Monday, 30 December 2013

My Healing Journey

For over three years now I have been struggling with stomach aches when I eat various foods- mostly nuts, seeds and soy but also other things like large amounts of dairy and cammomile tea. I consider myself very in tune with my body and was able to narrow it down to a few specific things and for the most part I managed to avoid eating them. After being diagnosed with Celiacs disease a few years ago I developed fructose malabsorption because my gut was really damaged. I went to a doctor that helped diagnose it straight away but it wasn't until I saw a naturopath several months later that I was able to begin healing it. It turned out I needed more protein in my diet and I was having trouble getting it because I couldn't eat nuts and seeds. A month or so on a high quality protein powder healed my gut and things became much easier again but I was still having problems with nuts, seeds and soy.
My liver then became over burdened with a digestive system that wasn't functioning and it caused problems with my pancreas. I endured a lot of pain with an inflamed liver and pancreas. I took a milk thistle supplement every day without fail for a year and my skin cleared and the pains in my liver and pancreas disappeared.
As the months turned to years I did amazingly at avoiding foods that gave me stomach aches but it began to wear thin and I was frustrated and felt like I'd tried everything. Now that I'm breastfeeding it started to become really difficult as a vegetarian to eat enough protein without eating nuts and seeds so I decided it was time to see a doctor. I'd seen a couple of doctors and tried alternative therapies through natropathy and traditional Chinese medicine but they all seemed to say similar things and not listen when I tried to tell them that it really wasn't just about healing my gut and rebalancing the good bacteria so I was reluctant to have someone say the same thing but I did my research and found a doctor that looked promising and made the decision that now was the time to really figure this out and fix it. Initially my doctor said the same thing as all the others but I protested and she referred me to get an ultrasound and some blood tests. A couple of months later, more tests and a waiting list to have doctors in the hospital probe me and we still were just as stumped as before. The blood tests had shown up a couple of deficiencies which were corrected very quickly after taking supplements for a couple of months.
While waiting for test results and my appointment with the hospital I came across an article on the internet one day about low stomach acid. The article talked about how if beetroot causes changes in your poo and wee you could have low stomach acid. This information sparked an interest and I decided to explore it further. I did a bicarb soda test which involves drinking some water with bicarb soda and timing how long it takes to burp. The normal range is between 2-3 minutes. By 5 minutes I still had not burped and I really felt like I was onto something.
I started taking betaine hydrochloride supplements and thought some digestive enzymes might help too. It took a few weeks for me to figure out dosage but I think I've figured it out now. After years of very carefully avoiding nuts I am now able to eat them again without being buckled over in pain. I'm a little nervous about trying sunflower seeds as last time I had some I was in so much pain I threw up, and I'm going to avoid soy for the time being but I am so pleased that I seem to have figured it out.
I estimate that I will need to be taking betaine hydrochloride for a year and maybe even up to two years in order for my body to correct the problem and begin making enough stomach acid on it's own again.
The reason I developed this problem is clearly because I had gone 25 years with undiagnosed Celiacs disease. My digestive system had taken a beating and was clearly not absorbing the nutrients it needed for my body to function properly. Despite living a healthy lifestyle and eating almost exclusively a wholefoods plant based diet my body couldn't overcome the problem because my food was not being digested properly and it became a self perpetuating vicious cycle. I'm a big believer in the body's innate ability to heal itself, if you provide your body with the things that it needs you can over come anything. So here I am on the road to recovery, in these last few years I have learned a lot about food, health and my body and I'm happy that now I can enjoy food again and share my story.

365 Handstands- Week 24

Day 162- Christmas eve

Day 163- Christmas day

Day 164- Boxing day

Day 165

Day 166

Day 167

Day 168

Saturday, 28 December 2013


I take every spare second as a chance to stretch and breathe. Here's a great post breastfeeding stretch.


It's harvest time in our little veggie patch. India and I were excited about picking tomatoes and making a big salad. I love that we are able to grow food in pots in the very small space that we have. I think it's really important that my babies learn where food comes from and growing food is normal for them.

You can see a couple of the other things we have in our garden at the moment. There's beetroot and zucchini seedlings, swiss chard and some coriander that has gone to seed to name a few.

India was very impressed with the mini tomato she found.

There's nothing quite like eating food straight from the garden!

And here's what we made, a big salad with baby spinach, cucumber, olives, feta cheese, onion, quinoa, and the tomatoes and some mint from the garden with a dressing of apple cider vinegar and olive oil.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Mio's Journey With Solids

It's still early days with introducing solids and I am in no rush to get Mio to enjoy the taste of food. It's taken a couple of weeks for her to stop throwing up as soon as I put food in her mouth so that's a start. The first food she swallowed was tomato seeds. I've given her different fruits and vegetables to try all with similar reactions, she'll come round eventually. I guess my milk is just too tasty! What a funny little girl she is, and so different from her sister!

