Second Edition of A Place to Start Without Sugar or Starch

A Place to Start Without Sugar or StarchI’ve finally published the second edition of my CSID Journey and Diet Guide on Amazon!

For those of you who purchased a copy of the first book, please know very little is changed besides the cover, a few minor wording details, and an update on our family’s progress. It’s also a lot less expensive than the First Edition, since I was able to use Create Space on Amazon and self-publishing has come a long way in a few short years.

I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions on this revised edition and look forward to your Reviews so that parents looking for a resource like this can trust it is what they need and want!

Read more on my BOOK INFO page.

I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to do a more thorough revamp, but I know it’s important to offer something tangible at this point. If you are looking for recipes after you’ve determined appropriate and tolerable foods, I highly recommend (and have several times in other posts), Practical Paleo and Against All Grain books. I envision you using A Place to Start Without Sugar or Starch alongside these cookbooks to tailor recipes and meal plans to your family’s individual needs.

I wish you wellness and happiness in the upcoming Holiday Season!

Advertisements

With CSID – Bad Days Are Inevitable

When Symptoms Change but Tolerance Doesn’t

I think we deceive ourselves only when we change what we can eat just based on that what we think we’re reacting to. In our family, we’ve learned the hard way that just because it doesn’t upset your stomach doesn’t mean it’s not upsetting something in our body.

As a Christian, I’ve learned about listening to the Holy Spirit and that if you don’t listen when you know you’re hearing the voice of God, that’s considered sin. It might be a spiritual consequence that we write off as worrying too much, or over-thinking. But for those of us who have lived long enough we know that when we do something on the contrary to what we know is right, eventually we suffer for it or the people around us do.

This is exactly what happens with dietary limits. Every time I think I can get away with eating something I know I shouldn’t end up suffering for it. And lately that’s suffering seems to come and more intense and immediate episodes.  I’ll get a migraine, or have extreme fatigue or irritability. Almost always I can trace it back to eating or drinking something that I probably shouldn’t have consumed.

The same goes for making exceptions to what my kids can eat.

Now that my oldest son has a positive Celiac diagnosis, we have one more reason to make our home gluten-free. But removing gluten alone doesn’t guarantee a healthy body any more than removing sugar for those with CSID guarantees symptoms will cease for good.

This week, I’m writing a blog on cellular health for Energetic Nutrition. As I research all the many processes and functions our cells go through, I’m learning of the thousands of possible scenarios that could cause a cell’s health to go awry. Of all the components required for a cell to work properly, good nutrition and the ability to combat negative influences are crucial. If the cell doesn’t have what it needs, it can’t duplicate in a healthy manner AND it can’t fight off harmful elements such as free radicals.

This takes me back to my original philosophy when it comes to CSID:

Add what helps, and remove what harms.

Of course, knowing what helps and what harms can be objective. There are many theories out there, and we have to decide what makes the most sense to us and our families. I don’t have access to current statistics, but it’s my understanding that starch tolerance levels can still be quite high for those with CSID. Primarily, sugar, or sucrose, tends to be avoided more than sources of starch.

However, as necessary as starch is as a form of carbohydrate, different types of starch can create very different results. Some forms of starch can cause digestive distress, such as those that come from grains or beans. Others, are dense sources of nutrients and relatively easy to digest, such as those from sweet potatoes or some root vegetables.

The difficulty is learning to know what each individual can manage and what symptoms, in addition to or besides digestive distress, to look for.

The alternative is deciding to eliminate or reduce potentially harmful foods or ingredients to avoid future problems.

For my family, I’ve found that incorporating a majority of Paleo-friendly foods into our household meal plan is beneficial for all of us. We receive ample sources of vegetables and proteins, healthy fats, only natural sources of sugar (fruit and occasional honey, coconut sugar, or maple syrup) and easy to digest carbohydrates. As we shift from our Summer Slide, and considering we now have a child with Celiac, all sources of gluten are gradually leaving our home.

