Featured Guest Blog: I Am a Thinking Mom

I am a Thinking Mom.  I didn’t realize it until I discovered “The Thinking Moms’ Revolution.”

I blog for Epidemic Answers, a non-profit whose goals are to:

  1. Provide information to parents of children with autism, ADHD, allergies, asthma, SPD, OCD, colic, reflux, chronic ear infections, ODD, developmental delays, learning disabilities, diabetes and autoimmune disorders.
  2. Let them know that recovery is possible.

So, upon joining Epidemic Answer (I’m also a Director), I have hooked up with a few like-minded moms and practitioners who are recovering kids, but in my personal life, Thinking Moms are extremely rare.  That’s why it’s been so refreshing to me to realize that I’m not alone in this; that there are moms out there who choose to make a better life for our kids, rather than just put up with the status quo.

Let me tell you how I came to be a Thinking Mom.

First, my upbringing, if you can call it that, was fairly unusual.  We were “raised by wolves” because our parents were extremely negligent in taking care of us; they were too involved with their chemical technical translation business.

My dad died of cancer when I was 11, and my mom became an alcoholic.  I had to learn to be responsible for myself at a very young age; there was really no one else there to take care of me.  No one checked on my grades or helped me with my homework; I did well because I wanted to get as far away as possible from the misery.

When I graduated high school in Tennessee, I went to college in Louisiana because my mom wanted me to become a petroleum engineer.  After a few years, I told my mom I didn’t want to be an engineer; there was no heart and soul to it at all.  My mom told me if I did that, she wouldn’t help me pay for school.  So I dropped out, moved to New Orleans, got a job and began supporting myself.

Flash forward 17 years later.  I had just had my first son, and I quit my job when he was born.  I thank God I did.

The first red flag was his incessant projectile vomiting, something the pediatricians waved off as colic and “he’ll outgrow it”.  As Thinking Moms know, this would be a recurring theme.  Next came his refusal to eat most solid foods, again dismissed by multiple pediatricians.

Only at 18 months when he had actually lost weight and his percentile had declined from 40th at birth to 3rd did a pediatrician finally take action, despite the fact that I had brought spreadsheets to them documenting how little he ate and despite me telling them that it would take at least an hour to feed him, at which point he would promptly throw it up.  I was a “new, nervous mom” and was condescendingly dismissed.

The pediatrician put my son on Pediasure (Thinking Moms are wincing).  Later, due to his persistent constipation, the pediatrician put my son on MiraLax, which is one step away from being antifreeze, but Thinking Moms know that.

I wasn’t quite a full-blown Thinking Mom yet, although I had a gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach that all of this wasn’t right, yet nobody seemed to notice or care.

A year later, he finally concluded that my son had acid reflux, and my son was given Prevacid and assigned to a pediatric gastroenterologist, who simply re-prescribed the medicine.  Thinking Moms know that Prevacid and other acid blockers weaken the immune system and can eventually lead to neurological damage because stomach acid is needed to destroy harmful pathogens and to strip B12 and necessary minerals from food.

Another red flag was my son’s not walking until he was 20 months of age, 3 weeks before his brother was born.  He was 18 months old before the doctor became concerned.

The last red flag was my realization that his incessant (for hours at a time) crying about things that were no big deal, like going to the grocery store or hearing a loud noise, weren’t normal.  I always knew that something was wrong, but I couldn’t put my finger on it, and all of the “experts” said not to worry.  He was 3 years old before I finally put my foot down with another pediatrician (we had switched again), and she had us see a developmental behaviorist who figured out that my son had Sensory Processing Disorder.

In the meantime, my sons’ (the little one had similar issues, too) constant demands did a number on my health.  I developed middle-of-the-night insomnia, shingles (twice), severe fatigue, bronchitis (I’d never had it before), chronic yeast infections, and it would take me weeks to recover from a cold.  I went to my gynecologist, who gave me Ambien (which did nothing) and Zoloft and who told me not to wear tight pants.  Thinking Moms are laughing at that one!  Because the Ambien didn’t help, I did my own research (I used to be a research analyst on Wall Street) and discovered that a magnesium deficiency can cause middle-of-the night insomnia.  I told my doctor, who shrugged her shoulders and said, “Whatever works for you.”  Really?

