I began this blog (in Jan. 2010) to journal about our healing through dietary changes, to document recipes that I tried and either failed or succeeded with, and to track whether we see any improvement from the changes. We have been tweaking our diet and blogging about it for two years now, and have seen amazing changes to our health.
In brief, we have some autoimmune issues that we are dealing with; specifically Lyme disease for myself, both daughters, and possibly my husband, and PANDAS for my oldest daughter. We also have a variety of reactions to food, mostly gastro, but also some skin-related, behavior-related, and respiratory, between us all.
The journey to eliminate certain things from our diet began 6+ years ago when I suspected my oldest daughter was reacting to artificial food colors with severe aggression, and we eliminated Red #40 from her diet and saw immediate improvement. Two years later, we eliminated all artificial colors on the suspicion that Yellow #5 was having the same effect. I was having problems getting pregnant with another child until we changed our diet to organic, and then I was pregnant within 2 months! My oldest daughter continued to seem to react to food and we began the Feingold Program to decrease salicylates in her diet and chemicals in her environment. We saw a significant improvement and continue this in a modified fashion (since we now know her triggers!)
The more we learned about food, the more conscientious we became. My second daughter was born with no enamel on her teeth (dentists blame a variety of things from antibiotics I took while pregnant, to fluoride in our drinking water. We became even more homeopathic/holistic than we already were, seeking out dietary measures to help with teeth and bones and hopefully heal her caries. We succeeded in this, amazingly!!, by doing very simple things like cooking more traditionally, using Weston A Price as a guide through the cookbooks by Sally Fallon, specifically Nourishing Traditions,
using more whole foods, soaking our wheat, beans and nuts, and using less sugar.
We also sought out local food and tried to eat more seasonally, less processed. We scouted out Farmer’s Markets and began to really understand what goes into our food and where it comes from. We read Fast Food Nation and Omnivore’s Dilemma, to name a couple. But it wasn’t until our older daughter was diagnosed with PANDAS that we really started digging deep for answers. How can we eat in a way that optimizes our body’s ability to function and heal? What difference will it make if her blood-brain-barrier is open and we eliminate wheat? There are dietary changes that we know have “cured” children of Autism (I say cured in quotes because it can have other meanings in this context, such as “detoxed,” not that I don’t believe it happens- I absolutely do!!)
What are we eliminating and why?
-Gluten and most grains. Gluten can have very toxic effects on the brain, even in the healthiest of individuals. For my PANDAS daughter, specifically, there is a possibility that her body is reacting to one or some combo of fungus/yeast/mold, and grains tend to harbor these. The fungus/yeast/mold itself is bad enough, but those things also like to bond with heavy metal toxins and since she is vaccinated, that is also a concern.
-Sugar and starch- These feed yeast, obviously, so they must go! We’ll do tiny tiny amounts of xylitol, which is said to help kill strep (which we’re fighting due to PANDAS) and go easy on the potatoes and rice.
-Dairy- Much like gluten, it can do nasty things to the body. If you have inflammation, it makes it worse. We’ll do local organic butter and go easy on the local, organic, grass-fed, raw cheddar cheese. I may make an exception as well if I can find superb organic local goat’s cheese. I also plan to use very small amounts of whey, as I may need this for soaking beans or fermenting. Yogurt is grass-fed, organic, and homemade, or a brand that doesn’t include S. Thermophilus (a controversial strain of strep.) I plan to use hemp milk if needed, and lots of coconut milk.
-Anything/everything artificial. We are looking at whole foods, as local, in season, and organic as possible. Eating things as close to the source and as close to natural as possible. Nothing processed. Nothing with “natural flavors” (aka CORN.)
I’m hopeful and anxious that we will all feel better. Nervous that we will miss a good chocolate bar and slice of toast, but excited that my cupboards and freezer will contain actual food that we prepared with love and effort- the way that we SHOULD!