The first time Erica Reid covered her son's aching ear with a steamed white onion, her music mogul husband, Antonio "L.A." Reid, worried more about her health than the boy's.
"He was giving me the cuckoo look, like it was voodoo or something," she said, laughing.
But the ache went away and stayed away. She continued to experiment with homeopathic treatments while shifting her son and daughter away from a typical meal of chicken fingers, pasta and peas to turkey burgers, brown rice and kale.
A litany of allergies, asthma and infections -- one of which landed her son in emergency surgery when he was 3 -- eased. Months of steadily improving health led to years.
"My kids were sick all the time; they were on antibiotics all the time," she said. "Now, this summer, it will be six years that my children have had no medications. No Tylenol, no Motrin, no Advil. My refrigerator is my medicine cabinet and our kitchen is our pharmacy. I just turned to food."
Though Reid went on to write "The Thriving Child: Parenting Successfully Through Allergies, Asthma and Other Common Challenges" (Center Street, 2012) she professes no professional credentials.
For each chapter in her book, covering a range of topics from food allergies to discipline, she combines her own experience with perspective from experts. She views her layman status -- or would that be laymom? -- as an asset in inspiring other parents to do their best for their children.
She stops short of zealotry.