This is the key to keeping me sane — deciding that what we offer in our home will be the ultimate source of health and healing. But not being so concerned with what is consumed away from home. My kids know what is helpful and harmful and are all at the ages where they need to learn to make their own decisions for health. If they give in to a food that could potential make them sick, they will learn their limits and have to decide differently the next time.

However, it is so easy to get discouraged! I also have those times where I think I’m making all the right decisions and dietary limitations and one of us still ends up having symptoms.  The truth is there are just way too many variables for us to control. And since we can’t physically see how everything from food, environment, or even emotional stress can effect each of our cells and ultimately, every system and defense mechanism in our bodies, we have to learn to accept the bad days along with the good ones. We have to do the best we can one day at a time, learn from our mistakes and compromises, and keep educating ourselves and making adjustments as needed.

As much as I still have to learn about digestive health and how it impacts every member of my family, I’m grateful for what I’ve learned in the past ten years about what can truly help and what can possibly harm. At least at the end of the day, I can know I did the best I could with the knowledge I had at the moment. And I believe my husband and my kids all appreciate my efforts and if they aren’t already, will be grateful for the efforts I made to provide them with the knowledge they need to make wise choices for their own health for years to come.

Getting diagnosed with CSID as an adult or teen

As difficult as it is for parents to adjust to feeding their young child with a recent CSID diagnosis, suspecting or receiving a CSID diagnosis is even harder as a teen or adult. Babies and young children have the advantage of never knowing a life of consuming excess sugar or starch. If regulated and monitored, they will at least know how beneficial living without these foods can be. Even if they experiment as older teens or adults, they will quickly learn their tolerance levels and have their childhood lessons on proper food choices to fall back on

My miserable teen years

I often reflect back to my teen years and a point where I was so frustrated from getting an upset stomach or gas every time I ate, I wished I could just take a pill to satisfy my hunger. Eating has rarely been a pleasure for me. I used to blame it on stress alone, and I’m sure stress played a part, but if I had only known how to curb some of my common eating habits at a younger age – I wonder how different my life would look now.

You see, it wasn’t until after two of my children were diagnosed with CSID and I decided I would only eat what they could as I began experimenting with recipes, that I realized I, too, likely had CSID. But that was back in 2007 when I was a stay-at-home-mom and my time and financial resources were plenty.

Confirming what I already knew

Finally, a visit with the genetics department and a GI doctor back in 2014 confirmed my suspicions. However, there still wasn’t a pill out there that could help my cause! I had to make a daily choice – meal by meal – and avoid those foods I knew were harmful to me. I also learned that if I chose to continue consuming gluten or sugar (at that point I thought that moderation wouldn’t hurt me) – that it could lead to other problems. Eventually I realized my fibromyalgia symptoms were linked to gluten and sugar consumption as well. Beyond stomach upset, consuming taboo foods could also trigger a flare-up of chronic pain, severe PMS, or a migraine that lasted for days.

Bad habits die hard

But curbing poor eating habits and fighting the urge to consume what’s in front of me (especially when hunger demanded I eat something) is easier said than done. Despite knowing I am setting an example for my teenage and adult children (they are ages 12-22 as of the date of this post), I still give in on occasion – and always pay a price.

However, after experiencing a horrible migraine the day before heading off on a week-long writer’s conference at the end of March, my resolve strengthened. Enough is enough – I must learn to care for my own digestive health in hopes that my children will see me benefiting and make their own wise choices. (See PREPARING FOR THE 21-DAY SUGAR DETOX  to read more on my own commitment to change.)

A new reason to get well – I’m going to be a grandmother!

My oldest daughter is pregnant and constantly hungry  while she and her husband balance working 2 jobs each. Now that we are living close to each other, I desire to model proper eating habits regardless of the chaos of life. With a grandchild on the way, my motivation is stronger than ever. I want to be healthy and capable of spending as much time with him or her as possible!

