New Enzymes with Sucrase!

My sister came across these while doing research for her nutrition class. We are giving them a try now that Parker’s eczema is under control. Although he still showing some symptoms, we believe it’s mostly environmental. As of yesterday this will be the only digestive support he will take until the bottle is gone.

I will continue to give Parker his antihistamine at night, and apply the prescription ointment for topical treatment. For the record here is a picture I took of him yesterday when we were baking gingerbread cookies gluten free of course.

They are available through various Amazon sellers. Simply search: “Klaire Labs Vital-Zymes chewable”

As you can see he still has some irritation around his eye and some spots on his neck…but huge improvement over all.


Paleo, Eczema and CSID Update

This past month has been overwhelming to say the least. A move, an ill grandparent, continued management of Parker’s symptoms and still working 40 hours per week is not easy!

But I have a few minutes before I am off to my day job to update everyone.

Parker is doing really well at the moment. As you can see, he is ready to take on on new neighborhood tonight–and perfectly fine with our deal that he exchanges all candy for tickets to see the movie Thor in November.

After finally getting in to see an allergist, a serious group prayer intervention (for God is in all of this no matter how I look at it), and completing our move into a healthier home, Parker appears to be on the mend.

One thing I have learned in all this, is I absolutely do not have all the answers and hope that nothing I have posted to this blog indicates as such. I am and have always simply shared what I learn, what works (or doesn’t) work for us, and what I feel could help others in understanding CSID.

This journey with CSID and associated health issues is a CONSTANT LEARNING PROCESS!

Each of us must approach our needs or that of our child’s on an individual basis. New research pops up every day… and honestly I am not in the position to be keeping the world apprised of it at this moment. For example (and if I had time I would site sources)—more research is coming out to discourage the excessive use of fructose in any form aside from its natural form in fruit. But even large amounts of fruit or honey could potentially cause problems for sensitive individuals. I posted a link a while back regarding a finding that I believed at the time was more related to the consumption of highly processed foods.

So please, please take what works for you and do—DO—more research to find what is best for you situation.

Right now, I have my hands full in caring for my son and attempting to complete my many other responsibilities. There are many other blogs and books out there written by experts and professionals that focus on dietary and digestive health for a living. I am not one of those people! In the time since I started this blog, there is much more information available. In a sense, I no longer feel obligated to share everything since much of it is becoming common knowledge. Some of my assumptions and interpretations from a few years ago have come to pass as truth. Others, not so much. For example, I have learned that dairy is probably best to be avoided in all forms. Every member of my family has experienced feeling better by not having milk, cheese, etc. When I have allowed dairy back in the house after we all went without for a while–boy did we all notice a difference!

Again–this is our personal experience I only share to offer a possibility and to encourage whoever reads this to look into the issue for themselves.

Anyway my time is up. I will continue to be available my email to answer specific questions. Please allow a week or so for me to respond. In the meantime, take care and I hope to continue to offer hope if nothing else, to those that come across our public journey of learning how to manage CSID through various means.

CSID and High Cholesterol?

This is the last thing I expected. My son, Parker, has struggled with gaining weight his whole life because of CSID. For years, the doctors and dietitians recommended high fat foods such as sour cream, butter, etc. to help him gain weight. When he wasn’t able to eat any form of starch, fatty dairy products were his main source of calories and carbohydrates. I have never worried about fat, since he wasn’t overweight. But I never realized how all those fatty foods could affect other areas of his health.

Over the past couple of months, I have actually started buying whole organic milk to increase his calories since he seems to be hungry all the time. However, I have also compromised in areas I would normally discourage. I have given in to allowing him to eat regular peanut butter (with Sucraid)– as much as I hate the fact it has sugar and hydrogenated oils. We have also had fast food quite frequently due to our busy schedules. This is why I discourage compromising our children’s diets, and generally don’t publicize it when I give in and allow unhealthy alternatives. We just don’t know the consequences of poor eating in an already compromised system.

