Monday, February 28, 2011

One week

We've more or less been on the diet for a week now. The older girls are doing really well adjusting to the changes, though occasionally they ask for something off the diet and get really sad when we tell them no. I try to offer them something else they CAN have. They have been drinking broth or eating soup at every meal the past two days, when promised a "pancake" (made from almond butter, squash, and ground flax fried in coconut oil). I don't know why in the world these motivate them, but they do!

I suspect I overdid it with the "pancakes" because my stomach has been off today. Tess's has too, and I'm not sure why. Could be for the same reason, or maybe too much probiotic for her? Or die off from me? We have been blending most her food the past 24 hours and it seems to have helped, but she has a very sore diaper rash and is not herself. All four molars are now through (thankfully).

Also, my milk supply has come back up. My current goal is to get Tess down to four nursings a day. I keep hoping for her to have a breakthrough about drinking from a cup - she just won't do it. This kid is so easy-going about everything, but when she makes up her mind about something, there is no changing it till she's good and ready.

I'm making poached salmon for dinner. It may sound weird, but I really believe that God will inspire you with help to do these kinds of things for your family, if you ask Him to. I had some salmon in my freezer and pulled it out to defrost last night, on a whim. We've had nothing but beef and chicken all week, and I was ready for something else. As I was looking in the fridge today, wondering how I would cook the salmon, the words "poached salmon" just came to me. I've never had it, I've never made it, I didn't know you could cook salmon that way. But I googled it, and found a plethora of poached salmon recipes. Who knew? God did. :) I cooked fennel bulb and onion in broth until soft, added a few mushrooms, and then settled the salmon pieces down into the bubbling mixture and covered with salt, fresh dill and a few chopped fennel fronds. I'll let ya know how it comes out, but it sure smells good!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

What to say...

My mind is reeling a bit tonight. There are so many variables with this diet, and through the die-off brain fog, I'm having a hard time keeping track of them.

The flu seems to be over, thankfully. Nick is still dragging a bit, but recovering. I feel better but still rather weak.

Tonight at dinner, Hannah ate a whole bowl of soup! Audrey struggled more, but with some kind, patient attention, she also did well. Tess had diarrhea all day today. We had been cutting up food and allowing her to pick it up off her high chair tray, but all the veggies are coming out whole, in spite of cutting them small. She's just not chewing well yet. I got out the baby food mill and put some soup through it tonight and she ate, but was not very happy and cried a lot during dinner, which is hard on me.

Tess has just not been herself recently and I miss my easy-going kid. She's getting molars and eye teeth too I think, and is just miserable. But with all the sickness of the past month, it starts to feel like it will never end.

Something bothered me a bit today, some gas and digestive pain. We ate lunch in the car on the run today which was stressful. I'm hoping that's all it was.

We have almost eaten all the fruit in the house and I'm determined not to buy more for at least a couple weeks. If we want to be able to eat egg and dairy, we need to do this the right way. I have a sense of impending dread about this though. The girls and I don't tolerate much honey, and sugar free is something I've never wanted to all. Bleh.

Right now we are eating about intro stage three, but had been cheating with fruit. I don't think I will go back to one and two because of how faint I was without the extra carbs, but we could stay at three for a couple weeks, or however ling we need to. So far, none of us (except Tess today) has really dealt with diarrhea. I don't know if that's because we've cheated some, or if we just already know what causes us problems? I'm beginning to wonder if we might move through intro very quickly, once we start it for real.

