Sunday, August 26, 2012

My meal plan for Stage 2 - week 2

Ok so after much debate and thought we have decided to move on to stage 2. I am quiet happy here in stage one, Ben however wants to move forward, I however would like to see more healing before we move on, so I was thinking of doing another week in stage one, however we are moving on. We will however be avoiding most dairy this week as well. If you are fine with dairy you can feel free to add ghee, whey, 24 hour yoghurt, sour cream, kefir.

So moving to stage two, what is different, or what are the goals.
1. We will aim to add eggs, starting with adding the egg yolks to soups, then moving to having soft boil eggs, and pouched eggs.
2. Moving from adding the ferment juice to soups and gravy, to now adding fermented veggies, like krauts and pickles. The aim to get up to a few tablespoons on with each meal.
3. We are will be adding ghee this week - if you have issues with dairy you might like to try adding some home made ghee, but first do a skin test to check that the body is having no major reactions first.
4. Fermented fish - we choose not the have this one yet, maybe some time in the future. However to make up for it, we will start taking our Fermented Cod Liver Oil, at this point.

Foods allowed on stage 2.

* Meat stock
* Fish stock
* Organ meat - liver should be included at least once a week.
* Well boiled veggies, onions, garlic, carrots, broccoli, leeks, cauliflower, courgettes, zucchini, squash, pumpkin, Asparagus, beetroot, Eggplant, Kale, Spinach, Tomatoes, anything on the allowed list that is not too fiberous.
* Boiled meats
* Mineral Salt and Pepper
* sauerkraut juice
* Ginger root - for fresh herbal tea
* Honey - Raw, only a small amount in herbal tea.
* Lemon - only a small piece in warm water as morning drink
* Apple Cider Vinegar for bone broth, and in the morning glass of water to aid in digestion.
* homemade Ghee
* Homemade Yoghurt - if tolerated
* Egg yokes, soft boiled eggs, pouched eggs.
* Fermented veggies.
* Fermented fish.
* Fresh herbs.

So my plan for this week will be simliar to my one from last week, with breakfast balls, soups, and an evening meal. All mornings will start with room temp mineral water, with ACV or lemon juice.

Breakfast: Meat Balls with veggie and onion gravy and fresh herbs.
Lunch: Pumpkin Soup with egg yoke.
Dinner: Boiled chicken drumsticks, with garlic and lemon. Served with boiled veggies.

Breakfast: Meat Balls with veggie and onion gravy and fresh herbs.
Lunch: Pumpkin Soup with egg yoke.
Dinner: Slow cooker steaks, with onion and tomato gravy, boiled veggies with ghee.

Breakfast: Meat Balls with veggie and Onion gravy and fresh herbs.
Lunch: Chicken soup with egg yoke.
Dinner: boiled chicken pieces in bone broth, with onions and tomatoes. Served with boiled veggies and ghee.

Breakfast : Meat Balls with veggie and Onion gravy and fresh herbs.
Lunch: Chicken soup with egg yoke.
Dinner: Poached fish, with lemon and veggies.

Breakfast: Meat Balls with Veggie and Onion Gravy and fresh herbs.
Lunch: Onion and leek soup with egg yoke.
Dinner: Slow cooker pork roast, with boiled veggies and gravy.

Breakfast: Meat Balls with veggies and onion gravy and fresh herbs.
Lunch: Onion and Leek Soup with egg yoke.
Dinner: Lamb casserole with boiled veggies and ghee.

Breakfast: Meat Balls with Veggie and Onion Gravy and fresh herbs and soft boiled egg.
Lunch: Pumpkin soup with egg yoke and ghee
Dinner: Slow Roasted lamb with boiled veggies and Onion Gravy.

I will also be adding fermented foods to each of the meals. The ferments that I currently have are sauerkraut, pickled cucumbers, fermented salsa, fermented ginger carrots, and fermented tomato sauce. So I will give the family the choice of these to add to their meal. Now if you happen to have food allergies and some of foods are on your list, you can either choice to do a skin test, if that is fine give it a try, if not give it longer for healing. However if you do need more time for healing there a few things that you can still add, ie herbs, if not already added, FCLO, Ferments, get all those added in well, and then retry you allergy foods. The journey to healing is individual and it may take you longer for some things than others. For us the first time round on intro it took us 4 weeks to get eggs in to where they were not a problem.

