Saturday, June 23, 2012

Signs of healing

The past few months have seen two major signs of healing: eczema and constipation are now things of the past. These were both problems that have plagued me for the better part of a year.

Juliana's eczema appeared shortly after we began feeding her liver-based formula. At first I thought it was detoxification from moving to a better diet. The body has mechanisms for expelling the bad junk and some people do experience skin issues while they detox. Did you know that the skin is the body's largest elimination organ? It is sometimes called the third kidney because of the way that it helps the body eliminate waste. But Juliana's skin wasn't improving; she continued to have a very red and splotchy complexion even after months on the new diet.Then I thought it was maybe a nutrient deficiency. But the different things I tried didn't have any effect. Eczema originates from a leaky gut, and I already knew that she had that, but why were things getting worse when I was doing everything right?

In late March she had surgery for various ENT concerns. On the day leading up to the surgery her skin looked horrible, so bad that I wondered if they might cancel the surgery just based on her skin. (Likely I'm just paranoid - you see how paranoid you are when your kid has surgery!) Of course they didn't cancel the surgery; they actually didn't say a word about her skin. The night before I had given her an epsom salt bath and it actually looked a little bit improved.

And that was the solution: epsom salt baths. These baths are important because they help the body expel toxicities.
Anything toxic we eat, breathe, touch or put on our skin absorbs very quickly and puts another workload on our detoxification system. In a GAPS person his or her gut is the major source of the toxicity overloading the detox system with too much work. [1]
Our bodies must eliminate large amounts of waste products from our systems daily or we will die.  The bowel, lungs, kidneys and skin are our four channels of elimination.  [2] 
Juliana's detoxification is sluggish and confused. It needs all the help it can get. We've been doing the baths regularly for close to a year but I had let bath time slide when life became too busy. Honestly, I thought the idea of a detox bath seemed a little bogus. I was so wrong! I decided to commit to regular baths despite the circumstances. And it has worked. Eczema is a thing of the past; we haven't dealt with it since the surgery. She still sometimes has lightly flushed skin. Right now I am contributing it to the heat of summer and it may also be a result of increasing fermented foods in her diet. 

The next sign of healing is much more recent. Juliana had chronic diarrhea for the first few months of her life that eventually turned into chronic constipation. This was despite eating a very clean, very digestible diet that includes probiotics and fermented foods.
Constipation is always a sign of deficient gut flora in children and in adults. The beneficial bacteria that normally populate the bowel play a crucial role in proper stool formation and elimination... a healthy person should have 1-2 stools a day. [1]
A few months ago I began to implement the constipation protocol that is in the GAPS book. This meant daily juicing (carrots), epsom salt baths (check!) and enemas. Daily enemas. The idea behind this is that you can't let the toxic poop stay in the body for too long. It needs to be expelled or the problem will compound. This obviously results in more constipation but it can also cause a number of other problem ranging from eczema to learning disabilities. That last bit might sound crazy, but remember that what happens in the gut has an effect on the brain. Letting poop sit in your body for a long time simply isn't healthy. By this point I am sure that I have performed more enemas than most medical professionals. Enemas unfairly get a bad rap; they are completely safe and very effective. I was concerned that Juliana might come to rely on them but that has never happened.

Despite all those enemas we still weren't seeing long-term improvement until I discovered the recommendation to eliminate winter squash. (For more details, see the FAQS, Constipation section, #6). Butternut squash has been Juliana's main vegetable for quite some time! I began cutting back on the amount of squash and instantly the constipation showed signs of improvement. After eliminating the squash completely, the constipation issue is gone. Just like that. I want to note that it's not just the removal of squash that has improved her stools; squash was simply the last piece to our puzzle.

Eczema and constipation are sadly both rather common problems for young kids. Both problems originate from a leaky gut. Both problems can be treated completely naturally. (Though your solution might very well not be exactly like ours). I've had drugs pushed at me for both of these issues and I've resisted. Other than a little bit of coconut oil I have never used anything on Juliana's skin. I have also never used any sort of laxative or stool softener. There were times when I wondered if I was crazy and I seriously entertained the idea of going outside the GAPS protocol, but I have always come back around to the belief that I need to stay the course. After strict adherence to the protocol the results are certainly sweet!

[1] Gut and Psychology Syndrome
[2] The Skin – Our Largest Organ of Elimination

1 comment:

  1. HOORAY! What a great and informative post (you are so good at that!) I am so happy for you that you have seen resolution on these two things - major things! and I certainly can feel your pain on both fronts. I have had the carrot juice thing come up several times lately for us and hitting my knees to see if that is our next step.