Category Archives: Nutritional Intervention

Before You Give Up On Your Diet

By NMajik at en.wikipedia (Own work (Original caption: “Source: Self”)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By NMajik at en.wikipedia (Own work (Original caption: “Source: Self”)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This is the last post in my little Specific Carbohydrate Diet series. The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) is just a real food diet, with some added food tweaks that good observers throughout history have discovered reverse disease and promote healing. It is not the holy grail of diets, although for some patients, it is the cure they were looking for. (You may prefer the word “control” instead of the word “cure,” since these patients will probably never be able to go back to DiGiorno pizza.) I definitely suggest the SCD for Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis as a starting point diet because there is research behind it. (See here for a short summary of the evolution of the SCD diet with references.)

When I used a form of SCD for my gastrointestinal issues (not inflammatory bowel disease), I ran into a few issues and the diet stalled for me, even regressed. I don’t give up easily when I think there’s a way to accomplish something, and so I played around with the diet and I read what other people trying the diet were saying. I’ve compiled a little list of things to try if SCD is not working for you.

Remember, nothing here on my site is medical advice and should always be investigated and explored. Talk with your doctor and maybe get a referral to a dietitian for help. This is the internet. Believe nothing. Question everything.

Eliminate “pesky” foods that are allowed on the diet: nuts, peanut butter, eggs, dairy. Foods that we know cause life-threatening allergies can also cause other immune reactions in the body that aren’t nearly so serious. Even though they aren’t life threatening like true allergy, they still can cause bad, uncomfortable immune reactions, especially at the interface of the gut lining (but not limited to the gut lining).

Common food allergens like nuts, peanuts, dairy, and eggs are notorious for more than just anaphylaxis and hives! If you read research studies, you’ll see them coming up again and again for things like migraines, eosinophilic esophagitis, and eczema! I feel like medical doctors only communicate the life-threatening aspect of these foods (which is super important, of course), and ignore their involvement in so many other disease states. So people walk around treating their problems with creams, puffers, and pills, when they could be investigating their diet.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet allows eggs, almonds, nuts, peanut butter, homemade yogurt, cheeses and butter. All good foods! But also all known top allergens that can perpetuate illness in susceptible people.

(Coconut is not necessarily a top 8 common allergen, but I’ve read of many SCD’ers having trouble with it, particularly the flour. I’d add it to the “pesky” list.)

How do you know which “pesky” to take out? Well, you can start with the one you have a sneaky suspicion about. Or you can see if your doctor will order you an IgG blood panel (which has such variable results for people), although you need to know up front that many conventional medical doctors disapprove of them. Or you can eliminate them all, and slowly bring them back in one at a time.

Whatever you do, be smart and make sure you’re getting any nutritional deficits accounted for!

Cut down on baked goods. When people switch to the SCD, they often, understandably, try to recreate the diet they had been eating: muffins, breads, pancakes, and cookies. ALL of these things can be made on the SCD and are super tasty! However, the ingredients for them come from the “pesky” category (almond flour, eggs, butter, and so on), so they really shouldn’t be routine food fare. They also come with a big whop of sugar; yes, I know it’s honey, but fructose in excess has its own negative effects. Baked goods are great as a transition to ease families into eating more real, wholesome foods. If my kids hadn’t had a baked good, I would  have had some runaways.

In any area of the diet you may be lapsing and skimping in, get strict again. Get back to eating only the legal foods with “no exceptions.” It’s so easy to let products back into our kitchens. A little guar gum here. A little BHT there. Some maltodextrin there. Some modified food starch. And then you’ve walked down the slippery slope and fallen. Crash and burn for a few little ingredients that really weren’t even that important to you!

Studies indicate that emulsifiers may cause problems for inflammatory bowel disease, so if you’re struggling, get the “small stuff” back out!

Alternatively, perhaps the idea of “being strict” is sabotaging adhering to the diet well, and adding in a few select real, whole, foods, like rice and/or potato may be helpful in overall adherence to the diet.

Even though certain foods are not allowed on the diet, that doesn’t mean that a person’s body and disease will not tolerate them. Yes, it’s best to adhere to the diet as it is written, but it is VERY likely that adjustments will have to be made. Remember, the diet is not magic. It can’t prophesy exactly what your body will and will not tolerate. If adding in a food that may not be problematic anyhow is the price to pay for keeping on the diet instead of giving up completely, it’s worth a trial! Make sense? (But do talk with your healthcare provider who is overseeing your diet. They might have some other tips they’d like you to try first.)

Elaine Gottschall, the author of the diet, did not intend for The Specific Carbohydrate Diet to be a forever diet. She advocated moving off the diet once symptoms were well-controlled.

Read about FODMAP foods. Foods have natural sugars and molecules that we don’t absorb and that feed our gut bacteria. It’s actually a good thing. But sometimes, guts that are compromised need a break from these too, or else they’ll have painful bloating, gas, diarrhea, and/or constipation.  FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. FODMAP foods can cause pain outside of actual inflammatory disease and would be worth exploring. I have noticed that many people suggest cutting down on fruit if the SCD isn’t working well for you, and I can see where certain fruits will exacerbate a FODMAP condition. Here’s a good site with FODMAP information. Just click on the symbol, and it brings up a nice handout.