And thus my worldview began to shift, slowly at first.  It sped up after, of all things, the worst poison ivy rash I’d ever had.  My regular doctor gave me steroids, which definitely stopped the itching and swelling for the 6 days I was taking the medicine, but it all came back with a vengeance when I stopped taking it.  If steroids wouldn’t work, what would?

That’s when I discovered homeopathy.  It was a homeopathic remedy of Rhus toxiconderon, an infinitesimally small amount of poison ivy that did the trick.  Like cures like.  It gives the body just enough information to stimulate a healing response.  I was floored.

Given that I still had horrible fatigue and was always sick, I began seeing a naturopath, who did wonders in healing me, my gut and, thus, my immune system.  I started taking my boys to see him, and, again, thank God I did.  He had me stop giving them dairy, and their acid reflux went away almost instantaneously.  Do you think the pediatrician or pediatric gastroenterologist ever ONCE mentioned this?  Thinking Moms are shaking their heads, “No”.

And thank God we were seeing the naturopath when my son, 4 years old by this time, had a severe asthmatic attack, the kind where he needed Xopenex, prednisone and a nebulizer.  It was so bad the pediatrician called way after hours to see if we might need to take him to the emergency room.  With the naturopath’s help, the supplements he recommended, and my complete reversal of our diet, my son has never had another attack, just a wheeze or two a year since then.

I used to wonder if all of these red flags were connected, and now I know that they are.

My naturopath discovered that I had heavy-metal poisoning.  The mercury levels in me were off the charts, literally, lead was extremely elevated, and arsenic and cadmium were high as well.

I immediately had my sons tested, and sure enough, I had passed on my toxicity to them, something that our then-pediatrician poo-pooed.  She poo-pooed the Doctor’s Data lab test, waving off “those holistic labs” as a bunch of hooey, and she poo-pooed the fact that the levels could be so high in them.  “You don’t live in a toxic waste dump.”  Thinking Moms are rolling their eyes.

My older son was at the 97th percentile for heavy-metal toxicity, my younger son at the 90th.  I honestly don’t know how they didn’t become full-blown autistic, but they do have plenty of other problems to deal with.

This is when I really became a Thinking Mom.

I began looking at my sons’ Sensory Processing Disorder as related to autism, since a lot of autistic kids have it, too.  Whenever I read anything about autism, I substituted “SPD” for “autism” and began to really understand what was going on.

Reading Dr. Kenneth Bock’s and Cameron Strauth’s book, “Healing the New Childhood Epidemics:  Autism, ADHD, Asthma and Allergies:  The Groundbreaking Program for the 4-A Disorders” sealed the deal for me and helped me understand that it wasn’t just toxicity that was the problem; it’s the gut dysbiosis, too.

Most doctors scoff at people who use Google University to do their research, but thank God for the internet and all of the wonderful books out there, too.  By the time I went to hear Beth Lambert speak in the fall of 2010, I could finish the sentences coming out of her mouth.  She is the co-founder and Executive Director of Epidemic Answers and the main author of the book, “A Compromised Generation.”  I have been volunteering for Epidemic Answers ever since.

I’m tired of feeling like Cassandra and the odd woman out, and having The Thinking Moms’ Revolution helps me to know that there are others out there like me.  I love what you’re doing:  spreading the word and challenging the doctors and the pharmaceutical industry and the food industry.  There’s got to be a tipping point to where, if enough of us are out there in the blogosphere and on Facebook and other social media as well as talking one-on-one to moms and giving presentations, that other moms will realize that the “new normal” isn’t right.  We can really do this, and I’m so excited to help!

~Maria Rickert Hong

Maria Rickert Hong is a Holistic Health Counselor who teaches clients about dietary recovery from symptoms of autism, ADHD, allergies, asthma, SPD, OCD, reflux, fatigue, IBS, autoimmune and diabetes. She is a board member, social media director and blogger for Epidemic Answers, a non-profit whose goals are to educate parents of children with these chronic health conditions and to let them know that recovery is possible. She has recovered her two sons from SPD, asthma, allergies, acid reflux and eczema.

