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!

Friday, December 27, 2013

"Soft" Start: GAPS Dinner

Today was supposed to be Day 1 on Intro for us. I opted to push it out a day due to having a midwife appointment that I had to take both children to... hungry kids in a small room for an hour would have been a disaster!

Because I am absolutely anxious to get started...we began with dinner.

The recipe:
Shredded chicken from whole chicken used to make broth
2-4 cups of bone broth
2 delicata squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 huge carrot, sliced
2 onions, sliced
1 salmon filet (for pregnant mama)
Salt and pepper
A few pinches of fresh thyme and oregano
1/4 lemon squeezed (big mistake!)

I just baked it all with the veggies completely on top of the salmon. I added an extra ladle of broth and the pre-cooked shredded chicken for the last few minutes to warm that up.

I strained some broth into fancy handled soup bowls for the girls (they chose their own colors). The chicken was served separated from the veggies. I included a steel straw for both to use if they preferred. I also offered a bribe- a tiny gummy and a regular sized gummy if you drink all the broth. I only filled the cup 1/4 full to make this an easy challenge.

The broth was pretty tangy due to the lemon. This was my mistake. DD3 said she didn't like it but slurped it up entirely. She even tried the delicata squash (I called it yellow pumpkin). Chicken is never hard for her to eat.

The Results: 
DD5 seemed adventurous and set out to drink her broth, but stopped. She started dipping chicken in the broth, but stopped. She even tasted the delicata, but stopped after it caused her to dry heave. She hardly ate.

DD3 got her tiny and regular sized gummy made with lime juice, raw honey and Great Lakes Unflavored Gelatin, Kosher, 16-Ounce Can (Single) I cut the raw honey down by 1/3 and added a little water. I didn't want them to be too sour with extra juice. They turned out great! We have two sizes of silicon trays. The smaller ones allow for more of a true gummy bear taste and texture like these Freshware 30-Cavity Silicone Chocolate, Jelly and Candy Mold or I just cover the bottom on this size Wilton 2105-4889 Easy Flex Silicone 24-Cavity Bite Daisy Pan  The kids do not seem to care which size, but I prefer the smaller size...it makes the gelatin flavor less obvious. This may not be noticeable to others but I have a serious addiction to the old-fashioned gummy bears...so I notice even subtle differences in the healthier ones!

Dinner was over. Bed time started with an Epsom and vitamin C detox bath....pjs on and that is when all hell broke loose. Both children were in shambles asking for snacks. I had nothing- so I heated up some of the shredded chicken in a pan with broth. They both ate a good amount of that and finally went to bed. DD3 was asking for a dozen other things--cashews, apples, almond butter, STEAK! Ha ha.

We shall see how breakfast goes--we are having the intro butternut squash soup from Healthy, Home & Happiness. 

Preparation for Tomorrow: 
Full Circle arrives in the morning. I finished peeling every piece of garlic I could find in my cupboard and froze them. My garlic press will crush frozen garlic so it shouldn't change anything to freeze them. I need to start making my kraut and pickles as soon as the delivery arrives. I filled the crock pot with a roast, half my sliced onions, 2 butternut squashes cubed/sliced and some chicken broth. I am thawing ground beef, another small tenderloin steak cut and beef bones. I can see why GAPS bloggers all say they have to have endless broth! We only did dinner and no one really drank much of it and we are already low! I had 2 Ball Mason Jars 1/2 Gal. full to start!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Preparing for GAPS

So far I have read the book once and am working on it again.

I purchased this 30 day guide which, to be honest, makes the first few weeks seem totally feasible. Now the length of each phase in this 30 day guide is short- like 5 days. So that may not work for everyone but my plan is to have the food for the 30 days prepared or at least on my grocery list for the future so we are ready to move up a phase at any time. If we need to stay on one phase longer, I will have to start looking for more resources at that point. I will update this post with more GAPS prep links as I find them. Obviously you can Google and find tons, but most are not detailed enough (in my opinion). I want to take as much brain work out of this as possible but not cheat/hack the program.

So far I have done these things:

1. Printed the 30 day guide, specifically pages 11-13, 17-37. I made multiple copies of page 57 for each person in my family (this is the symptom log...it is helpful because it has a list of things that we may not attribute to food but are quite possibly related to our GAP syndrome). I honestly think this is a *must have* unless you like re-inventing the wheel. It is on sale for $20 right now too.

2. I ordered 2 weeks worth of food per the 30 day guide. I want to be sure we have TOO MUCH food the first week so that I am not scrambling if we need more boiled cauliflower or something. (List of what I ordered below).

