Kara Ware has been on a 17-year journey with her son Zachary, who was diagnosed with Autism just before his third birthday. With this news came the advice from the doctor: “There is no treatment for Autism. Medicate him to help with tantrums, sign him up for speech therapy, take him home and keep him safe.” Suggestions like these are what more and more parents are hearing as Autism diagnoses skyrocket.
This question became a beacon for Kara as she sat with her toddler, who was hitting his development milestones for 14 months then one day began regressing into pain, confusion and chaos that nobody could explain. She traveled the country, seeking out specialists and alternative practitioners, learning about the root causes of inflammation and toxicity that can lead to a person presenting with Autism symptoms. She was not ready to accept the status quo, and the long path she has walked with her son has resulted in not only the remission of Zachary’s Autism symptoms, but a greater sense of health, joy and purpose in her own life as well.
Her family is living proof that there is another way to approach this diagnosis–and that there’s a bigger red flag in our lifestyles and environment that is begging to be noticed. Our changing planet is having drastic effects on human health and our species is facing unprecedented challenges. Autism is the canary in the coal mine. An invitation to look deeper into our history, our food, water, air, stress. When it’s in the home, it’s an invitation to explore the entire family ecosystem, rather than view the situation as an isolated issue for one person.
Using the functional medicine model that she adopted, Kara outlines the steps to slowly and deliberately remove toxins from the body and home, deepen into family values and spiritual practices to pour energy into thoughts, words and emotions that are creating the environment for healing; and take simple steps with nutrition, supplementation, genetic testing and necessary medical interventions.
Personally, Kara is the healthiest and clearest she’s ever been—and so is Zach. Professionally, she’s using what she’s learned to help doctors shift their conventional practices into functional medicine models and partner with patients for greater health education and lasting outcomes. She is also a board certified health coach, yoga teacher and host and producer of Good Medicine on the Go Podcast. And her new venture this year brings her full circle to helping families use their time, energy and resources wisely on the long journey of healing and living with Autism.
The information in this episode is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional medical advice. Please always direct questions about your health to your professional health care provider.
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Kara Ware (00:00:00):
That question of asking why really sent me to the highway, uh, to travel great distances, defined practitioners who were beginning to acknowledge and address underlying sources of inflammation that were burdening the, you know, neurological and physiological systems and resulting in dysfunction. And so therefore, there was a breakdown in function. That made total sense to me.
Andy Vantrease (00:00:44):
Welcome to the Dandelion Effect podcast, a space for organic conversation about the magic of living a connected life. Just like the natural world around us, we are all linked through an intricate web, a never ending ripple that spans across the globe. Here we explore the ideas that our guests carry through the world, remember who and what inspired them along the way, and uncover the seeds that help them blossom into their unique version of this human experience. This podcast is a production of the Feathered Pipe Foundation, whose mission is to help people find their direction through access to programs and experiences that support healing, education, community, and empowerment.
Andy Vantrease (00:01:33):
Kara Ware has been on a 17 year journey with her son, Zachary, who was diagnosed with Autism just before his third birthday. With this news came the advice from the doctors, “There is no treatment for Autism. Medicate him to help with tantrums, sign him up for speech therapy, take him home and keep him safe.” Suggestions like these are what more and more parents are hearing as Autism diagnoses skyrocket. But why? This question became a beacon for Kara as she sat with her toddler who was hitting his development milestones, then one day began regressing into pain, confusion, and chaos that nobody could explain. She traveled the country seeking out specialists and alternative practitioners, learning about the root causes of inflammation and toxicity that can lead a person to present with Autism symptoms. She was not ready to accept the status quo. And the long past she has walked with her son has resulted in not only the remission of Zachary’s Autism symptoms, but a greater sense of health, joy, and purpose in her life, too.
Her family is living proof that there’s another way to approach this diagnosis, and that there’s a bigger red flag in our lifestyles and environment that is begging to be noticed. Our changing planet is having drastic effects on human health, and our species is facing unprecedented challenges in developmental disorders. Autism is the canary in the coal mine. An invitation to look deeper into our history, our food, water, soil, air, stress. And when it’s in the home, it’s an invitation to explore the entire family ecosystem rather than view the situation as an isolated issue for just one person. Using the functional medicine model that she adopted. Kara outlines in this conversation the steps to slowly and deliberately remove toxins from the body and home, deepen into family values and spiritual practices that pour energy into our thoughts, words, and emotions that create the environment for healing. And take simple steps with nutrition, supplementation, genetic testing, and necessary medical interventions when the family is ready.
Personally, she’s now the healthiest and clearest she’s ever been, and so has her son, Zach. Professionally, she’s using what she’s learned to help doctors shift their conventional practices into functional medicine models and partner with patients for greater health education and lasting outcomes. She’s also a board certified health coach, yoga teacher and host and producer of Good Medicine on the Go Podcast. Her new venture this year brings her full circle to helping families use their time, energy, and resources wisely on the long journey of healing and living with Autism. I hope you learn from this episode as much as I did. And at the very least, I invite you to open to a new perspective, an approach to health that is not limited to healing Autism, but paving the way for a more integrated and truly holistic understanding of human health and our interdependence with our changing planet. And just as a reminder, even though we talk about healing and health related topics on this podcast, this show is for general information purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnose, or treat any condition that we may be discussing. This is the Dandelion Effect podcast, and I’m your host, Andy Vantrease. You are listening to the latest episode, A New Narrative for Healing Autism with Kare Ware.
We are going to be getting into your personal story with your son, Zach, um, which is such a remarkable healing journey for you and him and the entire family. But first, because of what we are gonna cover today, I’d like to just give people some context and like set the foundation for this bigger picture story that we’re talking about here today, this condition of Autism and the growing body of research around it. Because as more children and as more people are being diagnosed, there’s also this amazing kind of resurgence of research of how our bodies function, what toxicities underlie this condition, is there possibility of healing rather than just managing, like, there’s so much in this conversation that we’ll cover. So I’d love to just start with a brief summary, Kara, of how you’d characterize and diagnose Autism. And if you want to weave in how the conventional system does it versus what you now know to be the characteristics and, um, you know, descriptions and diagnoses, let’s just start to set the foundation for people there.
Kara Ware (00:06:08):
So classically, Autism is a neurodevelopmental diagnosis, and it is a collection of symptoms where typically children struggle with social interactions, uh, repetitive behaviors, you know, communication, uh, terrifying tantrums, meltdowns. And really all children with the diagnosis of Autism are unique in and of themselves. There’s really no two children that present the symptoms the exact same because it really depends on each unique family’s environment triggering, uh, moments, you know, trauma, and then interacting with genetic code. And so I feel that the diagnosis of Autism is very elusive because <laugh> can mean so many different things. And actually conventional medicine states that it’s not treatable. It’s a mental disorder, and that’s how they are. And so you can learn to live with the symptoms through medications to silent the tantrums, uh, help with the focus <laugh> help with the manage the symptoms, and also then behavioral therapy, speech therapy, PT-OT.
