Category Archives: Holistic Health

The Dreaded Words: I’m back to GAPS Intro

The Dreaded Words: I’m back to GAPS Intro

 

Well after lots of thought and painstaking avoidance- I’m back to the intro phase of the GAPS diet. The intro diet slowly walks you through 6 stages of foods progressively, allowing you to proceed as your symptoms subside. You start with soup with boiled vegetables and meat only.

 

Argh.

 

It’s been 1 week, and i’m in a much better place than I was earlier in the week. My emotional status wasn’t pretty.

 

We’ve felt great eating GAPS-friendly foods. We feel full, energetic, and are genuinely enjoying what we are eating.

 

While it had pushed me A LOT, I have loved the new opportunity to learn how to cook differently, and in one sense with more creativity and improvisation.

 

Maybe I was looking for the push that this grain-free, sugar-free, completely whole-foods diet has given me.

 

BUT——I didn’t want to be pushed BACK to the introductory diet. Nope. REALLY did not.

 

There have been lots of very positive changes, but one area of my body that still has a long way to go is my gut. On a daily basis I am still battling with stomach symptoms of pain and bloating after eating. Sometimes it’s worse than others, but it’s been very hard to determine which foods are causing the problem…..so I reluctantly accepted that the best way to pinpoint things further is to go BACK to the introductory diet. On top of clarity, I’m hoping for another round of even more intense healing one can find on intro that they might not find on the full GAPS diet.

 

 

 

The gut is the seat of our immune system, as 80% of the immune system resides in the gut lining. When the gut is not working properly, the immune system isn’t either. This can be disastrous.

 

 

 

Recently on my journey to health I unfolded the reality that I have had this ‘leaky-gut’ (AKA gut dysbiosis, bacteria/yeast overgrowth- the very thing the GAPS diet addresses) for A LOT longer than I had thought. I was under the impression that while my health wasn’t stellar as a child, it didn’t turn into this leaky gut until I became a young adult and that’s why I am having all these symptoms presently. WRONG. The body develops autoimmune disorders when gut immunity has been terribly compromised……my autoimmune disorder developed when I was 5. Meaning- my gut has been compromised, unsealed and leaking toxins into my blood steam, causing an autoimmune reaction…..since I was a very young child. This was shocking to me. Not sure exactly how this happened, but a few of the contributing factors were: lots of antibiotics for reoccurring ear infections, full schedule of vaccinations, environment toxins, a very apparent sugar addiction (a symptom and cause) and the Standard American Diet (sorry mom- you were a GREAT cook, but it would still classify as SAD! Luckily you’ve got the whole-foods fever now ;o) Seasonal allergies developed as well as intermittent headaches as a child. Surprisingly, I was protected from any significant bowel problems….and SO many other things that I could have surely developed. It wasn’t until my late teens that I developed GERD (reflux) intensely, then very frequent headaches (turning into 5-6 a week), fatigue, and very very uncomfortable stomach symptoms. (Two pregnancies in that process…causing me to become more and more deficient sure didn’t help my situation).

 

 

 

Onto the big news: I have noticed a lot of symptoms changing, so has Luke (the hubby). Our acne is virtually non-existent, headaches less frequent, energy is higher than it has been in years, cravings minimal, our kids are eating EVERYTHING I make (and gaining weight—good for them there on the small end) my random infections have gone away, our immune systems seem much stronger than normal (not getting much at all, and when we have it’s been mild)……

 

 

….and the coolest thing to date is my autoimmune disease is showing signs of reversal. Yes. I am very serious. My skin disease called ‘vitiligo’, causing white pigment areas on my skin, is actually filling in…..in amounts big enough that even people outside my family can notice. This has not happened since it ‘slowed’ or ‘went into remission’ as a teenager. It has not budged since then. This is a VERY encouraging sign. Autoimmune diseases are one of the scariest diagnosis’ possible, and I am very eager to prevent my body from triggering any further autoimmune diseases…..the best way to do that is HEAL THE GUT.

 

 

Despite the setbacks I have had, and the frustration in trying to figure out this massive puzzle piece of my health….it appears that there is wonderful change happening deep within my body.

 

 

 

Luke’s breakfast today (Full GAPS): Omelet, banana-nut muffin (coconut flour), veggie/fruit juice (I could have the eggs and juice)

 

 

 

 

Tessa sitting over the heat vent while eating her smoothie :o)

 

 

 

Carrot juice I introduced. Whoa-quite exciting.

