The Necessary Breakdown

img_0595     We are one of “those” parents.  The ones who were told that our two year old was just fine and would catch up on milestones on his own time, only to be confused and worried when things didn’t change.  “Oh, he’s fine!  Some kids just start talking in full sentences.”  That might have been the last time I trusted a pediatrician.  It wasn’t until the tail end of four that Calum was fully diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and the lack in blogging has been entirely due to the upheaval that kindergarten has caused.  For all you parents who have been through a struggling transition to school, I pat you on the back.  You probably handled it better than I.   The heartbreak and experience, as a mother, has lead me to face my denial, unrealistic expectations, and realize that health and cognitive function are not two sides of a coin but rather a complex relationship…like a marriage with a lot of baggage.

The problem with the early years of an autistic child’s life is that you have no clue how he or she will progress (or regress).  Because of the vastness of the spectrum, you can’t take your child and compare them to someone else for wisdom.  Many of us can feel helpless through this, especially when things get challenging.  Having no prior experience or base of knowledge on the subject, I was confident that, through diet, chiropractic, and nutrition, he would get better…almost to the point where he didn’t have autism.  A relatively quick fix if you will.  Someone should have hit me over the head with a reality stick.  Things don’t always go according to plan.  Calum started Kindergarten and I thought he would slowly adjust, progressing fairly well with his extra therapy offered through the school.  When this didn’t happen, I fell apart.

Calum spent his entire first day silent.  The next week was okay but my sweet son started lashing out, first verbally and then physically to classmates and teachers.  I was picking him up from school so often that I panicked every time my phone rang.  I took him to the library one day where he refused to leave.  I gave him warnings, grabbed my struggling one year old, whining three year old and told him and his older brother that we had to go.  I took his hand to lead him out and he was physically pulling away from me, screaming the most heartbreaking words, repetitively out of the door.  “I don’t want you, NO!” “I don’t want you.”  Everyone, including the kind librarian I often talked to, looked at me like I was a terrible, inept parent.  I know he had lost control of himself, and those people didn’t understand Calum’s diagnosis, but I bawled all the way home.  This attitude he had seemed to continue and I saw the awareness in his eyes diminish the longer he went to school.  I cried in the car, I cried at home, and I cried away from my kids, pleading with God in the woods of my property.  My son had lost control and he was regressing at an alarming rate, and there was nothing I thought I could do.

The school Principal, Vice Principal, teacher and therapists met with the unavoidably crying version of myself to discuss options.  Within a month, Calum was moved to an Intensive Intervention Class in a neighboring town.  Whereimg_0454 I was previously crying in despair, I was now crying with joy.  It is night and day, the difference with Calum.  With my level headedness restored, I was able to reflect on what I had experienced.  Why was I so emotional through the process?  I discovered it was because I expected him to adapt like a “neuro-typical” child.  I had not processed that he had different needs before we started school, or that it would take some challenges to find the right fit.  I didn’t accept the term “special needs” when it came to my son, like it somehow defined him in a negative way.  That was a huge disservice to him on my part.  He isn’t less, just different.  When I was pleading with God on one of those dark days, I found these words, I can’t make Calum into someone God doesn’t want him to be.  I was trying to “fix” the situation and make him typical, completely taking away who he is.  It took some breaking down to teach me that very important lesson.  But where, in my efforts to help him, do I go from here?

I had to first deal with my personal guilt.  I trusted the health route so strongly that I felt like I was failing my son.  The GAPS diet wasn’t performing the miracles I expected and his eczema was just getting worse.  It was a daily grind of making sure he was getting the right, time consumingly prepared, foods and vitamins. So it had to be my fault he wasn’t cured by now.  Again, I definitely had to work through some stuff.  First, I needed to accept that Calum’s brain was impaired early on, and then I needed to realize that a healing diet does not heal the body and the brain equally.  One takes longer than the other and has limitations.  Like a marriage where one spouse was abused, unconditional love does not immediately heal the impact of the other spouse’s experience.  But healing can not come without the unconditional love, though the scars remain.  What I was doing was definitely working, I just had to adjust my expectations on how he would heal.

Before the 1950’s, our understanding of the brain was that it was rigid and unable to change.  Now, neuroscientists are trying to define the complex capabilities our brains have in adapting and changing.  For example, physical activity increases the brain’s executive function and can be used as therapy for cognitive disorders.  (C8 Sciences, http://www.c8sciences.com/about/neuroscience/)  Also, by improving the gut lining with diet we reduce its permeability, lowering inflammation, and allow beneficial bacteria to proliferate, strengthening the gut-brain axis which affects mood and anxiety.  Autism is not an unchanging, static condition.  One of the most common motto’s among parents with kids on the spectrum is that it is a lifelong condition.  I think that this is misleading in that yes, Autism will always be a part of your child’s experience, but the decisions we make in the treatment we administer have the capability of directly improving or hurting our children.  So just because he or she is on the spectrum, don’t give up and allow them to eat a diet consisting of only fries and nuggets.  Their health is in our hands.