Okay. So that is what the treatment is for Autism, and that’s what insurance will cover. So that’s what I was told when I took my toddler into the pediatrician and say, what is going on? It was like a light switch, right? There’s the constant screaming and head banging, and biting, and not sleeping, and the frothy diarrhea. It was literally like a light switch. And, um, so that was the diagnosis I heard, right? Oh, it looks like Autism. You’ll have to drive up to, you know, a couple hours for the formal diagnosis and, um, you, we can prescribe these medications and speech and behavioral therapy will be what’s, you know, <laugh>, what you can do. And I was like, but why is he screaming? Why is he biting? Like this is, we weren’t having any of this. He was meeting his milestones, he was pleasant. He was looking at me in the eye, he was babbling.
And they’re like, well, you know, it’s just, he’s regressed into Autism and that’s what it is, and there’s nothing you can do about it. And two, almost two decades later, that’s still what families are receiving. And I could not accept that there was nothing I could do. My child looked like he was in pain. I wanna be very clear, kind of a disclaimer before we get too deep into this, is that again, not every child’s gonna be screaming. Not every child’s gonna be looking like they’re in pains. The symptoms are different, presented differently. But, um, what I have discovered with underlying root causes is all actually very similar for each child. And the second disclaimer I’d like to say upfront is that some celebrate their, their Autism. And I think that’s beautiful. You know, my son has some amazing qualities about him that I do feel are shaped because of this experience that we’ve had. So by no means am I putting Autism down, I just wanted to, uh, put that clear. But my son looked like he was in pain. I wanted to know why is he in pain? No one could answer me. That’s just what it is. You have medications, you have behavioral therapy.
So that question of asking why really sent me to the highway, uh, to travel great distances, defined practitioners who were beginning to acknowledge and address underlying sources of inflammation that were burdening the, you know, neurological and physiological systems and resulting in dysfunction. And so therefore there was a breakdown in function. And that made total sense to me.
Andy Vantrease (00:09:48):
Yeah. What types of doctors were you going to see when you started to hear a different narrative? What was the very beginning of that journey looking like as far as feeling like, “Oh, there’s a different approach here.” You know, there, there’s something else that can be done. Or even at the very least, a different way to look at it.
Kara Ware (00:10:11):
It was kind of a scavenger hunt. It was a very slow scavenger hunt step by step, because you have to understand, this was back in 2005, the beginning of 2006. I was on dialup internet. I had a cell phone that was a flip phone. It didn’t text message, let alone take pictures and videos. There was no information on this. You know, back then in 2000, early two thousands, it was one in 150 children. I had never heard of Autism.
But, um, when I started following, uh, my question of, well, why is he in pain? How can I help him feel better? At least for goodness sakes, I was reluctant to medicate him because if I didn’t know how he was feeling, how, how would I know if anything I was doing is really helping?
Andy Vantrease (00:10:58):
Kara Ware (00:10:59):
Um, and so we worked with all kinds of practitioners. Even back in the early two thousands, we were working with DOs and MDs and, uh, registered dieticians, and nutritionists and, uh, cranial-sacral therapists of all kinds of licensures and certifications.
Andy Vantrease (00:11:16):
Was this the first time that you had been on any kind of health journey, healing journey? Like, had you experienced anything in your own life that was building the web of those practitioners? Or were you getting to know that these people were even out there just because of Zach’s journey?
Kara Ware (00:11:36):
Great question. You know, I am so thankful every day. When I was 19, I traveled across the country for the very first time. I grew up in Ohio, in a small town in Ohio, and I had, uh, never been anywhere other than Florida. And when I was 19, I traveled from coast to coast. And I camped for the very first time, and I saw mountains, and I remember seeing the Tetons for the first time and just dropping to my knees and crying. And it was as though this door opened up inside of me and out came a spirit that I never knew, you know, a soul. Like oh my gosh. And so that instigated many years of traveling and, uh, lived in Central America, went all through Europe and all around the United States. I was introduced to other ways of thinking, and culture, and meditation, and yoga, and herbology, and foraging and, you know, whole cooking, even back in the nineties, you know, <laugh>. This was in 1995.
Um, and so I am so grateful, I think about this often that I got out of my hometown so that I had a broader vision of the world and more resources of that I knew existed to go out and search for, rather than just accepting the status quo.
Andy Vantrease (00:12:55):
Mm-hmm. There’s so much out there. And of course, like being involved with a place like the Feathered Pipe Ranch and having had my own healing journey with Lyme disease, like that was the door that opened for me having to look for other ways of doing things and getting fourth and fifth opinions, and not just taking the one opinion from just one specialist.
Kara Ware (00:13:18):
Mm-hmm. Exactly. Exactly. And I knew I did not wanna learn to live with it. And so that was my differentiating line in the sand. Anything I found, I would ask myself, is this teaching me how to live with it? Or is this helping me understand what his body’s asking for? Why, you know, to, to help reduce the pain, to help him feel better so that he can behave better.
Andy Vantrease (00:13:42):
So when you say that it was a light switch, it was literally like he was one child one day and one child the next day.
Kara Ware (00:13:50):
Usually there’s a triggering moment that kind of breaks the house of cards, if you will, all comes crumbling down. <laugh>.
Andy Vantrease (00:13:57):
Kara Ware (00:13:58):
There’s no one smoking gun with Autism. It’s so multifactorial. There are so many underlying reasons of why these children’s bodies are so burdened and their function has been so derailed. Um, uh, we didn’t know we were living in a moldy home at the time, for example mm-hmm. So that was contributing to a, a total body burden, right? But the triggering moment for us was, I took him to a well-baby child checkup and he received his MMR shot, and the crying turned to screaming, and the screaming didn’t end for a year and a half, and it only escalated.
Andy Vantrease (00:14:31):
Mm-hmm. I mean, I imagine it kind of like a, a, a buildup of a lot of different toxins, a lot of different inflammation. And that was like just the tick over the, over the capacity.
Kara Ware (00:14:44):
That’s, that’s right. It’s a live virus. It’s an aggressive inflammatory trigger or partial live virus. Excuse me.
Andy Vantrease (00:14:50):
Okay, let’s dig in. I mean, I wanna hear details of how this all unfolded with Zach. How old is he now?
Kara Ware (00:14:59):
He’s 19. He’ll be 20 in March.
Andy Vantrease (00:15:00):
I thought the, okay. So yeah…
Kara Ware (00:15:02):
It’s been, it’s been a 17 year journey.
Andy Vantrease (00:15:04):
17 year journey. What were the beginning steps after that as far as you were going to different specialists, but like, can you give us just like the key components to what you began to do with Zach at home and just in your lives?
