Food, Poop, and My Kid's Brain - Day 10 - The Surprising Evolution

The next step in healing the gut/brain connection, according to the BEDROK protocol, is to add cultured vegetables to the diet - a key peace to establishing a balanced ecosystem in the digestive tract.

Just reading about cultured vegetables made me wince.

Actually, I've tried them and personally enjoy them, but was not AT ALL expecting my kids to enjoy them.

In fact, I captured on video, in real time, Killian's reaction of utter disgust.

But THEN, he came back 2 minutes later and completely surprised me!  Check out both videos below for the complete "about face," and to fully experience my kid hamming it up for the camera.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Food, Poop, and My Kid's Brain - Day 9 - The Poop Part

I had a great conversation today with Dr. Tara from Alignment Natural Medicine.

She said she's never seen a kid who's neurologically atypical who does NOT have a compromised gut.

WOW!

That's the same thing Donna Gates has said about kids with Autism.

I'm fascinated by the correlation.  Hence I'm reading the book: The Second Brain, by Michael Gershon.

Dr. Tara recommended that we test Killian's stool so that we can look at his gut permeability (leaky gut symptoms,) his levels of good bacteria versus yeast and fungus, inflammation, nutrient absorption, nutrient levels, cell funtionality and a bunch of other biometrics to more deeply understand how his body is processing, absorbing, and functioning.

Can you BELIEVE all that can be evaluated in the stool?! Crazy!

We're also going to do a blood test to look at heavy metals.  Heavy metals are a common factor in Autism and neurological dysfunctions.

I can't wait for the results!

In the meantime, when I'm not making hard boiled eggs, kale chips, Young Coconut Kefir, Cultured Veggies, and Beef Stew, I'm reading as much as I can about this gut/brain connection.

Will keep you posted!

Food, Poop, and My Kid's Brain - Day 8 - Lunches & Breakdown!

Good news - We're figuring out how to pack a school lunch with no gluten, no sugar, and no casein.

 Kiwi, carrots, humms, corn chips, turkey wraps, coconut meat, sprouted pumpkin seeds

 Kiwi, carrots, humms, corn chips, turkey wraps, coconut meat, sprouted pumpkin seeds

Bad news - Killian was pretty upset this morning.  He walked around the kitchen crying and telling me that I needed to go grocery shopping.  He asked for cereal, toast, chips (notice the carb trend?)

And finally, the low blow, "This is all just because you're a Nutrition-a-list!"

This is a small punch to my gut.  It's one of my fears.  With one quick swing I went from confident Mom "doing everything right," to the laughing stock of the cool crowd.

I've always been the weird Mom.  The one that fed my kid green juice, coconut meat, quinoa and goat cheese.  The one who didn't allow hot dogs or candy or McDonald's or even Wheat Thins.

Both my loving Mom and Mother-in-law work hard to make sure they have what we need when we visit, and I'm sure have bit their tongue so many times it's surprising they still have one.

I've had a very compliant first kid.  But every once in a while he get wise.  And I get insecure.

It seems so "all American" and "normal" to have pancakes, sausage and cereal, peanut butter and jelly on white or even WHEAT bread, tacos and meatloaf.  And MAN those would be easier foods to fix.

Instead I find myself up late last night hacking through coconuts to make living probiotics.  I have a jar of pink cultured veggies fermenting on my counter, and my kid is crying this morning because he's hungry and has decided that I need to go grocery shopping.

Is this a total fail?!

Then I take a deep breath.

Killian's behavior is in alignment with what the BEDROK community calls "die off." It's how you know it's working.  As the yeast and bacteria begin to die off in the gut, it creates symptoms.  These symptoms can be everything from cravings to tears.  This morning, we had it all.

At least I hope to God that's what it is, "die off," and NOT that I'm just a terrible Mom depriving my kid of food he actually enjoys, setting him up for sequestering himself into a closet somewhere with a bag of junk food, and becoming an adult who tells stories of his "weird, granola mom" while he stuffs satisfying amounts of McDonald's fries down his throat.

Lord God, help us!

Food, Poop, and My Kid's Brain - Day 6/7 - Halloween!

Sugar and Halloween just go together.  I knew I had to be mentally prepared for that.

But this year, I had a new tool!  Yay for YCK (Young Coconut Kefir.)

Okay, this little but very powerful tool is a life changer.

If you've been following along, you'll know that I made a huge batch of Coconut Kefir a few days ago. The instructions for the BEDROK protocol have the kids at about 2 Tblsp. of Kefir a day.

This magical potion of probiotics works to eat up all the bad bacteria/yeast and fungus in their bodies, while providing ample amounts of B vitamins, minerals, nutrition and immunity.

But what ELSE does it do? Eats SUGAR!!!

So, as we were cozily sorting our candy next to the roaring fire, I handed them each a glass of Coconut Kefir.

They downed it right alongside their snickers and skittles, and I felt so good that this little drink would USE the sugar in the candy to create MORE good bacteria in the gut.