Take away the power struggle. When it comes to kids, they MUST understand the diet and their bodies. Kids usually make good decisions when they’re given good information and see the impact of certain foods on their bodies. Make it a point to understand the diet and read the book, then paraphrase it and explain it to your child. Kids need empowered, not controlled. Sometimes our fears lead to a strong need to control, but kids will buck this. Well, at least mine do!

The mind-body idea. We KNOW that there is a BIDIRECTIONAL process between the brain and the gut and conversely, the gut and the brain. It works from the bottom up. And the top down. If you’re ready to take it beyond diet and supplements, maybe it’s time to move inward. Google things like mindfulness and IBD. Or hypnotherapy and IBD. See what you think. This area has definitely piqued my interest. It takes me months and years to write, so you’ll definitely want to read in this area before I get any posts up on it!

Well, that’s it for today. I’m sure there are other tweaks. I think the best tweak is to know you’re going to be okay. Know that nothing can get you, because you’re bigger inside than anything you can comprehend. If you’re on the religious side, know that you’re a spiritual being forever with a human body but fleetingly.

Feel welcome to post any tweaks you’ve found beneficial.

Over.

Terri

 

A Stay-At-Home Mom’s Diet Enters Medical Research

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When I used to work as a physician, I wondered what it’d be like to stay home with the kids full-time. Some moms would say, “I HAVE to work. My kids drive me crazy.” I always thought to myself that I’d still like to try it and see. Maybe crazy is a state of bliss that I’d like quite a lot.

I did get to stay home, and to my chagrin, I did fall into crazy. Crazy nutrition. At first, I honestly did wonder if I had taken neurotic to its pinnacle, but I kept reading and reading. And over the short four years since I began having any interest in nutrition at all, other than having the best chocolate chip cookie recipe, there have been some major upheavals in medicine regarding nutrition, particularly regarding fat and cholesterol. But I know there will be more.

One upheaval that intrigues me, because I swear real food is pixie dust, is doctors using a real food diet to throw inflammatory bowel disease into remission without medicine. At Seattle Children’s Hospital, researchers are reversing serious cases of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease using the exact same voodoo, or pixie dust (if you prefer), diet that Elaine Gottschall, a stay-at-home mother of two, used in the 1950s to save her 8 year-old daughter’s life from near-terminal ulcerative colitis. The diet, called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), was the last hope that Elaine had for possibly saving her child’s colon, maybe even the child’s life itself. Permanent poop collection bag? Death? How about we try this weird diet.

Dr. Sidney Valentine Haas’s Stodgy, Misinformed Diet

The SCD is not a new diet. It has been around in some form since approximately the 1920s, when Sidney Valentine Haas, MD was using it on his celiac and severely afflicted gastrointestinal patients.  At this time, there was no known celiac disease and gluten connection. Dr. Haas, using close observation skills and taking good patient histories (all things falling into disfavor in today’s medical climate), felt that starchy carbohydrates and table sugar were bad for his patients. So he developed a diet which removed starchy foods and sugar, making it inherently gluten-free and grain free. He found that his patients did fine with fruit, and he strongly encouraged bananas, and he even thought there was something special about the banana.

His “banana” diet was pretty popular and was used to manage celiac disease until the gluten connection was verified. Then, Haas and banana diets fell into disfavor, ridicule even. However, Dr. Haas, a reportedly kindly man who lived into his 90s, never acquiesced that gluten elimination should be the sole treatment of celiac disease. He remained adamantly suspicious that most starchy carbohydrates were problematic and needed removed for a time (not a lifetime). He genuinely believed in his diet, and if you read closely, he is scorned for never succumbing completely to the hypotheses that gluten is the sole problem for celiac patients.

(Now, I don’t know whether he was right or wrong about gluten. I DO KNOW that there are celiacs who follow a STRICT gluten-free diet, never eating away from home, and I know they still have abdominal issues. So, perhaps his intuition is not as laughable as it seems. Perhaps, as time passes and we learn more, we will find facts that make him more right than wrong. I don’t know. History repeatedly shows genius in ridicule, and maybe there’s more to treating celiac than just taking away gluten.)

A Doctor -Shopping, Stay-at-Home Mom
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This photo of Elaine Gottschall came from http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.com, the official Breaking the Vicious Cycle and SCD website.

 

The SCD would  have probably stopped right there if it hadn’t been for Big Magic (you really should read the book by this title, very good). Elaine Gottschall (now deceased, 1921-2005) called herself an ordinary, happy, stay-at-home, 1950s’ mom. She had two young daughters. One of her daughters, Judy, began experiencing incapacitating gut issues and was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at the tender age of four years old. Little Judy was so sick and malnourished by the time she was 8, she had stunted growth and even her neurological system was shutting down. Elaine and Herb were told their daughter had two options: colon removal or death. Elaine wouldn’t hear it and refused to take death or colectomy (colon removal) as an answer for her daughter if she could do anything about it.