Kara Ware (00:15:20):
After we received all that information and kind of had a name to it, and it was just so devastating. It’s such a dead end diagnosis. And, you know, we had stopped being invited to play dates. No one wants to be around it. We were incredibly isolated. And one day I was outside having a temper tantrum, <laugh>. I heard a message that I wanted a child, but I didn’t like what I’ve got. And that really made me pause in the middle of my temper tantrum and realize that I had wanted a son and I needed to focus on loving him instead of being so terrified of the Autism because it was so terrifying. And so that was a clutch moment. And I encourage parents that I work with to focus in on connecting with their child, even when they look like they’re in a, an entirely different galaxy, because they can hear you, they understand you, they actually understand us a lot better than, uh, we can understand them.
And so when I started, uh, looking at him and talking to him and acknowledging him and seeing him, um, and saying, you hurt. I know you hurt. We’re gonna figure this out. This is not who you are. And that is the I identity that happens in chronic disease as we kind of take on that behaviors of who we are. And his behaviors were so terrifying that many times I had to restrain him so that everybody could calm down and no one could get hurt <laugh>. And while I was restrain him, I’d say, this is not who you are. We are, we’re uncovering you. You have a lot burdening your body right now. We’re gonna figure this out. And through me talking, uh, with him today as a 19 year old, he is my best partner in all of this. And so I encourage first and foremost parents, uh, to talk with their children about everything you’re doing.
And I also then made it not just about him. I had said to him, “Okay, you are teaching me and I’m listening, and we’re gonna do this together. We’re in this together.” And so everything that I learned I did for our family, and it wasn’t about him. It wasn’t about the Autism, it was about the love of our family and that we wanted to feel better. And so everything we did, I would communicate to him our family’s beliefs and values. And I encourage parents to get really clear on that, because that’s gonna be your, your motivator for change in the deepest and darkest and most hopeless of nights. And so I would talk to him about, we’re gonna uncover you. This is why we’re doing this. And what we first found out for Zachary was all about minerals and vitamins and deficiencies. Right? So for any parents who are beginning to question and go a different route and wanting to understand the root cause of their children’s illness, we always wanna start with what I call foundational medicine.
And I was divinely guided over the last 17 years on how to layer interventions in an intelligent sequence so that I supported his constitution first and foremost, so that his body, his constitution, was strong enough for when we got to the more advanced medical interventions. And so we were doing a lot of basic supplementation. I was grinding like tablets in a mortar and pestle and opening up, uh, supplements and putting ’em in applesauce, and they just looked so the applesauce was so thick that I would say, ’em, this is our medicine. This is what’s helping us feel better when we feel better. We can have way more fun. We wanna have fun. We wanna go swimming. We wanna, you know, be in the mud puddles. We wanna play with Thomas. You know, I always linked everything we were doing to that. This was like the greatest thing in the world and <laugh>, and we’ve got this, uh, because you’re imprinting your child’s, uh, perspective on this lifestyle approach, because you, we did remove all the high allergens.
We did remove gluten and dairy, and then very soon after that corn and soy, and back in the, in 2006, there was no such thing as gluten-free. There was no such thing as gluten-free bread at the store. There was, uh, the only thing at the store was boxed rice milk in dry package, you know, on the shelf <laugh> with aluminum foil, you know? You know, that lines the box <laugh>.
Andy Vantrease (00:19:39):
Yeah. Um, so where were you getting these ideas then, Kara, to do these things?
Kara Ware (00:19:44):
So we had, we had met with our first functional medicine based practitioner. It was a series of events. You know, I had read a book and the, uh, it was called How to Reverse and Heal Childhood Chronic Conditions. And that led me to call phone number. And then that phone number led into giving me another phone number. And then that phone number led to finding this woman, this practitioner, who actually happened to be two hours from us.
So we drove two hours. Uh, we had a, our first initial consultation was three hours. Here I am with my almost three year old totally outta control son. And then my, not quite one year old newborn. And I’m trying to help Zachary, my eldest, who has, you know, was diagnosed with Autism from getting, you know, he’s climbing the bookshelves and emptying the water dispensaries. And I’m trying to take care of Jax and listening to all these mineral and vitamin deficiencies and gut pathogens and toxicity and antimony and arsenic and lead and mercury. And I’m like, oh my God, where is he getting all of this? You know, it really sent me, I was already in emotional distress and then hearing all of these things and then, then all the high allergen foods and all these changes I was gonna have to make and get rid of all your plastic and change all your cookware and <laugh>. I, I left that appointment. I remember packing my two children into their car seats. I remember starting the two hour drive home. The next thing I remember there were loud horns and bright blinding lights. And I kind of came too. And we were in a ditch on the other side of the road.
Andy Vantrease (00:21:12):
Kara Ware (00:21:13):
You know, I, I literally absentmindedly in shock drifted into oncoming traffic.
Andy Vantrease (00:21:20):
Oh my God.
Kara Ware (00:21:22):
Because when you have Autism in the home, it, it can be so devastating. And then now you’re learning of all these complex medical conditions. And so it was comforting to know there was so much I could do, but it was so overwhelming also. And I had to go home. And really, I, I just remember sitting there with my head and my hands, cuz I’m learning all this new vocabulary and learning like anatomy I don’t really know a whole lot about and yeah. Neurotransmitters and amino acids and um, and just having my kind of rocking back and forth myself and just being like, just keep it simple. Just keep it simple. Just what’s one thing I can do? What’s one thing I can do? And I had to break it down to such small minuscule step so that I could just function and think and to be in action. And so what I learned and what I wanna share is that there is definitely an sequential order to start healing and reversing what’s causing, uh, diagnosis as complex as Autism.
Andy Vantrease (00:22:24):
I can remember the first time that I worked with a functional medicine practitioner, it felt overwhelming as well because you felt like everything in the world that was part of your modern lifestyle was poisoning you.
Kara Ware (00:22:37):
Andy Vantrease (00:22:38):
That’s a really scary feeling. Can’t cook with this pan anymore. <laugh>. I can’t put my leftovers of the, you know, delicious meal that I’m trying to make organic into a Tupperware and then I can’t even like drink my tap water. You know, it’s just like every, it feels like everything has to change. So I really appreciate you saying like, what is one thing I can do, especially as a mother of two toddlers. There’s enough on the plate. Just that, just as is. Wow. Just a lot of compassion for you on that.
Kara Ware (00:23:16):
Thank you. There are a lot of nervous breakdowns along the way.
Andy Vantrease (00:23:19):
Yeah. Yeah. You mentioned that now there is a way that you work with families and recommend them for the body to be best led through this experience. But then also financially, a lot of this is not covered by insurance. Like you mentioned in the beginning of like, okay, this is what is covered. And I know when I’m working with practitioners who are out of pocket anything, functional medicine, anything alternative, it’s not cheap. Yeah. Just kind of giving you some room to share how you walked through it. And then also like what you now believe to be maybe the pillars, the stepping stones. And in what order do you recommend families starting this journey?
Kara Ware (00:24:06):
I said, I mentioned earlier that I connected with him. I said, I’m here with you. This is, we’re doing this together. We’re in this together. And so I took the stance that I was gonna lead by example. So I didn’t ask Zachary to do anything I wasn’t willing to do myself. And I turned our home into our headquarters of healing of, um, because as you mentioned, the attack that was happening on all of our central narrative systems. And you can’t heal when you’re in that constant fight or flight. Right. That sympathetic drive. And we all were, we were all terrified. Uh, our sleep was being disrupted. You know, we weren’t able to rest and repair. And um, and so I had to first and foremost deliberately make my home a healing sanctuary because it was actually very depressed. You know, time would just go by so slowly and the tantrums were just so frequent.