I did a quick search on foods that can lower cholesterol. Almonds, fish, and yogurt are among the top ones. This doesn’t surprise me since every time we face a health crisis, the staple foods in my version of the CSID diet always pop up. Other foods on my regular CSID approved list include:

  • coconut milk
  • coconut oil
  • almond flour
  • lemons, berries, and other fruit
  • low-starch veggies 
  • sprouted grain breads and tortilla wraps (if taking enzymes to assist with starch digestion)

However, some of the foods that need to be avoided include butter, a staple ingredient in many of my recipes. The good news is, another oil I typically use is grapeseed oil, which can lower bad cholesterol. If you are also trying to lower cholesterol and would like to enjoy my CSID recipes, simply replace butter with the same amount of grapeseed oil. If needed, add a dash of sea salt to improve the flavor.

My whole family will be having a discussion about what foods will not be allowed in our house once again. I will have to give it some thought and more research, but I think if I can find healthy fat alternatives, increase fiber with vegetables and fruit, and get Parker exercising more regularly, we can get his cholesterol back to normal in no time.

Don’t think I am taking this lightly. It is very frustrating having to adjust our diets constantly. When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I learned that in addition to avoiding flour and sugar, I also needed to avoid red meat and green bell peppers. I love eating healthy fresh foods, but so many of those are also off the table. Even a trip to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s presents limitations. But I have learned to take it one day at a time. Our bodies are quick to tell us if we have swayed too far off the path of proper food choices, so we don’t stray for long. Even as a write this, I have a headache, probably due to my own giving in of a pretzel earlier this week.

By the way, the original purpose of the blood test he had was to determine if he was suffering from hypoglycemia. Those results were normal. I still think he needs to eat frequently just because of the limited amount of carbohydrates per meal (we stay below 25 grams even with enzymes).

GMOs, Our Right to Know and CSID

To make a long story short, when I first started researching CSID back in 2005 I had a hunch that processed and genetically modified food was a factor in why my kids had more digestive and health issues than me or my sisters had. Though one of my sisters and I have had digestive issues since we were young, and our dad’s side of the family has digestive issues as well, we learned to cope.

Anyway, the short of it was we started out eating whole, locally grown, organic foods as kids. After our parents divorce, our diets changed drastically. When we were with our mom, we ate inexpensive, healthy food such as whole wheat bread, beans, brown rice carrots, celery, oatmeal, etc. When we were with our dad, we ate mostly processed food. Through our pre-teen and teen years, we went back and forth between two diet extremes. I got to a point where I nearly stopped eating because it hurt so much. My sister went vegetarian as a young adult and was lactose-free for sometime as well to try to reverse her poor eating habits.

I say all this to conclude that science is now proving how my experience with food as a child, youth and adult likely affected my DNA. During my pregnancies I would have “healthy” days and “binges” during cravings. I was miserable and suffered many digestive problems especially at the end of the pregnancies. My last labor was induced primarily due to my stomach pain, indigestion and gas being so bad I could not sleep or go to the bathroom regularly. I begged the nurse upon checking into the maternity ward to give me an enema right away… just to relieve the pressure of gas that was so severe it was causing sharp pains in my chest and throat.

When I started writing my book on CSID, I dedicated several pages to the discussion of how I believed in just a generation or two, DNA had been altered enough from GMOs (specifically grains) and how it was not a coincidence that the foods that are causing allergies and food intolerance today are also the same foods that are genetically modified.

Wheat, soy, peanuts, corn, sugar cane, rice, and dairy products (since cows are fed GMOs for food) are all on the top of the list of allergy/intolerance culprits. There had to be a connection between Celiac, CSID, the influx of severe peanut allergies among children and GMOs. But I did not have the means to research and locate the science to back up my theory. So I removed any hint of this idea in my book.

Well, last night, my hope and my hunch were renewed! I attended a meeting with the California Right to Know committee pushing for Proposition 37 and a law to require labeling of foods containing GMOs. As parents, we have a right to know what we are feeding our children…. especially if that food even has a slight chance of altering their DNA and causing them or their own children more health problems. During that meeting I was reminded of a science called epigenetics. I had heard the term before, but in trying to stay focuses on my book project, I had set aside digging deeper.

Epigenetics is roughly the scientific theory that factors can affect which genes from our DNA are activated in only a generation or two… not millions of years! This science is proof that it is very possible our CSID struggles stem from a combination of environmental and dietary factors (eating genetically modified, processed foods) that are making CSID worse or “turning the mutation on.” The good news to me is that if eating poorly and living under stress can trigger DNA to change, then why can’t eating right and living simply reverse our destiny as well? The other good news is that ALL of the ingredients I use in my recipes are not the primary GMO culprits, aside from dairy products which should be 100% organic to avoid GMOs and salmon, which must be wild.