3. Made gummies to use as bribes for my children (GASP!) This is the third recipe I have tried and so far the best- small batch though so I'm making 3 batches to be fully prepared.

4. Sliced up all the veggies I have on hand that are Intro approved. This means: Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and several varieties of squash and pumpkin. I have placed them all in the freezer until the day before we start.

5. Made 2 gallons of beef broth.

6. Working on 2 whole chickens (for meat and for broth).

7. Eaten or given away anything that is not GAPS legal that I feel we might be tempted to eat in a pinch.

8. Started a batch of pickles.

9. Will start kimchi and sauerkraut on Wed when our produce delivery arrives.

10. Purchased handled soup bowls in colors my girls picked out (another bribe!)

11. Rounded up detox bath supplies- Epsom Salts, kelp, baking soda and dulce flakes. I plan to order more of these items in 2 weeks from Mountain Rose Herbs.

That is basically it for now. I will be getting a soup container for the husband that he can insert a spoon into

12. Because I am pregnant I am starting to soak and dehydrate nuts to make nut milks and to have nuts to snack on. More later about how I might add in foods for myself due to my condition.

My grocery order looks like this:
3 broccoli
3 cauliflower
2 whole chickens
4 bone in skin on chicken breasts
4 lbs of ground beef
4 packs of beef bones
JalapeƱo peppers
Full Circle $69.93
Tacoma Food Co-op $22.74
Pride and Joy (Beef) $45

Things I already have on hand:
Roasts (several varieties)
Grassfed butter to make Ghee for Stage 2
Veggies from Zestful CSA- approximately $200 worth on hand (wont all be used this week)
Pride and Joy (roasts) $75 (amount left on hand, wont all be used this week)
Azure Butter order $8.00 (amount left on hand)

Why the GAPS diet?

I'm not a popular blogger and have no aspirations of being one. I'm simply cataloging our journey in case it might be helpful to another family...and to keep a "journal" of sorts.

The short answer to "Why are you doing GAPS?" is: because I want to heal my child's gut so she can choose all or most all of the foods on earth and eat them without having negative consequences. She recently had a series of tests done with our naturopath that suggest she is highly reactive to the 5 main foods she eats every day. I found this to be suspicious. We could do the generic elimination diet he suggested--but I have a feeling she would no longer be reactive to the eliminated foods and will then be reactive to 5 new foods. The US Biotech tests aren't exactly cheap so instead of proving my theory with one more test in 30 days- I'd rather do something (more labor intensive) to heal those suspected intolerances.

After reading Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia I can trace DD5's history and see where a true healing diet may benefit her.

I heavily debated a raw vegan diet vs. GAPS. There are many people who heal by going grain free, vegan/gluten free, raw vegan etc. While I personally would choose raw vegan for myself--I don't feel it is my right to choose raw vegan for my daughter. I want to heal her gut so she can make her own choices about food for the rest of her life. GAPS promises to do this... at the "end" she should be able to eat just about any properly raised/prepared food that God put on this earth (key point here, food God put on earth, not a box of cereal). She may still maintain a few intolerances at the end but at least we can be certain they are real and not an immune miscommunication.

Anyway, our family stats are below for people looking for someone similar to them. In the next post I will detail our preparation steps as we are starting "Intro" in the next 3-5 days depending on when everything we have purchased gets into the house.

DD5- Known Symptoms: dark eye circles, fidgety ticks like chronic nose rubbing and partial yawning, red eyes, itchy eyes, excess mucus, significant mood swings, supreme pickiness and major texture aversion. Will not eat foods mixed together. Low B12 and low D.

DD3- No real symptoms. Of the 4 of us, she is the healthiest. She rarely holds onto a cold. She will eat any real food. She is currently begging for sugar post adenoid/tongue and lip tie surgery. But this is new for her.

Me- 31 y/o pregnant mama. I'm irritable (situational or food related--only GAPS will tell, right?), sluggish digestion (again, could be pregnancy related), some suspected nutrient deficiencies including D and B12...possibly iron since last check 12 months ago.

DH-33-Trouble sleeping, confirmed issues with sugar and milk (raw milk is more tolerable), trouble maintaining blood sugar levels between meals, weakened teeth enamel, chronic sinus problems, excess mucus and excessive fatigue (some combo of work and food related in my opinion).

Well that is us and the short version of why we are doing GAPS. I was really excited to learn more by reading the full book and will work in some of the things I learned throughout the posts. I don't want to bore you too much...go read that book!