The Role of Traditional Diets in Healing.

Have you ever found yourself thinking about something and wondered how you got there? Well that is what its like on the internet for me nowdays.  i find myself on a page, not knowing how I arrived there as I have leapfrogged from one site to another.  Its sort of like taking a walk in the bush – around this tree, over that log, around that rock… then suddenly you come across something wonderful.
This is one of those wonderful things.  It is an article I found on Nourishing Hope.  It is a great introduction to the biomedical approach which can be applied to many chronic conditions.

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Filed under Bio Med, Corn Free (CF), Dairy Free (DF), Gluten Free (GF), Grain Free, Nuts, Soy Free (SF)

I’ve been bad…

… I haven’t listed out dinners for almost 2 weeks.

I know this as I have each nights dinner scrawled on my fridge blackboard. Its actually been quite enlightening as it shows how much variation there can be.

So here we go:

  • Pork chops with vegetables
  • Lamb Steak with salad and homemade chips
  • Apricot chicken with rice and beans
  • Lamb Rissoles with vegetables
  • Roast chicken with roasted potato, pumpkin, beetroot and steamed beans
  • Tempura Fish and homemade chips
  • Pork stirfry with fried rice
  • Pork sausages with fried potato and peas (this was a Dad creation as I was attending a lecture)
  • Chicken Korma curry with rice and peas
  • Pork Sausages – a slack night where this was all we felt like – no veges.
  • Lamb casserole made with chops, potato, pumpkin and carrot and served with a side of Kale and red cabbage sautéed with bacon and garlic until wilted.
  • Lamb spaghetti Bolognese with rice pasta for our son and rice and corn pasta for the rest of us.
  • Pumpkin soup made with stock made from the carcase of the roast chickenwith GFDFCFSF bread rolls
  • Devilled Sausages with mashed potato and peas

Wow, it really has been a while!

I’m still not having success with baking though. Those ‘yummy’ fig and honey muffins didn’t turn out very well.  My raspberry and apple variation sounded yummy but tasted tart and its pinky brown colour made them look like half cooked rissoles. Next I made it to the recipe but I didn’t like the gritty texture of the figs.  My mum said she often made it with sultanas as she didn’t like the texture of the figs either. Dates or apricots might work well too.

I have soaked some nuts this week so our son can have his much adored cashews without it upsetting him. I’m so glad I asked my mum if I could have her dehydrator.  I put the nuts in to soak in the morning, drain whilst I’m preparing dinner, put on to dry out over night in the dehydrator and in the morning they are done.  From these I will make my own nut flours as I think I should soak the nuts first before grinding into flour so as not to upset our sons stomach as he obviously can’t digest unsoaked nuts.  I will do a post about the benefits of soaking nuts soon.

Coconut flour is also on my radar. I can buy organic dessicated coconut and I want to try making coconut milk with it and using the left over pulp to grind into flour.  I will buy a bag of commercial coconut flour, which apparently is defatted, to compare it with.  Hopefully they are similar and I can use this possible waste product in my baking. Its very low GI and high in fibre, so a very healthy baking ingredient.

Fortunately I have a week with my mum soon so we can experiment. She has already been trying out recipes for me and my dad says the carrot cake she made was quite good.  I can’t wait.  Lets just hope the Chilean volcanic ash cloud doesn’t disrupt our travel plans.


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Always learning

Bah – I new I wouldnt’ be good at blogging!  I have to apologise for the lack of photos. I know they make a blog much more interesting to read.  Plain text is not very interesting to read, but I appreciate you sticking with me whilst I organise myself.

Life has been a bit hectic around here between sickness and getting ready for a trip away to my brothers wedding in less than 2 weeks.

