Tuesday, January 7, 2014

GAPS: Day 11

After making the hard decision to stop into, I reached out to some of my vegan and similar friends who work in health--primarily using food to heal the body. I am somewhat in information overload. My kids were truly starving trying to manage on intro. While I realize healing will take time, sticking with such a restrictive diet just seemed like torture. Part of the issue is that we are also avoiding so many foods that are part of intro. Without those, our food choices are limited. I have been so convinced that vegetarian diets are healthier than carnivore or omnivore diets. After feeding my kids several pounds if extremely clean meat in a day, the remorse set in. I guess I'm just not convinced eating this much animal flesh can be healing. When someone tells me it's harder for the body to digest a green juice than pounds of boiled meat, I can't help but argue.

So for the last two days we have been staying on a Full GAPs approved diet but we have juiced or smoothied twice per day. We tried bone broth soup for lunch both days and filled up on tons of vegan recipes. The kids are finally happy again. Their palates have changed a bit too. They were dipping veggies in freshly blended spicy mustard. They also loved the vegan ranch dressing I made. It tasted nothing like organic Hidden Valley. Yet- they loved it.

10 more days of this and we will test a few of DD5's offending foods and reassess our healing plans. There is no doubt in my mind that she suffers from a leaky gut. It is fairly mild compared to others...at least for now. I don't want to see what happens when it gets worse. She could end up with really debilitating chronic illnesses later on. We may as well work on it now while she's still at home with me and it's easier to monitor her foods.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

GAPS: stopping intro!

If you were betting for or against us making through intro...the results are in! We are done. Not because we are done healing either. We are just flat out starving. GAPS die hards can call it die off and detox all they want. The way I felt last night was a step away from death. My kids are eating straight intro and I am supplementing full GAPs foods when they aren't looking. Yet, I was shaking, dry heaving, having burning in my stomach and some spotting with contractions. Not good! Intro would work right now IF we were not also trying to test DD5's offending foods. You simply can't do GAPs intro without at least eggs or kefir. You must have one or the other. Without grains or nuts there is very little to eat between meals or on the go when your kids can't stomach anymore broth or mushy veggies. I know many mamas say their kids come around but this is day 9. They have proven they would rather starve than stomach more of it. And honestly- I feel the same way. Just adding some eggs to something would add more texture. Or having some kefir/yogurt to make creamed soup or something would be more tolerable. And filling!

So for now- we will hover around stage 5-6 and full GAPs. We can't do anything new for 11 more days as far as dairy, eggs and nuts are concerned. I want to be strict with not adding sugar and trying to keep fruit to a minimum. We will keep up with all the other protocols, like broth at every meal and soup once a day. Breakfast is the ultimate challenge because I basically have to cook meat of some sort or else.

We could lock ourselves inside the house for a few more weeks to get through intro but I don't see the point until we complete our naturopath's elimination diet portion first.

While we are pausing on intro we are not giving up yet! Don't let me discourage you either! I have been reading about plenty of success on regular intro... But if you can't do the foods you simply can't keep up with your calories.

Friday, January 3, 2014

GAPS Intro: Day 7 Stage 2/3 ish

Pretty much the same ole thing around here. Add hungry grumpy children. DD5 still has her dark eye circles...but now I am reading how this is also a side effect of detox. She did develop tiny blood spots on top of the eye circles 3 nights ago. This was also said to be detox. We are all peeing a ton- and it is an urgent type of pee. This has been said to be detox too. Is it? I have no clue. I'm basically grumpy and cynical so I want to flip the bird at all things GAPs right now.

Because I have IgG results for DD5, we are holding off on introducing eggs and dairy--per the GAPs protocol, the egg yolks (raw) would have been introduced several days ago. Some GAPs enthusiasts (no really, they do exist) say intro the eggs anyway because they are important for healing. But then I argue that I have no way of knowing if she is having a reaction to the egg or not. We are fortunate not to have serious allergic reactions to any foods (that we know of) but this is yet another sign for me that DD5 needs true gut healing- not just to avoid the offending foods. Keep in mind, she is deficient in B12 and D...dangerously low in both of those. We normally incorporate plenty of those vitamins (D is a hormone but you know what I mean) into our diet. Yet, she's lacking it. So that is her leaky gut at play.