I needed to be reminded that three years ago Calum was using screeching as communication, moved from place to place on his knees, woke up screaming every night, had frequent diarrhea, and other symptoms of Autism.  Because of diet and chiropractic, he can use practiced sentences (occasionally organic), has no stimming, few mood swings, he sleeps through the night, and he no longer has gastro-intestinal distress (less leaky gut).  This leads me to believe that we can manage the symptoms of ASD.  He still has some inflammation issues with eczema, which I believe is caused by a food allergy.  In fact, there is an alarming amount of kids with ASD who have food allergies; furthering the idea that symptoms could be triggered by food.  Through this process, seeing how Calum compares to other school children his age and the difficulties he faces, I have better focus on who he really is, where we’ve come from, and what he now needs.

What we house in our bodies are integrated, complex, and sensitive systems that are as individually different as snowflakes.  What one child on the spectrum needs is completely different than another.  What nobody needs is the idea that there is nothing we can do to improve the life of an ASD child.  Our job as parents to address all of these needs is so difficult that it can be overwhelming.  Please find support, never stop researching, and never give up the hope that things can get better.

GAPS Faux Hamburger Helper

FullSizeRender-2

GAPS Faux Hamburger Helper

Serves 6

Ingredients (organic/local is best):

3 Medium  Zucchini

1/2-1lb Grass Fed Beef

1 Yellow Onion, chopped

4 Large Carrots, chopped

3 Cloves Garlic, roughly chopped

1 tsp Cumin

2 tsp Oregano

Chicken or Beef Broth

Salt and Pepper

Cooking Fat (grass-fed butter, ghee, olive oil, avocado oil, or lard)

You may also add extra veggies left over in your fridge that need to be cooked before it dissolves into that gross slimy mess

Directions:

  • Saute chopped carrot and onion in a medium sauce pan with one tablespoon of cooking fat over medium heat until carrots are slightly softened.  Add garlic, cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring, and then add enough broth to cover the carrot mixture.  Cover the pot and simmer until everything is very soft, roughly 30-45 minutes.
  • While carrot mixture is cooking, peel or slice the zucchini into very thin strips.  You may use a spiralizer, potato peeler, or plain ol’ knife.  There are two ways to cook zucchini noodles and I will let you pick here.  Either sauté in cooking fat for a few minutes, stirring gently until noodles are slightly soft, or sprinkle noodles with salt, letting the moisture drip out of the zucchini, then boil for 1 minute, immediately rinsing with cold water to stop the cooking process, and then sautéing to finish.  I’m in the lazy camp and sauté until the noodles reach the desired consistency.  It is important to note that if your noodles are thick, you must boil them and for a longer period of time.  Thick noodles require longer cooking times.
  • Place the carrot mixture in a food processor or blender after it has cooled off for a little bit and blend until smooth.  Place back in saucepan.
  • Brown the beef, adding all of the spices at the end, and then dump this into the carrot sauce.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Top the noodles with the sauce and enjoy!

What Can You Eat on the GAPS Diet?

soup-698639_960_720     It can be overwhelming to change your whole dietary lifestyle.  The foods you once relied on as a staple are now gone (unless your staples are broth, kefir, and sauerkraut).  I have created two, printable lists that include what foods you can eat on the the introduction and full diet.  If you don’t know what the intro or full diet are, then I highly recommend reading Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome which outlines the diet and why you have to follow the steps in her specific way.  If you want to try something immediately, for relief or just out of frustration on enduring physical or mental stress, go through the introductory stages eating only the allowed foods.  Stages 1-3 contain only boiled meats and vegetables to give your digestive system a break in order to heal.  Each stage lasts anywhere from a few days to weeks, dependent on whether or not you still have digestive discomfort (or diarrhea).  You may then proceed with the full diet, and go back to the intro if there is a relapse in symptoms.

If you are sensitive to nightshades, or think you may be, omit these from the diet. nightshades This includes the peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant.  Also, nuts are high in phytic acid.  For better digestion, it is preferable to soak them overnight in water and a little bit of fermented vegetable juice, kefir, or whey.  This includes almond flour if you find your digestion is off after eating it.


Gaps Intro Diet

GAPS Full Diet

Why Probiotics are Pivotal to Your Family’s Health

How it started.

image

My husband asked me why we should supplement our children with probiotics if we were supposed to already have bacteria naturally in our gut.  At the time, I didn’t have an answer.  I just had a “gut” feeling that they were pivotal to my children’s health.  I’m the type that, when faced with an unanswered question, will not stop until I have found a reliable answer.  So I googled, for several hours, and then checked out a book at the library.  Thanks to reading Gary Huffnagle’s Probiotics Revolution, I now know the science behind my instinct.  Not only have I learned about how important our micro-biome really is, I have a clearer picture as to what was happening when my kids were sick, and it is fascinating!