Here is the link to the TIME magazine article “Why Your DNA isn’t Your Destiny.” I find it interesting that the initial study took place in Scandinavia, the very geographic vicinity, where our Viking ancestors who carried the CSID gene mutation down to us, came from!

In the next few weeks, I am hoping to make more contacts with several leader in the “No GMO movement. I am not sure where that will lead but my goal is to bring about awareness of CSID and the possible connection of this genetic mutation and genetically modified foods.

Managing CSID after Antiobiotics

How to Bring a Healthy Balance Back to Your Gut

This past week, my daughter without CSID got strep throat. For most families, this would not be a concern. Simply go to the doctor, get antibiotics and within a few days all should be back to normal. However, in our home, using antibiotics can result in weeks or months of digestive problems. My biggest concern was that Parker would catch strep from his sister and require antibiotics. This would put him in a highly sensitive state, and reverse much of the progress he has made in recent months. Worse, his diet would become highly limited on the cusp of school starting again, and he could potentially lose weight.

So far, he is not showing any signs of illness. Upon his sister’s diagnosis, I had him on a preventative dose of 1000mg Vitamin C (Emergen-C packs sweetened with fructose), plus gargling with Echinacea and salt water three times per day. Salt water may wash away bacteria, while vitamin C and Echinacea build immune-system strength.

However, with this current threat to Parker’s digestive health, I thought I would also list the additional steps to take if antibiotics are needed in the future.

For a normal, healthy person without digestive issues, it can take up to 5 years for good bacteria to rebuild in the digestive tract! You can imagine how difficult it is for someone with digestive problems to recover.

However, I have good news. If you are prepared and take precautions, a course of antibiotics does not have to take months or years to get over.

First, it is important to have plenty of digestive-friendly foods on hand. These include eggs, green vegetables, homemade chicken broth, plain yogurt, liquid chlorophyll, lemons and berries. Fruit and yogurt smoothies and scrambled eggs with mixed and softened non-starchy vegetables are among the easiest, nutritional options while recovering from an illness.

Removing dairy products except for plain yogurt may also be needed. Avoid the normal “B.R.A.T.” diet if antibiotic use results in diarrhea. For those of us with carbohydrate intolerance, Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast can exacerbate symptoms. Ideally, implement the  Induction Diet I describe for the first phase of controlling CSID symptoms. It may take three weeks or longer to recover from a course of antibiotics, but it is important to avoid sugars and starches until normal bowel movements occur. In addition, probiotic supplements and digestive support supplements are crucial.

Finally, if starches are normally tolerated, reducing or eliminating starchy foods for ten days or longer may be needed. Antibiotics kill all the good and bad bacteria in your gut. Unfortunately, harmful bacteria grow quickly and thrive on sugars and starches. Your goal is to increase good bacteria first, which will result in a healthier balance and few digestive problems.

Although I am an advocate for natural remedies, our family has had too many serious strains of strep to consider avoiding antibiotics. However, I believe we have avoided spreading strep throat by taking precautions once we are exposed and before symptoms occur. In addition, being aware of the steps to take to bring our bellies back into balance after illness helps us to recover quickly with little long-term consequences.

CSID and Digestive Health Education

Would you like to know more about digestive health and recipes made with the best, easy to digest foods?

Do you or someone you know suffer from digestive problems and cannot seem to pinpoint how to remedy the source of pain, gas, bloating or worse? 

Are you connected to a group of parents or professionals who may be interested in my CSID story and more information about digestive health?

Food is an integral part of our lives. It should be enjoyed and not feared. However many of us and our children suffer from digestive problems that are difficult to diagnose. Attending parties, public events and even intimate family gatherings can be challenging and frustrating.

As a mother of two children with CSID (Congenital Sucrase Isomaltase Deficiency) who also personally experiences digestive problems related to consuming sugars and starches, food and meal choices are a daily battle. It never fails that when we attend  a gathering where food is present, the topic of our digestive issues becomes the focus of conversation.