 

The DO’s and DON’Ts of Vaccination

The DO’s and DON’Ts of Vaccination

 

vaccines

 

Vaccination is clearly a controversial, heated subject, especially when it concerns children. I am a firm believer that informed decisions are possible for any person deciding whether or not to vaccinate…

 

 

There are many informational websites and books that will give you a further breakdown of the scientific literature that is available on vaccination. Obviously, it’s not possible as a parent to do your own scientific studies of individual vaccines, combinations of vaccines, or vaccinated vs. unvaccinated children (although, trust me, I would LOVE to do those studies)….it’s also quite the task to read through actual scientific articles published in journals (not impossible though!)…it almost feels like you are reading another language!

 

 

 

 

 

 

SO as informed parents we read through explanations of those journal articles in ‘lay-mens’ terms through educated authors. This still has the potential to be very informative and very very helpful. ALWAYS examine the SOURCE of any health information you read. If it is funded by a pharmaceutical company (MUCH of vaccine literature marketed to parents is), please keep that in mind when it comes to objectivity and agenda. If it is information produced by organizations/government arms such as CDC (Center for Disease Control), AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) or ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices), be mindful of what message they are very purposefully and clearly trying to convey, and information they might leave out to make that message stronger and less controversial. It’s always prudent to look at the author of what you are reading and see who they are, and what their interest in vaccine issues stems from.


 

Honestly, my favorite authors to read are mainstream medical doctors who have seen firsthand the adverse effects that can be caused by vaccines, and who then choose to personally investigate the scientific literature to see what is actually known about vaccines, apart from the vaccine dogma they were taught in med school.

 

 

Once you feel you are thoroughly educated, and have decided if, when and which vaccines you would like to choose…take certain precautions to reduce risk for adverse effects from the vaccines. I am not in any way saying, if you do these things you ELIMINATE the risk of complications….you don’t. Any medical intervention poses risks large or small, known and unknown….and vaccination is not exempt from that reality. I am just aware of some common sense, and not so known ideas, that may help prevent vaccine injuries…and I am all about preventing vaccine injuries.

 

 


 

 

 

  • DO NOT get ANY vaccine for your child while they are sick. PERIOD. It does not matter what the office may say.

 

 

  • DO attempt to feed a whole-foods diet free of processed foods and white sugar for your child. Preferably always, but definitely the weeks prior to scheduled vaccination.

 

 

  • DO administer the chosen vaccines apart from each other. Give as few together as possible (I’m not talking injection, i’m talking vaccine). Limit the # of ‘live’ viruses given together.

 

 

  • DO ask the nurse to pull the shot from the vials in front of you. BE SURE if they are multi-dose vials, that she SHAKES it well before pulling it up. (this disperses the preservatives throughout the vial so it doesn’t all end up in your kids body)

 

 

 

 

  • DO give your child VacciShield prior to vaccination. This combination supplement will help support and fortify your child’s immune system.

 

 

  • DO proceed very carefully if your child shows signs of a compromised immune system, chronic problems such as asthma, eczema, allergies, developmental delays or constant infections.

 

 

  • DO proceed very carefully if your child was born via C-section and not breastfed. Their beneficial gut-flora may be compromised.

 

 

  • DO NOT give your child a vaccine that they have previously reacted too. If you’ve given them together and aren’t sure which one caused the reaction, proceed very cautiously. There is a reason they reacted to it and often subsequent reactions are more severe.

 

 

  • DO report any and all reactions to VAERS– Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. (Government system to track reported vaccine injuries)

 

 

 

This is my blog, and my advice, and for some reason you wanted to read it ;o) I’m not your doctor, I’m just another informed mama who genuinely wants to encourage others to be more mindful of their decisions regarding their health! If you wonder where I come off suggesting such things, you can wonder…OR you could ask for more information on where I am coming up with these ideas.

 

 

 

BE MINDFUL. BE INFORMED.

 

 

Part of Sunday School blog carnival

Desserts without sugar- is this an oxymoron?

Desserts without sugar- is this an oxymoron?

Dessert without sugar, well, refined-sugar that is.

 

I have been eating a whole foods diet for 3-4 years now and I really only dabbled in natural sweeteners…..

 

Up until the GAPS diet entered our world. I will never go back to depending on sugar as the only sweetener that ‘tastes good’.

 

Honey is a fantastic sweetener. Yes, maybe partially because our sweet ‘receptors’ have become more sensitized…but I don’t think that is the primary reason!

 

We have realized the simplicity and deliciousness that comes from using honey and fruit as a sweetener in desserts. We have also had non-GAPS friends try some of our treats and they have been pleasantly surprised. Open your mind to the thought that your ‘sweet tooth’ can be given loving attention, without the robbing, destructive effects of white sugar. There are entire books written on the very well documented effects of white sugar on the human body. It truly robs us of many nutrients, while literally giving nothing back. Sugar feeds cancer, grows yeast, rots your teeth, leads to osteoporosis and arthritis, is as addictive as drugs, causes gallstones, contributes to heart disease and adrenal fatigue, suppresses the immune system significantly, causes exhaustion and irritability…..