And, um, and so really looking around my home and cleaning up toxicity that was in their everyday life. Right? So that was one of the first ways. And then also creating like a routine and creating continuity, you know, consistency in our everyday and, and using my thoughts and my words to speak healing over my children and to, and to make sure that I was always imprinting on them. That, you know, we’re doing all of this because we wanna feel better first and foremost. We ate stir fry I think for months cuz I had no idea what to make. But as we began to eat different, I do wanna share this with families is that this is a make it or break it moment. Changing what you eat is really challenging for many reasons. One, you have cultural importance in food <laugh> in what you eat. And also the food today is highly addictive.
Gluten and dairy. The proteins can uh, actually cross the blood brain barrier and they attach to opioid receptors. I mean they are legitimate addictive substances. And so when you remove an addictive high-inflammatory foods symptoms escalate. And uh, a lot of parents get scared and they turn back prematurely cuz they think, they’re like, no way. There’s no way. You know, they’re, it’s like worse now we’re making this worse.
Andy Vantrease (00:26:26):
Kara Ware (00:26:26):
And indeed we are because we have to sometimes make things worse before they get better, uh, because we’re asking the body to function differently and that’s uncomfortable. And so when we started, when I removed the gluten in the dairy, he went berserk and actually didn’t even eat for two weeks. And he was, he was screaming and throwing plates of food at me and was an absolute tyrant. But I had a provider, a medical doctor at the time we were working with say, this will be when you decide who’s in charge.
Are you in charge or is the Autism in charge? Because the Autism wants to take over everything. <laugh>.
Andy Vantrease (00:27:01):
Kara Ware (00:27:01):
Um, getting through that hurdle of removing allergens is not simple. I did a cold Turkey cuz that’s my personality. That’s not everybody’s personality. You can definitely incrementally do this and do lateral shifts. So we work with everyone based on their current ability. And so you asked me earlier about finances. Okay, all this is expensive. All these changes are overwhelming. Right. And trying to piece all of the pieces together is like a mental jigsaw. And how are we supposed to be physically strong enough to work and do everything else we’re supposed to do and all of this in addition. And um, so these are what are called, uh, ability factor. So BJ Fogg is a PhD in behavioral science and he just recently published the book Tiny Habits, the Small Changes That Change Your Life.
And I love how he distilled this down cuz this was, this was how I went about doing it was I had to look, if something felt really hard, like how am I gonna afford all these supplements? How am I gonna afford $500 an hour of a medical provider? I was a single mom by, you know, I became a single mom very early on. I was a single financial provider. How am I gonna do this? And so instead of just saying we can’t, cuz I was the least likely person to ever pull this off for so many reasons. But we just look at those ability factors and how we shore them up. And finances is a big ability factor. I took a financial freedom course through Dave Ramsey. I had to learn to take the finances that I did have and deliberately direct every dollar towards what I valued the most.
And what I valued the most was my family’s health so that we could have a sense of fun and, and freedom. I wanted that back. That’s what I valued. So, um, in functional medicine I like to say there’s really a three-tier approach. It’s financial medicine, then it’s foundational medicine where we’re, where we’re giving back, uh, you know, the body, those key nutrients that we’re depleted in. We actually start to balance our microbiome just by supporting the body’s intelligence. Right. So foundational, then functional, then we can get into killing and detoxing <laugh>.
Andy Vantrease (00:29:11):
Kara Ware (00:29:12):
Um, and so to parents, when you’re looking at this massive puzzle is to remember to back up and look at your ability factors. And so BJ Fogg says the five ability factors are time, finances, physical capability and mental creativity, mental clarity and routine. And so if you look at any one of those chains and which one’s kind of broken and shore them up, then little by little you’re going to influence your child’s health because you are deliberately directing your time.
You’re deliberately directing your money, and all of your ability to restoring their health and wellbeing and their development. You really don’t have to choose how far you’re willing to go. A lot of parents ask me, how far do I have to, how far do I have to go? Like how, what do I do? I really have to remove all of this. Won’t just like a little bit’s okay, here and there? And I’m gonna be really honest with you. It’s not Yeah, it’s not. At first down the road, Zachary now that hi, we’ve reclaimed his health and his freedom. Now he can have some gluten and dairy exposures, but he now knows his threshold and if he has too much, he walks a fine line from regression and and breaking out an eczema again, for example.
Andy Vantrease (00:30:28):
Sounds like you really started with the food piece then.
Kara Ware (00:30:32):
And the environment.
Andy Vantrease (00:30:33):
And the environment. Yeah. Right.
Kara Ware (00:30:35):
The environment, the home environment and, and the nutrition and the lifestyle and really paying attention to my thoughts and my words and directing my time and my money. Very basic building blocks. And people wanna skip over the basic building blocks cuz it’s not sexy, but the building blocks is what’s going to sustain this 17 year journey. I always want everyone to hear that we didn’t do this for a couple years and then we were finished. We’re still very much living this lifestyle and always will. It’s who we are now. It’s a process of transformation. It’s who we’ve become in the process. It wasn’t something that we were doing. And that’s another kind of pearl I wanna share with families is that this isn’t a checklist. This isn’t something you’re gonna race through. This isn’t something you’re gonna remove gluten for a while and then oh, everything will go back to normal. I had to learn to let go of what was normal of my life before Autism came in because I really liked my life before it came in <laugh>, but it blew it all up. And that is that lesson of letting go and loving what’s in front of you and moving forward together.
Andy Vantrease (00:31:37):
Yeah. To me there’s piece of it that is a motherly innate wisdom of like, I’m accepting what is, and at the same time holding the idea that there are ways to move forward together. That I’m going to continue to ask the questions that I’m going to treat this as much as my own journey, as the journey of my son as well. And there’s not a separation between those two things. And it’s not this power over, let me fix this person. So that’s really interesting to me. Like the, the being able to hold those two complexities at the same time. I imagine you to be quite a spiritual person. Having like talking about really recognizing what your thoughts were and how that energy is being spilled over into the family and how even just your thoughts and your energy and what you are doing is creating a physical atmosphere in the house. Um, so I’m curious, did you have any kind of practice or your spirituality, your religion, your belief systems, your faith? Like what did that look like coming into this? And I imagine it has massively shifted.