There are many ways to make ghee, but here is the way Dr Natasha shares in her book Gut and Psychology Syndrome.

Preheat the oven to around 60-120c (140-250oF) Put a large block of organic, preferably unsalted butter into a metal dish or pan. Leave it in the oven for 45-60 minutes. Take out and carefully pour the golden fat from the top (ghee), making sure that the white liquid at the bottom stays in the pan. Discard the white liquid. Keep in glass jars and refrigerate. With some varieties of butter the white liquid accumulates at the top. In that case put the dish in the fridge. As it cools down the ghee will become solid, and you will be able to pour the liquid off and wipe the rest off it with paper towel.

I would love to hear how you are going on your journey, so please leave a comment. :0)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Xavier's Birth Story

A year and 6 months after giving birth to Isaac I found myself pregnant again, and Yes! again we were very excited to be expecting baby number 6 for our family. Like every pregnancy I have had so far, I was sick. I probably was able to manage it better than in other pregnancies, I think each time I have gotten better and better at managing it. Also some things have changed to make things easier, now the supermarket delivers to us, so I didn't have to battle the urge to vomit while walking around the supermarket to get our daily things. :0) We also had a great group of friends that lovingly brought us some meals to help make life easier. The pregnancy was filled with many ups and downs. We were excited to find out that we were having another son, 3 and 3. 3 girls and 3 boys, even bedrooms for while. I avoided the doctors for mosts of the pregnancy and I had consider having my baby to home in bath, if the pregnancy was going well. However that wasn't meant to be.

During the pregnancy I had been monitoring my blood sugars and I knew that I had developed Gestational Diabetes again, and with cutting out sugar and grains from my diet I was able to control it. However when I was 31 -32 weeks we moved house, which was very tiring for me. We moved on the Saturday, unpacked some and settled in a bit on the Sunday, and Monday I was back at the house with all the children cleaning. Oh gosh I was so spent. I had some lovely ladies come over and help me clean some of the house. Even though I was very tired I felt bad just sitting while they cleaned, So I pushed myself to work more than I really should have. That night while using the toilet I discovered blooding. I was so tired I seriously considered ignoring it. I did however know better than that, so I called a friend who was kind enough to take me into the hospital.

While at the hospital I had to answer all the hard questions, like why I hadn't been back to the doctor in a while?, why didn't I have the anti - D injection and so on. Anyhow they hooked me up to the monitor, I was having contractions, thankfully the bleeding had stopped, but it looked like baby could be born anytime, so they gave a dose of steroids, and I had another dose the same time the next day. I was in hospital for 2 nights, and then was able to go home. Lots of doctors appointments and tests for the next week.

Well little did anyone know that I would have a reaction to those steroid injections. My reactions pretty much stopped my pancreas from working. My blood sugars went through the roof, no matter what I eat. SO I found myself on insulin within a few days. Then at my next check up to 34 weeks my babies heart rate would not come down, it was staying high, showing that baby was stressed. So I wouldn't be leaving the hospital that day. As it turned out they check my bloods and my body was in high ketosis, and we were very close to lossing him. That probably was one of the worst nights during my pregnancy. That night they keep me in Labour and Delivery incase they had to rush me off to deliver him. Once they took me upstairs to labour and delivery they hooked me up to the fetal monitor, put in a drip of glucose, and finger pricked me every hour for 24 hours, and injected me with insulin every 4 hours. I had so many needles that night. It really was like torture. Every time I would fall asleep I would be woken about ten minutes later to be given another needle. Then it would take me a while to get back off to sleep, only to have it happen again. Thankfully they were able to get everything under control, and about week later I was able to go home. I then had weekly checks of my blood sugar and babies heart rate. At 35 weeks the doctors order a ultra sound scan to check for size and fluid. During the scan they estimated that baby was around 9lb with 5 weeks left to go. Another big bub. After the scan the technician said, just wait while I check if they want to send you home or check you first. A few minutes later she came back and said yes they would like to check you me first. So off I went back to labour and delivery. Well when I got there the doctor explained to me that on the ultra sound it looked like the baby had fluid under his skin, which could mean so many things, from an infection, to water on the brain. He then went on to say that they couldn't be 100% sure with that scanning equipment and they wouldn't be able to get me into better scanning equipment until monday (it was thursday) and they thought that if it was what fluid under the skin, that my baby wouldn't last the weekend... So the best bet was to deliver him tomorrow. Wow that was a lot to take in on my own.

