Maintaining Health Using a Combo of Paleo and Limited Starch/Gluten-Free Alternatives

We’ve gotten into a good routine since school began in August. Parker is doing awesome, is full of energy and his skin looks great. He is ounces away from hitting 60 pounds and his teachers say he is a great student who contributes and interacts regularly.

I am so thankful for the many resources out there that have helped me in this journey. Recently, a few readers have contacted me asking for my interpretation of enzyme levels for themselves or others. Somewhere in the blog archives I think I addressed this, but I will explain my perspective on the issue to be clear.

I am not a scientist or a doctor. However, since my family has personally found success in modifying our diet with a primary focus on individual symptoms rather than enzyme levels, I am encouraging my audience to do the same. Yes, enzyme levels may indicate overall tolerance levels, but it seems each person has many other factors aside from digestive enzymes that can play a part. The goal is to reduce digestive stress, strengthen the digestive process by minimizing toxins and processed foods and including support-based supplements, and to monitor each person for symptoms.

Here is a look back to how the current challenge in our CSID journey began.

May 2013: Parker, age 9 had been suffering from severe eczema since December despite the modified diet I had created (see A Place to Start without Sugar or Starch). Unknown factors surfaced at this time including a lack of Parker taking his digestive supplements with cafeteria-based school lunches. I took Parker to the doctor for the 4th or 5th time and requested an allergy panel to determine if he was reacting to additional foods. The allergy panel came back showing he was now allergic to MILK, WHEAT, EGG WHITES, SHRIMP, COCKROACHES, CEDAR and GRASS POLLEN, CAT and DOG HAIR and DANDER, and PENICILLIN. A previous allergy test when he was six had come back negative for allergies to all of these so this was a new development.

My whole approach had to change. Not only did I need to now eliminate several more foods (milk and eggs had been a staple in his diet up to this point), I also had to find ways to bring healing to his body. Over the years I had learned about conditions such as “leaky gut” that could cause temporary food allergies as well as autoimmune conditions. Not one to simply cover-up symptoms, I was determined to bring my son–once again–into a state of health and well-being by getting to the root of the cause.

REVIEW 2013 POSTS for details on the process and how I ultimately found the best combination for healing Parker’s condition. Time alone was a major factor, but I want to encourage anyone if they stay the course, and keep trying various means, there is hope of healing in the end!

Over the past couple of months, Parker’s symptoms have remained under control event though I have made some exceptions and compromises to his once strict diet. To give hope, I want to summarize his current diet, but please know that EACH PERSON IS DIFFERENT. There are too many factors involved to know these particular foods can all be okay for your individual case. However, know that it is possible to expand the diet once symptoms are under control and methods for curbing mild outbreaks or digestive distress are at hand.

In a typical week, Parker’s normal diet currently includes one of the following for each meal:

BREAKFAST:

