Update – 30 days into GAPS/Paleo/SCD journey

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Today we mark our first month on this journey.

We have started the full GAPS without doing the intro and this, I think, might have sabotaged our progress. However, I feel there is no way at this stage to do a full GAPS intro as my frustrated children (and their parents) are barely coping with the full version of it.

I have tried introducing a new multi-strain probiotic for my IBD son and he experienced sever die-off reactions making his Ulcerative Colitis much worse, getting him very irritable and emotional as well with some tummy pain.

I put him in a detox bath last night (a bath with bicarbonate soda, epsom salt, ginger and some fresh mint plus 1 tablespoon coconut oil) and he slept well but had a short episode of night terror.

As for the rest of us: my twins seem to experience a lot of mucus with no other signs of flu. Vitamin C and high strength fish oil help but don’t relieve it completely. As a result, my younger son along with his mother had a pretty rough night last night with mucus and the scare of another major asthma attack. The nigh eventually passed fairly uneventful but I freaked out a little bit and re-started his asthma preventers in the morning.

Surprisingly I am not doing it great either as it seems like all my previous issues came back with full speed all at once. So, I have experienced lately: reflux, various abdominal pains that have been my struggle in the past, chest pain (that granted me an EKG and a visit to the doctors plus other medical tests — all clear apparently). On top of everything I have experienced “blues” again like I was in my dark depression days.

Despite of all the troubles we experience I still believe this diet is the way to go. If our bodies react so strong when we remove the toxins … then we must have lots of toxins.

Anyway, for now I just feel comfortable to stick with it. I hope in a couple of months we can do a proper intro diet to allow faster healing in the gut.

That’s pretty much the news for now.

Love and light,

Elena

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Paleo/Gaps/SCD – week 3 journey

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Another week has passed and we get more settled into the routine.

However we had a few setbacks this week as my IBD son got bloody diarrhea and nausea and my other son got diarrhea  as well. I am not sure what could cause that but it surely bothered me much. It is heart breaking to do all the effort to eat grain free and to get this after 3 weeks.

I decided to do a proper intro GAPS as we cruised straight into full GAPS/Paleo.

As for me I can report some great improvements:

– my PMS was almost gone this month (and I suffered from distressing symptoms starting 2 weeks before menstruation)

– my energy levels are pretty good

– and the best thing is I’m still caffeine free (except for the very occasional decaff when out with a friend).

– it is amazing that even just before menstruation I didn’t feel the urge to pig on chocolate and other sweets … in fact I don’t feel the craving at all … neither the children.

-my husband who is not doing the full diet still asks for something sweet but I usually offer dates with almond butter …

This pretty much were we are at after 3 weeks on GAPS, not much improvement for Ulcerative Colitis (rather some setback), no asthma symptoms for my son (and no medication at all), good energy and steady mood for myself (but no weight loss – I’m perimenopausal so my hormones are playing, maybe that’s why).

Love and Light,

Elena

Ramblings about Paleo/SCD/Gaps diet

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We are in the middle of week 3 now and things seem to start settle. We seem to get used of the idea that it is nothing available for us to eat in the outside world.

The thing that bothers me most is the socializing … which is great and I want it in our lives but it comes with its price.

Of course in the next 3 weeks we have some kind of party every week … the universe just wants to test us once again. We’ll see if there is enough determination to make us go past 3 events in a row with no or minimum slippage.

I will endeavor to prepare a “healthier choice” for the sweet part of the party and we’ll try to create a meal from what the restaurants have to offer. This whole thing translates to me in preparing a raw or cooked cake every week for the next 3 weeks and get some bits and pieces from home: like salad dressing, tomato sauce … and (AGAIN) a filing snack or two for the children just in case if they feel really hungry (which won’t be a new thing).

There is not much hunger once you get used to it but sometimes it’s just plainly frustrating if you are out and about. We basically had to come back home every singe day for lunch.

Also, I can say it is at least “interesting” to  go against the wave. That is an isolating experience because all of a sudden you lose conversation subjects or even worse you try to convince your friend that “the food pyramid” is not the most balanced way of eating … and you lose friends. Slowly, slowly you stop opening your mouth to talk about your lifestyle and become disinterested in what they are talking about (I mean food wise).

Most of the proponents of Paleo (at least) lifestyle say it’s an easy choice but I’m not sure if that refers to the eating in itself or the whole social experience.

I, personally, can say that I’m sick of people feeling sorry for us due to our restricted diet … to eat this way is just plainly easier than most people believe. It’s just … I feel isolated and I found it difficult to find like minded people around me.

Paleo/SCD/GAPS – week 2

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So another week has passed. I can say that is much easier to go full Paleo/GAPS rather than play with 80/20 percent. You just have a clear direction and can focus better on what’s available to eat. I’m thinking … maybe later on we could do a 100 raw trial for a few months (I have played with high raw for a long time now but I found it difficult and annoying to keep track of what high raw is (70-90%) from what you eat.

