Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Intro Again

Not sure how many of you are still out there, but I thought it was worth mentioning that we are starting Intro again tomorrow. We recently had to take a 10 day trip to CA for my grandmother's funeral. Between the stress of the trip, being exposed to lots of different detergents in beds at Grandma's, hotels, etc., and eating out (even though we did the best we could with food choices), Audrey is about as bad off with her eczema as she's ever been. Again.

I have to say this is incredibly discouraging to me. I hoped I would never have to see my baby like this again. However, I am grateful that I know what will calm her system down again.

I am now about 6 months pregnant and will be modifying the diet as needed for myself, but I have been hitting the fruit too hard again anyway, and need to cut it out! We all could do with another round of intro, so...we're doing it.

Hopefully we'll move quickly.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Hi GAPS friends,
We are now nearly 7 months into the GAPS diet, and I continue to be amazed. There are still hard days sometimes. We slacked off on the cod liver oil and probiotics, and Audrey's skin issues returned somewhat, though nothing like they were. But I've realized something: I have been in pain most of my life! Now, when I carry laundry up and down the stairs, or carry around my 25 pound toddler, or even (gasp!) exercise, IT DOESN'T HURT.

All my adult life, people have told me that I needed to exercise. That it would make me have more energy. That I would feel better. That having sore muscles wasn't that bad, it kinda felt good. Well, for me none of that was true. But it is now! Before GAPS, I would exercise 10 minutes and be sore for three days. Just the feeling of burning in my muscles as I worked out was excruciating to me. I now realize, when you're already at a 7 out of 10 on a pain scale, adding 2 more points to that is, well, intense. But I was so used to the pain, that I didn't realize I was living at a 7 out of 10. I knew I didn't feel good. I might have classified it as a 4 or 5, but I wasn't aware of how many things I did differently because of pain. Now, I have the urge to exercise. When I do it, it feels invigorating. My muscles only stay sore for maybe a day, even if I work out as hard as I can. I get a burst of energy when I'm working hard instead of feeling like it just might kill me.

I was never diagnosed with anything because I never sought that out, but I'm positive that must have been what people call fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue or maybe even lupus? I'm not sure. All I know is I was sick. And I'm getting well now. And life sure looks different. :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Food Blog

Hi friends,
I started a food blog today. I haven't felt the need to say much about GAPS specifically in awhile, but if you'd like to see our continuing adventures, join me here. (Hint: GAPS is working. It's working really well. :))

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

This is working.

I haven't been taking the time to write lately. During intro, it seemed like there were new things to say every day. By now, we've just kind of settled into this way of eating and it seems more or less normal.

But here's the thing: it's working!

Last night I made spaghetti by slicing zucchini with a mandolin. Ground beef. And We Had Tomato Sauce. And though Audrey woke up crying once during the night (we had been out late watching fireworks and it easily could have been related to that) and Hannah said her stomach hurt (she still says that regularly), there were no potty accidents, there was no uncontrollable crying, there was no tearing itchy skin open...

I am SO glad we've done this. Let me say that again: I AM SO GLAD WE DECIDED TO DO GAPS.

My only wish is that we would have started a year ago, when I first heard about it. We would be so much further along in our healing!

I hit 12 weeks in my pregnancy today (yay!) and my energy levels are coming back to my new normal. My new normal has not actually been normal since over a year ago. Even prior to getting pregnant, I found it difficult to pick up toys around the house, vacuum, or do other simple tasks like that. I just had no energy. Now, I'm finding myself with the urge to exercise (WHAT?!).

Things aren't perfect. I'm still dealing with a lot of constipation. I'm sorry, but I cannot bring myself to do enemas. Not gonna happen. I've been taking aloe vera gel every 3-4 days, as needed, (bleh) which has been a very gentle help for me, since magnesium seems to mess things up when use it. It's not technically on the diet, but it works for me. (Incidentally, don't let yourself get caught up in doing the diet "perfectly." I'm not convinced there's any way to do that. You're not a failure if you have to make compromises here and there. We are following GAPS 98% of the time, and I refuse to worry about the 2%.) Also, Hannah is burping a LOT with meals. I have been dragging my feet, but I'm going to start using HCL with her, to see if I can clear up the stomach aches. She's just not digesting well yet. I still require HCL with meals too.

Overall though, our symptoms have become so much better. Nick is thrilled. We are almost 6 months in, and there's no question that it's working!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Life Goes On

I was thinking about this blog last night, realizing how long it's been since I last wrote consistently.

Now that we're done with intro, I find I have very little to say. We're still eating GAPS style. We cheat occasionally, with varying success. I would definitely say my kids seem stronger and happier since we started this.

Audrey's arms and legs are clear of eczema and beginning to feel soft again. She still reacts when she gets overloaded on salicylates or nightshades, but No-Fenol helps, and when she does have a reaction, a few sips of a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water makes the itching stop instantly. We've been able to eat SO many foods that we avoided for years!

Hannah has a spot on her cheek that flares up bright red when she gets something that doesn't agree with her - so far strawberries and currants are culprits. I also noticed behavior regression with the currants the other day - it was very pronounced. I've never really paid a lot of attention to that part of her symptoms. I wonder, is it an actual brain reaction, or just a response to not feeling good?

I have found that I can use egg whites (though not the yolks, oddly) in baking and all of us seem to handle that ok.

I have discontinued my anti fungal supplements until my nausea from the pregnancy subsides. Without those in the mix, my nausea levels are usually much lower than I remember from previous pregnancies.

It is difficult to cook and eat like this while newly pregnant. All the fat and the strong smells are hard for me. I am drawn toward fruit and nuts, but when I eat too many of those I pay for it with gas and candida symptoms. I've been pretty tired and weak some days too. So I'm struggling some, but overall feeling decent. 2nd Trimester (and hopefully more energy) is just a couple of weeks away!

Tessa amazes me with how sturdy and hardy she is. I've never seen her have a reaction to anything. She is 18 months next week and wearing size 24 months clothes and size 5 shoes. Her face is broad, her skin is clear, she says probably 30-40 words and understands everything I say to her, she is almost always happy and calm. My pregnancy with her happened after I went off gluten, and all of her solid foods have been WAPF/GAPS style. I wonder how much of it is genes, personality, or diet? My experience raising her has been night and day different from my first two children!

Nick had to go away over the weekend and was able to do very well finding grain free options in health foods stores, delis, etc. He came home feeling fine. I was so proud of him! He really seems to have very little draw to the old foods. He is so happy to be thin and to have lots of energy.

So there's our update! I pray healing and wisdom for all of you as you feed your families!

Friday, June 3, 2011


Hi all,
I keep meaning to write an update! The past two weeks have been spent coping with lots of morning sickness. I think it's about the same as with my other three pregnancies, but as always, it's challenging. I've been downing lots of ginger, using my Sea Bands, and trying to eat often. I'm not 100% sure of my dates on this pregnancy, but I'm counting down the days till week 12, when I felt much better with all three other kids.

As far as GAPS goes, we've done a little cheating in the past week, mainly to help me cope. For the first time since we started GAPS, I had a HUGE craving for chocolate this week. I bought one bar of dark chocolate (the Eat Freely brand, which has no soy, dairy, etc., but does contain organic cane juice) and allowed myself a square of that. Very satisfying! I also have found it difficult to constantly drink ginger tea to help with my nausea. I ended up buying a package of crystallized ginger to keep with me. It does have a little sugar in it as well, but it's sometimes either that or be non-functional with nausea. :-P

I have continued with my anti fungal supplements. I wonder if these might be making my nausea a touch worse than otherwise, but I would so much rather have my gut flora in good shape when this baby comes. So we press on!

Hannah and Audrey really hit it hard with the salicylates this week, and they both struggled a bit. Hannah has a bit of a rash on her left cheek, and Audrey did some scratching. They love to eat Bubbies dill pickles, and berries - two things they could not eat at all prior to GAPS. We just have to keep it at a reasonable level or they seem to get overloaded.

I'm rendering tallow today. Smelly! My pregnant nose does not appreciate it, but my body sure likes the fat when I cook with it. Nick helped me out by making the batch of jerky for the week. Although the smell of it in the dehydrator is tough too.

I've been thoroughly enjoying reading Mark's Daily Apple. I love his positive approach to eating this way, and for the first time really in my adult life, I've been happily exercising using his plan. Eating right for my metabolic type has been huge, and I actually feel good exercising for the first time that I ever remember. Tonight I was able to do one full set of his lowest level of "Lift Heavy Things" exercises. I look forward to strengthening my body and having more energy, especially once I hit second trimester.

Gotta run for now!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

No Eggs

I have to say, I'm frustrated. I didn't have any of the weird dizziness with the duck eggs, but the large amounts of sulphur-smelling gas were definitely there. Ugh.

On we go!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011


OK, so we finished intro. Here's where we're currently at:

Nick: has lost a ton of weight. He's really happy with it. I almost feel like it's a bit too much for him. He's 5'11" and under 160 pounds. He feels great most of the time.

Me: I'm still having occasional digestive upset, loose stools (though not true diarrhea), gas, etc. It's much less frequent than it was when we started. I'm continuing on the anti fungals. Ghee, yogurt and kefir still seem to give me large amounts of painful gas, so I'm avoiding them for the most part. I'm relying on nuts a bit heavily because of morning sickness, but they give me diarrhea if I eat too many. Overall, I would say I feel more calm and happy.

Hannah: continues to be very sad and complain of not feeling good, often. I wish I understood what's going on with her. It seems like we still have not figured out everything we need to. My hope is that, with time, she will heal enough that whatever the problem is, will no longer be a problem.

