Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Hard Stuff

"(The) GAPS introduction diet requires patience and perseverance."
~Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, WAPF 2012 Annual Conference

One of the GAPS circles I am privileged to participate in has coined this phrase about "choosing your hard".  I mean, come on, GAPS is hard.  And putting your child on GAPS is really hard.

There are lots of reasons for this.  The transition to GAPS usually means a transition to a whole new world of information, and in reality, this sometimes leaves even the best of us sticking our fingers in our ears and yelling "I CAN'T HEAR YOU" at the top of our lungs.  Ignorance didn't involve all this learning.  In fact, sometimes I think my brain is actually smoking from this learning curve hike.

GAPS is hard.  The learning curve is hard.  All of the newness is just plain hard.

One of the absolute biggest changes occurs in how we relate in the doctor's office.  I mean, let's face it - most of us are not already visiting naturopaths or holistic physicians. If we were then our kiddos probably would have stood a better chance at not needing GAPS in the first place. And asking your pediatrician for nutritional advice is not usually the best thing.  Or your gastroenterologist for that matter.  That's why they all send us to nutritionists for dietary help. Remember that the Standard American Diet includes low salt, low fat, low animal protein, and high fiber recommendations.  The reason for this is a whole other post, but it does not exactly follow the food-as-medicine principles.  As a result we are left explaining (and often defending) why we have chosen a holistic approach in order to heal our child.  This can be difficult and scary.

Another hard adjustment that comes with 'going GAPS' is the social implications. Everywhere I go someone is trying to feed my children.  Lollipops, candy, granola bars, and maybe even fruit. I am not of the innocent.  I have done it.  My classroom days were spent bribing good attention with the toss of a Jolly Rancher.  Unfortunately we are producing sick and allergic kids much faster than the general public can switch to a 'don't feed the children' mentality.  The result is the parent running interference between child and food anytime they leave the house.  This is hard enough with a severely allergic child. Throw in a bottle of broth that looks like you are feeding your infant hot steaming coffee, and you are certain to catch some unwanted attention. Hard.

Once in the land of broth, kraut, and kefir, it is now not so easy to leave the house. Family schedules, routines, outings, and extra-curricular activities all must be re-evaluated for the ability to bring food, as well as the ability to make it.  A quick jaunt through the closest drive-through is not an option.  Not packing enough might mean hungry children and a feeling of mommy failure.  This one has personally caused me a lot of anxiety.

And let's not forget the mountains of broth pots, blenders, juicers, and greasy kitchen tools that need to be washed

Hard.  These things are all very hard. They require making adjustments that are not for the weak of heart. And most people know that.

"That must be so hard".  "I don't know how you do it."  "You must never sleep."  "How do you get all that done?"  I have heard it all from commiserating friends and well-meaning strangers.  And they are right. It's HARD.  I don't sleep much.  And I really don't know how we do it. We certainly don't get everything done. Ever.

I slept an average of 3 hours for two years.  I still get up multiple times every night. I rarely shop at the actual grocery store.  Our 'convenience' food is frozen vegetables.  We raised special chickens on a suburban lot.  We sold the house and moved. We have gone to living on one income.  We are incredibly financially stressed. And it is

But wait. It is not that I am just looking to complain. And I most certainly am not encouraging you to NOT do GAPS.  It is just that in the last month or so I have begun to reflect on the differences between the hard that we choose, and the hard that we don't.  

We did not choose FPIES.  We absolutely did not choose the hard that started us on this path.

But most of the hard that we are now living is by choice. 

There is something that changed when we made the leap to GAPS.  Without even really realizing it, we went from running from doctor to doctor looking for answers, from researching and reading and waiting for someone else to tell us what to do, from feeling like every food I fed Ellie was a sick game of Russian Roulette, from begging insurance companies to pay for her crappy MSG laden chemical food, from tracking down every ingredient or sourced chemical in everything from canned baby food to laundry detergent, from all of that and hope.  

When we started GAPS a transformation took place.  It was not that we had a mapped out plan.  We still had to do a lot of figuring out within the protocols of the diet.  But we were given permission to be the ones who know best for our daughter.  We were given the information, and the medical studies, and the case studies, and saw the proof right in our own home, that there is hope and a plan for healing. From the unknown and the scary suddenly came hope, direction and a chance to watch God reveal some of the amazing ways He designed our bodies.  And we were empowered once more to do what we feel is right for our children - to keep them safe, and to keep them healthy.  

THAT is the hard we have chosen, and with great privilege. 

Everyone chooses their hard.  GAPS is the hard we have chosen.  And it is indeed a hard choice. But the alternative? That is harder. SO much harder. 

Can you choose hope?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Wardee is one of my all time favorite real food resources.  She even has online classes for those of us who are entirely visual in our learning style (hello, ME!), and podcasts, and recipes, and fermenting book, and ebooks, and resources galore.  Today I am entirely and completely privileged to have a guest post on her blog! So jump on over to GNOWFGLINS to say hello, and be sure to check out her GAPS series.

And don't forget...have hope!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Overwhelming Gratefulness

Yesterday and today I have been overcome with thankfulness for two things:

First, the amazing amount of hunters and fishermen who, for almost 2 years, have gone out of their way to supply us with food for Ellie.  From bear to ling cod, whenever our supply gets low someone shows up with an ice chest.  Some hunters have even said they had to carry their spoils for miles on their shoulder's, only to donate it all to Ellie's belly. Some have stopped to be sure that organs were saved when those parts are usually left behind, just to be sure that it met Ellie's needs.  That to me is some serious kindness.

