Oh, this is not a post I ever wanted to write. It's not a season (I hope it's only a season!) I ever wanted to live.
But it's good for me, and good for Little Artist, so here we are.
I finally took Little Artist to the Naturopath last week to address some of her digestive issues. She's always - always - had trouble in that department, and while we finally seemed to have conquered the Fear-Constipation-Fear cycle, there was more going on. I started to notice a distinct difference in how she looked - like when you look at children who are built differently than your own, and the difference strikes you. Well, it was like that, but she IS my own, so that made it extra-odd. At least for me. When I see her upper arms, they are not shaped like her sisters' arms are - more thin, I guess, like those hungry kids you see in photos (not THAT hungry, obviously). Her backbone sticks out in places like alligator-bumps. Yet, her profile isn't slim. Her belly is disproportionately big. But if you try to 'pinch' a bit of fat, that's all you get - a TINY bit. Not fat, but round, firm, and big.
The naturopath didn't do anything terribly invasive - no blood tests or anything - but he felt and tapped and listened, and told me that 90% of the time this kind of thing has to do with food allergies. He wrote down the major ones he wanted us to avoid, and advised the use of a good digestive enzyme with each meal and a capsule of L-Glutamine daily.
The things to avoid: Yeast, Nuts, Soy, Gluten, and Dairy. Those last two are the killers. Heh, well, they may indeed be killers to some extent, but avoiding them is hardest. The soy we already mostly avoid, and nuts aren't hard to eliminate, but yeast is tricky (not just yeast-breads, but anything with vinegar), and gluten is really hard. We love wheat around here (too much, probably), and if not wheat, then oats, and if not oats, barley, and... well, you get the idea. :) Dairy is something I rely on daily as a lunchtime protein, and makes for frequent condiments to meals.
We've been using other grains lately - rice is one we're fairly used to, and millet I've used on occasion. I cooked up some amaranth the other evening (cooked like rice, with water) and it was very weird! Millet puffs up and gets fluffy like rice, but amaranth... doesn't. You can still see the individual grains, but it develops a clear, gelatinous goo... It's so strange. I found the smell to be odd, too, but we ate it, and again for breakfast the next day. Hubby wondered later if there was any left (there wasn't, after that), and I was surprised that it was enjoyed to the extent it was. I have read about it, and I believe it would grow well here, so there is a possibility I'd put it in the garden next year (it is known to cross with a certain weed we have, though, and I'm not sure about that!). I've ordered some teff (another super-tiny grain I've never tried) from Azure, and it will be interesting to see how it cooks up and what else I can use it for. Coconut flour is highly recommended - highly caloric, highly expensive too - but apparently it's usable in many baked goods as well as a thickener (like white sauce and gravy?).
She misses cheese, though, and I'm not sure what we can do about that. :]
But it's for a season, and we're already seeing progress. Her belly is much softer to the touch. We're hopeful her body will heal, and these foods can at least become part of an occasional meal for her. If not, we'll be grateful for a way to keep her well!