Audrey: has good days and bad days with her skin. Eating almond butter every day seems to be enough salicylates to cause her to get itchy if we forget to give her No-Fenol every day. If we keep up with the enzymes, she does pretty well.

Tess: is growing like a weed and completely hysterical to talk to and watch. I haven't noticed any health issues recently. We are down to one nursing and *sniff* I suppose I'll wean her since she's almost 17 mos and I'm pregnant.

Now what? Part of the interest of this diet has been that there is always something new to add, something to be excited about. Now, honestly, I'm a little bored. We could try beans, but beans have always been hard on me, and except for occasionally craving Mexican food, I don't miss them. I would love some amaranth or buckwheat, but with as few carbs as I seem to need, it seems silly to start them this soon. I can't really do much with flours because not all of us handle eggs. My ND muscle tested me for egg and said it's the yolks that are bothering me, to try the whites only. I also have a source for local duck eggs that I'm going to try. So there's some potential there for new foods, though I don't feel good on sweeteners so baking is not really a big draw. And scrambled egg whites? No thanks, I'll eat homemade sausage, thanks.

We are eating far too many hamburgers, meatballs, and sausages for my taste, but these things are quick and require almost no planning. I'm a bit fried by all the meal prep, plus dealing with early pregnancy, so that's where we're at. I crave soups and will sometimes make some, but usually I'm the only one who will eat it. Well, Tess eats it with me. I bought a bunch of whole chicken legs last night. Those should be good roasted.

Just feeling blah, I guess. Where do we go from here? Everything seems high carb, high allergen, or high sugar. Here I am, complaining about a limited diet again. Will GAPS really fix our sensitivities? And how long will we have to wait? Or is this just a very expensive, very time consuming, failed experiment?

Monday, May 16, 2011

This Week

My hair was falling out so much that I got scared and sad last week, so I made an appointment with my ND on Saturday. He told me that die off increases oxidative stress on the body, and can cause hair loss. An antioxidant (which he gave me) will clear it, and it is much improved today. I also told him about my recent heart palpitations and he said that points to magnesium and potassium deficiency. I haven't noticed a difference in those yet, but I have no doubt they will improve as well.

I am amazed at the difference in my body since taking that metabolic typing test. I am happier, more centered, my stomach doesn't hurt, no gas (unless I eat too many carbs), no sweet cravings (unless I don't eat enough fat), my skin isn't as dry, I have energy, I seem to sleep better, and one really weird thing - the night blindness that I've had for years is gone! If at each meal, I eat one serving of veggies, fill up on protein, and take in as much fat as I possibly can, I feel awesome. Who knew? I have had a bit of "morning sickness" and pregnancy tiredness in the past few days, but even with those, I feel better than I have felt in recent months!

An observation: on GAPS, it becomes easy for the focus to become somewhat skewed. Sometimes it seems that it's all about being able to eat any and all foods, with no symptoms. I don't know anyone who is aware of their body who can eat anything they want without any symptoms. Do you know what I mean? On the other extreme end of this spectrum are the people who only eat 5 foods, because they know they feel good on those foods. While I completely agree with the GAPS philosophy of healing the gut through probiotics and easy to digest foods, I'm not sure the goal needs to be eating all foods. There is a fine line to walk here, because prior to GAPS we were on a very limited diet and STILL felt terrible. That's not what I'm talking about. If there are foods we can eat and feel awesome on, shouldn't we be happy with those, rather than pushing the envelope continually and feeling mediocre? I'm all about continuing to use GAPS to have more healing take place, and maybe, eventually, more foods will work. But in the meantime, I have found some things that are working, and I'm pretty stinkin' happy about it. :)

Many people who come to GAPS are very ill, and have been for a very long time. The problem with long-term illness, is it gets into your consciousness. It becomes part of who you are. And sometimes it can create a negative view of life without us even realizing it. I really appreciate the people who eat Paleo, because even though they are eating very similarly to GAPS, it is approached from a positive perspective, "This is something I can do to make my body work and feel amazing." GAPS seems to be sometimes approached with "This is a terrible experience I must endure in order to maybe someday get to eat whatever I want, but that might never even happen." Ew. Not the approach to life I want to have.

All this said, I think GAPS is an important and awesome health tool. I'm very glad to have come across it. Along with GAPS, I am so grateful to have an amazingly supportive ND. His assistance makes this whole journey significantly less painful. :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

An Announcement

We found out this week that we are expecting baby #4!

We are happy, excited, overwhelmed, terrified, etc. This is a bit sooner than we expected, but God has a plan that's always better than ours. :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Metabolic Typing

I read Dr Natasha's latest blog post with much interest, because she addressed something very close to home for me.

First, some back-story...
We've been on GAPS since February. Hannah has had some lingering issues, but Nick, Audrey, and Tessa all nearly instantly felt amazing. I, on the other hand, felt terrible. Granted, some of that was candida issues, but even when die off subsided I still had nearly constant gas, bloating, and fatigue. When we started the diet I was still nursing Tessa (now 17 mos) often, so I made sure to get large amount of carbs to keep my supply up.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally emailed my ND (who is very supportive of GAPS, but doesn't use it in his practice at this point.) I told him that I felt terrible, didn't know what to do, and asked what he suggested. He responded that he wanted me to take a Metabolic Typing Test online. The test is $40, money we didn't really have to throw away. I looked up this concept on the GAPS help board, and it had gotten mixed reviews. Some said it could be helpful, others thought it had no scientific basis. After talking it over with my husband, we decided to go ahead and pay for the test. The results I got said:

20% Sympathetic
16% Balanced
63% Parasympathetic
24% Slow Oxidation
75% Fast Oxidation

Along with those results, you also get a suggested meal plan, a list of recommended foods, and some other suggestions regarding food preparation.

When I communicated my results to my ND, he laughed and said, "You're practically an Inuit!" My body is currently asking for large amounts of fat and protein, and very few carbs. So I started eating that way immediately. One small serving of usually a green veggie at each meal, covering everything with oil, filling up on fatty meats. Within one day, the gas and bloating were gone, and I had normal amounts of energy!

I had tried everything I could think of. I was taking HCL with all my meals. I thought I must be reacting to some food I was eating, but couldn't figure out what in the world it could be. I even made some turkey vegetable soup this week, and it gives me gas - too many veggies!

Dr Natasha's blog post was very interesting to me, in light of this experience. If I had been able to follow my body's signals through taste, smell and satisfaction, it could have told me what I needed to know. But so many things can distort that signal - candida, habit, what you think you "should" eat... The test recommends retesting in three months, to allow for adjustments your body will make with time and different circumstances. Maybe because my current type is more extreme, I was not able to stumble across the right fat/protein/carb proportions, like most people are able to do? Regardless, I finally got that breakthrough I've been praying for! And just in time...

Casein Allergy

Last Wednesday night, I made the Chicken Satay recipe out of the Internal Bliss cookbook. YUM. It was SO good. In place of the coconut milk called for (since I didn't have any made), I used GAPS yogurt. We sat down to dinner and everyone was enjoying it. Hannah DEVOURED her chicken, dipping it in the sauce, and then started to complain of a stomach ache. I didn't think anything of it (as fast as she had eaten), so I sent her to the couch to lie down for a few minutes until she felt better. She came back to the table a few minutes later with hives all over her lower abdomen.

Since she had a severe allergic reaction just a few weeks ago, Nick immediately got her some baking soda water to head off the reaction. She drank a little, her upper lip swelled, she sneezed quite a bit. Then she stabilized and we were able to put her to bed at the normal time.

The next day, her belly was protruding, so swollen that her navel was puckered up. She had a fiery red rash under the skin that was no longer raised like before. It covered only her lower intestine area. I decided to take her to our ND, which required an hour trip each way in the car by myself with all three kiddos. This went amazingly well. He checked her belly, and told me he was rather concerned about it. I had brought a grocery bag full of GAPS foods we had been eating, and he muscle tested her on them. The yogurt and ghee are the culprits. I asked him, "How can she react to ghee?" He didn't know. The imprint of the casein?

We removed those from her diet, and her belly returned to normal within two days. The rash healed slowly. She has had no further problems this week.

I had to wean Hannah earlier than I wanted because I got pregnant when she was only 8 months and couldn't keep up with the calorie demands. We put her on raw goat's milk formula until she was obviously reacting to it and gluten at 15 months, when we pulled her off milk altogether. There was nothing else I could have done at the time, but I wonder if her sensitivity developed when her gut was so damaged from being a c-section baby, gluten, and we added the goat's milk on top of that. It might be a long road to healing this sensitivity, if we ever can.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Where I've Been

Posted the list on my personal blog, in case you're curious. Um, wow.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

I just wanted to say Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there who are working hard to heal your families. Even when people think you're wrong or weird, and when it's really hard, you persevere. There was a woman that did these kinds of things in the Bible, about which the Bible says,

"Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied); and her husband boasts of and praises her." (Prov. 31:28). 

Though we don't need gratitude in order to do the right thing, it's always nice. :) May this be something we all hear from our kids today, or someday...

Friday, May 6, 2011


I'm eating filet mignon and cauliflower for lunch. Yeah, GAPS is pretty rough... :)

In other news, this week was ridiculous and I have about four posts to write but no time. Be back Monday probably!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I've been noticing several strange things lately. This is a TMI post!

1. I seem to be losing a lot of hair since starting gaps. Low thyroid? It's similar to what I've experienced at 4-5 months postpartum.

