Today marks 2 years since Teagan’s vaccine injury. I still can’t believe it has been that long, it’s a little surreal.
He looks good. Doesn’t he look good?? He’s doing great. Thankfully, we didn’t have nearly as many challenges in year 2 as we did year 1. We faced a few, but we are on top of them. His body is healing and as Dr. Taylor tells us, he just needs more time being healthy on his side than he was sick. I agree with that.
His diet is good, which is huge for him. It will always need to be good, but you know what, that’s NOT a bad thing! We haven’t done GAPS full on, but we’ve done parts of it, we aren’t a full on Weston A Price family either, but we do many aspects, we aren’t paleo, but we do a lot of that too. Healthy, alive, food with ferments for a healthy gut to keep the brain in check. Healthy fats, no junk. And we all feel so good.
He has some core strength issues, but given the level that he was sick and that his body just wasn’t working for such a long time, I think that is to be expected. We’re working on it.
I guess the biggest change is that we put him in speech therapy around the new year. We understand everything he says, but over the holidays when others had a hard time understanding him, we decided to have an evaluation done. You can imagine our surprise when the eval came back and dated his expressive pronunciation at 2 years 4 months. Yup, the *exact* age of his vaccine injury. He’s going to speech once a week and he’s making wonderful progress. We expect him to be all caught up by the fall! Which is really great news, he’s working so hard and I’m so proud of him.
We are still working on supporting his Phase II liver detox pathways. We’ve been in maintenance mode for awhile and I’m ready to do some real healing on this front. The good news here is that we know his liver is handling things much better this year because some of his chemical sensitivities are starting to disappear. We will always be mindful of what we bring in to our home and expose him to, but it has gotten much easier this year, MUCH easier and fewer reactions. This is such a good sign that his liver function is improving.
He’s still left with food allergies, but you know, most of it is stuff we don’t really want to eat anyway, gluten, etc. We did test raw milk this year, fermented first, and he did just fine with it. He’s not on it at the moment, but we will likely move that direction at some point (maybe) with both he and Taryn once we’ve reached an even deeper level of healing. Ty, Jason and I have added small amounts of raw milk back in to our diets this year.
If he gets sick, which is pretty rare these days, it lasts for maybe a day. And it doesn’t cause a regression like it used to. In fact, that feeling of panic when he would get sick, deep in my gut, doesn’t even pop up any more. We know what to do when he gets sick – run to the fridge and chiropractor! I don’t miss the days at all when he would get sick and we’d fear his body shutting down or a regression. I love having a healthier family that rarely gets sick and when we do, it’s short lived.
Oh! Oh! And he recently traveled and it went great! A year and a half ago we tried to travel with him and he regressed, it was too much for his body. Since then, we’ve been to afraid to try again. Memorial Day weekend Taryn and I went to visit my mom in New Orleans and my 3 boys drove up to Dallas to visit Lego Land. A 3 hour drive each way, and they didn’t stay the night, but he did AWESOME! Our next step will be an overnight trip within driving distance of home. And then a weekend a little further way and we’ll slowly start to build it back up…..hopefully! It’s been hard to not be able to travel over the last few years. I hoping this year will bring us some freedom to do so.
What do I credit his healing to this year? Gosh, so much! Organic food, fermented foods and drinks, chiropractic, laser acupuncture, juicing, tons of antioxidants, neuro-immune stabilizer, trace minerals, enzymes, tons of water, sunshine, healthy fats and of course healing bone broth.
That sweet face up there steals my heart daily. He’s kind and oh so funny. He’s brought so many wonderful changes to our family. It was a dark road to get us here, but we are in a good place. A place of wellness and good health. A place where we are happy and thankful.