So she did what all desperate patients do (or parents of patients), she doctor shopped. After much doctor shopping and no hope in sight except surgery, an acquaintance of a friend pointed her to an outdated, nearly ancient physician. She finally landed in the arms (figuratively) of our now 92-year-old Dr. Sydney Valentine Haas. He started her daughter Judy on his version of what is now the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Her daughter improved dramatically within days and even more in the months that followed, living a full life, even being able to eat a very diverse diet eventually.

Humiliating Success

Dr. Haas died within two years of meeting the Gottschall family. Would his diet die with him? No. Elaine Gottschall made it her mission to understand that man’s diet, even going back to school and earning degrees in biology, nutritional biochemistry, and cellular biology. If this diet helped Judy live and get her life back, she wanted to know why and share it with the others who were sick. Many times she wanted to give up, but her husband was convicted that the world needed this information that would be lost without Dr. Haas, and he knew Elaine was just the woman to do it.

Herb encouraged Elaine to write a book eventually called Breaking the Vicious Cycle, do health consults, and speak. She functioned at a grassroots level, and she touched thousands of lives, helping people turn their health around with the SCD. But, sadly, she could never break through to medical circles. Her daughter said: “She also wanted the acceptance from–if not approval of–the medical mainstream, which she never got. She was told stories by mothers who said their doctors would refuse to treat their children if they followed her diet…”

Doctors refusing to treat patients if they tried this diet? A diet that has now entered the halls of medical research with initial success? Elaine’s diet brought success to many suffering patients, but the patients’ doctors wouldn’t have it. How could a simple diet help? How could a stay-at-home mom know what she’s talking about? Who was she to challenge medical management?

Because of Elaine’s tenacity and courage (and ability to persist despite medical contempt), people today may have an opportunity to try diet over drugs. Some doctors are listening to patients and trying the SCD in clinical research. (See my last post.)

Elaine, Herb, and Judy (their daughter), thank you.

Closing

The SCD studies are small and sparse, but they’re pretty remarkable, especially in kids, whose healing capacities are always amazing. IF diet makes a difference, then I think Elaine Gottschall is right, the only way it’s going to get to medical doctors is if patients keep showing them. Dr. Suskind’s studies from Seattle are shedding some light, but they’re so small. With just a snap or a new successful medical discovery, his work will be trampled over forever, as Dr. Haas’s almost was.

Did Dr. Haas have it ALL right? No. Did Elaine Gottschall? No. Does the doctor named Natasha Campbell-McBride (who has taken Elaine Gottschall’s work further in her clinical practice, renaming her diet GAPS)? No. Does Dr. Suskind, a researcher using SCD in his studies? No. But continuing to cut out colons and continuing to prescribe immunosuppressants without ever trying significant dietary modification such as the SCD is irresponsible and, to me, unethical. Medical doctors maliciously, scornfully, and condescendingly name-call and ridicule diet theories they don’t agree with like pompous elitists. And guess what! When we do that, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, and the public follow along. Then, we end up in a big mess. Like Days of Our Lives. Please stop the division.

You are never too small. You are never too insignificant. You are always enough. Your experience is for you. Your experience is for others. Live boldly with love and compassion.

Even your cooking can change someone’s life.

Ciao.

Terri

Sites and links I followed for information, which should always be verified before you even think about trusting anything…

Frontiers in Celiac Disease, pages 5-7: https://books.google.com/books?id=gqaDD3jkcfYC&pg=PA6&lpg=PA6&dq=haas%27s+banana+diet+celiac+disease&source=bl&ots=pPA2rdAt9_&sig=tgEgHivZWbdeSKX5j1Dajx243Iw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi1xNTukc_RAhVG4IMKHdtmBKo4ChDoAQglMAI#v=onepage&q=haas’s%20banana%20diet%20celiac%20disease&f=false

http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/p/about-the-author/

Recipes for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet by Raman Prasad

Explaining That Diet Does Help Severe “Stomach” Problems

baadsgaard-alfrida-ludovica-vi-opstilling-med-ananas-druer-ogImagine having diarrhea 15 times a day, every day. Add some blood to that. While you try to walk across a university campus. Or coach basketball.  Or serve on a Navy ship in the middle of the vast ocean. Or learn to add, subtract, and multiply.

This is life with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, collectively called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). And when I was a medical student on general surgery, I swear it seems like we were digging around every day in some poor patient’s intestines due to his or her inflammatory bowel disease. Many emerged from surgery with bags to collect their liquid bowel movements.

I feel like I’ve heard it a thousand times. “My doctor says it doesn’t matter what I eat for my Crohn’s disease.” Have you heard that? Do you believe that? That’s 100% false. Research since the 1970s shows that patients can go into remission with special “nutritional shakes.” 

Patients are often convinced that food impacts their disease, but they can’t always pinpoint how or which foods. Medical studies weren’t very helpful in the past; they looked at things like fats, amino acids, and vitamin D, finding some correlations, but nothing to hang their hats on. So hard-working doctors just shrugged their shoulders and said, “It doesn’t really matter, dear patient. Just eat.” [Scram. I’ve got 8 patients waiting to see me. I don’t have time to listen to you speculate about whether or not milk gives you diarrhea.]

