Tag Archives: Family

GAPS Update #1: Tourette’s tics and eczema

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I’m doing a series on progress of different family members on the GAPS Diet, and thought it would be easier (and shorter) to go person by person instead of running it all together…

My 9 year old son had a long history of asthma and allergies since infancy.  He always met our family insurance deductible every year by February.  He was always sick, took daily nebulizers and inhalers, and was frequently on antibiotics and/or nebs from the age of six months old forward.

I know I’ve talked about this before in other posts, but a large part of our health journey started with him.  He ended up getting so sick at one point that he missed school and a friend’s birthday party because he literally couldn’t stop coughing, even with all his nebs and inhalers.  It lasted for a couple days – constant barking cough.  It was really the last straw for us, because even his meds were failing him.

We started with our integrative physician, who diagnosed him with multiple food allergies and systemic yeast.  His initial treatment was a few months of Diflucan, some targeted supplementation and a drastic change in diet eliminating white flour, white sugar and potatoes, and his  food allergens.

During this time, we also discovered that he reacted severely to red food dye in particular.  He once got so angry after having a red sucker, after being off of that stuff for awhile, that he broke the remote control in a fit…which is completely not like him at all.  If your child is struggling with behavioral issues, that is the first thing I would totally recommending getting rid of.  Besides, they’re all petrochemicals anyhow – who wants to eat what you’re putting in your car for fuel???  Not me.  I’ll include a link to the Feingold Diet for anyone with further questions on this.  I should note that this was not an isolated incident, and that whenever he had these types of “food” (I use that term loosely), we would see this angry, irritable and teary behavior.  I will suffice that we do not feed him these foods at home, I will not even purchase these “foods”.  School can be difficult with parties or rewards, and sometimes as a measure to make him feel not entirely isolated…we do allow it.  Not often, but every great once in awhile.

Anyhow, after his initial treatment above, his asthma and allergies entirely went away.  He has been off of all asthma medications for three years, and I don’t believe that he has had so much as a sniffle during that time.  No antibiotics or steroids, or nebs.  YAY!  In fact – last year he got the “perfect attendance award” at the end of the school year.  🙂

We tried to continue with his recommended food allergy and candida (yeast) diet, which became more and more difficult.  He had a constant run of treats in school, birthday parties, and kids’ sports events where that cruddy stuff is prevalent.  Cheating once in awhile became cheating alot – several times a week.  While the asthma and allergies never came back, my son developed a whole new set of symptoms last spring.  For the first time ever, he started to develop severe facial tics that our doctor later noted as Tourette’s – either related to food allergies or yeast.  He also started to develop severe, weeping eczema that he had not had since he was a baby.

At this point, we decided that he would benefit greatly from GAPS.  Because of all of these “life is hard” situations, we had tried to avoid it with him, but we were definitely there.  He started in June of 2013, right after school got out for the summer.  We noticed that the eczema was stubborn with him, and did not go as quickly as it had with our youngest.  I would say that he had really stubborn spots for at least two months, but then it did go away.

The facial tics took longer.  Our doctor noted that the neural cells heal so slowly, that it would probably take six months to see major improvement.  And that it did.  We did see the tics slow down in number and intensity fairly quickly, but they did not go away altogether until November.

A personal confession here is that in two years of doing GAPS myself, I have never really gotten a great handle on how to deal with expectations for treats and parties and holidays, and always find myself getting sucked into repeat ugly food situations during those times.  Generally in excess.  You’d think I would learn, huh?  During the holiday season, the tics that had vanished had come back with a vengeance, and the eczema came back on a milder scale.  We had him do a couple weeks back on the intro portion of the GAPS Diet after the holidays, got back on track with his probiotics and cod liver oil, and found that we were able to reel in those symptoms alot quicker.  One observation is that we really weren’t allowing him to have his food allergens during this time when the symptoms recurred, or gluten, but he did have sugar during that time.  So for him, sugar = neurological issues.  I would guess that he is not alone.

He has been a total trooper, and has had a great attitude with little to no complaining.  We have been very proud of him throughout it all.  🙂  Fortunately, he understands what brings on these symptoms, and they are unpleasant for him too, so he is motivated.

AFTERTHOUGHT:  I can’t believe I forgot this before…but the other nice side effect of GAPS for my son is that he grew!  He has always been very small, and skinny, and you could see his ribs.  He generally refused to eat nourishing foods, and only wanted carbs  like bread, cereal and of course sweets.  Shortly after we started GAPS, he started eating really well…and HE GREW!  And you can no longer see his ribs.   Hallelujah!

This post was shared on Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesdays; Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays;

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Baby Chicks!

