My Family’s Grocery List

I’ve been asked by a few followers if I would write a grocery list of gluten free foods. That’s pretty much all I buy, so I thought it wouldn’t be that hard for me to share my list. This is also the list I share in my challenge groups. Be sure to check back frequently, I’ll be changing it up as I discover more secrets. We still have a few things in the cabinet that we haven’t tried yet, like GF pizza crust. We have frozen, vacuum sealed, and flour/mix to make from scratch… I’ll keep you posted. Update: skip the vacuum sealed option. 😉

I go Live on FB occasionally and opened my cabinets to show you most of the products my family uses. I share my Thrive Market shipments, my Butcher Box shipments and other health and nutrition info, so, be sure to follow me on Facebook.

Without further ado, here’s my list…

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Getting ‘Glutened’ is Drugging My Kid! I’ve had it!! (Digestive Health Series, Part 3)

 

So, What does getting ‘glutened’ look like?

A. Laziness, fatigue

B. Anxious, depressed, irritable, angry

C. Disoriented, unaware, spaced out, Cognitive dysfunction

D. Stomach ache, migraine, joint pain

E. All of the above and then some!!!

Anyone that has talked with me knows this is a hot topic for me. What angers me the most is the total disregard of our society for the people that have true dietary issues that are ignored by the general population, including much of the medical population. As a nurse practitioner, I don’t like to say we’re missing things in medicine, but… WE ARE MISSING THINGS!!!!

As a mom, I knew there was more to it, and I knew I needed to keep searching for answers. Never. Give. Up. That’s going to be the name of my book. I’m not really a very good writer, avoided it like the plague in school. I have no idea where to start with a book, but it’s a goal of mine, and I need to share our story with other families. Moms need to know that it is worth every bit of energy you use figuring out how to help your child. 

He is so bright, it puts him on a different level. Friends started noticing it before I did, he put concepts together that 2 year olds just didn’t put together. He was smarter than some of the adults in his world and it caused problems. Problems that gradually got worse as the years went on. There were jokes about Einstein being thrown out of school, he even has a hat with Al on it. But, seriously, it took a decade of lots of struggles and difficulties to realize he wasn’t going to get better with prescriptions or school accommodation or anything else traditionally done for bright, ADHD kids. We’d been trying for years, and things were just getting worse… WHY???  Continue reading

Digestive Health Lesson #2 – It all Starts with Inflammation

Dr. Tanya Edwards, director of the Center for Integrative Medicine (Cleveland), wrote that inflammation is now recognized as the underlying basis of a significant number of diseases.

Inflammation

Inflammation 101

Inflammation defined by the free online medical dictionary: 1. A localized protective response elicited by injury or destruction of tissues, which serves to destroy, dilute, or wall off both the injurious agent and the injured tissue.  2.The inflammatory response can be provoked by physical, chemical, and biologic agents, including mechanical trauma, exposure to excessive amounts of sunlight, x-rays and radioactive materials, corrosive chemicals, extremes of heat and cold, or by infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and other pathogenic microorganisms. Although these infectious agents can produce inflammation, infection and inflammation are not synonymous.

Dr. Edwards points out that anti-inflammatory foods have been used to combat Cancer and many other diseases, i.e.: Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, many Autoimmune diseases, asthma. Here is the abstract from her article:  Continue reading

Digestive Health Lesson #1: Leaky Gut

“ALL DISEASE BEGINS IN THE GUT.” – Hippocrates

hippocrates

I can pinpoint my gut issues all the way back to middle school in the suburban brick rancher I grew up in, and more specifically right down to the bowl of gravy, loaf of bread, my friend Lori, the stomach pain, and the bloating that came along with it. Those problems go way back. This is just one example of the bad food exposure that I subjected myself to growing up. Many of us did, we didn’t know it was that big a deal. What damage could it possibly cause, we were 14, just kids. Yes, well, so is my boy now, and his issues seem to have a similar root cause. Food. The wrong vs. the right… My issues manifested as irritable bowel, asthma, acne, eczema, and eventually fibromyalgia. My boy, Josh has multiple gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms, and has dealt with them most of his life.

stomach painHow do we know it’s food? Continue reading

Is that sore throat Strep? How to know…

It’s spring time, which means it’s the season for Strep Throat! Not that strep has to be in season, but spring is the most common time for strep. I’ve gotten a call today from a parent asking me if I would call in an antibiotic because her daughter has a sore throat and stomach ache. This child may very well have strep throat, but of course, I said “No.” The only way to determine if a child has strep throat is to have them evaluated, and 99.9% of the time a throat culture is needed for confirmation. I’m grateful the mom was understanding and planned on going to an urgent care facility after I spoke to her.

