Thursday, March 26, 2009

Traveling with 23 food allergies

So we thought it would be fun to hit Boston while the hubby was in Hawaii, don't ask!! Yes, work related believe it or not, ha ha ha. Anyway, I prepped and prepped and prepped for a small getaway with the boys and my sister. I think it took longer to prepare and pack the foods than it did to get there (6 hour drive)!!! I found this great cooler/refrigerator designed for cars, you actually plug it into the outlet in the car, very cool!! I made as many things as I could that could be frozen, like mini turkey burgers, chicken sausage slices, chicken strips and packaged everything separately into little individual sized baggies, teff pancakes, I even made and froze buckwheat cereal and millet stir fries. I put those into Glad containers for easy single serve and go options. I also bagged up more individual meal-sized frozen veggies for easy defrosting and heating. I had to make sure the hotel would have a fridge and microwave, of course! So I packed it all up to go, along with many dried snacks like millet puffs and Nutty Flax cereals, freeze dried fruits which are great for snacking or adding to cereals, nuts, yellow raisins (red are high phenol) and I even brought fruit (and a knife and cutting board). I had a few small coolers for all day outings and I used a week-long, four pill-a-day organizer for supplements and enzymes. What is great about the organizer is that I can grab the "day" sized container and throw it into our cooler for easy dispursement. It was like packing for a small army, but I must say, the food part was probably the easiest part of our trip! Sleep was our biggest problem, or lack thereof, I wouldn't recommend all sleeping in one room with a baby, a preschooler and adults....not a good plan!! I would say that although it's a lot of work to plan for a trip, it's doable, if you are adventurous enough and have good help. Don't let the food planning hold you back! Before the trip, I even looked for gluten-free menu options at restaurants in the area and we were able to hit one of these. It was just as easy to bring our own foods, but also nice to have options to make him feel like everyone else. So if you are thinking about a weekend getaway, I say go for it!! More than a week and it might get complicated, but with a freezer available, it's probably just as easy as traveling for a few days, just a few more servings to pack up.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Yeast (small word, big problems)

Yeast is more common than anyone realizes. It's symptoms mimic a lot of other things, including SPD and ADHD in kids....probably because it can be anywhere in the body, organs, intestines and even in the brain. Most people think of "yeast infections" and thrush when they think of yeast, but that isn't the only way yeast effects the body, although these are sure signs that it is definitely in the body. In fact, it works so fast, it can over-populate the intestines in 30 minutes flat with the right conditions. For some people, the intestinal conditions (such as leaky gut) are caused by yeast and then those continued conditions allow the yeast to continue to flourish and eventually these conditions will cause the body to react by autoimmune flare-up such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Celiac, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, etc. Having been on antibiotics even ONCE in your life can also set the stage for a very out of balance bacterial situation (yeast and probiotics are both bacteria, one good, of course, and one bad!).

Finding the root cause of the yeast is a major part of recovery, since just fighting yeast alone isn't enough for chronic conditions. If taking antibiotics is a frequent occurrence, taking probiotics on a regular basis is a must. And always dose any antibiotics or yeast protocol at least TWO HOURS away from probiotics so you don't kill the good bacteria that you just paid decent money for! Actually, in my opinion, everyone should always take probiotics, but that is a topic for another day, ha ha. Chances are, the need for frequent antibiotics is directly related to the imbalance of bacteria and once you get the good gut flora on the uphill climb, you will find yourself sick and needing antibiotics a lot less. Without the good bacteria, there is no one available to fight the bad bacteria.