We all took our Bio-kult this morning. One cap for nick and me, and 1/2 for the big girls and a taste for Tess. We already have been taking probiotics regularly, so I figure I'll start there and back off if necessary. Upon further research, in the future I will order from They have an 11-strain one, to which I will have them add s. Thermophilus, which is a bacteria strain known to help with lactose intolerance. The full adult dose recommended on gaps is the "baby" scoop, of which $100 of probiotics allows 500 servings. MUCH cheaper than anything out there, and no additives! I finally found a probiotic I would recommend to people!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

GAPS Intro Stage Summary

Stage One
-Homemade meat or fish stock
-Soup made with stock – (veggies allowed are soft cooked onions, carrots, broccoli, leeks, cauliflower, zucchini, squash)
-Probiotic foods – dairy or vegetable based (liquid only)
-Increase gradually – 1-2 t/day for 1-5 days, 3-4 t/day for 1-5 days, until you add a few teaspoons to every cup of stock and bowl of soup
-Ginger, mint, chamomile tea w/ honey

Stage Two
-Stock, soups
-Egg yolk, and whole soft-boiled eggs if well tolerated
-Stews and Casseroles w/ meats and vegetables – always high fat
-Increasing amounts of probiotic foods
-Fermented fish
-Homemade ghee, even if other dairy has not been introduced

Stage Three
-All previous foods
-Add ripe avocado, starting with 1-3 t/day and increasing
-Add pancakes (nut butter, eggs, squash, fried in ghee or coconut oil)
-Egg scrambled with ghee, served with avocado and cooked vegetables
-cooked onion – 4-5 T fat, add large sliced onion, cover cook for 20-30 min
-Sauerkraut and fermented vegetables, start small and increase to 1-4 t with every meal

Stage Four
-All previous foods
-Gradually add meats cooked by roasting and grilling (but not BBQ or fried yet)
-Cold-pressed olive oil, start with few drops per meal and increase to 1-2 T per meal
-Freshly pressed juices, start with few spoonfuls of carrot juice, well filtered. Consume slowly “chewing every mouthful.” Gradually increase to a cup per day. When a full cup is tolerated, add juice from celery, cabbage, lettuce and fresh mint. Drink on an empty stomach.
-Bread made with ground nuts and seeds, start with small piece and gradually increase

Fifth Stage
-If all previous is well-tolerated, add cooked apple – stew in water until soft, add generous amount of ghee and mash with potato masher. Can add a little honey. Gradually increase the amount.
-Raw vegetables, starting with softer parts of lettuce and peeled cucumber – small amount and increase as tolerated. After these are tolerated add raw: carrot, tomato, onion, cabbage, etc. Chew well. If diarrhea returns = not ready for this step.
-If juice from carrot, celery, cabbage, lettuce and mint is well tolerated, add apple, pineapple, mango. Avoid citrus.

Sixth Stage
-If all introduced foods are well-tolerated, try peeled raw apple. Gradually introduce raw fruit and more honey.
-Gradually introduce baked cakes and sweets. Use dried fruit for sweetener.

Flu, go away

Woke up this morning still feeling very faint. I could do things for a short time and then would have to quickly sit down so I didn't fall over. Slowly, I managed to do some needed work in the kitchen, including baking some muffins from a recipe in the gaps book. The ingredients are ground almonds, baked smashed butternut squash, and coconut oil. I added a few blueberries. These are nothing amazing, but they are a little sweet and with some tweaking you could make some fairly tasty muffins. I really could use a food processor. I have a high quality blender, but it just doesn't grind nuts as fine as I'd like, and I want to presoak nuts as much as possible. Another thing for the budget... Anyway, the extra carbs seem to have done the trick to get rid of the faintness! Now I just feel like I have a headcold, not too bad. Nick still has fever today and isn't feeling so great yet.

My milk supply has been low the past few days, I'm sure partially because of the fever, but the extra carbs should help me recover some of that.

Hannah and Audrey have been eating decently. Hannah happily drank several ounces of broth and ate chicken and butternut squash for lunch, when promised a muffin. Audrey is struggling a bit more. I may need to supplement some HCL for her because I suspect she is lacking stomach acid, which makes it hard for her to chew and swallow.

Yesterday I attempted to add egg yolk to my diet. Within three hours I had all my familiar symptoms of egg intolerance. Bleh. Though I have to say, when you eat like this, things that bother you do not stay in you long....ahem. I may wait quite awhile before trying them again.