  • My homemade NUT CEREAL (raw almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts plus dates, raw unsweetened coconut, spoonful of honey and cinnamon, and coconut oil pulsed in food processor until it looks like granola) with unsweetened almond milk.
  • Nature’s Path Organic PUMPKIN FLAX GRANOLA with unsweetened almond milk plus VITAL-ZYMES.
  • APPLEGATE FARMS NATURAL SUNDAY BACON, white sweet potato peeled, shredded, and fried in bacon fat, omelet-style eggs yolks with a drizzle of pure maple syrup PLUS vital-zymes
  • SMOOTHIE with frozen blueberries, banana, whole-fat coconut milk (organic Thai Kitchen in a can), half avocado and a handful of greens such as kale or spinach.
  • Occasionally Van’s Gluten-Free pancake or waffles. (NOTE: No more than 2x per week or he begins to show symptoms.)
LUNCH: (Vital-Zymes with every meal containing sugar or starch alternatives)
  • Minimum of 3 non-starchy vegetables (cucumber, spinach, carrots, bell pepper, avocado, tomato)
  • 1 semi-sweet fruit (fruit leather, strawberries, applesauce, pear, apple or grape juice)
  • 1 starch substitute (Schar gluten-free classic rolls, brown rice tortilla, left-over brown rice pasta)
  • Nuts in either a snack-bar form or loose. (Almonds, cashews, walnuts)
  • Occasional exception of organic peanut butter for use with celery or apple slices.
  • Sweet Potato chips, Veggie Sticks
  • APPLEGATE farms deli meats either loose or in a sandwich roll or wrap. Salami, roasted turkey and roast beef are his favorite. He uses mashed avocado as a “mayonnaise substitute”. I am trying to get him to try mustard, but he won’t.
  • Left-over chicken, hamburgers, steak, etc. from previous nights dinner with tossed salad and lemon juice dressing.
  • Wild canned salmon, trout, or tuna with only water or oil (no soy or broth.)
DINNER:
  • Variety of baked or cooked chicken, turkey breast, salmon, sirloin beef burgers, Applegate farms beef hot dogs, pork, ground turkey or grass fed beef.
  • Rice pasta, baked or fried (in olive oil or meat fat) potatoes (white sweet, white regular, red), brown rice or no starch.
  • steamed non-starchy vegetables–green beans, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, winter or summer squash
  • fresh tossed salad with leafy greens, lettuce and a variety of other vegetables
We have tried corn-based products a few times but Parker seems to break out in a rash within a day or so. Some of the above products have traces of corn and don’t seem to present a problem. We also avoid soy products for various reasons but as more of a preference than an necessity.
If Parker begins showing signs of distress (rashes, excess gas, sleeping late, difficulty concentrating) the first thing I do is reduce or eliminate the starchy substitutes (gluten-free foods, grains, potatoes). Then I add a few cups of herbal healing teas (Dandelion tea, Traditional Medicines “Throat Coat”, peppermint and/or chamomile teas) through the week for internal assistance, and apply a thin layer of his prescription eczema cream to inflamed patches of skin. Within 48 hours, these techniques have reversed any symptoms and Parker returns to normal.
Frequent showers and applying protective lotions have also been important in reducing external irritating factors.
I hope this update will help you! I am not sure when I will be back again, as I am in the process of final edits for my fiction book set to release in April of 2015. Eventually, I plan to pull A Place to Start Without Sugar or Starch, complete a full-revision and republish with our updated story, recipes, and resources. It will eventually be less of a “recipe book” and more of an encouraging guide for parents to know they are not alone and to point them in the direction of the many resources I have found helpful and healing in our own journey.
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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.

Fighting Eczema with Paleo and Aggressive Detox

I feel an obligation to keep everyone informed on Parker’s progress regarding his recent battle with eczema and newly diagnosed food allergies. I want to make it clear that my own error in judgement and allowing compromises to his diet are likely contributing factors. Although there is no way to know for certain, he displays many of the signs of leaky gut–a condition the mainstream medical community doesn’t necessarily recognize but is widely accepted by non-traditional medicine.