Have you ever wondered whether or not a series of health issues were related?  Why your children all of a sudden develop allergies and eczema?  How about the biggest question as a parent, why are my child’s bowel habits abnormal?  Probiotics research answers all of these questions, plus addresses why we are always fatigued, irritable, and malnourished.

To me, and if you are in the same boat here I wouldn’t blame you, it sounds too good to be true.  Like one of those holistic cure-all ruses, a single explanation for the majority of health issues seems improbable. However, previous medical research has generally thought of the bacteria in our bodies as germs on a countertop; more troublesome than useful.  In reality, “our microbes outnumber our own cells ten to one” (Huffnagle, 26).  Their purpose?  To keep our system healthy, in check, and able to heal.  The fact is, for most people, it really is as simple as healing our gut.

Why Probiotics?

“Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease.”
–Hippocrates

Our gut houses microbes; specifically bacteria, parasites, and yeasts.  Don’t let the names of those last two microbes frighten you because they are generally harmless in a healthy digestive tract.  The bacteria can loosely be categorized into two forms, good and bad, and the good bacteria are stronger and capable of battling off the weaker bad bacteria and parasites, and keep the yeasts in check.  However, bacteria need food to survive.  Feed the good bacteria and everything stays in balance, feed the bad bacteria and these microbes will proliferate and cause the gut to inflame and become damaged.  In essence, you really are what you eat!

Your body’s immune system has certain cells, called dendritic cells.  They rush to damaged sites in the gut and identify the culprit, relaying that information to the lymphocytes.  The lymphocytes become helper T cells, instead of becoming regulatory cells, to fight off the culprits that the dendritic cells have identified.  They also call in the soldiers, phagocytes, to travel to the area and release toxins that kill the offending microbes.  These phagocytes can damage the surrounding tissue in an area of combat if the body is not producing enough regulatory cells to tell them to calm down.

Do you see the correlation yet?  Inflammation in the gut leads to the production of helper T cells and the decreased production of regulatory cells. Phagocytes timagehroughout your body can start causing further inflammation and damage without the regulatory cells telling them to calm down.  In a healthy micro-biome, the culprits are caught immediately, regulatory cells come along and calm the inflammatory cells, and there is balance once again.  If the source of damage is not addressed, however, our immune system is thrown out of whack and we have fewer and fewer regulatory cells to quell the inflammation and damage.  Unhealthy gut=unhealthy immune system.

“During the past forty to fifty years, Americans have inadvertently performed a massive experiment by making two significant lifestyle modifications: greatly increasing our use of antibiotics and substantially changing our diet. Together, these changes have produced an invisible epidemic of insufficient probiotics. As a result, the balance of our intestinal microbe population has changed, sometimes with disastrous effects on our immune system–and major consequences for public health” (Huffnagle 40).

“When your gut is unhealthy, it can cause more than just stomach pain, gas, bloating, or diarrhea. Because 60-80% of our immune system is located in our gut, gut imbalances have been linked to hormonal imbalances, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, eczema, rosacea, and other chronic health problems” (Myers).

Though probiotics research is relatively new, the findings are all similar and powerful.  For example, in 2005 Dr. Warren and Marshall won the Nobel Prize for discovering that the bacteria within the gut can both cause and cure stomach ulcers, depending on which type of bacteria predominated.  In the 2006 edition of the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, a full panel of scientists researched and discovered the importance of probiotics in treating and preventing both diarrhea and infection, as well as their ability to improve the immune system.  And now, research is discovering the direct correlation between gut and mental health.

What it means for your family.
image
Our job, as parents, is to provide for our children.  This includes providing healthy meals.  Gut health is pivotal to a thriving child, teenager, and adult.  What you feed your family today determines their future mental and physical wellness.  Processed and sugary foods, as convenient as they are, accomplish the opposite of this goal, contributing to depression, allergies, and longer recovery periods after infections.

Dr. Huffnagle performed an experiment where mice that have been bred without gut microbes were fed the same diet alongside mice with normal digestive tracts.  They then introduced the bacteria from the healthy mice to the microbe free mice.  Huffnagle found that “now that they had a microflora to assist with metabolism, their bodies could absorb more nutrients from their food.  When the scientists looked more closely at what was happening in the gut, they learned that … they broke down certain dietary components that the mice’s own intestinal tracts couldn’t digest.  It was as if the mice had been eating from lunchboxes that contained secret compartments with extra food–and now the microbes had opened those compartments” (Huffnagle 190-191).

Vitamin deficiency has been said to lead to a less effective immune system, neurological disorders and delays, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, etc.  The fact that probiotics can treat and prevent such conditions is valuable, if not necessary for every parent.  For example, there was a study done on the effect of probiotics on children with autism.  The study failed because parents withdrew their kids from the program after seeing such significant progress.  They knew they were in the test group because of the evident changes and didn’t want to switch over to the control group (http://autism-nutrition.com/probiotics-for-autism).

