Tag Archives: health

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;

Toxic Elements Testing Update

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This will be short and sweet.  I saw my doctor last week to get the results of my most recent toxic elements testing after three months on DMSA for mercury chelation.  My mercury levels did not budge, and remain at 13 roughly (within normal limits is 2.19).  My lead level dropped significantly, but is still high, and now I’m also testing high for platinum.  My understanding from the test results was that platinum can show up in connection with the DMSA that I was taking, so he was not overly concerned.

Anyhow, here’s what the results look like…fascinating, I know. 🙂  I’ve been testing through my doctor/Genova Diagnostics:

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I quit taking my DMSA with my doctor’s blessing a couple weeks ago.  I was taking 500 mg Monday/Wednesday/Friday.   Because I’m also on the GAPS Diet and am already chelating by virtue of the diet, I can only speculate that it was just “too much” and my system couldn’t handle it.  I had a resurgence of candida which caused a yeast infection of the sinuses, mystery rashes, headaches, recurrent chiropractic problems in my neck, extreme lethargy and brain fog, gut problems, a massive flare of joint and muscle pain/fibro symptoms.  If you’re taking DMSA – I’m not implying you should quit.  It simply did not work for me.  Always consult your doctor before doing anything drastic or changing protocols.  However, a good reference if you are on the GAPS Diet is page 300 in the GAPS book where Dr. Natasha talks about DMSA and DMPS.  Food for thought…

Because of the range of problems I was having, I decided to go back on GAPS intro a week and a half ago and am glad I did.  Many of those issues subsided within a few days.  Doing intro by myself (and not with 3-5 people) is much less daunting!  I also got a script for Diflucan (antifungal) yesterday and I’m hopeful that this sinus infection will go away shortly.

So now, my new protocol through my integrative physician is to continue GAPS, juice daily, and start eating cilantro daily as well as taking chlorella.  I hope that this works and starts to budge this stuff soon…  I love it though when I can go to the doctor and fill at least part of my script at the grocery store :-).

I’ve also done some other researching in the past few weeks and came across other chelation information by Dr. Andrew Cutler and Dr. Lawrence Wilson’s Nutritional Balancing protocols.  Both have different protocols and there are things about each that I find interesting.  I am not a doctor, and am simply giving links to other resources.  Please consult with your physician.  I’d be interested if anyone has other protocols, so please feel free to share in the comments section.

This post was shared at Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesdays; Intentionally Domestic’s Traditional Tuesdays; Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesdays;

Happy One Year GAPSiversary…To Us!

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One year ago this weekend, my soon-to-be four year old daughter and I started the GAPS Diet.  We have had our share of ups and downs, but mostly successes, over the past year.  If you are unfamiliar with the GAPS Diet, here is a post I did awhile back as an overview.

I thought I’d give an update on where we’re at now…  While I was typing, I gave this some thought and decided to post these pictures here because I think it says it all.  This picture was taken early on in GAPS.  The second was obviously, more recent. 🙂

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Me:

Here is where I was at last July (yeah, if you want to know, you have to read this post.  I’m not retyping it all here. :-)).

I would say most of that is still pretty accurate.  I am more clear-headed than ever.  Plus, my weight loss in the last year has reached 30 pounds total.  Which is a nice little side effect of living the grain-free life.  I have had a few mini-flares of fibromyalgia-like symptoms – typically spurred by eating something I shouldn’t have or stress – but they were mild and short-lived.  I hope to eventually have NONE.  I have remained sinus-infection-free throughout this time, and my only visit to the doctor marked a need for annual thyroid labs.  Which is pretty remarkable for me, I look back and kind of feel like I lived at the clinic before this.  I had a couple brief colds and was actually able to fight them off on my own.  Also, I had my cholesterol labs done in December and in spite of the INSANELY “high fat” (only natural fats – no canola oil, no Crisco, no partially hydrogenated anything) diet I eat…my cholesterol levels were great and my triglycerides were AWESOME.  So take that, Ansel Keys and your lipid hypothesis!  And, my gums are healing and my teeth are less sensitive with the help of Ramiel Nagel’s “Cure Tooth Decay”  gum healing protocol which follow alot of GAPS principles with some add-ons.

The holidays were tough – and being the true sugar addict that I am – I very easily got a little happy with the GAPS legal Christmas treats (and so did my daughter, which I’ll talk about later).  Anyhow, after New Year’s, I reeled myself back in and started eating like I should again.  My lesson learned is that even “healthy treats” are not really healthy if you just eat too many of them (I’m talking daily treats).  And yes, they can set your health backwards.  Since the holidays, I’ve been more tired and sleep has not been as good.  I think that my adrenal fatigue is rearing it’s head again, and I’m just focusing on getting more rest and trying to lessen my stress.  And things are getting better slowly.  How come it takes no time at all to make yourself sick…and much longer to heal?  Not fair. 🙂  Well…seriously, it took almost 40 years to make myself this sick and healing sure won’t happen overnight.  It will probably take years but will be well worth it.