In my paleo search, I discovered the book Practical Paleo, by Diane Sanfilippo. The author is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and fully embraces paleo but also understands the many health conditions associated with poor dietary choices. Her book contains a 30-day meal plan for Autoimmune Conditions, including eczema. This is the plan I started feeding Parker this week.
I was surprised to learn about many gut-irritants that are considered “CSID-safe.” Not to say these foods are not okay when leaky gut is not present, but beyond the obvious grains, the lists includes large quantities of leafy greens, raspberries and strawberries—plus eggs, nuts, all dairy and seeds. Parker’s normal diet consisted of most of these foods at home, while away from home this past year he has consumed large quantities of processes, packaged foods (without Food Enzymes and Sucraid.)
This may clear up the mystery as to why some CSID children seem to be irritated by raspberries, strawberries, or dairy (regardless of lactase enzymes) when first transitioning to CSID foods using the Induction Diet I outlined in my own book.
All this said, I want to make it abundantly clear that the foods and recipes I list on this blog–with the exception of those that include dairy products–are not likely the cause of Parker’s present health issues. Although now many of these foods (as listed in bold above) are adding to the problem because he consumed large quantities of grains and GMOs this past year.
In that time, what started as a few eczema patches inside his elbow and behind his knees last December has now progressed into large patches spread across his arms, around his neck and face. The allergy test done in June revealed new food allergies (he had an allergy panel done around age 6 which came back negative for these foods/environmental factors.)
Since he is now allergic to wheat, egg whites, milk (Dr. didn’t clarify lactose or whey), shrimp, cockroaches, Timothy grass, penicillin, cedar, dog and cat dander and hair, not to mention heat and chlorine irritate as well— the summer has been quite a challenge but at least I have been able to control most of his diet.
Sad to say, just removing these foods has not been enough to clear up the rash. The gluten-free baking flour attempt in July didn’t change the situation either. All Parker wanted to eat was the bread, pancakes, etc., and I suspected the high-starch flour was hurting more than helping.
So two weeks ago, I removed all grains (again) and gluten-free baking items. Then Parker started mega doses of probiotics, omega 3s, Vitamin D with magnesium, chlorophyll and having Sucraid and Food Enzymes with every meal. I hoped things would clear up by the time school started this past week, but I think his body needs more time.
The 30-day menu for Autoimmune Conditions in Practical Paleo calls for very little sweet foods. In fact, left-over dinner foods are listed as breakfast for many days. The starchy-root vegetables I have tended to avoid feeding Parker over the years (sweet potato, beet, parsnip), cannot possibly be as harmful to him as the corn, potatoes and wheat flour I have allowed more recently. According to Diane, these root vegetables actually promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria, something I did not realize. Parker will still be taking Sucraid and Food Enzymes with every meal, regardless.
The plan is that after 30 days, if there still isn’t marked improvement, he will begin the 30-day plan again, but I will remove Sucraid as the only variable. My hunch (and this is only my opinion until science proves otherwise) considering Sucraid is yeast-based, is that this may be feeding the bacteria-growth contributing to his rash.
For now, this weekend (next 72 hours) I finally have time (work, writing, and back-to-school commitments have been brutal in the past few weeks) to aggressively attack this eczema from inside and out. Parker is stuck on the couch alternating 24-ounce cups of Chlorophyll Cocktail and organic Dandelion Root tea. With every meal, or 3-times per day (as I am not making him eat unless he is hungry), he will be taking the following supplements:
I will try to post again on Sunday evening to report on how Parker is doing. For now, I have lots of food prep and baking to do to make sure he has ample school lunch options for next week.
Oh, and here is a glimpse at one of his lunches from last week…
olives, dried organic apples, left-over mustard-glazed chicken from Practical Paleo book, raw almonds, and raw organic carrots. Lunch box from yumboxlunch.com.