On the weekend I attended a lecture given by two very well respected doctors on the field of bio medicine.  I’m still trying to absorb the information presented and when I do I will do summary on here.  One thing that was mentioned and I’ve been doing some googling on since the lecture was removing all grains from the diet – not just gluten containing grains and corn but ALL grains. This along with the mantra’s of “Heal the gut, heal the child” and Hippocarates, “All disease begins in the gut”, really drove home to me the importance of my job of feeding my family.

At first I thought, ‘how can you do that and still have a diet resembling something normal?’. With a little googling and a phone call to my mum, I have what sounds like a yummy fig and honey muffins and a grain free baking book in my cart. I’ll be trialling this recipe today with a bit of a twist. Cross your fingers for a success. I’d recently also heard of crumbing fish in almond meal which was apparently very yummy, so I’ll try some nut crusted nuggets today too.

I haven’t discussed going grain free with our doctor as yet, even though she was also at the lecture. It does seem to take some confusion out of the gluten free baking maze though as removes some of the gluten free options.  I found myself getting paralyzed by all the options and baking mix recipes I’d found.  To go grain free and remove sorghum and rice from the options, actually makes it easier in my opinion. It basically leaves nut flours,bean flours, quinoa flour, potato and tapioca starches.  I still have some sorghum and rice flour here so I will use that up whilst I get myself organised for grain free and going away. We visit our doctor again a few days after we are back from our holiday so I will discuss  a completely grain free diet with her before going hard core. The only issue I see with using so many nuts though is that our son has a bowel reaction to nuts so they need to be soaked and dehydrated first to kill the enzymes causing this reaction, then ground into a flour or meal. Just another layer of complexity to deal with but it will be worth it – I know it will.



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Post appointment Summary – May 2011

Sorry, I should have done this a week ago.

Our Dr had the results of the barrage of blood tests we had done.  Some of the results they returned included confirming the thoughts of low vitamin A and zinc, high copper and a double blockage at the MeTHFR position on his methylation cycle (once I get my head around it, I will do a post about this to explain to both of us) .  Celiac disease was also  ruled out.  Our doctor was surprised that he had vitamin D levels within the normal range.  I’m sure there were more but I can’t think of them right now.

Once we had reviewed these blood tests we moved onto the areas that I felt needed help.  Fortunately, I’d thought about this in advance and made a list to take with me.  The areas that I had written downs were;