For children (adults too actually) with SPD and ADHD, yeast is a large part of the symptoms. When we keep yeast in check, the SPD symptoms disappear! That goes to show you how yeast infiltrates the brain! Scary! When we see yeast symptoms, treatment shows results in literally 15 minutes and the symptoms disappear. Often, the yeast problem stems from something much bigger than the yeast itself. The typical course of events is a sensitive person, heavy metals aren't able to be excreted by the body (initial introduction by parent's, yes including the father, silver fillings, then bombarded by vaccinations, especially the flu shot, then the usual insults on the body throughout the course of life, there are many), this "holding" of heavy metals throws off all functions of the body, including it's ability to keep yeast in check so yeast overgrowth is inevitable. Over time, yeast bores through the intestines (Gross isn't it? It's true though) allowing the more commonly eaten foods to penetrate the intestines on a regular basis. What do you think the body does with these foreign particles when they enter the blood stream? They aren't supposed to be there in the first place...sooooo, you guessed it, antibodies, IgG reaction. The body tries to "fight" the food particles developing more and more antibodies every time the foods enter the blood stream and believe it or not, this is enough to throw the body into autoimmunity over time, and each person is different so how long this can take will vary per person. This is precisely why most of these chronically yeast infected people benefit from a GFCF diet, and they will often show IgG response to just about ALL of the foods they eat most. And what does this mean? Leaky gut! This is a sure indication of leaky gut. So repair involves removal of the culprit foods so the body stops trying to constantly fight particles of food in the blood stream, then repairing the gut with supplements, since leaky gut also causes malabsorption (among many other things I won't get into here), regular use of probiotics is very important, as well as yeast treatment and eventually removing the metals, if that is the cause.

So what natural remedies are there for yeast you ask? There are many and they vary in effectiveness for each individual. For us, the magic combination is 15mg of biotin with 3 drops of Oil of Oregano and two No Phenol since OoO is a high phenol "food". Many people experience success with GSE (grapefruit see extract) but that was highly irritating for Grayson, not to mention is sensitivity to all citrus. Sometimes the treatment of yeast also shows signs of viral problems in which case, using OLE (olive leaf extract) will help address that issue. OoO, however, does both! Once you start to effectively kill the yeast, a "symptom" of yeast die-off is called the Hexeimer Effect. In layman's terms, this means that the yeast die and there is a toxic level of dead yeast that have to leave the body, eeeeew!! This person will actually have a worsening of symptoms before the miraculous healing starts. For us moms who have kids with chronic yeast, staying on top of the yeast overgrowth prevents this event from reoccurring everytime we treat. If you let the yeast get out of control each time, you will experience this die-off effect yet again. Treat at the FIRST sign of yeast overgrowth (which for some kids will be behavioral, stimming, SPD signs, for others it might be a yeast rash or similar...) and you will avoid this nasty effect. It's NO fun for the parent OR the child!

For anyone who questions a possible or constant battle with yeast, I recommend a simple hair elements test with Direct Labs ( for $92. Deranged hair mineral transport is indicative of high mercury in the body. This simple (they send you the kit and you send them hair, it's that simple) and inexpensive test can set you on the road to recovery. And yes, even some autoimmune disorders can be reversed, if mercury and yeast are your problem!! Such a simple solution is a no-brainer, if you ask me!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Reintroduction of vitamins...square one

Grayson has done really well off the supplements, although it's apparent to us that the yeast is a constant problem even without them which just reinforces our decision to start chelation in the near future. His body just isn't capable of keeping the yeast in check. His gut is damaged enough that even with two doses of strong probiotics daily, the yeast wins the battle daily. Some days are better than others and I am sure that is related to his diet. Sugars, carbohydrates and sulfur foods feed yeast. Unfortunately, with as limited as his allergen-free diet has to be, we don't have the option to really cut down on everything we should reduce or even eliminate. The lesser of two evils, I guess you could say!

The reintroduction of Grayson's vitamins is like starting all over again with doses and frequency. We need to slowly introduce the things we think he really needs in order of priority and respond to the yeast accordingly, then give him time to adjust to the increases in the dosing. I am also going to watch for improvement or regression to make sure he is tolerating them in general. It appears that vitamin C most definitely causes yeast overgrowth so we need to increase the yeast protocol as well as change it up a bit to add more power to the punch! So when we see signs of yeast we are now giving him 15mg of biotin with 3 drops of Oil of Oregano (OoO), plus two No Phenol since the OoO is a high phenol product. So far I have started him back on the zinc/C drops twice a day successfully, today anyway, ha ha ha. I have started him back on one DMG and that went well, I will probably hold off for about a week now to make sure he tolerates these changes and adjusts to them. I also ordered trial sizes of Brain Child Nutritionals multi-vitamins and minerals to see, if we can cut down on the number of supplements he has to take in a day. It's something we have to introduce very slowly to avoid too many side effects. If he tolerates them, it could really make things easier on us.