2. I have not had a period since we started gaps. I've been taking periodic pregnancy tests (you never know about these things!) and so far they've been negative.

3. I have always had many large fibroid cysts in my brsts. The whole side of the left one was nearly solid since an attack of mastitis last fall. Now it's totally gone. The two largest cysts are all that remain and they are significantly smaller!

4. This is gross, but I keep finding long white strings in my mouth. They seem to appear after taking my antifugals. Yeast? Gross!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

What I did

I leaving the previous post up.

Sometimes, on this diet, you feel terrible. The whole world is falling apart.

Then you realize...I'm hungry. So you eat.

And you realize...I am really tired. So you take a nap. Like, one of those naps where you don't budge for two hours and wake up groggy but much happier to be alive.

And you realize...I really have to go to the bathroom. So you do.

And suddenly, life isn't going to end. It'll be ok. You can do it one more day.

Just hang on. ;)


I'm not very happy today. I just thought I'd warn you ahead of time.

Generally, I make a big attempt to be an upbeat, encouraging person. But I'm pretty down today, and if I can't whine a bit here, where can I?

I feel terrible again. I can't really decide if I've felt badly all along and just had hope that it would get better, or if I had some points where I really felt good. But, today I'm discouraged and I really feel yucky.

I'm pretty sure I know what the culprit is. I'm eating too much almond butter. For whatever reason, my body can handle it to a point, but then there is this line I cross and it all goes downhill. It is SO HARD for me to stay away from it though. My kids don't seem to have the same struggles with it, and they are eating a lot of it, probably too much for them too. But how, when I'm feeding it to the kids all the time, do I avoid eating it myself? It's so quick and easy - we just eat it off a spoon.

I confess...I get tired of meat. I get tired of animal fat. Some days It grosses me out to be eating a bowl of soup and crunch down on some part of chicken that is unidentifiable. I'm craving light, cold food, but so many of the intro foods before that point aren't working for me that I wonder if I'm ready for that. I want a hamburger and fries like you wouldn't believe. I want to take my family out to eat and not be sick, to just be able to sit around a table and enjoy food like normal people.

I'm tired of being hungry. I'm tired of feeling shaky and weak. I'm tired of smelling bad and having my entire abdomen feel bloated and gross. I'm tired of taking HCL and feeling it burn in my stomach until I take baking soda to wipe it out and know none of that meal will digest well. I'm tired of NOT taking HCL and feeling a lump in my stomach where the food is just rotting. I'm tired of being dizzy and foggy after taking my anti fungals. I'm tired of running out of things like broth and knowing we have no money to buy chicken backs until payday. I'm tired of spending hours in the kitchen and not having time for other things that are more important. I'm tired of making eggs for other people and being afraid to try them again myself, but there seems to be no way I would do well on them when I'm already feeling badly.

We are daily, hourly, making the choice to continue this diet because we know it is the right thing for us. I mean, we felt terrible before we started, feeling terrible now isn't that much different. And we have seen huge improvements in the members of our family that didn't have severe digestive issues. I know it works. I have no plan to abandon it. But friends, I'm tired and discouraged today. God, I really need a breakthrough for ME...

Friday, April 29, 2011


I'm cautiously optimistic...

I had a long talk with my mom yesterday, who is very supportive of GAPS. I explained to her the situation with Hannah being constantly hungry. And thus far, her suggestions seem to be working!

-I sat down with Hannah and talked with her about what it means to be full. We made a joke out of it, saying that when you're too full, you feel like saying, "Bleh..."

-We told the kids our set snack times, and also communicated that they were now allowed to eat as much as they wanted at meals, after they finished the small serving of each food we put on their plate. For us, snack is at 10:30am, 4:30pm, and bedtime (I will flex this if our meals end up early or late).

-This morning at breakfast, I served Hannah a plate of food, and then allowed her to serve herself seconds after she had finished her plate and her mug of broth.

-She ate more than 1/2 pound of meat, about 2 cups of veggies, a cup of broth, and sauerkraut. The child is 6, mind you. I ate about half that much.

-After I cleaned up breakfast, I made a double batch of sunflower seed crackers (that should last us 2-3 days) and we nibbled on a few of those for snacks.

-At lunch, Hannah ate very lightly, SAID SHE WAS FULL, and GOT UP FROM THE TABLE HAPPY!!!

I'm still in shock.

An hour later she asked for a snack before quiet time and I told her no, that she could have a snack after quiet time at 4:30 and she cried. I suspect that will resolve itself, but if not we can adjust. Regardless of that, the tension around here is so much less today that I'm thrilled.

This diet seems to have a way of bringing issues to a head and forcing you to deal with them. It's kind of painful in the process, but instead of just coping, you actually become healthier physically, emotionally and spiritually. I keep thinking today how grateful I am that we are doing it. If you're still on the fence about whether to do GAPS, just do it. It's hard, but you'll be so glad you did.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I took the full dose of my anti fungals yesterday and was a little foggy, but still functional. Woke up feeling pretty stinkin' good this morning. There is light at the end of the tunnel!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mom, I'm hungry...

I've always thought of myself as having very few "issues" with food. I started eating for health as a 17 year old, and never struggled much with weight (either too much or too little), comfort eating, or other things many people talk about. But doing GAPS has uncovered one of them for me: I actually worry about enjoying food.

It's not that I don't enjoy the taste of things, but I rarely allow myself to get excited about food, or to really savor it. It's just...food. This philosophy has served me well for the most part. But I realize my perspective is not totally healthy when my kids get excited about a totally legal GAPS food, and it makes me uneasy. Why is that???

Before GAPS, many foods we truly enjoyed were not really working for us. They either had things in them that we were sensitive to (like eggs), or they were made with refined ingredients. But that's not the case now. And I still feel this way.

I also get totally overwhelmed with how MUCH food my kids (particularly Hannah) want to eat. My three girls finished off 20 oz of green peas at dinner the other night, in addition to 1/2 pound of ground beef EACH and some other things! Also, we will be eating a meal and they'll ask about what they get for snacks. We will just have gotten up from a meal and I'll be clearing the table and they'll come to me saying they're hungry. Honestly, I get really angry. I try not to, but I do. I don't want to refuse them food if they're truly hungry, but I don't understand, particularly after this long on GAPS, how they could really be that hungry still. Not to mention that I just want them to eat at meals, rather than play around during meals and insist on being fed later. We never allow them to fill up on snacks, so I don't understand why they continue to do that.

I really, at some point, want to do other things with my life besides living in the kitchen. I understand that our previous diet created some nutrient deficiencies that we're now making up for, but...wow. All of us but Hannah have reached a saturation point by now, and mostly eat reasonable amounts, but she is still never (and I do mean never) satisfied. On the rare occasion she says she's full, it's because she doesn't want to eat what's on her plate and she'll be back asking for snacks in 10 minutes. She doesn't get them, and that results in tension between us, which causes stress to both of us...

This is one area that I really really hoped GAPS would fix. I still think it will, but I'm weary of waiting. Anybody have any thoughts?

Yeast, eczema and lettuce wraps

I am ONE dose of anti-fungals away from my theraputic dose. I'm hopeful that will mean an end to the obvious symptoms of die off this week. My intestines feel raw. Last night it actually hurt to sit down, because my insides felt so swollen and sore. I've been having a sharp pain in the middle of my right foot when I walk on it. I looked up the reflexology on it, and it's my solar plexus, which is connected directly to my digestion. Fascinating. The body really is amazing. I plan to start probiotics again this week, and continue the anti-fungals for at least another 4-5 weeks, probably more like 2 months.

Last week we ran out of broth for a couple of days prior to grocery shopping day. Audrey started scratching her legs up again, in spite of taking No Fenol! When we started her back on the broth, it quit again! It amazes me that broth could make that obvious of a difference. I suppose it would take a couple more tries to see if that's really what it was, but it sure seemed so. Weird.

I made Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps last night, a recipe from the Grain Free Meal Plans. Oh yum. The girls devoured them. It was our first try of raw lettuce, and so far so good. It felt really right to be eating raw, light, cool food. I love soups, and still crave them, but it's been nearly three months since we ate anything raw and it was great. The kids would have refused lettuce of any kind before we started the diet, and they happily ate it. I can hardly wait for summer salads with yogurt ranch dressing...yum...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Chicken Zucchini "Spaghetti"

I created a very yummy dinner tonight! Let me know if you try it and like it. :)

4 medium zucchini, sliced into thin strips lengthwise on a mandolin (use the french fry attachment, and BE CAREFUL!)
2 pounds ground chicken
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
3-4 cups chicken broth
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp dill
Celtic Sea Salt

In a dutch oven, add half the broth and the chicken, turn to medium high heat and bring to a boil. Use a wooden spoon to break apart the chicken, cook until the chicken is mostly done. Add the garlic and onion, and turn down the heat to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Then, add the zucchini and remaining broth. Cover, bring back to a boil, and allow the zucchini to simmer until tender. Serve with a slotted spoon or with the broth in a bowl. Drizzle with yogurt and garnish with sauerkraut. I served steamed broccoli alongside this, and we topped it with ghee. Delicious!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


It was time to up my anti-fungal supplement dosage today. Thankfully, I don't feel as badly as I did when I started, but my stomach hurts, I have "floaters" in my vision (keep seeing things out of the corner of my eye. Creepy.), and I'm very itchy today. Oh, and the bottom of my left big toe is sore. I've had a crack in the skin there for literally years. I guess that must have been caused by the yeast, because it sure is sore to walk on now, but not red. The brain fog is mostly gone, thankfully.