I got bored and frustrated on day 5 when we were basically ready for Stage 3 but by all GAPs people opinions we were going to fast. This could be true, but I refuse to sit on Stage 2 for another 14 days until we start introducing dairy and eggs What if we never want to eat dairy again? Eggs would be nice to have back....but still. I just don't believe these two food groups are requirements to gut healing. Surely adding some raw veggie juice would have its place here (That is stage 4 by the way). But I am not the expert creator of GAPs and if I keep mucking it up, I'll never know if GAPs worked for us.

So...I compromised. Stage 3 allows nut flour/butter pancakes made with squash. These puppies wont turn out without eggs so I just took almond meal and added hot water with a spot of coconut oil and honey. The kids lapped it up like mad. However, a few hours later DD5 had puffy eyes and a pink face...DH had also allowed her to use the iPad so I don't know if that was to blame. To be sure I tested almond flour again today- I mixed almond flour, coconut oil and a little salt with water and poured it into muffin cups and baked. No seriously- I did! The kids ate it up. I thought it tasted like a dry packet of cream of wheat poured straight into my mouth. But they each had 4 muffins. No sugar!

Finally made a beef broth that DD3 would eat. I added red peppers (which are Stage 1 but the 30 day What Can I eat on gaps doesn't say this! Tsk tsk!) and large chunks of celery during the cooking stage. I removed the celery (Stage 4) and served it with salmon broken up. DD3 slurped her bowl. DD5 scooped the salmon out and sipped a little broth. She's still hungry and has the same symptoms as yesterday post almond flour. So either she's still hungry (could be a possibility) or she's reacting to almonds. Almonds were NOT rated on her IgG so this is a bit of a shock. Back to Stage 2. Which is driving me crazy...DD3 whines nonstop- about everything and follows me around to whine some more. I have gotten to the point where I have to shut and lock my door so I can catch my breath. I don't know how much longer I can handle the starving.

Can't turn back now...onward we go. Hiding out inside the house so I don't have to deal with a DD3 meltdown. DD5 is just mopey and sluggish. I can tolerate that--it just pulls on my heart strings.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

GAPS Intro Day 4: Stage 2-mostly reflecting on why we are doing this.

We ate basically the same today as yesterday except DD5 asked for a glass of kraut juice instead of a spoonful. DH got the opportunity to help feed them. He was quite annoyed. The minute the kitchen was done with the meal the children wanted more. They ate a full pound of ground beef between the two of them. It was boiled in broth. DD5 is mostly eating squash fries. Broth isn't going any better today than any other day. I am bored. I don't know whether to add a new food, which would take us to Stage 3, or to hang out here. The book is relatively vague when it comes to this. We aren't having any noticeable symptoms except fatigue. DD5 still has the same under eye circles and by afternoon, she is as emotional as she typically would be if she were tired. Maybe I just don't know how to recognize the signs. I am waiting for my new copy of the book to arrive to see if any helpful details are included.

While reflecting on Day 3, I had moments of wanting to quit this crazy, restrictive diet. Not because it is hard, but because it just doesn't seem intuitive to eat like this...or to make children eat like this. I pulled out DD5's IgG results and the rest of her blood test results. Only in reading these do I see the clear picture... the IgG will only show a reaction to foods recently eaten if the proteins are floating around in the blood stream. This is an abnormal function of proteins. DD5 reacted to ALL of the foods she had eaten recently. All of her favorite foods, except for crab, appeared to cause a moderate to nearly severe reaction. We didn't test her for IgE responses but based on her symptoms, it would seem she doesn't have any physical allergies to specific foods. Another blogger's experience on IgG results that are interesting to read are found here.

How can a child be reacting to ALL the foods they eat? The answer: they can't! Yes, her body is exhibiting signs of intolerance but they are erroneous. If she stopped these five foods and started eating five new ones, she would show up as having reactions to those as well. This is what brought us to GAPS.

