Friday, May 13, 2011

Day 22: The expert has spoken

Day 3 of our ghee trial went down like this:

  • Ellie woke up at 5:30 a.m. This was her M.O. during the bad old days and is always a bad sign. Just the other day she woke at 4:55 and let me nurse her and put her back down for another stretch of sleep, but today she was up. Not good. 
  • For breakfast I decided to have ghee myself but not give Ellie any and see how the day played out, thinking I’d likely give her some ghee after her nap. 
  • Over the course of the morning Ellie became obsessed with nursing. I’d guess she nursed close to a dozen times between waking up in the morning and going down for her nap. And she asked to nurse at least twice that many times. Frequent nursing and getting obsessed with nursing is always a sign of a food reaction for her. When she’s doing great she can go from her morning wake-up nursing session to her going down for nap session without needing anything in between. 
  • At lunch she hardly touched her food. This was a big warning sign for me because she has been eating enthusiastically ever since starting Intro.

Because I’m a bonehead and couldn’t interpret all the above warning signs, I decided to feed Ellie some ghee after her nap. We got downstairs and I told her we were going to have some chicken broth and I asked her if she wanted some ghee in her cup. She got very upset and said “NO! NO GHEE!” And suddenly it was all crystal clear. I can’t believe my 22-month-old needed to tell me she was having a reaction to a food. On the other hand, I am incredibly grateful that my 22-month-old can tell me she’s having a reaction to a food. It’s so nice to hear it from her – the first time ever!

Over the course of the afternoon, as my breakfast ghee worked its way through my breastmilk and into her system, Ellie developed more symptoms, including a terrible rash on her face and pain when she went pee.

So, ghee is out.

Next time Ellie vomits less than an hour after eating a questionable food, I plan to give it more credence than I did yesterday.

I hate it when this happens. I can’t tell you how many times a generalization about food allergies has not applied to Ellie. And I quote:

“Ghee is usually well tolerated by most GAPS people, regardless of diarrhea or constipation and regardless of reactions to other dairy products.” – Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, Gut and Psychology Syndrome

ARGH! I don’t know how many times I have to learn that if a statement includes the words “most people,” it will not apply to Ellie.

An interesting side note that has nothing to do with ghee: I have been astonished at the changes I have been noticing in myself. I don’t write much about myself here because the point of all this is to heal Ellie, but I have gained a lot already from doing GAPS with her. After trial and error I’ve discovered that I can’t tolerate butternut squash or carrot juice (a small amount of carrots in soup seems fine) because I become extremely fatigued, achy and irritable (Candida side effects?). 

Anyway, after getting those foods out of my diet I have experienced a real change in myself. I feel calmer, my thinking is clearer and most remarkable is I am developing the ability to keep it together when Ellie melts down. A few weeks ago a day like today would have sent me reeling. But I was cool, calm and collected through the whole rollercoaster, I was able to see the situation objectively and really enjoy the happy moments that were peppered throughout the day.

GAPS Intro is so much more restrictive than what we were eating on our elimination diet. Before we came to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and then GAPS we were not eating: dairy, soy, eggs, gluten, corn, nightshades, citrus and probably some other things I’m forgetting. But with GAPS it’s easier to say what we ARE eating rather than what we aren’t. Nonetheless, I feel much more grounded now than before. Fascinating, huh?


  1. hi - i'm unlike 'most' too - i can't tolerate ghee either - its not as bad as other dairy but it still causes reaction - i was disappointed too! its so tasty. but it will be the first dairy i try back in another few months or so. Louie seems to have been born with an instinct to avoid most cow/goat dairy anyway so he's never really had it. would LOVE to get his sleep sorted too - I understand!

  2. Good to know we're not alone Julia! And good luck with the sleep - it's such a complicated thing to figure out.

  3. Hi Annie, thats amazing Ellie was able to tell you she did not want the ghee because it makes her feel bad. I am definitely giving more credence to what our kids say they do not want, maybe its because it makes them feel unwell? But then again that might not apply to kids who are gluten intolerant but love their snacks! I think when a child can tune into what their body is saying that really helps us parents know what they react to. I am so happy that things are working out so nicely for you two! I think I also have problems with certain veggies, every time I eat the soup I made my leg pain comes back, I'm fatigued and I get wired at nighttime, but I'm thinking it more has to do with it detoxing rather than it being a problem, because I put so much good stuff in it like garlic and onions which definitely might cause some die-off and stirring up of heavy metals.

    Oh and I wanted to mention that I got your comment on my blog post but it never showed up I think blogger was having issues that day. About the Dr. Natasha article- yes I read that the day it was posted and I think she is very wise in saying it, there is definitely a lot of weight to metabolic type nutrition where some people do better on certain foods and she is so correct in saying that we have to listen to what our body is saying, I love that. There is no one way to eat, we all need different nutrients at any given time and only our body knows what those nutrients might be. You are doing such a good job!