I also felt really angry this morning, though there was nothing much to be angry about. That could have been some sort of reaction. I'll have to see if it continues, or if I just needed to talk through some stuff. I think there's a danger in this kind of diet, to pin every little urge on a food problem. Though it's all interconnected...it's all interconnected. You know? I think it's highly likely that something can bother us emotionally or even spiritually, and cause a food sensitivity, just like the reverse can happen. We cannot be completely healthy while only addressing food issues.

The pattern seems to be two days of this die off, and then I take a break for a day before increasing again. By that pattern, I have about 1 1/2 weeks till I'm at the full dosage, and my N.D. says I might be on it for 4 months, depending on the severity of the overgrowth. I'm supposed to go back for him to check on me in 4-6 more weeks.

I'm getting well, and for that I'm thankful. Bleh. Tired of feeling gross. But I'm getting well.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

When Nobody Does

To reference one of my favorite kids' books,

This is what happens

...when nobody does. :)


People from many drastically different walks of life say it is valuable to visualize what you want to see happen. The people who teach this are all so drastically different, that I'm convinced it is a law that God built into our world. We were given an imagination, and we can use it for our benefit. Sports people, New Age'rs, motivational speakers and charismatic Christians all teach that if you want something, you must first see it in your mind and heart.

Here's the question I've been asking myself: can I see myself well? Can I see myself eating *that* food, and not having symptoms? Can I see myself with lots of energy?

Sometimes it seems to me that reactions are almost as much about expectations as they are physical realities.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Nick: Doesn't think he's tolerating the yogurt well yet. That's the first thing that has bothered him. He continues to feel good, have lots of energy, etc.

Me: I'm continuing with the anti-fungal supplements. It will be at least another week or two before I will be able to take the full recommended dose. Every time I up the dose, I have about two days of terrible gas, fatigue, brain fog, and sometimes a headache if I'm not careful with the probiotic foods. Then the next day I feel better than I have in maybe years, until I up the dose again. The mix of feelings I have about larger doses are almost comical - I can hardly wait to get well so I really want to just take the full dose and go to bed for a few days, but reality ("Oh yeah, I have to take care of my children") keeps me adding one pill at a time.

I noticed a little yellowing of the skin on the palms of my hands. Hmm...too many carrots and winter squash, probably. In the past couple of days I have tried to lean toward green and white veggies instead, but we're about to intro juice again so... Anybody have any thoughts about this?

We added olive oil yesterday, and to my surprise, everyone but Nick had a little diarrhea. OLIVE OIL?! I, of course, added more than the "few drops" we're supposed to start with, so I don't think I'll consider this an intolerance. Tomorrow we will do the few drops and see how everyone does. Prior to GAPS I had been cooking with it in large amounts, so I'm fairly certain we will tolerate it well.

Hannah: She has the yellowish skin as well. I haven't noticed it with Audrey or Tess, but they have Nick's olive skin tone while Hannah's is like mine. I wonder if it just doesn't show up in darker skin? Hannah got rather yellow as a toddler, before we took her off gluten - to the point that people noticed it. Is this a liver thing?

She continues to complain of stomachaches, though it seems less the past few days. She has not been having regular accidents, for the first time ever. The only exception to that is if she has diarrhea. There must be a physical and/or developmental reason for that, since Audrey, who is 16 months younger, is able to get to the bathroom. I have stopped commenting on it if she has an accident, just quietly cleaning her up. She is expressing embarrassment about it to me, for the first time. I see that as a positive thing, because I think before when I was frustrated with her, she was being defensive about it. Live and learn. This parenting thing is not an exact science, thankfully.

Audrey: has been scratching a bit as I relax more on the salicylates. Tonight I tried giving her two No-Fenol with dinner, to see if that helps. Her arms are still clear, but her legs look a bit splotchy red and she has one small splotch on the right side of her mouth that flares after eating salicylate foods. I really see a difference in her since starting the diet. She seems...sturdier. Her face has some softness to it. She's definitely taller. Her eyes are bright. She's more willing to try new things and be outgoing. She laughs nonstop.

Tessa: is getting all four eye teeth at the same time. You can see the little white points just below the skin. In my experience with my kids, these are the most painful ones. Ouch. I have a good teething homeopathic, thankfully. She had a day of high fever, a clear runny nose, and lots of messy diapers. Can't really tell much about the food though, because of the teeth. I handed her a toddler fork and served her dinner on a plastic plate instead of her high chair tray last night. She proceeded to eat her entire meal with that fork and had an absolute blast! I don't remember my other two doing that so early (not quite 16 months), but she does have big sisters to watch!

Haven't taken on the soup thing yet, between Tess teething and me dealing with die off. This has also been on of those weeks where we have had tons of requests for our time. I alternate between saying no to everyone, and having busy weeks. My threshold for being overwhelmed is pretty low, so I say no a lot. Tomorrow we're supposed to meet friends at the library, Thursday is playgroup at our house, and Friday an old friend arrives to stay the weekend. Somewhere in there I need to grocery shop, cook, clean, arrange a guest room, and buy Easter stuff for the kids. Whew.

I do wish I could find some food prep shortcuts. I find it difficult to keep up with dishes, cooking, laundry, housekeeping, while still homeschooling and having friendships. I'm hoping that as I start to feel better, this will also get better.

Monday, April 18, 2011

New Information

I learned yesterday that I'm working with something I wasn't aware of: some sort of sensory processing problem. In Hannah, at least.

Friday, I got really tired of the constant arguments over drinking broth with meals, and declared then and there that all meals would consist of soup until further notice. This doesn't bother me one bit, and Nick was happy to go along. I feel great eating soup (I usually eat two bowls per meal), and it's easy and quick to reheat. Hannah immediately got depressed, which I figured was just stubbornness. But then, she proceeded to only eat maybe two bites at each meal, FOR TWO DAYS. I could tell she was very very hungry, but she would not eat. By Sunday afternoon, it was getting ridiculous, and Nick basically required her to take a few bites. What happened next shocked me: she actually vomited.

I completely understand when people whose kids are autistic or have other complicated problems have to go through the ABA process described in the GAPS book in order to get their kids to eat. My kids have been sick, but there are kids out there far sicker than mine. What I did not realize, is that I'm dealing with some of those types of problems in my kids too.

I can honestly say that I don't remember ever having disliked the flavor or texture of a food to the point of feeling like throwing up. In fact, I feel very little empathy for people who describe those types of feelings. I had to process all of this for awhile with Nick yesterday, because I find myself getting very angry at my kids about this, and even at other adults who tell me "I just have this thing. I can't stand _____." I want to say, "GET OVER IT." This is perhaps not the most loving, understanding response I could have. :) I realized where that comes from though: I have never felt like I had a choice! When I came to nutrition as a 17 year old, I was having grand mal seizures. It was either eat right, or stay on medication that was making me very ill. While other people had the option to nurse their little food pet peeves, eating junk to get them through college, I was learning how to cook because I had to be able to function. And until I was diagnosed with gluten sensitivity years later, I continued to occasionally have seizures anyway!

People regularly talk to me about how hard it seems to eat the way we do, or how they could never do that. I try SO HARD to be understanding, to put myself in their shoes. But it's hard. It reminds me of what the disciples said to Jesus after He taught a particularly difficult message. Many people left Him, and He asked the disciples if they were going to leave too. Their response? "Where else would we go? You have the words of eternal life." Eating this way doesn't equal eternal life, of course, but the idea is the same. What else could I do? What option do I have? I have never seen just dealing with being sick as a choice to make. I have too many things I want to do and experience in this life!

But, while that determination gets me through this time, it can also make me unloving with my kids, especially while doing this diet. It helps that I now understand where my frustration comes from. I'm sure this determination will help others along the way, but I must balance it with love. The whole "speaking the truth in love" thing is a difficult balance at times!

So, where do we go next? Before meals, Hannah must eat one bite of soup, followed by a sunflower seed cracker, which she loves. The next day, it's two bites. The next, three. We'll see how that goes. When we told her this plan she was relieved. She can wrap her mind around a certain number of bites. And I'm working on my empathy. Thankfully, I have a husband who is very kind and understanding - of both sides of this! He understands my frustration, and he understands the kids difficulties. He helps to ground me, on a regular basis. I really think we will make progress this way. And we kind of had to go through the experience we had this weekend, to understand what the "real" issue is. Onward!

Saturday, April 16, 2011


As we go, I keep noticing symptoms disappearing that I did not even list in my first post. Last night, Audrey was able to take a bath without having an itching attack.

We live in an area with both chlorinated and fluoridated water, and the chemicals have bothered her for some time. At her worst, we had to only bathe her at my parents' house, because they are on well water. We have grown accustomed to bathing her quickly, usually in the shower, before she absorbed too many of the chemicals to function. We have a chlorine filter on our shower head and a "bath ball" in the tub to absorb as much of the chlorine as possible, but the only thing that would remove fluoride is a terribly expensive whole-house reverse osmosis filter.

Bathing (even in the shower) has been a miserable experience, as her skin turned fiery red and she screamed in discomfort and fear. She would often tear into her skin following a shower, because of how itchy and dry it was. When she had open wounds from her eczema, baths were impossible because of the feeling of the water on her sores.