I can’t believe it has been 5 months since I’ve updated this blog. I have a lot of good reasons though. I last updated around the holidays. In January we pulled Taryn out of public school because they kept exposing her to food she’s allergic to. We had the choice to either hire a lawyer at the advice of a professional advocate and sue the school for personal injury to force them in to providing a safe environment (yes, it actually got that serious, crazy, right?!) or homeschool. We prayed a lot, we cried a lot, and as much as we wanted to make the school do the right thing by our daughter, it was too much negative energy for all of us. It ended up being a blessing in disguise because homeschooling her is beyond amazing. We love it! It has taken so much stress off of all of us and we’re left scratching our heads wondering why on earth we didn’t do this sooner. Life is much simpler, she is absolutely thriving. Beyond thriving, she blew through 1st grade math in just a few weeks. I just keep thinking, she would have been just sitting there for the rest of the year. Teagan continued at his private preschool for quite awhile. He recently decided he wanted to be homeschooled full time as well, and we let him make the decision to come home full time. Pre-K dropout lol! We love it, they are thriving, it works for us.
And our biggest news of the year…..we are expecting a new baby! This might be old news to many of you as I’m already 22 weeks along and we announced some time ago over on our other blog. But I figured we should share here as well because there may be a few who only visit us here. We are beyond thrilled. This pregnancy, with our better nutrition and health has been a dream compared to the other 3 (which were very rough). The truth is, Jason and I tried for quite a long time before Teagan’s vaccine injury. We stopped trying because we needed to focus on healing Teagan. God knew what he was doing because there is no way I could have handled a pregnancy and newborn and healing Teagan at the same time. I wasn’t healthy enough then either. We are thrilled that this new little one is joining our family, the kids are excited, it’s a great time for us. Definitely click over to my other blog if you’d like to follow along with our lives, healing, the new baby, etc. I update there much more often than I do here!
As always, thank you for your support, love, kindness and prayers over the last two years. It means the world to us. Here is to good health!
From my family, to yours. We have been incredibly blessed this year. May 2012 be a year that we all work toward better health. I’m ready!!
And yes, I got on the other side of the lens for once, photo by the amazing Bonnie Berry.
A year ago, I would have been in a panic over the thought of eating only nourishing foods that were strictly organic, gluten free, dairy free, soy free and allergen friendly for every member of our family. I would have felt limited and cranky over it all. But we have a year under out belts and this year, in spite of being all those things, I have been looking forward to Thanksgiving. What once felt like a challenge, feels normal. What felt overwhelming, feels simple. Healing, nourishing food…I’ve embraced it in such a huge way, our whole family has. Cooking on Thanksgiving used to feel like a chore….actually….cooking at all always felt like a chore. Something I wanted to rush through. I always wanted dinner on the table already, faster, easier, more efficient, just…..done. But using food to heal, and nourish and really beginning to understand food and how incredibly powerful it is, well, it made me slow the hell the down. And appreciate it. And respect it. Dare I say, the mom who used to love drive-thru fastfood and had dominos on speed dial, has become a foodie. A real foodie. We are blessed in so many ways, we are particularly blessed by food and all of it’s healing powers, this year.
So….I thought I’d do a blog post about how exactly one family that is GFCFSF with a long list of allergies does a traditional thanksgiving dinner. I get A LOT of questions about how we eat and prepare our food. I hope this post will take some of the mystery out it. We ate traditionally prepared foods….many of things others eat on Thanksgiving, just prepared in a different way and perhaps a different quality. Do we eat these foods ever day? Well, no. We rarely eat carbs like this, we try to stick to tons of healthy veggies, fruit, very high quality meats, nuts and healthy fats. But, it’s Thanksgiving and today my family had a feast, just like other families did. We were due! What I LOVE about our meal today is that each and every thing we ate was prepared in a way that added nourishment and nutritional value. You can eat carbs and have them be beneficial. We have little guilt at the end of this day and know that our children walked away full and nutritionally sound.