I am often asked if we have Celiac disease, and as soon as I say “No, its actually more limited than just gluten-free,” eyebrows lift and a slew of questions begin. And every time, someone in the group says they or someone they know could benefit from what I have learned. They want my blog address and they have even told me I should write a book about it before I have a chance to tell them I already am!

My epiphany? Why wait until my book is published to start educating interested groups about our CSID story, recipes and all I have learned about digestive health? From dietitian conferences to parent groups, and meetups discussing overall health and wellness topics, I am officially putting myself out there to speak for your group the next time you meet.

At this time, I am limited to the Sacramento, California region unless your group can cover my travel and lodging expenses.

I can tailor my speech to meet the specific needs of your group. Simply browse the various topics and recipes on this blog and then send me an email regarding anything you would like more information on.

Feel free to share this post with anyone in your social networking circles and help me to spread the word!

Start here by reading my CSID Story and Purpose of “A Place to Start” (my soon-to-be published book).

As always I appreciate your support as I continue to pursue educating and encouraging those who desire to learn more about healthy eating in the light of dietary limitations.

Enzymes for Starch and Other Digestive Support Products

Nature’s Sunshine specializes in supplements for digestive health. The label on their new and improved FOOD ENZYMES claims they can assist in digesting up to 30 grams of carbohydrates per meal! This is great news for CSID families! However, as with all supplements, the only way we will really know if they work is to give them a try. Please see the links to these enzymes and other supplements mentioned on this post to the left of this page.

Nature’s Sunshine is also the company I order chlorophyll, aloe vera juice and probiotics from. Once you select the link to any of these products by clicking on their name above or on the left side of this page, you can search for the remaining products after you are redirected to the Nature’s Sunshine website. If you choose to order more than $40 worth of products, you will receive the membership pricing.

SPECIAL NOTE: The links provided from this blog will automatically generate my member number as your sponsor. If you have any questions or concerns about this process, please let me know. Since Nature’s Sunshine distributes its products through representatives and is not available in stores, it is considered a direct marketing company. All this means is that instead of investing in advertising or marketing to large stores, it compensates those who bring them business and invests would-be-advertising dollars into creating higher-quality products. I have never come across a product on a store shelf that compares to the quality of Nature’s Sunshine or other direct-marketing health company’s products, such as Shaklee (where I purchase multi-vitamins and cleaning products). Just to be clear, this is not a solicitation or an attempt to make money for my own gain. This is just the best way to pass on quality products to you based on what my family has experienced! There are no added sugars, fillers or starches to these supplements, a factor difficult to find on most store shelves.

The combination of the chlorophyll cocktail and marshmallow root capsules were key in bringing healing to Parker’s irritated and inflamed digestive system. The fact that he recovers in 48 hours or less from vomiting or diarrhea associated with ingesting harmful foods by accident, is all the proof I need regarding the effectiveness of these digestive support supplements.

As always, I encourage eating healthy whenever possible. However, I understand that there are times when time, money or other circumstances call for compromising the food we feed our children. By including these supplements on a daily basis, you will be doing your part to keep your child’s digestive system strong during moments you cannot control what he or she eats.

Please do not use these products as license to allow harmful foods on a regular basis, as you will simply be wasting your money and compromising your child’s long term health and eating habits. I say this as a mother who has let her guard down, failed to curb poor eating habits, and witnessed my children suffer as a result.

When I fail, I take a deep breath and start over again. Each time I grow more resolve, discover additional solutions, and reap the reward of a healthy family!

My Daughter’s Plea for Healing

In this touching, brutally honest video, my daughter cries out for healing and strength as she battles food choices every day at college.

My hope is that parents can see how important instilling good eating habits at an early age is to the future health and wellness of their children. Elora didn’t get diagnosed with CSID until she was 14 years old and had developed a love for all the foods she shouldn’t have. Seeing what she is going through is a very strong motivation for me to teach her little brother, Parker,  how to make wise food choices today. Considering how much more severe his CSID symptoms were as a toddler, I cannot bear the thought of him living with pain and frustration as an adult. CSID can also lead to other digestive diseases, including colon cancer, if poor food choices are made for the long term.

I know how difficult it is to battle food choices every day. As a mother of five children living with a limited budget, some days lack of time and money alone make it seem nearly impossible. For me, this video is a reality wake-up call to every time I am willing to compromise.

