Amy and Simon Blog

The Natural and Healthy Lifestyle we Discovered Along the Way…

Starting the gluten-free, dairy-free diet… July 31, 2008

Well back in 1999, it was not as easy to start this kind of diet. The resources and products were not as available are they are today.  Hindsight is 20/20, back then we thought this was a bad thing, but not true.  We were basically forced into eating healthier because to have a gluten-free, dairy-free diet, you have to basically eat whole foods made from scratch.  Today you can go to your local grocery store and get prepared foods that are gluten-free, dairy-free, but full of bad ingredients.  You really have to read labels if you want something healthy that is already prepared for you, or you could just start from scratch with healthy ingredients.  

So we began to buy healthier things to eat and learn to make food from scratch.  We found some good resources for gluten-free recipes.  I still refer to The Gluten-free Gourmet Cooks Fast and Healthy by Bette Hagman.  Then we read about candida and it’s connection to gluten.  We started to look into and follow some of the advice of The Body Ecology Diet, by Donna Gates.  Not long after eating this way did we all start to notice changes in ourselves. We started to feel healthier and look healthier.  Once that started happening we started researching everything!  We wanted to know more.  And one thing would lead into another thing and then another…  

For example, one thing we discovered was that regular disposable diapers, besides being bad for the environment, they contained dioxins, that are linked to cancer and infertility.  AHHHH!  We switched to cloth diapers.  From that we discovered a product called Bac-Out.  It was recommended for cleaning the diapers along with their premium laundry powder. It is a natural enzyme stain remover by a company called Biokleen. Which actually now produces a whole line of natural cleaning products.  We still use the Bac-Out and laundry powder as well as all the new products that have come out in the last nine years. They have glass cleaner, paint thinner, a substitute for W-D40, carpet cleaner, toilet cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, degreaser, dishwashing soap, dishwasher soap, etc.

Another example is when we became pregnant with our third child.  Someone said, “If you don’t want to have stretch marks stop using soap.”  Which after a few days of not using soap the stretch marks faded.  Why?  Well, we found out most soap is not good for you; the ingredients take the elasticity out of your skin.  Don’t worry we use soap, and all other hygiene products; we just use the natural form that won’t effect us.  Basically we use Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap, Giovanni Shampoo and Conditioners, Thai Crystal Deodorant, some Burt’s Bees products (but read the labels on these, they have just been bought out by Clorox), Jason’s or Young Living toothpastes and mouthwashes,  Eco-Dent floss, Fuchs toothbrushes, we can go on, but if you want some good alternatives to everyday products we have not mentioned, just let us know.

But the learning didn’t stop there.  And it still hasn’t stopped.  There is so much information to learn, so much research to be done.  We will do our best not to leave out anything we have learned.

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How did we come to question “authority”? July 29, 2008

I’ll answer this one alone I think.  For me, Amy, I would have to answer SUPPORT, SUPPORT, and SUPPORT.  I didn’t realize how important a good support system was until I began to build one.  My first support came from a required class that Simon and I had to take for marriage preparation back in 1995.  It was a Natural Family Planning (NFP) class taught by Couple to Couple League International.  In the class we learned about NFP, a natural birth control method this is just as effective, if not more then the conventional methods and has no side effects.  We also learned about ecological breastfeeding, which is feeding on demand with no supplements or pacifiers and as long as is desired by both mother and child and the importance of natural birth.  In the class we needed to put what we learned into practice (obviously not the part with the babies) over a few months.  It was our first taste of doing things the natural way and it made sense to us.  Well, with this class there comes a bimonthly newsletter (now it’s a magazine) that gives recent information, examples of NFP situations, a section for those who have children and lots of articles from just everyday people who write in with their experiences.

This is where I first had my support from when starting a family. Simon used to have a job where he traveled pretty much 100% of the time, so he would be home a few weekends of the year, not including vacation time.  So after our first child arrived in 1997 all I had for support was this little newsletter and my own instincts. (My mother had passed away before Simon and I met in college and my siblings are all older then me and we all love each other, but keep to our selves for the most part.)  Now I don’t think I would have listened to these instincts had I not taken the NFP course and been exposed to “natural” thinking.  I would read the newsletter from cover to cover as soon as they arrived to keep myself up to date and feel like there were other people in the world that did things this way.