Kara Ware (00:32:52):
You know, spirituality is definitely a part of a comprehensive care plan, right? I ask all of my families, what is your source of inspiration? What do you anchor in? What do you believe in? What gives you sources of strength? Right? And time where you, where you feel like you’re beaten and you’re never gonna get up again. Um, and so when I was, uh, 25 I traveled to, uh, Central America and I was introduced to yoga. And so was a, became a diligent yogi, you know, just absolutely fell in love with it and actually was working in a rural healthcare clinic, had created an entire yoga program. Uh, when my children were born for seniors living with chronic conditions and limited mobility, they had sent me down to the Asheville Yoga School to become, uh, certified. They were sending me to the Highlander, uh, Research Center in Tennessee, which is a research center to train leaders in social change. And um, all along I was practicing and studying yoga. I opened up the yoga studio, it was called Easy Desert Chair Yoga Program. Became so popular at the rural healthcare clinic that Marshall University contracted me. And I started actually disseminating yoga programs throughout, uh, Appalachia region <laugh>.
Andy Vantrease (00:34:02):
Kara Ware (00:34:03):
So yoga is, um, means for me to tap into an intelligence that was not of this world because no one knew what to do at the time. Yeah. You know, it saved me a lot of times, even today I’ll notice I’m holding my breath. Just the simplest things right? And, and being aware and stopping and breathing deeply so that I can affect my circumstances rather than my circumstances affecting me. And through my yoga practice, I received that step-by-step guidance. And I had a message anchor in my heart really earlier on that said, all this will be used for good. And that’s what I held onto, uh, through really hard times. And it is all being used for good. You know, today one in six children, one in six are diagnosed with some kind of developmental disability. Back then it was one in 150 with Autism. Today’s one in 44.
Andy Vantrease (00:34:55):
Yeah, I’ve heard some of those numbers too. So I’d like to hear about some of the key moments of recognizing that he was healing how small or big, I mean if there’s more eye contact happening, there’s different levels of communication that are unfolding or you know, kind of being unearthed. I love this idea of you really helping him to understand or him helping you to understand that this isn’t who you are. Like we’re uncovering who you are, we’re discovering who you are. Like we’re meeting you. How amazing is this? I mean, I really like that language because it does take the behaviors of Autism and separate them from the soul of the person or the essence of your son. Because I imagine in a 17 year journey, obviously like something has to keep you going and, and yes, your faith. But I think also the points for parents when they’re really seeing a change, I mean that adds so much fuel to, you know, the inspiration to continue to, to keep going.
Kara Ware (00:36:07):
So our progress was slow. It’s not like I removed gluten and dairy and he started talking the next day. And it was about six months to be honest into it. When I was like, okay, we’re getting somewhere. He was starting to look at me, he was starting to follow directions. He was beginning to respond to his name. You know, and then a little bit longer than that, like a year and a half later we started hearing words and then words linked together. His sleep was improving. Small, small things to be honest. They weren’t huge, miraculous. Like this is great. Um, it was small and a lot of times we had, uh, regressions anytime we introduced something new. So it was always, you know, three steps back, two steps forward or whatever the old saying is. Um, and I just had to trust that process and I’m really grateful that the first practitioners I work with told me to expect that. You know, it’s not a linear journey. It’s not like you’re gonna start this and start feeling better consistently. There are gonna be times where you actually feel worse. But the progress is enough for me to know we were onto something cuz I could start interacting with him more. You know, little, little by little by little. And, and it was just, what else was I gonna do? I mean, I knew I had to lower his inflammation and so I just had to keep committing to, well how do I do that more.
Andy Vantrease (00:37:21):
Mm-hmm. Can you tell me about perhaps an example of a time that you felt like it might have been a rock bottom moment for you and how you got through that? Because I know that, you know, for parents who are on this journey, there’s, there’s gotta be so many moments like that and just hearing from somebody else about, you know, what your experience has been. I, I imagine it might be helpful.
Kara Ware (00:37:49):
There have been many times I felt like I was brought on the brink of death and um, I was so sick. The stress was so sick. There was one time in particular that um, my hair was falling out. I was losing my hearing. My skin was gray. I was really struggling to get up. My balance was off because my hearing was going really, I was struggling to work, I was struggling to take care of my children. So, um, it’s gonna take you, it’s gonna take you to that place. And um, I don’t even know how I’m still alive to be honest. We moved in with my mom at that point cause I couldn’t care for him anymore. Um, and I had to stop funding Zachary’s journey to put money towards myself. And so, um, man, this has to be a journey that you take with your kids to remove the inflammatory foods, to take supplements, to have respite care, to go slowly. Not try to push yourself in this healing journey because it’s gonna wanna take your life.
Andy Vantrease (00:39:00):
Kara Ware (00:39:02):
That’s why I’ve made it my mission. Um, the turnaround. So more people aren’t driving into oncoming traffic and are so blown away and overwhelmed when they do come to the doors of functional medicine that actually does have a path of um, profound healing. Um, and my mission has been to turn around and help more families to do this slowly, incrementally and intelligently because we can cause a lot of harm with these very sensitive children and we can spend a lot of money and we can make everything worse.
Andy Vantrease (00:39:38):
Kara Ware (00:39:39):
And so I want to help more families know how to not only direct their time and their money toward their values, but how to sustain the journey <laugh>. With these building blocks and to pace yourself.
Andy Vantrease (00:39:53):
Kara Ware (00:39:54):
I wanna be that guide to someone that I wish I had had.
Andy Vantrease (00:39:57):
Yeah. And I know that you take an approach that it starts with the parents. From what I know from your work, it’s like we’re not even gonna talk about the child until we talk about the household, the relationships, the holistic health of the leaders of the household. What is this gonna be like? I imagine those are tough conversations and I imagine you run into pushback on that <laugh>.
Kara Ware (00:40:28):
Andy Vantrease (00:40:30):
To say the least <laugh>.
Kara Ware (00:40:33):
Yeah. I have a lot of parents get angry with me. I seem to say things that really infuriate people and it’s kind of taken me by surprise to be honest. <laugh>
Andy Vantrease (00:40:43):
Especially cuz you’ve been through it. You know, you’re not talking to them from a place of not understanding. It’s like I know how you feel.
Kara Ware (00:40:52):
We are in this mess of one in six children having a serious developmental delay because our environment, like our food, our air, our water. Right? Everything has reached a tipping point where it is too toxic to thrive. We are the disease states are accelerating. Yeah. You know, Alzheimer’s, what was presented in a 60 and 70 year old is now being an early onset Alzheimer’s. Right? And showing in up in the thirties and forties. And the reason why we have to start with us is this is not an isolated case that happens in our home. It’s a legacy of health issues through, you know, generations through our genetic code. And everything that’s happened up until us that has come before us has made us vulnerable to this. And so it’s much larger <laugh> than just healing your child. It’s healing ancestral wounds. It’s healing our, it’s participating in our environment Right? To to stop destroying it.
Andy Vantrease (00:41:56):
Kara Ware (00:41:57):
To pay attention, to stop buying the products that are just killing us slowly. So yeah. Start with the parents <laugh>. Um, because you are your child’s environment. It’s how you’re gonna lead the show that makes all the difference in the outcome.
Andy Vantrease (00:42:14):
Mm-hmm. And when you receive that pushback, is it a feeling of parents not knowing that it has a lot to do with them or they already just at a point of overwhelm.
