Monday, December 15, 2014

Journey to Healthy: Complimenting GAPS

So if you have been following along, our family has made some drastic changes. We have implemented the GAPS diet and several other natural solutions for our health and home.

Read about our health prior to GAPS:
Our Unhealthy Past
My Journey to 80
Journey to Healthy: Starting GAPS
Journey to Healthy: How Will I Have Time for GAPS?
Journey to Healthy: GAPS So Far

After about 5 weeks on the GAPS diet and focusing on healing our guts, my two year old son started to come down with a really bad respiratory cold. That night, I could literally hear him wheezing from outside his bedroom door. In our family, when any colds come into our home... EVERYONE gets it with sometimes the exception of myself. I mean really, how do you keep the 2 year old from crawling on top of the baby and not coughing in his face!!??! And if anyone gets it, my daughter does. I prayed over my kiddos and was already preparing myself for the doctor's office the next morning.

See, my doctor ALWAYS seems to push the antibiotics. I knew that if my daughter got this particular cold that it would go respiratory and I would be getting antibiotics for her. I was soooo anxious about it. I knew I didn't want the antibiotics, but what choice did I have?!?!? I called the dr and got in. While I got my little guy ready for the dr, I called my good friend, Becky, who was also helping me share about GAPS and other natural solutions with families, to tell her my worries and my heart. Certainly she would have some wisdom. She is such a great listener and really encouraged me. She said she would stop by that afternoon with some things that would help. So off to the dr I went.

Sure enough... ANTIBIOTICS were prescribed. My heart sank. The dr said it sounded bacterial and away I went to CVS pharmacy and filled the prescription. Would you also have guesses that like all the antibiotics have red dye??!!?!? That made me even more upset that if my daughter got this cold we would be undoing all that we had worked for.

So...let me stop to explain why.

Bacteria is on the outside of your cells. Viruses hitch a ride inside your cells. When you take antibiotics they kill ALL the bacteria, good or bad. This causes damage to your gut and immune system because you are killing the very lifeblood of your immune system. If you are treating a virus with antibiotics, you are killing your bacteria for no reason because the problem is on the inside of the cell and the antibiotics can not penetrate the cell membrane. The CDC says that the number one health concern is actually super bugs that are resistant to antibiotics. These bugs have been created because the bacteria becomes resistant to the antibiotics. It "learns" the composition of the antibiotics and they no longer become effective. So pharmaceuticals are having a hard time keeping up making new, different and effective antibiotics.

Back to my story...
I came home and Becky arrived just a little later. She literally came with a bag of about 10 essential oils! I knew of a few oils that I used to make my cleaning supplies and my homemade laundry soap, but I had never experienced them on my body or my kids. She was sooo encouraging! She showed me how to use them and I was pretty excited but also hesitant. Sure sounded like voo-doo to me!!!!! BUT... if they could help keep my kiddos off of antibiotics and protecting their guts I WAS ALL FOR TRYING THEM!!

Essential oils (EO) are extracts from plants. They are about 50-70x more potent than herbs. For example, 1 drop of peppermint oil is comparable to 28 cups of peppermint tea. Each oil is made of hundreds of different compounds and each compound can be used for different supports for the body. Pharmaceuticals actually study these natural compounds and try to break it down to see what makes it effective against sicknesses. Then, they replicate it synthetically.

So essential oils are available in different grades and qualities. There are synthetic oils that are used in perfumes, potpourri, lotions, etc. Then, there are food grade oils which are like your extracts and "natural" flavorings. Lastly, there are therapeutic grade essential oils that can be used for health benefits. The essential oils I had were high quality therapeutic grade essential oils. I could immediately tell a difference from the ones I used to make my cleaners and the quality of the ones Becky gave me.

One of the oils I used was a blend for respiratory support. I made like a mock vick's vapor rub and began applying it to my son's chest. Then, I got all the kid's feet and started applying another essential oil protective blend to help support their immune system so none of them would get sick. I also gave my son a bath with Epsom salts and eucalyptus to help draw out the sickness. My hubby definitely came home wondering what on earth I was doing! Hahaha! He was definitely concerned about not using the antibiotics. If the dr said to use it, we should use it. I felt like without a fever that it was potentially viral and I wanted to give the oils a chance.

We made a deal! Every 2-3 hours we would check him and see how he felt and then reevaluate if he needed the antibiotics. For sure if he got a fever or got worse, I was giving him the meds. So... at bedtime we checked him out. He still had a cough, but it seemed like every time I used the Breathe he did better. After a few hours, I went to reapply the the "vicks type mix" and I had to feel his chest moving to make sure he was breathing. It was a total transformation from the night before. BUT... I was still trying to be rational about it and still wasn't sure about the oils working.

I checked on him that night and reapplied the oils. He seemed to be doing a little better. That morning he had the morning dry cough and again the respiratory blend seemed to help. By now the kids thought it was funny to take off their shoes to apply the protective blend. Such a funny place for an oil. My son seemed a little better by lunch, but the hubby... not so much. He was starting to get the cold. So he finally decided to try the oils.

Long story short, the oils kept working. They worked so well the antibiotics expired and went into the trash!!!! I was amazed. I started spending so much time researching. I started researching brands and types of blends. I soon found that I could help my 9 month old with an essential oil blend for digestion which helps with all kinds of tummy problems. My youngest had such terrible reflux he was on the adult dose of Nexium!! He was miserable if he missed his dose too. Just a week prior I had held him for 2-3 hours straight screaming uncontrollably because I had forgotten his dose. I was so ready to find an alternative.