But fascinatingly, studies have shown for forty years now, plus or minus, that IBD can be controlled with nutrition! Well, more accurately put, researchers and patients controlled IBD with exclusive enteral nutrition. Exclusive enteral nutrition, EEN for short, is basically just a “nutrition” shake kind of like Ensure or PediaSure, only it tastes much worse. The ingredients in the shake have been pre-digested so they can be absorbed completely in the small intestine.

Studies have repeatedly and reproducibly shown great results for IBD patients and EEN, particularly Crohn’s disease. How great? Well how does upward of 100% sound to you for a remission rate? Would you even settle for a 70% rate? Yeah. That good. I’m cherry picking a little; some studies didn’t have such high success rates, but most did. And some studies that didn’t look all that good to begin with looked better after the study results were adjusted for patients who just couldn’t tolerate the special liquids (often quite a few). Also, results were consistently better for pediatric patients [who often heal more quickly and have to be compliant whether they like it or not—and sometimes choose to be compliant because they feel so much better!]. (Kansal, 2013)

But patients and doctors, I guess, weren’t having that. Too yucky. Too restrictive. (Just for interest, I notice that Nestle seems to make many of these nutritional EENs.)

What’s in that shake?

Great minds pontificated about what it was in the EEN drink which could cause these patients to do so well. They played around with the liquid formulas with good success, trying to make them less repulsive and less expensive. Then they pondered, “Well, can we let our patients eat [cake] and take some of this EEN stuff?”

So researchers let patients drink the liquid EEN formula and have free access to table food at the same time. Yum! With free access to table food, despite the nutritional “shake,” the remission rates weren’t as good as when a patient ate only EEN liquid—but they were better than the patients who received no EEN at all. Aha! So it’s starting to look like something in table food perpetuates increased inflammation in inflammatory bowel disease patients. (Triantafillidis, 2015)

Okay. All Mama’s good table food really threw a wrench in the great effects of the EEN shakes. What next?

Well, allowing table food was a step backward, and researchers thought, “We need another twist. What can we do? This is fun.”

So researchers gave patients nutritional “shakes” and they let them eat only certain allowed foods. (NO CAKE this time. Sorry.) Bingo. Success rates held at about 70% of patients showing improvement and or sustained remission. (I know a lot of doctors who made just 70% in class and are successfully practicing. Pass equals MD, baby. Seventy percent is pretty good.) That’s awesome. How happy would you be to be symptom-free and able to eat some real food?  (Sigall-Boneh, 2014)

It’s 2017. Can we ditch the EEN altogether and just eat real food?

Now, we have to cap it off. Could patients get off of the disgusting “shakes” altogether? (Good-bye, Nestle…) Well, the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology is about to publish a study done by a Dr. Suskind (and his team, of course!) from Seattle Children’s Hospital. Ten pediatric patients followed a diet called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for three months, and 80% of them had symptoms improve significantly and even resolve and lab markers normalize. Eighty-stinking-percent! Let me repeat: eighty percent success. WITH FOOD.

Way to go Dr. Suskind and team. Way to take medicine back to truly patient-centered, do-no-harm care! And most importantly: WAY TO GO PATIENTS AND PARENTS WHO PARTICIPATED IN THIS STUDY! Changing how you eat is hard work, and most people balk, standing in the corner cowering with too much fear to leave their pizza and bread behind. Not you. Not you. (Suskind, 2017)

[Click here for a readable summary of Suskind’s report and here for an abstract of it.]

Meh. Study needs to be bigger.

Now, I showed someone Suskind’s research summary, and she replied, “But there’s only ten patients. I wish it was bigger.”

Sigh. So do I. But it’s what we’ve got. And it’s so promising. I’m ebullient. Diet alone! Eighty percent remission! With real food. No diarrhea! No bleeding! No stomach cramps! Virtually 100% safe. No injections! No risk of white blood cell counts crashing. Why won’t people try this?

Reminds me of a verse I learned from a big book, although I’ve adapted it. “The fiddle plays and you won’t dance. The singer wails a mournful tune, and you will not cry.” We are hard to please. Impossible nearly. What do we want? A magic bullet pill with no side effects?

I must close now. But you will not want to miss my next post about the amazing stay-at-home mom who made it her life mission to show the world that inflammatory bowel disease can be controlled most of the times with real, whole food. And I’ll explain a little about the diet that saved her 8-year-old daughter’s life and which she spent her life studying and evangelizing.

Terri

Citations:

Kansal, S., et al. “Enteral nutrition in Crohn’s disease: an underused therapy.” Gastroenterology research and practice 2013 (2013).  https://www.hindawi.com/journals/grp/2013/482108/

Triantafillidis, John K., Costas Vagianos, and Apostolos E. Papalois. “The role of enteral nutrition in patients with inflammatory bowel disease: current aspects.” BioMed research international 2015 (2015). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4352452/

Sigall-Boneh, Rotem, et al. “Partial enteral nutrition with a Crohn’s disease exclusion diet is effective for induction of remission in children and young adults with Crohn’s disease.” Inflammatory bowel diseases 20.8 (2014): 1353-1360. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263548102_Partial_Enteral_Nutrition_with_a_Crohn’s_Disease_Exclusion_Diet_Is_Effective_for_Induction_of_Remission_in_Children_and_Young_Adults_with_Crohn’s_Disease

Suskind, D. L., Cohen, S. A., Brittnacher, M. J., Wahbeh, G., Lee, D., Shaffer, M. L., … & Giefer, M. (2017). Clinical and Fecal Microbial Changes With Diet Therapy in Active Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. Abstract only: http://journals.lww.com/jcge/Abstract/publishahead/Clinical_and_Fecal_Microbial_Changes_With_Diet.98120.aspx

Tips So Kids Don’t Waste Meat

2048px-foodmeatIf you want your kids to eat meat, then you’d better give a little effort to make it look enticing.

