GAPS Diet Story – Becky

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Becky is someone I knew for most of her growing up years but then as a young adult I was not closely involved in her life.   So I did not know about her ongoing health issues and challenges.  About a year ago I spent some time with her parents and her mother mentioned to me that her daughter was thinking of some strange diet called the GAPS diet and they were not too sure it was a good thing to do.  I was able to reassure them that is was an amazing diet to pursue for the health issues at hand and could share with them about the healing my own daughter had experienced up to that point on the GAPS diet.  Now a year later you can see where Becky and her family have come.  Very encouraging to say the least.

GAPS Diet Story - Becky, Purposeful Nutrition

 

1.   How long have you been on the GAPS diet?

1 year

2.   What was going on that made you decide to pursue the diet?

I was struggling with severe food sensitivities, bad acne, headaches, chronic joint pain and was loosing weight too quickly. I basically felt like my body was giving up on me.   My 10 month old had food sensitivities that caused vomiting and I couldn’t nurse because my allergies weren’t the same as his and together.   I could eat basically nothing. He also had eczema.   And my 4 year old was exhibiting signs of ADD.
3.  Did you start with Full GAPS or Intro first?  How long have you been on each?

First we started eliminating grain, then lactose and refined sugar. Then we took out anything processed and starches, until we eating only foods on Full GAPS. That took about a month. We have been on Full GAPS for a year.  We have not done Intro at all.  (Note from Jennifer – Dr. Campbell-McBride does recommend Intro for all who do the diet for maximum healing but obviously as you see from this story even Full GAPS can make a world of difference.)
4.  What kind of progress or healing have you seen?

I noticed improvement in my food reactions and chronic pain within days of eliminating grain. I only improved as I eliminated all the other ‘no’ foods.   After about 3 months, I was able to eat almost all of the GAPS approved foods that I was previously sensitive to, and I started gaining weight back. My weight has now completely stabilized. My skin and my son’s skin have cleared and he no longer gets hives. My daughter is much calmer and more focused.

5.  What other strategies have you implemented along with GAPS?  Why?

3 months ago I started using Norwex products to clean my house (non-toxic / chemical free) and have just started using Adya Clarity as a mineral supplement and to eliminate chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals, etc. from our drinking and cooking water. I figure the less toxins we are exposed to, the better out gut flora, etc. Also, we live in an area with particularly bad public water.

6.  Are you off the GAPs diet?

We sometimes have pasta or a dish of ice cream as a treat, but in general, we still follow Full GAPS. We occasionally will eat sour dough bread as a treat too.

7. Are there areas where you have not seen healing so far?
I am still sensitive to onions, garlic, cinnamon, black pepper and wine or beer, but this is a MARKED improvement to what I was sensitive to prior to GAPS. My chronic pain (a result of Lyme’s Disease) comes back when I’m fighting a cold, etc. My son is still lactose sensitive. But as long as we keep him off grain and lactose, his skin stays clear. I can tell when my daughter has had something off-diet because she comes home bouncing off the walls and is over emotional for days.

8.What has been the hardest thing about following the GAPS diet? Vacations or anything that takes us out of our routine. Holidays with family are hardest because we are surrounded by food we shouldn’t or can’t eat. I struggled with this prior to GAPS because of all of my sensitivities, but it’s hard for my kids.
9. What has been the best thing about following the GAPS diet?

I can actually eat more now on the diet than I could before. I feel MUCH better!
10.  Do you have any advice for a person considering going on the GAPS diet?

Get connected with others who are eating that way. Their support and advice are invaluable.
11.  Is there any you would like to add to the above comments? Nope, that about sums it up.

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Skin Care and GAPS

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The GAPS diet is all about what you put in your mouth and healthy eating to heal the gut. But since your largest organ in your body is your skin, it follows that what you put on your skin is very important as well.  The skin can absorb up to 60% of what we put on it.  If you eat healthy and put toxins on your skin it will derail much of what you are trying to do with the improved diet.   On the positive side if we are putting pure and truly natural ingredients on our skin they will absorb and bring good health to our skin and the rest of our body.

Skin Health and GAPSFrom Photoexpress.

