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.

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The Summer Slide – When Managing Celiac, CSID, and Allergies Goes Awry

With resources running low in recent months, it’s been difficult to feed my family the ideal diet. Summertime makes it all that much harder with teens coming and going and making their own choices regarding what to eat and drink when they are not home.

One thing that has made it difficult to keep taboo foods out of the house is that my oldest son, Dawson, is scheduled for a small bowel biopsy next week, and has doctor’s orders to eat gluten every day in order to confirm his Celiac diagnosis.

On the other hand, Parker (my youngest son and the reason I started this blog in the first place) had repeated food allergy tests done at the start of summer and is no longer “allergic” to wheat, eggs, or milk. Of course at 12 years old, he took that as a green light to eat all the wheat and milk he wants. When his GI Dr. said he didn’t see a problem with it due to the fact Parker has gained 10 pounds in the last year, I didn’t have a lot of ground to stand on to insist on continuing his modified diet.

So, this summer I’ve allowed our family to consume many of the foods I’d normally avoid and never allow in my home.

For those that don’t live with food allergies or sensitivities, this may seem like a blessing. But when as a whole, I begin to see signs and symptoms that may indicate distress among myself and my kids, I know it’s due to the over-consumption of processed foods.

Parker’s eczema has returned and although I’d hoped he’d be rash free on his first day of 7th grade, we haven’t been able to rid him of a few patches. Now, granted, he’s been swimming a lot and spending time outside in public areas with tons of grass, trees, and dogs around (all of which he is still allergic to). But he’s also been eating a lot of refined carbohydrates and drinking beverages with high-fructose corn syrup.

I could avoid sharing these details with the world, but the struggle is real. It’s not easy sticking to the ideal diet of select carbohydrates, clean meats, and plenty of fresh vegetables. Especially when my older teenage boys both end up with their first jobs at fast-food restaurants!

Back-to-School Means Back to Healthy!

So what is a mom to do? First, getting my husband to support the transition back to a Paleo-based diet at home is crucial. Since he experienced feeling better on a gluten-free diet last winter, this shouldn’t be too hard.

Second, between my own gluten sensitivity and our oldest son most likely having Celiac, we really need to remove gluten from the house to avoid cross-contamination.

This only leaves our middle son a “victim” due to his ability to eat anything. Yet, I believe he will also feel better, have more control over his hyperactive personality and do better in school.

However, to avoid burn out on my part, this is going to be a transition. School starts tomorrow so my plan is for the month of September, to focus on breakfast and dinner at home and allow the two boys without Celiac to eat school lunches. As fall approaches, I will assess the results and go from there.

Time to dust off my Paleo cook books and make a meal plan for the week.

Questions for you …

How hard is it for you to stick with a strict diet for yourself or your child(children) with dietary restrictions?

Do you find the medical community in support of extreme diet adjustments or are they indifferent to anything not backed by extensive research?

If you have a larger family or teens, I’d love to know of the ways you’ve been successful in feeding your family and encouraging healthy choices when not at home.