December 16, 2010

No Dairy Today and All is Well

Could it be my imagination? I think not! My older kids see it, too. The rough red cheeks on my little boy (3yo ds) are a little less rough and a little less red than they were yesterday. He talks more like a normal 3 year old, too. There is less repeating and more conversational speaking. It's not perfect like it was a few months back before we added the dairy, but it is definitely better than last week or even a few days ago. I'm convinced! Yet again!

Trips to the bathroom were easier. He listened a little better and stayed focused on what he was doing, so less mess to clean up, except for this morning when he had to go so very bad and could not get there fast enough and left a trail from the vanity room door to the potty about 8 feet long with puddles here and there along the way. Man, that boy can pee! He sure did his best to get there, but he really needed help and no one could drag themselves out of bed to help him. I was out of bed in a flash, though, when I heard all of the piddling in my vanity/bathroom. Looking back, it's quite funny. Ha ha! I digress. This has nothing at all to do with dairy sensitivity. Hmm.

It's a Bug

Something is going around. It looks like we got what everyone and their dog seems to be coming down with these days. I know it's a contagious bug because it is going from one person to the next to the next. They are falling like flies. I'm fine for now. I pray I will stay well so I can keep things going. I have been drinking lots of broth and eating lots of soup. I increased the FCLO and added and increased vitamin C for everyone.

My father says it lasts for 11 days. My hubby says he read something about an 11 day flu bug. We will see. I suspect we will all be well much sooner than that. I hope so. Christmas is not that far off. I hope everyone is well by then. Whatever. We will deal with it, wherever it takes us.

KES' eczema is slowly getting better. She still itches, but not as bad and her scabs are healing a bit. She is not as achey in the arms and legs and she was much more cheerful and agreeable today. Yay!

Soup/Casserole Recipes for Intro and Beyond

I wrote these out for a friend and thought I would post them here as they may be helpful for others. My kids LOVE these recipes now that they are not addicted to sugar and refined carbohydrates.

We like Hamburger Soup:  I never measure or write things down.  I am learning to just throw things together, so here goes... Let's take 2 pounds of ground beef, 2 pounds of carrots peeled and cut into chunks, one onion chopped, 1 pound of frozen green beans, beef broth or filtered water to cover, 1-3 Tbs beef pâté (made from the marrow and soft tissues blended up), 1-2 Tbs of Celtic sea salt.  You can also season with fresh whole peppercorns, garlic, or any other fresh herb you like.  Only use fresh herbs in the beginning.  Bring to a boil and cook until carrots are soft.  If you like a thick soup, you can blend some of the soup and add back to thicken (no flour needed).  Further along in full GAPS you can sauté the onions and brown the meat in your favorite fat before putting them in the pot.  Yum!

Chicken Soup is a weekly soup at our house:  I boil chicken almost daily to make meat broth.  We eat some and use the rest to add to soups or make pancakes/panpuffs, or whatever we can think of to make.  We blend the skins to make a chicken pâté to add back to soups for flavor and thickening.  We save the bones in the freezer and use them to make bone broth.  Now that all of that is out of the way...let's take 2 pounds of carrots, 2 pounds of yellow squash and/or zucchini, 1 pound frozen green beans, 1 onion, 8-12 oz of sliced mushrooms, 1-3Tbs chicken pâté, 1 Tbs Celtic sea salt (or more to taste), chicken broth or filtered water to cover.  Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook until the veggies are done.  Add cold cooked chicken to cool and serve.  You can cook chicken in the soup, too.  I like to add it at the end.  You can also season with peppercorns from the beginning and/or parsley added near the end.  Further along in full GAPS you can sauté onions and mushrooms in ghee or coconut oil for more flavor and fat.  Serve with sauerkraut and/or mashed avocado.  Yum!

Ground Turkey Soup:  My older daughter and I thought this one up together... Take 2 pounds of ground turkey thigh meat, 1 onion chopped, 2-3 celery sticks for flavor (too fibrous to eat early on), Celtic sea salt to taste.  Cover with chicken broth or filtered water, bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook until all meat is done and celery is tender.  Season with fresh parsley.  Further along in full GAPS you can sauté the onions in ghee or coconut oil for more flavor and fat.  You can also brown the meat first.  Later, skip the soup and just eat the sautéed onions and browned turkey as is and served with sauerkraut and avocado, and lettuce, too.  Be sure to drink sauerkraut juice and broth with meals.  It is delicious this way.