I have done so many elimination diets over the years that I can pretty much predict what's going to happen when we try to reintroduce foods. It may be a few months before we are able to add things that have bothered us. At this point, I think I may skip the dairy and egg and keep moving forward with the intro steps, for me and maybe Hannah anyway. Audrey has been handling egg better since her allergy treatment for it, but Hannah has had diarrhea from it. Nick has never had any trouble with egg and so far neither has Tess.

There's this mild feeling of being completely in over my head that I'm starting to get adjusted to while doing this. It's easy to worry - how will I know? When can I...? What will this do? Are we on the right track? How long will this take? For the most part, I tell those thoughts to shush. :) It would be relatively easy to do with one child. You could really focus all your attention on them and how they are. It's much harder with five of us, keeping track of everybody's BM's and what they've had and not had that day and what stage we're at and what things each person has tried.

We have not started a strict intro diet even with the kids, since they would not take broth at first. I'm hopeful we can "back into it" with them, at least for a short time. I think I have done as much stage 1 and 2 as my body can take while breastfeeding (thanks to the flu), but I suspect I could stay on stage 4 or maybe even 3 for quite a while and be fine. I plan to attempt introducing ghee as soon as I have a day of feeling good again.

I typed up an Intro Stage Summary, to keep on the fridge for reference. I'll cut and paste into a post, in case anyone is curious. All this info is online at the GAPS site, this is just my condensing into a shorter format, excluding recipes and instruction.

Friday, February 25, 2011


Feeling better today, no more fever or pounding headache, but I tried to get up this morning and almost fainted in the kitchen. Sooo...back to bed. Feels silly to lay here because I feel like I just have a cold, until I stand up.

Thankfully, Nick works for my parents, who very much want him to stay here and take care of me. :)

Small victory this morning-after reading and implementing the chapter in the gaps book about motivating picky eaters, the girls both drank a little broth with their breakfast, happily! Um, wow.

I am so excited about this diet. I got the book yesterday, and though I skimmed the recipe section and parts of the highly scientific explanation for why this works, I'm about 2/3 of the way through. I'm so grateful that we have made the health decisions we did for our kids over the years. We don't have vaccination issues or drug toxins or even many antibiotics. There are kids in this book who are soooo much more sick than ours are. And after already avoiding gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs, salycilates, nightshades, and more for literally years, the potential of adding dairy, salycilates, eggs and nightshades back in (hopefully sooner than later) sounds absolutely amazing, not restrictive. And the book's practical, kind way of explaining and working with picky eaters is such a relief!

I was brought to tears last night as I read. I have been praying for answers for such a long time, and this is what we needed. You can handle just about anything, as long as you have hope.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Flat on my back

Flu has been going around our house. Actually, we've had someone sick here for the past 3-4 weeks. Mommy's turn I guess. 101 fever, nausea, headache, cough, unable to function. I'm very grateful that Nick was able to come home from work and take care of me and the kids. We just got started with the diet and Nick doesn't know how to do it. So...we're off the diet for today. Back to it as soon as I'm vertical.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Much Better Day!

Today was easier, thank you Lord. :)

I have had a low (around 100) fever all day, so I feel kind of shivery and sweaty, but the pain in my back and legs is much better. Hannah has been telling me her stomach is "sore." That's not a word she uses for a tummy ache, so I'm sure it's die off. Audrey said, "Why did my legs hurt last night?"

The girls picked out toys at Walmart and then we came home and had chicken soup for lunch. The girls didn't eat that. It kind of grossed me out too. Next time I make chicken soup, I will put the extra fat pieces (skin, etc.) through the blender and then add to the soup. The pieces of skin are...unappetizing. Again, Tess ate happily. :)

Gave the girls each a half an apple this afternoon. In the past, that would have caused Hannah to have potty accidents and Audrey to have an itching attack (salicylate are high) so it's been about 1 1/2 years since they've had one. It may still cause reactions, but I wanted to help them understand that they will get to start eating new things on the diet.