For this week, here are the pluses:

-getting more and more ideas of meals

-we seem to eat a much more varied diet now that we excluded grains

-excellent sleep (woke up before alarm at 6 am)

-happier

-more energy (although the energy is a bit variable during the day)

-almost no craving for sweets, no craving for chocolate or for other sugary things

-kids don;t ask for sweets anymore

– kids actually eat greens and salads! (I still cannot believe that)

The minuses:

– everyone in the family seems to experience a bit of a healing crisis (actually that is a positive but last week it didn’t seem like that)

-constipation

-my sons got some skin rashes

-my daughter vomited one morning

– still issues having a snack on hand for kids

– a lot of cooking … and I mean A LOT! It’s going to  be fun if I start working …

I’ll come back in about a week time with more news on our paleolithic progress.

Love and light

Elena

Week 1 on Paeo/GAPS/SCD

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Ok, we are doing the GAPS/Paleo for 2 months as a family to see if there is any positive change in my son’s IBD.

After the first week I want to write down the pluses and the minuses.

So, on the positive side:

– I have so much more energy (I’ve also eliminated coffee) … I never though I’ll get it back

– our sleep is definitely improved

– I feel more calm and it seems that my depression is gone

– I don’t feel overwhelmed by the tasks I have to do

– No more cravings for sweets (yeee!)

-my son’s BM got better initially for about 4 days and then they got worse (I expect the die off period)

The negative side:

– many trips to the toilet (I never thought there is so much food in my body that needs to be processed)

– constant semi-hungry

– the greens fill you up very fast but you feel like you’d care to eat some concentrated form of food/carbohydrate.

– The meals and the snacks are difficult because you have to improvise

– I’m always caught on the wrong foot so to speak when it comes to snacks … as my kids seem to be hungry almost all the time.

– I didn;t lose any gram of weight despite going to gym/fitness 4- days a week.

Anyway, overall I feel we are heading in the right direction. I am still to reorganize the pantry … I ‘ll try to post some photos after.

Love and light

Eena

Die off reaction on SCD diet

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source: http://pecanbread.com/f/how/temporarysymptoms.html

Initial Symptoms

 

Why do die off reactions occur?

Most people with severe digestive problems have an overgrowth of bacteria. Most pathogenic bacteria have a toxin in their cell wall that gets released when they die. When many bacteria die at once, there will be an increase of bacterial toxin.

When you see negative symptoms during the first days of SCD, you should rejoice: the bad bacteria that have destroyed you are being eliminated!

The same toxins the gut pathogens have been giving off all along are all being released now, all at ONCE, as these bad guys bite the dust. They are DESPERATE to survive, so they are sending you messages to GO GET FOOD. Meaning, they want their Nutrigrain bars and their sugary cookies and all the other stuff that they’ve been thriving on all this time. They KNOW they will DIE if they don’t get it…. so they are willing to go to desperate measures to influence their “host”…. and break down your will to defeat them. This is a life or death struggle for them and they mean to win. You must make up your mind that your plan is to erradicate them from your body once and for all….. and determine you won’t give in to them!

How to decrease the severity of temporary initial symptoms.

Gradually decrease the amount of starches and sugar at least a week before starting

Do not use antifungals at the same time as the beginning of SCD

Take a chelation break if you are doing chelation.

List of possible die off temporary symptoms: Not everyone experiences all of these symptoms, and some may not notice any symptoms.

 

  • fever
  • extreme hunger
  • nausea and vomiting.
  • dizziness
  • achy joints and back
  • change in bowels (diarrhea or constipation)
  • strange skin rashes
  • runny nose and funny cough
  • headaches
  • behavior changes/irritability/tantrums/short tempered
  • sleep disturbances
Things you can do to make it more tolerable:

It is important to note that the die-off reaction is an inflammation response brought on by the increase in bacterial toxins.

  • Epsom Salt soaks in a warm tub
  • Activated Charcoal Capsules for a brief time. Do not take it during meal times or within 2 hours of medications and supplements.
  • Green tea has an incredible ability to neutralize some of the harmful effects from bacterial toxins. You might want to drink green tea before starting SCD and during the initial stage of SCD until the die of reactions subside.
  • Chicken soup and bone broths have natural anti-inflammatory properties. This is important because the die off reaction is an inflammation response brought on by the increase in bacterial toxins. Click here to view recipes and info about the benefits of chicken soup and bone broths.
  • Drink 1/4 teaspoon baking soda with a pinch of salt in a glass of water as needed (on an empty stomach). As the bacteria die off the toxins cause your pH to become acidic which makes you feel much worse. The baking soda buffers the acid. (Catherine Tamaro)
  • You can also use the electrolyte drink to help prevent dehydration: Recipe for the electrolyte drink
  • Slowing down the introduction of enzymes (some call this the “low and slow” method.
  • Going slower in the introduction of the SCD probiotics and yogurt. You should wait before introducing these if you have a strong die-off symptoms (www.pecanbread.com has ideas on introducing this yogurt)
  • Following the directions for the introductions of foods.  Click here to view chart for the gradual introduction of foods.
 