Using lotion after a bath or shower is a smart idea to replenish the oils externally.  Soap and water will remove the natural oils in your skin.  Again paying attention to what is in your lotion is important.  Have you ever read the labels as to what is in there?  Do you know what the chemicals can do to you?  These are questions worth finding out and I guarantee you that the more you know the less you will want to pick up the cheap options.  Coconut oil and shea butter are great options for your skin and can take care of most of your skin health needs.

The best principle I have found to decide what to use on my skin is does it have ingredients I could eat?  I don’t make a practice of eating shea butter but I could, so if a skin care product has shea butter in it I would use it.  And of course the better quality of ingredients the better for my skin and body.

Personal care products are big factors in toxic overload and include cosmetics, shampoos, toothpaste, deodorant, soaps, perfumes, creams, etc.    Some important toxins that are in our personal care products that we should avoid are in the following list:

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Flouride
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Lanolin (because often contaminated with DDT and other pesticides)
  • Saccharin
  • Formaldehyde
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Hair Dyes
  • Fragrances
  • Sunscreens

Washing with water and a sponge is really enough for most of us. 

As far as shampoo goes there are more and more options out there, folks who have successfully used baking soda, the “no-poo” method, coconut oil, vinegar rinses, or expensive shampoos without the hidden ingredients.  I, for one, still like lather in my hair when I wash it (just once/week) so I use a “better” option from Trader Joe’s for shampoo.  I have found a lovely conditioner at True Kid and they also carry a shampoo I would like to try. 

Another nasty chemical for our skin is chlorine.  If you live in an area where you have city/town water system you will have chlorine in your water and your best bet is to install some kind of filter which will remove the chlorine from your water.  We have a Berkey filter on one of our showers and I have noticed a difference since using it.  My skin is much less dry and I do not need as much lotion.   Swimming pools are very toxic places because of the chlorine, which is a poison and absorbs very well through our skin.   I know of many situations where GAPS kids cannot swim in chlorinated swimming pool because of the effects it has on them.

Another option to help to detoxify the body through the skin is dry skin brushing.  This is a very simple procedure of daily brushing the skin with a brush.  I have not tried this yet but I think it is worth investigating.  To find out more about this see the links at the bottom of the article

Cleaning products have many chemicals in them as well.  Best to avoid them and instead use Vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda,  and olive oil. which can handle most of your cleaning needs.

For more info:

http://visionherbs.tumblr.com/post/41081733020/skin-health

  http://www.mothering.com/community/a/our-skin-eats-too

http://www.modernalternativehealth.com/2013/04/15/skin-brushing-the-whys-and-how

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Gluten Free Pasta Review

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We have been eating gluten free pasta at our house for the past couple of years.  I decided to do a review of the ones we have eaten with my review of what I like and don’t like.

Gluten Free Pasta Review - Purposeful Nutrition

1)  Trader Joe Brown Rice Noodles 

I found these to be quite good and they cook up nicely.  We use these often.  They come in several shapes including penne, fusilli, and spaghetti.   An added plus that they are organic.

Ingredients:  Brown Rice flour and water

2)  Trader Joe Corn Pasta

 This is now a staple at our house.  At $1.39/lb it is very affordable and it tastes good.   It is also organic and thus non-GMO. If you are allergic to corn it is not an option of course but that seems to be an food intolerance we don’t have here at this time.   My only complaint is that it does not hold over well.  So it is pretty good the day it is cooked but the next day it is dry and not nearly as enjoyable to eat.

It comes in 2 shapes, penne and spaghetti.

Ingredients:  Corn flower and water.

3)  Sam Mills – Pasta D’Oro Gluten Free Pasta

Ingredients:  Corn flour and water.

This is one I have used frequently.  It is 100 % GMO free corn flour and water.   I appreciate the GMO free label.   It tastes great and cooks up well.  Again don’t overcook it.  My only complaint  as with the Trader Joe’s corn pasta is that it is not great leftover.  The next day it seems very dry.  