This Christmas, my husband roasted the best tasting roast beef. I usually frantically try to plate my kids’ food for meals, not because I’m a control freak, but because observation has led me to see they don’t eat unsightly plated food as well as attractively plated food. So foods they might not eat so well, I work extra hard to make look tempting and plate for them. Sometimes presentation alone gets them to eat things they normally wouldn’t.

Well, I wasn’t the one to plate their food this time around. And that perfectly prepared, rare roast beast dribbled juicy, pink trickles linearly in each direction–and that “don’t fly” with most kids. That, to kids, is blood. I could have been reliving my childhood:

Eat that meat.”

What’s wrong with that meat?”

“There’s nothing wrong with that meat.”

“That’s expensive meat. Don’t you waste it.”

“Here, give me that meat.”

Oh, my dad would get so mad at me as I stared at my plate, pushing food around with my fork.

Meat is a valuable source of easily absorbable zinc, vitamin B 12, and iron. Certain kinds and cuts are rich in DHA and vitamin D3 and different amino acids. I’ve noticed among my four kids, one will eat meat like it’s candy. One will stare at it like it’s still alive on her plate and I’m making her eat it. The other two are kind of in the middle.

We are an omnivorous family, and to make life more simple, the kids need to eat what’s for supper. Sometimes it’s centered around meat. And sometimes it’s not. But I don’t like it to be wasted, particularly meat. It makes me super sad to waste meat.

Tips so kids don’t waste meat:

  1. Cut it into bite-sized pieces for them.
  2. Give them the most savory pieces.
  3. Serve them with flavorful, attractive drippings. (For example, when I roast a chicken, I drizzle a little of the drippings over their cut pieces, being careful to keep it right over the chicken itself.)
  4. Important: Sop up any unpleasant looking trickles, dribbles, or pools before giving them the plate, so you don’t have to answer the “Is that blood?” question.
  5. If you know they don’t like a particular meat, then don’t give them more than 3-5 average bite sized pieces.
  6. Get them to eat it while it’s still hot.
  7. Have them try it with a bite of something else that complements it.
  8. Sauces, sauces, sauces.
  9. Explain that meat has vitamin B 12, a nutrient that is very important for our brains and nerves to function. A nutrient difficult to get anywhere else.

Closing

I wish you the best in leading your kids toward eating real, whole foods. Some people feel best eating a meat-rich diet, while others can’t tolerate it. I see all sides from a scientific standpoint. You don’t need to defend your stance to me. But please try to eat real, whole food. Avoid chicken nuggets breaded with maltodextrin and milk protein and fried in vegetable oil. Avoid cold meat laden with potato starch. Try to steer towards unprocessed meats and include a broad range of cuts so your kids are getting the best array of amino acids. Don’t just eat the muscle meats.

And so important: Include an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables!

Let’s encourage our kids to eat real and try not to waste! So, what tips do you have that I left out?

Sincerely,

Terri

Help Me Stop This Destructive Pattern

Okay, dear friend. You said you can’t stop eating. You asked me to set you straight. So here it is.

  • ONE) It is winter. The body is craving dense, high fat, high caloric foods. It wants food. The light is low. It’s freezing. The body knows what it has done for thousands of years. Thank it for doing a good job for you. Its job.
  • TWO) Eat your foods. Enjoy them. Eat them gone. Eat a little then toss them. However you want. Binge. Savor over days. Eat them plain. Make your favorite dish with them. However. Be happy that food tastes so good. That temporarily it makes you feel so good! What joy is there in eating cardboard?
  • THREE) Accept you will feel crumby for a few days. Accept it may even exacerbate things over the next month. Don’t fight it. Don’t beat yourself up. Just accept it. You did what you did. You had your reasons. And now, you’ll journey forward. Pointing fingers simply wastes time and emotional resources. Pointing fingers is not productive except to tell you that there is resentment, fear, and anger.
  • FOUR) Resolve, after the food is eaten, to move from this place. You know your safe diet. You know what you like to eat to feel your best. Reassure your body that the feasting and celebration was great, and you thoroughly enjoyed it. You have let guilt go in favor of true appreciation. But you will now move back to where it likes to live. Routines are nice. Routines are reassuring. Rigid schedules are not. You’ve proved you’re not rigid. Good. But get back to the routine if you know that is ideal for you.
  • FIVE) When you try to get back to your routine, and you keep falling off, explore that. Again, no pointing fingers. That’s wasteful. Look. Are you really hungry? Are you really bored? Are you really sad? Are you really just wanting a distraction from the kids or the housework? Are you feeling sorry for yourself because it takes more work for you to feel good compared to other people? Are you simply tired?Then, ask yourself, what can you do. What can you do to go back to your routine? Is that routine really best for you? Or is there something about your food routine you need to change that is keeping you from easily jumping back on board? Do you need to eat earlier? Do you need to include a food that you know is marginal in your tolerance? Do you need to deal with a relationship? Are you feeling trapped by your diet, lifestyle, life?

