Tag Archives: GAPS

The Best Zucchini Ever

My spontaneous Romanian-Italian-American friend, married to a French-Camaroonian-American occasionally visits me, bearing gifts because she knows I’m on this crazy GAPS diet.  She grew up with traditional Eastern European food, spent her formative cooking years in Italy, and has the frenzied pace of an American mother.  “The Best Ever Zucchini” is one of many of her delicious recipes that such a diverse background allows her to cook up out of nowhere; raciti, chicken livers, and goat stew are others!  I feel so Italian when I eat this dish.  When I asked her how to make the zucchini, she said, “Oh.  It’s nothing.”  But, let me tell you, it’s something, and it’s great!

On a recent visit to her house, with 9 kids running around, she showed me how to create this awesome zucchini.  If you like Italian antipasti type stuff, you will LOVE this.  If not, may not be your thing.  It seems a bit complex for kids’ tastes, but it’s a real hit with my husband and I.  Refrigerate a day or two for optimal flavor.

The Best Zucchini Ever

Indoor grill, grill pan, or outdoor grill.  (I use my Panini press.)
1-2 zucchini (Of the size before it gets all seedy inside.  Smaller is better.)
1/4 cup of olive oil, high quality, extra virgin
1/4 cup of vinegar (red wine or balsamic)
1-2 cloves of pressed garlic
Salt

Prepare dressing/marinade:  Combine olive oil and vinegar in a container with a lid you can mix well or shake.  Add 1-2 cloves pressed garlic.  If you don’t have a garlic press, slice it or dice it as much as possible and add.  Add a few turns from a sea salt grinder (or a couple pinches of your choice of salt).  Shake well.

Prepare zucchini:  Slice zucchini thinly.  Small, young zucchini really work the best.  A mandolin is nice, but NOT a must.  Cut either long ways or diagonal.  Place on a hot grill with NO oil.  Place the zucchini on there “dry.”  Grill until there are nice, golden lines on the zucchini on both sides.  Place a layer of the grilled zucchini in a smaller sized casserole dish (perhaps 8×8 or smaller).  Drizzle some of the dressing over it.  Grill more zucchini.  Layer over the previous layer.  Drizzle with more dressing.  Repeat until all of zucchini is grilled and dressing all drizzled over it.  Then mix gently.

Place in fridge, covered, and allow to marinate.  Keeps for several days.  Alternatively, you may eat it warm and fresh when made, too.

Family “gustar” report: It is not kid-approved at my house but my husband and I devour this stuff!  If your child likes marinated things, like olives and artichokes, this recipe will probably go over great, even with kids.

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Posts in the draft bin:  Ways I “Stay on the Wagon”, Doctors are Pigeon-Holed

Related posts:  Multiple Ways to Use up Zucchini

Snack Policy Changed

“It sounds so harsh when it’s in writing like that,” I said to my husband.

“Well, sometimes you get what you ask for, don’t you?”

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Sometimes you get what you ask for.  Several months ago, I wrote a letter to our church requesting a change in our children’s snack policy.  There are a lot of issues facing our children, but here is one you can take control of.  Don’t bury your head in the sand thinking you can’t make a difference.  Food colorings, sugar, preservatives, and refined flour products are not good for us and our children.

They may whine and fuss, but we bring home the groceries.  I’m sorry, if you were a parent who washed (maybe you sterilized) the pacifier off when it fell on the floor, you are so accountable now.  (Mine just got the dirt popped back in, especially the first one.  She was so noisy.)

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The church’s reply to my letter:

Terri, first of all, thanks for bringing this concern to our attention.
We want to do whatever we can to make sure that our kids are safe.
 
Here is what has been approved for Sunday School & Children’s Church. 
The nursery will have its own policy.
 
Sunday AM Food Policy:
Due to an increase of many food allergies among young people, we are requiring that no food/snacks be served during Sunday morning children’s ministries for children age 3 through the 6th Grade. (effective September 1, 2013) .
 
Thanks again for sharing this concern with us.
Pastor

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As a fun-loving mom, I feel horrible about being the movement behind this decision.  As a doctor who is aware of our skyrocketing childhood obesity, food allergy, and inflammatory problems, I feel at peace.  As a God-fearing woman, I know we are to take care of this fragile, yet hardy (or is it hardy, yet fragile), vessel of ours.

Thank you church, for responding.

It’s not about low-fat.  Low-calorie.  Vitamin C.  Fiber.  It’s about whole foods.  Real foods. And watching for food intolerances.

I would be happy if you took my letter and made it your own to implement change for your child.

Sincerely with my whole heart,

Terri

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Related posts:

Don’t Make Me Sick:  Raising Food Allergy Awareness
Poisoned at Church (Frustration with all the candy at church)
Poisoned at Church, Sequel (A letter requesting change)
The Sunday Scoop, Asking for Change in Church’s Snack Policy (6/30/13) (First response to letter)

Posts in the Draft Bin:  How I try to stay on the wagon and a great zucchini recipe.

GAPS (Re)Introduction Finished

Read on if you are interested in my GAPS re-introduction post series; I am painfully aware that it is just too much information.  Otherwise, “sayonara” until next time a good-looking recipe pops up or a homeschooling post grabs your eye.  Meanwhile, question if what you feed your mouth is as full of nutrients as your body would like to keep itself free from allergies, headaches, joint pain, or GI distress.  Is it free of ingredients known or suspected by you to lead to hyperactivity, constipation, cravings or sinus congestion in yourself or those you love?  Adios.

