The Biggest Change

THE BIGGEST CHANGE

The biggest (and hardest) change came from doing the GAPS diet and adding chicken bone broth regularly to our daily routine.

After reading a book ‘Nourishing Your Child for Health and Happiness’ I found it combined all that I had been reading about on the internet. The book is written by Sally Gray, a Naturopath (amongst other qualifications) and she lives here in WA so I made an appointment. The GAPS diet had starting popping up on my radar and this is what Sally recommended for Finlay and I.

GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome, it is a diet created by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride. GAPS works on an understanding that there is a link between the digestive system, the brain and immune system.

Three part program

  1. Heal the gut lining
  2. Restore the gut with beneficial flora
  3. Relieve the body of an excess toxic load.

All meals required cooking and there was a lot of preparation, 2 things I was only just learning to do! it required the most work but we got the best results from it. Over the time we were able to introduce most foods. This saw Finlay eating all fruits and vegetables, all meats, seeds, nuts, eggs and occasional cheese or yoghurt. The only foods we were totally excluding after doing GAPS were grains and white potatoes (as this is recommended). I would highly, highly recommend the diet and we have done it again since the first time we did it.

A note on healing: If you imagine a large meal that is raw, has grains (especially gluten loaded), dairy or full of toxins, the body has to spend all its energy breaking that meal down. If there are any parts of the body that need healing, the body is not able to work on repairing itself (which is what it is designed to do). Yes, I mentioned raw just then, which you may be thinking is a good thing. I am definitely an advocate for raw foods as cooking at high temperatures especially in water, destroys some of the vital nutrients and minerals. However, through the process of cooking fibre is reduced and makes it much easier for the body to digest. GAPS isn’t all about cooked foods but for the introductory phase it certainly is and this short term ‘break’ on your body certainly has its advantages for repairing.

This same theory can be applied to pregnancy, labour and the weeks after child birth. The body needs to be able to focus its energy on making a baby, preparing the body and repairing the body, not to mention the energy demands of breastfeeding. If you are loading your body with foods and beverages that are harder for the body to digest it takes energy away from the baby. As I’m heading into the final weeks of my pregnancy and preparing for the massive job of labour and breastfeeding, I’m avoiding unnecessary toxins, sugars, gluten and dairy (apart from butter and occasional cheese) all to make this process easier on my body.

For more information on the GAPS diet head to: http://gapsaustralia.com.au/

Thanks to the people that are already following the blog & sorry for the technical error on Thursday night :-/

A little bit of background

As you might be aware by now our son Finlay had issues with food intolerances / allergies. It started at 3 months old, suddenly he started having reflux and then not long after he would cry and scream whenever I was breastfeeding him. This broke my heart as I was hoping to keep going with breastfeeding. After doing a little googling I found out wheat and dairy are the usual culprits for digestive issues for babies. So I quickly removed these from my diet but there was only a slight improvement. I was devastated and spent a lot of time trying to work out what I could do.

I was also very confused as I thought I was quite healthy. From what I’d been told, what you ate during your pregnancy didn’t affect allergies in your babies and if anything the more you restrict your diet the more chance of your baby having an allergy. I would see sites like Quirky Cooking (gluten / dairy free etc) and think ‘oh god imagine that! I won’t have to do that because I’m eating that stuff during this pregnancy’. I would crave dairy and drink Hilo milk, literally from the bottle. Other cravings included Haribo jelly teddies, milo and fruit. Milo has added vitamins in it yeah? And well a bit of sugar was fine, I’d burn it off- I’m in good shape. Everyone keeps saying how good I look.

Back to some more investigating and I found a Naturopath that did allergy testing using a saliva sample. The results showed Finlay was having issues with just about every food under the sun; red meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, fruit, all dairy, even some vegetables and most grains apart from rice and spelt.

So I removed these foods and Finlay changed within days. He was so much more settled and best of all there were no issues breastfeeding. I had no idea how to manage the diet though, everything I used to eat was gone. To begin with, I was just eating rice cakes with nutlex on them and carrots (showing my lack of cooking skills). After a few weeks it became slightly easier as I learnt to use the foods Finlay could tolerate. However, after a few months, weight was just falling off me and I ended up getting so run down that I developed shingles. Worst of all Finlay’s results plateaued and I wasn’t able to add more foods back into our diets as he was eating solids then.

I honestly felt pretty upset that the naturopath hadn’t given me any guidance apart from cutting out lists of food. So I went to another naturopath (one I had seen years before) and was loaded up on vitamins and supplements to help recover from shingles and provide me with some of the vitamins & minerals I was missing.

Sleepless nights followed trying to work out how to make this better for everyone (including the husband that was having to get take away because I was struggling to keep his food requirements met!). With more research I discovered leaky gut – where food particles pass through the gut as the lining is destroyed. This causes allergies and intolerances and although I had taken the irritant foods out I hadn’t actually fixed the problem. I was back at the beginning basically.

What followed was more research, a variety of diets and two new naturopaths to add to the mix which I will go through in the next blog.

I just wish I know before being pregnant…

What do you wish you knew before you or your partner was pregnant?

Welcome

HI MY NAME IS MICHELE AND I’M ADDICTED TO CORNFLAKES.

Well I used to be. I’ll be sharing my journey and what I’ve learnt along the way to improved internal health. I will be discussing the importance of digestive health, with a focus on preconception, pregnancy and thriving babies.

Since the birth of our boy Finlay and the struggle we had with his food allergies / intolerances I became dedicated to finding ways to improve not only his health but mine too (let’s not forget the semi-willing husband as well). Now for the scary part… I’ll be documenting the final 6 weeks of my pregnancy- what I’m eating and what I’m not, in the hope of alleviating any digestive issues with number 2. Eeeeek!

You can expect a post once or twice a week. I might share a recipe here or there but this wont be a recipe based blog. Cooking is not a strong point of mine and I’d have to be very confident in a recipe to share it. Having said that I’ve definitely got some faves that I’m excited to share over the coming weeks.

Make sure you check out the other pages on the site and leave a comment or feel free to contact me. You can also follow below if you want to receive notifications of a new post.

Thanks for reading this far and hope you’ll join me again!