Thank you Cameron and Cheryl for coming to Integrated Autism Consulting for the interview about Cameron’s transition journey. Congrats on graduating and we wish you the very best!
An Inside Story by Cameron Rice
As interviewed by Cheryl Millett
‘Never Give Up or Lose Hope’
- My choice: From a quest to find a date to cooking to health and wellness
- My body: Researching good food to feel good
- My brain: Thinking good, understanding food and how my body works
- The Gut Brain connection: Dairy (opiates, dopamine and brain)
Question: How did this all start for you?
Believe it or not, it started with my quest to get a date.
Question: Tell us more about that?
I was a fat guy and given today’s society, I knew I would have to find a way to lose weight to have a chance. I started to take an interest in what was going into my body so I did some research.
Question: This sounds interesting. What did you do from there?
First, I started cooking my food for myself purely because I could do it the way I wanted to not knowing that some of the things I was eating were causing internal damage to my intestines and adrenal glands.
I started growing food because of my increasing disgust over what is done to our food supply. I later found out that some of the foods we eat that contain GMOs or has antibiotics/hormones in them are extremely detrimental to individuals on the ASD spectrum particularly because of the interactions between these contaminants and our gut (which has had to deal with more than a regular person).
Question: You have told me you are a picky eater. How does this fit into your success?
I was always a picky eater but never knew why. You would always see me eating something with dairy in it because it made me feel good, not knowing that it was a major reason behind many of my mental health issues and an inability to think for myself as opposed to about myself. The reason it made me feel good was because in a person with autism, cow dairy is processed by the body in the exact same way as opiates are and opiates (at least the ones I am aware of) affect the dopamine centres in the brain negatively over time which are responsible for giving us motivation and feel good chemicals.
Question: Wow, from cooking to growing. Then what happened?
I started chef school a year or 2 after that because I loved food and wanted to spend the rest of my life with it. I had always enjoyed making people feel good and this was one way I knew how. I do not know if I would have probed further if I was able to have worked in the industry but I couldn’t tolerate the physical demands of a kitchen.
Question: You shared with us, you ditched the pop, sugars, refined foods, etc. How did your body adjust? What health benefits did you experience?
Over the next few years, my interest in nutrition and how food affects the body developed and I learned as much as I could about this subject primarily because this whole time since even before I was 15 I had had (and still did have) lots of health issues I wanted to find out why. During this time, my body and mind had changed. My thinking was clearer and less ‘muddy’, my body had a lot less to carry around and I began thinking differently.
Question: What was the most important change?
I began doing things I wouldn’t have considered just a few years prior, chief among them was thinking ‘why not’ instead of ‘why’.
Question: With this change in attitude, what happened next?
It opened a lot of doors for me. December 28, 2014, I enrolled in Reed Davis’s Functional Diagnostic Nutrition course and it introduced me to a lot of valuable tools for finding out what is wrong with a body and teaching me how to fix it. The following September, I enrolled in IHN in Mississauga to round out my education (and to take after my teacher who had done both as well). During this program, I began to shift from ‘what can this do for me’ to ‘what can I do for someone else with this’? I graduated FDN with 85% and IHN with between 85 and 90% (The grad ceremony is in April ’17). Not bad for a guy who no one thought would even be able to graduate high school and would be totally dependent on his parents for the rest of his life.
Question: What has been your Career Path to this point?
Through most of my life, it seemed all I would be able to get was work in a kitchen as a dish washer. Since 16, I did a lot of jobs in such places because I didn’t want to be a burden on my parents but they never lasted long. So far, my career path started in the food industry and never got out of the dish pit, including chef school. Then I switched to nutrition because I have always been fascinated with how things work and I am at the point now where I have to find where I can be of most use to the most people with what I know.
Question: Where did you get your training?
I got my culinary training from my mother and from Liason Culinary College in Barrie but I got my nutrition and functional training from IHN in Mississauga and FDN in California.
Question: How do you intend to utilize your new certification?
I plan to help as many people with Autism as I can to not go through a lot of the stuff I had to go through to get here and to make the road less rocky but I would also like to help people who are overly stressed to relieve and banish its harsher effects from returning.
Question: What are your next steps?
Talk to whoever I can to get the message out. Build awareness and an email list where I can provide information and help interested individuals including parents, family, friends, etc.
Question: How would you sum it up?
WAS: My life experience before this was non-existent. It was purely videogames, relying on mom and dad for everything, and struggling to do anything else including stay healthy or lose weight. It was hard to focus, concentrate or even pick a cohesive thought out of my head most of the time and I hated sleep because it took me so long to get to sleep and even longer when I woke up in the middle of the night to return to sleep. I knew almost nothing about the world and every winter had crippling depression with crippling migraines more than once a week all year.
IS: Now, I live on my own with a roommate, have appropriate sexual activity, I can think, focus, and concentrate clearly most of the time now. I have graduated 2 designation programs with high marks, I have a bright future, know a lot more about the world around me and how it works. Interesting how changing your diet can accomplish so much.
Question: What are some of the things you are going to teach others?
Key Points to Teach Others (not necessarily in this order):
- Hope: How nutrition can save a person’s life and future
- Choice: Importance of choosing the right products/supplements and how
- Importance of avoiding all dairy and gluten and why
- The extra challenge food and the environment presents to an individual with autism
- What to be aware of (special challenges for a person with autism) and what to do about it
- Resources, such as tests
Question: You mentioned choosing the right supplements. Share your favourite supplements and why – perhaps how they affected you?
My favourite Supplements:
- Auum Omega 3 sublingual oil
- Naka emulsified vitamin D with vitamin K
- Powdered vitamin C
- Aloe Vera filet
“I began doing things I wouldn’t have considered just a few years prior,
chief among them was thinking ‘why not’ instead of ‘why’,”
Cameron Rice is a graduate of the Institute of Holistic Nutrition with honors. In addition to his training at IHN, he is also a graduate of the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition program. He is passionate about food, nature, and helping others.
Cameron work’s non-specifically to identify hidden sources of physical and psychological stressors. His focus is on stress, diet, and lifestyle issues with a specialty in helping individuals with learning disabilities dramatically lessen their handicaps. He does it because it brings him joy to help someone else live the life they were meant to live. Cameron uses a spectrum of knowledge, testing, and supplements to identify issues and help the client not only correct them but keep them from coming back. He spends time with the client to determine what their individual needs are and teach them strategies to prevent the recurrence of their issues.
Some of Cameron’s favourite things to do include absolutely anything to do with any stage of food, knowing how things work (the human body in particular) and making people laugh. In his mid twenties, he saw a picture of Albert Einstein with a quote
‘You can’t fix a problem with the same thinking that created it’.
Cameron is currently taking on clients and would love to help families or individuals in a similar situation.