It does come in many many different shapes  so if you are looking for something more unusual this the best chance of finding that shape in a GF pasta.  Prices vary depending on the size but I found some at $2.38/lb for 6 bags and some other at $2.58/lb for 12 bags.   It is a bit more expensive than Trader Joe’s but if you don’t have a TJ nearby it is a fairly affordable option.  (My affiliate link)

  4)  Tinkyada- Brown Rice Lasagna Noodles

This is made of brown rice, rice bran, and water.  I purchased this because I wanted to be able to make lasagna for my family and this has done a good job.  It cooks up well and is easy to work with.  I like the taste and it makes good lasagna.

 5)  Trader Joe’s Quinoa and Rice Pasta

Ingredients:  Quinoa, Brown Rice flour, and water.

I have to say that hands down this is my very favorite pasta.   It is a bit more expensive than than the others at about $3.00/bag.  But it is amazing pasta.  It tastes like regular wheat pasta and cooks up beautifully.  I was able to put it in soups and it does not overcook or get too soggy.  It also still tasted good the next day which most of the other pastas did not.  It is worth a bit of extra money for me to get this one and I will try and keep it on hand now for soups and other things.

6)  Aldi Gluten Free Corn Fusilli

Did I mention that I also love Aldi?   They have a growing and affordable gluten free section in their store.  This past week I discovered that they are now carrying corn pasta in their pasta section.  I was delighted to see that especially since it is only $1.29/lb.  My hunch is that since the same parent company owns both Aldi and Trader Joes, that this pasta is the same as TJ’s corn pasta.  Good taste and very similar to the other 2 corn pasta’s I tried.

 7)  Pastariso All Natural Brown Rice Pasta

Ingredients:  100 wholegrain brown rice flour

Well I am not sure why but I had my worst experience with pasta ever with this brand.  I accidently overcooked it and it came out a soupy mess that was totally unedible for pasta.  I actually then continued to cook it until it was really soft and made a kind of rice pudding with it.  We were able to eat some of it then but not all.  I don’t know if it was totally just overcooking but I would not buy this brand again.  I have not had a similar experience with any of the other pastas mentioned above.

 Shared at Wildcrafting Wednesday, Wellness Wednesday, Natural Family Friday.

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Juicing – Is it Really Worth It?

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Do you juice?  I do but sporadically, probably in part because I don’t have a very good juicer.   I have used it  in the past and still juice on some days.

juicing - Purposeful NutritionBenefits of Juicing

Juicing is a great way to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet.   The quantity of vegetables you can get in through a glass of fresh juicer is usually much greater than what we can or eat in one sitting.   I like vegetables a lot but still find it hard to get as many in daily as I would like to.  I am convinced that no matter what diet most of us are currently eating, very few people are getting enough vegetables.    Juicing can really change that.

Juicing is a great way to get a wider variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet.  You may not care for some vegetables and fruits that have some important minerals and vitamins in them.  If you juice them along with some other vegetables or fruit that you do like, you probably won’t even notice they are there, but you have gotten the health benefit.

Juicing will help you detox and lose weight.  When my 16 year old daughter is feeling like the toxins are building up she will juice, usually some thing with carrots.  When I was able to lose weight (about 10 lbs 2 years ago) I did it with juicing and eating avocado and replacing one meal/ day with the juice and avocado.

Homemade Juice vs.  Bought Juice

So juice is juice right?  Why not just buy it; who has time for making all this stuff anyway?   Well I beg to differ on this one.  Making your juice yourself is far superior to buying juice.  Juice loses its vitamins when it sits around.  You want to drink your juice within a few hours of juicing it.  When you buy bottled juice most of the vitamins are already gone.  The juice has to be heated to seal the bottle so it will not spoil and again the vitamins will be destroyed by the heat.  Plus sometimes there is some kind of preservative or coloring in the juice that is not good for your body either.

Juicing Tips

My favorite juicing combo is carrots, apples, and 1 red beet for about a pint to a quart of juice.    You don’t want to overdo the red beets as they are a very potent detoxifying vegetable, so keep them in the smaller amount when juicing together with other veggies.   I find that combining several vegetables along with a fruit often makes a very enjoyable juice to drink.   Grapes are very good together with kale, celery, spinach, cucumber, and a pear.

