Friday, July 25, 2014

swimming and sausage

I have fallen so behind on my blog. My goal over this time hanging out in Las Vegas was to get all caught up on my blog. But I could not bring my computer out due to space constraints, so I can not blog because all my photos are on my computer! So I'm starting now and will catch up on the last few months another time.

We are spending a week with my parents at their house before we head to Colorado for our family reunion. It has been such a relaxing week! Mimi and Papa are thrilled beyond thrilled to have their two little boys here with them and have been loving reading them stories, swimming with them, and cuddling.

Dan is done with his job (for the most part, besides some exciting new developments to be shared at a later date) and enjoying 2-4 swims a day and cable. I am enjoying seeing my family so happy and seeing my parents love on my babes and being able to run any errand at any time due to the plethora of babysitters. Jude is in a constant state of elation related to Tubby and the pool. And Abraham is as content as any baby ever in existence with his new surroundings and constant affection.

Back to Jude and the pool, he learned how to swim in about five minutes. The life jacket we used to have for him was the infant kind with the behind-the-head flap and it didn't allow him to swim very easily. He now has a puddle jumper thing and boy can he do just that. He literally swims from one side of the pool to the other, goes down the slide into the pool, and jumps in the pool OFF THE ROCKS!! He goes way down under too and when he pops back up he has a big smile on his face. He loves the little scrub brush that my parents used to scrub the tile and he will carry that around with him on his across the pool swim. When he first started swimming on his own, he would have a nervous laugh but before long was saying, "Let me go, Daddy!" He thinks his Daddy is probably the coolest Dad on the planet because he starts on the other side of the lawn, runs across, jumps on the boogie board, and surfs the entire distance of the pool. And Mommy's pretty cool too (jumping off the high rocks). Jude will be shivering and his teeth will be chattering but he has no intention or desire to get out. He is just like his daddy!

Abraham is just the love of all of our lives. He is honestly the most content baby I have ever known. I will literally forget he is over there (in the living room, or wherever) sometimes because he will just lay there quietly playing and examining his surroundings. But whenever someone does decide to come over and give him a little attention, he is absolutely elated and full of smiles and giggles and hugs and kisses to share. When Jude was Abraham's age, he always wanted to be turned away from whoever was holding him so he could see everything that was going on. But Abraham is more than content to nuzzle in and put both arms around your neck. Endearing... to say the least. He also loves to swim! We will dip him down in that, sometimes pretty chilly, water and he barely even seems to notice. He takes everything with ease and rarely looses his calm, cool, and collected attitude.

Uncle Garry was here for the first couple days we were down and it was so wonderful to spend time with him. He is such a loving guy and was so cute with the kids. We have missed swimming with him and hearing all his great stories. :)

Besides the fact that I'm having carb withdrawals, life couldn't be better. We are truly blessed!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Ginger for my ginger.

Well, there's been a change of plans in Jude's journey with Eosinophilic Esophagitis. As an update to this post, we are doing things differently that originally planned. There is soo much to say... and I could never write it all, but here goes!

We had the allergy testing done but are NOT introducing beans, potatoes, and rice as previously planned. I felt like the goal of his GI doctor and the way we have been looking at all this is to get him on a more "normal" diet. "Ohh, if he could just have wheat..." I would say. (Or corn, or dairy, etc...) "It would be so much easier." Hence, a push towards beans, rice, and potatoes... trying to get him a more "normal" diet with heartier foods. After much study, thought, and prayers, we are taking a TOTALLY different approach to his food reintroduction.

I felt like there were two paths to take. There is the traditional path, where you add foods one at a time and then get an EGD and just HOPE they tolerate it and have no eosinophilic reaction to it. If it works, great. If it doesn't... bummer. Cross that food off the list. I felt like I wasnt giving Jude a whole lot of room to succeed or putting allies in his corner. Going from a diet of ZERO grains for over six months to throwing in the very starchy beans, potatoes, and rice seemed to be like it would be hard on a sensitive little stomach that has a rough track record and has never done well with grains. That would have been a lot to handle and I think there would have been a great chance for failure/some sort of reaction/an upset GI system. Doesn't that seem a little silly to introduce such tough foods so fast? He is growing and thriving right now, so what is the rush?

The other path is a more natural, holistic approach that uses diet as our ally, the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet. Though not backed by scientific research (I've been very skeptical), the basis of it is and there is no risk involved. Instead of giving him "normal" foods, I'm going to be giving him bone broths and fermented vegetables. These foods are powerful foods that will help his "gut" to heal so that he can eventually tolerate more foods than he otherwise would. Instead of just keeping him from being sick, my goal is to HEAL this child.

I have decided to take things very slow and safe. I have been researching immune-healing foods high in probiotics (good bacteria). What are the healthiest, most healing, constructive foods we know of? How can I incorporate those into Jude's diet? The first food i have chosen is ginger root. 

The other foods I have chosen are garlic, cilantro, basil, and hemp seeds.

We haven't introduced the hemp yet, but it's next on our list and we're really excited about it! We are going to make homemade milk from it. This will be the only milk he can have so it will open up a ton of doors for cooking and baking.

We added basil because it was an ingredient in chicken sausage that I really wanted to give him. Garlic and cilantro were mostly for flavor (though they definitely have their benefits). I have been learning how to ferment and incorporating those foods into his diet, he eats sauerkraut occassionally, but I sneak a little sauerkraut juice into a smoothie every day. We currently have cultured salsa in the fridge and fermenting ginger carrots and sauerkraut in the pantry.

I am so beyond excited about everything we are learning and eating and changing. We are making HUGE changes as a family and it is incredibly empowering. As much as we can (but 100% for Jude) we are going all organic and non-GMO and trying to follow the Weston A. Price Foundation guidelines (grass-fed, pastured beef, pastured, cage-free chicken and eggs, butter from grass-fed cows, raw milk, raw dairy [ideal but difficult to find/make]). We have a long way to go but we are enjoying the journey and taking baby steps every day. (Baby steps onto the elevator... I'm ON the elevator..., AHHH!!!) We are making a couple juices/smoothies every day full of carrots, spinach, kale, ginger, carrots, blueberries, hemp seeds, etc... and loving it.

I have not fully started the GAPS diet as it takes MuCH preparation and know-how. I will be cooking for many hours and I still have a lot to learn before I am ready to commit to it. But for now, we are takin our own version of the diet and just incorporating the concepts from it into what we can do now.

We are learning to approach food in a completely new way. We eat certain foods because our bodies need those nutrients and they are incredibly healthy, regardless of whether we really "like" it or not. We do all we can to eat real, whole foods, raw fruits and vegetables, sprouted grains, and food how it naturally occurs in nature. 

Today at lunch Jude had a smoothie with (all fresh, raw, &organic) spinach, parsley, carrots, mango chunks (these were frozen), apple juice (organic, fresh-pressed, but pasteurized), and ginger. He loved it and I loved watching him drink all those nourishing foods!

When we make a raw carrot ginger juice (strong flavor!) and we are all drinking it, Jude enjoys it and drinks up! He says (with eyes squinted), "This is so. Yummy." I die every time. Nothing makes me happier than seeing him chow down on sauerkraut and drink a juice packed FULL of nourishing foods.

There is so, so much to say but I will stop there and try to write more frequently! I can say that I have been extremely guided through this whole process and things have been coming together in an incredible way. Pray for us and especially for Jude that his next EGD (September) will be clear!