Beef Soup is pretty easy, too:  I cook a large roast in the crockpot with several soup bones to make meat broth.  We eat the meat with veggies on the side for one meal and use the rest of the meat to make casserole or soup.  Reserve whatever meat is left over to add to the soup once the veggies are cooked, 2 pounds carrots and 1 pound zucchini peeled and cut into large chunks, 1 pound frozen green beans, 8-12 oz sliced mushrooms, 1 onion chopped, 1-3 Tbs beef pâté made from the marrow and soft tissues/fat from the bones and roast, Celtic sea salt to taste.  Cover with beef broth or filtered water, bring to a boil, simmer until veggies are cooked.  Add meat back to the soup and serve.  You can add some garlic, pepper corns or other fresh herbs for more flavor.  Further along on full GAPS you can sauté the onions and mushrooms in ghee or coconut oil for more flavor and fat.  To thicken, remove some of the veggies, before adding the meat back in, blend, and return to the soup.

You can turn any of the soups into casseroles by separating the broth from the meat and veggies with a strainer or a slotted spoon.  If you use a strainer, you can drink the soup broth as a beverage.  It is warm, delicious, soothing and healing.  Put the meat and veggies in a casserole dish.  Blend some of the veggies to pour over the top, drizzle with any fat, sprinkle with course sea salt, and bake for 30 minutes.  You can cook cauliflower for your blended top layer.  Later, you can drizzle with ghee and/or coconut oil.  Use any veggies you like.  We are rather limited in our choice of veggies, but you get the idea.

December 15, 2010

She Cheated, and It Shows

When KES cheated on the 5th, nine days ago, she ate lots of deserts when we weren't looking. I was perplexed that she seemed to be fine that day and for several days. I was perplexed because she reacts to a little bit of honey or a bit of fruit almost immediately. I reasoned that her little body must have gone into shock and put everything on hold to see what else would happen. A few days later, she started to itch a little and her arms and legs began to ache. Then, six days after the big cheat, she got sick with a sore throat and a cough.

Her eczema has gotten worse and worse. She has scratched her forehead raw. She has scabs there. Her hands are always up there, scratching, hitting, rubbing, pressing. She can't get any relief. She is miserable. She says it itches in the muscle. It's deep and intense. It causes her to go into fits. It would be funny if it were not so sad.

Today, she threw a fit like we have not seen since early on in GAPS. I took a video. It's crazy to see a six year old act in such a way.

Tonight, and for the past few nights, at least, she is having a hard time sleeping because of arm and leg cramps. She remembers now how she felt before we started GAPS. She realizes that this is why we are doing GAPS. She says she knows I love her very much to cook GAPS food for her. It's not worth it to cheat. I think she knows this now. I hope she will remember the next time she is tempted to cheat.

To me, the stuff people eat these days is not food. I don't even want to put any of it in my body anymore. I hope my children realize this, too, that it's not food and that it is not to be desired. It does not tempt me anymore because I do not want to eat chemicals, petroleum, preservatives, antibiotics, hormones...

Bone Broth or Bug?

I have added bone broth to our broth for several weeks now and have increased the amount just a bit this week. Now everyone is getting sick - all the kids, anyway. Before we started GAPS, we started to make broths and we started to have healing reactions to this powerful healing food. When we started GAPS everyone got sick. It looked like the flu, but it wasn't. When we restarted intro, the kids got sick again. Now I have backed off of and removed dairy and increased this bone broth and all of the kids are sick. However, it could be a bug. It might be strep throat. They have croupy coughs, runny or stuffy noses, a little diarrhea at the beginning, a sore throat, and a headache. One child also hurts all over, but she is the one who cheated a week ago. I think it's probably a bug.

I am so glad to be eating bone broth, finally. Before, when we would add it, I would get very angry over every little thing, things that did not bother me on other days. I am short on sleep, kids are driving me crazy with the regressions/reactions, it's impossible to keep up with it all and do extra things, but I am handling it all in stride. Yay!

Definitely Dairy

We quit the butter almost as soon as I figured out that dairy was the problem. Things got better right away. We backed off on ghee. Things improved a bit. We were completely dairy free for a few days. Things were definitely better. I can sleep. I am not so very swollen in the morning and I can get my ring off of my finger. I can breathe through my nose in the morning again. CKS has had rough and rosy cheeks. This morning his cheeks were almost smooth again for the first time in months. Yay!!!