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We got our baby chicks this past week.  As usual, I’m late…every year I fully intend to order them right after Christmas so we can get all the fun and funky varieties that I want for our kids to show in 4H at the county fair.  And every year I end up ordering them…now.   Saying a little prayer that they are all laying by August for fair… 🙂

My wonderful father in law takes care of the baby chicks for us when we get them, as he has the space and equipment to do it at his farm.  This isn’t as much of a “how to” as it is an “oh how fun!” post…

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The “chicken whisperer”…

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My littlest urban chicken farmer… She named her chick “Minimus”…Sofia the First anyone???

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Excited about his chick (he named it “Big Teensy”)…

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The kids liked this cochin’s fluffy feet…

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We’ve ordered our chickens from Cackle Hatchery every year for the past three years, and we’ve been happy.  They ship well, we get them quickly, and they always send a few extra birds just in case one dies en route (the last couple years we have lost a bird along the way).  I have ordered ducks from them in the past, and this year we intend to get some big old heritage turkeys for the kids to show for 4H…and eventually to put meat on our table.  They have a great variety… my favorites are the rare breeds (my daughter won Overall Poultry Champion at our fair her first year in 4H with a breeding pen of their buff cochins :-)).  This year we did a mix of “practical” birds for egg laying, and rare breeds.

I ordered golden laced cochins and barred rock cochins, which I had not seen before…I’m looking forward to seeing how beautiful they are as they grow!

This post was shared at Butter Believer’s Sunday School; The Prairie Homestead’s Homestead Barn Hop; Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesdays; Cooking Traditional Foods Traditional Tuesdays;

Winter Planting Fun

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I admit it, I’m a garden addict.  And probably a food addict too – to some extent.  Addicted to fresh greens and other yummies from the garden.  I start chomping at the bit this time of year to get out there and plant…however, the two feet of snow in my backyard are a bit of a hindrance…   Not sure about the rest of you, but I start combing the seed catalogs as soon as they come in late December!  I usually start ordering in early February.   Since alot of plants require anywhere from 6-12 weeks to be ready to transplant outside, this is the perfect time to start some of your plants indoors!

I am no master gardener (although I wish I was!) so this is mainly meant to inspire and not instruct. 🙂  I will tell you what I did, but when in doubt check with another gardener (one more savvy than me) or the internet.  Mother Earth News is an awesome gardening resource, as is Organic Gardening magazine.

Anyhow, many thanks to my daughter’s preschool teachers for saving all of these wonderful milk cartons for us…  I have used peat pots in the past but this seemed like a good reuse/recycling project for us as well.

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Planting some Black Hungarian hot peppers…

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My broccoli man planting Waltham 29, Purple Peacock and Romanesco broccoli… (disregard the snacks in the background, hungry gardeners at work :-))

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And my little lady and her Golden Marconi peppers…

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We used the Jiffy Organic Seed Starting Mix that you can buy at Walmart or most hardware stores.  I added a little Perlite (1 T.) to each carton and mixed well.  We planted the seeds at varying depths.  Since we planted everything from celery and stevia (tiny seeds) to artichokes and ancho peppers (bigger seeds)…I just used my judgment and tried not to overdo it with the dirt covering them.  When in doubt, Google it.

Water thoroughly, and cover as snug as you can with plastic wrap to keep in heat.  I keep mine in old aluminum roasting pans and cake pans so we don’t get water all over the place.  Also, my husband found me this snazzy grow lamp at Menards for around $10-15.  We used shop lights, which from everything I have read have the same effect and are far cheaper.  They should ideally be around 3-4″ from the plant…we need to adjust ours, but you get the jist from the picture.  If it’s too far – the plants will get spindly (which has been my problem every other year – hoping this year is different!)  I plan to fertilize mine with this Neptune’s Harvest organic fertilizer a couple weeks after they germinate.  I have never used it before but have seen lots of good reviews from different sources.

A side note…I got up this morning and in spite of the lights, my pots were really cold in the window.  Since the seeds need heat to germinate, I put them in locations that may have more heat than light right now and am hoping for the best.  Hoping it warms up a little so I can move them back there soon…otherwise we’ll have to find a new locale for the shop lights.

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A few of my favorite seed companies:

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (they have the PRETTIEST seed catalog I’ve ever seen!!!)

Peaceful Valley Farm Supply

Bountiful Gardens

Seed Savers Exchange

Turtle Tree Seed

John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds

All of these companies sell heirloom, non-GMO seed.  I am not sure that they are all solely heirloom – so if that’s what you want you’ll have to check it out if you order.  I believe that they have all signed the Safe Seed Pledge through the Organic Consumers Association.  Turtle Tree Seed and Bountiful Gardens sell biodynamic seed.

Think Spring! 🙂

This post was shared at Butter Believer’s Sunday School; The Better Mom’s Mondays Link Up; The Prairie Homestead’s Homestead Barn Hop; Real  Food Forager’s Fat Tuesdays; Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday; The Tasty Alternative’s Allergy Free Wednesdays;