Kara Ware (00:42:28):
We we’re so trained that we’re sick, we need the doctor. And that’s true. We definitely need medical oversight. But that is a small part of a comprehensive plan. Actually, we have the most power in our outcome when we shore up our ability factors and we change our modifiable lifestyle factors. Right. We, we change our lifestyle and our nutrition and our hydration and our movement and our stress resilience. And um, and so I think what I have to say is asking people to step back from where they’re going. They want the doctor. They want the best for their child. And I think that is aggravating for people to feel like I’m pulling them back.
Andy Vantrease (00:43:06):
And I even think of it in situations of addiction and things where like a child is in a household. Maybe the child is going through like a rehab or something where their behavior is expected to change, but the parents still wanna have alcohol in the home. They still wanna be able to, you know, have their exact lifestyle, but it’s no, it’s this kid that has to change and it’s just all on them. And, and that, it just reminded me, cuz I know several families, you know, who have gone through that scenario. And it’s obviously different than Autism, but it’s the same idea of like, yo, this is, this is a symbiotic environment ecosystem and if one is going to change, the whole has to, and they all impacting each other.
Kara Ware (00:43:59):
Really. Well said. It’s really well said. And you know, we see that same thing and, and Autism is like, oh the, you know, this child has this special diet but we’re all still eating this food. And then that’s just a, you know, then there’s resistance and then parents are like, oh it’s not working.
Andy Vantrease (00:44:14):
Well. And I think about that just from a bigger picture perspective. The idea of the ecosystem and the idea of what you just touched on as far as like that’s why we’re here with these statistics. I think I was reading in one of your blog posts of like, Autism is the sign of our times, and it’s the canary in the coal mine. This isn’t just popping up out of nowhere for no reason. Just as fertility issues aren’t popping up out of nowhere for no reason. It’s a wake up call in a lot of ways. And seeing it as that guidance, as that gift and working through it. I certainly have a lot of hope like coming out of different podcasts that I’m listening to and educators and doctors that I’ve kind of latched onto for information that I just find fascinating when people can give us that 30,000 foot view of the history of how we got here.
For me, that gives it great context. It doesn’t put like individual blame on any one thing or one person. I mean I know with you you, you know, you write about like you had a natural birth. You breastfed Zach. You made every single <laugh> jar of his baby food from organic food. Like what is the deal? How is this possible? And so in order to get to the answer of that, you really do have to take that bigger picture view. What’s going on with me? What was going on with my mom? What was going on with her mother?
Kara Ware (00:45:48):
Absolutely. And understanding our genetic code is so important to see where are we vulnerable in our DNA. And um, that helps to steer the personalization of our medical interventions, cuz we can now know we don’t have to guess what nutrients do we have higher demands for in times of increased stress and trauma, poor nutrition. And, and it’s really learning how to work with our bodies to, because vulnerability is in our DNA.
Andy Vantrease (00:46:16):
Mm-hmm. I think it’s so important and I’m so grateful to hear from your personal story because obviously that has guided you into the profession that you’re in. And before we get into that, I would love to hear what has been the gift, what has been the pearls of this 17 year journey that you’ve been on for you within you?
Kara Ware (00:46:39):
I always tell Zachary he taught me everything and now I’m teaching it back to him and that he saved my life. You know, when I was younger I had a lot of health issues, a lot of trouble. And he has saved my life. And now, uh, next year I’ll be 48 and I’ve never felt better. I sleep great. My joints don’t hurt anymore. My digestion is good, my energy’s great. My hair’s no longer falling out. <laugh> Uh, my mental clarity is kind of shocking sometimes. I’m like, look at me go, you know, my executive functioning, and my ability to be so resilient in the face of adversity, and really be able to break down that adversity now and, and kind of like, you know, be thinking and calculating what ability factor can I be supporting and what thought do I need <laugh> at this moment and what que better question can I ask so that I can find a better solution. You know, it’s amazing the person that I’ve become as a result of this journey.
Thank you for what a, a profound question because I encourage families now that we know recovery is possible, there are groups of people that talk about Autism recovery and now more families are knowing that we can heal and actually lose the diagnosis. You know, but that’s very outcome based and I see them get really frustrated if it, it hasn’t happened in two or three years, you know, cuz they’re really doing it. They’re working hard, they’re doing everything, you know, and that’s great. But in two to three years they get frustrated, you know, cuz they haven’t reached their outcome. Well I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t even know what to pray for. I didn’t even know what was possible. And all I knew is that if I did each step, each moment, each breath with love as my motivator and imprinted that in everything I did as I was brushing my teeth, and massaging my gums, and being grateful. I believe that all those small steps would accumulate to create big change. And it did. I feel today with so much manifesting terminology and and teaching going on, that we lose sight of the process of the mystery of the opening and receiving and the, the transformation that’s available to us through such great challenges. Cuz we’re so locked in on what we think we want.
Andy Vantrease (00:49:13):
I imagine it can actually be helpful when you don’t even know what is possible. You know, that then it creates the space for having to accept if this is the reality that we’ll always be, how can I do that with more love? And grace. Yeah.
Kara Ware (00:49:30):
Yeah. I always thought I was at a disadvantage cuz there was no information. And then today I really feel for families cuz there’s so much information. And that in and of itself is paralyzing and debilitating.
Andy Vantrease (00:49:42):
Mm-hmm. Yeah. Even just choice paralysis. What do I do? How do I do it? And, and then couple that with at least in the, you know, western world. Just like obsession with immediate results. I really can imagine, you know what you mentioned about doing more harm than good when you try to go really fast in a process like this.
Kara Ware (00:50:03):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And that’s why I’m pulling people back, right <laugh>.
Andy Vantrease (00:50:07):
Kara Ware (00:50:07):
But they don’t wanna be pulled back.
Andy Vantrease (00:50:09):
Kara Ware (00:50:10):
So I’m still trying to figure out how to, how to make that attractive.
Andy Vantrease (00:50:14):
Anybody who’s teaching yoga or any form of those practices and those teachings, we’re all trying to figure out how to make slowing down appealing <laugh>.
Kara Ware (00:50:26):
Yeah. Yeah. And building right on. You know, yoga’s such a good, um, metaphor cuz we have to first work on our alignment right. Before we can even start to enter into a more advanced pose. So similar, that’s the same idea, like I’m asking you, let’s come into alignment with some, you know, key truth first and then move forward into more aggressive interventions.
Andy Vantrease (00:50:50):
Mm-hmm. I’d love to hear what life is like with Zach now. Yeah. We’ve been talking about this 17 year journey and the, the language you, the language you use now is that he is in remission from Autism. What does that mean? What does that look like for you guys?
Kara Ware (00:51:09):
So early on I mentioned recovery. I feel like, uh, it’s not true. It’s not like we just get to a place and we’re done with it and we can just, you know, continue on. It’s a fine line. We walk, I mentioned that earlier with um, making sure we’re constantly supporting his body. So today he’s 19, he’s in college and he is getting a, he’s working with a job coach to get a job and he is driving and he is quite independent, very bright and intelligent. And I love his perspective because he, you know, his internal dialogue are, are all those key messages I’ve been imprinting for the last <laugh> 17 years. So parents, you know, your children’s inner dialogue become those words you’re speaking in your house. And so I love hearing those back from him and his perspective. And just recently, within the last couple years that social ability has kicked in.