Because juicing is so   potent a way to get your vitamins you want to make sure that your ingredients are as pure and nutritious as possible so I recommend organic vegetables and fruit.  If you are buying from a local farmer often you can find ingredients that are raised organically but not certified that way and so you can save on the purchase price.  But if that is not an option it is worth springing for the organic in this situation.

 So how about you?  Do you juice?  Please share your experience in the comments below.

  I am participating in the Williams-Sonoma Juicing Initiative.  Here are the juicers they have for sale.  (This is NOT an affiliate link for me.) 

Shared at Wellness WednesdayWildcrafting WednesdayNatural Family Friday.

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What I Think about the New Vegetable Slicers

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Vegetables slicers seem to be all the rage now. I had the opportunity to try the Bluelife Spiral Vegetable Slicer recently through a blogging sponsored opportunity. I have to say I was quite impressed. My daughter made zucchini and sweet potato noodles and it was quite easy and they came out really great.
We are always trying to get more vegetables in our diet and this is an easy way to do that.  The veggies peeled easily and could even be swirled on a fork when eaten. 

I have not used any other vegetable slicer so I cannot compare to others.  This slicer is sturdy, did a nice job on the veggies, and was not too difficult to clean.  They do supply a nice little plastic brush to help with cleaning.  The blades in the slicer are very sharp so great care does need to be taken with cleaning the blades after use.  It would be easy to get a cut with the sharp blades.

Here are the instructions for how to use the peeler.

InstructionsHere is my affiliate link to Amazon if you would like to order your own.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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Is Your Stress Causing Adrenal Fatigue?

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(This post contains affiliate links from which I will benefit if you purchase them.)

Recently I went through a few months of some significant stress (compilation of caring for my aging mother in-law and the rest of my family, changing hormones, and just the general day to day of life).  It left me struggling in a major way with insomnia (as in 4-5 hours of sleep/night) and the resultant tiredness and difficulty functioning.   I had several weeks of the lack of sleep and it seemed like I was settling into a new pattern that was not conducive to good health.  Then I visited my chiropractor who also does muscle testing and he checked my adrenal glands and informed me that things were not good. 

tired woman

I know the implications of adrenal stress and I do not want to go down that road.  Adrenal fatigue is a very common side effect of stress.  Some oft hes symptoms include the following:

  • fatigue
  • recurrent infections
  • achiness
  • hypoglycemia
  • low blood pressure upon standing
  • insomnia

If you don’t deal with adrenal stress early on it will get worse and can go from adrenal fatigue to adrenal failure.  If you end up on hormones for adrenal health most people do not get off of them again.

My Interventions

I spoke with my naturopathic friend Liz Moore of Living By Nutrition and she gave me some great suggestions.

Supplements

1)  Switch to the multi-vitamin Optimal Multivitamin from Seeking Health I take 4/day.  It is made from organic fruits and vegetables and greens and has bioflavonoids, amino acids, and enzymes.

2) I switched to the Seeking Health B Complex Plus.  There is no junk in these.  Here is the breakdown of B Vitamins in 1 capsule:  Thiamine 15mg, Riboflavin 17mg, Niacin 200mg, B6 20mg, Folate 400mcg, B12 6mcg, Biotin 300mcg, Pantothenic Acid 100mg, Inositol 40mg, Choline 25mg, para-aminobenzoic acid 25mg

 

3)  Magnesium Maleate –  I have been taking 1 magnesium daily for some months now and then using my magnesium cream before bed.  But during my time of high stress and adrenal fatigue I had a sharp increase in my restless leg syndrome, which can be a sign of low magnesium. Magnesium gets depleted when one is under a lot of stress.  So I upped my magnesium to 6-8/day, used extra magnesium cream and also would take magnesium cell salts when I woke up during the night. 

 

4)  Vitamin C – Vitamin C depletes very quickly in the face of  adrenal fatigue and large doses of C can make a real difference.  I ended up taking 5-6,000 mg daily for awhile.  The important thing is to not take more than bowel tolerance.  Too much C can bring loose bowels so pay attention to that part of your body.  If you hit the level of tolerance than back off 500 mg and stay with that.  The added benefit is the C will protect you from other things too, like colds and flu.   I don’t take anything special for Vitamin C.  I just make sure I have bioflavonoids in mine and I tend to go with a timed release C.