I also wanted to throw in a little plug for Oil of Oregano. This stuff is amazing! It crosses so many lines of attack. It is made from wild oregano called Origanum Vulgare which is different from the common oregano we all use in cooking. It can be used topically and/or internally, but it's a spicy little remedy so be careful about putting it directly into a child's mouth! We put Grayson's drops into a dropper full of juice. I personally enjoy swishing it around in my mouth as is, it has been helping with a few recessed gums that were sensitive. Since it's an anticeptic, it numbs my mouth temporarily, but also provides a nice clean feeling. This powerhouse is a natural antibiotic, antiviral (there isn't much that can claim this), antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal (yeast), antiparasitic, antiinflammatory, antioxidant, helps prevent food spoilage, it helps with digestive health, immune system, joint and muscle flexibility, respiratory health, clear smooth looking skin, you can put a few drops in shampoo for dandruff, put some on your carpal tunnel syndrome (I have had an achy wrist and using the oil helped after a few days of direct application). I have to comment on the skin part. For anyone who knows me well, you also know that my skin has been a problem for me for years and I am VERY sensitive to everything. I put a drop into my lotion and have only done this once, but have already seen a difference in the clarity of my skin. Now the only problem is having enough of this stuff in the house to have some in our bathroom, the kids bathroom and the kitchen!! ha ha ha One little piece of information that is VERY important when you decide to use OoO on a regular basis is that you must replenish the good gut flora as well, daily. OoO is very powerful and like medical antibiotics, it kills off the good stuff with the bad so you must take probiotics and dosing should be at least two hours away from your OoO dosing. For us, we use probiotics in the morning and in the evening before bed, the OoO is used mid-day to avoid killing off the good bacteria that we just put into the intestines! When used on a maintenance dose, just once daily, you are less likely to remove all of the good gut flora, however, I would still recommend taking a daily dose of probiotics anyway, it will only help matters!

When you look for OoO, be sure to find the highest carvacrol (at least 80%) you can find and be sure the it's wild type mentioned above. I prefer the internet for finding good deals, but the nearest health food store is likely to have it in stock if you need it fast for treatment of a pesky illness.

Friday, March 6, 2009

When does the guessing end?

It's been a while since I have posted last. We have been trying to figure some things out, going back to basics, so to speak. We started noticing that Grayson's yeast was getting so out of hand, we just couldn't even keep up with the doses of biotin, he was stimming constantly and the emotions, ohhh the emotions!! So we decided to go on a supplement break. And wow, it has done wonders for us! We are getting a much needed break from the constant dosing (every three hours) of supplements and amazingly, he is doing much better without them! There could be a few reasons for this, it could be that by strictly adhering to the diet, we are seeing the results of gut healing or it could be that something in his supplement regimen was causing yeast flare ups, which is more likely the case. When we first started the diet, we saw magnificent strides in him, but they plateaued, then when we added certain supplements and probiotics, he continued to improve, then while we were gearing up for chelation, the sudden downward spiral recently. So for now, we are sticking with some basics, we have increased the probiotics to twice a day (morning and at bedtime) and when I see signs of yeast, I am giving him a No Phenol, biotin and magnesium which is necessary for the body to be able to absorb the higher amounts of biotin effectively. The only problem is that the additional magnesium is causing loose's always something. Unfortunately, by seeing these signs of yeast still, with almost no supplements in his diet to cause flare ups, only reinforces that we are doing the right thing. In the meantime, the strides we are seeing are thorough and complex speech, a much calmer overall personality, happy beyond belief, fewer fluctuations in the emotions, almost no tantrums and outbursts, he is listening well, he is patient and agreeable in many ways. We even had an infraction which involved wheat, lemon, egg, and butter and he didn't skip a beat!! Granted, we loaded him up on enzymes and gave him a bath saturated with epsom salts and baking soda to soak up the toxins, and he has done great!! I have commented on more than a few occasions that when he is like this, he is the PERFECT child!! Knowing that this is possible makes me just want to get through all of this. Unfortunately, that is going to involve supplements that cause more yeast, in order to begin chelation safely, which also causes increased yeast. It just comes with the territory, but now I will reintroduce his supplements one at a time and wait a good week on each one, to watch his reactions and adjust doses as well as the yeast protocol. It looks like we will be putting chelation off just a bit until we get his daily routine in order.