Tonight I made hamburgers with just salt, slider size. The girls each ate 3! I gave them a little broth in a mug with a straw and they each took a few drinks. Baby steps. :)

Dr Natasha at WAPF conference

The Children's Hour

Chalk it up to tiredness, perhaps? This poem on a website I frequent made me tear up today. I love my kids. I hope we can have more times like this poem describes, and fewer nights filled with Audrey's pain and discomfort from her eczema.

The Children's Hour

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupation,
That is known as the children's hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper and then a silence:
Yet I know by their merry eyes,
They are plotting and planning together,
To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
O'er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me,
They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all?

I have you fast in my fortress
And will not let you depart,
But put you down in the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!

Are you chicken?

A pastor friend of ours wrote a post today that has amazing application not only to debt (which is what she focuses on, because she is a financial pastor who helps people get out of debt) but also for our health!

The cost of being a chicken

Morning #2

Hannah and Audrey perked up somewhat after eating last night. No more vomiting. They are both a little more willing to eat this morning. I scooped the meat and veggies out of the beef soup and served it to them on a plate without the broth. Hopefully I can transition them to taking the broth as well. I told them we could go to walmart and get an inexpensive toy this morning if they would eat. I don't like to bribe them, but if I can just get them through the hardest part of this, we'll all be in better shape. Audrey's body in particular seems to have a hard time with the richness of the food. I wonder if I need to be giving her a tiny amount of HCL or something. My GAPS book is on schedule to arrive tomorrow, so hopefully it will address that.

After I got in bed last night I started shivering and by around midnight, had a pretty high fever going. I alternated between shivering and sweating all night long and my stomach was upset. I'm pretty sure it was just die off because I feel ok this morning, though weak and tired. I was light headed and a little dizzy when I got up, but after eating some soup and a little almond butter I feel better though still kind of foggy. Going to take it a little easier on the probiotic foods today and see how I feel. As well as we have been eating for years, I'm surprised that I had the die off reaction that I did. I guess the past few months, with all the stress and thus poor digestion, must have allowed candida overgrowth. If I can get rid of that, all the sickness and fatigue will get much better.

It amazes me how much this diet is about paying attention to your body and adjusting, adjusting, adjusting. There are so many "moving parts" to the diet - HCL or no HCL, probiotics, probiotic foods, new foods to introduce, die off and detox, etc. You have to be in this for the long haul, because if you change more than one thing at a time, you'll have no idea what worked or didn't work. My biggest goal is to get to feeling good - I don't care that much what I have to eat or not eat at this point. But when the diet is super limited it seems to be difficult to feel good so that pushes you to try to add things but those things can make you sick again... I really want to try eggs (second stage) but they have been making me so sick that I'm hesitant. Maybe if I feel good today I'll try it tomorrow? Or maybe I'll try for two days of feeling good? I haven't tried just egg yolk (which is all you're supposed to do first), and I know people are often sensitive to the whites but can handle yolks.

I have been taking a digestive enzyme and HCL to help my digestion. Yesterday I didn't take it and I really noticed the difference. Over time, the fermented foods are supposed to help increase stomach acid production so hopefully before too long I won't need those anymore.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


My intestines feel raw tonight, right where they have been in the habit of hurting. This is oddly exciting to me. I'm on the right track. :)


H & A continued to throw up all afternoon. At this point I'm thinking they must have the stomach flu. Nick has had an intestinal flu for the past 5 days, and Tess had it a week and a half ago and threw up several times. I think I had a mild version so I'm hoping I'm immune at this point. It's so hard to tell if the vomiting is related to sickness or just low blood sugar, but either way I don't want to end up in the ER with dehydration.

So, after consulting with my mom again, I served them a few bites of cooked rice cereal with coconut milk, something they eat regularly. They will either throw it up at which point I can be fairly sure it's flu, or they will keep it down and I won't have a clue which it is. They both perked up considerably after eating it. Hmm...

I determined at the beginning of this that I wouldn't feel guilty if we had to sometimes eat things off the diet. No one makes the rules but me and Nick, so I'm going to be fairly unapologetic when we "cheat" (I probably won't even call it that.) I've read that people often have several trial runs before actually starting the diet completely. So, maybe we will have to as well. If I can move the kids toward more healthy fat and not being so vehemently opposed to soups, we will have made progress.