Symptoms of strep are sore throat, fever, headache, stomach ache, nausea, vomiting, rash, muscle aches, and petechiae on the palate.

Petechiae on the palate is usually diagnostic of strep.

Does the child always have a fever- No. Does the child always have a sore throat – No. Some kids will have no symptoms, but have a rash that presents with little red spots that are raised and feel like sandpaper. This sandpaper like rash is one of the symptoms that will cause me to forgo the culture. When children have lots of petechiae on the palate, and an extremely red throat, and usually really swollen tonsils, I don’t feel the need for a throat culture. When the throat looks this bad, it is strep and hurts to do a culture. When the throat has swollen tonsils with white spots, this is frequently, but not always strep, and a culture is needed.

I’m going to ask a favor of you – please help us! Children do not like throat cultures, but it is very important to obtain for proper diagnosis. When the parent is helpful, the culture is much easier for the child. I have had children beg their mom or dad “Don’t make me do it!!” This is when it is important as a parent to show some strength and be firm. Yes, the throat culture is necessary, please back me up!! Most kids really dislike having a throat culture done. I can’t say that I blame them, but it is a necessary evil. I often say that you would think we could figure out a better way to diagnose strep with all of the technology that we have nowadays. But, the bacteria that causes strep throat is hanging out on those tonsils.

Joshua has had strep throat twice. The last time he threw up so much I would have assumed it was a stomach virus if we hadn’t done a throat culture. The poor kid threw up for almost 8 hours, how miserable when you already have a sore throat. The first time he had strep he also had pneumonia. The poor guy had a high fever, was achy all over and was absolutely miserable! He didn’t even want to move. When he gets sick with strep, he really gets sick!

If you are worried that your child may have strep throat, please have them evaluated. Please do not ask your medical provider to just call in an antibiotic. Do not give your child an antibiotic that you have left over from a previous illness. If I child is on an antibiotic the throat culture will be negative even if they had strep throat. Also, you shouldn’t have antibiotics left over from other illnesses. When antibiotics are prescribed, they are usually meant be be given until the medication is all gone to properly treat the infection.

So, if it’s not strep, what could it be? It could be a URI, it could be allergies, it could also be mononucleosis. How do you know the difference, it’s not always easy to differentiate. It is very common for most upper respiratory infections (URI or cold) to present with a fever and sore throat. How do we know it is a virus and not strep?? Proper assessment, evaluation and culture. How do you know if it’s mono? Mono is confirmed by a blood test. Most sore throats (including mono) will go away without any treatment.

Sometimes a child can have more that one illness at a time. I spoke to a mom today that was wondering why her daughter wasn’t getting better after being on an antibiotic for strep throat (confirmed by culture) after 4 days on an antibiotic. The child started feeling worse 2 days ago. At the same time, she started with coughing and congestion. It sounds like she has a URI now, on top of strep throat, how miserable!!

(Update): This year, it seems like there are a good amount of kids testing positive for strep and the flu. That really is a double whammy! Miserable! Keep them as comfortable as you can, keep them hydrated, and have them rest as much as possible.

Strep throat can sometimes go away without treatment, but could cause complications if not treated appropriately. Some of the complications of strep throat could be quite serious, such as rheumatic fever, scarlet fever, and glomerulonephritis. This is why it is very important for proper diagnosis and treatment.

If your child has strep, 10 days of Amoxicillin is the best treatment. Traditionally speaking, strep throat is contagious for 24 hours after starting the antibiotic. More recent information states that it is contagious as long as the child has fever and/or a sore throat. Sometime it takes a few days for the sore throat to feel better. Treat your child with Tylenol or Motrin for fever and pain relief. You can find the links to Tyelnol and Motrin dosing in the sidebar on this page.