 We could eliminate the foods for 21 days and test them back in. Most likely she would't exhibit any symptoms since she really only has low level irritation from the foods. Or, we could go to the extreme and just try to heal her gut...if this GAPS healing thing really works. Thankfully, GAPS is a temporary lifestyle change. Some people sit on Intro for weeks...months even (and goodness gracious, I think my brain has ignored anyone who said they have been on intro for a year or more). At this time, I don't have enough evidence to believe this is healthy nor beneficial for a child. I do think a fair 4-6 weeks of the strict introduction diet seems reasonable. We should either see results that prove it is working or we will see nothing change and just feel hungry and miserable at the end. 

Components of GAPS that I believe (either based on logic or research or a combination of both) focus on how a person simply can't react to so many foods...the food reactions *must* be a symptom of an underlying issue. Whether or not you believe in Creation--humans were not put on earth with a bunch of natural foods that they should have to avoid. We eat the cleanest foods we can find with an occasional conventional food item thrown in when we are outside of the house. Thus, the argument that only chemical-laden or improperly raised foods cause food allergies is negated. My DD5's gut really must be leaking. It must be allowing food proteins to enter the blood stream where they are attacked by the immune system like any other foreign agent...like an infectious organism. If she persisted like this, what types of illnesses might she develop and how many of them would be chronic? I hate to even ponder that question. Her start in life was not ideal with antibiotics given to me in labor, a cesarean delivery, a fair handful of childhood immunizations early in life and 2-3 doses of antibiotics for various issues between ages 1 and 3.

Monday, December 30, 2013

GAPS Intro Day 3: Stage 2

While handling vomiting kids the other night I read a blog post that called GAPS a kitty that bites....and I would say that is pretty true and funny. However, I don't think anyone NOT on GAPS Intro would find it funny enough to laugh for a solid minute. Delirious? Quite possibly. Something else no one not on GAPS Intro will not find funny- I have coined my latest meal "Soup Suicides". Remember making "suicides" at the soda fountain....mixing cola with lemon-lime soda and a shot of fruit punch if you were brave... Yep I'm basically tossing leftover butternut squash soup in with pureed broccoli and chicken and onion soup plus leftover boiled roast. I may actually be eating chicken skin, cartilage and tons of fat...and I would never know it. It only takes three days people.. three days... Breakfast] So thankful I had the genius idea of starting a fresh crock pot of broth, carrots onions, broccoli, cauliflower and a cut of steak (no really, a super nice tenderloin cut went straight into the crock pot). DD3 woke up at 4am begging for food...in a really nice way. So I poured a cup out of the crock and fed it to her in my bed. She asked for another one...so I fed her that and she fell asleep until almost 8am! DD5 woke up at about 8 and wasn't as keen on the soup- but they were fishing "onion rings" out for each other and eating them. I had to go outside to see if pigs were flying... Lessons On Shopping....DO NOT DO IT! Don't take the kids. Really, just don't even optimistically say you will run in and out real fast to grab some green beans. Horrible idea. DD3 was throwing herself down so hard on the ground she was sliding across the floor--please let me have an apple, a banana...and a bunch of other really healthy foods that I'm pretty sure everyone around me was thinking they wished their child would throw tantrums for raw spinach and salad dressing. Also, make sure you remove your emergency stash of organic peanut butter crackers for road trips from the car. When extracting those from your "starving" child's hand you will feel as if you just put the family dog down with your bare hands. Aside from those fun lessons...the rest of the day went fairly well. Lunch The same breakfast soup, boiled green beans (they ate a full pound between them), squash fries (probably not fully GAPS legal on intro since they are supposed to be "well boiled" but they are sustaining the kids and their carb levels). Neither of them really felt like eating beef or chicken. Snacks and Dinner We snacked on green beans all day...and boiled onions. We also added ghee. I was surprised the kids were not that interested in it... they would rather pour on the salt. I, on the other hand, am rather enjoying some butter flavor on top of my Suicide Soup. By the way- making ghee is extremely easy. Just bake your unsalted, pasture butter/grassfed butter in the oven on 350 for about 45 minutes. Carefully strain all the milk solids and pour the liquid into a glass storage container and refrigerate. Someone without any dairy issues could eat the milk solids but I just tossed them. Frozen organic peas were a great snack! I hope they are legal. I need to confirm but the kids really enjoyed those. I think they replaced the honey. We didn't need honey and coconut oil cream as much today. They did put a spoon of it in their mint tea for an afternoon snack. It was a pretty genius idea...the DD5 came up with that. DD3 is craving sugar so terribly. She's begging for it. She crawled into my lap and said- "You remember cookies? You can make them." I had no idea she would be as impacted as she has been. DD5 is a little moody but not as bad as she normally is after eating a food we know bothers her. Her under eye circles aren't as dark but she definitely looks tired and a little dehydrated. I am not craving anything except coffee...oddly. I have been waking up in the middle of the night absolutely starving. I have had a nut milk shake each night while the kids are soaking too. I hope the ghee and the crispy nuts I have been sneaking when the kids aren't around (Full GAPS legal/pregnancy necessity at this time)will take the night time hunger away. I'm definitely eating more meat than I ever eat...plus fat and plenty of carbs. Preparation Tomorrow will be another day just like today. I did boil beets tonight. I'm not sure what they will taste like mixed in with the other stuff or maybe we'll puree it and add ghee. I set a crock full of broth and squash to make a puree for breakfast... I do want to point out that the "What Can I Eat Now? 30 day Guide" is a little off on the introduction of foods. In case you are curious, here is a link to the Stages. We'll stay on Stage 2 for a while as we have several foods to introduce. Stay tuned- it is about to get exciting as I talk about IgG results, food intolerance and adding them in on GAPS or not...

