they see a biomedical doctor for individual testing so they can be prescribed other supplements that are going to be beneficial. And I always educate my clients about incorporating Healthy Home strategies alongside diet. For me this is a crucial part of the puzzle and you can’t do dietary intervention without also addressing the toxins that may be in personal care products, in your water or in your environment. And I’m big on making sure everyone gets plenty of sunshine (for Vitamin D), exercise and sleep!

You are also a mother who has helped your child recover from autism (a journey you outline in your book).  Those people in the “Nourishing Hope for Kids” BioIndividual Nutrition course can also see more on your son’s story there in the Case Study Module. Will you share with us now how important diet was for your son, some of the things you saw the most benefit from and how it helped? 

Diet was the foundation of his recovery, no doubt. He was such a sick little boy. As soon as I removed gluten and dairy, his eczema, asthma and constant ear infections just disappeared, never to return. He started to sleep better. I resisted removing corn for a long time, but when I did, his diarrhea stopped.
I did this a long time when there were no BNI practitioners, so I was cobbling things together for myself and it also took me a long time to understand about salicylates. He was a huge salicylate responder (bright red burning hot cheeks and ears when he ate them, crazy behaviour like I’d wound him up and big black circles under his eyes). When we took those out we got much calmer behaviour and better sleep. It was a few years into our journey before I went to full GAPS and then we got even better response with his gut and finally some formed stools. We only stayed on full GAPS for around 6 months because he is a mito kid and he was becoming super lethargic and weak, so we finally settled on a diet that suits him best, which is pretty much paleo but with the addition of some of the Body Ecology grains and the occasional rice and potato.
We did a lot of therapy with Tim (ABA, biomedical, speech, OT, cranial osteopathy, chiropractic, naturopathy, homeopathy, vision therapy & more!) but changing his diet had the biggest impact. Not only did it enable him to become well again, it calmed him down to actually be able to participate in all of the other therapies and achieve more from them. It helped his health, concentration, behaviour, sleep, bowels and honestly changed his life, and the life of our family. I shudder to think what would have happened to him had I not stumbled across the dietary path. I can’t state strongly enough how important it was and that it was the foundation upon which all of our other gains were built.

Anything else you’d like to share with practitioners interested in this subject?

Dietary intervention can change the lives of kids with autism. It’s incredibly powerful.  I would encourage any other practitioners to do some training (like the BNI Kids course) and attend seminars so they are confident with the approaches used for autism. Unfortunately there are a lot of families who need our help, so the more experienced practitioners we can have the better. My only other advice is to meet the families where they are at. They are under a lot of stress and often can’t implement changes as quickly as we’d advise. Lots of empathy and practical solutions will ensure they can make these changes for the long term.

KrisBarrett_DirectorySNIPPETHow has the BioIndividual Nutrition Institute training helped you?

The BNI training was incredibly detailed and gave me the confidence to quickly assess a client and advise initial starting points. For more complex situations I had the information on hand to then advise further interventions. I loved that the training was backed by scientific references which you can share with your clients so they have more understanding and confidence around what they are doing. I feel that BNI training gave me all the knowledge I will need to work with my clients with great success.

Check out Kris Barrett’s Profile in our Online Directory

BIO: Kris is a Certified Nutrition & Health Coach, Certified GAPS Practitioner, Certified BioIndividual Nutrition Practitioner and MINDD Practitioner who loves working with families of children with autism guiding them to health and happiness. Kris had absolutely no interest in food until her son Tim was diagnosed with autism in 2004 and she stumbled upon information from the US where families were seeing remarkable improvements in their ASD children after taking gluten and dairy out of their diets. She was desperate to help her son, so despite being challenged by even making a packet cake and the fact that Tim ate only 5 foods, she began a gluten and casein free diet that quite literally changed her son’s life.  In June 2014 Kris released her first book, No Cows Today : a mother’s story, a son’s autism recovery. She is thrilled to share her story in the hope it inspires others to consider dietary and biomedical intervention as part of their therapy programs.

WEBSITE : www.krisbarrett.com.au

 

 

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