You can find her at http://www.MariaRickertHong.com/ and at

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20 Responses to Featured Guest Blog: I Am a Thinking Mom

  1. Pingback: I Am a Thinking Mom | Maria Rickert Hong

  2. Jill Mays says:

    I love your concept of “Thinking Mom!” Please help others become “Thinking Parents” by understanding how critical sensory motor play, stimuli and integration are for over all health in physical and especially neurological development. Your Child’s Motor Development Story (Sensory World) is the guide to help parents play with their children in a healthful way. Also helps identify read flags and direction to go for help.

  3. Rebecca Lee says:

    I am having trouble replying to comments I get on my email. This is for the lady who is working with the naturopath taking cilantro and chlorella. It would be a good idea to read Andy’s book. Chlorella is essentially useless and can be harmful. Cilantro is an actual chelator but since nobody knows it’s half life in the body you can hurt yourself really badly using it…and many people have. Proper chelation calls for a steady level of the agent so you have to take it on its half life. With alpha lipoid acid, for instance, this is every three hours day and night. Not doing this will cause redistribution of the mercury…possibly in to the brain. Chlorella is not a chelator as it has only one thiol group. All it will do is mobilize the mercury and make you sick.

    I advise you to read Andy’s book. He is an actual scientist.

  4. Melissa says:

    I just read your post! {{HUGS}} to you! I am so sorry your children & you had to go through all of this! My daughter, now 2yrs old, is the reason for what I do EVERY DAY! I started my business hand making Organic Bath & body Products, Baby products, Home Products, all so I could use products on myself and my family that I knew were safe! My secondary reason was to help other Mom’s provide the same safe care with their own children at an affordable price!
    I opted to NOT get ANY shots for my daughter. I gave birth to her naturally at a Birth Center, away from the hospital. We used Vitamin K drops instead of the injection, and have not AND will not be getting her vaccinated! She is healthy and energetic and I thank God everyday she is!
    I will be sharing your blog on my FB page and will continue in the fight to help educate all Mom’s on the harmful effects of food & vaccinations to save even ONE more child from the horrible suffering that is still going on in todays world!

  5. Rebecca Lee says:

    Hope you know about the Andy cutler chelation protocol. I am amazed at how many people chelate without any knowledge.

    • I have heard of Andy Cutler, and I have his book. I chelate under the supervision of my naturopath; he gives me oral chelation supplements. With my kids, I use gentle chelation products like cilantro, chlorella, R-lipoic acid, vitamin C and PectaSol (modified citrus pectin).

  6. Stacy B says:

    I just stumbled across your blog today and am in awe. I took the same journey years ago – we’ve had diagnoses of ADHD, Aspergers, SPD, central auditory processing disorder and visual processing disorder (plus the kid has tested as highly gifted) for my son. I was tired of feeling like my hands were tied, waiting for all these doctor appointments and test results, so I went out on my own with diet. We started with Feingold and eventually progressed to GFCFSF. His ADHD and Aspergers diagnoses were reversed, imagine that! But of course, the non-Thinking Moms still look at me cross eyed when I attempt to explain the evils of dairy products. 🙂

    I am excited to see someone have succes with a TREATMENT for SPD, not just therapy (which we are doing out the wazoo). We already eat clean, organic, with very minimal processed food (I aim for 5 ingredients or less, with things I know!). We also grow our own produce and my wonderful father is an avid fisherman of small secluded lakes in Colorado, he keeps us well stocked with catfish and crappie. I am excited to see options for detoxing tho – going to start looking up ways to sneak more spinach into my little guy! Thank you so much!

    • You’re welcome! Believe me, I know about the eye-rolling of other moms. You should see the nasty comments that I got when I posted this blog in some Facebook groups yesterday!

    • Kimberly says:

      Stacy B!
      Fellow Thinking Mom – we have that exact same list over here (with the exception of visual). We are probably not highly gifted, only ‘normal’ gifted. 🙂 We’ve been on SCD or GAPS for a year and in the first 4 months all our sensory issues faded or disappeared. I’ve heard similar stories from others. Just in case it helps!