Second, this Thanksgiving week I heard Ellie ask if she could be excused from the table.  We offered her many of the dishes on the Thanksgiving table, and watched her eat pumpkin muffins and taste pumpkin pie.  Thanks to understanding and adaptable family members, we said yes more often than we said no this holiday. Cross-contamination is no longer a cause for fear and panic in our home, and the floor gets swept because it is dirty, not because I am petrified she might touch a crumb someone has dropped.

We are picking up as a family.  We are repairing, adjusting, and healing from all things FPIES and all things fear. We are embracing our new normal much easier these days, and I am so very grateful.

Thank you to all who have been on this journey with us, and who continue to trudge along. To God be the glory-for it all.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Too Much

Tonight I updated the blog page 'What She Eats'.  It reads like this:

Ellie is now on stage 3 of GAPS. This includes nut butters, pancakes, squash, goat ghee, scrambled eggs, fresh juices, and others.  At this point in our journey she has too many foods to maintain an accurate list.  Amazing, eh?

SO whatcha think?  Pretty darn amazing, eh?

I am in awe that after thriving on broth, meat and zucchini for 16 months, she is now eating like this.  From nothing to too much.  From pain to healing. From fear to hope. God is good. Amen?


I can't wait to see what these teeth are gnawing on next!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

WAPF 2012

My overall review of this year's WAPF conference was thumbs up!  I was able to chat with those I had not seen since last year, meet new friends, make new connections, and listen to speakers such as Dr. Natasha Campbell-Mcbride, Dr. Chris Kresser, Monica Ford, Dr. Thomas Cowan, Dr. Don Huber, and others.  Unfortunately my iphone camera went on the fritz when I got there, so my Rock Star photos this year are limited.

Here is one of me and Monica Ford of Real Food Devotee.  She was a Wise 
Entrepreneur presenter, and also happens to be the sister of my local GAPS chef. (They are both Rock Stars)

A major highlight of the trip was the release of Dr. Natasha's new book - GAPS Stories.  The book contains more than 50 stories of children and adults who have been healed using the GAPS diet.  Ellie's story, as well as that of another child in the GAPS Kids community, are now in print!  The book does not appear on Dr. Natasha's website yet, but will be for sale at soon.

Since this is my second WAPF conference and we have been on GAPS for almost 2 years, I was very surprised to have taken 12 pages of notes while listening to Dr. Natasha the first day of the conference.  Here are some nuggets I can share:

*The whole body regenerates: every.single.cell (we used to think the brain didn't).  Different cells form at different rates.  New stem cells emerge from an area of the brain every day. Every 3 months we have an entirely new liver. The gut determines if these new cells are born healthy.  A sick gut means they will regenerate poorly.

*It has been known for over 70 years that 85% of our immune system is located in the gut wall.

*Our immune system is never misguided.  Our immune system responds to communication from the gut, which can provide wrong data.

*Tcells originate from the thymus.  There are lots of Tcells with different jobs, but they all are ultimately controlled by gut flora.

*The hair is a storage site for nutrition. Grey hair results when the body is nutrient deprived and pulls the nutrition from the hair.

*Decay attracks candida.  To get rid of candida you must get rid of decay.  We now know that the body will  send out signals and attract candida.

*Colic is the first alarm bell, and if the parent doesnt deal with it then far more serious conditions will come.

*We now know that people who had measles as a child do not get auto immune disease because the immune system received a proper education. This is not the case with those who receive vaccinations.

This was just the tip of the iceburg.  The conference was packed full of information and my brain is saturated!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

WAPF- the day before

I arrived in Santa Clara yesterday and picked up Dawn from Home Food Heals at the airport.  It is so great to have a buddy to share the conference with this year.    We went to dinner with two other Dravet Syndrome families last night at a local organic restaurant called Parcel 104.  It was really yummy food, but I am certain the beans served with my roast were not soaked and sprouted, because they reminded me that I need to go on intro.

One of the Dravet families we met is also active in the GAPS Kids community, so it was exciting to meet another GAPS family.  Their daughter has made amazing progress on GAPS, but not without a lot of hard work, tears, and perseverance from her parents.  These parents deserve the most courageous, and determined parents award. They have already conquered hurdles for healing that I can not even fathom.  My heart about burst when their precious GAPS kid asked me to read her an Amelia Bedelia book, and laughed contagiously at silly parts - so incredibly precious!

It was an absolutely fantastic way to start the weekend!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Today is election day.

Today I am using this platform to say COME ON California.

Today we have the chance to join more than 40 other countries in taking back the dinner plate.

Today we can fight food politics with a vote.

Today we have an opportunity to change the legacy we leave.

Today we can hold accountable major corporations and corrupt government entities.

Today we can stop plugging our ears and start choosing something better for our children.

Stop making excuses.  Stop listening to the marketing lies.  Stop mumbling conspiracy theorist.  Stop calling it no big deal.

Vote with your eyes OPEN.

Just say NO to GMOs. And say YES to our future.

YES on Proposition 37! (and watch this fantastic video)