  • bedwetting,
  • not going to bed until late ( just wanting to go go go and not wind down),
  • eczema flare up badly around the backs of knees, elbows and neck,
  • task focussing (Kinder mentioned that its difficult to get him to stay focussed on a task such as cutting out)
  • pencil grip (although he can manipulate lego with quite a lot of ease),
  • lolling, leaning and laying about ( he is always leaning on things and prefers to lay on the floor than sit. As a baby when asleep we called him our ‘floppy baby’.  Now I think about it maybe this is also tied into his not sitting, crawling an walking until much later than most babies at -I think- 9,11 and 13 months respectively)
  • speech (much improved already but a long way to go)
I do love how our Dr conducts our appointments by writing down notes as we speak and then copies them so we each have a copy.  This makes it so much easier to review the notes later.  So how are we addressing each of these issues?
One of the first things is to remove soy and corn from his diet in addition to gluten and dairy. As he also seems to have an issue with the digestion of nuts (a few seems to be ok but lots will cause diarrhoea).  This may all be linked to sensitivity to oxylates, which is something to investigate later on.
So going in the same order as above;
  • bedwetting – magnesium brought up to 400mg per day
  • not going to bed until late – increase Cod Liver Oil to 6mL per day
  • eczema flare up – change zinc sulfate supplement to  picolinate  as a compounded 1/2 strength primer which also contains vitamin B6 and P5P
  • task focussing – add the amino acid Tyrosine 500mg per day
That leave the last 3 areas
  • pencil grip
  • lolling, leaning and laying about
  • speech
As our son has a double blockage at MeTHFR, the usual protocol is to supplement with methyl B12 injections. This will help his speech and pencil grip as (I believe) it helps regenerate the nerves. There has been research though that in some patients, methyl folate has a better result. The absence or presence of chemical markers in a urine test will show the best supplement to use.  This organic acid profile will also show any markers which may also point to problems with mitochondrial function. Its the mitochondrial function which is behind fine motor skills and energy levels.  The mitochondrial are the power stations of the body within each cell. Additionally it will show markers indicating gut bacteria which has an impact on cognition.  Expensive little test at $Au400 but very much worth it.
Once his vitamin A levels improve, there is also Bethanacol which also acts on the speech pathways with some kids going from low language to speaking in sentences in an hour.  It just goes to show that its not lack of ability or intelligence in many kids but just lack of the complete bio chemical pathways.
So right now we have implemented the changes as noted above and are waiting on these results and hoping they are back before our next appointment.  As our son hasn’t replaced milk with another calcium drink, we have also supplemented in calcium at 600mg per day.
I really want to move onto the methyl b12/folate supplementation as from what I read, this is the thing that really makes a huge difference.
We have already seen changes in the last week and a half.  His eczema is clearing, his speech is better.  He is able to express his thoughts.  He is coming out with multiple sentences up to 10 words long.  He has come such a long way in such a short time.  4 months ago, we were lucky to get a disjointed 6 word sentence in reply to a leading question.  That was the best language he could express.  Now you can hear his thoughts coming out.  The night before last I was sitting in bed with him and using our new netbook.  He looked at me and said “We have 4 computers”, in a tone that really expressed that he had been thinking about it. He is expressing observation, feelings, putting concepts together. I wonder if his speech therapist will notice any difference at our next appointment on Friday. Its just so encouraging so see how far he has come already and how much potential is just under the surface but needing the right help to get it out.
So in summary, our current protocol is;
  • gluten,dairy, soy,corn free
  • CLO 6mL/day
  • Ca 600mg/day
  • Probiotic (SacroB) 1/day
  • Magnesium gycinate 400mg/day
  • 1/2 strength primer 1/day
  • tyrosine 500mg/day
CLO in medicine cup
Probiotic, magnesium, primer in apple juice
Calcium as a soft chewable capsule
Tyrosine mixed into margarine on a rice cake.  I do want to find a better ‘treat’ to mix this into such as coconut ice.
Once again, this is a medical protocol prescribed for our sons specific medical condition.  This is not generic advice and should not be taken as medical advice.  Please consult your doctor or go to the Interesting Links page to find a Bio Medicine practitioner.

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Meals – a week in review

Just a quick post to list our meals for the week.

  • Buckwheat and Sorghum Pancakes ( a lazy night)
  • Souvlaki
  • Apricot Chicken with rice and green beans
  • Lamb and pork steaks with Rice Salad
  • Tempura fish with homemake chips and salad
  • Shepherd pie with peas
  • Turkey Meatballs with Pasta (rice pasta for our son and rice and corn for the rest of us – cooked separately)

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Meals and Baking – a week in review

A quick post to note what we’ve been eating this week.  I hope you note that there are less sausages this week!

  • Lamb Curry with rice, peas and green beans
  • Sweet and Sour Pork with rice. Homemade sauce
  • Chicken Fillet with potato, peas and green beans
  • Lamb hamburgers on gluten free french bread rolls (I’ll be making these again, so I’ll have pics and the recipe up soon)
  • Sausages with potato, peas and green beans
  • Fried Rice
Baking hit and miss this week.
  • Gluten free vegan red velvet muffins – fail
  • Rice crackers – fail
  • Lemon butter – success
  • Meringues – success

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Pre Appointment Review – May 2011 – 11 Weeks with BioMedicine

Our third Biomed appointment is tomorrow so I thought I’d do a  post before each one on where our son is at.  It will be a good way not only to consolidate my thoughts before the appointment but also review progress made between appointments.