Does this mean that you should start giving your child a probiotic supplement?  Dr. Huffnagle suggests exactly this if your child is currently experiencing illness or allergies.  The most important thing, however, is diet.  You can take probiotics every day and sabotage the progress by ingesting the wrong foods.  Therefore, I suggest a diet rich in fermented foods, like sauerkraut, kefir (my kids love this), and aged cheeses, as well as fibrous vegetables, fruit, and pasture raised, grass-fed meat free from antibiotics and hormones.  Prebiotics, or foods that beneficial bacteria thrive on, are some of these.  Sally Fallon Morell has a wonderful and information rich cookbook called Nourishing Traditions that has helped me navigate the waters of nourishing foods.  I am currently pairing the knowledge of properly preparing food from her cookbook, with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet which Dr. Natasha Campbell-Mcbride adapts in her Gut and Psychology Syndrome book.  Please refer to the Reversing Autism tab on the navigation menu to see Calum’s progress.

Works Cited

Huffnagle, Gary, and Sarah Wernick.  The Probiotics Revolution.  New York: Bantam Dell, 2007.  Print
Myers, Amy.  “10 Signs You Have an Unhealthy Gut + How to Heal It.”   Mind Body Green.  MindBodyGreen, LLC, 17 July 2014.  Web.  4 Feb 2015.

 

 

Which Sweeteners are Okay and Why

When we look back at every birthday party and celebration, baseball game or movie theater experience, there is usually one thing that we all use to heighten our cake-pops-candies-chocolate-food-37537experience, Sugar.  From soda to cake, sugary foods are the epitome of indulgence and enjoyment.  These experiences become markers in our memory, calling us back time and again to feel that happiness once more.  In fact, we have done this so much in our society, that you can not have a celebration without indulging in something sweet.  Birthdays, weddings, graduations, baby showers, even funerals, are all events that would be criticized had they omitted the cake or cookies.

Many who read this will immediately stop and navigate to a different page.  We cling to what we like so much, that when someone tells us that we are making a bad decision, we get angry and rebellious, refusing to see truth in favor of persisting down a life path that is enjoyable, albeit unhealthy.  It is immediate gratification prioritized over responsibility.  So if you have begun to look at your dietary habits, or have already and need to navigate the waters of healthy versus un-healthy sweeteners, this post is for you.

Sugar_2xmacro

The three different forms of simple sugar

     Glucose is our primary sweetener, naturally found in milk, fruit, and other carbohydrate foods.  Our whole body uses it for energy.  It is the safest form of sweetener because it has the lowest tendency to bond with a protein or lipid and cause damage.  This horrific process is called “glycation” and is 10 times more prominent in Fructose and Sucrose molecules.  After Glucose travels through the stomach into the small intestine, it is absorbed through the intestinal wall to be carried to the liver via the blood.  When the liver gets it, Glucose triggers the release of insulin to carry it through the body to be used.  Our brains simply couldn’t function without it.  However, when there is an excess of glucose, our liver will begin to turn it into glycogen (bundles of glucose) and absorb it to save for future use (in between meals or overnight).  When our liver is packed with glycogen, the bundles of sugar are then turned into fatty acids to be stored as fat.  If you are getting your glucose from natural foods, it is very hard to cause this to happen, as the body will use about 80 percent of the glucose for energy. Unless you are taking Glucose tablets, you still need to be careful.  Most foods contain other types of sugar molecules.  (It is also necessary for me to note that Galactose is a milk sugar molecule that I am not going to delve into because the body converts it into Glucose.)

     Sucrose is equal parts glucose and fructose and is most commonly used as table sugar.  Where most people believe it comes primarily from sugar cane, it mostly comes from sugar beets276_Beta_vulgaris_L and is highly refined and processed .  The Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL) are two important factors when thinking about sugars.  For example, table sugar is among the highest on the chart for GI as well as the GL.  This is because table sugar is 99.9% sucrose with no other nutritional value.  Watermelon, on the other hand, is high on the GI and lower on the GL.  So while, the Glycemic Index shows watermelon to be unhealthy, with a high spike in blood sugar, the Glycemic Load more accurately depicts its affect on blood sugar by factoring in how much carbohydrate it has.  Lower carbohydrate means lower blood sugar spike.

     So what happens to the Fructose and Glucose when ingested?  Sucrose is broken down into the monosaccharides Fructose and Glucose in the intestines, then being absorbed through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream.  The bloodstream takes it directly to the liver and begins using the Glucose for Energy while the Fructose goes through a series of changes.  Let’s look a little further into how your body reacts to it.

     Fructose is much harder for our body to process.  It can only be broken down in the liver by enzymes.  Only a small percentage of it is used for energy, the rest being stored as fat.  Our cells simply don’t have the necessary tools to properly use Fructose for energy.  However, when it is equally combined with Glucose, the body utilizes it more effectively.  What is worrisome is the complex series of transformations Fructose undergoes in the liver.  One transformation causes Lipogenesis, in which the liver actually creates fat as triglycerides.  With a high amount of Fructose, the liver can’t process the triglycerides in a timely manner, storing the excess in the liver’s own cells.   When the liver is continually bombarded by all of this fat, it can lead to fatty liver disease where the excess fat has caused scarring and inflammation.  Stage_of_liver_damageThe triglycerides  the liver actually has processed into the bloodstream gets stored throughout the body, raising your LDL (bad cholesterol) and lowering your HDL (good cholesterol).  It doesn’t just pack on to your love handles and ba-donk-a-donk, but on your organs and in your arteries.  Even if you look thin, you can still have fat insides, leading to diabetes and heart disease.  Fructose also increases the amount of uric acid in the blood.  Uric acid creates crystals in the body, lodging in the arteries and joints causing gout, hypertension, and kidney failure.

