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.