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I have officially put off re-introduction, but here is a recap:

Stage 1 consists of broths, meats, some cooked vegetables, and sauerkraut juice.  I did great there, simply omitting chicken as a source of broth or meat.  (Did you know my oldest daughter, before I believed in all this food intolerance stuff,  tested positive for a chicken allergy?  Do I think that some of those tummy aches she used to get so often came from chicken?  You betcha’.   Do you think I think that she was “allergic” to chicken because of my “leaky gut” during pregnancy…)

Stage 2 consists of broths, meats, vegetables, ghee (a type of butter that has allergenic proteins poured off), egg yolks, and sauerkraut juice.  Depending on how those go, you can add in some homemade yogurt.  I didn’t do super awesome with more than 1 teaspoonful of the ghee (headache and tiredness set in an hour or two after each time) so I never attempted the yogurt.   The  egg yolks also gave me headache and tiredness .  So I hovered on Stage 1 and 2, making sure the headaches and fatigue weren’t “all in my head.”  That’s stupid because–it’s all in my head.  Eventually, I decided  I’d have to leave them out.

Stage 3 allowed for pancakes made with nutbutter, veggies, and eggs; avocado; eggs; sauerkraut itself, and still abundant broth, meats, and cooked vegetables..  Avocado went fine overall, aside from some minor FODMAP related bloating.  I skipped anything containing eggs, including the pancakes, but I didn’t think I needed to have to forego the nutbutter; I figured if I could have it in a pancake, I could try it alone… The nutbutter went surprisingly well this time!  Actually, nutbutter went way too well this time.   After the test teaspoonful or two, I delved into finishing off the whole deal in a short time.  Physically, I tolerated the nutbutter okay.  No headaches, dry eyes, and my GI tract didn’t stop moving with the magnesium.  However, once I got a taste of that nutbutter, I ate it way in excess!  That can’t be what’s supposed to happen here in GAPS.

Stage 4 posed no issues with roasted and grilled meats, olive oil, carrot juice, and even a little ghee.  I did not eat any baked goods; no eggs yet.  I  don’t know when roasted vegetables come in, but I ate some roasted vegetables, too.  If I choose high FODMAP foods, I have lots of GI bloating and distension.  It is hard to not choose high FODMAP foods; they are some favorites (broccoli, avocado, Brussels, etc).  You can make an almond flour bread in this stage, but I am still afraid of eggs.

Stage 5 got kind of scattered with stage 6.  It is apparent that nearly all fruits give my stomach fits:  bloating, constipation alternating with diarrhea, and cramps.  Many vegetables do the same.  Juice is great, but I have the same problems.

So here I am again riding along in GAPS.  I have eaten way too much fruit lately, and I’m in a FODMAP folly.  Introduction was helpful because it really reinforced my intake of broth and helped me see clearly again weaknesses in my digestion/function with certain foods.  It allowed me to step back and appreciate the foods that I do tolerate well.  They are delicious, yummy foods, and I am glad that I do well with them.  Yes, eggs and dairy still don’t agree–and nut products need to be saved for special occasions if I care to indulge–but turkey, steak, shrimp, fish, kale,  spaghetti squash, a touch of garlic, olive oil, and so many other foods are great tasting and great for me.

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What I really want you to know is this.  I got out my journals and food diaries from when I started GAPS before.  As I looked through, I saw it.  Early on I got fatigue and headaches and brain fog with chicken and eggs.  I just didn’t know that’s what it was!  So, I am NOT getting more food reactions on GAPS.  I’m just getting more aware of them.  That may not be true for some people, but that’s my case.

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So, there you have it.  A redo of GAPS Intro.  I’m still going to keep this GAPS self-experiment up with a goal of two years to see where it leaves my digestion and food intolerances.  You’ll find me hard pressed to do introduction again.  I’d rather go ketogenic…

Related Posts:  GAPS Intro, GAPS (Re) Intro, Twelve Thoughts fro Twelve Days of GAPS Intro, Random Thoughts From Day 19 of GAPS Introduction

Posts in the draft bin:  Ways I Try to Stay on the Wagon and An Update on the Church Snack Policy

I Fell Off of the Wagon

wpid-IMAG0263-1.jpgSo you fell off of the wagon?  So?  We all do, and then we let the experience fester like a pimple on our face.  We see it and feel it and pick at it.  We think our whole face is one big pimple.  We just can’t stop touching it and picking it.  How did that pimple get so big and crazy?  It started as just a tiny little red thing…

You fell off of the wagon.  Again.  And again.  And again.  Why?

Because you had old cronies around for a visit?  Uh-huh.  That’s the way it works.  Because you got tired and everybody at work is doing it?  Yep.  Because you ran out of time and it was faster?  You betcha’.  Because you allowed yourself one bite of your problem food?  (If you don’t have a problem food or substance– or two or three, you don’t understand.  Some of us just have to swear some things “off limits” or be okay with knowing we will eat/use them to excess with just one bite/use.  For some of us, moderation is not an option.)

If you try to change your diet, you WILL fall off of the wagon sometime.  All those experts, Paleo Mom, Robb Wolfe, Mark Sisson, Dr. Mercola, Steve and Jordan, Dr. Terry Wahls, Elaine Gottschall, and Dallas and Melissa.  Oh, heck, Dr. Oz.  You’ve heard of him.  They all fell off of the wagon.