A lot of families wanna take their kids a social skills classes and social is a very advanced, um, skill to develop. And that really has been the last thing to come. And so now he’s able to read nonverbals, he’s able to respond appropriately when someone asks him the question. It doesn’t take him so long, you know, to think about what he wants to say. So there’s no awkward delay. He is very, uh, cognizant of living a life in balance. You know, he’s always, uh, sketching out his time where he is gonna be devoting his time, he’s learned to budget, uh, so that he can get body work and that he can go to the gym and he can, you know, learn jujitsu, and he can go skiing and, and he’s delightful, and he’s so grateful. He knows how bad he felt.
Andy Vantrease (00:52:49):
Mm-hmm. I have never heard a story like this and that’s why I wanted to have you on. And knowing that there’s another option and knowing that there’s a possibility. We keep teetering that line of like, Zach’s story’s not gonna be everybody’s story and that’s fantastic because it’s just his. You know, it’s unique to him and every person has their own path to walk. You know, within the dynamic of all of this. Yeah. Celebrating you, celebrating him, and bringing some hope to those who are seeking this kind of thing while also continuing to add the caution of it’s not gonna look exactly the same way. Right?
Kara Ware (00:53:32):
No, it’s not. And I’ve worked with a lot of families, but there is a theme between all of us. You know, there are a lot of families that have children older than Zachary who they’ll take care of for the rest of their lives, and that’s the reality. But the, the main central theme is that they enjoy their children. Their behaviors are not so disruptive, terrifying any longer. And that’s really, as a parent, what we want is to be able to enjoy our time in our, our family.
Andy Vantrease (00:54:02):
Yeah. Yeah. I’d love to hear about what you’re focusing on work-wise and how all of this has come very full circle for you and, and how your experiences have uniquely suited you for exactly what you were doing today. I mean, I know when we talked before, you were consulting with doctors and helping them transition their practices into more functional approaches, but there was also a piece of what I was hearing you say about wanting to get back to working with families. So just wanna open up the space for you to share with us how this has guided your professional life and, and where you are today, what you’re focusing on.
Kara Ware (00:54:41):
When I decided to open a multidisciplinary Autism clinic and my career has taken me so far, <laugh> from working with Autism, as you mentioned, working with doctors and creating functional medicine practices and really having the foundation medicine up front in those functional medicine practices so that when they do work with the doctor certified and functional medicine, uh, the return on an investment is, it’s impressive, cuz we did go slow to go fast. Finally circling back around to doing exactly what I started out to do, which was work in a, a multidisciplinary clinic. And so I’m joining forces with, um, a pediatrician, Dr. Paula Kruppstadt. They are based out of Shenandoah, Texas, Hope for Healing. And um, she has a pediatric practice that’s specializing in the developmental delays and a, uh, collaborative care team. And I get to join them to lead the foundation medicine eight week group coaching series that we ask parents to go through first, so that the parents do take a look at their own mental, emotional, spiritual health, their motivators, their values, their beliefs, how they’re directing their mindset, their time, their finances, their money.
That’s what I call functional finances is mindset, time and money. Um, we do all the things that aren’t, you know, super sexy <laugh> and, but it is what establishes a strong foundation for the functional medicine path to be successful. And we know this and that’s why Dr. K and I have partnered together because after seven years of being in a functional medicine practice, she knows she needs the families to more assume autonomy over the lifestyle changes before her medical piece can be really successful. So we wanna use people’s time and money wisely. We wanna guide them through this journey in an intelligent sequence to layer interventions to work together, um, in combination, in a well-paced manner. Um, and so much change can happen in one year. Um, but we need at least a year to really work together to be able to look back and be like, wow, okay, we’re really seeing some progress. Cuz as I mentioned earlier, it’s, it’s slow, it’s a slow progress and a lot of times we actually go backwards to go forwards.
Andy Vantrease (00:56:56):
Yeah. What are your favorite parts of this professional piece? What really lights you up?
Kara Ware (00:57:03):
I, I feel lit up with working with parents on this path of transformation because in the very early years it was very isolating. Like I mentioned, you know, we weren’t invited to play dates. We didn’t go out. I, I stopped going out to my grocery store because we had, you know, made so many fits, uh, that I was just done with going out in public. And it’s very isolating and that breeds disease, you know? And we need each other. We need a community. We need support. We need to know we’re not in this alone. And offering the group coaching series up front is first and foremost creating a community so that you have strength in numbers and that you have a tribe who sees you and knows what you’re going through. No one knows what you’re going through unless you’ve lived with this diagnosis.
You know, I’ve continued coaching parents for 10 years, even though I was business coaching primarily. And I’m excited to use the curriculum cuz it’s about parents discovering, well how are they going to go through this change process? What are they gonna rely on? Right? What are their values? And it’s this foundation that their healing actually will be expedited more than mine. It took me years to find things. You know, like all I had for years was to do the diet and lifestyle and basic key supplements. And then it wasn’t until later that I started learning about gut pathogens like two years later. And then the detox and then the hyperbarics and then the Lyme and you know, it got, it kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger. <laugh>. Um, I had to go really slow. There is this year, don’t have to go as slow as I did. But the point is, is that we need to go slower than what, than uh, what we think. So that’s what I’m excited about. Thank you. What fabulous question is, uh, to get back and help more families know how to not only implement the changes, but how to sustain the changes. I can’t tell you how many families like start this and then they quickly drop out cause they can’t afford it, like you mentioned earlier.
Andy Vantrease (00:58:57):
And so are you doing this online?
Kara Ware (00:59:00):
Andy Vantrease (00:59:00):
Are you bringing people together online? Okay.
Kara Ware (00:59:02):
Andy Vantrease (00:59:03):
So people can tune in from anywhere?
Kara Ware (00:59:05):
It’s online. Right? It’s online. And we’re using Mighty Networks, which is gonna be in like an online community. And so we will have, um, chats and events and uh, all kinds of things in that community. And then after they go through the lifestyle, cuz that’s truly the foundation and functional medicine, you have to, to have that, you know, lifestyle nutrition. Then they see our genetics provider to get those precision genetics, cuz we really have to understand your source code. We have to understand where your vulnerabilities that are and your susceptibilities and what nutrients you need. It, it, it truly guides. You can’t diagnose from a genetic report, but it guides treatment. And so then after those two pieces are in place and then families meet with our medical doctors, they’re, everyone’s ready to get to work and they’re ready to partner together, because functional medicine is a mutual participatory medical model. You can’t just show up at a functional medicine doctor and be like, okay, what are you gonna do for me? Like that just doesn’t, that’s not how this model works.
Andy Vantrease (00:59:57):
It’s very partnership based.