We finished off the leftovers for lunch today. It was food I had prepared to get us through the end of last week and through the weekend. It was cooked with ghee and coconut oil. Sure enough, CKS' cheeks were rough and rosy before the end of the meal and his hands were back up in his face again. It was immediate. I had a bit of nausea after lunch. It didn't last long, but I suspect it was my body saying, "Oh, no. Not again."

Dairy is definitely out for now! I think I will wait at least six weeks and try again with only grass-fed dairy. I have a source. It just did not occur to me that my butter needed to come from grass-fed cows, too.

December 9, 2010

Bone Broth/Cauliflower/Brussel Sprouts

I have been serving up some bone broth for the past two weeks, mixing it in with the chicken meat broth that we drink everyday. So far, so good. Nothing like before where I just went ballistic on everyone. We tried brussel sprouts last week and I think we will try them again tomorrow because that seemed to go over well. Yesterday we tried a little cauliflower. Yum! Everyone loved it and wanted more, but I would only let everyone have a very small serving. Today was a great day!

I did not lose my temper. My oldest got up early and started his schoolwork, completed it an hour early, was cooperative on all of the subjects where he had to work with me, helped out where needed without having to be asked, and on and on. CKS seemed better today than he has been in a long while, though far from the normal we enjoyed a few months ago. Everyone was happy, except KES, but she cheated over the weekend, so I guess I don't know for sure about her.

It was a good day, despite the washing machine not working. It is never the circumstances that make a day good or bad. It is always how we receive and react to those circumstances that makes it a good day or a bad day. Today was a good day.

Raw Dairy

OK, so I am determined to take the dairy out. I am not willing to live with the regressions and the discomforts if it is from an intolerance, which I am sure it is. Yesterday, I served no butter and we used very little ghee. I slept better, was less stuffy, and I could actually get my ring off in the morning, although I was still a little swollen. CKS also seemed to be a bit better today, just a bit. He did not look like he felt miserable all day. His eye contact was a bit better (I think), and he had better control of his emotions. Yay!

This morning I was thinking about how it took about a year before we could tolerate egg yolks and how, when we finally tried again after re-starting intro, they were eggs from Farmer Brown's pastured chickens. I am still afraid to try yolks from store-bought eggs, even if they DO claim to be free-range. The regressions were not fun to see my little boy suffer through.

I also read in the GAPS book that when you introduce yoghurt, that it is best to use raw milk. I started to think about the fact that the organic butter I buy from the store is not raw. It is probably made from pasteurized milk. MAYBE, if we try again with raw butter and ghee made from raw butter, we will finally be able to tolerate dairy. Oh, I hope so!

Anyway, the first step is to take the dairy out and get back to 'normal' again. The second step is to try to add more variety of vegetables to our diet. The third step is to find some raw butter and try again. I could also try yogurt and kefir made from goats milk, if I can find a good source of fresh raw goats milk. I do NOT like the taste of goats milk that I have purchased from the store, but I have heard that fresh raw milk from a healthy goat is good. I am a city girl and know nothing about these things.

No more dairy for now (well, maybe by next week, as I have already cooked some meals for this week and we will need to eat it up).

Washing Machine is SO Wishy-Washy

I have four kids who wet the bed. Sometimes all four leak out of their diapers/pull-ups on the same night. With regular laundry for a family of seven and all of the pee pee laundry, we run 3-6 loads of laundry a day on weekdays and 0-3 loads on the weekends.

My washing machine is very useful, but it is NOT reliable. I had to have it serviced two years ago to replace a sensor. I have a repairman coming tomorrow to do the same, I think. It is the same problem. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't work. You just never know. It's so wishy-washy! Arghg!!!

December 6, 2010

I Think It's Dairy, But I Don't Want to Give It Up

I think normal evades us because we are still sensitive to dairy.  I added all of those many things in a while back and butter was one of them.  No obvious and horrible symptoms to point directly to dairy being the culprit, but more subtle ones (in my mind).  Anger, aggression, serious regression would be obvious and horrible symptoms that would make me turn back and even redo intro.

Here is what we are dealing with:

I had several months without any symptoms from hormonal changes.  I didn't even see it coming and there was no pain or discomfort associated with the cycle.  These past two months, I have been irritable, bloated, tired, achey, and I have been experiencing insomnia.  I feel agitated and I have this sense of urgency, like nesting before a baby is born.  Also, I can't sleep a full night because I sleep horribly after a few hours and I wake up swollen and hurting.  My wedding ring is impossibly tight.  Normally it is falling off.  I have finally gained weight.  Less nursing and more butter.  Hmm.  More nuts and honey, too.