Less than a week and a half later after using the digestive blend, he started refusing the Nexium and was still sleeping through the night. The first time it happened I cried and prayed over him not even thinking that the oils had worked. We went from 3-4x a week, to 2-3x a week, to 1x a week, down to COMPLETELY OFF OF Nexium in just 7-8 weeks!! I was flabbergasted!

Later, we would see help with my daugthers allergies and asthma... and with my chronic back pain! I spent time studying brands of essential oils and research behind them. I was so intrigued. I couldn't help just sharing what I was experiencing. My SIL got to try like everything we were trying because I just couldn't believe the results!

God had already brought about the passion and desire to help families find natural solutions and support when we started our Facebook group: LUNK Real Living without the Junk. Now, God began to work in my heart about sharing the oils with others as well. He just kept bringing people into my life that were also searching for ways to get healthy and not use antibiotics or synthetic drugs as much as possible. I questioned him for a long time. God, I already have so much on my plate with this diet and homeschooling! What are you doing? Is this really what you have me to do? Minister to others in this way? I waited. I prayed. God led.

My husband was on board. He was even using the oils. My mom was on board and helped me get started in sharing oils as a side income. God was leading Becky in the same ways He was leading me. Now, Becky and I were teaming up to teach about essential oils as well.  (Karin if you read this... it is soooo your fault!! ;) )

So my days are full and my nights are long... but my heart is full knowing that God has led me to this place in my life to help give answers to others... esp those I love dearly that are facing terrible physical circumstances!

Find more information here about the essential oils we have chosen for our family.

Journey to Healthy: GAPS so far

So as many of you know, we have been on a quest that I have labeled: Journey to Healthy with my family. You can read the beginning of our journey here:
Journey to Healthy: Starting GAPS
Journey to Healthy: How Will I Have Time for GAPS?

As you have read in my previous posts, our journey has been 5 long years of praying and waiting upon the Lord for answers. Through our journey I have cried and prayed over other children and families that have similar stories too. So... you are wondering... how are things going?

Our family has been TRANSFORMED!

GAPS so far

L being silly with Aunt Abby!

So... let's start with my 5 year old daughter. The process has been slow with her. We eat soup once a day with homemade meat broth from antibiotic free and/or grass fed meats. She initially hated having soup that much, but she has grown accustomed to it. She was such a picky eater so that took some getting used to. It really helped that our family was doing most of the diet together. I don't cook separate meals so she doesn't feel left out most of the time and when she does... she knows that Mimi and Mommy can't have it either! She has lost 2 lbs. over all and she lost it right away. I am guessing it was literally die off from the bacteria because she hasn't lost any since that first two weeks.

Currently her allergist, pediatrician and GI specialist are all on board and excited about the results! She has been great with her tummy and we did discover that her reactions to processed sugars, especially high fructose corn syrup, have a DIRECT IMPACT on her behavior. We had to give her Benadryl about a month into the diet for several doses and it took about 4-5 days to get her back to a normal kid state. We are guessing there is an intolerance to red dyes as well, but she still reacts to the dye-free Benadryl.
September Family vacation to the beach

I was totally on board doing the diet with my daughter, but boy was I in for a surprise as to how much this diet would change my life! I have dropped 35-40 lbs since Aug 1!! That's about 4 months and most of that weight came off in the first 12 weeks! My body feels sooo good! I had NO IDEA how much my diet was playing into my energy level, mood, weight and chronic back pain. I thought that maybe my back was just enjoying the weight loss, but just last week I cheated on some gluten-free pretzels and a gluten-free cake for my youngest son's birthday. BAM! TERRIBLE PAIN in my back! (Thankfully I had some Deep Blue to help... more on that later!) I had a week of waiting out the pain and it slowly went away. So... no cheating for me.

You know one of my hesitations in doing the GAPS diet, and probably one of your reasons too, is the time it takes to prepare everything. Well... now 4 months in... it is pretty easy. I have been in a little bit of a rut now that I am also working (I KNOW... I'M CRAZY! More on that later too!) but it really becomes second nature. When I am in doubt I steam some veggies and grill some steak! Mmmm. And if I need a treat... smoothies are the ticket or some almond flour chocolate chip cookies. YUM!

I have also seen this turn around without adding any probiotic capsules and a limited amount of natural probiotics in my diet. I am just too afraid of the die-off going into my milk while nursing. Many people do, but with having a sensitive baby already... I am taking my time with it for sure.

So as you know I have made my own homemade laundry soap, baby wipes, cleaners... and now this journey to healthy with GAPS... it has given me a passion to share with all of you... everyone I talk to! So many of us are suffering physically and just don't know where to turn. I started a Facebook group called LUNK with my girlfriend Rebecca! It is LUNK: REAL LIVING without the JUNK! Follow us as we share all kinds of natural solutions for health and home.

So... have you read the book yet?
Have you been wondering if you need to try it?
I'd love to hear your stories or answer any questions!
Feel free to find us on Facebook or ask here in the comments!

**I have also found some great support for our family's health through doTERRA essential oils... but that is another post coming soon! This is where the Deep Blue came into our update.

**Read about our health prior to GAPS:
Our Unhealthy Past
My Journey to 80