     Most importantly, Fructose inhibits Leptin, the hormone that tells your brain that it’s full.  Your brain relies on leptin to tell it whether or not to increase metabolism to get rid of excess fat, or slow it down so you don’t starve.  Every fat cell contains leptin, so the more fat cells there are, the more your brain accelerates the metabolism to compensate.  When there is an excess of Fructose, the body is storing fat at an accelerated rate and telling your brain that you are starving and need to eat more.  High fructose corn syrup, processed juices, and table sugar are all causing these symptoms, as well as insulin resistance, mood swings, cellular and DNA damage, etc.maxresdefault

     Now lets get to sugars’ effect on the micro-biome.  Your gut is home to billions of bacteria, yeasts, parasites, and viruses.  It is imperative to your immune function to keep it in balance.  If you would like to learn more about the micro-biome, click here.  Sugar feeds the bad bacteria and yeasts, causing them to proliferate and damage the gut lining.  When our gut is out of balance, this is called Gut Dysbiosis.  It impairs our ability to absorb vitamins and nutrients, impairs cognitive function, and leads to learning disabilities and auto-immune conditions.  Doctors are now linking depression Fatmouseand mood disorders directly to the patient’s gut health.  Scientific experiments have also shown artificial sweeteners to have an equal, if not worse effect on the gut and body, causing diabetes and weight gain through an alteration of gut flora.anatomy-160524_960_720

     When your gut lining is healthy, small amounts of sugar are handled easily.  Probiotics (the good bacteria) are actually stronger than bad bacteria and control their numbers with ease, as long as everything is in balance.

So what sweeteners can you eat?

     Stevia has virtually no effect on your sugar levels, is a big 0 on the Glycemic Index, helps your cholesterol and insulin levels, and is made from the stevia plant.  Just be sure there aren’t any toxic fillers or additives in the mix.

     Raw honey contains enzymes that have already broken the Sucrose down into the easily absorbable Glucose and Fructose, and contains vitamins and minerals that help your body process it more smoothly and slowly, avoiding the rapid Glycemic spike that the nutrient devoid table sugar causes.

     My list stops here, as maple syrup and agave both have more serious downsides to digestion.  Once my family’s gut flora is more stable, we may include maple syrup to a small degree, but for now are steering clear.  I hope this article has answered some burning questions and helped steer many of you to a healthier road ahead.

Don’t Pull That Weed! Lamb’s Quarters and Toxin Removal

IMG_0301I grew up in the suburbs, where the amount of land around your rented house or apartment is enough for a dog to pee on, but not much more.  Now, with two acres, I have a gap in knowledge that I’m fast trying to close.  I’ve started a wonderful garden where I go to when my four kids have pushed too many buttons.  It plays a double role as stress reliever and stress bringer, from the massive amount of weeds growing after improperly preparing the garden soil.  There is just not enough time to pull them all, so they co-exist with my vegetables.

Curiosity getting the best of me, I wanted to know what these weeds were, and if they had any potential uses.  Our refrigerator has been getting awfully bright and spacious from sticking to a small grocery budget.  Pesticide free and pastured food is more expensive, and my kids are constantly hungry, so I wanted to know what I could harvest from the land.  It’s also a good thing to know in case of emergency.

Aside from ragweed, this powdery green weed was popping up everywhere.  I finally identified it as Lamb’s Quarters.  If you see them in your yard, field, or garden, it means 6H-Lambs-quarteryou have very healthy soil.  Lamb’s Quarters is an exceptionally nutrient dense weed, if we should still call it that.  Since we have industrialized our food system, we have lost the art of identifying medicinal and healthful, wild plants free for the eating.  This is what our ancestors have always done.  They knew when certain things grew, when to eat them, and how to prepare them.  They made tinctures and poultices, teas and pastes that promoted healing and wellness.  Now we just buy a vitamin or smoothie at the grocery store.  Whatever ingredients they’ve chosen has been factory raised and processed to sit on a shelf for, well, we can’t say how long.  Fresh is best, and you can’t get any fresher than harvesting it right from your own property.  People are still off-put by how prolific Lamb’s Quarters is.  Obviously they have a full fridge because I see it as a whole bunch of free food!

Here are the health benefits of Lamb’s Quarters.

