Thursday, July 13, 2006

Reinventing Myself

When I read through my blog (and also my previous blog, which is now defunct) I see that I am constantly reinventing myself, trying to improve things, etc. I waver between veganism and vegetarianism, and even that grey area of pesco-vegetarianism, which isn't so grey to most people who consider themselves "real" vegetarians.

One basic rule with allergies is to not change more than one thing at a time. I have been thinking that I should take gluten out of my diet. I've even told myself that I feel worse when I eat gluten. It may be true. However, it occurred to me yesterday that I am perhaps trying to change too many things at once. Yes, I am low energy and my mood has been sort of up and down lately. That could be gluten sensitivity. It could also be low iron, as I always have the same symptoms when I am anemic, I have a long history of anemia, and I have been bruising very easily for a couple of months. I could be deficient in other nutrients, such as vitamins, other minerals, or protein (I've been craving protein foods). It could be that I've had too many simple sugars and carbohydates over the past couple of months.

I have to decide what to work with first. I don't think gluten is the first step, as it is a rather drastic step to take. I also know that starting some basic supplementation would be a good idea for the whole family; we do eat mostly organic foods, but with soil depletion our foods don't deliver the same mineral and vitamin content they did in the past. Tracking my diet I find that most days I consume less than half of the RDA for iron. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that with my history, getting less than the RDA probably isn't a good idea. Even when my hemoglobin is within a normal range my iron stores tend to be low, which is bad or good depending on what book you're reading.

So, I think taking iron and a basic multivitamin would be the first step. I don't want to get on the seesaw of prescription iron, which raises my levels quickly, but then has to be discontinued. I'm going to take Floradix Floravital Iron + Herbs for a few weeks and then have my hemoglobin checked when I go for my annual exam.

After that, I need to look at the protein cravings. I prefer to eat a mostly vegan diet, as it is most in line with my ethical beliefs. However, I have to admit that over the past 6 years my mood has been better during the months I eat fish. I've tried flax seed to boost omega 3 intake, but it doesn't seem to have the same effect. This is a difficult issue for me; I am never entirely comfortable eating fish, and after snorkeling in Maui I am even more conflicted. I also think that fish as a protein source can often be contaminated, either by mercury or environmental toxins.

No matter what I do, cutting refined carbohydrates will add to my health. The funny thing is, we rarely have any refined grain products at home, but lately we've been eating out a lot, which means the rice is white or the bun is made from refined flour. At home I've been baking more, which means more sugar consumption, whether it be organic cane crystals or organic maple syrup. The more sugar I eat, the more I crave it, so we need to cut back.

I probably will tackle gluten, but only once everything else is in place. That way I will know if I have a true sensitivity, and if I do I can manage it with rotation and enzymes rather than complete elimination.

Of course, I'm laughing at myself in a gentle manner. I treat myself as a guinea pig a lot of the time.

7 comments:

Blissfulbee said...

Sounds like you have a good plan to move forward with. I am trying to cleanse as best I can right now, also giving up gluten. I will say that I do feel much better without the gluten, more energy mainly. It has been over a month now, and it is going well.

We are starting on enzymes soon though. Peptizyde, No-Phenol and Zyme Time. Also I just started a regimen of Grapefruit Seed Extract to help with internal yeast. I really want to get rid of this mid-day lethargy, plus it should really help GM. We'll see. Im not seeing the results I hoped for with removing the gluten alone, so cassein would be next, but Im going the enzyme route first.

APKimberMama said...

I do think I feel better without gluten, but it isn't very scientific. Gluten is a tough food to remove, so I would rather just limit it, and still make bread from fresh ground wheat for everyone but J-Baby. If I am still having problems in a month or two (after getting completely clear of casein and after adding iron) I will look to gluten again.

I'm conflicted about enzymes. My first thought is that if my body doesn't produce the enzyme (like lactase), then I shouldn't eat the food, because there may be some other issue with it (like casein allergy, which I have had scientifically proven). I also think there are expensive, heavily marketed, and pushed by the HFS employees. But if they can help....

Papa gave blood today, and he was one point away from being turned down due to low iron. So our diets are lacking right now. We really backed off on cooked greens after the winter, and have just started putting them back in.

J-Baby has been clear of gluten and casein for nearly 4 months, and it is only in the past 3-4 weeks that we have seen remarkable improvement, both in behavior and gut issues.

Be sure to research the enzymes; I've been told that you need to eliminate gluten and casein first, heal the gut, and then proceed with enzymes.

Blissfulbee said...

Yeah it has been a long road of research. I have heard you need to heal the gut to get best results. We are starting with Peptizyde which is said to really be helpful, even in the healing process. We are starting to get rid of cassein, but I have to admit I just cant imagine what he will eat. Most children with autism are also sensitive to soy, so it is like a slippery slope. Pretty soon we will be on water! LOL
I am going to run the course of GSE first and then turn our attention to the enzymes, although I have heard that the GSE will eat the outer coating of the yeast and the probiotics will then have a better chance of getting at it and killing it off. I first have to see how we tolerate the GSE though. It takes a long time to get it all rolling. Dana's view is a good site and enzymestuff.com too. I read her book (from enzyme stuff) it was very good. The zync suggestion has helped me a lot. I cant tell with GM yet, it is mostly related to how I feel, and he doesnt really express that too well.