 

It depletes us so profoundly…it’s amazing with the amount we eat (170 pounds a year per person, Nourishing Traditions), people are still functioning somewhat ‘normally’.

 

There are certain foodies that say no sweetener is a good sweetener. I do NOT fall into that category. Honestly, I delight myself in sweet things. There are few things that are as enjoyable as a sweet treat that really hits the spot. It’s actually something I have been battling in my mind for the past several years….I just didn’t want to give up that ‘sweet taste’ in this world. The sacrifice, even for health’s sake, seemed too large a request. Whole-food sweeteners actually have something to offer your body. They should still be eaten in moderation, as they do affect your blood sugar, but they can be a healthy and enjoyable part of a whole-foods diet. I am overjoyed that my new understanding and experimenting in cooking has brought me to realize I don’t have to give up “sweetness” to be healthy!! Phew. It is SUCH a relief. That may sound silly to you, but if you like the majority of people, you love sweetness too ;o)

 


 

This is one of our new favorite desserts I just made. It is made with almond flour and sweetened with honey and chopped apples. It’s called Apple Spice Coffee-Cake. You can find it at this amazing site: Against All Grain.

 

This is just one of the MANY desserts that we have made in the past 2 months without refined sugars. And I have bookmarked dozens more (we just try not to eat too many, as the primary source of our calories on the GAPS diet (and for most people) should come from animal products and veggies).

 

For non-GAPS families, grade-B maple syrup is an especially delicious whole-food sweetener, as well as rapadura (completely unrefined cane sugar). Dates are very sweet and are complimentary to many different recipes. One of my favorite recipes using dates as the sweetener is peanut butter-coconut bars.

 

Learning to enjoy sweet things… without the guilt and harm to our bodies. Join me.

For the first time I……

For the first time I……

We’re probably around day 40 of our GAPS diet, to restore our gut and immune health and I can say it’s been truly an incredible experience so far.

Here’s a brief snapshot of some of our successes thus far:

For the first time I

    Haven’t eaten sugar-sugar (we can have fruit/honey…which is much enjoyed ;o) for one whole month!

    Didn’t get sick when the rest of the family had a mild cold ( I ALWAYS get everything my family gets, and am wiped out by it!)

    Haven’t eaten ANYTHING out, everything we eat is prepared in our humble little kitchen

    Have felt in control of what I’m eating, not compelled and helpless to eat what I know I shouldn’t eat

    Spent more money on produce than I thought possible!

    Have successfully gotten our kids to eat and like very non-kid foods! They were decent before, but nothing compares to this!)

    Have been comfortable with everything that has gone into my family’s mouth, knowing it was ALL beneficial!

These are ALL first’s for me!!!!! So thrilled at the successes we have had so far, and the rewards for our effort to get our bodies ecosystems back in balance. Luke and I feel better than we have felt in a long time. There have been many symptoms that have gotten much better and some that have completely resolved already. We have noticed a HUGE difference in what the kids will eat, and their interest in good food. This THRILLS my heart as a mama that wants to build her babies up strong and resilient.

I have made more new recipes in this last month than I have made in my whole 6 years as a married woman, cooking for her family! Most homemade meals you can adapt to make GAPS-friendly, but there are so many delicious recipes on the web for GAPS meals, snacks and desserts that I have just been out of my mind with trying to plan and make them all!! It’s just too exciting!! And the best part is, that even when serving dessert, I can feel really good about what my family eating. Why did ‘treats’ become this thing we do to reward ourselves for something, that in turn only steals our bodies of their nutrients and health. Why can’t treats be delicious and beneficial to our bodies?!

We have had so many tasty recipes so far in this experience and not too many flops surprisingly!! I want to share what our evening of nourishing our bodies looked like tonight.

Appetizer:

Broccoli Bites from Food Renegade


Dinner:

Spaghetti Squash with Homemade Italian meatballs and Sauce (my recipe, not my pics)


Dessert:

Pumpkin Cake Bars with Cinnamon Icing from Food Renegade

Broken Philosophy

Broken Philosophy

 

“Doctor, is my baby all right?” is the first question of almost every woman when her child is born.  I myself have heard the question thousands of times.   If every mother’s greatest wish is to have a truly healthy baby, why (in most cases) does she take such poor care of herself before the baby is born?  Any why does she feed her baby from infancy to adulthood so improperly that illness inevitably results?


This century has been called “The Century of the Child” because of the tremendous interest in the physical and psychological growth of children.  But as we look around us, where are these radiantly healthy children?  Certainly their parents are anxious to rear healthy youngsters.  Some eight thousand books on child care have been published in the last 25 years.  Why then are the offices of the country’s thousands of pediatricians and general practitioners filled with runny-nosed, tired, allergic, feverish, rundown, anemic, bespectacled, acne-ridden, too thin or obese children?  The answer is simple:

 

(1.)  The mother’s body was no fit environment for the child because her system was filled with waste products from improper food, drug residues, coffee acids, the poisons of cigarettes and alcohol.