I can't say how thankful I was to have supportive friends, and a church family. I wasn't allowed to go home. So a lovely couple from our church came and drove my van home. Other friends helped Ben with a meal. The next morning they weren't sure when I would be taken for my c-section so were not able to give me a time for Ben. Mean while Ben was at home trying to organise someone to come and look after the children and drive him in to hospital so that he could be there for birth. Again very thankful to friends that came and looked after the children, and one friend that took some the homeschool event for that day, and brought Ben in. In the end Ben arrived 10 minutes before they came to take me for the op. I was so glad he made it in time. It was made so much easier to go through having him there.

At 10.49 Xavier Gabriel was born 5 weeks early weighting 9lbs 2 oz. So at 5 weeks early he was still bigger than that average new born. He was born with a infection in his blood and holes in his lungs. I was able to see him for a few minutes before they rushed him off to have cpap machine on and iv's put in.

Next came the whirl wind of emotions.

I felt extreme disappointed. People would say things like congratulations on having him, or you did well and I would almost burst into tears, because "I didn't have him. He was cut out of me", " and I didn't do well" I knew full well that I hadn't respected his or my body enough during and before the pregnancy. I didn't do everything with in my power to grow a healthy bub and be a healthy mum. Yes I did things towards the end of the pregnancy to look after myself, but by that time it was not enough and too late. I was reminded of this fact every time I went to see my baby in NICU department. Seeing him with breathing equipment, not being able to hold him. All I could really do for him was hold his hand, sit next to him and express milk.

Over the next 5 days, I was slowly healing, and at day 5 the hospital discharged me as a patient, however I was still able to keep my bed, and stay in the hospital with him. Which was both a blessing and an emotional ride at the same time. I was no longer a patient, so I didn't really belong at the hospital, but at the same time, my baby was a patient so I didn't really belong at home without him, either. I wasn't really concerned about my children at home, because Ben is an awesome father, and I knew they would be well cared for, and we had a team of friends that dropped around meals, did some washing, baby sat so Ben could come and visit me, or pay the bills.

I guess I'm also thankful for what the Lord has put in me as well. While I was having these strong feelings of guilt, I also knew that spending a lot of time crying over it wasn't going to make anything better, wasn't going to change anything, wasn't helping my little man, who was fighting for survival. So I stucked it up and got on with the job of advocating, and caring for him the best I could, in any way that I could. What was happening to him was not nice, and I wasn't going to let him go through any of it alone.

One of things that I had to keep advocating for him on was his size. He was a prem baby in a big babies body. So the nurses and medical staff even friends and family that visited had to be reminded that he is prem. The things that normal full term babies can do, he can't because is isn't ment to doing them yet. Also because of his size putting in iv's that he needed were actually harder. His chubbiness stopped them from being able to see or feel the veins, so they often had to be put them in blind. I remember one doctor having a least 7 goes before finally giving up and asking someone else to have a go. One doctor had to make a small cut in is arm to get at the vein, all without pain relief, because at that stage they couldn't give him anything else. Thankfully I had my wits about me, and was covering his dummy in breast milk, and giving it him over and over, which helped keep him calm.