    A struggle with the routine says there’s something that needs communicated to yourself. Either about the routine itself or the person who wants to adhere to the routine. Maybe it’s not the right routine. Or maybe it is, but the acceptance isn’t there. Just the ten pointing fingers. (Pointing fingers. Again, I say. Bad.)

  • SIX) NOW, GET YOUR HEAD ON STRAIGHT AND DO WHAT NEEDS DONE!!!!!!! WITH LOVE AND COMPASSION! 🙂 And recognize, it may not be what you thought at the beginning needed done!
Merry Christmas time! What a wonderful time! If you’re feeling stressed and frazzled, regroup. Prioritize. Lower or change expectations. Accept. Offer love and compassion to others and yourself.
The Homeschooling Doctor logoTerri

Are You Still Doing GAPS? Part II

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Welcome back to my self-interview about this voodoo diet called GAPS–

Wait–why do you call it a voodoo diet? Ha! I took to calling all this alternative stuff “voodoo” because, as a conventional medical doctor, I didn’t believe in it. It seemed like tricks and magic without real, tangible evidence and results. (Snake oil. Voodoo. Quack, quack. $Ching, ching, ching. All these people seemed in cahoots together.)

The GAPS diet especially seemed like spooky voodoo because it repeatedly talks about making and drinking broth from bones–bone broth– and eating animal organs. If that ain’t  “voodoo” sounding to a refined, civilized girl who eats cereal for breakfast and a sandwich for lunch…

Do you still think it’s spooky? Nah. Now I realize it’s just a traditional way to recoup the needed minerals, proteins, and vitamins that are stored in bone and the organs of animals. It’s basically just using the whole animal, as cultures historically did before us.

I mean, it seems even a generation or two before us, kids were still forced to eat their liver. Not “their” liver, but the cow liver on their plate. They didn’t all run to the store to pop some vitamin D, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C pills. And ask the grandparents! You’ll find some of them who have an affinity for an organ they haven’t eaten in years!

My dad loves liver. My father-in-law heart. I remember eating the tongue with my own farming grandparents when I was a kid. Each meat cut and organ has its own vitamin, mineral, and amino acid profile! So by only eating white meat or steak, we are completely missing the gamut of beneficial nutrients, due to our snobbery and “advancement.” It’s a sad misuse of an animal. I’m so sorry to be perturbing  my vegetarian friends’ sensibilities. I know it sounds yucky.

Well, it does sound a little gross, I have to say. Anyhow, I have read some bad things about the GAPS diet? Can you mention some of those concerns?

Yes, well, there’s the concern of lead toxicity in the daily broth requirement.  If the animal is raised on a bucolic, yet lead-laden farm, then the animal can have a higher concentration of lead in its bones, seeping into your broth. I’ve read you can’t really predict which land will be high in lead levels because the lead can permeate the air, travel, and settle in a different area, remaining for years and years. Remember, we used to use lead in gas for our cars. So I’m not sure you could predict without testing, which farms will have higher lead than others. But I’m no expert. So, sure, there may be an unpredictable risk of lead.

Another concern is the effect of a sudden carbohydrate drop on the body. GAPS doesn’t have to be a low carb diet, but the introduction diet is way too easy to be almost no carbs at all! Most people just enter ketosis with uncomfortable symptoms, like headaches, fatigue, and a little nausea.

Other people, and kids are pretty sensitive, react violently to the ketosis transition, with horrible nausea and persistent vomiting. This really puts them at risk for electrolyte disturbances, which could land them up in the hospital! Most likely, and I’m not a GAPS provider or expert and you shouldn’t use my blog for medical advice, this could be avoided by making sure to eat carrots, winter squashes, pumpkin, and honey in the recommended tea. I personally think a slower transition to a low carb diet is much safer. When I transitioned, when I felt that low-carb feeling, I eased it with some cooked carrots and honey in my tea. I’m a weenie. But a safe weenie.

Food obsession is a definite concern too. The GAPS food list becomes a Bible. I remember my husband coming home when I was doing GAPS and showing me an article about orthorexia. This is an eating disorder where people obsess about eating healthy, judge themselves and others by how they eat, develop anxiety due to food choices, and basically, their whole life simply become wrapped up in food. I was glad he showed me this article. We talked about it together, decided no, that’s not where I was at, and then I proceeded with a new awareness of something that can easily afflict health-conscious people–myself included—if awareness is not high.

And then we get into raw eggs and raw milk and raw fish…

Oh, uh, yummy…by the way, what do you eat on GAPS? Well, the book has a whole list of do’s and don’ts. But, basically you eat lots of vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, squash. Meats, trying to incorporate grazing animals that roam pretty freely outside–and not just eating one cut of meat, but the whole animal, including organ meats.