I’ve read of a couple of people who say they didn’t fall off of the wagon, and I think that’s absolutely great.  They have expressed extreme success with their health and eating.  I give them a standing ovation.

But to you and I, I give my heartfelt encouragement.  I give my camaraderie.  My affection and empathy.  To you I give my hand.  My e-mail.  My comments section.  (But not a medical diagnosis or treatment plan.)  This path is hard.  Your challenger faces you at every street corner, every social function, every family member’s house, every children’s event, and every store.  Your failure is only a bite away.

I feel sorry for you.  I feel sorry that you can’t eat the way other people eat.  (But you know most of them shouldn’t be eating it either. Geesh.  Why can’t they help you out a little?  You’re just asking them to give up bread, pizza, and tortilla chips in show of support.)  I am sorry your body said, “I can’t do this.  This food you’re feeding me…it is not working out.  You keep going this way, I will fall apart on you.  I will try not to, but I will not be able to stop it.  You keep feeding me the same empty food and keep asking me to come up with brilliant ideas, energy for a jog, libido for the spouse, patience for the kids…”

I ask you.  I beg you.  I implore you.  Keep your focus.  Every day.  All day.  Ever diligent.  You will fall off the wagon, but you WILL hold onto the reins.  That is NOT the same as failing.  Ever.  As you keep holding onto the reins, remember to pull back on them and slow the horses.  Slow those horses and get back on your wagon.  It’s your darn wagon, and with trial and error, you CAN learn to control it.  But not if you quit.

So what.  You had a bad day.  It turned it to two or maybe even 7-10 days.  Perhaps it has been the last five years bad.  It’s okay.  Promise me you’ll start in the morning.  I’ll even let you finish that jar of almond butter that you added some honey, vanilla, and salt to.  But start.  You have to keep starting, learning from your mistakes, and keep trying.

You may think it’s just extra weight, but really, it is function.  Weight is a sign that your body is not functioning right.  Headaches are a sign that your body is not functioning right.  Chronic allergic rhinitis is a sign your body is not functioning right.  Being underweight is a sign your body is not functioning right.  Bloating is a sign your body is not functioning right.  Aside from your doctor’s check-ups, you MUST look at food as a culprit for dysfunction.

And if you’re a mom endeavoring to change not only your own eating, but those habits of your children, I am cheering for you even more.  If I can do it, you can do it.  You can do it.  I won’t ask you to more than I can do.  (But I used to–my poor diabetics and cardiac patients…)

Terri

Followup post:  Keep That Wagon Rolling:  My Less-Than-Expert Diet Tricks

Related Posts:   Grain-Free DietsGAPS, SCD, Paleo, Whole30, and Primal Diets, Choosing to Move Forward With the Plan, Eating out, Ditch the Word “Healthy”, How to Choose Honest Food, Tip Number 1 to Help Restore Health

The Best Ever Liver (for liver non-lovers)

In our story that ran the last few days, the diligent mom tried to get her family to eat liver, as it is exceptionally nutrient dense.  She was a tiger for her family’s health and so are you.

Don’t worry.  I don’t like liver, either.  If YOU like  liver, YOU can stop reading now.  (You know who you are.)  This recipe is to make liver NOT taste like liver.

Serving this liver recipe got me, “You’re the best cook, honey.” And “Mmm.  It’s good, Mom.”  Yeah.  For real.  You must try this one.

There is absolutely no option in my family.  It must be grass-fed liver.  It tastes much milder.  You should only be eating grass-fed beef anyway.

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The Best Ever Liver (for liver non-lovers)

Approximately 3/4 pound of liver, chopped into 1/2 inch size pieces
 3-5 tablespoons of bacon drippings
 1 green pepper, medium-sized, coarsely chopped
 1 onion, medium-sized, sliced
1-2 large cloves of pressed garlic
A generous 1 and 1/2 tablespoonful of cumin
1 teaspoonful salt
1/2 teaspoonful ground pepper

Heat bacon grease.  Add green pepper and onions and sauté until golden brown.  Add the pressed garlic and quickly sauté into the mixture.  Add the liver and stir.  Add the cumin, salt, and pepper.  Stir until mixed.  Cook until liver cooked through. Remove from heat and serve.

Family “gustar” report: “What is it mommy?” “It’s beef. Mexican beef.” “Oh.” And four of us ate it. One in our family of five was not present. All four who were present liked it. So 4/4.

Please, please, please go after your health.  You deserve it!  You can do it!

Terri

Part 4: A Success Story In Using the GAPS Diet to Stop Absence Seizures!

Today is the final installment of Tammy and Dan Kinder’s story about seeking an alternative to medication and traditional healthcare for their son’s absence seizures.  When Tammy first wrote the story, she had Dan look over it for proofreading.  He looked at it and said, “You left too much out.”  So Tammy went back to writing, making sure we readers got more details.  Thank you Tammy and Dan!  And mostly, congratulations that your son is seizure-free without Depakote (valproic acid) or ethosuximide (previously brand name Zarontin)–or both.