Kara Ware (00:59:59):
Yeah. So after the parents have assumed their role in this partnership by going through the lifestyle and the genetics and then they meet for the, um, medical consultation, that’s when your healing expedites, cuz now the body’s ready to kick in for those gut pathogen killing protocols or detox or whatever we need to do. It’s an exciting time where we’re merging to blend our unique skillsets to be able to open up care across state lines for one and, uh, to help more people. And to do this right. To do this. To do this. So it’s solid. You know, we’re standing on solid ground.
Andy Vantrease (01:00:34):
Kara Ware (01:00:34):
We’re starting with two cohorts in January. Um, and then, uh, opening up more as we train more health coaches. And this is truly the, the wave of the future. And functional medicine is doing more health coaching upfront, um, with parents. Health coaching is a, is is pretty new career, but it’s deeply rooted in science. Uh, for the last 20 years there’s been significant bodies of research that have been published substantiating, um, that health coaching has been the missing piece in a collaborative care team on a medical piece. So if we work with a health coach and we really look at that change process and we go through this foundation principles, right. Then when you meet with your medical provider, you’re gonna actually spend less money o in the long term overall.
Andy Vantrease (01:01:21):
Yeah, yeah. Overall.
Kara Ware (01:01:22):
Andy Vantrease (01:01:23):
Yeah. I think that’s a piece too that is hard to see unless you’ve kind of walked that as well. I mean that’s been my experience. At least my understanding of how I sustain my own health is like doing the education portion of it so that I am now in charge of my body and, and I can do so much more myself before even having to go see a provider, see a doctor, um, or any kind of practitioner because the lifestyle pieces, the nutrition pieces, if I feel myself getting out of balance, it’s like, okay, let me pair back on some of the things I know to be inflammatory. Let me do some extra movement, extra rest. It’s like these foundational pieces, like you’re speaking of. We’ve narrowed in on Autism, but it’s also the conversation of like how anybody stays healthy, understanding the detox pathways, understanding the power of our thoughts and beliefs and energies, understanding relationship pieces of it. It’s just like this bigger picture of how we live well.
Kara Ware (01:02:28):
Everything you just said that is healthcare. You know, the instant gratification of going to someone else to do something for us isn’t working. We know that we have to take responsibility.
Andy Vantrease (01:02:38):
There was another thing that you wrote that really resonated with me and you said something like Autism has, is the master teacher has been my master teacher. And you know, I think from that big picture view that we’ve been, um, alluding to throughout this conversation is like, this is the shift that is needing to happen in healthcare and in the understanding of how everything that has come to this point, it’s like a, just a pretty basic cause and effect situation we have on our hands. And how incredible that if we’re really looking at the development and at the diagnoses and the diseases that are presenting themselves today, the rising up of these numbers across all categories, across all chronic illness and disease, if we’re really paying attention, that will lead to the shift that is asking to happen.
Kara Ware (01:03:37):
Yes. Yes. It’s an exciting time. It really is. It truly is. And it’s no longer a mystery anymore. Like we know what’s going on, we understand the source of inflammation. Like the advancements in medicine in the past two decades have been phenomenal and there’s just more and more evidence-based, um, you know, supporting this medical model, the system’s biology, medical model that we call functional medicine.
Andy Vantrease (01:04:00):
Yeah. So is there anything that we didn’t cover that I didn’t ask about that you want to be in this conversation and want to mention?
Kara Ware (01:04:08):
Yeah, thank you. There’s one, uh, parting thought is that I was in denial for a long time. I don’t know how, looking back, I have no idea, we wasted a lot of time. Like, oh, he is just a wild boy growing up in the woods. Oh, we just had a baby brother, you know, with the escalated behaviors. And then I, I was mad at him for a long time and then I found out what was going on. Then I was horrified then I was upset with myself for being mad at him. And then I learned how, how all my toxicity dumped on him, his developing fetus. And then I was like, oh great, I did this to him.
And there’s a lot of blame that happens, uh, when parents start learning about all this. I was so devastated and upset with myself and then I realized, well, hey wait, if I gave him my metals and I set him up for this, you know, predisposition and I was a part of this toxicity, well then who, who’s contaminating me? And that’s when I started getting that 30,000 foot view of just how you know all of the crazy things that are going on in our food, air, and water and, and just our environment as a pressure cooker. And so I encourage you to forgive yourself for any, um, for anything and all things, and to know and encourage yourself that you have the ability to help them feel better. You absolutely do so have comfort in that because you’re gonna have to find a confidence in you that you’ve never known before, cuz you’ll have to stand up by yourself even when no one’s, you know, standing around you, uh, for what you believe in. And so that’s, uh, one last thing I wanted to say is that it’s not your fault and it’s actually going to work towards your benefit if you let it.
Andy Vantrease (01:05:48):
Mm-hmm. Thanks for adding that piece. So our tagline of the podcast is the magic of living a connected Life. I’m curious for you, what is it that currently allows you to live a connected life? Or what does it mean to you to live a connected life?
Kara Ware (01:06:06):
Partnerships, everything’s about creating therapeutic partnerships. Partnerships with your children, partnerships with your colleagues, your, your, you know, all of those people you interact with your education team, right? We’re partnering together and um, looking at what we can do rather than focusing on the lack of resources, right. Looking at what can we do, so we shift outta that lack of scarcity and we combine our efforts. And in that partnership, I feel connection is reciprocity, the role of reciprocity, of how can we benefit one another, right? How can everyone benefit as a result? Uh, and so living a connected life to me is cultivating partnerships and relationship of reciprocity.
Andy Vantrease (01:07:04):
Kara Ware. What a journey this mother has gone on in search of answers and a better existence for her son and herself. And now she’s keeping her vow of using this all for good and helping other families move towards harmony and release the fear that Autism can have on a life and an entire family unit. I appreciate how honest Kara was in this conversation. Words that were not always easy for me to hear or for her to say, I’m sure. The thoughts that she had in the depths of the stress that almost took her own life in her pursuit of saving it and the realization of how far people will go to build a better world that they believe is possible, and that it is possible. I was blown away to hear that Zach is now 19. He’s in college, he’s driving skiing, going to the gym, and leading a balanced and full life.
To get in touch with Kara as a patient, a mom, a doctor, or someone just wanting to say hello and thank you. Her website is karawarecoaching.com and the site for her new collaboration and online family program is get2theroot.com. And of course I will put those in the show notes for you.
A special thank you to Matthew Marsolek and the Drum Brothers, whose music you hear at the beginning and end of this podcast, as well as Dr. Jean Shinoda Bolen, who first turned us on to the phenomenon of the Dandelion Effect and how ideas move through the world.
This podcast is a production of the Feathered Pipe Foundation, a 501(c)3 dedicated to healing, education, community and empowerment. If you’d like to help support this project, please visit FeatheredPipe.com/gratitude or leave a review on Apple podcasts and share with your friends. Be sure to tune in to our next episode in two weeks. We cannot wait to share another amazing conversation with you. Until then, have a beautiful day!