Monday, May 28, 2012

Nutrition Can Prevent So Many Issues

I am kind of 'granola' as a friend of mine would say.  In that I love anything and everything nutritionally-related.  But not your typical Food-Pyramid-prescribing, dietitian...I tend to take a more holistic approach. A natural one.

This always draws lots of comments from the weight room.  I will make a comment about feeling weak one day or worn out...and I usually follow this comment up with something about my nutrition intake being off...and I usually draw an eye-roll or two from a few people and then a comment to the effect of me always blaming everything on nutrition...haha!  I'm used to taking the kidding by now, mostly because I FIRMLY believe nutrition effects everything we do, feel, think, how we heal, how often we get sick, how we sleep, how we move, how we gain or lose weight, how we are diagnosed, and on and on.

I was recently affirmed by a medical professional, in my previous research that: 80% of our immune system is located in our GUT!  Can you believe that??

So...if we have unhealthy digestion systems we are unhealthy.  Period.

I will most likely break this post into segments, because I have a lot to say on this subject.  And Blake and Leah are my testimony to how important nutrition is to our health and healing. 

I'll start with Blake's healing regimen. Of course I wanted to address his nutrition first, so that's where we started.  Before taking any medications.

So the first thing we did when we brought him home was to get him started on probiotics. Based on what I saw and smelled in the kitchen while visiting him in his orphanage, and knowing the condition of the water in Ukraine, I knew his tummy would not be in good shape.  So I wanted to work to balance the bad bacteria in his gut with good...thus the probiotics.  This would also get his bowels working regularly to cleanse his system.

One thing I noticed while in Ukraine, though, was that they are 'ahead' of us in regards to our health because they do not process their foods.  Whole grains are whole grains.  Vegetables are fresh or frozen.  Meat is untouched, literally.  Eyeballs and all still intact.  They don't add 'flavors' like glutamate or MSG to their foods to mess with our taste buds and make us think we want more to eat.  Milk is served warm, unpasteurized, unhomogenized.  What you see is what you get.  But this is where I messed up.  When we got home, I was very particular that Blake was eating good whole wheat products, fruits and vegetables, and whole fresh milk and lots of protein.  What I didn't take into account was just how sensitive he would be to our Americanized food.  Even what we consider unprocessed, is...he broke out in a rash on his elbows and his face developed a raw, red look.  Our pediatrician diagnosed him as having eczema.  This stumped me, because he didn't have any of these issues while in Ukraine.  None of his medical records we were given showed him as having eczema or the like.  So I KNEW it had to be nutrition-related.

I immediately took him off of all wheat products and all dairy.  No wheat, oats, rice, grains, corn, milk, cheese, yogurt, nothing.  We instead ate lots of farm-fresh eggs, ground-fed beef, venison, fruits and vegetables of all kinds. I baked with coconut flour, tapioca flour, brown rice flour, and used sweeteners like honey and maple syrup, and raw, shredded coconut.  We also ate a lot of avocados for good fats. 

This was how he looked after just a month being in our home.  See how red his cheeks are?
I also added anti-fungal drops to his nightly dose of vitamin C, colostrum, melatonin (to sleep), and flaxseed oil. I mixed this all in applesauce before bed.  I knew he probably had a yeast build-up called candida, from all the high-starchy foods they fed him while in the orphanage so that's why I added the anti-fungal drops.  I believe this is some of what was coming out on his skin.  A yeast infection.  From what I've learned, most skin issues that come out are directly related to something internally that is imbalanced, whether it be pH, bacteria, hormones, etc. Or that many skin-related issues are due to dairy sensitivities or allergies.  My guess was it came from both issues, and his body was trying to cleanse itself and the skin was the last defense in fighting it off. 

It took several months to see noticeable changes (and this is where most people get hung up...the waiting because traditional medicine takes time), but slowly the redness began to subside, it quit peeling, his elbows were not as rough and red.  People even began to comment on how much better he was looking. 

But in addition to this, other noticeable changes were happening that I wasn't necessarily focused on at the time.  First off, probably the first few months home he constantly had a runny nose.  Yucky, green, runny boogers were constantly coming down his face.  I knew he didn't have an infection, per say, but that he was cleansing.  His body was ridding itself of all the yeast, toxins, parasites, etc. through his respiratory system.  So this was actually a good thing--that most times people treat as a bad one.  We used lots of tei fu oil under his ears to help with drainage and to prevent ear infections and I would sometimes supplement with some fenugreek to help keep the mucus thin.  This has nearly subsided. Secondly, I noticed he began to eat better.  He started gaining weight!  That was another big issue we needed to address, and it happened as his digestive system improved and was able to transport nutrients to his body.  I also noticed his energy levels improve.  He also seemed less fussy and whiny.  His poop also began to lessen in smell.  Instead of sending everyone reeling, like when he first arrived home, when he poops now, it is noticed--but not deadly.  This again is due to the infection being healed and the parasites being removed.  His thyroid levels are nearly normal now.  And his protein levels are up to normal levels as well.  Again, all of this is just because of a diet change. No medications.

This is one of the most recent pictures I have of him now and notice how much healthier he looks!
What I'm just now starting to notice is that he is more aware of things around him.  He verbalizes more, he is pretty much running everywhere.  He can focus and pay attention.  He reacts quicker to things.  He is overall more happy.  His skin feels much softer and smooth. He is just coming alive! I know part of this is because we've been home 6 months now, and everyone says that is the magical month when things start to improve...but I also believe it is because he is healthier.  All because his gut is healthier. 

Biologically, one reason fro this is due to the fact that serotonin levels are balanced too.  Most serotonin is again found in the gut.  Serotonin plays a role in emotions, perceptions, appetite, sleep, temperature regulation (thyroid), insulin control, cardiovascular regulation, impulse control, controls pain, and ability to self-regulate.  

*knock on wood* We have had no colds, no flu's, no respiratory infections, no ear infections, no nothing. 

I will explain more nutritional changes we've made over the past 6 months that have also made a tremendous difference in his health in a later post.  So you can peg me as granola or roll your eyes like the rest of them, but this is real for me.  I can see the real improvements being made all because of the nutritional improvements and modifications we are making. 


  1. All great information, Anna! No eye rolling here!
    - Amy

  2. No eye rolling here. I am totally interested and love learning more.

  3. This is real for me too! I'm so happy Blake has made such dramatic improvements and I firmly believe the fact that he's reaching his landmarks so quickly like related. Also glad I'm not the "only" one. :)

  4. No eye rolling here either! I agree whole heartedly and believe that what you get out of your body is only as good as what you put in it. I am feeling so much better than I did 6 months ago, but it took all 6 months to get here.

  5. tei fu oil??? ok I'm totally looking that up. I can't wait to read more about what you've been learning thru this process to get Blake's nutrition going in the right direction.

    Great Job! Little Blake is looking great and I bet starting to feel great too.

  6. I know I left a comment here, but apparently it didn't "take".
    What I said was, I am amazed by all your knowledge!
    I love reading this kind of stuff because I am NOT a researcher.
    Thanks for sharing all of it.

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