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Directions for doing Epsom Salt baths:

Directions for Epsom Salt baths: Use warm water.
Start with 1 cup of Epsom Salts in waist deep water; soak for at least 20 minutes. If 1 cup is tolerated, increase to 2 cups of Epsom salts at the next bath. If 1 cup is not well-tolerated (hyperness, irritability, whining), reduce the dose to 1/2 a cup or less for subsequent baths until you reach a tolerable point. Negative symptoms indicate that the person is detoxing more than his or her body can handle. Do not exceed two cups of salts in any one bath. Epsom salt baths can be done up to twice a day, on an as-needed basis.

 

 

 

Our Toddler has Ulcerative Colitis

 

solitar  Dominic Harness

Image courtesy of Dominic Harness

 

Our Toddler has Ulcerative Colitis

by Elena Constantinescu

It started back in 2008 when we had a long trip around Europe. My son, 1.5 yr old at the time started to have loose bowel movements and to eat sand.

I guess we were young and not very parenting oriented because it took us few months to realize that 15 bowel movements a day is not good.

We’ve seen a few GP doctors and a couple of pediatricians, done heaps of stool analysis but all were coming back normal. No one ever questioned his strange habit of eating sand (which I told everyone because it seemed odd and totally unhealthy).

Our real rollercoaster started only after I became pregnant with twins and after we’ve seen a specialist pediatric GI. He looked at my son and he said it seems that the child is highly anemic. The specialist also looked at his huge tummy and he thought my son might have Celiac Disease.

In short, we’ve been sent to do a scanning blood test and some additional blood test. The blood test came negative for Celiac but it came with a shocking result, he was extremely anemic and his hemoglobin was half than minimum. It turned out that eating odd things like sand or dirt is a common symptom, called pica, of anemia in children.

We have been scheduled to have a gastroscopy and colonoscopy for the following week but after the blood results everything became an emergency so we had to go in pretty much in the next couple of days. I still feel like crying when I think of that extremely emotional time when we didn’t know what is so wrong that all of a sudden all the doctors and pathologists were calling us.

In the hospital we had to stay for a couple of days even the procedure is day only. He needed a unit of blood transfusion because the anesthetist didn’t want to put him to sleep due to his low blood hemoglobin.

My son was 2 at the time and I was 5 months pregnant with twins. It was probably one of the most traumatic times in our lives due to not knowing what is next.

The real rollercoaster started after the doctor gave us the diagnostic: Ulcerative colitis, a colon chronic condition with little or no relief and an increased cancer risk. Well, that is a scary thing to face in a 2 year old!

My frantic search began just days after the diagnostic while trying hard to convince my toddler to take the high doses of steroids he’s been put on. At first I searched for a medical approach cure, actually, I wasn’t sure what I was searching for. Looking back, now, I think I was searching for happy ending cases but all I found was high doses of steroids or immunosuppressants or colon removal as a last resort in children.

After the specialist GI told me that diet has no role in the disease I didn’t even try for about a year to look into my kid’s diet.

In the meantime I followed strictly what the GI said, I gave my boy the medication religiously every day, few times a day. In short, all the drugs had so bad side effects that forced us to change them every few months until we eventually had to give them up completely as being too poisonous for our child.

When I started looking into the possibility that food he ate made a difference, I consulted an allergy doctor and he put my child on a low chemicals, low allergens and bland diet for a couple of weeks. I was amazed what difference that made. From then on I started playing with the diet at the same time while I became educated about nutrients, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, probiotics and so on.

I have to say we, as a family came a long way. We have played for about 6 months with the Specific carbohydrates diet but couldn’t sustain it in a 4 year old. After that we adjusted his diet slowly and patiently.

In the meantime I studied Reiki and became a practitioner just to be able to give him Reiki treatments every other day and avoid paying someone else as the cost quickly added up.

Also, I worked closely with an integrative medicine doctor who helped us immensely and gave me confidence to follow my instinct. We’ve done some more testing to find out what bacteria was present in his colon and found out an excessive overgrowth of Streptococcus. Have tried once the antibiotics and it worked beautifully for about 2 weeks until the Strep mutated and his symptoms came back full on.

After all we had to accept that there is no quick fix for his condition but he can have a perfectly healthy and happy life changing our family lifestyle and switching to a very natural one with a diet composed of many fresh juices and blends, no diary other than raw milk yogurt (which I learned how to make it), no gluten and wheat and no chemicals or additives.

I know that our life will never be the same but who wants our old way of eating? I praise my son’s disease for giving me the opportunity to learn so much about energy healing, nutrition, allergies, herbs and raw food. The best thing of all is that my child is growing normally, putting on weight as he should be, his tummy pain is long gone and his bowel movements went down from 20 a day to 2 a day. No one would say he is sick or he ever was sick, he looks healthy and happy and that makes his mum and dad extremely happy and grateful. Not all things in life are easy to obtain but when you do get something so important like health, then all the effort you put in is just something of value.