Rough day

Not gonna lie, this is hard.

Hannah couldn't keep anything down for the first half of the day. I called my mom (who is very supportive about us doing this) and she suggested that we probably will have to bribe her to eat until we get through the hardest part of this. After promising her a trip to the toy section at Walmart, she willingly allowed me to feed her. But she has struggled with nausea all afternoon, even after eating 15-20 bites of soup. She and Audrey have been sensitive to honey in the past, but it occurred to me that it is a quick way to bring up her blood sugar and it's legal on the diet. So she got a few drops of honey on her tongue and in some ginger tea. Then she went right to sleep and took a 2 hour nap.

Things are touch and go again at this point and I need to get more soup into her but she's very nauseated. I decided to give both of them a few pecans, which they really enjoy. I've been eating spoonfuls of almond butter 3-4 times a day and it seems to keep my blood sugar more stable - just enough carbs. So hopefully that will work for them and I can get them some soup again.

I'm having some die off reaction this afternoon - dull pain in my lower back and legs and some digestive upset. I may wait another few days before doing whey in our soup again. I also made some really good coconut kefir and had to have a taste of it so that may have made the die off happen a little too fast.

My house is a disaster, but it's all I can do to keep people fed and messes cleaned up. Taking it one hour at a time...

It's a new day...

Hannah and Audrey both vomited during the night, within about 20 minutes of each other. After we cleaned up all their bedding, Nick graciously sat and spoon fed both of them. Then they slept the rest of the night. I'm certain it was because of low blood sugar.

For our beef soup, I shredded the fat and beef from the roast and soup bone between two forks in a bowl, fished out all the bones, and returned the fat and meat to the crock pot. The shredded beef soup is very good, though I need to add a few more veggies. I think I will steam some and add them.

Last night I did the allergy test that is recommended by the GAPS site, to determine if Hannah, Audrey and I should avoid using whey as a probiotic food. The test involves leaving a drop of the food you're testing on the inside of your wrist, allowing it to dry, and then checking for a red spot on your skin in the morning. No red spots! We're good! I added 2 t. of whey to each of our bowls of soup this morning.

So far neither Hannah or Audrey has eaten a bite this morning. Hannah keeps insisting that her daddy told her she could have a regular breakfast, so we have a call in to Nick to verify. He seems to be able to influence the girls in a way that I cannot, so I pray that God will give him the words to say to help start a breakthrough. It's hard to watch the girls make this so hard on themselves. I'm more or less doing the same diet but I feel pretty good. I might even try doing some yoga this morning. I had a normal BM this morning, so I will move myself to stage two of the into diet. Yay! It's been a long time since I've had so little stomach and intestinal pain!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Nettle Infusion

I've been drinking homemade nettle infusion the past two days, based on a message board I read that is frequented by very knowledgeable health fanatics. It is dark green, and when I look at it, it grosses me out. Then I smell it and it smells SO good to me. And I drink it and it just feels good going down, if that makes any sense? So it's a funny thing - I feel grossed out and then I like it and then I feel good, and then I'm grossed out again and then I like it again...

Go to that link though, and read all the stuff it does - really a remarkable plant!

Day one complete!

Tough day for the kiddos. I spoon fed H & A twice, since they were unwilling to feed themselves the soup. Hannah got rather nauseous this afternoon, probably from low blood sugar, but she perked up some after I fed her a few bites of soup.

I was eating a little pecan butter made with coconut oil tonight and gave Tess a couple bites. She freaked out and started crying for more, so she seems to be craving carbs pretty badly. Nick fed her some pureed green beans and she calmed down some.

Audrey didn't say much most of the day, she was very subdued but not emotional, which is unusual for her. As long as I was willing to feed her, she was willing to eat. When Nick got home he commented on how calm all the kids were. Not sure if it is the diet, the lack of calories today, die-off, or a combination of the three.