 

Managing CSID when time and money are limited

Challenges of CSID during life changes

Over the past 18 months or so, our family has endured many challenges. Sticking with the ideal food and supplement choices has not only been hard, but impossible at times. I’ve had to allow compromises, only to see my children or myself suffer as a result. And as much as I want to be that “perfect” example for all those parents or adults out there struggling with a recent CSID or GSID diagnosis – I also want them to know there will always be challenges.

Yet, because of all the knowledge and experience I have gained from trial and error, and understanding from resources that focus on providing our bodies with digestive support – I am hopeful that in time we will get back on track.

I am also learning how different each CSID case is – along with how close relatives may experience various levels of carbohydrate intolerance, autoimmune diseases, or mild digestive upset. As of today, 4 of my 5 children as well as my husband recognize associated symptoms when they choose to partake in food containing sugar, starch, or dairy products. In June, my 17 year-old son, Dawson, received a Celiac Disease diagnosis after several unexplained events related to inflamed joints. (See Our CSID Story and scroll down to 1999 to read how we’ve had warning signs since he was young). I will write a separate post about the challenges and blessings that have resulted from this diagnosis. Ultimately, we are learning that our entire family should avoid sugar (processed, artificial, or corn syrup based), starch (from wheat and most grains), or dairy (except grass-fed organic on occasion) as much as possible.

And this is really the purpose behind my blog and my book A Place to Start Without Sugar or Starch. It’s about knowing we are not alone in this daily battle. It’s about understanding we will fail at times, but that it is possible to gain ground again and seek out the resources and answers that can provide a lifestyle of true health and wellness again

Here are my most recent tips to providing CSID-friendly meals while on the go and on a tight budget!

Tips for quick and easy CSID Meals

For some of these meals, a digestive enzyme may be required to help the individual process any naturally occurring sugars or starches. Choose one options per bullet point and modify them as needed.

Breakfast

  • Nitrate-free bacon with a semi-ripe banana, one slice of gluten-free toast (Schar brand is also egg free!)
  • Sweet potato (we use the light ones with white flesh) hash browns with chopped tomatoes and egg prepared as desired
  • Gluten-free, non-GMO cold cereal with unsweetened almond milk (digestive enzymes recommended)
  • Bob’s Red Mill Rice Farina (super excited to have recently discovered this as Cream of Wheat used to be our favorite years ago!) NOTE: This contains approximately 32 grams of starch per 1/4 cup, yet for unknown reasons everyone in our family seems to tolerate any food derived from brown rice very well.

Lunch/Snack

  • Raw almonds
  • KIND bars granola bars (gluten-free and non-GMO)
  • Unsweetened applesauce or semi-sweet fruit such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, grapes, or red pears.
  • Nitrate-free, gluten-free lunch meat sandwich on gluten-free bread (we use smashed avocado in place of mayo due to Parker’s egg white allergy)
  • Tuna salad (albacore, wild-caught tuna blended with avocado, olive oil, sea salt and a dash of white vinegar on a bed of romaine lettuce with black olives and grape tomatoes)
  • Non-GMO peanut or almond butter sandwich or cup with celery. We use Simply Fruit jam or honey.
  • Non-GMO chips (moderation recommended if they contain corn ingredients)
  • Fresh bite-sized, non-starchy veggies such as sugar snap peas, celery, cucumber

Dinner

  • Brown rice pasta with organic spaghetti sauce (if buying jarred sauce, check ingredients carefully), with ground turkey or grass-fed ground beef
  • Sweet potato skillet (1 pound ground turkey, beef, or leftover chicken plus 2-3 white sweet potatoes shredded or sliced and cooked until crispy, and a steamed vegetable such as green beans or broccoli). On occassion, we use brown rice in place of sweet potatoes.
  • Crockpot chicken with fresh rosemary, sea salt, and pepper. Add carrots, red potatoes, or non-GMO brown rice. Add sliced oranges or fresh cranberries if desired.
  • Most Thai or Asian meals are easy to duplicate at home and many Thai Kitchen products and recipes are suitable.
  • White bean turkey chili