Friday, August 22, 2008

The big detox takes a detour...

I'm sorry I didn't write anything last week... it's not for lack of something to write, but rather an inability to chose from the myriad of topics that have been bubbling away since we started the big detox almost three weeks ago. I wanted to write about the amazing Michelle, who came and did an environmental check on our house, including testing our water (filtered and unfiltered tap water -- the Brita Maxtra filer actually works pretty well!), testing our urine for heavy metals (mine was good, the toddler's was not as good... need to work on that), and telling us to avoid using cordless phones, cell phones, and wireless internet access (all of which I knew, but hadn't implemented), and showing us where the electro-magnetic hotspots in the house were (like sitting near the fridge) and how to avoid them (move to the other side of the table).

I also wanted to write about how excited I was that I didn't have any pre-menstrual pimples this month!!! I'm pretty sure it's because I have been taking cod liver oil daily for the last month. My skin hasn't felt this good ever! Even the tiny little bumps that I sometimes get on my cheeks are almost all gone. I think if I could only take one supplement, it would have to be cod liver oil.

BUT.... this is not what I want to write about today. Today I am about to plunge into what will quiet possibly be the most monumentally life-changing culinary adventure ever.

We are about to go start an elimination diet devised by Sue Dengate of the
Food Intolerance Network who wrote the book Fed Up.
The program is designed to support for families using a low-chemical elimination diet free of additives, low in salicylates, amines and flavour enhancers (FAILSAFE) for health, behaviour and learning problems. We know that our son is sensitive to salicylates (naturally occurring chemicals in most fruits and some vegetables). If he eats fruit (other than pears) he breaks out in hives and becomes hyperactive. And we know that DH is sensitive to amines (naturally occurring in foods such as chocolate, bananas, meat and fish as proteins break down) - if he has too much he gets migraines and throws up a lot. We know that I am allergic to dairy and gluten intolerant (and heaps of other foods). But what we don't know, is whether the toddler is sensitive to amines, whether DH is sensitive to salicylates, and whether I am sensitive to either or both. I'm pretty sure somethings going on, because after reading the list of symptoms in Sue's book Fed Up, I had a huge "Ah-Ha" moment. (Oprah should do a show about this book!).

I will write more on this soon, but for now I will leave you with the list of some of the many symptoms of food intolerance that can be helped by diet, according to the Food Intolerance Network: (I have put in bold the symptoms that I, or members of our families have had, either as children or adults. If you are related to me or my husband, and have symptoms (or your kids do) that I have not listed in bold, then email me and let me know so that I can update the list... it will be interesting to see how many of these symptoms disappear!)

Airways: Asthma, Stuffy blocked or runny nose/ nasal polyps, Frequent nose bleeds, Catarrh, chronic throat-clearing, Sinusitis, Frequent ear infections, Frequent tonsillitis, Frequent colds and flu, symptoms of Samter’s Triad

Skin: Eczema, Urticaria (hives), Cradlecap, Other skin rashes, Angioedema (swollen lips, eyes, tongue), Geographic tongue, Pruritis (itching), Allergic shiners (dark circles under eyes), Pallor (pale skin), Flushing, Excessive sweating, Body odour, Sore vagina in children

Digestive system: Recurrent mouth ulcers, Indigestion, Nausea, Bad breath, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Stomach ache, Bloating, Reflux in babies, adults, Constipation, Colic in babies, adults, Sluggish bowel syndrome (feeling of "more to come"), Soiling (sneaky poos)

Bladder: Bedwetting, Daytime incontinence, Urinary urgency, Recurrent inflammation (cystitis)

Skeletal: Growing pains, Arthritis

Eyes: Nystagmus (involuntary movement), Blurred vision

Muscles: Low muscle tone, Myalgia (muscle pain), Tics (involuntary movement), Tremor

Heart: Rapid heart beat, Heart palpitations, Cardiac arrhythmias, Pseudo heart attack (feeling of impending doom, chest pressure, pain down arm), Tachycardia (fast heart beat), Angina-type pain, HHT

Central nervous system: Headaches or migraines, unexplained tiredness, Chronic fatigue, Feeling 'hung-over', Confusion, Dizziness, Agitation, Tinnitus (noises in ear), Hyperacusis, Paraesthesia (pins and needles), Dysaesthesia (numbness), Hypoglycemia, Epileptic seizures, Sensory symptoms of multiple sclerosis, Symptoms of lupus

Anxiety: Panic attacks, Depression, Self harm, Suicidal thoughts, actions

Impaired memory: Vague or forgetful, Unable to concentrate, Won't persevere, Unmotivated, Disorganised, Easily distracted, Difficulty reading and writing

Speech: Loud voice (no volume control), Speech hard to understand, Speech delay, Selective mutism, Stuttering, Repetitive noises, Talks too much (empty chatter)

Coordination: Poor handwriting, Poor coordination, Frequent accidents

Sleep: Difficulty falling asleep, Restless legs syndrome (RLS), Persistent night waking, Insomnia, Nightmares/night terrors/sleepwalking

Mood: Mood swings, Premenstrual tension, Grizzly or unhappy, Cries easily or often, Irritable, Uncooperative Oppositional defiance: ODD, Loses temper, Argumentative, Refuses requests, Defies rules, Deliberately annoys others, Blames others for own mistakes, Touchy, easily annoyed, Angry, resentful