But last night, she played with her sister, she had her hair washed, and she got out without pain. This is working. It's really, really working. Thank you God!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Birthday Cake

Hannah's 6th birthday was Monday. I agonized for weeks, literally, about what to make for a cake. She's old enough to know the difference, and we were having my parents and siblings over and I wanted to make something that they would find edible, if not enjoyable. I finally settled on carrot cake with cream cheese frosting because we've been eating almond butter successfully and since carrot cake is always dense, I hoped it would not seem too odd. Since egg has still been a struggle, I looked for a recipe with as few eggs as possible (which is difficult, because once people intro eggs, they USE EGGS. Wow.) I finally settled on this recipe, which I tripled for our big extended family. For the cream cheese in the frosting, I poured some yogurt into a strainer lined with a coffee filter, and put it in the fridge overnight to drain the whey. I subbed coconut oil for butter.

These turned out pretty good! They received mixed reviews from my family - some thought they were tasty, many agreed they were "weird" or not what they expected, but the only person who didn't eat it was my more picky 20 year old sister. My 11 month old nephew, who hasn't been much wanting to start eating solids, LOVED them. My 23 year old brother said the frosting tasted like Pinkberry frozen yogurt, which was a very high compliment coming from him! Hannah, who was the most important one, and actually all of us doing GAPS, thought they were delicious. :) We let Tess eat a whole one, probably too much for her and she vomited that night. And I had diarrhea the next morning. I'd still call it a success. Whew. On to the next challenge!

Week 7

I realized this morning that we've been on GAPS for 7 weeks! That sounds a lot longer than it feels. I miss sweet potatoes and my GF sourdough waffles, oh and chocolate, when I think about them. But other than that, I find the diet to be very satisfying.

Nick has maintained his new weight, and has been exercising most mornings for the first time in his life. He has yet to have a negative reaction to adding foods, unless he really overdoes it at first.

I am still dealing with die off reaction from the yeast cleanse supplements. I added another dose this morning since I was mostly symptom free yesterday, and feel a little dizzy and out of it this morning. Dr P says most people have 14 days of die off. One week down, one to go!

Hannah is still complaining of a stomach ache regularly. She had some chamomile tea a couple of nights ago and said she thought it bothered her. I have a hard time believing it was that - seems more likely to be the yogurt. But we're going with her assessment for now, in part because I want her to feel empowered to make observations about how her own body is working with the diet. She continues to fight me about taking her broth or eating soup. I have been filling her plate with food, and requiring her to drink her broth before she can have seconds of food, which she almost always wants. She continually "checks" to make sure the rule is still in effect. I hope she will reach a point of accepting it sometime soon.

Audrey has been scratching a bit the past couple of days, I think because of the salicylates in almond butter. She's been refusing the baking soda water that makes it stop, but I have been giving her the choice of either drinking it or simply not scratching. For the most part she's been leaving her skin alone, by choice.

Tess woke up with a fever this morning. She hasn't been drinking well again, and I hope that we're not dealing with a UTI. I nursed her an extra time this morning, and have been regularly handing her a sippy cup. She will sometimes take one sip and that's all. I also wondered if it could be die off and/or teething, since she's getting the anti-fungal supplements in my milk and I can see her eyeteeth just below the surface, about to pop through. Who knows?

I roasted chicken last night, for the first time. I didn't expect to notice much of a difference between that and boiling but, um, wow. I have never had chicken taste so good! I kept eating bites of it as I deboned it.

The next few steps in intro feel vague to me. I suppose the transition from boiled to roasted meat might be tough for some people. Or adding in olive oil. Or fresh juices. But these seem like simple changes for us and it's difficult for me to to want to add in one thing at a time here. We may attempt to move quickly through stage four and see how it goes. One or two days on each new thing seems like it may be enough for these things. We were so familiar with which things we were sensitive to prior to starting GAPS, that I can pretty much predict what our responses will be. Though I must say I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly Audrey was able to start egg, and that Hannah's symptoms did not change when we added ghee! GAPS bread will have to wait (at least for Hannah and me) until we successfully intro egg, but I will probably attempt it for Nick and Audrey's sakes.

The best advice I've received about GAPS? Don't think about it too much. It's just food. Read what you need to read, learn what you need to learn, then think about something else. Throw yourself into other things as much as you can. The more I obsess about the diet, the worse I feel and the more restricted I feel. But in the long term, I really believe this is worth doing. It will make a huge long-term impact on our family's health, which will better enable us to carry out the work God has for us to do!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


What do we think will happen if I run my cheap food processor for 15 minutes like I'm supposed to, to make nut butter? Will it burn up? It says in the manual not to run it more than 1 min at a time. And when I tried it for a couple minutes before, it heated up some and the nuts didn't stay down on the blade anyway. But people insist that is the way to make soaked nut butter...

Keep it simple. Breathe. Slowly.

These are the words I'm repeating to myself today. I upped the dose of my yeast cleanse supplements a tiny bit and the die off symptoms are moderate. My mind works slowly. I have hurt myself several times today because either my depth perception is off or I'm just less coordinated. I have several rash-y spots that have popped up on my skin - on the inside and outside of my elbows, itchy spots on my legs, spots on my back, and spots that are a little sore on the soles of my feet. The oddest thing though, is gas that smells almost like burning plastic. Um, that's just weird. I called to check in with my doc this morning, to make sure all of that is normal. His receptionist, who knows me well, assured me it sounded fine but that she would check with him as well. The other weird thing is I've been needing almost double the amount of HCL that I had been taking, or I feel my meals sit in the pit of my stomach like a rock. I've been taking the whole huge 600mg capsules instead of only half like I had been.

This is all temporary, and it's necessary for me to get well. I'm grateful to have a doctor who can both help me figure out what's wrong and guide me through it so I don't have to go it alone. I keep wondering if a large part of the health problems I've had over the past several years were due to yeast overgrowth. I'm basically having all the annoying symptoms and rashes I've had over several years all reoccur at once. The last time I tried to do a yeast cleanse was in about 2005, and I ended up with very painful "bubbles" on the soles of my feet that took several months to heal. I discontinued the treatment and never did finish. I am hopeful that I can go slowly enough this time, (and that my body is in better shape) to detox without those kinds of reactions.

For now though? Slowly. Breath. Keep it simple....

Almond Butter Fudge

This is a favorite snack around here these days. We make it with almond butter, virgin coconut oil, and a bit more celtic sea salt than the recipe calls for. It is just a bit sweet, a bit salty, and very satisfying!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

So. Tired.

About an hour after I take the yeast cleanse supplements, I am so tired I can hardly get up the stairs. Several hours later my body clears it and I can function again. I'm still taking a tiny dose compared to what is recommended.

I feel a little stupid that I let it get this bad. I knew I wasn't digesting well, but it was due mainly to stress that I had little control over. That maldigestion made yeast run wild. Candida is kind of the ground level in natural medicine, as far as I'm concerned. I was unaware that, even while eating no refined sugar or carbs, candida could still take over.

I can tell that the gas and pain I've been struggling with are tied to the yeast. Ever since starting the supplements, I will start to feel gross, wait for it to start, but it quits almost before it begins. I think I prefer feeling wiped out to being sick. At least I'm not in pain!


It's been a few days since I updated everyone's status...

Nick is still doing awesome. Not much more to say about him. This diet seems made for the way his body works.

I'm cautiously excited about doing this yeast cleanse over the next few weeks. On the one hand I hate, HATE yeast die off reactions. It's like self-inflicted flu symptoms and foggy brain. On the other hand, I know I will get better if I can just push through this. Tess is teething, and adding die off toxins to her load is hard too. I wonder if it would be easier to wait a couple of months and wean her before doing this, but I don't want to rush her and I want to get better by then. We'll see how it goes. We intro'ed homemade raw goat's milk yogurt this week, and I have not noticed any digestive symptoms from it at all. I have had a little more "gunk" in my throat after eating it, but nothing uncomfortable.

Hannah continues to tell me her stomach hurts and to have anxiety-type symptoms. Her digestion seems totally fine. I keep waiting for her to get better - even on just broth, veggies and meat she had these symptoms so I don't think they are food-related. If I give her no-fenol regularly she does not have potty accidents, and if we get lax, she does. So, she's still reacting to salicylates on some level.

Audrey seems to be having a growth spurt. She is looking older, her skin and eyes look much healthier (which is all pretty obvious to me after how sick she was). She is able to tolerate some salicylates with no-fenol, but often about 2 hours after the meal she will get itchy again. At that point we give her some baking soda water (1 tsp baking soda in a cup of water) and she stops itching after just a few sips. GAPS says baking soda water is good for detox and Dr P (our N.D.) says it's good for stopping allergic reactions. I don't know which this is (maybe both?), but it does work amazingly well.

Tess has done great with everything unless I get lax about grinding up her veggies. The meat we eat right now is so soft that it digests fine with minimal chewing, but even the soft-cooked veggies cause her diarrhea if they aren't ground up. We have one of these, which makes it very convenient to do right at the table while we eat. (Unless she gets impatient, which also happens!)

This morning I cooked our breakfast sausage in tallow instead of broth, and everyone seems to have done fine with that. The flavor is so much better! We are moving into stage 4 of the intro diet finally, and I think it will be an easy transition. Meats that are roasted or grilled, olive oil, fresh juices, and bread (for the egg-eaters anyway) all seem like they will go well and quickly. After those comes raw veggies, cooked apple, and finally fruit juices and raw fruit, for which I am rather excited. We'll see how everyone does with having fiber again, but I suspect we may be able to get through these next stages in another couple of weeks. Eating fruit just in time for summer sounds like a terrific idea to me. :) I'm hopeful that as my digestion gets better with the yeast cleanse, and as Hannah's anxiety levels come down, we will begin to tolerate egg, but I think the trial for it is probably another couple of months away.

