When my eldest, Sophia and Emma, were born nearly 5 years ago(!) I had a book-learned knowledge of herbs without a lot of real experience. I had been working in the herb & supplement dept of Greenlife for quite sometime spewing all kinds of recommendations on a daily basis (I shudder to think what I might have suggested way back when). The thing is, you recommend and send someone home with an herb never to hear from them again. With a family you see the results...or not. Oh the learning curve of putting theory into practice!
The trials came early on. After the homebirth of my twins (7 lbs each, thank you Brewer's diet) I was left weak and sick for the first month due to various postpartum complications. This as well as other, more avoidable problems, led to my needing supplemental milk at only 9 weeks. Though my babes screamed at my empty breasts in the evenings I remained in denial of this fact until my midwife herself told me to go get the scrawny little girls some formula. Horrified, I headed to the store for the organic formula of course.
Emma's tummy couldn't cope. I tried various options and none could be tolerated besides the dreaded Nestle Good Start with its "enzyme digested proteins". I will spare you the tirade over the evils of this company for there is plenty of info at compleatmother.com, as well as a list of products to boycott. Though still breastfeeding (which I continued for nearly 3 years) I was not happy, for with each formula feeding a prickly red rash would erupt around her mouth and a red ring was on perpetual display in her diaper; the textbook sign of dairy intolerance. She finally gained weight and became a poster child for chub, but wouldn't that happen to anyone her size drinking 6-8oz of high fructose corn syrup two or three times a day? I know that many children suffer no obvious consequences from drinking formula, but there are a great many children who do. Sometimes it manifests as food allergies, others insulin resistance or maybe something seemingly unrelated like constant ear infections or other frequent secondary infections after colds and flu. For us this was the obvious beginning. There are many intricacies to the story of mine and my daughters health and dietary history that I can not go into in one post. Many of them will surface later as pieces of a whole picture.
As a single mom I went back to work fairly early and was soon introduced to Wise Traditions, a quarterly publication from The Weston A. Price Foundation as well as a wonderful woman with a lot of raw goat milk on her hands. So after 6+ months of formula junk food we switched to the raw goat's milk formula outlined by the WAPF, but the damage was done.
I was in denial for a long while, but at 18 months I had to face the truth. We were now dealing with many food allergies and their repercussions. We still are. The list is long, going beyond the main offenders gluten, dairy, corn, soy, nightshades, nuts to every somewhat common allergen you have heard of (except eggs) to seemingly benign foods like bananas and cinnamon. Believe me, there are two things not taken for granted in this house, food and mood. These allergies bring us not only digestive disturbance and gut erosion but behavioral and mood issues as well. Ah, the learning curve steepens!
So I spend this post telling you the back story to our current state because it will inevitably shape this blog. It has shaped our lives for sure. At times it has carved deep sorrowful grooves into my heart and many tears of frustration, but in others brought me moments of revelation and thankfulness for the inspiration to learn, heal, and help. This is not a blog about food allergies, but this lifestyle has been a catalyst for my herbal education and given me more hands on experience in the last 5 years than I ever thought possible.
So what we are learning is how to overhaul our diet excluding every allergy imaginable and how to truly nourish our bodies with what is left, how to heal our guts, strengthen our digestive capabilities, re-establish our flora, regulate and retrain our immune system, soothe the nervous system, nourish our fabulously delicate endocrine system and come back from mommy's adrenal exhaustion (this last one is a family effort I assure you), blood sugar difficulties and so much more about our bodies, herbs, and what we value in life.
There are some great links in this post so check 'em out! May your hearts and minds stay open :)