Eggs, seafood. Fruits. lentils and specific beans, soaked. Nuts. Honey. Peanuts are okay, too. And then daily consumption of fermented foods for probiotics and homemade broths (using leftover scraps and bones) for the minerals and amino acid profile.

But what shocks most people is that there are no grains or potatoes allowed. Not even sweet potatoes. GAPS’ carb foods are things like carrots, squashes, lentils, honey, navy beans, fruits, peas.

Did GAPS “cure” you?  No. It did improve me, though to the point that my GI symptoms were very tolerable. It also showed me that the many headaches I was getting wasn’t just my kids. (Love you, girls!) Ha! I had some sensitivities to particular foods, like eggs, which give me headaches. But I had to carefully do and re-do the introduction, elimination type part of the diet to figure that all out.

What do you mean? Sensitivities? Geesh! You had to take out MORE foods? Yes! A full GAPS diet would have been disastrous for me, but because I went through the introduction and followed the author’s suggestions on watching for food intolerances, I was able to identify problem foods I had: dairy, nuts, eggs, chicken, coconut.  After 18 months on GAPS, those foods still bothered me (and still do).  GAPS helped me but did not cure me.

But the GAPS diet is laden with foods that will bother many autoimmune-ish people, like dairy, nuts, eggs, and legumes. All very “healthy” foods that I think should be in a person’s diet if they are tolerated.

WAIT a minute. Are you kidding me? Some people have to take it further than GAPS or Paleo?

Well, nobody has to do anything! Right!? It’s important to remember that! This is always a choice! But, yes. Some people will find much relief in taking their diets down to whole food and then further eliminating nightshades, legumes (beans and lentils), all nuts and seeds, all dairy, eggs, all grains (wheat, soy, corn, even rice and quinoa). Also, watching out for reactions that are very individual, like avocados or shellfish or coconut, etc.

But remember, the goal is not to be a martyr or to be “cool,” the goal is to feel better, to feel like yourself. And your own diet tailoring will take you there, not somebody elses.

Are you sure this stuff, it’s not all in your head? Or those people’s heads? Could be. But my head really wants it to be okay to eat pizza. I’d love me some pizza. My head wants pizza. It’s my favorite food. But when my head starts eating pizza, my body gets mad. My head is like, “Ah, see! That wasn’t so bad, and it was delicious.” And my belly is like, “What did you just do to me?”

Would the “you now” recommend the diet to the “you back then”? 

When I started this nutrition stuff, I needed an extremist to bring me to my eating knees. All my food came from a box. It all had dairy and wheat. And I didn’t really see anything wrong with that. Mostly, I’m not extremist in anything. I always thought that a really good diet (and life) allowed absolutely anything in moderation. But my gut and headaches didn’t agree, and food definitely played a role. I haven’t read a better book at explaining how to eat 100% unprocessed food than Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) book.

I mean, she taught me that even tea bags were processed and that “whole food” tea would be the loose leaf tea, or even better, the mint you grow in your garden. However, the GAPS book is not really written in a scientific manner, it is more evangelical–and maybe even fanatical?

It is written to drive things home and to allow for no exceptions.  I needed Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s unique, rigid approach. There’s no looking for GAPS-legal processed foods because honestly, none exist.  (Heck, even nuts are supposed to be soaked!) If I had a loophole, I would have wriggled my logic right through it. 

Dr. Campbell-McBride’s GAPS diet book breaks things down in a simple, general way for pretty accurate reading–but could definitely be considered reductionisic or “fruity” by anyone with a medical or scientific background.

I would recommend to myself back then that I not be afraid of any real, whole food, and that I introduce it slowly, seeing how I do. Not just follow the GAPS list of foods. Start with those, and then not be afraid to journey forward.

Do you believe everything in the book?

No.  Not as stated.  But yes, I do see now with my research that the gut and its bacteria play a huge role in the body’s pathology. I see where soaking nuts and beans helps. And where eating organ meats and bone broth supplies needed nutrients.

I do not find her “allergy testing” on the skin to be useful or practical. It may even be dangerous. Someone with a severe food allergy may think, because their skin doesn’t have any changes after putting some of that food on their skin overnight, it’s okay to eat a known allergenic food.

I’m still not a fan of raw milk. Sure, if it’s my cow, I wash the teats, and I milk the animal.

Mostly, I know that one plan will NOT fit all. Ever.

Well, let’s stop talking and see if anyone wants to comment. Okay. Good. I hope people remember that this blog is a place of sounding ideas, sharing ideas, not one of guidance. Ha! “Like the blind leading the blind, shan’t they both fall in the ditch…”

Questions? Comments? Gripes? Complaints?

Terri

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Recipe Adaptation Tips and Links

sweetcashewcream-1Are you struggling with any Thanksgiving recipe adaptations? Have an awesome adaptation discovery you’d love to share? Please stop by today’s post!

My greatest adaptation tip is that most of the time, I can substitute olive oil for butter—-in baked goods, for topping steamed vegetables, and in casseroles. Obviously this won’t work for something like caramel! Another tip I’d like to share is to not give up on a beloved recipe; there’s almost always a way to adapt it. I have kept all my old recipes and over the last few years, I’ve been slowly adapting them as I learn new cooking and baking techniques and supplies.