Before our first appointment our son had issues with focus, constipation, fussy eating (taste and texture), speech, eyecontact, excema, low muscle tone and odd limb positioning, looking out the sides of his eyes, short term memory, responsiveness and bed wetting to name things off the top of my head. There were probably other things too that I can’t remember now. Our first appointment was on the 8th of March 2011.

Up until the second appointment we only went dairy free and supplemented with Cod Liver Oil, zinc and Sacro B probiotic and Epsom salt baths.  Most supplements are practitioner prescription ones as they are pure and not combined with other things.

Between the first and second appointments he made great advancements.  He became regular in his bowel movements and his diet has improved in both volume and variety. He became more responsive and chatty, seemed to move more fluidly and is more switched on. The only negative that we have had is his eczema has broken out.

ETA that one of the little things that I never expected was that he also stopped biting his fingernails.  He had been biting them right down to the skin but now I am having to cut them.

After the second appointment on the 19th of April 2011, we swapped the Epsom salt baths for a magnesium supplement as our Dr thought that it may be the sulfur in the Epsom Salts that was bringing out the excema – of course just after I’d bought a 25kg bag of salts. Due to our son deciding not to substitute rice milk into his diet and limited diet, we also decided to add a calcium supplement.  Until we had some blood tests to test for his levels, our Dr decided to leave everything else alone.

We went gluten free as soon as he’d had the Celiac blood test  which was on the 28th April, 2011.  In going gluten free I’ve decided to avoid but not eliminate soy.  Corn is also difficult to avoid as its one of the main gluten free replacements.

The change in our son between these appointments has not been as dramatic as between the first two appointments but there have certainly been advances.  He will now spontaneously tell us things that happen at Kinder such as “Hamish was the Hairy Hat man today” ( H is the letter of the week). His memory seems to be getting better although it may just be his ability to express it.  This week he came out with a whole stream of sentences which covered the letters A-H and how they had learnt them at kinder over the past 10 weeks.  “A is Annie Apple, B is…” Also although still not great, his pencil grip is getting slightly better.  Unfortunately the eczema has not resolved by removing the baths.  I’m wondering if it could be the sulfur in the zinc sulfate.

A down side to bringing him out of his ‘fog’ is that he is often more interested in everything going on around him than the task at hand.  When a friend saw him after going dairy free, she said he looked as if he was seeing the world for the first time. He is also having difficulty sitting still and straight but I’m unsure if this is a biomedical or a chiropractic adjustment issue as its been almost 4 weeks since his last adjustment,

Our third appointment is tomorrow.   We will have been supplementing and dairy free for 11 weeks and gluten free for 4 weeks.  Areas I that I feel need attention are his attention span and task focus, speech (receptive and expressive), fine motor strength – after all he is great at using Lego but the pencil grip is hard for him, his tendency to loll and lay about and the excema flare up. Bed wetting is still and issue too. I don’t know if its related but he is also much harder to get into bed at night as he seems to be finding it hard to switch off.

I just asked him what he wanted the doctor to help him with tomorrow and he replied “To get the foggies out.  There is one foggy left” .  Its so wonderful that not only are we seeing the changes but he is feeling them too.

*Although I mention our supplementation and diet here, we are doing this under medical supervision, which I would encourage you to do also if you wish to follow this type of regime*

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It’s the little things.

[A short little post to keep you going whilst I remember to take pictures of my cooking attempts]

It was playgroup morning this morning.  Our playgroup has a rotating morning tea schedule so we hadn’t been for a couple of weeks. Between life getting in the way, I decided to let our son settle into his new diet before putting him in tempting situations.

I’m so very very proud of him. He will ask if things have wheat or gluten or milk in them and if they do or we aren’t sure, he will find something else to eat that is safe for him. No complaints.  Ok, the occasional downturned face but never a tantrum or trying to sneak food.  He is really embracing it.  He knows that it is making him feel better.

To top off this morning, another parent commented how far our son had come.  Between ours and their absences, it would have been about a month or more since he had seen our son. He said he had really changed and come a long way in such a short period of time.