Yes, healing would be wonderful. In the meantime, I pray for God to give her strength as I pray for Him to give every parent and child facing the daily CSID battle strength to make it through one day, and one meal at a time.

Enzyme Levels and Enzyme Digestive Support for CSID

Small Bowel Biopsy Results and Suggested Supplements

Here are the results from my own children’s small bowel biopsies. This is the test that confirmed their CSID diagnosis. If your child has had the small bowel biopsy, ask your doctor for the results so that you can compare them to normal levels.

Function of Lactase

Lactase’s primary function is to break down a type of sugar called lactose. Lactose is a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. As a large sugar compound, lactose cannot be absorbed naturally by your body. In order to metabolize this form of sugar, your body needs lactase to break down lactose into two smaller particles called glucose and galactose. These smaller sugar molecules are more easily absorbed by the cells in your intestine. Without lactase, lactose remains in your digestive tract and cannot be used by your body.

Functions of Maltase and Sucrase

There are a series of special enzymes that are necessary for the breakdown of specific things. Maltase, invertase, sucrase and diastase are all enzymes that break down specific sugars we ingest. Maltase and diastase break down malt sugar—the kinds of sugars you find in malt liquor and other malted foods. Invertase and sucrase also break down sugar but are better able to break down sucrose or table sugar. Those of us with a high sugar intake especially need these enzymes available. If they can’t do their job, the bacteria in our gut are the only things that have the advantage. Stomach cramps, bloating and gas can result if the sugar-digesting enzymes are inadequate.
Read More:

Normal and Abnormal Ranges for Each Enzyme

Lactase: Normal Range 16.5- 32.5, Abnormal is less than 16
Sucrase: Normal Range 29-79.8, Abnormal is less than 25
Maltase: Normal Range 98-223.6, Abnormal is less than 100
Palatinase: Normal Range 4.6-17.6, Abnormal is less than

My son, Parker’s test results at 18 months old (2005):
Lactase: 30.4
Sucrase: 6.6
Maltase: 39.0
Palatinase: 0

My daughter Elora’s test results at age 15 (2008)
Lactase: 21.1
Sucrase: 2.3
Maltase: 50.4
Paltinase: 2.3

Currently, they are both able to tolerate some starch from various sources but an excess of grain-based starches or legumes eventually leads to signs of inflammation and struggling immunity. Only when they are taking digestive and systemic enzymes on a regular basis, are they able to succeed including small portions of high-starch-based foods without symptoms.

Enzymes our Family Has Used with Success Include:

Digestive Enzymes

Carb Digest with Isogest appears to assist with the digestion of disaccharides, the primary deficient enzymes for those with CSID. I have contacted an expert from their company about determining the safety of this product for children. If you have used this product, please let me know if it works! This could be a great Sucraid substitute or complimentary enzyme therapy.

Vital-Zymes™ Chewable contain a full-spectrum of digestive enzymes focused on carbohydrate digestion plus enteric-coated serratia peptidase, a systemic enzyme that may help with supporting various healthy inflammation responses.

Vitazym Digest for those who will and can swallow capsules, or if needed, sprinkle half to one capsule on food. This formula includes a total of 18 enzymes to support digestion of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

Consult your medical practitioner regarding proper dosing for children.

Systemic Enzymes

For more on Systemic Enzymes, see the blog post I wrote for Energetic Nutrition HERE.

Vitalzym Extra Strength™


CSID and Symptoms of Food Intolerance

(exerpt from A Place To Start ebook)

Primary Symptoms of Food Intolerance

These symptoms can begin to occur minutes after eating, as with lactose intolerance, or can take from several minutes to several days as with CSID. Tracking even rare occurrences of these symptoms over time can help determine if they are related to food or another cause.

·       stomach pain
·       bloating or distention of the stomach
·       excessive gas
·       cramping in large intestine
·       diarrhea
·       constipation
·       diaper rash (fermented odor)
·       vomiting without a fever
·       body or facial rashes
·       irritability
·       restlessness
·       difficulty sleeping
·       eczema
·       frequent, smelling, acidic and/or oily bowel movements
·       frequent yeast infections or yeast rashes for infants or children
·       failure to thrive
·       irritable bowel syndrome
·       excessive fussing and whining