GAPS Intro Day 2: Stage 1

So I went to bed feeling like Day 1 went...fairly well. I was awakened by the sounnd of liquid hitting the hardwood floor from the top of DD5's loft bed. I instantly knew it was vomit. Thankfully it was just clear liquid with no odor- a type of vomit I have yet to ever encounter. After cleaning her up and putting her in DD3's bed (because DD3 had already woken a few times and come to my bed)I just barely got covered up and DD3 vomits on my blanket. The same clear, odorless liquid. Only DD3 will refuse to vomit...she holds it in. This poor little one continued vomiting for the next 4 hours with empty tummy wretching. When I got breaks from her vomiting I quickly put Google to use trying to figure out what was going on. Apparetly this is a common symptom of detox. The GAPS book is kind of disappointing in this scenario. I read the book twice and never once felt like vomiting was something I should expect--especially not in children. Breakfast Boiled meat patties in broth with squash, broccoli and cauliflower. DD5 ate the patties up like crazy and refused broth or veggies. From my research on the vomit/low blood sugar/detox situation, I learned to increaes carbohydrate vegetables (less of the green ones and more of the orange/squash variety). I had no luck with more blended squash soup so I went for the "Treat" of coconut oil whipped with honey. A spoon of that instantly perked up both kids. DD3 didn't eat much of the meat patties. She actually developed the first rash I have ever seen on her face- just a faint pink patchy rash. We went off to church with little tins of the gummies to use in place of the crackers they get at snack time. Leaving church was quite the experience...one I actually did anticipate! DD3 was a mess...she really, really wants crackers. She threw herself down on the ground and had her Bible school teachers feeling pretty badly for her. We got home and I immediately gave all three of us a spoon of "cream" as they are calling it...the honey and coconut oil. Lunch More boiled meat patties and I had an epiphany in church--make squash fries! Technically the foods are supposed to be well-boiled but at this point- the kids need some carbs! DD3 wanted nothing to do with them but DD5 said, "My new favorite food besides crab and steak is squash fries". Yay for that win. DD3 continued to deteriorate. Stumbling, muttering and generally looking ill. DD5 went off to ride her bike with DH and DD3 snacked on some boiled vegetables and another meat patty. She tried lying down a few times but wasn't quite settled enough to sleep. Dinner I don't even know what we had for dinner-- probably the leftovers of everything in the fridge- I just dumped them all in the pot and scooped it out. I roasted a pumpkin and tried getting them to eat that with some coconut oil and honey but they didn't like it. More "cream", a little tea and a detox bath. Both kids were asleep extremely fast around 6:30pm. It usually takes them both some time to settle. Lessons learned Uhh--carbs! The kids must eat more carbs. The honey and coconut oil trick is extremely clever and I don't see how we could continue on without it. I have remixed it with 3/4 coconut oil to 1//4 parts honey. It is more creamy than sweet so the fat will help them with feeling full...not that a small tsp of it is enough but every little bit counts. Second lesson: The "What can I eat now?" (WCIEN)eBook is fairly flawed. The food introduction order may not be correct. I did roast a package of pasture butter and strained the milk fat out to make ghee. I tasted it on some squash- it is heavenly! I hope the kids appreciate the new food tomorrow. Preparation Soaking walnuts over night for stage 3. Yes, I'm being optimistic in that we will be on Stage 3 in the next 4 days or so? I'm also going to get green beans and frozen peas. Another flaw of the WCIEN is it doesn't mention these lovely vegetables. They are totally Stage 1 legal so I don't know why she only rotates squash, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower for 30 freaking days. Ahhhh! This is going to be more tolerable with more vegetables.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