The more good bacteria we can create for these little Halloween Monsters, the more we heal their gut and nurture the gut/brain connection.

A whole new spin on Halloween treats!

AND, one of my little men told me in the morning that he woke up TWICE to go to the bathroom, yes THAT kind of bathroom, the # 2's we're always celebrating around here.

The probiotics in Young Coconut Kefir should increase the bowel movements as part of it's job to keep the digestive tract moving.  Knowing that all those treats were making their way OUT of his body even as he slept was like Christmas morning for this Momma!  ;)

Next post, we're diving into gluten free/sugar free/casein free School Lunches!  Can it be done?!

Food, Poop, and My Kid's Brain - Day 5 - The Weekend!

I should have known that weekends ALWAYS present more of a challenge.

Combine lazy mornings with family get togethers, unstructured days, and a glass of wine, and the protocol becomes more challenging for all of us!

Luckily, I think we scraped by today.

Both kids started with their lemonade kefir.  I think Killian actually finished his.

Then our fam came over this morning for breakfast, and usually that means our favorite whole grain pancake mix.  Instead we made eggs, sausage, and berries and except for Colton sneaking in a slice of watermelon, Kilo remained sugar/gluten/casein free.

Later Killian complained he was hungry and when I suggested more Applegate sausage, he complained and said he wanted something else, like an apple.

It felt very weird to deny my kid an apple, since I usually silently fist pump when my kids voluntarily choose the living nutrients of a raw food.  On top of that, I was encouraging him to eat meat instead...very weird.

He complained some more but finally did have another whole sausage. (Yes!)

Colton had some coconut meat as an added snack, and then we got in the car to go visit their Mimi and Pops.

After the hour drive, they were pretty hungry and I didn't have a sugar/gluten/casein free snack prepared.  But their Mimi had some beautiful grapes set out, and they were thrilled!  I let them enjoy the beautiful fruit, from their beautiful Mimi, in her beautiful home.

Killian then found some nuts.

For dinner Mimi made a delicious homemade chicken soup.  She kindly left the noodles out for us, and both boys had a good bowl.  (Dinner, check!)

Colton followed it up with some coconut meat and then the little Dickens snuck in a couple pieces of Mimi's dark chocolate.  So to keep things even I let Killian have 1 piece.  Lame.

Pretty good day overall, but I can see that weekends need a little more prep in order to stay dedicated.

I'm reading up on the next step now....Cultured Vegetables.  Basically, homemade saurkraut, which I can't imagine my children eating readily.

But here we go....

Food, Poop, and My Kid's Brain - Day 4 - The Kefir's Ready!

We have officially begun, and we're off to the races!

The kids both enjoyed 2 tsp. of Coconut Kefir today (Colton had 4 tsp.)

And I realized that if I can focus on the first part of the day as being totally gluten/casein/sugar free, PLUS adding in the Coconut Kefir, then if the afternoon falls apart a little, or there's a curve ball, I'm not going to freak out....at least this week.

I'm taking this ONE DAY AT A TIME.

The Coconut Kefir is reported to make the biggest difference in healing kids' guts and balancing the brain.  So I made a huge 2nd batch today, and we're committed to Kefir as our morning routine.

Here's Colton's first taste:

Here was the play by play of our food today.

Berries and green juice for breakfast, and the boys seemed perfectly happy with that.  (Phew!)

For a snack we had carrots and more berries.

Then for lunch, Colton had roasted chicken with veggie soup and Killian had a big bowl of homemade black beans.  (Beans are supposed to be avoided on this protocol, but I can only focus on removing so many things at once.  So for now....beans are staying in.)

Afternoon snack was raw cashews.

Then we met up with Daddy after work, and being that it was a Friday night, I caved and we all had a treat at Peet's Coffee. The boys had almond milk hot chocolate - definitely against the no sugar rule.

For dinner, Killian had chicken with homemade guac, and Colton enjoyed a big bowl of sweet potato. (Sweet potato will eventually have to go....but not yet!)

Honestly, I feel pretty good.  We made some great effort and progress today. Having a day with no gluten, no casein, and just a little sugar is an accomplishment!

As I mentioned....one day at a time.

Food, Poop, and My Kid's Brain - Day 3 - My AHA Moment!

I admit that by yesterday evening, I was feeling a little overwhelmed, if not in a minor panic, about just HOW I was going to implement this protocol.

So I did what I always do when veering head first into a panic....make a list.

This list included all the things we could possibly INCLUDE in my kids' diet by meal:

Breakfast:

Fruit salad with berries, green apples and kiwi (Dressing?)

Snacks:

Carrot sticks, celery, green apple (boring?!)

Dinner:

Grassfed Buffalo, veggie side dishes, soaked quinoa (I've never soaked quinoa.)

My list wasn't making me feel much better.

Thank God for the BEDROK Community forum!  I searched for menus and how people were actually implementing this protocol with success.

