A mother's love letter to her son—featuring more than sixty gluten-, dairy-, soy-, casein-, and nut-free recipes. A portion of proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to autism research.
This heartfelt cookbook tells the story of a mother desperate to heal and connect with her hard-to-reach, severely autistic son, Leo, through the most vital everyday activity—cooking.
For many years, Erica Daniels had been out to find a successful dietary intervention for eleven-year-old Leo, who suffers from significant food allergies, gastrointestinal disease, and autism. Through trial and error in her own kitchen, she finally hit her gastronomic stride of preparing nourishing meals for her entire family without gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, additives, or GMOS—with Leo by her side.
Part cookbook and part love story, Cooking with Leo takes you into the real life messy kitchen of a family affected by autism and food allergies. You will laugh and cry along with Erica and Leo as they cook, create, dance, act silly, and, most importantly, bond. A family-inspired collection of over 60 allergen-free and autism diet–friendly recipes to be prepared and shared together by your whole family, you will make meaningful connections with your child and nurture their passion for cooking with nutritious recipes such as:
Teff-Tough Honey Waffles
Football Sunday Turkey Chili
Grandma's Healing Chicken Soup
Leo's Italian Artichokes
Nanny's Rhubarb Sauce
YouTube Organic Gummy Candies, and more!
Learn not only to cook nutritiously for your whole family, but also to connect with your children, find their gifts and develop their strengths, impart life skills, and tie the family together with healthy food and happy guts.
About the Author
Erica Daniels is an author, autism advocate, healthy cook, loud music lover, and single mother of Leo who struggles with autism, food allergies, and chronic health issues. Erica's life completely changed and gained new purpose after her son was diagnosed with autism in 2007. Raised on the Philadelphia Main Line, Erica is a true #phillygirl at heart who previously worked for Philadelphia Weekly and Philadelphia Magazine. Erica radiates Peace, Love, and All Things Autism. Erica currently lives with her two children Leo and Scarlett in the Philadelphia suburbs.
Kim Stagliano is a mother to three gorgeous girls who have autism. She is the author of All I Can Handle and House of Cards, and the managing editor of www.ageofautism.com. She lives in Connecticut.
"You are the great love of my life, Leo Thomas Vernacchio. Raising you is a painstakingly beautiful journey of love. Letting go of my hopes and dreams for you is undeniably hard and my heart will always be a bit broken. Yet, I am eternally grateful for you and for the gifts you have blessed upon my heart, my life, and my soul. You give me purpose and passion, perspective and hope. You are my perfectly imperfect gift." —Mommy
"Helpful hints and humorous bits, Cooking with Leo is not your usual cookbook fare. Parents of children with allergy and food issues, who struggle with the alphabet soup of diets (GFCF, SCD, GAPS, etc.), will find healthful food they can make for the whole family. Along the way Erica sprinkles tips for involving the kids and garnishes with a pinch of wit!" —Ken Siri, author of Cutting Edge-Therapies for Autism
"If you're looking for recipes that will be healthy for your autistic child and your entire family, look no further. An easy-to-follow collection of recipes? Yes, Cooking with Leo is certainly that. But it is so, so, so much more. This book is a prescription on how to bring true joy to your relationship with both your autistic child . . . and with autism. . . . What Erica [Daniels] has done, simply by the nature of her golden heart, is find a way for all of us to relate to autism moms, dad, and kids. You cannot survive reading this book without being uplifted, inspired, and thoroughly educated about autism. What kind of cookbook makes you cry? This one will." —Dr. James Lyons-Weiler, PhD, CEO and director of the Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge
"No matter what the diagnosis, food is foundational to healing. While there are many amazing healing therapies and approaches for children on the autism spectrum, none will be as powerful or impactful if good nutrition is not also a part of the healing plan. For those who do not know much about nutrition or who never learned how to really cook, Cooking with Leo makes cooking nutritious and allergy-friendly food with your kids easy and fun. Erica Daniels reframes the notion of “special diets” by just calling them “healthy diets,” an important distinction that reminds us everyone should be eating this way! Transforming your way of cooking and eating will not only improve the health and symptoms of your child with autism, but the health of your entire family. For any family with a child on the autism spectrum, Cooking with Leo is square one. A perfect, nourishing, love-filled way to support the health and development of your child." —Beth Lambert, Executive Director of Epidemic Answers and Documenting Hope, Author of A Compromised Generation