I hope you have already had a chance to look at the small changes in environment and lifestyle we talked about on the learn page. Make a plan to start making those changes asap! One small step at a time will add up to big changes that can have a profound impact on your child's health.
But you might still be asking how does this work? How to heal my child's gut?
Following along with the idea of taking small progressive steps, on this page you will find some direction and inspiration for taking those small steps toward changing your diet to a nutrient dense, gut healing approach. For some kiddos simply making the switch to a whole foods, nutrient dense diet is enough to do the trick. Other kids may need you to dig a bit deeper into the final step with a gut healing protocol. Which ever the case, you can do this! Just circle a start date on your calendar and dig into some DIY gut healing!
At any point on your journey, should you decide you'd like a little or a big helping hand I've got lots of affordable support options for you.
A step-by-step visual map to help you begin the work of using food to heal the gut and improve your child's health. You can do one step a week or move as fast as you like. Just start taking those steps!
Check out this video for an easy overview of Meat Stock vs. Bone Broth and why it is important to understand the difference when you are starting out on your DIY gut healing journey. You'll also learn how to make an amazing chicken stock to use in soups and stews!
If you'd like more hearty and healing meat stock recipes I've got a little meat stock booklet over in the Patreon community. You can check it out here.
Did you gasp when you read the types of fats?
We have been indoctrinated to believe that fat is bad when in fact nothing could be further from the truth! On your path to reclaim your child's health you will be getting back as close to nature as possible in your food choices. Eating natural fats is a big step. The highly refined seed and vegetable oils that line grocery store shelves are highly inflammatory in the body. Instead we want to turn toward fats that are less processed like avocado oil, coconut oil, ghee and even lard and tallow. Olive oil is best eaten on cold foods or cooked at low temperatures. These fats are easily recognized and used by the body and are much higher in nutrient density including vitamins A, D, K & E. According to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride and the Weston A. Price foundation eating natural fats, instead of highly processed ones, will help to restore balance to the gut, immune and even nervous system. These are the fats you need to embrace in your DIY gut healing journey.
I don't want to go into a deep dive here as this is a complex topic but you do need a few down and dirty details so you don't get tripped up by histamines. I'll set you up with some links if you'd like to learn more.
First of all, I have worked with many clients who call me in confusion because their child's eczema, asthma or other healthy symptom started getting worse as they began to use gut healing foods or started on the GAPS diet. I am so glad they called rather than throwing in the towel thinking this approach wasn't working! Often what is happening in these cases is an increase in histamine in the body. Long cooked bone broths and fermented foods are very high in dietary histamine.
Histamine itself is not to blame. You've probably heard about histamine in relation to allergies and bee stings, but it actually has many functions in the body. It also functions as a important neurotransmitter and signal for stomach acid production. So, we need histamine. However, sometimes our bodies are not able to break down histamine efficiently as we may be low in certain enzymes. Think of it like a bucket. As long as there is just the right amount of histamine in the bucket, all is good. But when we can't break down histamine properly, or it is just coming in too fast due to high histamine foods and other health issues, the bucket begins to overflow. When the histamine bucket overflows we see symptoms like increase in eczema, rashes, asthma, irritability, lack of focus, anxiety and others.
This is why I made as special note on the fermented foods step and am careful to distinguish between meat stock and bone broth for gut healing. If your child has reacted to these things in the past, don't despair, it doesn't mean gut healing won't work for them. Just be sure to take it slow. Make sure you're using meat stock and begin by introducing just the juices from fermented foods and slowly working up to the vegetables themselves. If your child reacts even with the smallest amount, stop giving fermented foods and carry on with the other steps in gut healing. Usually a child that is this sensitive will need you to go all the way into a deep gut healing protocol by eliminating all grains and legumes as well as gluten and dairy. After some rest and reset for the digestive system you can try the fermented foods again and slowly work up to see how it goes.
If your child is very reactive to all foods and can eat almost nothing without having some kind of reaction I would highly recommend you seek a qualified naturopathic doctor and ask to have a SIBO test as this is often behind the more severe cases of histamine reactions.
If you'd like to take a deeper dive into the science behind histamine intolerance here are a couple of links I recommend for you.
Download a free 3-day sample meal and see how easy and delicious whole food, gut healthy living can be.
Just scroll down the page to find the free posts and downloads.
You might have been happily following along with those steps, thinking this is pretty doable until you hit step 6 (might have been 5)! As soon as we start talking about taking things out of the diet or foods we need to avoid the panic usually sets in.
If you read my story you will know I sat in my car and cried when our functional medicine doctor put my son on a gut healing protocol! So, I hear you. No judgement at all. It can be hard to imagine how you will make life work. It feels like it will be so much work and food will be dull and boring. You may even feel like you have no idea what you will even feed your family. I'm not going to lie, it does take a bit of work. Certainly more than ordering pizza or using pre-packaged foods to make meals. However, once you get a few recipes under your belt you quickly realize it is not that hard and the potential to help your child makes it more than worth the effort.
I've got lots of free recipes for you to get inspired. Sometimes just looking at the wonderful foods you can make without too much effort is enough to get your mind on board. You'll quickly realize this way of eating is anything but dull. You can check out my You Tube Channel for videos and make sure you download the free e-book 25 Gut Healing Recipes to Reclaim Your Child's Health.
I am not a medical doctor. I am a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant, Certified GAPS Practitioner and Professional Counsellor. My experience and personal research to help my son has taught me a lot about autoimmune and chronic illness from the holistic and functional medicine approach and I want to share that information with you. This information is just that. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat or otherwise replace medical advice.