At a two weeks old Xavier was able to come off the Cpap machine and on to oxygen. He seemed to be doing so well. The hospital then had an emergency deliver of very prem. twins, so Xavier had to move out of his Intensive care bed and moved to another room, to accomodate them. He was in the new room for two days, when on the second day he developed pneumonia, and the test results came back from is blood infection. The bacteria causing the infection were resistant to most common antibiotics, which is what they were using for him. So he had to moved back to intensive care, and put on higher strength antibiotics, with his oxygen turned back up. The life of having a prem. Involves many times when you think you are making progress and then all of a sudden it is turned around, and things are not looking so good. Knowing this information would worry a lot of people. Ben and I keep it mostly between ourselves and those that were praying for us and Xavier.

Going through this was a very isolating experience. I didn't have access to a computer or any of the social networking that I had at home. I only had my mobile that I never had it on when I was with Xavier, and didn't really have the money to call anyone any how. The nurses were mostly very nice, and understanding, but of course you had the occasional one the would be a bit ruff and so on. However mostly I found that very lovely ladies that were there to help and support as much as they could.

Feeding was our next issue. It was very difficult to breastfeed Xavier with all his gear on, so we never had our first breastfeed experience until he was 4 weeks old. It really was hopeless trying while he had his breathing equipment on. So he was finally well enough to come off that at 4 and bit weeks. He finished his antibiotics shortly after that, and the next goal was to get him feeding. I was really thankful that it only took a week to get his trying at every second feed. Every feed was too much. Then finally our senior doctor said, with help of the lactation consultant to just let him go for 24 hours demand feeding. Oh I was so excited, the chance to finally having a some what normal relationship with my son. Over the next few days his weight dropped, and every time I saw his weight had dropped my heart sank. However on say 3 of demand feeding he stopped dropping, he hadn't gained but he hadn't dropped. At that point the doctor decided to let us go home, with the proviso that I would bring him back for another weight check after the week end. I was over the moon. I was so excited, I arranged for a friend to come and take us home, and I didn't call Ben. I though I would surprise him. So we did. We drove home and knocked on the door, the whole family was delighted to see us. The children couldn't believe their eyes. Isaac wouldn't stop hugging and kissing me. It was so sweet. During the 6 weeks I was away I was only able to see all my children together twice, and some of them a few more times, when Ben came in for his weekly visit.

Now a 14 months on, I have a gorgeous little boy, who will be walking soon, that I cherish very much. But also a determination to take control of my health, and change the health of my family for the future. I think this pregnancy and birth experience was one of the many reasons that help me make the leap into starting our GAPS journey.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Husbands Guest Blog 7 Starting again.

For those that really enjoy my occasional contribution to this blog, I am very sorry to have taken so long to contribute again. I have not done so because I was pretty sure I didn't have anything to say. Now I do.

About 4 days ago now, we decided to do the intro to GAPS again. There were a number of reasons for this, but one of which is that I had put myself on a 30 day detoxification plan. (I had a herbal chelating supplement which is called humet-r I think), and my pain level at night was considerable. So we are started again. The interesting thing about starting again is that I noticed my sugar cravings had not been killed off. Since on full gaps we are allowed honey and berries as a natural sweetener, I found myself thinking "If this is going to be miserable again I'm drinking my tea WITH TWO TEASPOONS of honey in it, and eating a WHOLE ROW OF BUTTER FUDGE DAMMIT!" This type of attitude made me think I hadn't quite gotten over the hump of the sugar addiction.

The last three days have been unpleasant. I have had a headache for the majority of those three days, but I have learned to welcome it to a degree, because when I have a "foggy" headache, it is usually clearing my mind up some more. and today I felt a bit better than the last three days. I am looking forward to more healing and I believe I will see results by the end of the week.