APKimberMama said...

Ah yes, I suppose I find casein far easier to remove than gluten, both from my experiences with allergies and my time spent as a vegan.

Oh yeah, we cut soy too, the only exception being soy oil in Earth Balance, as I was told that much like ghee, the proteins have all been removed. J-Baby wats no soy protein, no casein, no gluten, no citrus, AND no animal flesh, and he can't drink juice. How's that for restrictive?

I'm actually glad that I came to all of these dietary changes from a very alternative place already, in terms of diet.

I do think an intersting thing is that adults are very aware of the dietary changes they are making, and are more susesptible to the "placebo" effect. I know I am. It takes longer with children because the placebo effect doesn't work as well with them, and because they aren't always able to verbalize their symptoms anyway. I have to remember that feeling grumpy was "normal" for J-Baby, and that this absolute joy that has filled his life is new for him.

I think his results are physical and emotional. His self esteem is so much higher now that he no longer has accidents.

I'm going to post on my blog about a vegan/GF "cheese" sauce

Peace.

Blissfulbee said...

I woke up in the middle of the night last night all worried about the cassien. LOL I kept feeling like I should do it the way you were saying and heal the gut first, pull the cassien and deal with the yeast. See where that leaves him and then begin enzymes. But holy cow that is soooo the difficult way. I have begun subbing out some of his dairy (as he is very much an addict, as am I) with soy, so in our smoothies we do soy yogurt and I am cutting his milk with soy milk. He just doesnt like how sweet it is, and I dont blame him. Maybe I will try rice, but if I remember correctly it is sweet too.
A freind of mine is a Naturopath and I spoke with her at the farm today. Im going to email her with some plans of actiion and see what she advises.

APKimberMama said...

There are a couple of ways to approach this. First off, you can research dairy and find out all of the reasons humans shouldn't eat it. That makes it far easier to cut it from your kids' diets. Raw or not, milk is designed to grow calves into big cows and bulls very quickly. We wouldn't drink cat milk, or dog milk, or whale milk, so why drink bovine milk?

(I'm not saying it doesn't taste good - it does and as a culture we are accustomed to consuming it.)

Then you start thinking outside of the box. No soy? No problem. Also, if you eliminate processed soy and stick to tofu, miso, and tamari, you can probably eat it in limited amounts, once the gut has healed.

If you don't have nut allergies then raw nuts are the unsung heroes of nutrition. Try almond milk instead of soy or rice milk; they are both overly sweetened anyway. You can make fresh, unsweetened almond milk in your VitaMix, with soaked raw almonds even!

We decided that the boys' primary beverage should be water. It is true of all other mammals and applies to humans as well (after weaning). It was tough to let go of soy milk as a calorie booster for J-Baby, but he naturally evened out and now eats enough food to make up for the liquid calories. T-Guy gave up drinking soy milk on his own a couple of years ago, and my mother says I did the same thing.

One thing that might help is making a list of all of the safe foods that GM will eat. Then find new ways to do things. GF corn fritters were a hit; this week we're going to make GF zucchini fritters. T-Guy went for that loaf/casserole I made last night. This time of year you can fill the kids up on fruit, fruit, and more fruit. Eating lots of fresh fruit is one of the best ways to prevent cancer in later years.

For smoothies, have you tried the frozen bananas with something like almond milk? They are so much better than any smoothie made with soy yogurt.

Blissfulbee said...

Well unfortunately he wont eat any fruits or vegetables. So that shortens the list significantly. It is mainly an addiction issue I believe. He literally will only eat chicken nuggets, grilled cheese, cheese pizza (without sauce)quesadillas (not corn tortillas) waffles, dry cereal (no milk) crackers, popcorn, gummy fruit snacks, PB&J, cookies, nuts (thank goodness) yogurt. That is it. He wont eat cakes or muffins or other typical kid loving things. He is all about the gluten and the cassein. LOL Going off of gluten wasnt too hard, because you can use other things to recreate these things, but without cheese...
I like the Almond Milk idea, I will try that one. Oh yeah, he will ocassionally eat fish sticks (Ian's GF kind). So I am making all these (except the fish)from scratch, which isnt too hard, so far.
I can get fruit in him (begrudgingly) in his smoothies, this is also where i am getting in the zinc and the GSE, as well as additional Flax Oil and carrots. I may see about finding some store bought pseudo-cheeses and see if I can find one that passes, in addition to trying out the recipe.

Luckily the kids are all really good water drinkers, GM is the least good at it, but it isnt too hard to stear him to the water cooler instead of the fridge. He doesnt drink juices or anything so that isnt an issue at this point.

We havent pushed the lack of varitey too much with him because it can get really ugly really fast, also this is our kid who didnt eat anything for a very long time, except for dry cheerios. So each thing we finally got into his system was such a victory that what it was barely seemed to matter. Now here we are trying to take those things away. It scares me to be honest. I cant go back to having him be a non-eater.