My little girl:

Here are a couple of different posts that I have written over the past several months about her progress (here and here).  We have had alot of successes with her, and some setbacks.  It seems like the setbacks come fast and hard.  Someone in our GAPS for Families Facebook page once said that healing is like the layers of an onion.  You peel each layer back and find a new layer…and maybe that layer isn’t so pretty.  I think Dr. Natasha talked about it in the book – that even after months of healing and feeling great – you can have set backs related to detoxing and different points in your healing process (ok, I read alot…I might be getting my info crossed…if it wasn’t Dr. Natasha, please feel free to correct me…anyhow, you get what I mean.)

We have maintained awesome control over her eczema.  She has had a couple of tiny spots here and there but they have resolved pretty easily.  Until recently, she had been pretty healthy and we were “cough free”.  She continues to grow well, and the diarrhea is non-existent.  Behaviorally and cognitively we continue to see fun changes.

Like I said earlier, I got a little overzealous with the treats.  As parents, we want our kids to feel normal and accepted and have fun.  And somehow in our society, fun almost always seems to equate to treats.  It seemed like every time I turned around there was some potluck, holiday party, birthday party in school, SOMETHING, that she “needed” treats.  And instead of just saying NO, I was the fun mom who sent the treats (and not the practical mom I wish I would have been in retrospect).  Lessons learned.  And that took it’s toll.  Based on her history and diagnosis of leaky gut/candida from our integrative physician, we believe that she had a resurgence of yeast-related problems.  Right after New Years, she developed these really strange OCD symptoms (she has NEVER had OCD symptoms before) and started saying some reallybizarre things and had a nonsensical phrase that she repeated over and over…and over and over.  That was right about the time that we reeled life back in and hopped off the goodies bus.  I became diligent about Epsom salt detox baths, juicing, serving homemade broths high in nutrient content – at least a cup a day, cutting out sweets, probiotics and an immunoglobulin supplement that we get from our doctor, chiropractic adjustment, eating well with nutritionally dense foods, drinking kombucha and eating other fermented foods for good natural probiotics…sheesh, that’s a list and I feel like I missed something.  No wonder I’m tired though.  Seriously.  But…think about that…we were able to WIPE OUT OCD SYMPTOMS THROUGH DIET AND SUPPLEMENTS.  In a few weeks.  Now if that isn’t cool I don’t know what is.  So reflective of our bodies’ awesome God-given healing abilities, that simply doesn’t get enough credit these days.  P.S.  Any of those would be good things for ANYONE to do if you’re looking to feel better, GAPS or no GAPS.

Anyhow, it took about a week of that diligence to see the bizarre statements go away, and a full three weeks before we said good bye to the nonsense phrase that I am pretty sure we had heard 10,000 times by that point.  Somewhere in there, she got a cold that she fought off, but had the little cough for quite awhile.  She has had a couple of random fevers for a day in that time period, and now the cough came back last week and turned really ugly.  She is back on her antifungal medication as of Friday night.  I am thankful  – and I’m pretty sure that we have been dealing with candida all along since New Years – as we are seeing her typical pattern of improvement after only a couple days on the medication.  Today is definitely a better day, which is encouraging.

Some other observations with her:  even through the cold her mood has been pretty good and we have seen very little of the ear rubbing sensory stuff.  Last weekend she got a hold of three chocolate covered pistachios somewhere outside our home, and we did see a brief resurgence of the withdrawn hazy behavior again.  Thankfully, it was short lived and the next day she got rid of all the pistachios 🙂 and she was better.  I can’t help but wonder if that contributed to her current chest cold, but I guess I’ll never know.

I am telling you this for a couple of key reasons.  If you’re already on GAPS, but behind us timewise, I want you to know that it isn’t always smooth sailing.  There are pitfalls but we keep moving and things get better again.  Even having her on a medication now isn’t getting me down – we are so far ahead of where we used to be it just can’t.  And, it’s been a year since she’s been prescribed anything…and I think that’s pretty amazing.  And even when there are issues – now we see setbacks with cognitive and behavioral things – and not skin rashes and diarrhea, and typically not chest colds.  She’s moved into a new phase of healing, which is exciting.  Someone once told me the brain is the last to heal and I see that with her.  I also want to emphasize through our story that what you put in (and on!) your body MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE and is utterly more important than our society (and modern medicine) believes.  We have seen the far-reaching effects of three tiny chocolate pistachios, or a small gluten free french fry serving at the fair, or too many treats over a period of time.  We’ve seen behavior change with eating nuts, and too much fruit make her an angry little diva with wild blood sugars.  I’m certainly not perfect, but those observations remain enough for me to AIM HIGHER.  Not just for the two of us, but also for the rest of my family who is not on GAPS at this time.

Anyhow, I’ve probably babbled on long enough.  So that’s it…we’re having a little Happy 1 Year On GAPS Party tonight and I’m making celebratory pizza so I had better get going on it.   I don’t think this post would be complete until I supply the awesome recipe from Starlene over at the GAPS Diet Journey blog.  It’s our favorite!

Have a wonderful night everyone!

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; Cooking Traditional Foods Traditional Tuesdays; The Tasty Alternative’s Allergy Free Wednesdays; Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesdays; The Cultured Palate’s Tasty Traditions; GNOWFGLINS Simple Lives Thursday;  The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter; Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday; Vegetarian Mamma’s Gluten Free Fridays;