“This experience has given us enormous confidence in our own ability to heal ourselves. We share our story every time we hear of another person with a GAPS condition. We hope our story will give you the confidence to make a difference in your own life. Take the next step, you can do it.”  Dan and Tammy Kinder

I am so grateful they shared their story with me (and you) as I sort through my journey into the legitimacy of alternative health.

Disclaimer:  I know you know, but I will state it anyway;  please use nothing on this site as a substitute for seeking diagnosis and treatment options from your medical doctor.  Bad health problems do exist that need to be checked for.  Bad health problems do exist that are appropriately evaluated and remedied by medical doctors.  If you are not comfortable with your medical doctor, a second opinion is always suitable.  Click here for a “brief” on absence seizures from Johns Hopkins.

Part 1:  A Success Story in Using the GAPS Diet to Stop Absence Seizures!
Part 2:  A Success Story In Using the GAPS Diet to Stop Absence Seizures!
Part 3:  A Success Story in Using the GAPS Diet to Stop Absence Seizures!

Part 4:  A Success Story In Using the GAPS Diet to Stop Absence Seizures!

By Dan and Tammy Kinder

…I definitely wanted faster results. I was growing more and more impatient as all the hard work seemed to have no results. I had also been listening to Dr. Bob Marshall’s radio program regularly. He had some interesting things that made me wonder if we could possibly do more in combination with the GAPS diet to get more progress for our son. I did some research and found a Doctor of Naturopathy in the Houston area that was trained through Dr. Marshall’s program. I convinced my husband to take our son to her in July. After a visit with her and some initial testing, she recommended we get off the GAPS diet and follow a program that she had planned out for our son. Part of that plan was to put our son on a series of special supplements that would cost us over $500 per month. I wanted to give it a try because I wanted to see results and I felt like all of my hard work doing the GAPS was not getting us anywhere. My husband pondered the option of making a change away from the GAPS diet. He remembered that Dr. Campbell said it may take two years or more to fix the gut lining. If we stopped the GAPS diet and the other doctor was wrong in her assessment, we would have wasted those four months of already being on the GAPS diet and would have to start all over. My husband decided we should continue on with the GAPS diet.

With the big decision to continue the GAPS diet came a renewed desire to accelerate the process and get results quicker. We decided in July to try to detox him by giving him baking soda baths and coffee enemas. We did this fairly regularly for a couple on months, but after that only from time to time or after we would cheat and eat off the diet. Speaking of cheating, the kids disliked the diet in a way that is probably immeasurable. For the first several months or so we were very strict and would not allow cheating at all. In fact, we would choose not to go to some events because we knew the kids would see non-GAPS food and cheat when we were not looking. Then after the kids realized we were going to follow this diet for the long haul and that is was important to stick to it, I would prepare our own food and take that food with us to events when their would be food available to eat.  They were tempted the first few times we did this, but they got much better as time went on. Then in October came our kid’s birthday parties. We decided to let them cheat on their birthday to make it a bit more special. Was it good for us, absolutely not but we did not think it would undo everything we had done and we wanted to reward ourselves a little.  For seven months we were very strict, so we figured one day wouldn’t make a huge difference. Besides, the main reason for all of this was to stop our son’s seizures. And those had not changed much at all since starting the diet. It was so hard to keep preparing GAPS meals when you don’t see results fast.

As November came and went, we got strict about what we ate. I cooked and brought GAPS food for our family to eat at the big Thanksgiving lunch. We did allow them a small serving of the dessert of their choice. With so many parties and seasonal events in the month of December, we did allow ourselves some cheating, but we would always re-focus and eat strictly in the days directly following a party. As December arrived, we had a major breakthrough and finally saw some significant changes in our son. He had never gone more than three days without a seizure, but in December he went for three full weeks without one. We were very excited to finally see progress and major progress at that.  After this exciting change, the seizures returned. We were definitely disappointed, but they were different this time. Instead of 3-5 everyday he would have 3-4 every week. The eye drooping was not nearly as pronounced. Many of the other characteristics we saw in him previously either vanished or slowly disappeared. Although there was some disappointment that the seizures cam back, our excitement for progress was through the roof. We realized that the GAPS diet was working and we knew that it was just a matter of time before his gut would heal completely.

On January 14th of 2013, OUR SON HAD HIS LAST SEIZURE! As I type this very sentence, it still amazes me that the GAPS diet worked and eliminated his seizures. Our son has no more seizures, no more stomachaches, no more voices in his head, his blood sugar is much better. He no longer takes a probiotic everyday. We are still on the diet although it has been more than 6 months since his last seizure. We have relaxed some of the rules and restriction of the diet. We have stopped drinking broth everyday although we still keep some in the meal rotation. We continue eating fermented foods everyday. We do allow cheating from time to time. We plan to keep some of aspects of GAPS in our lives to keep our guts healthy, but the transition back to normal food has already begun.

We are very thankful that God gave us the time and patience to find the GAPS book. We feel very grateful to Dr. Campbell for writing the GAPS book. She gave us the confidence to try this on our own even though most “normal” doctors would tell us we are crazy. A very shocking thing is that very few doctors know about GAPS. Even more shocking is that most of them don’t want to know about it. They think they already have all the answers. They have been brainwashed into thinking that their precious prescription drugs or pharmaceutical grade supplements can replace the healing powers God has placed in each and every one of us. We are here to say DON’T BE FOOLED by their ignorance. Read the book for yourself. Follow it closely and you too can improve your GAPS condition. This experience has given us enormous confidence in our own ability to heal ourselves. We share our story every time we hear of another person with a GAPS condition. We hope our story will give you the confidence to make a difference in your own life. Take the next step, you can do it.