I am a shy person sometimes, but my illness made it even harder to talk to people. People would speak to me, and I would struggle, because my head was all foggy, to understand them. Today I can honestly say that my understanding has changed in leaps and bounds. It is a gruelling, sometimes rewardless journey, but if you continue to see progress as I have, it heartens you to keep on going. For men who have severe issues that need to do the GAPS diet, can I suggest again that you go for it, especially if you have a supportive wife or partner, and consider the benefits-

your rashes (if you have them) will subside
if you have to use your brain at work, you will think much clearer.
if you think much clearer, maybe you'll work harder, or earn more money
physically, you will be able to do things you didn't have the energy to do before. In the garden, at work, (maybe even in the bedroom!?)
and this I think is key- when you are being healed through the GAPS journey, you have much more of a peace- Patience is developed because your body doesn't automatically react with irritation to food.
and last but not least, finally you can have the type of life that you want, all you need is the courage to go and grab it.

So grab life. Whatever sugars and starches you miss out on temporarily is worth it in the long run. There is always so much more to gain than there is to lose.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

My meal plan for week 1 GAPS Intro

My meal plan for week 1 of intro. I plan to do stage 1 for one week, then next week we will do stage 2. Ben and I have both agreed to leave Dairy out for at least the first week.

Ok, so what is allowed on stage one
* Meat stock
* Fish stock
* Organ meat - liver should be included at least once a week.
* Well boiled veggies, onions, garlic, carrots, broccoli, leeks, cauliflower, courgettes, zucchini, squash, pumpkin, Asparagus, beetroot, Eggplant, Kale, Spinach, Tomatoes,
* Boiled meats
* Mineral Salt and Pepper
* sauerkraut juice
* Ginger root - for fresh herbal tea
* Honey - Raw, only a small amount in herbal tea.
* Lemon - only a small piece in warm water as morning drink
* Apple Cider Vinegar for bone broth, and in the morning glass of water to aid in digestion.
* homemade Ghee
* Homemade Yoghurt - if tolerated

So here is our meal plan for the week. I have found that my family loves breakfast meat balls, and having soup for our lunch meal works best for us. All mornings will start with room temp mineral water, with ACV or lemon juice. I will also add some kraut juice to each meal.

Breakfast: Meat Balls with veggie and onion gravy
Lunch: Pumpkin Soup
Dinner: Poached Fish with boiled veggies, and fish gravy

Breakfast: Meat Balls with veggie and onion gravy
Lunch: Pumpkin Soup
Dinner: Slow cooked Lamb chops with boiled veggies and Lamb Gravy

Breakfast: Meat Balls with veggie and Onion gravy
Lunch: Leek soup
Dinner: Beef casserole, thickened with cauliflower.

Breakfast : Meat Balls with veggie and Onion gravy
Lunch: Leek Soup
Dinner: Slow cooked chicken, with boiled veggies, and chicken gravy

Breakfast: Meat Balls with Veggie and Onion Gravy.
Lunch: Chicken soup
Dinner: Slow cooked pork roast, with boiled veggies and gravy.

Breakfast: Meat Balls with Veggie and Onion Gravy.
Lunch: Chicken soup
Dinner: Lamb casserole

Breakfast: Meat Balls with Veggie and Onion Gravy
Lunch: Pumpkin soup
Dinner: Slow Roasted lamb with boiled veggies and Onion Gravy.

Now you may have noticed that we are having meat balls every morning. My children love them, so I have no arguments getting the children to eat them, they normally ask for more- so if you have something like that, simple to make, no fighting, then use it! Ok so how do I make them. Well for us we need 1 kg of mince- I have used all types of mince and they all work well, or favourite is a mix of beef and pork, however I don't have any pork at the moment so beef will be it. I 1/2 fill an electric frying pan with bone or meat broth. Then I roughly chop 2 onions, 4 garlic cloves, 4 carrots and put them in the pan with the broth. I then mix the mince with pepper, salt, and herbs when they are allowed, mixing them very well, and forming palm size patties with the mince and putting on top of the veggies into the broth. Boil the whole lot until the patties are cooked through, turning once, and the veggies are soft. Remove the Patties, then with slotted spoon, scoop out all the veggies, and put into a tall jug or jar, and blend with a stick blender to make gravy.