  7. Carrie says:

    Maria- Where did you study to become a Holistic Health Counselor? This is the path I would like to be on as well, for the very same reasons.

    • Hi Carrie,

      I studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. It’s the world’s largest nutrition school, and they have a phenomenal, positive, life-affirming program. It’s all online, too, but we have chances to connect with each other in person at several of their conferences that they hold around the country (for free!) during the year. If you send me an email to [email protected], I’ll let you know the next time they offer discounted tuition. They usually do ever couple of months.

  8. Melissa Vega says:

    We are forced to become Thinking Moms because the medical community definitely isn’t thinking of ways to help our kids! I have not heard of the Epidemic Answers and am excited to check it out. One more resource for this thinking mom!

  9. Mama Wolverine says:

    So agree Maria….until the Thinking Mom’s came along I thought I was locked in a world of Stepford Wives! I thank God everyday that I am no longer alone in this fight.

  10. Sylvia says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. Once you become a “thinking mom” there are so many moments where you are left just shaking your head in disbelief at the profound limitations and limited insight of western medicine. I trained as an M.D. And if I ever get in a car accident or need emergency surgery or am on my last legs, then I am grateful that the kind of medicine I trained with, exists. But as a fellow, newly-minted, “thinking mom” (autism is a relentless teacher), I appreciate all the points in your story where western medicine failed you. Kudos to you for taking your and your son’s health into your own hands. And for spreading the word. Sylvia Fogel

  11. cia parker says:


    Our situation is nearly identical to yours. My daughter got the hep-B vax at birth, reacted with encephalitis, later diagnosed with autism. She got three Hibs, four DTaPs, all seven of these had mercury. She had the flu the summer she was seven, and that virus interacted with the stored heavy metals, causing severe and permanent constipation. The doctor also prescribed only Miralax, having no conception of what a severe problem it was. She was reluctant when I told her we wanted to try the GFCF diet, but we did it anyway, and the constipation was gone within two days. The autism is still there, though. Do you recommend chelation to get rid of the stored heavy metals?

    I reacted to the DPT as an infant with days of incessant screaming, a warning sign of encephalitis, and had Asperger’s. My mother took me for eight DPTs, not realizing they were dangerous, when only five were the recommended protocol, then as now, and they all had mercury. When I got a tetanus booster when I was 19, doubtless in a DPT, both my arms were paralyzed for two days, brachial plexus neuropathy, caused when new mercury in the vaccine reacts with the old stored mercury. I later became infected with oral herpes, the virus interacted with the stored heavy metals, and caused severe permanent insomnia and multiple sclerosis, both of which I’m still struggling with. The homeopathic remedy aurum muriaticum has helped on occasion, but I haven’t gotten the hang of how to take it to be cured permanently. It’s indicated for mercury poisoning, I found out just a month ago.

    My nephew also has vaccine-induced autism, and three years ago he and his typical brother both got bronchitis. The brother recovered, the other had severe permanent constipation caused by it. My brother took him to the Mayo clinic and had numerous invasive tests done, but the doctors had no idea what could have happened. They said the virus had triggered it, which was true enough, but they didn’t realize the virus wouldn’t have done that much damage if it hadn’t interacted with the stored heavy metals.

    Do you have any advice for us? We took HMD drops for a few months with chlorella and cilantro, but they didn’t seem to help. How do we get rid of the mercury and aluminum in our bodies from these damned vaccines?

  12. Marco says:

    I can’t even read this without feeling sick. The AAP has the best racket ever. They have a continuous flow o fresh meat and non thinkers. The only ones who figure it out are the small subset of those who have a problem AND do something about it. But most move on from the “autism reseller” never knowing why their kids are a mess.
    And those who have no apparent problem think that there is no problem. They repeat the AAP/CDC/Autism Speaks talking points as if they were experts. They push the same argument that a 300lbs. man would use to explain to a 100lbs. woman that three shots of tequila can’t get a person drunk.
    I subscribe to your posts on FB and think you are a great source of information.
    All the best!

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