THE END

Part 3: A Success Story In Using the GAPS Diet to Stop Absence Seizures!

Here is more of the completely unedited version of how The Kinder Family used GAPS to treat their son’s seizures.  Why do I keep stressing it’s unedited?  Because I’m wriggling on the edge of my chair running this.  What would my former colleagues think about how this child was treated?  What would they think about me for running this story?  And most importantly, what do I think about all of this?

Using nutrition to treat seizures is NOT new.  I’m taking the following from the Mayo Clinic page.  We’ve all heard of and respect the Mayo Clinic, right?

“Ketogenic diet. Some children with epilepsy have been able to reduce their seizures by following a strict diet that’s high in fats and low in carbohydrates.  In this diet, called a ketogenic diet, the body breaks down fats instead of carbohydrates for energy. After a few years, some children may be able to stop the ketogenic diet and remain seizure-free. Consult a doctor if you or your child is considering a ketogenic diet. It’s important to make sure that your child doesn’t become malnourished when taking the diet. Side effects of a ketogenic diet may include dehydration, constipation, slowed growth because of nutritional deficiencies, and buildup of uric acid in the blood, which can cause kidney stones. These side effects are uncommon if the diet is properly and medically supervised.”

and

MedicationAnti-seizure medications may have some side effects. Mild side effects include:  fatigue, dizziness, weight gain, loss of bone density, skin rashes, loss of coordination, speech problems, memory and thinking problems.  More severe but rare side effects include:  depression, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, severe rash, inflammation of certain organs, such as your liver.”

 

Important:  Information on this site is not intended to be for diagnosis or treatment purposes.  Please discuss diagnoses and treatment options with your healthcare provider.  You don’t want to miss anything dangerous or life-threatening, and you want to make sure the treatment options are safe and appropriate!

Now…on to the story!

Part 1:  A Success Story in Using the GAPS Diet to Stop Absence Seizures!
Part 2:  A Success Story In Using the GAPS Diet to Stop Absence Seizures!

Part 3:  A Success Story In Using the GAPS Diet to Stop Absence Seizures!

By Dan and Tammy Kinder

 

After months and months of research and reading by both myself and my husband, my husband came across a YouTube video of a little girl having an absence seizure. He immediately recognized them as the same “episodes” that our son was having and at that moment he realized that our son had epilepsy, which is anyone that has had at least one seizure. This was a big turning point in our journey to find a solution to our son’s disorder.  We now knew exactly what we were dealing with, but we had no idea how far from a resolution we were at that point. The self diagnosis was both frightening and exciting.  With the history of finding remedies for my husband’s illnesses, we had some level of confidence that we could help our son. Along with that confidence we also had a healthy amount of fear since this was something way outside our realm of knowledge. We didn’t want to take him to a conventional doctor because we read up and knew that they did not know the source of epilepsy. We also read that the solution they would offer first is to prescribe a drug that may reduce the frequency of the seizures, but it would also make him a couch potato feeling sluggish and tired all the time. Knowing the conventional doctor was not the answer, I started researching and reading everything I could find on epilepsy.

During the time we were searching for an answer, my husband began tracking the number of seizures our son was having each day. It turned out he would average between 3 and 10 per day on an average day. Within a month or so he figured out that when we would go to certain places, the number of seizures would spike to 15, 20 or even 30 the next day. After looking into these places he found that the common thread was excessive mold in those places. After testing the theory, we discovered that just by avoiding those places he would never exceed 11 seizures in one day. We also discovered during that time that when he ate more carbohydrates, the following day he would have a few more seizures. He would also complain more about his stomach hurting. As we started to pay attention to his body and test our theories we put these two primary changes in place. We saw some quick results the first couple of months in that he never exceeded eleven seizures in a day. As the months went on, the number of seizures slowly decreased. Within five to six months the number of seizures settled to between three and five each day. This was consistent and he would rarely deviate from this range.

It was during this time that we heard of Doug Kaufman and his anti-fungal diet. This made a lot of sense to us as the diet was also a low carbohydrate diet. The concept was to eliminate or minimize the carbohydrates to starve the fungus in the body. After being on this diet for many months, we saw some minor improvements, but saw no reduction in the number of seizures. Since our son’s condition did not see much more improvement at this time, we called into Doug Kaufman’s radio show. Mr. Kaufman recommended a conventional doctor up in the Dallas area that practiced with a natural, holistic mind set. This doctor ordered a multiplicity of tests that revealed several new symptoms we were unaware of. We learned our son was slight hypoglycemia, had some vitamin deficiencies and had a high level of one of the heavy metals. The doctor tried several treatments including supplements and an anti-gluten diet. These treatments did not result in much change for our son’s condition. After several visits we realized that he did not have much experience with seizures and that he could not help our son. We were thankful for his efforts and the new issues he found, but at that point we knew it was best to stop seeing him and focus on trying to improve the hypoglycemia, vitamin deficiencies and heavy metal issues.