Fascinating process, this is!

Jerky, etc.

Got my first batches of jerky going in the dehydrator today. Trying small amounts of several different things until we figure out what we like best. Salmon with dill and coconut aminos (good soy substitute!); ground turkey with a little marjoram, onion and garlic; and ground beef with cumin and cayenne. I don't know how the dried herbs will work, but we eat lots of them and they are flavors I know better than traditional spices. I'm letting the salmon marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours before putting it in to dry.

Also just pulled some melted butter from the oven to strain for ghee, there are two chickens going in the stockpot on the stove, and now acorn squash is roasting for lunch. Yum!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Brain Cloud

Did you ever see Joe Vs. The Volcano? Great cult classic movie. In it, he is diagnosed with a "brain cloud," which later turns out to be a money-making scheme by a greedy businessman. Hysterical.

The yeast cleanse stuff I'm taking is making me feel like the biggest ditz today. I can't remember what day it is. I would lose my head if it wasn't attached. And I took a very small amount compared to the recommended dose. Maybe I can blame yeast for all the episodes of complete flakiness I've experienced in the past year or so?


Thursday, April 7, 2011


Day two, and we're all feeling good!

I am awfully excited about this.


I hate candida. I suppose it must do something good, somewhere, or it wouldn't live in our bodies. But man, it does not do good things in large numbers.

I went to my naturopath tonight, so he could help me figure out what I needed to do next. GAPS says if you get stuck, usually there's a fungal issue and you will need some nutritional support to get rid of it. So... I muscle tested ridiculously weak for fungal issues, and the things that helped are Neem, 10-Undecenoic Acid, and Collidal Silver (which Dr Natasha does not recommend but we have used it (correctly!) for years and I know it works for me). So I'm on quite a regimen of pills 3x a day for maybe several weeks, but I bet I'll make lots of progress in (or at least after) those few weeks.

I also got a massage today from a friend, which was amazing. The knots in my shoulders actually feel relaxed tonight.

Just FYI - do NOT google images for candida. I may be scarred for life.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

God I Look to You

Awesome song I've been clinging to the past few weeks...

Effective Marketing

You know they've done a good job when a magazine catches your eye and it's just so pretty you must buy it!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I'm calling it: almond intro is a success! Yesssss....

Three days on almonds so far and I don't think there's anything going on we can attribute to them. It's funny-just adding almond butter (which I've been doing store bought roasted-not ideal, but my food processor can't run long enough to do almond butter) makes me feel so much less hungry. By that I mean I can go two hours between meals, instead of one. Ha! I'll take it!


Image credit

GAPS uses only homemade yogurt that has been fermented a full 24 hours.

Almost no one makes yogurt like that because it's very sour. However, that amount of time allows the live cultures to eat up all the lactose, which is very hard for some people to digest. There is a particular strain of probiotics called S. Thermophilis that is responsible for helping digest lactose (it actually produces lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose). Lactose intolerant people have had that strain wiped out by yeast overgrowth, antibiotics, or what-have-you.

My dehydrator arrived this afternoon (Thank you Staci!), and I already have a batch of 24 hour yogurt going in it. This is the next thing on my list to intro. Goat's milk has always muscle tested fine for me, but still seemed difficult to digest. I'm betting it was the lactose. It sure would be nice to have yogurt added for an easy snack!

I've been really wiped out this week. It's either more die off, or my adrenals. Probably a combo of the two. Considering seeing my naturopathic doctor to see what suggestions he has. Seems like I should be feeling better than I am - the rest of the family seems to be doing better every day! For that I'm very thankful!

Adrenal/Thyroid Function

I found this scorecard very interesting yesterday. I have 29 of the indicators for adrenal exhaustion right now. Um...yeah. The recommendations to rehab the adrenals are very interesting as well. Many of these nutrients are in good supply in the GAPS diet. I'm interested though, in getting some dessicated adrenal gland when we can. No matter how much sleep I get, I am always very low energy, and have a hard time committing to activities because I get so tired so quickly. I'm very ready to have normal amounts of energy and be able to exercise regularly again!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Egg Conclusions

Hannah and I just aren't ready yet. We both did yolk yesterday and today, and we both felt terrible all day today. Lots of gas, and I seriously felt like my brain was out of whack. I spent the whole day with this sad, foggy, achy feeling. I feel the best I have all day now, at 11pm.

On one hand I'm disappointed, but I'm also happy to know for sure now. We will wait 2-3 months and try again. In the meantime, we will try almond butter as soon as we're feeling good again.

Hannah is doing well with ghee, but I don't have much desire to try it right now. I felt very bad on it just a week ago.

We have a weekly 1/2 gallon of raw goats milk now, so after almond butter we will be trying homemade goat milk yogurt and kefir.

After that comes avocado, which we have had a few times and the kids and Nick have seemed fine on it.

Our dehydrator should arrive Monday. Very exciting!

If I could do it all again, I would have been more precise from the beginning. It's hard to be six weeks into this but only eating stage three. We would have been able to move faster if we had really intro'ed one thing at a time with no cheating. Instead we spent lots of time confused and backtracking.

I served soup for lunch today and Hannah and Audrey made a battle out of it again. Very strange. I don't understand the mental block against soup. I can even call it something else and they eat. Hannah was literally gagging and dry heaving as she took bites. It was hard to believe. I have gotten away from serving actual soup, instead steaming veggies and poaching meat and serving with broth, but this made me think more soup is in order. Soup is also much much easier from a preparation standpoint. They must need more practice with it. Calm, kind, patient, but firm guidance is SO important here and SO hard to give. It definitely shows you what you're made of!

New Interview with Dr. Natasha

Check it out here...


We spent some time working outside today. Temps are supposed to hit 78 degrees! The sunshine feels good, and I'm sure the dose of vitamin D will help everyone feel better.

Hannah and I both did ok digestion-wise on our egg yolk yesterday and today, but we are both crabby as anything. She has spent most of the morning crying over nothing, and I feel like joining her. At this point I think we will push through, because our symptoms have obviously improved. But I wonder what the next couple of days will bring.

Audrey is doing awesome, and thrilled to be eating pancakes. Nick had one this morning too, and said he likes them better than "regular" pancakes. It's amazing to me how Audrey (and Nick too, really) just took to this diet. Hannah and I seem to have more issues to work on, but we're obviously making progress...

Friday, April 1, 2011


I feel a bit better this evening. I started thinking about what I had been doing when I was feeling good. One thing I came up with was raw liver pills. You can read more about it here. Aside from adding it to the meatloaf a few weeks ago, I have had a difficult time bringing myself to cook and eat liver. A while back I happened upon the idea to cut it into tiny pieces and swallow them like pills. I've never had any trouble swallowing pills, so this is easy for me. Cutting the liver up was much harder, but still doable. :) I have a little more energy and feel a little less foggy-headed now.

Weston Price Foundation and Bradley Method/Brewer diet both recommend 4 oz of liver at least once a week for pregnant/lactating women. This is cheap and relatively easy to do!

Hard Days

The hard days seem to come in waves with this diet. Seems to be common, from what I've read. Today I am wiped out, sad, frustrated, weak, unmotivated, and my stomach and head feel...weird.

I've been adding too many things in at one time, at which point my stomach goes, "wait, what are you doing?" and proceeds to reject all of it. Sooo, I have to be more disciplined about adding in one thing every four days. This. Is. SO. Hard. To. Do.

I've been hard on the kids for saying they're hungry all the time, but when I don't cheat (as in, eat "legal" foods that are out of order), I'm finding I'm hungry every hour too. I have considered myself a fairly disciplined person, but this is really challenging me. I'm back to just egg yolk today, and need to do just that and meat, veggies and broth for the next four days to see if the yolks alone work. My stomach is gurgly and I keep seeing stars.

If I can start to get some foods properly, reliably intro-ed, I know I will start to feel better. But I'm starting to dread intro-ing foods because they almost always make me sick. And I'm not doing well on just meat, veggies and broth.


Thursday, March 31, 2011


Lately, I can totally tell when I'm eating something that isn't working. My stomach hurts and my mood goes down the drain. If it's just die off, I seem to be able to do anything I want, but just feel tired. So amazing how much our moods are affected by what we eat.

Feeling a bit stuck today. Nothing seems to be working for me but meat, veggies and broth.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Getting Answers

It's amazing sometimes how quickly answers come when you pray through questions...

I went back to egg yolk only this morning, and so far I'm feeling good. That just seems so weird, to be able to tolerate one part of the egg but not the other, but any movement forward is progress!

We got the answer to Hannah's huge appetite through this post yesterday. For now, I'm going to try to feed her as much as she asks for, with a cheerful heart. If it doesn't level off in the next week or two we will consider other problems/solutions. I was realizing freshly this morning how much we need to do this diet. Hannah was just excited to eat, and happily talking about what she was going to have, and I found myself cringing. There's nothing wrong with her enjoying food and being excited about what she gets to eat. That's the whole goal here. And yet we have gone so long with so many food issues that anything they enjoyed usually made them sick. It doesn't have to be like that anymore. I can feed my children healthy food that they get deep enjoyment from, and not worry about it. That is freedom!