(2.)  The growing child is improperly fed, spends too much time watching television, is driven everywhere instead of walking and devotes too little time to exercising in fresh air.


-Henry Bieler, MD  Food Is Your Best Medicine


I see parents every day who want healthy children- but the means to their end is almost ALWAYS through MEDICINE.  Medicine does not make one healthy, no one.  Often times medicine does a great job at suppressing symptoms (as in fever for example) or altering body processes (as in high blood pressure medicine), but it will not make the body healthy.  This seems to be a very foreign thought to most parents.  Even one of the few medications that actually does more than symptomatic relief- antibiotics- still falls far short from making the body healthy.  It often times does do its job, in “killing off” the symptom-causing bacteria, but then inadvertently leaves a body defenseless- void of all of its beneficial bacteria.  I was recently told by a conventional doctor that all medications are indeed toxic chemicals introduced to the body….that produce wanted and unwanted affects. 


I had a patient who was bringing her child in for congestion, diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection. He was currently on his 5th day of antibiotics for an ear infection, but she was demanding he get MORE!  The practitioner kindly told her that he was on the exact same antibiotic that she would give him, and that simply completing it should do the job for both infections.  This mother was insistent on MORE antibiotics to make him better!! I attempted to explain to her that more of a “good thing” isn’t always better…and that his congestion might also be viral…but after a couple attempts she replied angrily, “I will not talk about this any more…thanks for nothing”, storming out.

 

Hmmm….I think there are two different things going on here.


A broken philosophy that says “medicine is the primary means to making us healthy” and a broken system that sets children up for reoccurring illnesses.   She was acting out of the philosophy the culture has taught her that says, “When your kid is sick, he needs medicine”.  And I believe her frustration was stemming from the broken system that she ascribes to, that does not make children truly WELL.  Antibiotics are very effective at creating the environment within the body that fosters subsequent infections immediately and long after the course of antibiotics are completed (SOURCE).  This mom feared the almost inevitable fact, he would be back with similar symptoms, “needing” even more antibiotics.


So back to the basics…medicine may at times be necessary, but let us fully understand…IT DOES NOT MAKE US WELL. There are simple things that have sustained humans for centuries that we can once again embrace as modern people to strive toward real health for our families.


As noted above: healthy prenatal environments, fresh air and sun-light, exercise and activities, and maybe most importantly, if not most challenging in today’s world


                                      …nourishing whole foods.

Informed Consent

Informed Consent

What is INFORMED CONSENT?

 

“Doctors will give you information about a particular treatment or test in order for you to decide whether or not you wish to undergo such treatment or test. This process of understanding the risks and benefits of treatment is known as informed consent. It is based on the moral and legal premise of patient autonomy: You as the patient have the right to make decisions about your own health and medical conditions.”

 

“You must give your voluntary, informed consent for treatment and for most medical tests and procedures. The legal term for failing to obtain informed consent before performing a test or procedure on a patient is called battery (a form of assault).” EMedicineHealth

 

American Medical Association:

 

“Informed consent is more than simply getting a patient to sign a written consent form.
It is a process of communication between a patient and physician that results in the patient’s authorization or agreement to undergo a specific medical intervention.”

 

“In the communications process, you, as the physician providing or performing the treatment and/or procedure (not a delegated representative), should disclose and discuss with your patient:

 

The patient’s diagnosis, if known; The nature and purpose of a proposed treatment or procedure; The risks and benefits of a proposed treatment or procedure; Alternatives
(regardless of their cost or the extent to which the treatment options are covered by health insurance);The risks and benefits of the alternative treatment or procedure; and The risks and benefits of not receiving or undergoing a treatment or procedure. In turn, your patient should have an opportunity to ask questions to elicit a better understanding of the treatment or procedure, so that he or she can make an informed decision to proceed or to refuse a particular course of medical intervention.

 

This communications process, or a variation thereof, is both an ethical obligation and a legal requirement spelled out in statutes and case law in all 50 states.”

*Italics added

 

My thoughts:

 

It is interesting to see the explanation of what policy (and even the law) says “informed consent” should look like in contrast to what it actually looks like in practice. We all remember days when our child went in for “routine vaccinations” and we were given the consent form to sign quickly. What were we consenting to? What were the proposed benefits? Possible risks? Alternatives? Were we given time to ask questions to the MD and get balanced answers, not unrealistic assurances? Did we decide? Was is voluntary, or did we feel like we had no other option? If this did not happen appropriately every time, it could legally be considered a form of assault…

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