GAPS Intro Day 1.25

Ahhh it is mid afternoon and I'm hiding in my office. Anyone who knows me would agree that I am not one to use TV as a distractor for my kids. I'd rather pull my own hair out for hours than actually give in and turn on a film. I know...it is kinda ridiculous but that's just the way I am. My kids turn into mush heads after even 15 minutes...but anyway. DD3 is watching The Sound of Music. DD5 is off riding her new Strider with papa.

The kids were too hungry to start with water, so no gold star for me there. Something went wrong with my crockpot butternut squash soup. The squash was still firm when we woke up at 9am. We never sleep in that late but that is when we got up. The kids were starving...so I had 6 slices of beef bacon (gluten, casein and preservative free...grassfed and organic). So I cooked that up. They each ate 1.5 slices and the husband finished off the rest. I ate the last of the chicken/salmon broth and veggies from dinner.

Two Hours Later: 
I have a feeling this is a new meal time while on intro. I guess I could call it Breakfast Two? DD5 started bawling (not something she does often) about egg and cheese on Ciabatta bread and could she please have homemade pumpkin pancakes...or almond butter....or a smoothie? Ugh. It was not fun. I gave her a gummy while I put together some food. I had the butternut in the crock with a beef roast. Things were finally soft so I served her some straight beef. That is all she would touch. DD3 ate a bunch of beef and took off to play.

In between- some mint tea and 1/4 tsp of honey for both kids.

3pm--The Witching Hour: 
DD3 bawling like mad for a banana, cashews, apple, smoothie...oatmeal...any simple carb she could think of. "Mama, I'll eat it all, please!" Ugh. I gave her two of the gummies and she finally was ready to eat food. She ate 3/4 of a head of boiled broccoli and a deck of cards serving of beef....a few spoons of the butternut squash broth/soup. Then she rested on my bed.

Shredded chicken and beef (gave them each the choice), the rest of the boiled broccoli and cauliflower and the butternut squash soup. They picked at it...not much was eaten. I'm anticipating a bad bedtime when they are too hungry to sleep. I put them both in the bath with the Epsom salt and a pinch of vitamin C dechlorination.

I have ground beef thawed for meat patties tomorrow (DD5 is super excited to have these before church), plenty of beef broth and a fair amount of chicken broth. I will probably have to cook chicken and beef bones by tomorrow night for Monday. If things are going this well (yes, I would consider this going well!) by the end of the day, we will start Monday off on Phase 2.

For myself, I am blending coconut oil with homemade almond milk and a heaping scoop of cashew butter while the kids are bathing! Must keep the pregnancy weight going upwards. ;)

I found this link while wondering what other cheats families may have made on GAPS. I highly recommend reading it and bookmarking it for the future!