Its moments like these that really tell me we are doing the right thing.  There is no way he would have made such huge strides without biomedical intervention.  Now I can’t wait for our appointment on Friday to see what the Dr has in store for us next.

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The Cleanout

These are the bags of food I passed on to my friend when I cleared all gluten and dairy out of my pantry.

More than 5 shopping bags full.Lots of things you don’t think of such as lolly pops which are made with wheat glucose. My friend loved it as she didn’t have to do groceries that week!  I, on the other hand, spent double our regular shopping budget that week.

Ok, daily keeping track of our meals is not working so I think I’ll do it each week in retrospect.

In the last week our meals have been:

  • Sausages and vegetables (peas, corn and potato) or salad ( lettuce, tomato, beetroot, cucumber, pickled onion) x 3 times
  • Lamb steaks with veges or salad
  • Pumpkin soup
  • Chicken stirfry with rice

I must be doing something right as they have actually cleaned their plates  a couple of times!

Sausages have been good lately as not only are they being eaten but with the price of meat the way it is right now, its a cheaper option so keeps the budget under control.  I always make sure they are gluten free but I am on the lookout for a good range of sausages that are organic and without fillers.  Ingredients such as hydrolized vegetable protein is usually soy or corn based and although I haven’t eliminated these things (yet), I do prefer to avoid them as they will be eliminated in time.  Maybe I’ll just end up making my own …. or is that just another reason (aka excuse) to get a Kitchenaid mixer?

Breakfast for me has been an egg on GF toast or rice porridge with coconut milk.  Our eldest son is loving Freedom Foods Maple Crunch cereal.  He’s decided that he doesn’t want rice or almond milk so he has it dry.  We’ve been snacking on apples, rice cakes, rice crackers, potato crisps, more dry cereal and salami ‘twiggy’ sticks.

I’ve also had some success with baking, but thats for another post.

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GFDF Cooking – Lesson Number One

Cadainian Via Flickr

When I  first realised that we would be going GFDF and then probably soy, corn and rice free too, I started researching all the alternatives.  I found so many recipes for gluten free flour blends and I bought almost every different type of gluten free flour out there.  I have a drawer full of buckwheat, potato, rice, arrowroot, tapioca, amaranth, besan (chickpea), nut and sorghum flours and starches.  I felt like my head was about to explode with all the variations.

I had information overload and was paralyzed by the choices which then made me feel like postponing starting our GFDF diets.

Then I had my first revelation.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel

The next day I went and bought packets of premade flour mixes that met our current needs of GFDF.  Fortunately they are also soy free.  Ones that are corn free aswell are not as easy to find.

Some may say that lesson number one would be to read the labels carefully but for me this was a given as I usually did this anyway.  In general I would not buy products where I did not recognise the ingredients and I couldn’t make it at home if I wished.  I needed to realise that I am not the first to do this and won’t be the last.  Use the information that is out there but don’t overwhelm yourself.

So right now I am using premade one to one substitutes while we settle into this new way of life.  I really want to get to the point of making my own mixes and preparing everything from scratch but that is not where I am right now.  I’m not completely happy with the outcomes using the premade mixes but they will do for now.  As our diet progresses and takes its twists and turns or it comes to the point where I can’t find a premade mix to suit, then I’m sure I will have the time, headspace and more knowledge to be able to try out all those recipes I found or even develop my own.

For my own record, I’m going to keep a track of what we are eating in here.  I hope to start developing meal plans to share including baking for the week too.

Last nights dinner was pork scotch steak with peas, corn, potato and cabbage.

Tonight so far I have some pork sausages out which will probably be teamed with vegetables much like last night.

The boys are getting into Bubble Guppies and are learning about Smores so I we have made marshmallows and graham crackers.  They liked them but I think they prefer the yoyo biscuits I’ve also made this week.  I’ll be back with the recipes later.

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