So, the next time your pride and joy has a sore throat, make an appointment with your doctor or nurse practitioner, and ask for a throat culture. Hopefully, I have helped you understand why we need to gag your child when we suspect strep. 😉

As challenging as it can be, I hope you are enjoying the journey! 🙂

The scoop on poop…Could your kid be constipated??

From infants to teenagers, constipation seems to be a problem for so many kids! I had a visit with a 9 year old and her mom about her stomach pain related to constipation problems. As soon as I left the room I realized that Dr. M was seeing a 2 month old for ongoing constipation issues. Then, at the end of the day, Dr. T’s first call of the evening came in before we ever left the office, and it was about a 3 month old with constipation problems. So, you see, this is a daily problem in pediatrics. Anyone that works in pediatrics will tell you that we talk about poop everyday, sometimes all day. Inadequate nutritional intake and hydration is usually the problem. 

In my house, my kids are 2 for 2 on this topic. Drew Elizabeth has been as regular as clockwork until just a few months ago. I’m sure most of you remember my Paranoid Mom post about Drew Elizabeth’s chest pain. She has never had a problem in the past, but in the past few months she hasn’t been eating her veggies as she should, and as she used to for the past 5 years. Kids…I can’t always explain why they do the things they do… I usually have more problems with my own than with yours! 😉

My poor Joshua has had constipation problems since he was an infant.  Joshua is the child that taught me all about children’s constipation. Well, Joshua and a PNP GI specialist ;-)!  Joshua eats an apple almost everyday. He loves apple slices with cinnamon; I highly recommend this, it’s great for the bowels.  Even with adequate fruits and veggies, Josh still doesn’t drink enough water (hence, the importance of hydration) to keep himself regular.

Most kids do not eat enough fruits and vegetables. For proper nutrition information, you can check out Let Them Eat Cake…For Breakfast??  Not only do most kids need to eat more fruits and veggies, they need to drink more water. Yes, I’ve tried to cover that too, you can read more about hydration in The Importance of Hydration. If adequate amounts of fiber and hydration don’t help your child with their constipation problems, I would recommend an evaluation with your child’s medical provider. Ongoing constipation can cause the large colon to expand and cause nerve damage and leaky gut and multiple other systemic problems that don’t even seem related to the bowels, but they are. Our immune system is centered in our gut, a healthy gut really matters.

By definition, constipation is having 3 or fewer bowel movements in a week that are hard, dry, and usually hurt.

A few facts about constipation:

  • When kids are constipated, they usually eat less.
  • When kids are constipated, they will usually have stomach pain, and usually on the lower left side.
  • When kids are constipated, they may have nausea and vomiting.
  • When kids are constipated, they may have more urinary incontinence (accidents), urinary frequency, and bedwetting.

So, what can you do to help your child with constipation? 

  • High fiber foods: fruits and vegetables (the crunchier, the better), beans, fresh popcorn, baked potato w/skin, berries, oatmeal. (The one fruit to avoid with constipation is bananas, they can make stools harder.)
  • Drink more water!!
  • Decrease processed foods, like carbohydrates made with white and wheat flour.
  • Getting normal exercise can help with bowel movements also.
  • Do not rush potty time. Children will often not take the time that they need to sit and eliminate their bowels.
  • Infants will frequently have temporary constipation problems when they are transitioning to new foods such as cereal, or  from breastfeeding to formula feeding. Do not give cereal under 4 months unless instructed by a medical provider.
  • In infants, try a couple ounces of 100% apple or pear juice, if this doesn’t work, you can try prune juice. Baby juice does not need to be diluted, adult juice should be diluted with half water.
  • Abdominal massage. I recommend abdominal massage to all the infants I work with that have constipation issues as a first line treatment! Massaging clockwise around the belly button and then doing the I Love You massage can work wonders for infants. With the I Love You massage, start with a few strokes of the I (left of belly button), then the L is upside down (above and to the left of the belly button), and then the U (around the belly button). This helps massage the large bowel, and can be quite helpful. Be sure to use mineral oil and apply a moderate amount of pressure. Most babies will enjoy this once they start to relax.
I hope you found some of this information helpful! Constipation can definitely make this parenting  journey a little painful for you and your child!
The ‘I Love You’ massage works! Ask the massage therapist that taught me about it when Joshua was an infant. 😉