Going Paleo {Paleo + CSID Part 1}

Sausage, Egg, and Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet{EveryDayPaleo.com}
Within a few weeks of finalizing A Place to Start Without Sugar or Starch for printing, I started noticing the word “paleo” popping up on my favorite food blogs and on cookbook covers in the health food stores. After researching dozens of other diets that involved a low-carb approach, I honestly did not feel like looking into one more. In the long run I did want to refine my CSID approach, but time and other resources were lacking.
Knowing I was close to eating as healthy as possible with my CSID diet plan, I figured I needed to master the meal planning for my family first. Then I would look into this paleo thing in time and see if it would work in light of CSID.
In my last post I mentioned that I needed to focus on my own health and well-being, which I am still working on. However, with Parker’s eczema worse than ever and my migraines lasting more than 5 days, I was feeling desperate for a natural, long-term approach to our health. We had compromised our diet due to time and money constraints. But I was feeling so lousy, it made it hard to utilize what resources I did have in the best way possible. By this time I had made a note to take a closer look at the paleo diet. After all the compromising of processed foods into our diet, I figured we didn’t have much to lose. Something had to change.
First, though, I had to kick the migraines. I decided to see a chiropractor since the last thing I wanted was to add another medication to my nightstand. I had worked hard to remove most of them over the past 18 months. And I knew pills were not the answer to repairing the imbalance in my body. They were just giving me temporary relief.
I was fortunate enough to visit a chiropractor who uses a whole body approach to healing. From what I gather, he sees his care as just a part of the overall lifestyle change anyone needs to feel well. I had long believed in the theory of chiropractic care, but had not sought treatment since the onset of my Fibromyalgia symptoms back in 2011. I was in too much pain back then to consider getting adjusted.
After a week of treatment and a few tests, the Doctor concluded several things about my state of health.
1. My “normal” was so far from actually feeling well, I couldn’t comprehend what well felt like.
2. I have moderate scoliosis, and impairments in the top and bottom of my spine.
3. With an aggressive treatment plan, plus diet and exercise changes, I actually have a chance to feel great for probably the first time in over 20 years.
Parker was also assessed and the Doctor believes his eczema and his headaches are due to issues in his skeletal system. He doesn’t claim to be able to reverse the CSID, but does believe once Parker is aligned properly, it is possible his overall health will improve drastically.
The chiropractor also fully believes the paleo diet is part of the solution.
That was my tipping point. I needed to set aside my own theories and trust that someone with over 20 years of experience treating people successfully could have the answers I had been searching for.
My first step would be to look into paleo and see if it would work for us in light of CSID. It only took a few minutes for me to see how similar the diet is to CSID-friendly foods. Though Parker and I are in a state of distress, we are not presenting major digestive symptoms. Considering this confession, this is my plan for our family:
1. Since we have already been compromising with starches and grains, I am not going to be concerned with included higher-starch foods from the paleo menu such as cashews, pecans, and winter squashes.
2. I am going to wean us off of most of our digestive enzymes. The paleo diet includes mostly digestive friendly foods, so as long as we include a plentiful amount of raw fruits and vegetables, we should not need help digesting most of the foods. The exception will be to include Sucraid with the sweeter fruits allowed, such as papayas and melons, or dried fruits.
3. We will all be removing some of our most favorite foods over time. The idea is that if we eat 80-90% paleo most of the time, we can occasionally “cheat” with few ill affect. On the other hand, literature on paleo suggests the longer we comply with the permissible foods, the less we will want to eat the forbidden ones. For our family this will mean:
  • No more chips. Even organic corn which is a staple.
  • No more peanut butter. I don’t eat this as I prefer almond butter, but the hubby and kids are going to find this a hard one to completely eliminate.
  • Cutting back virtually all dairy products. Ouch! I really love my butter,cheese, and half&half!
  • No more sprouted grain bread. All grains, including corn are off the table.
Essentially Paleo includes all vegetables (except potatoes), all fruit, nuts and seeds, and animal protein such as eggs, chicken, turkey, pork, and beef raised in a healthy environment with a grain-free diet.
Paleo excludes grains (including corn), legumes (peanuts, peas, and green beans included), beans of all kinds, and dairy products. The books I reference below go into much more detail about why. Since I am a novice at this, I will not attempt to explain it myself.
4. The great thing, however, is we are already 80% there with my CSID diet approach. It will require planning and always having quick snacks on hand such as nuts, fruits, hard-boiled eggs and sliced-up veggies. My food dehydrator will probably be working overtime between drying fruit and making beef jerky.
5. By not purchasing organic dairy products, sprouted grain baked goods, gluten-free cereals, and organic peanut butter, I will save a lot of money that will go to purchasing grass-fed beef, and fresh fish and poultry.
Here are a few of the family-friendly Paleo resources I have found so far. I will be purchasing the electronic versions of the cookbooks soon and can’t wait to get started!
If, as a CSID family, you see the potential in applying the paleo diet to your household, please let me know! I will be posting recipe testimonies and linking to recipes or other resources as we find success.

If you are new to the CSID diet, or you or your child have been recently diagnosed with CSID, visit the brand new website www.CSIDcares.org for a complete description and direction for managing CSID.