Life is so crazy when you have 4 kiddos. I mean, life is crazy when you have any kiddos, but when you have 4 you seem to get a special pass to crazy town. Not that we don’t love it, but ya know, it does get a bit noisy & then… there’s the laundry.
I promise I won’t do this for all of my kid’s birthdays but since a lot of you seem to really be connected to Arthur’s story, I thought I’d share with you that today is his 2nd birthday & he’s doing amazingly well. I also thought I’d give you some new info & insight we’ve gotten into the GAPS protocol with him. So many of you email me daily telling me your own stories of frustration, success & disappointment with your own children’s issues & my hopes in telling our story with Arthur is that you can draw some inspiration & ideas. I know in the early stages of our own GAPS journey, when I was so desperately scouring the internet for success stories or stories of hope, any tiny nugget of another baby’s story would give me more & more reassurance so I’m here to tell you – we certainly have a success story (even with bumps in the road).
As of now, Arthur is still following the GAPS protocol (for the most part). I’ve been working with a holistic doctor & nutritionist to help Arthur recover from his auto immune (AI) issues. We have had ups & downs & he’s had occasional flare ups. To keep this concise I’ll get straight to it & tell you simply what we’ve learned over the past 11 months on GAPS.
Happy Birthday to our GAPS baby
Flare ups aren’t the end of the world – Whenever Arthur would have an AI reaction I would freak out. I would throw my hands in the air, get discouraged & almost be embarrassed to take him out of the house. I was scared of what people would think. Wasn’t I doing this remarkable, amazing diet? Wasn’t he supposed to be magically healed? The truth just isn’t that black & white. Yes, he is doing a remarkable program. But he’s also a very sensitive, complicated little body. I have learned, above all, that even things that are good for an average person simply aren’t good for him. But the only way to learn what those things are is to give them to him & see what happens. It isn’t the end of the world, it’s simply another step on the long walk. Another piece of the puzzle. So, it’s ok if he has a flare up now. I know how to use those signs as direction instead of using them as a failure. There is never failure in healing our children, only hills & valleys that all lead to wellness.
There’s a ton of stuff he simply cannot eat – So, in case you’re new to this story, Arthur is very sensitive to lots of food. There are some things he can have a little bit of (banana) without causing reaction & there’s some things he can’t have at all (nuts). These aren’t even allergies (for the record, eggplant is his only allergy). They are simply sensitivities or hyper sensitivities. Unfortunately, he has a long list of ‘can’t have’ foods which has forced us to get creative. It’s also forced us to be very realistic about what he eats – because people, he eats a lot. After some consultation with his nutritionist we’ve decided to start giving him some GAPS illegal vegetables (gasp!) but hear me out before you exit out of this screen or kick me out of the GAPS club. Because of the laundry (or grocery) list of foods he cannot eat we needed to be able to give him some more variety of foods. He cannot tolerate any nuts, seeds or coconut. We’ve also discovered he has a nightshade sensitivity so now gone are all peppers (sweet bell peps were a fav snack of his, BTW), paprika, chili powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon… God, this list could go on but it’s depressing… Since this discovery it’s forced us to really pick the real problems foods & frankly, while I’m not a doctor, I just didn’t feel that starchy vegetables were more dangerous to him than nightshades. Remember, I’m big on following your intuition.
According to GAPS he isn’t to have any starchy carbs such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, etc. My best understanding of this is that his digestive system, according to GAPS, simply isn’t able to tolerate these items. We’ve decided that he can & he in fact does tolerate sweet potatoes just fine so he’s now eating those (with gusto, I might add!). Eventually, we will probably add in some other illegal new veggies, just because I’m a rule breaker & like to do things like that. Boom!
Being restrictive sucks – Can I get an amen? I am beyond grateful for GAPS & the knowledge we have gained from it. But man, sometimes I can’t help but get a little bummed out about the foods we have to keep him from. I know some of you have it much, much worse. There are some of you who can’t tolerate eggs, dairy, etc. We would really be up a creek if I added those things to his list so I guess there’s a bright side, right!
There’s not one right answer – Unfortunately, sometimes I have this habit of wanting something to work so badly that I will continue to follow someone’s advice, foregoing my own instincts. I’m telling you this, in case maybe you do the same thing. When we visited with the nutritionist they had wanted us to switch Arthur from his beloved Fermented Cod Liver Oil to a different oil. They gave us an oil that was based in Sunflower/Safflower/Flax seed. I immediately had hesitations bc of his sensitivity to nuts but trusted that they knew what would work for him. I wanted to believe they had the answers. I went in with the mindset of, Hey guys, look. I’m ready to do the work. You tell me what to do to fix him & I’ll do it. Just give me the answers. Unfortunately, there isn’t one right answer for everyone. We noticed when we started adding the seed oil supplement in, he always seemed to stay at a level of inflammation. It wasn’t so bad he was flared all the time but it seemed to keep him at a low level of inflammation that the slightest thing would tip him over into a full blown flare. Then we decided to give him some tahini dressing. I wasn’t intending to do this, but in a way it was holding his hand to the fire. He had a terrible reaction to it & we knew that the seed oil probably wasn’t the best thing for him to take so we switched him back to his FCLO.
Sometimes you need to consult – We finally made the decision in January to seek a professional’s advice on Arthur. We found a holistic doctor & nutritionist to work with so they could further advise on us how to handle our issue. It was expensive. We paid out of pocket & left their office with hundreds of dollars in supplements. Were the supplements a magical cure? Not in our case but they are hopefully helping him to recover more quickly. We were also told that unfortunately, situations like his just take time & hopefully he will grow out of a lot of his issues. That is both reassuring & frustrating. I’m also telling you this because I think it’s helpful to know at some point you need to sometimes seek outside advice from an actual professional. I am not a professional but I am happy to relay stories from our experiences all day long. I’m mentioning this simply because so many of you contact me & honestly, I feel bad telling you that I can’t call you & answer your questions or help diagnose your child. I wish I could but I just can’t. I can’t because I’m not a professional medical expert. I’m simply a professional mom.
Want to see where it all started? Read all about My GAPS baby.