I swear, when you are a mom, there is always something to overthink or worry about….always! When you have multiple kiddos, it gets worse.

So we’ve had a bit of a rough start to this year, but we’re getting through. After a full month of bad colds and sinus infections (me), we all seemed to be on the mend, until I noticed this…..

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THRUSH!

Seriously guys, it never ends.  I first noticed a sharp pain in my breast and then when I opened up Isaiah’s mouth and saw that, I knew it had to be thrush.  Oy vey! Fortunately, he doesn’t seem to be bothered by it but I’m aggressively attacking it as we speak.

Okay but let’s not talk about yeast infections, let’s talk about food….HA, how’s that for a transition?

Specifically, I want to talk about gluten free/dairy free food options for a toddler because that is what we are living at the moment.

I know I’ve mentioned before, but we are very fortunate that Grayson has always been such a great eater. He has no problem shoveling vegetables in his mouth, has absolutely no interest in sugar or anything sweet, and wouldn’t drink anything but water even if you offered it to him. Blessed we are!

We’ve always been very limited in our gluten and dairy, mainly because of my autoimmune disorder, but I also know that dairy and gluten can cause inflammation in the body.  The forms we did eat came in homemade sourdough, keifer, and raw sheep and goats milk cheeses.  But when Grayson was diagnosed with autism, I decided to take out all forms completely, especially for a time to see if it made a difference in some of his symptoms.

Within a few days, I started to notice gains.  He appeared less stressed and more aware.  He began using more words (like saying his brother’s name) and even started counting after an entire year of trying to get him to count. So whether or not it is or isn’t the diet, the progress he is making happened immediately after I removed gluten and dairy so I can’t deny it has to be making some kind of difference.

But when it comes to toddlers, bread and cheese is often a huge component of their diet so the idea of getting rid of these things can be daunting.  Here are a few ways we’ve transitioned to a GFCF diet for Grayson over the past few weeks….

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BREAKFASTS

LUNCHES

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  • Hummus and avocado sandwiches on GF bread (we use Aldi’s brand)
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly on GF bread
  • Chicken sausage (GF and DF) with veggies and hummus
  • Sweet potato quesadilla (brown rice tortilla)
  • Egg and avocado toast (GF bread)

DINNERS

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  • Brown rice pasta with roasted vegetables and chicken sausage
  • Chicken with roasted vegetables
  • Turkey burger with homemade sweet potato fries
  • Cauliflower crust pizza with roasted mushrooms (no cheese or dairy free cheese)

SNACKS

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  • Smoothies
  • Apples with almond butter
  • GF pretzels (his favorite are Aldi’s brand)
  • Popcorn
  • Dired snap peas
  • Freeze dried fruit
  • Applesauce
  • Homemade peanut butter snack balls
  • Homemade granola and granola bars (GF oats)
  • Larabars
  • Tortilla chips and guacamole

Hopefully this gives you a few ideas whether you are looking to cut back or eliminate gluten and/or dairy for yourself or your kiddo.  It takes a little extra thinking at times, but fortunately, this diet has become easy to obtain with so many options available now.

 

{ 2 comments }

Grayson’s Journey Towards Healing

by Lauren on February 12, 2017

I’ve been working on writing this post for weeks now, contemplating the right words to share or how I would approach the entire subject.  Truthfully, I’ve been trying to digest everything and get my head in a rational and proactive place before I even began to explain to others what was going on. I wasn’t even sure I would share anything at all, but then, as I spent days upon days in prayer, I heard God clearly call to me to be transparent and to journal about this experience.  Like any other life experience I’ve endured, I knew this was yet another facet that I am meant to scribe, in hopes that our journey may touch or influence another who may be on the same path.

I guess you are wondering what I’m talking about by this point, and by the title of this post, I bet you gathered that this particular reality isn’t exactly about me but about my first-born, Grayson, and you are right. To put things simply, Grayson, who is not quite yet two and a half, was recently diagnosed with autism.