Another thought, while I'm on a philosophical note: The less we think about food, the happier we are right now. We've been in survival mode for a long time around here. We've been very inward focused, by necessity. But we are sensing God calling us into a new season of reaching out around us. I'm starting a playgroup and rejoining the worship team after a three month break. At its root, food is just fuel for living. It can be enjoyable to eat, but ultimately living has so much more to do with relationships and serving God and other people. Food is a very small part of it. We use food for entertainment far too often. I have learned this lesson before, during other cleanses I've done, but our culture pulls us away from this truth rather quickly. There is something special about sharing food with other people though, and that is something that we have longed to be able to do. Doing this diet will hopefully enable us ultimately to eat dinner with friends again, without worrying.

Monday, March 28, 2011


There are several things going on for which I have no answers right now. Here's a peek into my "journal" of thoughts for today:

The egg didn't work for me. I had one soft boiled egg at breakfast and had almost immediate diarrhea. I think I prefer that to the dizziness. So we step back. I'm determined not to get discouraged about that. It's obvious that healing is taking place and things are changing. I'm not sure whether to pull egg entirely, or to try just egg yolk tomorrow. Many people can tolerate egg yolk but not white. As much as I dread feeling badly if it doesn't work, I think I will attempt yolk tomorrow. I'll know within a day or two if it works, and then I can move on. Audrey has done great with soft boiled eggs, which I'm happy about and so is she!

I was craving almond butter SO badly this afternoon, so I allowed myself a spoonful. I haven't had any in a few weeks. It is two steps away still, after ghee and avocado.

We have had multiple arguments over drinking broth this week. I'm so tired of those. At lunch today, rather than allowing her to pour it into a sippy cup and walk around with it (which has been ending in sippy cups with three inches of cold broth left in the living room), I required Audrey to sit at the table while she finished. She was very sad about it, and I was compassionate but firm with her. She likes to play around at the table until everyone is done eating, and then gets very sad about being left at the table to finish. I don't know how to handle this except to let natural consequences teach her to eat while people are there. It's very hard for me to make her sit there alone, and I often sit with her. But I can't always do that. This too shall pass, but I'm a little sad and weary of the fight today.

Hannah has her own struggles. She is hungry, or at least says she is, all the time. Still. I keep hoping this will stop. They say that the first 6-8 weeks are like that and then it levels off. The rest of us seem to have settled down appetite-wise. The thing that makes it hard with her, is she's always been like that. As a baby, she used to eat 3 jars of baby food and then vomit because her stomach was too full. I always thought it was related to her gluten intolerance, but now I think it might just be habit. It's very frustrating for us to have just finished a meal, gotten it cleaned up, and she's already back at my elbow asking for more food. Is it boredom? Could she possibly get hungry again that quickly? Should I kindly tell her that she's had enough or let her gorge herself? How do these issues affect her as she grows up? I so want her to have a healthy perspective on food and her weight, etc. I am so careful not to make comments about gaining weight or anything along those lines. It's always about whether her tummy is full or not. But it never. gets. full. Also, every night when we put her to bed, she says her tummy hurts, and sometimes she says she needs to throw up but never does. This is eerie to me, because I went through a phase at about her age where I was terrified of throwing up, and had panic attacks related to thinking I was going to throw up every night. We thought it was related to a child in our church dying of meningitis, but I can't help but wonder if our fears are completely related and due to some deficiency, or genetic response to...something... That kind of psychological issue is probably a GAPS issue anyway, so even if I don't understand it the diet will address it. But still, eerie. And could it be because her stomach is too full, or too empty, or...?

Audrey has been amazing me with her ability to eat salicylates when taking No-Fenol. Her legs were very sore with reintroducing salicylates, and after a week on the enzymes she is healing up! Hannah's potty accidents have also dropped off on No-Fenol, which is pretty exciting. Those are not a long-term solution, but the diet is that long-term solution. Now we also have a short-term solution. Thank God.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Never a dull moment...

Yesterday and today, we had soft boiled eggs at breakfast. Yesterday I had a brief time when I felt faint but it passed quickly. Today I got maybe too brave and tried two of them. About 30 minutes later I was taking a shower and got so dizzy I had to sit down. After a couple minutes it got better so I finished my shower. My head felt like one of those toy balls that is a ball-inside-a-ball, and the inside ball rolls around. An hour or so later I was fine. At the same time I had a little stomach discomfort then it too went away. Tonight I feel weak and tired but not sick like this morning.

What in the world was that? My tendency is to think detox/die off reaction, but it will take a couple more days to know for sure. My reaction to eggs has been completely different each of the 3 times I have tried them. I went from diarrhea 3 hours later, to painful gas, to this weird dizziness thing. Seems like the reaction is improving, not growing worse, since I'm not having digestive problems. Though I'm not a huge fan of feeling yucky, it seems like my only choice is to keep trying egg every day until it either gets better or worse.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Eggs again

Soft boiled eggs for breakfast this morning, for everyone except Hannah, who seems to need a little more time with the broth and probiotics for now. And good results all around! I can hardly believe this. :) We will retry Hannah on egg next week. She was pretty sad about her symptoms, but maybe by talking with her about it some, she will be more motivated with drinking her broth/eating soups. She still seems to be struggling with those some. Usually her complaints are related to the fat that accumulates on the top of the broth. The longer we go on the diet, the more that fat is comforting and tasty to me. It seems like I can actually feel it stabilizing my blood sugar. After spending so much of my life getting shaky and nauseous between meals, stable blood sugar feels so good!

In other news, finished yet another batch of homemade sauerkraut that I do not like the taste/smell of. Going to have to either buy sauerkraut from, or enlist the help of my friend Dawn. Thankfully, she is starting classes on fermentation soon! I am lacking some of the equipment that is recommended in making sauerkraut and I think I must not be getting enough liquid out of the cabbage to keep it covered and safe from the pesky critters in the air. At least that's my guess.

We can do this

Friday, March 25, 2011


Braised Short Ribs and mashed cauliflower on the menu for tonight. Yum.

Colonizing Baby's Digestive Tract

From the Custom Probiotics website:

Another factor affecting the intestinal flora of the newborn is delivery mode. A normal vaginal delivery commonly permits transfer of bacteria from the mother to the infant. During cesarean deliveries, this transfer is completely absent. These infants commonly acquire and are colonized with flora from the hospital's environment and, therefore, their flora may differ from maternal flora. Infants delivered by cesarean section are colonized with more anaerobic bacteria, especially Bacteroides, than vaginally delivered infants. Clostridium perfringens is the anaerobic bacterium most frequently isolated after cesarean deliveries. When colonized, cesarean delivered infants less frequently harbor E. coli, and more often klebsiella and enterobacteria(7).

The initial colonizing bacteria vary with the food source of the infant. In breast-fed infants, Bifidobacteria account for more than 90% of the total intestinal bacteria. The low concentration of protein in human milk, the presence of specific anti-infective proteins such as immunoglobulin A, lactoferrin, lysozyme, and oligosacharides (prebiotics), as well as production of lactic acid, cause an acid milieu and are the main reasons for its bifidogenic charachtersitics. In bottle-fed infants, Bifidobacteria are not predominant(13). Instead enterobacteria and gram-negative organisms dominate because of a more alkaline milieu and the absence of the prebiotic modulatory factors present in breast milk.

Colonized with the bacteria from the hospital? YUCK! This is of particular interest to me since Hannah was a c-section baby.


We did another trial of eggs yesterday morning. And, for me, NOTHING HAPPENED. I can hardly believe it, considering how sick they made me just a couple of weeks ago. And yet, I'm about 30 minutes from the 24 hour mark with no noticeable symptoms. The girls still struggled a bit, but not as bad as it's been. We have been trying a new breakfast with Daddy schedule that has made it difficult to find a time to give their probiotics before breakfast, so I suspect that's what would cause them to still struggle. I'll get on top of that, and in a couple days they will be fine too, I bet!

To me, this feels like the first big success with this diet. I have been more or less off eggs for 4 years. I'm grateful that Audrey is eating better, and Nick is feeling good and happy with his weight, but the real motivator in doing this for me has been the food intolerances.

Up till this week, my head has been in this but not my heart. I've been frustrated with the fact that we even needed to do it. The longer we go, the more my heart becomes engaged in it too. We can get well. This diet is a blessing, not a curse!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Freshly rendered tallow

Tess and Sauerkraut

Keeping thinking of things to post today!

Tess LOVES sauerkraut. It cracks me up. I never think to give her any because it just...doesn't seem like baby food. But I'll be handing it out to everybody else (they love it too), and she points and demands some and then eats it right up! SO funny. :)


For those of you who are asking me for more info on GAPS:


I highly recommend getting the GAPS book, along with GAPS guide and the Internal Bliss cookbook. It'll make your life easier. :) GAPS guide recommends doing full GAPS first and then "backing in" to Intro. It gives you time to learn it all. Take your time and read about it. You can make small changes and head the right direction, a little at a time. I read about it for a year before starting last month!

Superfood Muffins

I made a recipe from Grain Free Meal Plans called Superfood Muffins this weekend. Basically, they are individual meatloaves cooked in a muffin tin. Cute, right? The kicker is what's in them - liver! I did mine with a pound of liver, a pound of ground lamb and a pound of ground beef. Add some spices, a little broth (instead of tomato for us, for now), and lots of garlic, run through the food processor, bake in muffin tin for 30 minutes. These were a huge hit. Hannah and Audrey ate 2 1/2 of them each!!! I knew there was liver in them and couldn't taste it, especially with some homemade lacto-fermented ketchup. :)


I felt awful this week. Tons of stomach/digestion stuff. Totally miserable. And I wasn't doing anything different. I kept experimenting with the HCL - too much? Too little? Different kind? Then, as I was processing this with Nick last night, he said, "Could it be the almond butter?" We bought almond butter at Whole Foods the past couple of weeks, their freshly ground stuff. So, I'm at about 18 hours without almond butter and...I feel great. On the one hand I'm mad about how many days I'm been miserable for something that stupid. On the other hand, I am so happy to feel good today! I'm debating about whether to try the Maranatha brand almond butter that had been working for me, or to just leave it out and do the "real" stage one and two and try to get egg and ghee working for me. If I can feel ok without it, since Tess even skipped her morning nursing today (hopefully taking us easily down to 2x's a day), I will probably leave it out for the time being. I wish I had a way to make my own almond butter with soaked nuts. I tried the food processor I have and got almond flour, to which I added coconut oil...which just isn't very good. But I digress...