Then I found the one piece of advice I needed to hear, the one piece of advice I've always given my own clients, the one piece of advice that makes you feel as if you're not doing it well enough - "This is a lot. Make 1 change a week."

Phew!  Okay!  I could do that!

Especially since today at 2pm my Young Coconut Kefir was officially ready to drink, and drinking Young Coconut Kefir is the foundation of this protocol.

However, the boys and I went out of town today to visit my Gramps, and so we weren't home when said Young Coconut Kefir was ready for drinking.

SO, I watched for another day as my boys scarfed down foods that as of tomorrow will be outta' here: quesadillas, z bars, oatmeal, candy, ice cream (they were visiting Gramps!)  Watching them crave and eat these mainstream foods terrifies me for the road ahead.

But here we go!

So, tomorrow, we are going to focus on 2 things:

  1. Taking OUT the casein, gluten, and sugar
  2. Adding IN the Young Coconut Kefir

I'll be sure to take a video of the boys tasting the Kefir for the first time.  The BEDROK protocol suggests mixing 1 tsp. into a "lemonade" made of water, lemon and stevia.  They already happen to like this "lemonade" and think it's a treat, so we may start there.

Lord God help us!

See you tomorrow!

Food, Poop, and My Kid's Brain - Day 2 - The good and the bad!

Okay, so we haven't OFFICIALLY started applying the diet/protocol.

Today, I justified a "clearing out the pantry" day. I let them eat the watermelon, the organic cereal, the Z-bar with oatmeal icing, while I conveniently avoided any REAL changes.

The good news is, I DID actually add in more of what we'll be eating ON the protocol: more berries, coconut meat, roasted chicken with homemade guacamole.

The really bad:

  1. A couple times a year I crave doughnuts. Today was that day. I ate 2. Darn it!
  2. We had a special playdate with the kids today that had been on the calendar for awhile and included gluten free pizza, pineapple/mango juice and gluten free cookies.  Darn it!

SO, sugar? Absolutely, and a lot of it! Maybe we're all subconsciously entertaining our last supper. But then I think, "Come on Nat, get real!" This is life. This is what happens.

How am I going to consistently apply this protocol to MYSELF let alone a grouchy, hungry kid who wants sugar and carbs, could care less about a "healing protocol," while his friend eats a gluten free pizza.  Darn it!

But the truth is that there IS a way. People have gone before me and transitioned their kids with incredible results. So I reached out to the BEDROK community (bedrokcommunity.org) to hear their stories. All I needed to read was this, from a Mom with an Autistic daughter:

The second day (yesterday) our daughter was very happy, she ate millet with coconutcream and stevia and was interested in a doll for the very first time. Also new: she hugged me again and again and gave me kisses. But the most stunning “little” progress was, that she flirted with the cat. She has NEVER been interested in him, she pulled out his fur to happily look at the flying hair, at the most. But this time she crawled around him to look right in his face with a big smile. I almost fell off the couch, it looked like she wanted to play with him!

If SHE can do it, I can do it!

I'm pretty sure I'm going to need to be extra vigilant, and up my "meal planning" skills - never a strength of mine! (Deep breath)

In the meantime, I'll celebrate the little wins, like my Young Coconut Kefir is coming along. It's supposed to ferment for 2 days and turn milky white. Check it out....Woohoo! (Don't pay attention to the underwhelming volume.  Darn it!)

kefir.jpg

Food, Poop, and My Kid's Brain - Day 1 - Holy Moly!

Today was a BIG day.  This protocol is for REAL.  There was a lot to read, remove, add, think about, plan, strategize and do.

I realized in the end, that to think I can make all the changes in one day is super stressful.  From my years of practice, I should have at LEAST known THAT!

I broke my day up into 3 videos:

  1. What's currently in my fridge and what I'd have to remove. Scary!
  2. How I'd plan out our next couple days.  (Lesson: I can only do this a couple days at a time.)
  3. How I homemade the KEY ingredient to healing the gut.

Food, Poop, and My Kid's Brain - Intro

Even though I'm a nutritionist, and I've been feeding my family pretty clean, healthy, and upgraded foods for years, this is the first time that I'm applying a specific diet protocol.

My question is, can we strengthen my son's brain, by strengthening his gut?

Research is showing tremendous promise that when we systematically heal the gut, the brain and body come alive.

The evidence of Autistic children who, with diet changes alone, are no longer on the Autistic scale, is particularly fascinating to me.

My oldest son has a rare genetic diagnoses that effects the brain.  But it's time to step it up.

We are hoping that by healing and  strengthening our son's gut, we can help to strengthen his ability to process information, engage with the world, and make appropriate choices.

I will also be looking for subtle shifts in his physical body: coloring, facial fluid, muscle tone, bowel movements, chronic dermatitis, and carb/sugar cravings.

Even though this is my passion, I am nervous.  There are so many challenges from pizza nights to Halloween, to vacations next month, to social get togethers, and packing lunches.

This protocol calls for some serious shifts.  What will this look like, and how will I do it without my son and I both losing our shit?!

Here we go.....