We continued our research looking for ways to improve our son’s condition. We tried a few other types of diets like the modified Atkins diet and others. We tried several supplements including chlorella and even a long herbal parasite program. We sort of went through a pattern of trial and error. I would read of a treatment or supplement. I would then share it with my husband. He would look into it and make sure there were either very little or no side effects to the treatment. We would try it out and hope it was the key to solving this long mystery. As we grew tired of this process not working very quickly, I came across the GAPS diet. I ordered the GAPS Diet book and started reading it. After reading the book, I asked my husband to read it. After reading only a short part of the book my husband immediately thought we should try it. He was particularly impressed about the way Dr. Campbell made the connection between the gut and the brain. It was the first time he read something that connection the symptom to the possible cause of the symptom. With high hopes, we decided to try the GAPS diet. The GAPS diet seemed much more difficult than previous diets we had tried. Instead of just eliminating certain foods or trying certain new foods, the GAPS diet had much greater preparation time for every meal. Although it seemed overwhelming and a huge commitment, I knew I had to try it. With four children I knew it would be impossible to make two sets of food every time a meal was served. As a result we decided to put the whole family on the diet.

In April of 2012, we started the introduction phase of the GAPS diet. We decided to follow the instructions of Dr. Campbell as closely as we could. After reading about some potential negative side effects for epileptic children, I emailed Dr. Campbell. She told me not to give him the fermented fish oil because he was having seizures, but to give him lots of egg yolks and fermented sour cream at the appropriate phase of the diet. With lots a hope and some measure of reluctance, we started the introduction phase. We committed to only eating at home and according to the GAPS book. Week one here we come. We ate nothing but chicken soup for the whole week. To our surprise, the first three days of the diet, none of us had seen our son have a seizure. But on day four they were back and nothing seemed to change for quite some time. As for the rest of us, two of my sons and me felt horrible with detoxification symptoms for two and a half days, but after those first few days we felt fine.

After the first week on the introduction phase, as the GAPS book recommended, we gradually started adding additional foods into our diet. We did this gradually for about six weeks. To be honest, during the first couple of months, I felt very overwhelmed with all that I had to do. I felt like I was in the kitchen all day long. I am here to tell you that it is a lot of work, but it gets easier as you get better at preparing it. It was at this point that we questioned ourselves about when we should add new foods into our diet. The GAPS books said to add foods as long as the symptoms did not reappear, but our son’s seizures never went away, so we were not sure whether to keep adding foods or to stop adding foods and wait for the seizures to stop. It was especially hard to decide whether or not to add in new foods because of how few things we could actually eat. The entire family was kind of grumpy since we were already sick and tired of the chicken soup for the whole first week. Looking back it is easy to say that we should have been more strict and progressed more slowly in adding foods, but at that time we let our feelings and the begging of our children convince us otherwise. We decided to continue adding more foods listed in the GAPS book and slowly but surely increased the number of things we could eat. We discovered a few new things about our son during this time. We noticed that if our son took a good, quality probiotic, he would not complain about his stomach hurting. We tried several different probiotics, even the one that Dr. Campbell recommended, but he would still have stomachaches. This one particular probiotic, Renew Life Critical Colon, basically stopped his stomach pains completely. We are not sure if it was the number of strains or the pure volume of good bacteria, but what we did know was that it was helping our son, so we kept giving them to him daily as we progressed to the full GAPS phase of the diet.

After a while I also gave our son liver. To make it more palatable, I would mix it up with other meat to disguise the taste. We continued on the full GAPS diet for about three months before I started to question if it would work on our son. I definitely wanted faster results. I was growing more and more impatient as all the hard work seemed to have no results…

Part 4, the last segment, to follow next.  Thank you so much, Dan and Tammy, for sharing your story.  This story has meticulous details, and I can only imagine the journals and records they must have kept.cropped-hsd-line-drawing_edited-1.jpg

Part 2: A Success Story In Using the GAPS Diet to Stop Absence Seizures!

If you subscribe to my posts or check-in regularly, you know I am following this unusual (poorly scientifically supported) diet called GAPS.  For me, it started out solely to fix my beyond slow, almost-to-stop, GI tract that NO medicine, activity, or dietary change was helping.  Over the year, on what I call my “dietary rehabilitation” program, I’ve seen lots of improvement in my GI situation, and I have observed (incredulously) the effect that foods, even “healthy” foods, has had on my family and me in many ways I never dreamed of.  These foods include dairy, wheat, eggs, chicken, and fruit:  “healthy foods.” Although I follow GAPS in a self-experiment, my blog is to encourage awareness that food treats the body like any drug, with good and bad effects varying in different people; most doctors don’t know or adhere to this.  I wouldn’t either, was I not living it.  Food culprits ought to be considered in many more illnesses.  I want to raise awareness that diet needs to be scrutinized and a dramatic change may help where no medicine or surgery does.  I am talking dramatic food changes, and some [most] people just aren’t willing to go there. Starting with a  traditional medical doctor is the correct place to start; I go to get new symptoms checked out, even for myself.  Bad problems exist, and I don’t want to miss them because I was blinded by nutrition or alternative health treatments.  My blog is not written to be a source of medical information, medical diagnosis or medical treatment, and I am no expert in nutrition or different types of diets, including GAPS.

Today, I am continuing to publish the Kinder Family’s story about how they feel nutritional intervention cured their son’s seizure disorder.  The story is unedited, despite the fact that I would have have perhaps explained things differently or sought help in different ways.  To me, the important thing is they recognized that food matters and they were willing to change.  Thank you, Dan and Tammy, for sharing:

Part 1 of “A Success Story in Using the GAPS Diet to Stop Absence Seizures!”

