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!