Brain health | Cacao and adhd | Cacao and children | Cacao benefits | Cacao health | Ceremonial cacao | Mental health | Plant medicine | Therapy
At age 6, William told his mother, Tory, "I don't want to live. You need to show me how to die". When William was diagnosed with Autism at the tender age of three, Tory's world was forever changed. It was a diagnosis that would lead to a tumultuous journey of emotions, but nothing could have prepared her for the day her six-year-old son looked her in the eyes and uttered those words. They cut deep, really deep.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental condition that affects individuals in various ways. Like Tory, parents of children on the Spectrum face numerous challenges, from social stigmatization to a lack of effective treatment options. "William met a lot of social judgment. We tried specialists and all the things that every parent out there tried with that kind of diagnosis, and it didn't stop the stigma," says Tory.
Teachers hesitated to welcome William into their classrooms, and other children excluded him from social gatherings. William found himself on the fringes of society, and Tory and her family bore the weight of this isolation. “He was already on the fringes of society, and we got to feel that, too. Suddenly, we were persona non grata.” This is a stark reality faced by many parents of children with Autism.
The toll on parents of children with Autism is often overwhelming, with studies revealing a cascade of physical and mental health issues, higher divorce rates, financial strain, and a decline in overall family well-being. The relentless search for effective therapies can be emotionally exhausting and financially draining.
In their pursuit of solutions, Tory and her family realized their options were limited. The school William was in wanted him put on Ritalin so he could be more manageable in class. Tory had done her research and knew that Ritalin, a nervous system stimulant often prescribed for individuals with ADHD, can have adverse effects on some children with Autism and even exacerbate their symptoms. She politely but firmly refused.
The turning point in William and Tory's life came when they discovered Keith's Ceremonial Grade Cacao. Derived from the seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree, it is the purest and most minimally processed form of chocolate. With no additives or preservatives, Keith’s Cacao is known for its mood-enhancing and stress-reducing properties. While the scientific community is only beginning to explore the effects of Ceremonial Cacao on the behavior of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Tory and William's journey stands as a powerful testament to its transformative potential in the lives of these individuals and their families.
Tory began incorporating Keith’s Cacao into William's diet by adding it to his smoothies and making cacao-infused lollipops. The results were nothing short of remarkable. Gradually, William began to embrace his emotions and foster self-acceptance and Cacao started to bring about a shift, a transformative change in every aspect of the family's life. Rather than struggling to make William conform to societal norms, Tori followed her heart to connect with her son's unique needs and perspective. "We decided to change ourselves rather than try to change everything else. And that was key."
And Keith's Cacao helped Tory as well. She was able to let go of the negative, focus again, and rediscover her son with a fresh perspective rather than trying to make William be like other children. This shift empowered the family to think outside the box. They decided to sell their home and embark on a journey of travel around the world. Tory noted, "I couldn't tell you I planned this. Because we didn't. We responded to William… It's a whole different level of liberation."
As Keith Wilson, founder of Keith’s Cacao and catalyst for the modern-day Ceremonial Cacao movement, says, "Autism helps stretch the boundaries that most adults have about what is and is not normal. When Keith's Cacao is not seen as a drug to fix kids with Autism, that's when it can help the most."
Over the years, Keith's Cacao has received feedback from several parents of children with Autism. As Keith's Cacao is a focus enhancer, they report noticing significant behavioral changes, especially in their children’s interactions with others.
These changes are likely due to the psychoactive properties found in Keith's Cacao. Unlike Adderall and Ritalin, which contain amphetamines, Keith's Cacao contains a more gentle, non-addictive cousin of amphetamine: an alkaloid called phenylethylamine (PEA), which still holds many of the focus and mood-boosting qualities of its close cousin.
Like ADHD stimulant meds, the PEA in Ceremonial Grade Cacao stops the brain from reabsorbing dopamine and norepinephrine, making more of these chemicals available in the brain. This is how Keith's Cacao gives the brain a dopamine boost.
Scientific studies have started to provide insights into the potential benefits of Pure Cacao for individuals with Autism. Recent research has shown that children with ASD often exhibit an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants, resulting from oxidative stress linked to the disorder's pathogenesis.
A pilot study explored the effects of high-concentration antioxidant Cacao on the behavior of children with ASD. The study's results indicated the potential therapeutic benefits of antioxidants in improving social communication, reducing unusual behaviors, and enhancing self-regulation in children with Autism. Moreover, flavanols, which are abundant in Cacao, have been shown to enhance cognitive function, memory, and overall well-being.
Additional robust randomized controlled trials are essential to confirm the validity of these findings. Nevertheless, the personal testimonies of individuals like Tory and William indicate that 100% Pure Cacao may become a valuable asset in the toolkit of autism therapy, offering newfound hope and possibilities for families grappling with this complex condition. Keith's Cacao, dedicated to delivering the purest and finest Ceremonial Cacao to the world, wholeheartedly supports this remarkable journey, nurturing both the mind and heart.
Karst JS, Van Hecke AV. Parent and family impact of autism spectrum disorders: a review and proposed model for intervention evaluation. Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev. 2012 Sep;15(3):247-77. doi: 10.1007/s10567-012-0119-6. PMID: 22869324.
Special thanks to
Victoria Lenormand (Tory) Tory is a Keith’s Cacao Practitioner, former police officer, and strategic intervention coach who has studied Reiki healing, Crystal masters, Nutrition, and Cacao, all in support of her son, who has been diagnosed with Autism.
New to Ceremonial Cacao? Head to our Quick Start Guide to learn more about this versatile, magical superfood and instructions on preparing a perfect cup.
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