Now before I dive into this whole account, I have to tell you that this is a post of hope, a starting point if you will.  Before a few months ago, I knew little about autism or “the spectrum” and now, I feel as though I could write a book on the subject.  While I won’t be writing a book, I will be journaling here on Grayson’s journey through this, because I fully and wholeheartedly believe that he can and will be healed.

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So here we go…..

Grayson had always been a very strong-willed, vibrant, and passionate boy, even from day one.  He was the baby that you could spend just a few minutes with and know you’d have your hands full as he was always on the go, always wanting to touch, taste and feel life around him.  John and I began socializing him right away and he was always so easy to take out in public.  Well, we started to notice subtle changes in Grayson’s demeanor shortly after his first birthday.  At 11 months, Grayson suffered a rather traumatic vaccine injury that we thought would cause problems for him later on. Fortunately, he recovered from his breathing issues from that, but we noticed that the ways he was developing started to slow.

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I began to take notice at around 18 months that Grayson wasn’t doing much of any talking.  He was vocal, making all kinds of noise and sound, but never would he repeat a word if you asked him to.  He also started to become uninterested in people talking to him.

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When Grayson turned two, I started to get concerned that he still wasn’t talking much at all.  He knew a handful of words and would use them sometimes, but hardly ever when you asked him to.  He also had a really hard time engaging with adults he didn’t know. If I took him to the grocery store and someone tried talking to him or got too close to him, he would freak out.  He also began throwing constantly and not throwing toys at people but just up in the air over and over.

I had a few people mention to me that there could be some red flags and I should keep an eye on his behavior.  I also had a few friends gently suggest I seek out Early Intervention.  You see, I was still so new to this all and I couldn’t determine if there was an actual problem or if he was simply just being a two-year old. But I listened and called Early Intervention hoping to get him involved in speech therapy.

When his evaluation came, the therapist suggested to us that it would be a good idea to have Grayson tested for autism by a developmental pediatrician. John and I were crushed.  Autism?  Not our child!  But the more I heard it, the more I realized my gut feeling shouldn’t be ignored….I wasn’t going to be one of those parents that brushed off a problem if there really was something going on.

So we made the appointment and got him started in occupational therapy right away.  The appointment for his autism diagnosis wasn’t exactly what we were expecting and I remember just praying that Grayson would be good for it. We went into it feeling hopeful but deep down, I knew the news would probably confirm what my heart was telling me. After a 90 minute process, the doctor told us she believed Grayson did show the signs for autism.  I immediately asked what that meant, where he fell on the spectrum and was it really autism or maybe something else.  She told me that anymore, EVERYTHING is just considered autism, there are no levels and no other diagnosis.  This was hard to swallow but we left and began to process.

When we got home that day, I remember thinking, “this doesn’t really change anything. Grayson is still the same child he was today as he was yesterday.” But then worry began to set in.  Did this mean he would need to go to a special school or would need special treatment?  Was I supposed to explain for him every time he was being difficult in public?  And once I got out all of my fear and doubt, my worry turned to a purpose.  I accepted the news and then said, “Ok, let’s heal him.”

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Now I know there are a thousand different opinions on what does or does not cause autism and John and I have our own opinions, but that isn’t the point.  The point is, I believe his body isn’t able to detox the way others may and there is something going on inside of him that he may not be able to control himself…he needs our help.  After I got over the guilt that I could have possibly done this to him, I began researching day and night.  I submerged myself in articles, books, videos, and sought out the advice of holistic doctors.

We didn’t waste anytime putting Grayson on a gluten free / casein free diet.  I read over and over that this diet was proven to help reduce symptoms in many autistic kids due to the fact that their bodies may not be able to digest these proteins properly.  Luckily, Grayson’s diet hasn’t been a big issue for us because he eats so well as it is, but I knew I needed to start eliminating to see if he may have any food sensitivities that were affecting his behavior.

I also began doing some detox baths of epsom salts and essential oils and upping his probiotic intake.

I swear, a few days after we took out gluten and diary completely, and implemented the other small changes, I noticed a change in Grayson.  He just appeared more focused, less stressed, and overall more pleasant.  His therapist even noticed a difference from the previous week she had been there.