Nick is feeling terrific. There's just nothing more to say about this. He keeps saying he has never felt so good. I love that. :)

Hannah has been struggling some this week too, it could be the almond butter for her as well? She started having potty accidents fairly regularly again, after weeks without them. I'm really trying not to be discouraged about this. I think there's a pretty good chance it's die-off/toxin release for her. So we press forward.

Audrey is still eating everything in sight, but seems to be getting satisfied maybe a little quicker than before. Actually, all of us seem to be eating less this week, for which I (and our budget) am grateful. Her legs are very sore with eczema and she's had several difficult nights recently. I received our No-Fenol yesterday, and gave her some with dinner. She did not scratch last night. This will require further testing, but the only night this week that she was not miserable was last night. If this works, it will be the most amazing thing.

Tess continues to do great with GAPS. She is teething again I think and had a very fussy day yesterday, but a dose of homeopathic teething remedy this morning seemed to do the trick. She is so sweet!

I won a 9-tray Excalibur dehydrator 3900 on Ebay last night for about half price. I am very excited about that. No more worrying about burning nuts and seeds (not to mention killing all the enzymes since the lowest temp on my oven is 170), and when we get fruits added I'll be able to make all kinds of treats for the kids.

We have lots of leftovers in the fridge today, so I'm looking forward to a light cooking day.

Friday, March 18, 2011


This is sure an interesting journey...

We hit our one-month GAPS anniversary this weekend. It has really gone fairly fast. Here's where we are:

Bad news first:

Cons - I am still struggling with my stomach. HCL seems to irritate my stomach some, but I don't seem to make enough of my own yet, which lead to reflux stuff and maldigestion. Adding probiotic foods like sauerkraut juice seems to help, and it's better than it was, but still a ways to go. I've been making coconut milk kefir and I LOVE it. GAPS says to intro kefir slowly because of die off, so I have been going slow - up to about 2 oz at a time, but it tastes so good to me. It's really very sour. My taste buds have acclimated to fermented flavors, I guess!

I have not been able to intro eggs or ghee, and both times I tried I had lots of stomach pain and saw stars all day. I wish I knew what triggered the seeing stars. I always used to have it when I had soy. I will probably try them for the kids again here soon, but it's difficult for me to have different family members on different foods because then I have to make multiple meals.

Audrey's legs are pretty sore from reintroducing salicylates. I read about an enzyme called No-Fenol that is supposed to help people like her digest them better, so I ordered her some. Should be here tomorrow or Monday. I'm interested to see how it helps.

Still having the occasional emotional wrestling match with the older kids over drinking their broth or eating meals that aren't their favorite. These seem to come out of no where and they are super frustrating to me at times. Not sure why for one meal they will do what they need to do, and the next meal is hard again. But, Hannah discovered this morning that putting broth into a sippy cup and watching a movie while she drinks it is much easier for her. Hallelujah.

The prep is exhausting. I am in the kitchen A LOT. I like to cook, but this is...a lot. Nick has been helping with the dishes, and he is a continual source of encouragement, but I don't know how I'd do it without him.

Audrey, who used to have trouble chewing meat and would cry at dinner almost every night, is eating EVERYTHING IN SIGHT. She had third helpings of shepherd's pie (topped with mashed cauliflower - you'd never know it wasn't potatoes) at dinner tonight. This is flat out incredible.

Hannah's chronic stuffy nose and continual potty accidents are gone. Nose is clear, no problems with bladder or BM control (unless she eats too much almond butter like she did yesterday. Oops.) This is also incredible.

Nick says he feels better than he has in years.

Though we are off fruits (for now) and grains, we can suddenly use so many spices and veggies that we've been doing without for years...this doesn't feel restricted to me. I'm really pretty satisfied with meat, veggies, broth, nuts, tiny amounts of honey and fresh juices. I don't crave sugar and we feel full faster and faster. At first we were going through 2 lbs of meat each meal. Tonight we ate half that!

We are on a waiting list for raw goat's milk to make yogurt with. I really, really hope we can handle it when our name comes up. Surely with the 24 hour fermenting time (which is said to remove all the lactose), we'll do well on it. I hope.

I signed up for grain-free meal plans. I'm probably using 60-70% of them. All the recipes are SO nice to have. I'm able to pick things that sound good to us, mix them with other things I pick up at Gnowfglins or from GAPS or GAPS Guide or Internal Bliss, and I feel like I suddenly have a plethora of ideas for dinners. It's been nice to some ways - got me out of the rut I was in of making the same 5 or 6 meals. Of course, some of that was our food limitations!

Overall I am very pleased with our progress. I was probably in the worst shape, so it will probably take me the longest to heal. But we're most certainly on the right track!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Today I'm rendering tallow. What's the matter? Never occurred to you to render tallow for fun on your Saturday? Boy, are you missing out. ;)

The biggest issue we are now having is keeping the children FED. They are drinking their broth (occasionally with complaint, but they're doing it), they are eating everything I put on the table for meals and then some, they are hungry an hour later, and they are so thrilled with every new recipe I try that they tell me I should make it for dinner every night. We have had three peaceful dinners in a row, with no crying, no complaining, no wallowing in chairs, just quiet, exciting EATING. Um, wow.

I added 2 tsp of egg to each cup of our broth this morning, and so far there have been no negative effects. We have more or less been off egg for I think 4 years. The suggested way to introduce these types of foods goes like this:

day one: add 1 tsp to broth
day two: avoid the food
day three: add 2 tsp to broth
day four: avoid the food
day five: use freely, if there's been no reaction

The first time we tried egg (a whole yolk), it gave all of us diarrhea, so I did 1/2 tsp first, 1 tsp next, and 2 tsp today, with a day in between. No diarrhea so far! I am so hopeful we can get this to work. It will make a huge difference in the variety of foods we can make.

We are going to try a bit of cooked apple/applesauce today. We've been totally off fruit for nearly three weeks. We're pretty excited. :)

I've been slowly adding salicylates and citrus back to our diet. Last night's honey lemon chicken would have been a big no-no. And Audrey did itch some, but according to the GAPS book, that is a natural reaction to toxins being carried out of the body, and avoiding the reaction, while maybe more comfortable in the short-term, isn't necessarily helpful. I have to say, MAN is it good to use a little cumin, lemon, honey, bell pepper, apple, etc. again. It's been a long couple years.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Salicylates and healing

In fall of 2009, Hannah and Audrey muscle tested for sensitivity to salicylates. If you aren't familiar with this particular food chemical, it's in pretty much everything. Berries, spices, apples, peppers, tomatoes, almonds, potatoes...the list goes on and on. At the time, Audrey was covered with horrible eczema and Hannah was having multiple accidents a day at 4 1/2 years old. We were pretty desperate to try whatever we had to try. And so this became a way of life. There was this random list of foods that we just didn't touch (along with all the other biggies like gluten, dairy, soy, corn...) And since I didn't want to make multiple meals, we all pretty much ate that way.

Things improved enough to keep me motivated to avoid those foods. Hannah would have accidents for two days after eating too many salicylate foods. Audrey would have an instant scratching attack. It was hard, but what choice did we have?

So here we are, a year and a half later. Their health never got much better than shortly after going off all those foods, which was mediocre at best, but I felt trapped. If they were sensitive to those foods, I didn't want to feed them something that would make them sick.

When I read the GAPS book, I was interested to see that she addresses salicylate sensitivity (and the even more intense phenol sensitivity, which I suspect Audrey tended toward as well). Her take is that avoiding all those foods, while it may alleviate symptoms like eczema, in the long run causes other problems. You end up cutting out so many foods that you end up with nutrient deficiency. Essentially, you are reacting to the antioxidants in those foods, the very nutrients that also carry toxins out of the body, sometimes through the skin which results in eczema.

It would be easy to feel guilty about all of this. After all, I kind of became "that mom," the one who wouldn't let her kids eat anything because of how they would react. I never wanted to get like that. But when your three year old is covered in scabs from head to toe, you tend to do extreme things that you normally wouldn't. We felt we had no way out. These experiences are the source of my determination to do GAPS.

Based on the advice in the GAPS book, I am slowly reintroducing things we have not eaten in literally a year and half. I added black pepper and paprika to our homemade breakfast sausage that I am poaching in broth in the morning. I added whole peppercorns to my meat stock this afternoon. I put some small pieces of red bell pepper in our turkey vegetable soup last night. It feels...really strange. I have been in protection mode for so long, trying to keep those "evil" foods that caused my kids to be sick, out of our diet. And yet those foods we have avoided probably hold the very nutrients we need most right now.

Thus far, Hannah has had no noticeable reactions, and seems to perk up when I tell her she's eating something she couldn't have before. Audrey has been scratching some, but it's minor and she hasn't broken the skin. I'm feeling heavy-hearted about this whole thing today, but determined to trust God's guidance on this path.