With the help of this support I was able to raise my child by following my instincts mostly, but I was still not questioning “authority”.  I took my son to his scheduled doctor appointments, gave him his vaccinations, believe they knew what they were talking about when it came to medical things (i.e. his eczema).

After having our second child in 1999, Simon decided to switch jobs.  This one didn’t have quite so much travel.  All of a sudden, I had some more support.  My system was growing.  To make the commute easier we decided to move as well.  I had decided that I wanted to attend a La Leche League meeting with my niece who was expecting so she would nurse her baby too.  I wanted her to experience the bond I had with my children.  Well, my niece lost her baby at 11 weeks, but something in me decided I would go to the meeting anyway.

Walking into my first La Leche League meeting was like coming home.  For the first time since becoming a mother I felt as if I belonged somewhere.  I always did things my own way based on what my instincts told me to do, so I was very different from my siblings.  Now I was in a room of mothers doing the same thing. Thus, my support system grew even more.  I became confident in what I was doing (I wasn’t alone anymore) and I learned so much more was out there.  This was all happening the same time my daughter was suffering with her weight gain.  Now I had the confidence to trust myself because I wasn’t alone anymore.  I knew in my gut it wasn’t right what they were saying.  I was a good parent and I could figure out what was going on with my daughter. 

 

So what was it back in 1999? July 28, 2008

Well, apparently our daughter was allergic/sensitive to all kinds of food, but especially gluten.  Within three days of not eating gluten she was able to hold down her breast milk, but of course she was over six months old when we figured that out.  From the time she was born she would projectile vomit basically after each nursing.  She didn’t stop gaining weight until after her three-month “well baby” check-up.  At that point she was being regularly vaccinated and started sucking on her fingers instead of eating as much as she should.

It was not the doctors that told us the problem.  All they wanted to do was poke and prod and accuse us of being unfit parents. We took it upon ourselves to figure out the root of the problem. Our son, who had just turned two at the time, poor thing, became our guinea pig.  He had eczema on his face starting at six months when he began to eat solid foods.  We were told it would clear up, it was just baby acne, put some medicated cream on it and eventually and would go away.  Well it never did. When we started experimenting with his diet we noticed a change.  The poor kid didn’t get to eat much of anything until we figured out what we needed to eliminate to get rid of his eczema.  We took away all high allergens (i.e. dairy, wheat, corn, etc.)

The magic ingredient was gluten (wheat, oats, barley and rye). Then it occurred to us, “if mom stops eating it too, it would no longer be in the breast milk.”  It took three days for the vomiting to stop.  It took three months to wean her from sucking on her fingers instead of nursing.  By the time she was one she was about sixteen pounds, but she was gaining weight each month.

Unfortunately for her, we were still going to well baby visits and still getting her vaccinated, which just added to her problems. We stopped after 18 months, but that was after the big MMR shot, she was so desensitized at that point, she didn’t even flinch as they put it in her.  Very sad, I know; I still can’t believe I let it get to that point.

The MMR still shows up in her system today.  We just had her tested (non-evasive biofeedback) and are now treating her for vaccine injuries homeopathically.  She also has many emotional problems from her traumatic beginnings.  She is being treated homeopathically for those as well, in addition to her many allergies/sensitivities.  It is hard practice attachment parenting when your baby is suffering like she did.  I would wear her as much as she would let me (in a sling); this is one of the things you do in Attachment Parenting. Once she believed that nursing and cuddling with her mommy were happy, good things she did it all the time, but she was still injured from her start.  A good start is so important. 

 

Welcome! Come and help us re-live our journey.

Well here we are, nine years after starting a journey towards a healthier and more natural lifestyle.  Not really by choice but by accident.  We have discovered so much information we thought it was time we write it down.  We have come across lots of good products and resources and we would like to share our knowledge with you.  So as we think of them (or as we mention them in a post) we will add them to the links for you, as well as discuss them in our chronological account of our continuing journey to where and who we are today.  If you want the whole journey, start with the next post; if you just need some information on a particular topic, follow the links or use the search.  Thanks for reading and sharing our journey with us.