You can use whatever Gaps veggies you have to make this gravy. You can also make your patties in any shape you want, small balls, sausage shape, heart shape for fun. :0)

You may also have noticed that I have used the same soup for two days each time. This is a time saver. As a gaps cook I already have heaps of things to do in the kitchen so saving myself some time is a bonus, so I make enough for two days. Also, since I have soup in the middle of the day and my children don't always eat much soup, so if I put it in the middle of the day and they have a big breakfast, it's not too long before dinner if they choose to miss out.

And yes I use my slow cooker a lot. When you have to boil all the meat and veggies you eat, use the tools you have on hand.

If you have any questions or want to know about any of the meals please let me know, I would be happy to help.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Shopping List for Week 1 and 2 Intro

So you may have read that we are going to redo intro, Starting Monday. So to prepare for that I'm writing my shopping list, which may help you when you consider doing it. So here goes. Please remember was are a family of two adults and 6 children - 8 years and younger.

10kgs of Mince - For breakfast balls.
half a side of Lamb. - out of the red meats this is our families favourite.
4 free range chickens

about $10's worth of meat and marrow bones.

5kgs of Carrots - $5.00
14 Zucchinis - one for each day of the fortnight
14 heads of Broccoli - one for each day of the fortnight
20 tomatoes - 10 for fermented salsa, and 10 for fermented tomatoes sauce.
6 butternut pumkins - out of all the soups you can have, my family like pumpkin and chicken.
10 kgs of onions - onions are a staple.
5 clovers of garlic
4 packets of mushrooms, a variety or kinds.
a bunch of celery
7 heads of cauliflower
2 Swedes/turnips
2 bunches of Asparagus - for fermenting
4 leeks - for leek a beef and leek soup

20 litres of Raw milk - $ 10
3 kgs of butter.

5 dozen eggs. - some of which will be from our own chickens.
Probably about 8 kgs of apples - for my children and in case of needing a boost.

So this is our working list and will be adding to it over the next couple of days. :0)

Blessings Christina

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Redoing Intro

SO here is an update on where we are health wise at the moment. So far on GAPS we have seen a lot of improvements in our health. Ben still has stomach pain, and finding it hard to sleep at times, but his energy has increased to the point that even if he doesn't sleep well at night, be rarely needs a day sleep to make up for it. His brain fog is much clearer, and I have noticed a marked difference in his ability to remember and think well. He has also lost 19kgs. I have lost 18kgs, improved eye sight, clearer thinking, less headaches, more energy, and I'm sure much much more that aren't at the front of my mind at the moment.

So now for many reason we have decided that we will do Intro again. One reason is we have been a little slack on having fermented foods, particularly veggies. Having enough broth, there are been a times when we forget to have broth, and really want to get on top of that. While Ben has had lots of improvements we want to try and get on top of the pain, so would like more healing. I also haven't had a working blood sugar machine for while, and I really want to test and know what my body is doing in that regard. We have introduced juicing everyday, and I would like to see what effect that is having on my blood sugar. As that is one the main reason that I am doing this diet, to heal and prevent diabetes, and gestational diabetes in pregnancy. So for those reason and a few more we are planning to start again.

I would like to say that you can get healing on full gaps however the healing is slower and we would both like to see more results quicker. Particularly me as I would like as much healing if not full healing before we get pregnant again. Which could be any time.

Our start date for a second round of intro is the 20th of August. So anyone interested in starting with us?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Raspberry Cashew, Raw Butter Fudge.

As a treat for my family this week I made this delightful fudge, that is not only tasty but delicious, and a great way to get butter into your family. Yes I said get some butter into your family. Butter is full of vitamins and minerals that are great for our body's, nourishing and helping them to repair and grow.

500grams of the best butter you can get. I choice some cultured Danish butter.
1 cup of Cashew butter, or some other nut butter. I made mine at home in the food processor.
1 1/2 cups of local Raw honey
1 tsp of mineral salt.
1 vanilla bean, the inside scrappings.
2 cups of fresh or frozen Raspberries.

Mix all together well. Pour out into a lined slice tray,Sprinkle flaked coconut and put into the freezer. Slice into squares with hard enough, and enjoy. Keep stored in the freezer until your ready to eat.

Hope you enjoy these as much as we have. :0)