I started off on Wednesday with two big crock pots full of nourishing bone broth. I knew I was going to be needing a lot of it. I started it a little late, ideally it should cook at least 30 hours but 24 was long enough for what I needed plus some I had stashed away in the freezer. It is actually still simmering and I just took out what I needed as I cooked. Chances are, if you stop by my house on any given day, you will be greeted with the smell of bone stock at the door. We almost always have some simmering on the counter. We use it for gut healing. Taryn used to drink it straight but I’ve gotten the hang of including it in our food enough now that it isn’t necessary for her to drink it straight very often anymore. And we all get the benefits daily! This is my current favorite recipe. I do vary the ingredients based on what symptoms and healing we are doing. Bone broth is rich in glutathione and glycine and both are beneficial to inflammatory mucosa. Broth can be used not only for gut healing, but also in the following conditions: anemia, fatigue, detoxification, blood sugar dysregulation, muscle wasting, wound healing, pregnancy, infant and childhood growth, asthma, hypochlorhydria, jaundice and liver support. Add in some nettles and you’ve got an entire day of vitamins and minerals! If nettles don’t grow in the wild near you, I recommend getting them from rosemountainherbs.com. If you want more info on the benefits of healing bone broth, WAPF has some great info here. I thought our parsley looked especially pretty and plentiful.
Since I had the camera out, I decided to take a photo of our dinner that night, well, at least part of it. We started our festivities a little early with a special treat for us. Honey Glazed Chicken Bacon Bites. OMG. Joy in every single bite. Homemade honey mustard glaze, to die for. I served it with Sautéed Butternut Squash with Lemon, Walnuts, & Parsley, a raw carrot salad and a big green salad.
Mmmm, bacon. Moving on to actual Thanksgiving food….
I really wanted to make this fermented cranberry sauce, but ran out of time to let it ferment for 2 days (it is busy season for my business so time is pretty hard to come by here lately). So instead, I altered this Orange Zest Cranberry Sauce recipe first thing this morning so it would have time to cool. I did significantly alter the recipe though. We don’t use white sugar. I subbed one cup of white sugar with 1/4 cup of organic sucanat. This was my first time making cranberry sauce that didn’t involve opening a can. It was sooooo good and EASY! And it all gelled really well. I’m so happy we have a lot left over.
And since I slacked on getting the fermented cranberries done, I pulled out a ferment that had been culturing for about 5 days already. The timing was perfect for these and omg, they were ah-mazing. Garlic Dill Fermented Carrots. We serve ferments with each and every meal at our house as a part of gut healing and to promote healthy gut flora. Teagan particularly loved these and I caught him going for seconds then trying for thirds. We eat ferments in small amounts so hopefully he won’t have any dieoff of bad gut bacteria from eating so many. I can’t wait to eat more of these tomorrow and then every day after that until they are gone. We also served raw Bubbies kraut so the kids could have a choice in what ferment they wanted. Ty chose the kraut, Taryn chose both. Kids who love raw ferments, be still my beating heart.
Tons of fresh, organic, herbs to stuff in our turkey and add to stuffing. We purchased our organic, pasture raised turkey from Fresh Pastures Farm. It was literally alive and happy until about an hour before we got there to pick it up. So fresh and SO much better tasting than anything we have ever purchased from a store. I was really surprised at the differences in texture and taste. Very impressed! As for the stuffing, I had big plans to make my own with dried gfcfsf homemade bread made in our bread machine. We don’t make bread that often because Taryn is on a rotation diet for both eggs and rice. We rarely give them on the same day (we did today though) so if Ty makes bread, he eats it or maybe once in a great while Teagan will have a piece, but that is pretty rare. Anyway, I ended up going a different route when I spotted assembled stuffing packs at Bees Knees. Feeling rushed this week, I grabbed 2 bags just in case I didn’t have time to make bread, dry it and do our own stuffing from scratch and I’m so glad that I did! It saved me a ton of time and it was so good! We added celery, onion, fresh herbs (and her herb packet included) and some fresh organic sausage we picked up at Fresh Pastures Farm. Instead of water, we used bone broth for the liquid and it added so much flavor and nutrition.
