In-CourageBlog

It takes courage to make lifestyle changes and faith to overcome our obstacles. My hope is that by sharing my personal and professional experiences with you, we can both be courageous in our journeys of faith and fitness!

The Possibility of the Impossible

I don’t know a single person who would say, “No thank you” to a miracle happening in their life. More provision, more time with family, more health, more friends, more peace, more comfort, more happiness…less stress, less strain, less fear, less sickness, less sadness, less loneliness. We have been saying “Yes, please” to miracles we’ve needed for the last several years. I’m beginning to see that in order to see the rainbow, you have to have rain.

I feel like I could write a book, maybe I will someday. But for now, I am writing down part of my journey, Noah’s journey to “impossible, POSSIBLE” health. Those of you who know me well know it will be a challenge to do this in a concise fashion so I am going to spend a lot of time trying to do that. I will share more and more as the days go on, but I want this to be a resource of motivation, a catalyst for change, a hope for the impossible for all who read it. You are probably short on time so I’ll make it as simple as I can.

I need to give you a bit of background before I can talk about where we are now. Noah was born in August of 2010. Four weeks later, he began having seizures. Since then, he’s been in and out of hospitals, has had 3 different medications in different combinations and different dosages, worked with 3 different neurologists, had EEG’s, MRI’s, bloodwork and all kinds of other tests. Noah has “epilepsy” but the cause is undiagnosed. We’ve learned that seizures and what causes them baffle doctor and medical professionals around the world. 6 out of 1000 people have epilepsy which is really just having many seizures in a short period of time. The REASONS for seizures are so vast and in many cases like Noah, go undiagnosed. Long story short, we’ve not found the reason for his seizures and therefore, cannot cure them. We can treat them which means TRY to control them, but medication hasn’t really done this well for him. Even with being on 2 medications, Noah was having 2-4 seizures per week for over the last year and a half. They were controlled for a year and then they started back up (crept through what we call the seizure threshold). It has been a stormy, rainy few years. Until the possibility of the impossible occurred.

I will never take credit for what has happened. In the last several years I have even said this in reference to controlling them with diet “that’s impossible!” How could I have even said that?!  I’m a faith filled, hopeful, believing person! I just thought that something so uncontrollable by medicine and by brilliant medical professionals couldn’t possibly be controlled with something under my nose…or could it?

Brain surgery was next on the itinerary. The surgery had a 50/50 chance of working, but it was possible the seizures would resurface in another area. It was also a HIGH probability that Noah would lose some communication and/or motor skills as a result of the surgery. How could I even consider it? School age is coming upon us, time away from mom, activities like sports and swimming and other dangerous environments like playgrounds were about to become a big part of his life. Seizures had to be under control. I have asked for prayer. I have prayed. I have cried. I have cried out. I have wept. I decided to listen. I felt a stirring in my heart and deep in my gut (the soul) that I needed to use nutrition to be part of his healing. “God, give me courage, wisdom and understanding of how to do this. I am at a loss.”

It came. It came over time. It came with a lot of studying. But it also came in packages I NEVER WOULD HAVE LOOKED FOR. I will touch on that later. For this post, and to honor the promise of simplicity, here’s what I found in a small small small nutshell:

There are 3 problems that we all face, but for a person who has a compromised body, these things make it impossible for their bodies to address the compromising factors.

  1. Toxicity (chemicals, dyes, preservatives, heavy metals, pesticides, and junk in our food, water, products and environment.)
  2. Poor food sources advertised as being healthy (with GMO’s, added sugars, processed, from bad sources like cows given hormones/steroids/antibiotics, etc….)
  3. Mineral deficiency (nutritional depletion from depleted soils and crops).

I watched several videos, listened to podcasts and read countless articles like this one.

I read articles like this one linked here that told me how to address the 3 issues I mentioned above, but I was so completely overwhelmed and didn’t know how I could make it work for my family. The cost of changing everything over to organic would be astronomical, eliminating some of my son’s favorite foods seemed daunting and I had no idea how I’d get my picky 3 year old to eat enough brussel sprouts, alfalfa and kale to meet his recommended intake. My main concerns were these:

  1. Time: how would I find the time with 4 kids (one being a new baby) and businesses to run, etc… to make this work?
  2. Money: how would I AFFORD this lifestyle? I had just been furloughed for 6 months (without pay).
  3. Doubt: what if this doesn’t work and I’ve just put our family through hell trying to making it work? What if they kids hate it and I have to fight day in and day out to MAKE them eat what they need to eat?  Will we be worse off then? Can I really do this?

I decided my son’s life (and my baby who was simultaneously struggling with dairy, soy and beef) was worth it and it catapulted me into an intense time of learning, experimenting and adjusting….slowly. What is amazing is that we have not eaten perfect or eliminated everything completely and we are STILL SEEING RESULTS! Nutrition is POWERFUL!

Here’s what we’ve done.  The goal in all of this was to address those 3 concerns I listed above AND to rebalance Noah’s body to decrease common triggers for seizures like dehydration, mineral deficiencies, toxicity overload and blood sugar drops and spikes.