I was surprised that I didn't crave sugar or carbs today. I had soaked some oats to make oatmeal, assuming that I would need them for energy, but they are still sitting on the counter. If I don't need them, I won't eat them. I've never done a day grain-free in my life, but it really wasn't hard. I'm guessing the all fat in the soup did that for me. I also ate a banana, the pecan butter, some beef sausage and a couple of raw carrots in addition to three bowls of soup. I didn't notice any decline in milk production and though I'm a little shaky and weak, it's not any harder than what I've been experiencing when I have an upset stomach. My stomach feels great tonight - no pain. I had diarrhea once today. None of the kids had a BM.

The kids were complaining about eating soup for dinner so I steamed some green beans until they were very soft and heated some chicken broth for them to drink. They were unimpressed and didn't really eat. I started to get frustrated and Nick pulled me aside and very sweetly and kindly reminded me to stay calm. He is so supportive about this, and it makes everything so much easier. Ultimately, they have to make the decision of whether or not they will eat. It's hard to deal with them not feeling good when it has nothing to do with the diet and everything to do with them being stubborn and unwilling to eat perfectly good, well-seasoned food. We put all three kids to bed early tonight and they were relieved to go to bed. And I was relieved for them to GO to bed. :)

We're about halfway through the pot of chicken soup, but I'm wanting something else so I'm sure the kids are too. Put a roast and some soup bone in the crock pot tonight and covered with water. I will add some veggies before I go to bed. So we'll have beef or chicken soup to choose from tomorrow. I'll need to start another batch of chicken stock in the morning. Since I'm not really cooking every meal, the amount of dishes we use has been much less than normal. That's kind of nice! I just run out of clean sauce pans to heat soup, bowls, and spoons. :)

amazingly perceptive...

Hannah: my tummy is going to be very angry if I don't give it normal food. It does not like soup. It wants normal food RIGHT NOW!

This far I am able to view all of this with a mixture of empathy and amusement. We're on the right track!

Morning Number 1

Well, here we go...

Lots of tears from Hannah this morning. Served them chicken soup again, and have a bone-in beef roast defrosting to make another type of soup in a day or two. Very little eating by Hannah and Audrey. Gave both kids a little ginger tea, which they were excited about. They don't tolerate honey yet, but I look forward to being able to give them some in their tea soon. Tessa ate happily and then took an early nap. The GAPS book and Bio-Kult shipped this morning. Hopefully I'll have them by the end of the week. I look forward to devouring the book; I'm sure it will be full of fascinating info!

Since I'm nursing so much, I'm going to make gradual changes to my diet so my supply doesn't drop. I had some leftover beef sausage this morning, and will probably eat some soaked oatmeal later when the girls aren't around. We have some "illegal" food in the house still and I'm planning to eat some of it up so we don't waste money. GAPS Intro is not recommended for nursing moms, so over time I will transition to the full diet and then probably do intro later when the kids are feeling good.

Breakfast is the only meal of the day that has been pleasant, so this is the hardest part for me. We always had some type of homemade sausage patties (beef, chicken or turkey), and a soaked hot cereal with maple syrup. The girls loved it, but were hungry again within an hour and begging for fruit or some other sugary snack.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

It's on.

I have finally made the decision. We're doing this.

Here's where we're at right now, for the sake of having a record, and for anyone who wonders why in the world we would do such a thing to our poor family. :) Sorry for TMI. Don't read if it grosses you out.

Nick: Cannot eat starches of any kind anyway, without gaining about 5 pounds literally overnight. He is excited about this idea and thinks he will lose weight and feel better. He loves vegetables and meat, and has had constipation issues for forever. Currently he is very sensitive to corn, and is a little iffy about raw goat's milk.

Me: I have constant GI problems. Gas, intestinal pain, etc. I am so tired that going up and down the stairs is difficult for me to want to do, and I cannot even wrap my mind around exercising. I am too skinny and literally cannot keep enough weight on to stay warm and feel healthy. Part of that issue is that I'm nursing Tessa still, but I'm sure the stomach issues don't help. My skin, hair, and nails are dry and my nails are ridged and pitted, often peel and I have terrible hangnails. I recently developed a patch of eczema on the inside of my left elbow. Even on days when I sleep 7-8 hours and only get up once or not at all, I still need a nap in order to be nice to my kids in the evening. I am currently taking digestive enzymes and HCL and still having painful gas after every meal. I am currently sensitive to gluten, dairy, corn, soy, and eggs.