Ty made this Apple Salad. He had no idea that you can soak apple slices in lemon water and they won’t brown. He was fascinated by the science of it all. The end result was absolutely delicious. Organic red apples, coconut flakes, cinnamon, cranberries and I toasted the walnuts in a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg. This dish is both yum and nutritious. Cinnamon is a great detoxifier, cranberries are great for the kidneys and coconut has way to many benefits to list! And outside of a little raw, local, honey, no added sugar!
Gravy. How on earth does one make gravy that is gluten free, dairy free and actually tastes good?! Julie Matthews to the rescue. This was so good and Jase and I actually high fived over it. I always have had a jar of gravy in the pantry in years past because when I try to make gravy, it never ever works out. I didn’t have that luxury this year and we didn’t even need it. This recipe was really, really good: Gluten Free Gravy I used both drippings and bone broth.
Hasselback Sweet Potatoes were a last minute addition. I’ve never been a fan of the whole marshmallow sweet potato thing, just too much sweet in one dish. I had planned to make these grain free Sweet Potato Popovers but then decided we didn’t really need them and I didn’t have the last minute oven real estate. So I used the sweet potatoes for these instead and they were to die for. Tons of flavor and sweet potatoes are so incredibly nutrient dense, we felt no guilt whatsoever. To make this dish healthier, and dairy/soy free, I subbed the margarine (yuck!), for clarified ghee.
Things I forgot to take photos of:
Our turkey! I can’t believe I forgot to take a picture of our turkey, doh! It was so simple to prepare. No brining, no nasty plastic bag to cook it in, just a pastured, organic turkey rubbed with salt and pepper inside and out then stuffed with garlic and fresh organic herbs in a roasting pan. Easy peasy and so good!
Mashed potatoes. It took awhile for us to really perfect dairy free mashed potatoes but Ty and I finally have it down. We peel and cook the potatoes is bone broth as this really adds to both the flavor and nutritional content. We drain and then throw in some ghee, salt, fresh minced garlic, one spoonful of coconut dairy free yogurt and mix with a hand held blender.
Deviled eggs. Taryn didn’t get to eat these as she was already getting egg in the stuffing and the pie, in small amounts. I didn’t want to overload her system. She was totally fine with giving up a deviled egg with no drama if it meant she got a sliver of pie. I made these because my husband LOVES deviled eggs. We avoid mayo though so it can be a challenge to get a good deviled egg. I finally found one that everyone likes. Egg yolk, salt, pepper, mustard, a few teaspoons of coconut yogurt and a splash of Annies lemon and chive creamy salad dressing.
Raw carrot salad. We had some left over from the day before so I threw it on the table. This is a favorite around our house.
I think the only thing we really missed, was green bean casserole. Teagan can’t have mushrooms, even organic ones, because they are bad for myelin. We love green beans sauteed in garlic, coconut oil and lemon and that was the plan, but we couldn’t find fresh organic green beans, only conventionally grown, so we just skipped it.
I also cheated and bought pie from Bees Knees. Ah, yes, I do feel a little guilty over the pumpkin pie. But you know what, pie once in a year, totally worth it! Served with a spoon of coconut ice cream….yes, I’m heading to the gym tomorrow for sure! We all agreed this is the best pumpkin pie we’ve ever had. You’d never ever guess it was gluten and dairy free.
Yes, it turned out to be a lot of food. But it had more nutrients than your regular old run of the mill Thanksgiving carb fest. Bone broth at every corner, fresh herbs and spices, local honey, no sugar, no white processed flour, just healthy/solid ingredients. And yummy ferments to help counteract all those carbs our bellies are not used to. And it was safe for all of us to eat, allergen friendly, no gluten, dairy, soy and organic. I’m pretty proud of this, mostly because above all else, our meal tasted ah-mazing.
And because I can never pass up a good opportunity to make bone broth, new stock is already brewing! Yum!!
From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving. May you be blessed throughout the year with good food and good health!
