Saturday, May 14, 2011

Days 23 & 24: Soup strike and sautes

Ellie has not eaten soup since she threw some up three nights ago. She's had a bite here and there, but is mostly refusing it. This is a problem. The majority of one's diet in the early stages of Intro is soups and stews and Ellie is just not eating it. Mama's in a bit of a panic.

At dinner tonight Ian asked Ellie why she wouldn't eat her soup and she answered, "eating soup feels ouchie." Oh great. Now I'm pondering whether she's created that association because that's what she threw up Wednesday night, or because that's the vehicle her probiotics are delivered in and those are upsetting her tummy or if perhaps she's made the connection that the liquidy soup will only painfully come back up as reflux overnight.

I'm at a loss for what to do. I have served her a few pork and lamb patties and she's enthusiastically eaten those, and she's still eating duck eggs, but without soup and stew she's getting few vegetables and not nearly as much nutrition.

Then there's me. I'm a mess. Twice in the past three days I've gotten really sick and I can't totally piece together what's happening. Both times were the only times I've eaten scrambled eggs. The first time I had sauteed broccoli and some onion and then stirred in two duck egg whites and a whole duck egg and made a scramble. Soon after I had an intense pain in my gut. It lasted about 20 minutes and I was able to make it feel better by rolling on my stomach on a roller ball. I chalked it up to the broccoli, thinking it had caused gas. But today I made another scramble, this time with onion, garlic, spinach and two duck eggs. A while later I was suddenly incredibly tired. I laid down and almost feel asleep despite Ellie the whirling dirvish playing around me. Suddenly I became really hot and naseous. I was really afraid I was going to throw up. Then I got that incredibly intense pain in my gut, this time so bad that I had to curl up into a ball and rock just to keep the pain manageable. I hadn't experienced pain like that since labor. Ian made me ginger tea and it took several hours for the pain to completely go away.

What the hell is going on? Was it the eggs? I am tolerating them fine raw, soft boiled and poached. I don't think it could be the spinach - I sauteed some in pork fat yesterday and was just fine. I am truly at a loss.

The most confusing thing about all of this is that before Ellie came along and we started this elimination diet experiment, I could eat ANYTHING and feel fine - eggs, dairy, gluten - you name it. It was only when I started eliminating some foods that I realized I generally felt better without them. That was the case primarily with dairy and gluten. How is it possible that I was able to eat foods with no symptoms for 30-plus years and that I am not even on GAPS because I have a health condition, but just to support my nursing daughter, and I am having trouble digesting some scrambled eggs and veggies. WTF?

Meeting my own nutritional needs while staying within the confines of what Ellie can tolerate is getting increasingly difficult. After today's stomach attack my body strongly desired some goat milk yogurt to calm my stomach down. Ellie just got sick from ghee several days ago so I know my eating yogurt is a terrible idea. But I did it anyway, choosing to take care of my body in a crisis and hoping that the consequences for Ellie aren't awful.  It's a terrible thing to eat a food you know will make your child sick. I don't know that I've done it in over a year of our evolving elimination diet. But I am really struggling and I made the choice to listen to my body.

The past couple days have been really difficult. Between the ghee trial flopping and these strange stomach attacks I am really felling like throwing in the towel. I honestly think I would if I had any idea what that would mean. Go back to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet? Wean Ellie? Just make peace with her having a perpetual stomach ache and reflux and failure to thrive? I just don't see a good option besides moving forward and praying to God that things get better somehow.


  1. ah annie - how frustrating for you. I've no idea what could have caused your terrible pains. generally though this gaps healing does always seem to have to be that bit worse before better. I imagine also that lots of health things were just latent before, rather than actually absent, and this is just showing them up as they release and heal. Even though i'm not close to 100% well yet, i'm sure this GAPS is the long-term answer and that knowing gives me peace at those hard times - to know that at least i have found it and am not in the dark like some years before. It sounds like Ellie is getting good nutrition with patties and eggs and nursing - so there is time for the soups to be re-introduced. I don't get too much soup or veggies in Louie either - he mostly eats meat, eggs and breastmilk too!

    keep going. you'll both get there. and Ellie is blessed to have you working so hard for her health. you're doing an amazing job.