Nutrition (per half cup)
Lambs quarter seeds

Protein 19.6 grams
Fat 4.2 grams
Carbos 57.7 grams
Fiber 27.1 grams
Calcium 1036 mg
Potassium 1687 mg
Niacin 3800 ug
Iron 64 mg

Lambs quarter Shoots
Protein 3.5 g
Carbos 5.5 g
Calcium 324 mg
Potassium 684 mg
Beta Carotene 3800 ug
Niacin 1000 ug
Iron 1.5 mg

(http://wildblessings.com/plants/lambs-quarter/)

Lamb’s Quarters is high in chlorophyll … “According to research published in the Global Advanced Research Journal of Environmental Science and Toxicology, chlorophyll has a porphyrin ring that functions as a natural chelating agent. Additionally, ‘[t]he middle of chlorophyll is magnesium,’ writes the authors, ‘which is freed under acidic conditions, allowing other heavy metals to bind in its place.'” (http://www.naturalnews.com/049882_chlorophyll_chelating_agent_blood_builder.html)

Many diseases are now linked to having an excess of metals stored in brain tissue.  Alzheimers, Autism, Lou-Gehrig’s Disease, etc. have all implicated a system that is taxed by excess toxins.  Eating a clean diet and including ingredients that help purify the body can both prevent and improve such conditions.  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/07/22/toxic-metals-the-reason-you-still-feel-sick.aspx.  http://www.lifeextensionvitamins.com/amlatscleral.html

Lamb’s Quarters is high in vitamins A, C (one cup of greens is equal to 96% of your recommended daily value), B complex, enzymes, trace minerals, and 8 amino acids that our body can’t produce on its own.  When chewed, it can be applied to insect bites, scrapes, and sunburn and can even be applied to aching joints.  The leaves also reduce inflammation and have a high iron content, which increases blood count and circulation in the body.

“A tea of the leaves is beneficial for diarrhea, internal inflammation, stomach aches, and loss of appetite. The tea can also be used as a wash to heal skin irritations and other external complaints. Soaking the body in bathwater with lambsquarter tea added will support skin health by toning and tightening the tissues.”

The roots can be used to make soaps, being high in saponin.  “Saponin also creates a cleansing and laxative effect in the body when drunk as a tea. Lambsquarter root tea is helpful for removing excesses from the body by the way of assisting elimination.”  http://www.chelseagreen.com/blogs/use-lambsquarter-from-root-to-seed/

Lamb’s Quarters Recipes can also be found on Chelsea Green’s blog above.

I currently am drying out a bundle to add them to dishes through the winter.

One last note.  If you pick up what looks like Lamb’s Quarters, crush a leaf.  If it smells awful, than it is a look-alike called nettle leaf goosefoot.  The smell is the giveaway.  While not deadly, it has a higher amount of oxalic acid and nitrates in unsafe conditions which can cause kidney problems.  Cooking removes oxalic acid, so if you are still worried about there being Lamb’s Quarters, give it a good steam or quick sauté and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Chiropractic a Joke? An In-Depth Look at Chiropractic Therapy and it’s Affect on Autism

spine-257870_960_720When thinking of chiropractic therapy, many people immediately become squeamish, distrustful, or just ambivalent.  “I can’t stand the sound my neck makes,” “I will never go to a chiropractor again,” or “I don’t need to see one,” are all common phrases on the topic.  In our culture’s view, it sits on a fine line between medically sound and expensively unreliable.  Those who support it are usually those in the field, and everything else you read are usually people sharing horror stories.  So where did chiropractic therapy come from and what does the research say about it?

“According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition, chiropractic is ‘a health care profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system, and the effects of these disorders on general health’. Chiropractic treatment procedures emphasize the manual techniques, including joint adjustment and/or manipulation, with a specific focus on subluxation.”  (Salehi, Alireza, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4591574/).  Wikipedia’s definition of subluxation “implies the presence of an incomplete or partial dislocation of a joint or organ.”  Chiropractic focuses heavily on the spine because the spine is the highway our central nervous system uses to send signals to the body.  When a vertebrae shifts out of alignment, it can cause stress that directly affects the areas receiving signals specific to that area of the spine.

Hippocrates_rubens     Spinal manipulation can be traced back to before the time of Hippocrates.  Interestingly enough, this famous doctor, author, and philosopher distrusted the medical system of his time, the Cnidan School of Medicine, because they treated only the part of the body that was negatively affected.  Sound familiar?  Hippocrates was a huge proponent of spinal manipulation and even created the inversion table to cure his patients of scoliosis.  He has penned many of the famous quotes we have on health today, such as “Your foods shall be your ‘remedies,’ and your ‘remedies’ shall be your foods,” or “get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases.”

Andrew_Taylor_Still_1914

Andrew Still 1914

DD Palmer

DD Palmer

It wasn’t until Daniel David Palmer that a scientific rational was attached to the practice in 1897.  This is where the word Chiropractic, or “done by hand” in greek, became attached to the application of

spinal manipulation.  It immediately caused discord being nearly identical to Andrew Still’s principals of Osteopathy; a whole body treatment using musculoskeletal manipulations.  So in walks this bearded, self-imposed specialist of Osteopathic-based medicine with a staunch belief in the Innate power of the body and the unseen healing forces within us.  It’s like the kid sitting behind you in grade school who received high praise for the work he just copied by looking over your shoulder.   So what did the Osteopathic community do?  They licensed their practice and began a legal war against chiropractors for, guess what?  For practicing medicine without a license.