Recipe Round Up:
Healing Nettle Infused Bone Broth
Honey Glazed Chicken Bacon Bites
Fermented Cranberry Sauce
Orange Zest Cranberry Sauce (altered to avoid sugar content)
Fermented Garlic Dill Carrots (altered to omit the whey and used cultures for health jars)
Gluten Free Gravy
Raw Carrot Salad
Sweet Potato Popover (Grain Free)
Sautéed Butternut Squash with Lemon, Walnuts, & Parsley (I subbed ghee to make it dairy free)
Hasselback Sweet Potatoes (I subbed the margarine for ghee in this one too)
Teagan’s vaccine injury included MAJOR food changes at our house. I get a lot of questions about how we went about changing every single thing about our families relationship with food. We went from eating fast food several times a week plus delivery pizza plus a ton of junk/processed food all the time, to eating organic, fresh, traditional, nourishing foods, in a fairly short amount of time. When you are desperate to heal someone you love, you do what you have to do to make them as well as you possibly can. That being said, there are some very specific things we did while making big changes.
This happens to be one of my absolute favorites: Let’s Play Good Idea
So in addition to Teagan’s vaccine injury, we also had a table full of both allergies and picky eaters. Taryn has sensory processing issues that can transfer over to the dinner table, sitting still, food issues, etc. Since we have always sat down to eat as a family 7 nights a week, this meant that dinner time at the table was a bit out of control. It was stressful for awhile, with so many food changes, new expectations, new allergies, just very, very stressful. So one night, out of desperation for peace while eating, I came up with a game. The result has reclaimed our peaceful, calm, quiet, easy, family dinner.
Basically, whoever has the idea to play Good Idea, gets to choose who goes first. You have to come up with one good idea. Then we go around the table. It’s so fun to hear what the kids come up with. We go from ideas that include everything from installing TV’s on the ceiling to slides from their beds to calling a grandparent to taking a trip to projects around the house to playing cars to you name it! They have come up with some crazy fun stuff that makes us laugh! It’s also a good time for Jase and I to come up with ideas of ways to spend time together as a family, like the idea tonight of going on a picnic tomorrow. And we are totally going now! It’s been a great way to hear what our kids are thinking about, it encourages them to take turns, and perhaps the most life changing aspect, to listen to one another during dinner conversation instead of talking over one another or complaining. Sometimes, if there is a good idea we like, Taryn will call a vote, as Teagan is pictured above. If enough people vote on an idea, we make it happen. Duder makes me laugh with his little hand up, he loves to vote and almost always raises it. If he doesn’t, you can look at him and tell that he really, really wants to raise his hand, even if he doesn’t want to vote for something in particular. It kills him to *not* raise his hand! HA!
We have long since gotten used to our new way of eating organic veggies and salads and nourishing soups and raw ferments with each meal. We love the way we eat, they are thriving and nourished. Dinnertime is peaceful and each night we have a room full of good ideas to mull over.
Things have been sooooo busy here. Between all the normal crazy busy fall season with my work, 3 kids, a busy house, football, OT, carpool and all that good stuff, I’ve also been doing a ton of research in nutrition. Add to that a few days of demyelination returning for Teagan, and figuring out WHY and jumping on fixing it (YUHESS!), AND in the process doing the same things with Taryn and having her anxiety and sensory issues subside, yes, we have been BUSY. What a huge breakthrough for our family, such a huge blessing. I’m seriously regretting that F in Chemistry I got. I swear I could take a Biochemistry exam and ace it…that’s not something I’ll be signing up for any time soon though.
More on all this soon. Today, I thought I’d share a recipe that I use on busy days like today, football game night. Dinner is in the crockpot but we always also serve a salad too. This is a new favorite for us. I love it because it is raw too.
Shredded carrots (I throw mine in the food processor)
Small handful of organic apple sweetened cranberries
Squirt of fresh organic lemon juice
Annie’s organic balsamic vinegarette dressing (I like this one because it is organic and is low in sugar)
You can pretty much swap out whatever dressing you have on hand though. If you do, throw in a dash of balsamic vinegar for a little bite. If you don’t have any dressing on hand, you can swap it out for a small amount of apple cider vinegar and organic raw honey. Yum! I usually make extra and send it in the kids lunches the next day.