Here she is not enjoying some avocado. 

The First Tomatoes of The Season

There's nothing like eating fresh home grown tomatoes. The first two of the season!

Monday, 16 December 2013

365 Handstands- Week 22

Day 148

Day 149

Day 150- A quick visit to Brisbane to see some friends and do some art.

Day 151- A gorgeous day for a handstand on the Gold Coast.

Day 152- A hot Summer morning in Brisbane.

Day 153- Hanging in Brisbane

Day 154- Last day on my mini holiday with Mio in Brisbane.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Starting Solids

My baby is six months already and with her first tooth through I thought now was a good time to start introducing solids.
I'd thought about this for months, I wanted to wait until her first tooth was through as to me this shows a physical sign of readiness for solids. I also thought 6 months (and not before) was a good time as her digestive system is more developed. I plan to wait until her molars are through before introducing grains as I read that babies don't produce amylase to digest grains before their molars come through. Breastmilk has some amylase which is why when baby cereal is mixed with breastmilk it goes really watery.
My little girl had been sucking on a cinnamon stick for teething and while we all ate dinner and she was quite into it as well as watching us eat so I figured she was ready for solids.
The first day we tried avocado and she made a face like most babies do when they first try solids but then she retched and threw up. I figured she didn't like it and I thought I'd just try it again the next day. So on the second day we gave it a go again and the same thing happened so I thought she must just really not like the taste. On the third day I gave her some banana, I gave her a piece to hold and put the tiniest bit on my finger in her mouth. But again it just made her retch and throw up.
Starting solids has proven to be much different to what I expected, at this stage we've decided just to give her things like carrot sticks and slices of apple to suck on so she begins to get used to different flavors. Once she has more teeth she will begin to gnaw away at it and taste it more. I'm not worried at the moment as she is clearly a healthy weight and she isn't on the breast all day so she's not in desperate need of more food.
For me this has been a great lesson in surrender, India took to food straight away and was always so excited to eat but Mio has been so different. I've never heard of a baby that forces herself to throw up when she eats food so it's quite odd.  It's still early days so I'll just see how things go over the next month or so.

365 Handstands- Week 21

Day 141

Day 142

Day 143

Day 144

Day 145

Day 146

Day 147

Monday, 9 December 2013

Sewing With Children

My beautiful six-year-old India decided she wanted to make herself a new skirt, and I love to encourage her in all kinds of creative endeavors so we went shopping for fabric. She chose the colour and decided how long she wanted it and then she stitched little patterns all over it with embroidery thread. I helped her use the sewing  machine to sew it all together but she did most of it all on her own.

Teaching children to make their own clothes is a great life skill, it teaches children to be resourceful, creative and independent. I'm looking forward to help her make more clothes and gain more skills as she get older and has more practice.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Early Summer Knitting

I am so in love with this knitting pattern, found here. I've made one in every size so Mio has had a constant supply of hand knitted onesies since birth.

It's knitted with 100% cotton yarn and finished with shell buttons.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

365 Handstands- Week 20

Day 134

Day 135- A new favorite- handstand meets child's pose. Gorgeous.

Day 136

Day 137

Day 138

Day 139

Day 140

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Elimination Communication

Elimination communication (or EC) was always something that I thought would be beyond me in my parenting journey. I pictured being constantly covered in wee and poo and endlessly scrubbing the carpet, so I put that one in the too hard basket.

Over the months I've been quietly noticing when Mio needs to go by the little signs that she makes. She grizzles a little and she always wakes up (sometimes reluctantly) when she is going to wee or poo. My interest in EC was reignited after a brief conversation with a mother of a 10 month old told me she started EC after working out that her baby fussed and grizzled until she had her nappy off and then would wee over everything. I went home and thought about it a bit and did some more reading and decided to give it a go.

We've been playing around with EC for a little while now and it's really great. I do less washing now and have to remind myself to put a load of nappies on every second day so they don't get stinky.

Night times can often be the toughest time for parenting and broken sleep can be a killer but I've been lucky in that Mio got into a sleeping through the night routine straight away and just woke to feed. More recently though I noticed that some nights she was waking more frequently and not always wanting to feed. When I started ECing I realised that this waking was because she needed to wee. Some nights she sleeps solidly for a few hours without waking and others she seems to wake every hour. Now that I know she is waking because she needs to wee I find it hard to ignore her needs for a clean dry nappy so I have to get up and take her.

I'm doing my best to catch all her wees and poos but it's not always easy when we are out of the house and some days I feel like it's easier just to have a nappy on her when I have a thousand things to do.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

365 Handstands- Week 19

Day 127

Day 128

Day 129

Day 130

Day 131- Half way through doing a major clean up and rearranging things. The bookshelf has been moved downstairs and all the books are still in piles all over the place. Work in progress!

Day 132

Day 133