What a rough beginning, and it didn’t get easier through the years.  DD Palmer’s standpoint on spinal manipulation was indeed unique.  He believed that God created our bodies with innate healing powers.  That we had something intangible inside of us that helped with healing.  Quackery, most people would call it, yet science is now supporting his position.  DD Palmer was treating the body as a whole, where other physicians were treating symptoms.  From newly discovered research on the micro biome and how our bacteria influences our brain, we are beginning to understand that nearly every system in our body is integrated.  And that intangible healing power? Vanuatu-humans-of-vanuatu-24 Cancer research proves that an anti-stress lifestyle full of happiness and laughter increases the chance of remission, if not curing it entirely.  http://healmindbody.com/spontaneous-remission-of-cancer/.

 

In all of the scholarly articles on Chiropractic, we find that the results are minimal when it comes to improving health conditions.  This is consistent.  It shouldn’t make you doubt the therapy, however, because there are very few who follow the entire treatment plan.  When you see a chiropractor, you are x-rayed and scanned to see where your subluxations and areas of muscle spasms reside.  Once the problems are discovered, a treatment plan is written up where you will visit the chiropractor at least twice a week for a month or two, and then once a week.  So many people are unprepared for this extensive time and financial commitment.  It’s not a con people, I promise.  When you have an area of the spine that has been out of place, or damaged, the muscles have changed with it.  If you aren’t consistently putting it back in place, it will fall back to it’s wayward place.  It’s like trying to sleep on half of the comfortable body indentation in your bed.  You end up rolling right back into that pocket.

Another reason for failed results in how chiropractic heals the body, is that we are only treating the symptoms and not trying for a cure.  You can continually go to the chiropractor, but if you aren’t engaging in exercise and eating healthy, you won’t see results.  Eating a daily diet with sugar and carbs will wreak havoc on your gut lining and allow for pathogens to enter your blood stream, causing inflammatory diseases and impaired immune function.  Every co-pay or full chiropractic adjustment fee will be for a temporary fix, like paying rent for a house you live in once a month.  There are also chiropractors out there who are in it for the day job, not focusing on true healing techniques to better your life.  Here is a list of what to look for in a chiropractor, https://www.angieslist.com/articles/tips-find-best-chiropractor.htm.

A surprising find, among the research, is the amount of developmental disabilities that are improved with chiropractic.  I was ready to find the same, minimally conclusive evidence as before but I was blown away, and excited.  A study comprising of 157 children from 6-13 with severe developmental delays and other learning disabilities was made to research the benefits of a multi modal chiropractic therapy.  Every one of the 157 children “showed improvements in the 8 psychometric tests and 20 areas of cognitive function compared with their values before treatment. Their ability to concentrate, maintain focus and attention, and control impulsivity and their performance at home and school improved.” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19836603)

Another “trial on autism involved 14 children and concluded that the clinical improvement of autistic children under full spine chiropractic adjustment can be enhanced four fold and may reach to complete cure if the technique of adjustment is shifted to upper cervical.” (http://chiromt.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1746-1340-16-11).  More support for neural improvement is a study just published which “shows that when we adjust the spine, we significantly increase activity in the prefrontal cortex. ‘The study showed a change in brain function by almost 20% on average’. The prefrontal cortex is the area in the brain where higher learning and cognition happens.” (http://circleofdocs.com/without-a-doubt-chiropractic-research-shows-adjusting-the-subluxated-spine-changes-brain-function/)

This is great news for developmental delays and disabilities!  There are still more benefits I have not covered, but I will leave that for another day.  This information was intended to root out the reasons for our distrust in chiropractic therapy.  The main reason being our blindly trusted medical system.  We have accumulated so much knowledge in the past century that, as Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride explains it in her book Gut and Psychology Syndrome, “No doctor in the world can possibly know it all in detail, so specializing allows doctors to concentrate on a particular area of knowledge, to learn it thoroughly and to become an expert in that area.”  We are in an unprecedented situation where we are so proficient in treating the symptoms people are having, that we have lost the practice of taking care of the whole body.  With the severe lack in nutritional training and treatment developed without the new understanding of gut bacteria’s influence on immune and psychological function, more and more people are getting sick.  We have lost the ancient wisdom of healing the body from within.  Let’s start taking a more functional approach to healing.

IMG_2120Here’s a shout out to my amazing chiropractors who were the first people to help us with Calum.  It was the first time we have ever seen an improvement in his symptoms (night time screaming, screeching, clumsiness, irritable bowels, etc.) Also, after the very first adjustment, Calum was able to jump with two feet for the very first time. Not only did they help him, they helped all of us.  Dr. Stefanie was even there for the birth of our fourth child, for support and to adjust myself and our newborn son.  So if you are in the Charlotte area, these people are family.