Part 2:  A Success Story in Using the GAPS Diet to Stop Absence Seizures!

by Dan and Tammy Kinder

…The ENT immediately recommended surgery and stated that he does dozens of sinus surgeries every month. Not wanting to go through surgery unless absolutely necessary, we started researching and reading alternative ways to resolve the chronic sinusitis. We came across lots of information that may potentially help. We read about changing our eating habit and avoiding certain type of food like dairy which causes the body to produce excessive mucus. We read about washing your sinus cavities out with salt water called a saline nasal flush. We read about many other things like supplements and other treatments, but these two made the most sense to us. So my husband stopped eating and drinking dairy products, he continued drinking carrot juice and started doing saline nasal rinse 3-4 times a day. He found out very quickly that the nasal rinsing worked was very effective. These rinses could turn a sinus infection that would normally last three or four week in to one that would last only three or four days. A sixty-nine cent can of salt was all it took to resolve the sinus infection each time symptoms appeared. Changing what we ate eventually gave his body the ability to prevent the infections from even appearing. As time went on the sinus infections disappeared altogether. This long drawn out experience with 13 different doctors contributed greatly to our decision to steer away from conventional doctors that would only give us their best guess and the best known drug at that time to try to resolve our son’s epilepsy, which leads me to my son’s story.

At about four and a half years of age, one of my sons started having what looked like staring or day dreaming episodes. When I first notice the episodes, my husband was convinced they were only day dreams and nothing serious. In fact, the episodes were so infrequent that he did not see one for himself until several months after they started. But as the months went by, the episodes came more and more frequently. They also became more pronounced in their characteristics and duration. The length of the episodes seemed to be mostly random, but would last anywhere from a fraction of a second up to as long as about eight seconds. The characteristics of our son’s body during the episodes also seemed to change as time passed. These characteristics included half-way drooping eye lids, the dropping of his arms to his side, looking towards the ground, staring at or through the person talking to him as though he was in his own world and ignoring his immediate environment. Along with these symptoms he also experienced reoccurring stomachaches. Early in this process we did not relate these stomachs to the episodes, but looking back over the years we now realize that his body was screaming for help yet we did not recognize or listen to what his body was trying to tell us. Another symptom was that certain foods would make him feel “weird.” Sometimes he would tell us that his head felt like it was spinning or vibrating. As he got older, it was certain foods he ate that made his head have these weird feeling or his body feel strange. Sometimes these odd feeling would cause him to want to do strange things. I recall one time that he told us that his body was telling him to scratch his fingernails on the concrete. That thought leads me to another symptom that was very strange. At times, he would tell us that his body was telling him to do things. On occasion he said he would hear voices telling him to do certain things. The older he got, the better he was able to elaborate on how he felt and and how he thought certain foods made him feel weird…

Part 3 to follow soon…

Part 1: A Success Story In Using the GAPS Diet to Stop Absence Seizures!

Over the next several days, I will be running an unedited story from Dan and Tammy Kinder of Missouri.  They chose to use dietary intervention, GAPS, when their son developed absence seizures, and they kindly wanted to share their story with the rest of us.  Thank you.

Please know that I am not editing their story or words, even though in places, I certainly would have changed explanations or taken a different approach.  Also know that seeking help from a traditional medical doctor is where I always suggest starting.  Never in your life would you want to miss a diagnosis of diabetes, hypothyroidism, leukemia, brain tumor, or any other life-threatening diagnosis that traditional doctors are trained to screen for and diagnose.

My blog is to encourage awareness that food treats the body like any drug, with good and bad effects (even “healthy” foods); most doctors don’t know or adhere to this.   I am not advocating GAPS; I am advocating a hard look at what goes in that mouth and how it affects the rest of the body (and brain).  You cannot take anybody else’s word on what is good for you; you have to take the word of your own body.

A big thank you to the Kinder Family of Missouri for sharing their story about how they feel GAPS cured their sons seizure disorder!

(Again, please use nothing I say for diagnosis and treatment of health problems.  It is not meant for that.)

A Success Story In Using the GAPS Diet to Stop Absence Seizures!

By Dan and Tammy Kinder

I feel like I have to start my story years ago, so you can understand the reasons we chose the treatment options that we did. About 13 years ago, my husband started having several symptoms including being extremely tired. Seemingly out of no where he was sleeping 10, 12 and even 18 hours a day. Even though he was sleeping for so long, he would still wake up feeling tired. He had many other different symptoms that would come and go, but tiredness was the consistent one. For the next two years he went to thirteen (13) different doctors. He started with his primary care physician. After several misdiagnoses and failed treatments, he turned to another M.D. and then another. He went to specialists of all kinds including a lengthy treatment by an allergy specialist. After none of these conventional doctors helped and desperate to regain his health, he decided to try some alternative doctors like naturopathic doctors and chiropractic internists. It seemed with every new doctor, there was a new supplement or some new therapy or treatment that would make the difference in his condition. Of course there were some minor successes through it all, but no significant long term improvements.

