Can we talk about how confusing nutrition is? It’s like advice on getting a baby to sleep times a million. It’s challenging to obtain solid, well-accepted data on nutrition since it’s hard to do a randomized controlled trial with people and the food that they eat. Add picky kids to the equation, and it is virtually impossible. So what one expert says will heal everything, another says will put you in harm’s way. Roll the dice 😉
My envy of plants with their diet of water, sunlight, and some good ol’ CO2 continues.
Fortunately, it seems we’re learning more and more about the human microbiome and epigenetics. So while the experts are making sense of these things, we do our best to hook onto really smart health practitioners who are constantly obsessing over all of this information, scour the Internet, listen to other families and parents who have experience with similar situations, and listen to our bodies. In James’ case, we watch like a hawk for any physical or behavioral changes and do our best to limit the variables that could explain any changes. And most importantly, pray for guidance.
Shortly after my last post (finishing up week 4 on modified GAPS), James seemed to be going through a regression period. His eczema and overall demeanor were still worlds improved from what they had been, but an eczema flare showed that something was going on, and so did his irritability, less adaptability, and increased stimming. He also randomly threw up after a couple of meals.
So we began the guessing game. Is the zucchini we tried bothering him? I made the broth more concentrated this last round thinking it would help him. Was that too much? He’s eating way too many bananas…that definitely could be it. Was he exposed to mold somewhere or some other toxin? Or is it just kid stuff? Maybe he’s tired. Maybe he’s over scheduled. Maybe not scheduled enough. Maybe his little sister is pestering him too much.
I often observe his cheeks while he eats meals to see if there’s a difference in redness or bumps after he finishes. After we included daily avocados and made the broth more concentrated than it used to be, we started noticing he would rub his cheeks during meals. After the broth, especially, they seemed to become red pretty quickly. Which, I guess, is strange for eczema to worsen so fast, since it can often take 24-72 hours to show up after a trigger.
So that brings us back to the histamine sensitivity hypothesis his physician suggested after he vomited during first couple of days on GAPS. Histamine issues can come along with gut dysbiosis. When you look up histamine foods, they’re pretty much all of the foods that James eats—broth, avocados, fermented foods (like his beloved homemade yogurt), bananas. He also seemed to have more trouble when I was daring and added a splash of the fermented sauerkraut juice in his broth. GAPS is high on the fermented foods, which are also high in histamine.
I guess that means we need to regroup again. We can’t remove all of those high histamine foods, since he would be left with chicken, ghee, blueberries, supplements, and the tiny pieces of vegetables we are able to hide in his food and smoothies.
But we’re going to try to limit them to see if histamine is indeed a problem. And we can do things like adjust the broth cooking time so it has less histamine. We can avoid serving him leftovers as well, as the histamine levels increase the longer foods stay in the refrigerator. And figure out how to get some other foods in James in the meanwhile 😛
We’re also trying a new prescription called low dose naltrexone, which blocks opioid receptors and is supposed to generally boost the immune system and calm down inflammation. Let’s see what happens!
Though it’s a little frustrating when we have to reassess, the progress continues. It goes in waves, but the general direction is still forward. When we visited friends who hadn’t seen him since January, they were floored at how he had grown. He had much more interest in interacting and communicating and had a much faster warm up time. Since you can easily lose sight of that in the day to day, it was really nice and affirming to hear.
When it’s obvious he’s feeling well, he is THE most delightful person to be around. Sunshine radiates from those beautiful eyes and smile. We work every day to allow him to feel like his best self.
And for Thomas who continues to stick to GAPS religiously (he’s on stage 4/6 of the intro now!), he is still gaining weight and tolerating new foods as he slowly introduces them. Depending on how he feels, he might jump to an earlier stage of GAPS to let things settle before jumping to the next food. For the past two years, he has lost weight, plateaued, and then lost some more, no matter how much he ate. It is so exciting to see things move in the right direction for him!
Onward and upward.