Liver detox by going semi-Paleo

Going semi-Paleo

I am excited to say that we are getting somewhere with the naturopath treatments for my stomach and skin. As I mentioned before, the issue seems to primarily be my liver, which has been treated holistically for a little over a month now. There have been flare-ups where I had very little energy and severe breakouts, but I’ve been feeling very normal for the past few weeks and had my third appointment yesterday. My liver readings are much better! In order to flush out possible gallbladder blockages remaining, I am going to do a 2 week liver detox cleanse.

All kinds of fun bodily things will happen at the end of the cleanse — it’s not called a “cleanse” for nothing! But we will ignore that and focus on the middle. I have been told to go off of dairy, all grains, and all sugar again, very similar to when I did my 30 day macrobiotic cleanse. The good thing about this one is that I can have fruit. I love fruit!

The biggest deal to me with this 2 week cleanse is that I am seriously considering the possibility that I might go back to eating meat for that time period.

It’s a big deal because I have been vegetarian since 2003. However, in the last year since learning of my son’s difficulties absorbing nutrients I have had to learn to cook more meat because he can get a lot of proteins through organic meats that he wasn’t able to absorb properly through soy, nuts, or beans. I’ve already written about what an adjustment it’s been to learn to cook meat, but I’m feeling slightly more comfortable with it now.

The fact is, I was “hangry” a good deal of the time when I was on my macrobiotic diet. With this liver cleanse, I will be drinking hemp protein several times a day, so that should help. Still, I think that without grains and dairy I am going to get the queasy feeling I had throughout those entire 30 days because my stomach never felt truly full. I am thinking maybe adding white meat to my diet will help with that.

I do still have moral qualms about meat, since we don’t have easy access to truly ethically treated chicken and pork. We have Whole Foods, but…I think we all know that’s probably the bare minimum of animal treatment accountability aside from the conventional grocery store. I probably just need to suck it up and drive the hour or so and pay half our paycheck for some happy chickens and pigs. I am sure I’ll blog more about that later.

As for now, I think I’ll be starting the cleanse on September 28, which should give me time to do some Paleo-ish meal planning.

Send me your favorite Paleo recipes, cookbooks, and products!

Naturopathic treatment: 1st visit

I’ve blogged before about What a Naturopath Does and my experiences with my son’s treatment for food intolerances. He has seen such great results, I have been very impressed. I’ve also mentioned in past posts that I have ongoing unresolved stomach issues and have been struggling for the last few years with cystic acne that I haven’t been able to solve with natural acne solutions. I even went on a 30 day macrobiotic cleanse, complete with specialized probiotics and saw absolutely no results. Well, I finally saved up enough of my kids yoga money for my first naturopathic treatment! I am so excited!

The first visit is a broad overview, but the main thing that popped up was liver stress.  No idea why, but my liver seems to be having trouble moving things through and toxins are building up. To aid in liver detoxification, one of the things we’re doing to increase my hydration is a salt solé. Check out this video that my naturopath made to explain how to make one:

Another thing we are doing is a castor oil liver compress at night. I might try to blog about this more later.

There were a few very strange things that we found. One was that my body had a very strong NEGATIVE reaction to pretty much all the major strains of probiotics. We are having to drastically decrease my exposure to probiotics in order to halt the stress on my body. There was only one strain that my body did not react to, and I am restricted to one dose every other day. Which is totally the opposite of what most green, crunchy, and holistic folks will tell you to do. I’ve always been told the more probiotics, the better! That probiotics will solve ALL stomach issues! Well, apparently not all. Not mine! (read more about whether you should take probiotic supplements here). Interestingly, this explains why I had such a problem with kombucha after drinking it every day for a period of time. I might not have actually got a bad batch. It might just have been that I overwhelmed my body with too many probiotics when it was already having trouble.

Although she found that food do not seem to be the main stressor, there were a few that registered very high reactions and that I should attempt to avoid. Avoiding these foods is going to be the hardest part of the next few weeks:

Coffee - one of the things my naturopathic treatment found as a stressor to my stomach
Goodbye for now, caffeine!
I love you and will see you again SOON!

caffeine – WHAT?!! I only have one cup of coffee a day. Just one, never more. I do not drink carbonated beverages. But let me tell you, that one cup of coffee is a BIG DEAL. I skipped it this morning and had a headache all day. This is exactly what happened when I quit cold turkey after become pregnant with LS. Which is why I did not go off of coffee when I was pregnant with LS. My fervent prayer is that this one will not be permanent!!