(This is was not how I started!  Don’t look at this list and think you need to do this all tomorrow to get benefit. I went one thing at a time. It’s still a work in progress. AND, we are not 100% strict. We are still allowing for treats. I will go into depth another day. For now, just bullet points.)

Eliminations or Reductions:

  • I started reading labels like MAD and have tried to eliminate foods with soy and dairy (more on dairy later.)
  • I removed beef/red meat (for the baby…I am nursing and cow products bother him period.) If I was doing it, we were all doing it.
  • I also started to eliminate foods that had known GMO’s (read labels more at the grocery store.)
  • I tried to remove refined (white) sugar and added sugars or at least limit our consumption.
  • I began to get rid of things with colors or dyes, artificial flavors and artificial sweeteners.
  • I discovered most restaurants use soybean oil in their kitchens so it was hard to even order a chicken breast because the grill was oiled with soybean oil!  So, we eat out 1x/week at local restaurants that have vegan options (no dairy) and we can see all ingredients that they use.
  • I’ve been working on reducing the amount of gluten we eat. This transition will be slower, but we’re getting close. We’ve been experimenting with GF flours, breads, etc… We eat a lot of oats so I will likely switch over to GF. It’s just more expensive. Not sure how I feel about all of the grains yet. We still eat brown rice and quinoa. I need to read more and learn more here. I’ve read A LOT about gluten’s inflammatory responses though and that affects the brain. I am thinking for Noah’s sake, we probably need to reduce it on a more regular basis.)

Substitutions:

  • We looked for and experimented with things to replace dairy like almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, etc… (we avoid any of those with carrageenan…that’s another topic, but recommended for Noah.)
  • We use honey and dates to sweeten things (if needed) or to put into recipes instead of artificial sweeteners and white sugar.
  • We began drinking water mainly with a cup of coffee in the morning and an occasional glass of almond milk, rice milk or organic milk. But, when we’ve gone out to eat, the boys will enjoy lemonade or chocolate milk too.
  • I look to buy organic for the dirty dozen produce foods, if I could, and changed over our eggs, dairy and meat to be grass-fed, non-hormone, cage free, etc… I used lists like this (mainly 1-5 on this list plus organic coffee.  The top organic foods to buy when sticking to a budgetTHIS DID NOT HAPPEN OVER NIGHT! I am STILL working on finding good sources that fit our budget! I price compare at different stores and avoid certain things if they are too expensive when menu planning.
  • I began finding things I could easily make and the kids would LIKE.  I’ve made granola, granola bars, yogurt, date syrup and tortillas on a regular basis. I’ve also made healthier treats, muffins, breads.
  • I am continually searching for new family favorite recipes that leave out the things we’re avoiding, but include the things below AND taste awesome. I think I’ve found some that the boys would say “pass”!

Additions:

  • We decided we would FORCE, yes force our kids to eat more veggies. One bite isn’t enough. So I’ve had to be creative. I’ve added them into all kinds of things!
  • More snacks, more often. What kids doesn’t love that?! This is a part of rebalancing the body, but I can’t tell you that right now, remember?  Trying to be concise!
  • Essential vitamins for all of us. Not just your everyday vitamin, but awesome vitamins by a specific company that I’ll tell you about in a second.
  • Greens…cold pressed superfoods turned into powder to add INCREDIBLE nutrients that we were lacking.
  • Fruits…raw and whole as well as cold pressed that include nutrients and anti-oxidants from over 30 different fruits.
  • Nutritional shakes that are balanced in macronutrients (carbs, fats, proteins) from EXCELLENT sources (undenatured whey, pea protein, hemp protein, etc….) AND have digestive enzymes and 70 trace minerals that are missing in our foods.
  • More good fats…almonds, avocados, coconut oil, nut butters… we ate these, but not enough…especially Noah.
  • A nutritional cleansing drink.

Phew! I think that’s most of it. Or at least the main ones. Every single one of those has an explanation behind it. While the elimination and substitutions have been crucial, as I mentioned, it has been a process and we are not 100% strict. I think what we have ADDED has been the MOST beneficial to Noah’s health and our own. The company we found for the vitamins, greens, fruits and nutritional shakes is called Isagenix. I crossed paths with Isagenix even though I tried initially to avoid it. The story of that is in this blog post. Here’s a video describing how they address the same things I was looking to address for Noah and our family.

I am going to continue to share how we have done this even though I was so doubtful, skeptical and fearful! I felt limited by time, budget and know how yet here we are. I want to make it easier for everyone like me to make these changes. I never thought we’d be here, but I am so so glad we are. After all that rain, it’s so good to see a rainbow.

Nutrition is saving my son from epilepsy

Please email me with any questions you may have, concerns, etc… It would absolutely be my pleasure to share more with you so you can start implementing these changes into your life too.

jamie@workoutplanz.com  often gets full and I’m bad about not cleaning it out!  So, either send it to info@workoutplanz.com or jrbeeson@gmail.com

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