5)  Min-Chex – I have mixed feelings about Standard Process, a supplement recommended by my chiropractor.  It helped me and I used it temporarily until things settled down, but I am not comfortable with the ingredients long term.   Standard Process uses the organs of animals to make most supplements and  this contains cow liver, pig stomach, cow and pig spleen, pig brain and more.   Even though they are very careful about where they source these organs from (target=”_blank”>see their official statement) I don’t like putting animals hormones and organs into my body.  They also uses wheat germ in most things.  Thus those who are GF cannot use most of them.  Min-Chex does have wheat germ in.  

I did use the product for about 3 weeks and I think it is the main reason it kicked me out of the sleeplessness and anxiety I was stuck in.  At the same time after about 2 weeks of use I started the regimen I detailed above and I was able to get off Min-Chex again and yet still be sleeping and back to a more stable condition.  I would use it again but I consider it an option for temporary use only.

6)  Stress Relief Tea – I make and sell a blend of herbs that help with stress management.  I drank a cup of my tea for about a week in the evening which helped to relax me as well.  Since I am doing well now I am not doing this anymore as I don’t usually feel like having tea in the evening, but if I desired a cup I would have one.

7)  Epsom Salt Baths – This was another recommendation from my naturopath.  I only did 1 of these because I am not much of a bath person.  But I know epsom salts are great for detoxing, for getting more magnesium into your system, and for relaxing.  So I still recommend that for those who enjoy a good bath.  It is a significant way to destress.  I just buy my epsom salts at Walmart, but Amazon has many choices.

Non-Supplemental Interventions:

1)  Prayer – Don’t underestimate this intevention.  I saw things really turn for the better in a significant way when I asked for prayer from a larger number of friends and family.  See my article on prayer and healing for more of my thoughts on this topic.

2)  Regular Bedtime Routine – Over and over I read that if you have trouble with insomnia you need to establish a consistent bedtime routine.  Go to bed at the same time and do the same things before bed.  I already do have a consistent routine although my bedtime is not consistent.  Lately I have tried harder to keep the time more consistent and it does seem to be a good thing.

3)  Healthy Diet – Sugar and caffeine are two offending dietary additions that can contribute to adrenal fatigue.  I eat a whole foods diet with a small amount of sugar and almost no processed foods.  I continued to work at this to make sure I was having good choices when I put food in my mouth.

4)  Problem Solving to reduce the stress level – In my case the straw the broke the camel’s back was getting up every night with my elderly mother in law to help her with the bathroom.  After a week of vacation when she was at the nursing home I realized she could go all night without needing to get up, so we switched things around.  Now she is sleeping most of the night and she is not needing me to come down to care for her.  So I am not having my sleep interrupted on a regular basis. 

Sometimes you can’t lessen the stress but other times you can ask for help from others or brainstorm with those close to you to figure out a way to cut back the stress in your life.

5)  Regular Exercise – I had been walking my dog every morning but once I was not sleeping well I was staying in bed longer and missing my walking time.   When I realized that I was not getting regular exercise I started prioritizing that walk every day, even if it had to happen in the middle of the afternoon.   Exercise is important for dealing with stress and insomnia and some way to get it in every day is worth fighting for.  If it is outside that is even more of a plus in order to get Vitamin D which also contributes to better overall health.

6)  Stay in bed longer in the morning.  I was told by  my naturopath that the adrenals recharge between 7 and 9AM in the morning.  So if I was not sleeping at night I tried to sleep in the morning some.  It did mess up my day but since I am a stay at home mom who is homeschooling I have some flexibility. 

So what is your story?  If you have found something helpful to prevent or deal with stress please share below in the comments. I would love to hear from you.

Disclaimer:  I am not giving medical advice in this post as I am not an MD.  I am merely offering my own experience for your consideration.  Please make your own decisions about what is best for your health and your body.

For more infor:  http://www.drlam.com/articles/adrenal_fatigue_and_sleep.asp

How to test for Adrenal Fatigue at Mommypotamus

Shared at Wildcrafting Wednesday, Wellness Wednesday, Natural Family Friday.

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