For years I have advocated for an organic diet to maximize your health, avoid many health problems and help the environment. Choosing organic foods reduces your exposure to pesticides, herbicides and dangerous genetically engineered (GE) foods, which comprise almost all nonorganic foods and are typically unlabeled.

In addition to protecting the environment and fighting climate change, buying organic also supports animal welfare, sustainable farming and sustainable farmers. 

Now, a new powerful documentary, “Secret Ingredients,” follows the lives of several families as they suspect their health problems are caused by their nonorganic diets and embrace an organic diet, free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and chemicals. The dramatic recoveries documented from conditions like chronic pain, asthma, autism spectrum diseases and fertility problems are truly inspiring and should convince everyone to start eating organic.

One Family’s Story

“Secret Ingredients” begins with the story of Kathleen DiChiara and her family. Kathleen had been a triathlete until waking up one day in her 30s with sudden neuropathy. After a failed surgery, Kathleen experienced paralysis, chronic pain syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome and became so disabled she lost her career.

At the same time that she was battling the sudden onset of these disabling conditions, Kathleen’s first son Stephen was diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) at an early age — an autism spectrum disorder. The PDD included sensory processing disorder, a digestive disorder, a language disorder and selected mutism, says DiChiara. Footage shows an active little boy who has no ability to communicate with words and must point and grunt to convey his thoughts and wishes. 

DiChiara’s second son, Camden, born soon after, also had serious health problems. He was born with asthma so severe the family had to rent a nebulizer, a machine that turns liquid medicine into a mist, to be ready for his frequent attacks. Camden also had a severely bloated stomach, constipation, mood swings, irritability and rashes.

More Family Woes Lead to New Awareness

The DiChiara family’s woes continued. DiChiara’s third son, Treyson, was born with severe rashes, eczema and allergies. The rashes and inflammation behind his knees were so severe they were bleeding. In addition to herself and her three sons, new chronic health problems also appeared in her husband Stephen, who in his 40s was diagnosed with a benign breast tumor condition called gynecomastia.

At this point, DiChara began to suspect something the family was eating was contributing to the scourge of chronic diseases. Moreover, she saw the futility of her family leading a healthy lifestyle if it was undermined by harmful food. She also saw how many other parents and children she knew were experiencing similar chronic health problems despite their pursuit of healthy lifestyles and believing they were eating nutritiously.

She resolved to research the possible causes of the family’s many health problems and began to assiduously study holistic nutrition, eventually becoming a functional diagnostic nutritionist (FDN-P). Because of the severity of her first son’s condition, DiChara focused on the biochemistry behind autism and how food chemicals break down in the body. In fact, she says, autism was “my greatest teacher about the human system and its interaction with food.”