Adjusting the World Chiropractic

Adjustingtheworld.com

 

Sources:

www.thejoint.com/arizona/peoria/lake-pleasant-pavilion-48029/did-they-have-chiropractics-in-ancient-greece

http://www.denverback.com/hippocrates-and-chiropractic-care/

http://www.azquotes.com/quote/873513

http://www.acatoday.org/About/History-of-Chiropractic

Peanut Butter Fat Bombs

 

IMG_0177

 

     No one understands the plight of having a sweet tooth and no sweets more than I do.  Yes, sugar cravings are kicked in the tuckus on this diet, but I still miss those really horrible but oh so satisfying desserts.  It’s an addiction and nothing less.  Sugar has been found to be as addictive, if not significantly more, than cocaine.  So what do we do when we are severely restricted on the GAPS diet to satisfy cravings?  Fat bombs!

     Tell anyone what you are eating and they will almost always ask, what are fat bombs?  The looks are what get me the most.  The name is very literal, bombs of fat.  Whereas we would have previously thought this was the most unhealthy thing on the planet, we now know how good clean fat is for our body.  Not only do clean fats give us a good source of energy, they help boost the metabolism and get rid of fat!  Go figure.

     My kids plead for these on an hourly basis and I don’t ever have to feel bad about indulging in them.  They are GAPS legal from the third stage of the intro all the way to the full diet.  Don’t forget to use all organic ingredients.  For those of you who feel that you cannot afford organic, most of you have an area in budgeting that can be reduced.  There are also local farms who offer better prices and you would be boosting your local economy.  Do a google search for organic farms in your county.  Organic is pivotal as glyphosate (round-up) has been proven to be carcinogenic and is banned in almost every other country other than our own.  

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw, unfiltered coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup organic nut butter
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey

Directions:

Melt coconut oil in saucepan or microwave (Dr. Campbell-McBride is completely against microwaves and I have to admit that I cheat here sometimes)

Add coconut oil, peanut butter, and honey to a food processor or blender (or mix it by hand) until smooth and creamy.

Pour mixture into ice cube molds of your choosing

Store in freezer

It is that easy!  You can also adjust the mixture, use chunky nut butter, or add ingredients to your preference.  I use a silicone ice cube tray with little bon bon shaped holes and flexible bottoms so that I can flip the tray over and push down on the base  to pop each one out.  It’s the easiest way to do it.  Otherwise, it will be near impossible to get them out!  I have done it in small mixing bowls and popping them out with a butter knife.  The plus side to those were they were shaped like large reese cups.  If you have problems digesting fats, I would suggest starting with one a day and moving up from there.  They are perfect if you are still suffering from blood sugar swings on the intro diet.

GAPS Legal Kale Chips

I never believed I could make kale chips without burning them or turning them soggy.  After some recipe research and practice, lo and behold, the perfect kale chip!

IMG_0279

Not only are they beautifully green, but the kids devour them.  Kale is high in iron, B vitamins, magnesium, folate, potassium, and calcium to name a few.  Most of us choose other foods over leafy greens, so this is a great way to get it into our, and our kids’ diet.

Kale Chips

Ingredients:

1 Bunch Kale

1 Tablespoon Coconut oil, melted and at slightly cooled

sea salt (or any naturally occurring salt of your choice)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees fahrenheit.

2. Rinse kale and pat dry or spin thoroughly in a salad spinner.  Make sure they are dry before baking as moisture will make them soggy.

IMG_0263

3. Rinse kale and pat dry or spin thoroughly in a salad spinner.  Make sure they are dry before baking as moisture will make them soggy.

FullSizeRender-3

4. Tear into chip size pieces.  They won’t shrink, so don’t oversize them for this.

5. Put coconut oil into a mixing bowl and dump in the kale, gently turning and rubbing until the leaves are coated thinly, and evenly.  You don’t want them to be sopping wet with oil either.

FullSizeRender-26. Lay on a baking tray evenly, trying not to overlap.  Sprinkle with salt or seasoning of your choice.

7. Bake at 250 for 25 to 30 minutes, until crispy.  They will sound like paper when you move them.  Last, but not least, don’t leave them on the counter.  Little hands will empty the bowl in what seems like seconds, leaving only green crumbs too tiny to eat.

The Site Change

For everyone following this blog, I apologize for some abrupt changes.  My son was diagnosed with autism several months ago and we have dived headfirst intoIMG_0082 a diet protocol called GAPS.  Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s diet protocol is meant to “heal and seal the gut lining” and has been documented to reverse the symptoms of disorders like autism, schizophrenia, depression, as well as physical disorders stemming from auto-immune impairment.  This is not a turn around from our purpose, however.  This diet protocol is strict in organic, pastured, grass fed foods, as well as omitting all grains, additives, and processed foods.  I will still be blogging and posting the link up on my new website, healthandhonesty.com.  It’s time to uncover the truth about real healing don’t you think?