We are about 5 weeks into the GAPS protocol for Ellie. Let me back track and explain what we have been doing in summary (watch out for poop talk!)....
Taking my first email from Dr. Natasha I began a new food plan for Ellie. I began the research for grass fed, organic meats that were also soy and corn free. I have done reading on allergy boards where others say that they can react to major triggers when eating meat of animals that have been fed them. I also know another FPIES mom whose son reacted to the corn in eggs. I was able to find lamb, beef and pork to start out with.
We started slowly, adding one teaspoon at at time to her bottles. We did not push her, and a couple of times we had to adjust the bottles in order for her to take them. It took a couple of weeks to get her off the formula entirely, and the last few days she really held on, wanting that scoop.
When she got down to one scoop of formula in each 8-9 ounce bottle, I began using the Vitamix to liquefy the boiled meat. I added 2-3 ounces of meat to her bottles. She ate around the clock, every 1 hour to 1.5 hour, 24 hours a day. This coupled with the need to warm her meat smoothies on the stove top has been rather restricting, and exhausting.
To date she has had these meats and broths: beef, lamb, pork, duck, venison, buffalo, and chicken. She liked the lamb and pork, but gagged on the beef. It seemed to be a sensory issue since the beef had a much higher fat content. And she truly seemed as if she just did not like the duck. Imagine that. I marveled. She was showing preference with food, and she could afford to have an opinion on the matter. A milestone!
During this time we unsuccessfully trialled a probiotic and have not had her on one still. I also did my best to add a teaspoon or so of boiled beef liver to each bottle to add vitamins and nutrients. Including bone marrow, skin, and liver in each bottle was a must for healing according to Dr. Natasha. What she failed to mention was the GAS that liver can cause! whew!
It took about 3 weeks for her stool to begin looking more normal (another milestone), though very dark and tar like. This was my cue to move forward. I purchased organic zucchini, and following direction from Dr. Natasha, I peeled it, de-seeded it, and boiled it to death. I then put it in the Vitamix with broth and liquefied it.
After being so successful with the bone broths and boiled meats, I have no idea why I was so nervous when beginning vegetables, but I was. It was food trail panic all over again. We had no safe vegetables at this point. Scary stuff!
I started with one teaspoon of zucchini in her bottles, gradually increasing it to 2 ounces, over the period of about 3 days. And she loved it! For the first time in her life she began to have regular looking stools, and they increased in frequency. After three days we added white and yellow onion, boiling it down and pureeing it with the zucchini. She really seemed to like this addition. I think it added a sweetness to the meats. We did this for two days and she began pooping every day! It was poop-party time in the Sawatzky household!
(I have not compiled all of my notes so I hope I am getting the time frame correct...)
Day 7 I added peeled and boiled carrots to her mixture. She got a little more gassy and seemed to have something a little bit off, but nothing to be concerned about. We waited for the poop and it looked orange and I got a bad feeling, but nothing tremendously noticeable.
Day 8 I added leeks. Boiled and pureed. And there was some funny poop. It was soft and pliable but looked like deer poop (pebbly). I panicked. Is this constipation forming? I headed to the Bristol Stool Chart and it was actually leaning towards looser stool, which worried me even more. A reaction??
Day 9 I threw in some garlic. And later that day she showed tummy trouble. And had the same concerning deer-like poop. We were moving too fast. I knew it.
I whipped back out my emails with Dr. Natasha...and yup. Move slowly with the vegetables. Why? The fiber in the vegetables may not be well tolerated and her intestines need time to adjust. The bone broth and pureed meats are the easiest thing possible for human intestines to digest...needing virtually no digesting at all. Adding vegetables was shaking things up a bit, and in fact, I made note that we saw more 'die off' type symptoms.
Day 10 We started over. Zucchini only. Waited for the poop. Back to the mushy blob.
Day 11 Zucchini and onion. Looked good.
Day 12 Zucchini and onion. Looked good. And considerable less stink. I took a second look at the Bristol Stool Chart. Oh ....wait. The type of stool she was having is considered OK? Oops. Hmm. Well, better safe than sorry!
Yesterday: We added back in carrot. Only carrot. No zucchini or onion. I want to see what happens with just carrot.
Today is day two...and so far no poo. (hey that rhymes!) Here we hold. She has been gassier and fussier, and I can't help but wonder if the sugar content of the carrots or the beta carotene is of concern. I also remembered that way back 'in the day' I prick tested IgE positive for carrot allergy. Interesting. And another thing...I am about 99% sure that we never trialled carrots prior to diagnoses, but my record keeping was spotty at best in the beginning.
Another interesting thing to note is that with the introduction of vegetables she began sleeping longer increments at night. Hallelujah. Waking up to feed her more often than a newborn for four weeks was making it difficult to function during the day, and I am still working my 'real' job at 75%. Ugh. I needed sleep so these new four hour chunks at night have been heavenly. Except for her new problem of peeing all over.
And today we wait for the carrot poo. This is where the GAPS individualization comes in to play. Certain vegetables are better than others....certain vegetables are easier to digest than others....certain vegetables should be avoided by anyone....and certain vegetables will need to be avoided by Ellie. Her immune system, her environment, her inherited toxic load, her intestines, her history of food trials, her foods she had already eaten and failed. All part of the puzzle and part of the protein intolerance game. But it feels so much easier to handle with the progress she has made!