Hannah: She will turn 6 in April, and she still has bathroom accidents several times a week. These are much better if I keep her off any trace of dairy. Even the amount of butter in a cookie, for example, will cause her to almost instantly have an accident. She tells me her stomach hurts several times a day, and one day I found her rolling on top of a rubber ball, putting pressure on her stomach, and saying, "Oh, that feels better..." She has bumpy skin on the backs of her arms, and a very strong smell on her breath, almost a yeasty smell. She often belches during meals. Her BMs are irregular and often border on diarrhea. She is particularly sensitive to gluten, dairy, soy, salicylates, and nightshades.

Audrey: The past 3 years have been a health nightmare for her. Her arms and legs and face were covered in terrible eczema. We have been treating her almost weekly with a BAX 3000 machine since last August, which has significantly calmed down her system, but she continues to struggle. Her face is now clear, for which I am very thankful! Her arms are almost clear, with small patches at her elbows and wrists. She often scratches under her arms, pulling her shirt up or down to reach. Her legs however, are still covered in sores and red splotches. She is very thin and small for her age, though she has caught up some as her body got better with the treatment over the past few months. Even her clear skin is rough and sandpapery. She will not eat meat without pressure from us (which often makes meals a miserable experience), and she refuses gravy or any other sauce made with fat. Bites of food take her forever to chew. She is emotionally very fragile and cries about everything - gets her feelings hurt several times per day and will often melt down about something that seems like a minor issue. She is particularly sensitive to gluten, dairy, corn, soy, salycilates, nightshades, citrus, spices, bananas, and chemicals - particularly gasoline and chlorine (even the smell causes an itching attack).

Tessa: I assume since I became pregnant with her 2 years after going gluten free, her health is SO much better than the other two. I have not noticed any ongoing health issues with her, and she seems to tolerate any foods I give her (though we have not introduced gluten). I doubt this is related to a gut issue, but she refuses to drink anything right now, wanting to nurse instead. If I don't allow her to nurse, she simply stops having wet diapers. She is almost 14 months and I want her to be nursing no more than twice a day, but don't want her to become dehydrated. I have tried every kind of sippy cup and bottle out there, and she will not allow them in her mouth. I continue to try, and I'm sure we'll have a breakthrough sooner or later.

So...this is where we're at. Prep-wise, I have been spending about an hour on breakfast, 15 min on lunch, another hour on dinner, and another hour+ of prep in the evening to feed us the way we've been eating.

I have been reading about GAPS online for about a year now, and I ordered THE BOOK and THE PROBIOTIC tonight. Because it is inexpensive, I'm going in with my mom to buy a Jack LaLanne Power Juicer (currently BOGO on their website), though I would buy a masticating juicer if I could afford one. A friend in my local WAPF chapter is providing soy-free feed for our chickens and eggs when we don't have enough. I'm on a waiting list to get raw goat's milk again, since we had to discontinue our milk share when everyone was so sensitive.

We began tonight. I cooked two whole chickens in a stockpot, deboned and put the meat and skin back in the pot. I added onion, carrot and peas and cooked them until soft. Ladled it into bowls and added a couple teaspoons of raw sauerkraut juice to each bowl. H&A didn't eat very much and Hannah broke down and cried at the table when I explained that this would be breakfast also. I spoon fed Audrey, so that she wouldn't wake up with aching legs like she does if she doesn't eat her protein. Tess ate happily.

Thanks for coming on this journey with us! I'm very excited to see what this blog will hold over the next few months. I have been praying for answers for a very long time, and I am confident that God is leading our family where we need to go. Working with our bodies, the way God intended them to work, is miraculous healing in my book! I can't wait to tell our story.