beef – haha, no big deal, I haven’t eaten red meat since 2003 and it is pretty gross to me.

wheat – OK, this is another weird one. My results came out exactly the same as my son’s – neither of us have any negative reaction to gluten, which is what most people react to. Just the actual wheat kernel itself, we can’t break it down. I wasn’t tested for the individual types of wheat but I bet it’s the same as with him — he was fine with white wheat flour but whole wheat was a stressor. Even stranger, I had been taking a digestive enzyme containing a specific enzyme that helps the body digest wheat and my body reacted specifically to the enzyme that was supposed to help digest wheat. What does that even mean?!

spices – strange, since I don’t really use spices. But I was told to specifically avoid black pepper. I accidentally ate Kettle chips today and then realized they are full of pepper. Delicious, delicious pepper.

soy – this one is a blow since I do occasionally eat meat substitutes as a vegetarian, and they contain soy. I make sure it is non-GMO soy. It is particularly difficult to avoid soy in grilling season when I have to bring non-meat substitutes to cookout situations.
The good news is, I had absolutely no issues with dairy. All the butter! All the cheese!!

As I’ve discussed before in our naturopath treatment journey, this first visit usually has the most restrictions. In future visits, some of these foods might be clear and if the liver has improved we can focus on hormones.

Meanwhile, send me all your soy-free spice-free vegetarian wheat-free recipes!


Electrodermal Screening for food sensitivity

For this series on What a Naturopath Does, I am working with K6 Wellness in Dallas. My son is being treated free of cost so that you can see how a naturopath works and know what to expect when visiting a naturopath. I am learning a ton and hope you do too!

The first question I get when I talk about taking my son to a naturopath for his food sensitivity issues is: how does the naturopath determine what foods he is sensitive to? The short answer is: with a computer. What kind of computer? Computer systems that do electrodermal screening. At K6 Wellness the IQS and ZYTO systems are used.

You probably remember seeing pictures of my son holding a metal “hot dog” (as he calls it) next to a computer.

Electrodermal Testing by a naturopath on a preschooler
My son holding the “metal hot dog” while doing electrodermal testing

There’s a really technical way to explain all of this, but here is how I understand it (a more in-depth explanation can be found on the K6 Wellness web site):

  • Every atom has a specific electronic signature or “electronic identity”, the frequency at which it vibrates. The food we eat, the supplements we take, what we put onto and into our bodies in any way — all of these substances have unique electronic identities composed of the frequencies of their individual components.
  • Our bodies themselves also have a certain electronic identity when healthy and at rest, which is different from when they are in distress.
  • Through contact with the skin (when my son holds the metal “hot dog”), the machine reads the currency of the body. The machine then broadcasts the specific electronic logarithm of an “item” or substance into the body, then again measures the frequency of the body’s reaction to each “item”. Is it neutral or does the body react negatively?

This is how we can determine what things Little Sir’s body has trouble tolerating. As I mentioned in my previous posts, we made an effort to reduce his exposure to the things that caused his body to react negatively for a short period of time while he took a supplement and a specially charged homeopathic remedy to help his body learn to accept these problematic substances. The second time we went back and did electrodermal screening, his body reacted negatively to a much smaller number of items as the homeopathic solutions we had been using were already taking effect.

Does it work?

1) It seems to be working for us. All the issues that we went to the naturopath to resolve either cleared up immediately or are in the process of being alleviated. See my earlier post about how this is not a quick fix, but a process with the end goal of restoring the body to a point where it isn’t reacting negatively to food.

2) At the very least, it isn’t harmful. This methodology doesn’t lead to a barrage of drugs with scary side effects. It isn’t invasive. And for us, even the food avoidance was only temporary, leading to much more food freedom eventually.

3) Naturopathy offers positive and healthful treatments to the problems uncovered. I like that we aren’t going through drug after drug, filling his little body with all kinds of chemicals just to see what has the least amount of side effects or “if it works”, which is what happened to me when I went to a gastroenterologist years ago. I like that the solution isn’t to become attached to a drug for life, but instead to train the body away from the intolerances.