During the first year, my husband ran into an old friend that told him about the benefits of juicing, specifically juicing carrots. Desperate to regain his health, my husband decided to give juicing a try. He bought a juicer and began drinking 4-6 eight ounce glasses of fresh carrot juice everyday. The benefits of juicing were evident within the first week. Instead of sleeping ten to twelve hours per night and waking up feeling drained, he was only sleeping 8-9 hours a night and waking up feeling refreshed. Many of his other symptoms would come and go, but there was no doubt the carrot juice made a tremendous difference.

Nearly two years after his initial symptoms, he had someone recommend a new doctor in the area. He made an appointment and to my husband’s surprise, the doctor took a long time asking questions, trying to figure out the source of the symptoms. The doctor was very methodical in assessing his condition and trying to find a diagnosis. He went through each symptom and would order tests to rule out possible disorders. If the tests were not to the doctor’s satisfaction, he would send my husband to a specialist to investigate more. This process of testing and ruling out disorders went on for several months. The doctor had exhausted every avenue he could think of and he still had no diagnosis. He sent my husband home and told him to come back in a month so he could have some time to think about all the testing and results. When my husband returned, the doctor still had no diagnosis. The doctor then went back asking about the symptoms again. As they discussed the symptoms, the doctor suddenly had an idea. He took an instrument and looked into my husband’s nasal passage and quickly determined he had sinusitis. Next, my husband was sent to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist who diagnosed him with chronic sinusitis. The ENT explained that after getting a sinus infection that it would take him 3-6 weeks to get over it before another sinus infection would come. So it was basically a perpetual infection that almost never went away for just over two years. The sinus infection suppressed his immune system causing viruses that were already in his body to multiply and show other symptoms. From mono to shingles to many other conditions, the persistent sinus infection allowed viruses and bacterium to run wild. It also zapped his energy causing him to be tired all the time and require more sleep. The most amazing part of this was that through thirteen doctors, over two years of suffering and sickness, thousands of dollars spent, countless different treatments and supplements the cause of all his problems was a simple sinus infection. Yet virtually all the doctors missed it or misdiagnosed it…

cropped-hsd-line-drawing_edited-1.jpgPlease check in tomorrow for Part 2.

My List to Guide My Vegetable Choices on GAPS, Utilizing a Low FODMAP Approach

Foods containing FODMAPS may be responsible for your bloating, stomach cramps, diarrhea, constipation, or irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.  I follow the GAPS diet for now, and I have noticed a definite worsening in bloating after eating foods with FODMAPS.  I have composed myself a list of vegetables that are appropriate for a low-FODMAPS, GAPS diet.

This is NOT a comprehensive FODMAPS post, FODMAPS food list, or GAPS vegetable list.  It is only trying to align the vegetable component of GAPS and FODMAPS.  Higher FODMAP levels can be found also in some grains, fruits, sweeteners, legumes, dairy, nuts/seeds, some teas, some coffee, cocoa, and alcohols.  So, by all means, if this is something that seems to affect you, go searching and asking questions!

I have read all of the FAQs on the GAPS site, and Dr. Campbell-McBride does not seem to feel that both approaches necessarily need taken (GAPS plus FODMAPS).  It seems that she thinks the FODMAP intolerance will straighten itself out following GAPS.  But I may be paraphrasing way too much and putting words in her mouth.  Always read for yourself!  And I don’t know who is right about what.  And thus the food experimentation going on here in my house.  Some tolerated vegetables may not be tolerated.  And some supposedly poorly tolerated vegetables may be tolerated.  It’s all a game.  Play it.

A List to Guide My Vegetable Choices on GAPS, Utilizing a Low FODMAP Approach (Approved Vegetable List)

Arugula
Artichoke hearts: 
1/4 cup

Beets:  4 slices, compared to my usual 4 beets
Bell Peppers (capsicum):  These are nightshades, they may cause people problems aside from “FODMAPS” issues.  Beware.
Broccoli:  1/4 cup.  That’s not much for a broccoli lover.
Brussels Sprouts:  1/2 cup
Bok Choy
Buttercup Squash
Butternut Squash:  1/4 cup
Carrot
Celery: 
1/2 stick.  Too fibrous for GAPS Intro.

Celeriac:  I read it was too fibrous for GAPS Intro.
Chives
Collard Greens
Cucumber:  Found this listed as borderline on 1 list.
Eggplant (aubergine):  Found this listed as borderline on 1 list.  A nightshade.
Endive
Fennel: 
1/2 cup.  May be too fibrous for some guts.

Ginger
Green beans (string beans): I read somewhere these are too fibrous for GAPS Intro.
Kale
Lettuce
Olives
Peas, green: 
Limit quantities.

Radish:  GAPS specifically states that black radishes are okay, but I don’t see anything on plain radishes.
Red chili
Rutabaga
Snow Peas:  Keep it less than 10.
Spinach
Swiss Chard (Silver Beet)
Spring onion, green part only (scallions)
Summer Squash
Swede
Taro
Tomato:  A nightshade.
Turnip
Watercress
Zucchini (Courgette)

As always, I am wishing you much success in your endeavors!

Terri

Sources:
http://fructosefreeme.com/low-fodmap-diet-2/
http://www.gapsdiet.com/The_Diet.html
http://livinghappywithibs.com/2013/04/22/low-fodmap-foods-to-enjoy/

Posts in the Draft Bin:  A GAPS Story that was shared with me regarding seizures, How is GAPS Intro Going?  cropped-hsd-line-drawing_edited-1.jpg
Related Post:  Bloating?  Check Out FODMAPS.