  2. I am so sorry you are going through this right now. Even though I don't know of any reactions to food besides maybe gluten for Josiah I feel the same way you do... should I wean him? should I stop worrying about his growth problems? These are tough decisions. I know weaning him would be really traumatic so I choose not to think about that! But don't beat yourself up for having the yogurt, you did the best you could do in that moment and things will get better. Have you considered getting this checked out by a naturopath? It seems like she has pretty bad reflux, it could be H. Pyoluri (sp?), do you know if she is toxic in any metals? mercury toxicity is one of the root causes of candidiasis because it is a protective mechanism to prevent the body from being poisoned, but that also results in leaky gut and food sensitivities. Usually allergies clear up when someone addresses toxicity, I think the GAPS diet is excellent in allowing healing, but maybe not the greatest at making sure those metals get excreted and not just moved around. I wrote a post about it on the GAPS yahoo group. I wish I had the answers though! I do know a really good nutritionist who does hair, tissue mineral analysis and has protocols for heavy metals and healing the gut, he also talks about candida and low stomach acid (which is one of the main causes of reflux!) here is the article about it:

    he does over the phone consultations and all the testing can be done long distance as well. But he is expensive and is of course not covered by insurance. I know its so hard to figure this stuff out on our own, I wish I could hire someone on to help Josiah and I with our health but its just too costly right now. I will be praying that God gives you the answer for this and also that there will be healing.

  3. Got this comment from Baden...

    Hey Annie,

    What an awful experience for you!! And then the stress of Ellie declining soups on top of that...

    As we know, it's when we get through the hardest stages that the light finally shines, so I hope you can hang in... But not just hang in, I guess I mean I hope that you -with us as your community- can figure out what will work for you.

    Personally, I would skip the scrambled now for several weeks at least (a lot of people have trouble with these) and move on to other foods.

    You probably already know most or all of the following, but in case there's something helpful in it: Yogurt fermented at least 24 hours may be tolerated by people who can't otherwise tolerate casein or lactose. (The probiotic content is another story, and some can only have as much as fits on the tip of a knife to start with, working up super slowly.) To be on the safe side, you might ferment it 36 or more hours, as suggested on Dr Natasha's FAQ page for people more sensitive. Through fermentation, the casein is said to be denatured. Goat vs cow can make all the difference for some.

    Ultimately, though, neither eggs nor dairy are required to achieve healing and to eat well.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the soups for Ellie. Maybe try one of the other approaches listed here:

    If it came down to it, I think weaning is preferable to throwing in the towel, and it creates so many more options for you both, including more variety, fat, etc, for you which is so important and helpful when we're walking a child through early healing (we need all the resources we can get!)

    All my best,

  4. Julia – I think you’re right that my health issues were likely latent, or like I wrote about at the beginning, minor enough to not seem like terrible problems and certainly not things I was able to connect into one underlying cause. I am having to continually remind myself that I’m not a 100% healthy person doing this diet for my daughter, but that my gut flora was passed on to her so if hers is out of balance, so is mine. I have to remind myself to be as careful with my progress through Intro as with hers.

    Janelle – I had never heard of H.pylori before but after reading a bit on the Web it definitely looks like something worth looking into for Ellie. She has had terrible reflux since birth and was on Omeprazole until we started SCD, when we pulled her off the meds for fear that they were interfering with her body’s ability to absorb nutrients. So thank you! I will look into it! Ellie has been to see a naturopath at a teaching college (cost consideration) and I was not happy with the experience – we mostly saw students and had limited access to the naturopath. So I would love to find her a new one but haven’t yet. We have not explored toxicity at all. We do know from a stool test that her bacteria levels are really bad and that’s how we found SCD/GAPS.

    Baden – Thanks so much for the reassurance and the suggestions! The ideas for getting broth into kids are fantastic! We will definitely be trying those ideas right away. The dairy piece is so confusing! Ellie was tolerating goat milk yogurt when on SCD but then did not tolerate it when we tried to intro again recently. So we waited awhile and tried the ghee and that was a MUCH worse reaction. I re-read the dairy section in the GAPS book last night and was discouraged to read that people who react to ghee will likely never be able to eat dairy. UGH! I think we will wait a month or so and try one more time with the goat yogurt or just the whey. Interestingly, I ate goat yogurt last night and have not seen any reaction in Ellie today… go figure! I think I need to let go of trying to do Intro “just so” and move forward to get Ellie eating well again and try to get my weight back up. Weaning is my last resort so I hope we can sort this out without having to do that – I know Ellie is not ready.

    Thank you everyone for your thoughts and support. I am so happy to have found you all – you are such amazing mamas and totally inspire me!!!