MKS, 12yo ds, can't keep his mind on the task, doesn't hear all of what I say and what he does hear gets mixed up in his head, is forgetful, and he talks too much like he has no control and he just has to tell.

KRS, 9yo dd, seems fine, but has more trouble with getting up in the morning than she used to have.

KES, 6yo dd, can't keep her mind on the task, doesn't hear all of what I say and what she does hear gets mixed up in her head, is forgetful, and she talks too much (nonstop) like she has no control and just has to tell.

CKS, 3yo ds, is mildly rigid, tactile (hands and toys and everything in his mouth, hands always holding himself so he looks like he has to pee constantly, rolling on floor, leaning on or at least touching me almost constantly if he is in the same room with me, rubbing his arms/shoulders on cars, doors, walls as he walks), no focus, eye-contact is forced (he can do it for a few seconds when you ask him to, but he does not look at you when he talks to you, which is constantly), panic is first reaction, lots of things are upsetting, seems to not feel well a lot lately (tummy aches), oppositional quite a bit, wakes up crying or in a panic because he needs to go potty, says everything that comes in his head, repeats questions over and over, repeats lots of things over and over.  There's more, but...anyway, normal eludes us for now.

SSS, 20 month old ds, just a bit more fussy and clingy than usual.  No normal poos lately.  Come to think of it, no one is having lovely brown poos anymore on a consistent basis.  Hmm.

Back to me, I have been a bit stuffy in the nose on a consistent basis for several months now.  I should mention that the only pregnancy where I did not feel nauseated was the last one so long as I avoided dairy and sugar.  That would mean that dairy intolerance affected my hormones without a doubt.  If it helped to avoid it during pregnancy, then it would make sense that it would help PMS symptoms to avoid it now.  Oh, yes, I should also mention the reoccurrence of acne.  It's mild, but present.  I had enjoyed having none.

Now I know that much of my children's behavior is normal for kids these days, but I know it is not normal behavior for healthy kids.  I have seen them behave beautifully.  I have seen them think clearly.  I have seen them make good decisions.  I have seen them look beyond themselves and consider the needs of others.  I have seen them play nicely with each other and with others.  I have seen so many wonderful things as a result of this diet.  I know what is possible.  I want that to be permanent in another year or two, no matter what they eat.

I know that my current PMS symptoms are normal by today's standards and can be somewhat surpressed and controlled by medications, but I have experienced life without PMS and I know it is wonderful and good.  I want the good life back!!!

I know it's dairy because of the no nausea during pregnancy thing and because MKS' symptoms are the same as when we removed and added dairy in several times before GAPS.

I DON'T WANT IT TO BE DAIRY!!!!!  I love dairy.  Calcium?

We can't tolerate bone broth, spinach, broccoli, etc.  Where will we get our calcium.  I am certain we must be deficient.  HELP!

Lord, I want to eat good food.  I want to tolerate and enjoy the food you provided for our health.  Say the word and we can eat it.  You have the power to make it so.  Please let us be able to eat good food.  I do not want to worry about everything we put in our mouths anymore.  Heal my children.  Heal me.  Make us happy.  Make us content no matter what the circumstances.  That's the problem.  Our food sensitivities make us agitated.  Our minds are not at peace.  Your Word says that we will find peace in Christ.  We are to cast our burdens on Jesus.  This is a burden to us.  Jesus, take it from us, please.  Help us to be good.  Help us to live for You and not to be always so focused on what we can and can't do, and on what we can and can't eat.  Amen.

December 5, 2010

"My Not Happy"

When CKS doesn't feel well or when things are not going his way, he says, "My not happy."

So I am here today to say, "My not happy."

Our younger dd, age 6, ate lots of desserts at a pot luck lunch at our church today when we were not looking. We are talking wheat, sugar, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, and pasteurized, homogenized, non-organic milk products. Let's not forget the unhealthy kinds of oils used, too. I could cry. What I don't understand is that so far there seems to be no obvious reactions. She did mention her arms aching, but that it would come and go. Where's the eczema?!? Give her a bit of honey and some fruit and she almost instantly itches on her forehead and in the warm, moist places on a girl's body. What's up with that?

The only thing that I can guess is that her body is in shock and does not know how to respond to what just happened and it will deal with it later. If she is fine all week, then I should just give this whole venture up entirely. That's how I feel. This doesn't make sense to me.