I have Googled “electrodermal testing” and there is one very scientific-looking web site that attempts to discredit the process, but in the end the author has 3 problems with electrodermal testing.

a) The author is a medical doctor and doesn’t like that the treatment leads patients away from commercial medications (which mean big buck$ for the doctor and drug companies). Obviously, if you are dealing with cancer or another potentially serious illness, you should probably see a doctor specializing in your condition. But I am talking about simple food sensitivity or mild intolerances.

b) The author lists the emotional distress of identifying the body’s issues and/or being told to avoid certain things as a “harmful effect”. Would we also say that being told by an oncologist that you have cancer and should stop smoking is a “harmful effect” and therefore a patient should not be given that information due to the emotional distress of being told to stop doing something and receiving bad news? I do not think that being unhappy with what is uncovered in an investigation is a reason not to investigate.

c) The author asks “Where is the evidence?”. I would argue from my personal experience that we do have positive evidence of success from our experience, but remember that the majority of scientific studies are funded by drug companies in support of prescribing more medications for particular ailments. I doubt we’re going to see Merck funding a study on naturopathy.

I hope this post might help answer questions regarding how K6 Wellness has been working with us on my son’s food intolerances and clarify why I don’t think it’s crazy at all. In fact, once we save up a little, I am hoping to go through this process myself at some point.

2nd Visit to the Naturopath: food sensitivity diet results

For this series on What a Naturopath Does, I am working with K6 Wellness in Dallas. My son is being treated free of cost so that you can see how a naturopath works and know what to expect when visiting a naturopath. I am learning a ton and hope you do too!

Visiting A Naturopath Food Sensitivity, Part 2

We’re back from our second visit to Sharon, naturopath at K6 Wellness, as we continue to work on Little Sir’s tummy/digestion issues. For the last few weeks, we have been on a food avoidance diet. It has been really difficult, but with a naturopath food sensitivity diet is the first to help the body to stop attacking good things (the food you eat)

First of all: how has he been doing in the last few weeks?

Noticeably better. After only 3-4 days on the food avoidance diet with enzyme pills at each meal and Cellular Recharge 2x a day, he spontaneously started pooping on the potty on his own. We changed nothing else as far as his motivation or discipline from a parenting angle. He did this all on his own. One day he just said “mommy, I have to poop on the potty”, and he did. Since then, he has pooped on the potty on his own even when we are out in public! This is totally amazing because it has now been almost a full year that he’s had trouble learning to poop on the potty.

Also, he says his tummy feels a lot better. For the first time in his entire life he actually told me he was hungry. This is a child who has had no obvious hunger cues since he was an infant. Sure, he’d eat if you offered him food (sometimes) but I had never actually heard him say “I’m hungry” before. I hadn’t really noticed the lack of hunger until his sister came along, because she asks for food all the time. But now he does too, occasionally.

One more noticeable difference: the drippy sinuses and excess mucus that we have been struggling with for 3-4 months are gone! Unfortunately, part of the reason we had to get tubes in his ears was because his body was producing so much fluid and his ears weren’t draining it. Even after the tubes, his body continued producing fluid. Our holistic pediatrician was concerned and had him tested for environmental allergens with a blood test. The allergy testing came up with nothing. But now that we’ve done the more extensive naturopath food sensitivity testing and are treating it from that approach, the dripping is gone!

What were the results this time?

About half the foods he was previously intolerant of are now “green”, meaning his body is no longer intolerant of them. I am so excited that he can eat strawberries and bananas again!! I haven’t kept anything in the house that he can’t have in the past few weeks, which means there have been no strawberries, bananas, or apples for anyone. I am not going to lie — I missed bananas so much! They are high in potassium, which is something the body craves after a heavy strength-training workout (which I do 2-4 times a week). My body started craving bananas. On Saturday, 3 days before we went back for re-testing, I finally caved and bought bananas for myself and hid them from Little Sir! I am happy to know that now I can share the one remaining banana with him. The first thing we did was go to the store and buy him some organic strawberries. He was so excited! He is also excited about having chocolate back, because he likes chocolate coconut milk. I am super excited that he can have oats again, because so many wheat-free recipes call for oats. Whole wheat is still an issue, although gluten is not. It’s something about the wheat kernel.

Here is the new (shorter) list of foods we will need to avoid for the next few weeks, compared with the old list:

2nd Naturopath food sensitivity testing results

Things we got back:

chocolate, strawberries, oats, corn, wild rice, white potatoes, soy beans, pinto beans, cashews, oranges, grapes, bananas, avocados, mozzarella cheese

My takeaway

I really feel like this is working, despite how difficult the last few weeks have been. We were not perfect in sticking to the food avoidance diet. There were multiple birthday parties that derailed us, as well as miscommunication between my husband and I regarding what LS could have while I was not there. I am soooo excited about the poop progress, the hunger cues are a nice bonus, and the mucus clearing up was a pleasantly unexpected surprise!