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The next step was calling a doctor who practices functional medicine to talk about biomedical treatment options.  Fortunately, there is a doctor locally for us that specializes in healing children with autism through nutrition and other holistic treatments.  I spent an hour on the phone with her going over options and hearing such hope that we are being so proactive at such a young age.  She said we would start with getting an extensive history on Grayson including lab work to see if he had any triggers in his body that could be attributing to his symptoms. This is exactly the route I want to take so I was excited to know that there are these options available.  What is hard is that this type of treatment isn’t covered by insurance and it comes at a big cost.

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So this is where we are currently at.  Grayson is the exact same loving, joyful and kindhearted little boy he always was, now we just understand him a little better and realize he may need our help to ensure his body is as healthy as it can be.  As I mentioned earlier, I’ve let go of the guilt but I still feel a level of responsibility and I’m determined to heal him.  As John says, it has become my crusade.

This is our starting point:

  • OT therapy once a week
  • Speech therapy once a week
  • Gluten / Casein Free diet
  • Diet rich in fermented foods and gut healing ingredients (I believe the majority of the healing must take place in his gut)
  • Daily probiotics and essential fats
  • Routine chiropractic adjusting
  • Abundant prayer

Our next steps will be homeopathic and biomedical treatment, I’m just not sure in what form quite yet, which is why I am seeking out a holistic doctor who specializes in functional medicine. The challenge for us comes in the cost, but I know we will find a way to overcome that.

I’m not sure why God chose us to embark on this journey but I know he is entrusting us and equipping us with everything we need to overcome it.  So we may be just beginning, but we are ready to see amazing things happen and ready to learn so much from this incredible little boy.  I hope you are too!

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{ 27 comments }

The Power of Word

February 9, 2017

The following is a contributed post. Thank you for reading and your support always!  Image Source Never underestimate the force of the spoken word. Many things that are said can never be recalled again, as unimportant as they were to you, yet there are some phrases that stick with us for life. Inspiration can be […]

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Some Days I’m On and Other Days I’m So So Not

February 8, 2017

You know how they say, “one baby feels like one, but two babies feels like one hundred.”  Well, shoot isn’t that the truth! I swear somedays feel like I am just spinning aimlessly in a world of complete chaos. Like when the house is a disaster, I’m trying to feed a fussy baby, and the […]

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When it Rains, It Pours

January 27, 2017

It’s been raining here for the past few days and much like the weather outside, the clouds also seem to be following us around in life. Truth be told, life has been sort of a crap chute lately.  Between being in the hospital for weeks, to having to watch our baby live his first few […]

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Healthy Super Mama: Find Out What Could Put Your Pregnancy At Risk And Stay Away From It

January 27, 2017

The following is a contributed post. Getting pregnant is a wonderful journey of changes for women, during which their mind and their body will be submitted to many pressures. It is important for mothers-to-be to stay healthy, and as a result, it is not uncommon to change your shopping habits and pick products that are […]

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Breastfeeding Nutrition: How I Eat to Feed

January 22, 2017

So I kind of forgot how intense breastfeeding hunger really is.  It far supersedes pregnancy hunger by a landslide. (this is how I feel most days…give me ALL the food!) Before I dive into this topic, I wanted to share that this in no way is intended to be a tout on the importance of […]

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A Simple Guide To How Exercise Benefits Your Entire Body

January 14, 2017

The following is a contributed post. Thank you for your support!  As humans, most of us put a lot of our trust in blind faith every day. That may seem like a controversial statement, but don’t misunderstand – it’s not a comment on religion, one way or the other. It’s more to do with the […]

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A New Day In Our Lives

January 13, 2017

Isaiah has been home for a week and although things are definitely different, I haven’t felt too overwhelmed with changes, nor has Grayson I believe. Isaiah is such an easy baby compared to how his older brother was, and I know it can change, but for now, we are enjoying a slow transition into this […]

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Something’s Cooking: Make Meal Times Less Stressful and More Healthy

January 11, 2017

The following is a contributed post as part of a partnership. Thank you for your support!  What can you do to make mealtimes less stressful? Well, there are a few things you might want to consider. For one thing, you need to try to work out how you can improve and boost the experience of […]

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