Okay. Let’s look at how to adapt most of those Thanksgiving favorites.

Mashed Potatoes: I use tons of good quality olive oil, some full-fat coconut milk, and salt and pepper.

Tips: Don’t use too much coconut milk or they’ll taste like coconut. I use about a 50/50 oil to coconut milk ratio (heavier on the olive oil, more scant on the coconut milk), and my family is good with that. If you do get more coconut flavor than you’d like, it can be countered by adding some garlic, rosemary, and/or chives.

Gravy: Arrowroot flour/powder is my go-to thickener now. It works but it is finicky like a princess’s cat. I suggest that you do NOT add it to boiling substances or you’ll get a snot consistency. And when you add it, whisk like your life depended on it. Tapioca starch/flour is similar in nature, and I treat it the same. I have noticed that performance does depend on the brand! My higher quality flours perform better.

Procedure: I use about 1 tablespoon of arrowroot for each cup of liquid. First, I make an arrowroot slurry by mixing the arrowroot in the smallest amount of lukewarm temperature water as possible (maybe a tablespoon for a tablespoon), and I set that aside. Next, I bring my gravy broth to a boil, shut off the heat, move the pan over off the burner, THEN add the arrowroot slurry, whisking like crazy.

Green Bean Casserole: For this one, I make my own onion rings, dipping onions in a gluten-free flour and then frying them, and I make a homemade mushroom soup. It’s a lengthy process but my family loves it so much. Here is my recipe. I like it better than other ones I’ve seen out there because the onion rings are closest to the ones I remember from the can.

Cranberry Gelatin Salad: In place of Jello, I use plain gelatin and juice to make my own gelatin. I use maple syrup or honey instead of sugar. Everything else is just the same as the recipe has been handed down through the generations. Here is my recipe.

Corn Casserole: I haven’t adapted this one to reach the near 100% whole food mark yet, but I’ve adapted it for gluten-free, dairy-free. Everyone’s favorite family recipe is a little different, but you can find gluten-free, dairy-free cornbread mixes at the store. There are gluten-free, dairy-free brands of canned cream corn you can use. Use olive oil in place of butter. If your recipe calls for sour cream, you could try making some cashew cream as a substitute. (But plan ahead, you have to find raw cashews and soak them for several hours.) Have you perfected this adaptation?

Pecan Pie: Easily adaptable. I use olive oil in place of butter, maple syrup in place of corn syrup and brown sugar, and arrowroot in place of flour for thickening. Here is my recipe.

Pumpkin Pie: Another easily adaptable pie. I use maple syrup in place of sugar and any dairy-free milk for the milk.

Coconut cream, banana cream, and peanut butter cream pies: I’ve had success with adapting these using alternative milks (coconut cream is best for the consistency as it has the most fat) and arrowroot in place of flour.

Pie Crust: There are very pleasant gluten-free, dairy-free pie crusts available frozen in the store. My daughter makes her own crust using Bob’s Red Mill (I believe any gluten-free flour combination will work. We have tried just using arrowroot for this recipe. But it got stringy, so best to make it with a “combination” gluten-free mix.) I believe I also featured this recipe in my pecan pie post.

Granny’s Adapted Pinch Pie Crust:

  • 1 cup of gluten-free flour (tested with Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 3 Tablespoons milk of choice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Follow these directions very closely. It’s not hard, but the wording is confusing!

In a 1/2 cup measuring cup, put in 3 tablespoons of milk and then fill, IN THE SAME 1/2 cup measuring cup with the milk still in it, up to the 1/2 cup mark with olive oil.

Transfer to a small mixing bowl. Add a pinch of salt. Whisk together to immerse. Add the flour and mix well. Use your hands to knead gently and briefly.

Push into the pie pan.  We do this by forming about 8 or so little balls and placing them around the pan. Then, we push them together, up the side of the pan, and a little bit over the lip of the pan Next, we use our fingers to flute the edge.

Use as directed in your recipe.

Sweet Potato Casserole: We make the kind with the pecans and glaze on top. It is so good. Here is my recipe. However, there are some marshmallows you can buy now that don’t use any food coloring, if you need to do the marshmallow topping.

Whipped cream: I make a sweetened cashew cream. I haven’t posted the recipe yet on the blog, so I can’t link to it. But it’s very similar to the ones that are out there on the internet if you care to Google it. Or ask below, and I’ll type it in the comments for you.

Stuffing/dressing: I don’t have this one adapted yet. My family doesn’t miss it too much. But there are some great recipes out there. Do you have one?

Need to be egg-free? Following an auto-immune diet? Lastly, I highly recommend The Curious Coconut and her autoimmune recipes for more rigid food restrictions. I don’t know her at all. But I have purchased her holiday e-cookbook and it is amazing! I recommend trying some of the recipes ahead of time because they’re a little tricky and can give unexpected results! We have made a couple of the dinner rolls, and they looked so cute in her photos…

What questions do you have about adapting recipes? Are you stuck on one? Are you scared to try? Do you have an AWESOME one you’d love to share?

Choose food that doesn’t make you sick and doesn’t make you overeat. Best wishes. Happy Thanksgiving!

Terri