After 575 days on GAPS, Carter is offically healed. Now he eats everything!

After 575 days on GAPS, Carter is offically healed. Now he eats everything! Well almost everything! He's still eating a real food/non processed diet for the most part and we will stay away from soy in all forms and cauliflower, mainly because Mommy is still scared of those foods. We are sticking with the 80/20 ratio of foods because now he can indulge in a cheat every once and awhile and he's just fine!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Why Am I Doing This??

Why am I doing this? I’ve asked myself this very question over and over again. There are so many, many reasons not to do this crazy diet called GAPS. The work, the smells, the mess, the fear, the heartache, the sourcing of foods, the lack of mainstream medical support. Did I mention the smells? There are so many reasons to leave GAPS and go back to what we were doing before, when my son could have chips and cereal and candy and muffins and crunchy yummy goodies. Every day, at least 3 times a day, I question the path I have chosen to take, the path of healing. Every day I feel my strength waver. Every tantrum where Carter cries for food. Every time he eats yet another unsafe food left out on the counter or stolen from the garbage. Every time he asks, “What me having for dessert mommy?” Why am I doing this?

Christmas night I was talking to Carter’s Great Aunt and his Grandma, who see Carter on a regular basis, but who do not read the blog. They haven’t heard me talk about the scariness of watching Carter wither away or very real truth that Carter was dying a little more every day. It’s much easier to type those words than it is to speak them which is why I started this blog in the beginning. I still can barely utter the words, Carter was dying, but I can type them. So they did not know how dire the situation was because I didn’t talk about it. When they asked how he was doing, I always said he was ok.

So as we were sitting around the Christmas tree watching Carter play with his brothers and his cousins, his Aunt commented on how good Carter looked and how happily he was playing, that his eyes were clearer and shining, that his face was full and pink. And then his Grandma said something that still brings tears to my eyes. “He’s not lethargic anymore and his eyes aren’t sunken in like they used to be. He looks so much healthier”.

They have seen the difference in this little boy. They have seen him transform into a healthy, vibrant toddler. This is why I am doing this, not just to heal him, but to save his life. It was by far, the best Christmas present of the night.
Before GAPS Feburary 23, 2011
Before GAPS June 18, 2011
Before GAPS March 6, 2011
Dark circles and puffy eyes

First Day of GAPS October 28, 2011

After GAPS November 25, 2011
After GAPS Decmeber 1, 2011
The Dark circles and puffiness are gone!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Pumpkin Project

After some experimenting, and some great suggestions, Thanks M!!, I finally have a pumpkin processing system that works! Wait, do you know about my pumpkin craziness? I bought almost 90 pumpkins several weeks ago. Pumpkins are only available fresh until Christmas, at the latest. Seeing that they make up half of Carter's current diet and canned pumpkin while having less nutritional value, is also at risk for soy contamination due to the can linings, we needed pumpkin!
A Truck Full Of  Organic Sugar Pie Pumpkins
 Step 1: Roast the pumpkins whole! This saved me a lot of time, as I was cutting them first. And if you've ever tried to cut one of these suckers in half, well it's not a fun task! I coated them in coconut oil. Just a tiny amount. I put too much on the first time and it melted of and smoked up the oven. It needs just a light coat.
Edited on Feb.15, 2012: The coconut oil is optional. I have been doing it sucessfully without this step.
Line a cookie sheet with foil and place it on one rack to catch any juice that make coat out.. Place the pumpkins on the next rack, directly on the rack, and turn the oven to 350. Roast them for 90 minutes. At least for my oven anyway. Once they've cooled enough to touch them, take them out of the oven.
Roasted Pumpkins. So Pretty!
 Once they are cool enough to handle, remove the skin.You can tell they've cooked long enough because the skin separates from the flesh. Makes it super easy to remove the skins!
 Next, slice the pumpkins in half. They cut like melted butter. No fighting them or worrying about losing a finger. The seeds scoop right out. Place them in a bowl and save them for roasted pumpkin seeds or pumpkin seed flour.
This is the what the pumpkin looks like once the skin and the seeds are removed. The flesh is nice and soft all the way through.

Next, chop up the pumpkin into smaller pieces to fit in the blender, or use your hands. At this point, you're covered in pumpkin anyway!

 I add a little water and blend away!! Carter won't eat the pumpkin puree if it's the slightest bit chunky or stringy, so I puree it until it's nice and smooth.
Presto!! 10 bags of pumpkin puree from 6 pumpkins!! Ready to go in the freezer or into Carter's tummy!

One note about picking your pumpkins, don't skimp! These were organic sugar pie pumpkins from Whole Foods. I originally bought cheaper pumpkins, but they didn't have nearly as much flesh. These have almost double the flesh as the ones I previously bought. Ask your produce department to cut open a pumpkin for you (which should be comical to watch) and check the thickness of the flesh. The thicker the flesh, the better the taste!

I've got 6 more pumpkins in the oven, and 5 more crates outside, so if you see orange in my hair or on my shirt, my pants or my shoes, don't be surprised!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Neck and Neck

We have 2 new safe foods! Butternut squash and Venison! In my desperation to find another veggie before the pumpkin season was over, we tried butternut. Carter loves it and has declared it pumpkin with honey. So now we have 2 safe veggies, one of which I can get year round. I have even found the butternut in the freezer section. We have received the venison from family and friends and are so fortunate to have meat for carte that is truly wild. We were also given Pheasant and Goose! Two points for Carter!!
We tried chicken broth again and his system still isn’t ready for grain fed broths. The chickens were soy and corn free, but still fed grain. Carter ended up with upper respiratory issues that are finally starting to resolve themselves. One point for FPIES!
We have almost 300 pounds of pumpkin in our garage waiting to be cut, cleaned, baked and pureed. The produce manager said that he was only able to get them until Christmas last year, so we bough them out. At Carter’s current rate of 2 pumpkins a day, we needed all we could get. I call this one a draw. We were lucky enough to find pumpkin locally, but it’s a lot of work to process that much pumpkin.
Our kitchen is still on lockdown. Carter is no longer allowed to be left alone in the kitchen, even for a minute, even if I think it’s safe. He’s gotten very good at moving very fast and very quietly to get to food. He moved the stool, chair and bar stool over to the pantry and chowed down on some yummy cheese filled crumble coffee cake. All this within 5 minutes. I took this picture after we'd cleaned him all up. He is a sneaky one!
His body hasn’t had sugar in over a month and he didn’t know what to do with it. He ended up with a “Sugar Rage”, screaming and tantruming and completely out of control. Once that subsided, the tummy pains, loose diapers and gas started. It took 5 days for that to clear. He has also discovered the garbage can and sneaks food out of it. The last one was peanut butter. It caused enough of a reaction to move peanut butter to the unsafe list, it bordered on IgE. He had respiratory symptoms within the hour that lasted through the night. The horrible, drowning cough . . . It was organic, natural peanut butter so we won’t be trying peanuts anytime soon! Two points for FPIES. Carter – 2, FPIES – 3.
When Carter is eating what he is supposed to, we’ve noticed a wonderful change; HE TALKS! He talks in full sentences with new words every day and concepts that just blow me away. We asked him the other day what he wanted from Santa. Toys? Books? Movies? No, he wants Santa to come for dinner and sit right by him and he also wants a hug and a kiss from Santa. It truly is a pleasure to hear his little voice and it makes me fight that much harder to make sure our home is safe for him. One point for Carter. Carter – 3, FPIES – 3.
And that really is where we are right now, Carter and FPIES, neck and neck in the war to keep him healthy. Some battles we win and some we lose, but we keep fighting, determined to heal our little boy!