Most of the people I have talked to who have gone through naturopath food sensitivity diets have given up too soon. Those who I have talked to that have been given a list similar to our first list have made the assumption that the list was FOREVER. As in, you will never be able to eat strawberries, bananas, or chocolate again. From what I understand, that is not the goal. The goal is treatment (in our case using supplements, homeopathics, and de-sensitivization) to get your body back to a state where it stops attacking good things (the food you eat) and can focus on attacking real enemies like bacteria and viruses. So the goal is for you to be able to eat regular food and not react negatively. The avoidance diet is to give your body a rest from fighting things it sees as “bad” and allow it to heal.

I am feeling optimistic! My next post will include more information about the Galvanic Skin Response testing that is being used to diagnose sensitivities. Stay tuned!

Have you ever visited a naturopath and been given a long list of foods to avoid? How did you feel about it?

When eating clean is hard

But...This is Hard!

As I have struggled to adhere to the food avoidance diet for my son in the last 2 weeks, both my husband and I have occasionally questioned why we are making the effort to take this natural health journey at all. Why take extreme steps like visiting a naturopath and avoiding foods that everyone else eats with no trouble if no one is actually sick? Eating clean is hard! Shouldn’t we just live like the rest of the world and visit a doctor only when we are sick to get medicine that will make us better?

I asked our naturopath this question, and just this weekend my own experience proved that her response was spot-on. Here is what she said:

“This is a question I hear often. You are not alone! I think that a lot of people don’t know what it feels like to feel good…They numb themselves with food — remember how we talked about gluten and dairy acting as opiates? The brain gets foggy and sleepy [from what we eat] but we keep ourselves going with caffeine and sugar.

Everyone is born with toxins already in their body. What differs if each person’s threshold for these toxins. At some point the ‘garbage can’ overflows, sparking an immune reaction. The reaction can be to anything, but it is usually food because we eat all the time! Conversely, people who live cleanly, eat grain-free, dairy-free, etc. know what it is like to feel good. When they consume something bad, it stands out!”

First, let me say that my goal for myself and my children (I can’t speak for my husband, but I would hope…) is exactly that — to live cleanly so that our immune systems are able to react appropriately to legitimate threats of bacteria and viruses. I am particularly vigilant about phthalates in body products (endocrine disruptors), trans fats and artificial colors in food so that our immune systems are not constantly weakened from expending energy reacting to toxins. And I have seen the results over the years with my children. We have now gone two cold and flu seasons without anyone getting more than the sniffles or a mild cough.

Secondly, I had a chance this weekend to prove that eating cleanly actually feels different. I was visiting family out of town this weekend. We were celebrating two different graduations and Mother’s Day, so there were two separate cakes in addition to a huge amount of processed, packaged, sugary and salty comfort and holiday foods. There were fruits and veggies — not organic — served with plenty of creamy dips. And of course, even though I packed most of our lunches, we still had to eat some fast food on the road trip. These are all things that I usually only eat in moderation. Of course, I also had to leave my kombucha and green smoothies at home. And while I never judge my hosts bath and cleaning choices (I am thankful to have a shower and a nice, clean bed and shower!), I know that I was probably around more phthalates than usual. I wanted to get in some yoga or a workout of some kind, but I did not have the opportunity in time or location.

I knew all this was going to happen, and I was prepared to binge a little. I even thought it might be kinda fun. I wasn’t prepared for how my body would react! By Saturday, less than 24 hours after my diet had altered, I was texting my BFF about how sluggish and bloated I felt.

Poor eating text

Then Sharon’s words came back to me and I realized why we eat and live the way we do. Because we feel SO much better! I don’t love getting up at 5am all the time, but I do it, and it isn’t that bad. I don’t always feel like making bread or kombucha instead of taking a nap, but I do. But I am not running out of energy by 3pm, and I am not glued to the couch at 7pm. I don’t take any energy boosting supplements (unless you count NingXia Red, which is just highly concentrated fruit juices and essential oils) and I only have one cup of coffee in the early morning — no caffeine for the rest of the day. It’s because my body is functioning the way it should, for the most part, that I am able to recognize the symptoms of a cold when it starts and stop it without drugs.

I know there are a lot more steps I could take to eat even more cleanly (I still love carbs. SO MUCH.), but this weekend was a great reminder of why I go to “all that trouble”, even when it seems difficult to maintain sometimes.

How about you — what motivates you to eat clean and live green? And how can I help you in your next steps?