Other behaviour: ADHD, ADD, Autism, Aspergers, Inattentive, easily bored, unmotivated, Restless, fidgety or overactive, Head banging, Fights with siblings, Difficulty making friends, Destructive, aggressive, Unreasonable, Demanding, never satisfied, Disruptive, Discipline is ineffective.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I feel like crap, so the detox must be working…

I don’t feel that bad, just a bit like I’ve been hit by a truck. I’m exhausted without doing anything. I’m not sick, nothing hurts, I just have very little energy, and as DH just discovered, I’m a bit sensitive and grumpy! I’m trying to make the most of the process, lazy hours reading in bed, or just lying in bed doing nothing. I’m not that sleepy, just wiped out. I just had a nice long hot bath with lots of baking soda (helps to draw out the toxins) while sipping a cup of dandelion tea (helps the liver detox) that DH kindly made for me. He is doing very well with his detox. His main issue is tea, which he loves, but he gets terrible headaches when he doesn’t have enough at the right time. When we did the first detox three and a half years ago he was pretty sick for a week while he went through the caffeine withdrawl. This time around he is doing it more gradually. Cutting out coffee first, then switching to a low-caffeine Ceylon tea, and then to white tea. While he has had mild headaches at times, it’s a lot more pleasant than the first time around! That is one of the advantages of starting the detox six months before we want to conceive… we’re not in a quite so much of a hurry, so we can take a gentler approach.

There are also lots of things that we have cut out completely since the first time around, such as toxic household and persona care products. While we are still not perfect in this arena, there are a lot toxins in our lives these days, so the detox is not as much hard work as it was the first time. The second time round I am focusing more on adding in nourishing, beneficial foods and supplements to our diet, than on cutting out bad ones. The main things I have to cut out (not that I have much of them to begin with) are sugar, alcohol and caffeine (in that order). I’m already non-dairy and gluten-free, so that makes things easier.

I really don’t have much sugar, since I’m allergic to most things that have sugar in them, but it sneaks into your diet in insidious ways…. ketchup, jam, toothpaste (not mine) peanut butter (which I don’t eat, but it’s in the sunflower substitute I like), etc. I already avoid corn syrup (one of THE most EVIL “foods” around) religiously. So for me it’s things like honey, fruit juices, dried fruit, and other things with naturally occurring sugars.

Alcohol is probably the worst thing I have regularly, but I only have a few glasses a week, usually of organic red wine. Red wine does have some health benefits, but it is also pretty hard on the liver, so I’m taking a break during the detox, and the pregnancy, and the breastfeeding, so I’m pretty much not going to be able to have wine for about the next 3 years. Now I’m going to cry. I must admit I did drink the occasional half glass of wine while breastfeeding the first time around. But I absolutely did not drink at all during pregnancy. I was also very very good during the four month detox before getting pregnant, however I did have one bad night at a friends wedding in Bali only a few weeks before getting pregnant. My son can blame any of his future health problems on that night. The good thing is that I was already so detoxed that by body would have been able to process the alcohol very quickly. Or so I keep telling myself.

The caffeine thing is pretty easy for me, since I don’t really like black tea, and I only have coffee once or twice a month, since it gives me the jitters. My main source of caffeine is dark chocolate, which is very hard to resist, and very good for you, if it’s not combined with too much sugar and other processed additives. My one deviation from the detox since last wrote was a piece of vegan, gluten-free chocolate cake. It’s so rare that I can find pastries that I’m not totally allergic to that I couldn’t resist… But if that’s the worst thing I had all week I think I’m doing pretty well… Now I’m off to apply my detox foot patches (more on these soon) and go to bed!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

it all starts NOW!

So this is it. The BIG detox. It all starts now. Actually it was supposed to start on Friday, and I was pretty good on friday, no caffeine, no alcohol, no sugar... but then it was saturday, and someone offered me a decaf rice milk cappuccino (yes I am a freak) and I couldn't say no, as it's not often you can have such an obscure beverage, and then someone else offered me a glass of wine on saturday night, and I felt that I really needed to have one last farewell drink, given that I am giving it it for probably the next three years or so... so I did. But now I'm done... no more toxins will be entering my body if I can help it. There are a lot of toxins I can't help.... such as living in a major city, but I'm going to take control of the more controllable ones, such as what goes into my mouth and onto my skin, and what comes into my house, and more importantly, what I'm kicking out!

Why am I doing this to myself you may ask?

Because I want to have another organic baby.

Not now. Not in nine months. But in 15 months. So I'm starting now. Last time we started detoxing four months before conceiving. That was the minimum time recommended based on the maturation of eggs and sperm. (More on this soon). But this time I'm starting a bit early, as I want the actual detox to be done four months before we start, so that we just have four months of optimal health as the eggs and sperm are preparing. And yes, that means DH is doing it too! He's currently weaning himself off his rather serious caffeine addiction, so I'm typing very quietly.... shhhhh.

I promise to update the blog at least once a week until we get pregnant (and beyond). And you, my dear blog readers will be the first to know. This will be the step-by-step guide to making an organic baby that I have been promising for so long.... here it is. Enjoy.