Really, I won't quit! She used to wake up nightly, even before the obvious vaccine injury, with leg cramps, tummy aches, worries, and bad dreams. Now she sleeps through the night 99% of the time. She used to throw angry, hateful fits over the smallest things. Now she is pleasant and helpful, kind and considerate. She used to be a picky eater. Now she eats what we serve.

She likes our food, at least most of it, but she longs to be done with the diet and be able to eat anything. She needs more variety?!? She is concerned about appearance?!? I know it embarrasses her to have to eat differently. I can't do much about that other than just not put her in a position where she and/or others are eating together. No more pot luck dinners. It's too much work for me anyway, and with five kids, two little, I am not free to mingle much anyway. It is WAY too much trouble!!! No more birthday parties! Maybe the reason her sister And I are fine with fruit and honey and she is not is because we have never cheated and she has. She used to cheat. Maybe she still does and this is the first time we caught her. Oh!!! I am sooooo not happy!!!

What to do?!? What to do?!?

We have let her go to friends' houses and birthday parties because we thought we could trust her, finally. We thought she was finally understanding. Today, I let her sit with a friend at the pot luck because I thought she would be fine. Now I know she can't be trusted yet. Oh! Oh! Oh!! I do not like this! I want to trust my kids. I want to give them freedoms. I do not like this feeling of not being able to trust her!

I really need to go to the Lord with this. YES, that's what I need to do.

Heavenly Father, You know my heart. You know my pain. You understand fully what I am going through because You know me better than I know myself. You are God and You have authority over all things. Nothing is a surprise for You. Nothing is beyond You. Your hand is in all things and You work all things together for the good of those who love You and whom You have called according to Your purposes. Help me to see this from Your perspective. Help me to trust You and Your ways with this. I know that to lash out in anger would be contrary to your will. I know that I should regard her with love. I know that I should be patient and kind. I need to always protect, trust, hope and persevere. Show me what that looks like. Pull me out of this lowly funk I am in. Lift me out of the depths. Give me the strength to persevere. You have called me to the task. You will provide a way for me. My strength comes from You. Without You I can do nothing. All things are possible with God. Thank You for your Word and for recalling these truths to my mind. Help me to keep this in my mind tonight and throughout the day tomorrow. In the name of my Lord and my Saviour, Jesus Christ, I thank You for everything. How blessed we are. How blessed I am. I will continue to give my best for these children, who are only mine for a time. They are eternal beings and they are Yours. I will glorify You by giving them the best I have. Amen.

December 4, 2010

It's a Topsy-Turvey World

Maybe it was the change in laundry detergent. Maybe it is the butter. Maybe it is the increase in fermented cod liver oil. Who knows, but my 3 year old is acting just like his older brother used to be and my oldest is also acting like he used to be. Where did normal go? I liked normal. Can't we just stay there for awhile? It's so fleeting.

Well, I am praying for answers and direction. I know we are healing and the ups and downs are part of this whole process, but I sure wish there were more ups than downs.

Still happy about the potty training. CKS just got new big boy underwear today. CARS and Spiderman. Very cool. I had to get him some new undies because he wanted 'thin' undies like his older siblings and had resorted to wearing his sisters' underwear. That's just wrong.

On that note, our 20 month old son loves shoes and dress-up. I keep finding him in his sister's sparkly gold dress-up shoes. He likes them because they are pretty, easy to put on, and he can walk around in them without tripping and falling too much. He also wears her sneakers, her sandles, and her boots. His going places shoes are CKS' old brown shoes. They are too big, but they stay on and he doesn't fall so we will just go with it.

So I switched back to our old laundry detergent. The butter stays and I am going to introduce yogurt and kefir as soon as I can make it happen (just bought a gallon of raw milk this week). I will continue to increase the cod liver oil and add in the other oils and new foods. We are just going to go with this for awhile. Hope it all evens out again soon, but it probably will not, if I keep adding and increasing stuff. Shucks! Oh, well.

Hey, they all sleep through the night most every night these days. That in and of itself feels like a dream. Everyone is happier and more cooperative in general. That feels like a dream, too. We have even had fewer wet beds lately and we even had one day that I didn't have even one load of pee pee laundry. That was like a dream. Not without troubles, but things are definitely better than before.

I guess I will press on an see what more is in store for us down the road.

Have I mentioned that four out of the six of us can eat fruit and honey? I'm sure I have. These things keep me motivated. Oh, yes, and we had brussell sprouts this week. We each had only one. Not too bad, though I think there were some reactions. We will just have to try again a few more times.

I am all over the place in this post. It is probably because it is the middle of the night. I should just go to bed. G' Night.