Posts Tagged ‘Healthy Living’

June Chemical Elimination: Toothpaste & Mouthwash

When it comes to hidden and dangerous chemicals in our homes, not many of us probably think of toothpaste and mouthwash as all that toxic.  Sadly, however, in-home poisoning is the number 2 cause of death in children–and mouthwash is one of those poisonous substances!

We have been making our own mouthwash for some months now and are really enjoying it. It is simple, economical, and tasty!

Homemade Mouthwash

1 cup aloe vera juice (fairly inexpensive at Trader Joe’s among other places)

1/2 cup distilled water (I just used filtered)

1 tbsp. witch hazel

2 tsp. baking soda

20 drops peppermint essential oil

Toothpaste

So what’s so dangerous about toothpaste?  Amidst other questionable substances, the key health concern in most toothpastes is their fluoride content.  But isn’t fluoride good for us? Isn’t that what makes our teeth strong? Unfortunately, no.  However, this post is not about the dangers of ingesting fluoride.  More information on that topic will be in our November Chemical Elimination post on safe drinking water.  For now, it is simply helpful to know that, contrary to popular belief, it is best to use toothpaste without fluoride.

Toothpaste sans fluoride can be difficult to find though.  What are some safe alternatives? You could always use good old baking soda and water, but, well, that is simply not a very pleasant experience.  For more palatable options, check out Trader Joe’s fluoride free toothpaste (just $1.99 in store) or Tom’s of Maine.  Or make your own.

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May Chemical Elimination: Pest/Weed Control and Natural Bug Repellent Recipe

(Yes, I am aware that I am actually finally posting this in June…things have been very busy lately! Hopefully I will actually get June’s done before the month is out!)

Ever since I began the journey into healthier, more natural living, I have been concerned about the chemicals we so readily turn to to kill unwanted pests in an around our homes.  It disturbs me that we will spray toxic chemicals in our homes, on our floors where our babies crawl, and not give a second thought to the possible danger we may be causing.  But we also do not want bugs, spiders, ants, and mice invading our homes! So what is the answer?

Conveniently, this month’s Chemical Elimination coincides with this month’s and last month’s Toxic Talk Tuesday!  For detailed information on each individual topic, check out those posts or MomsAWARE.  I will compile all of the most helpful tips here!

Most pests and irritating rodents do not like the smell of peppermint, so either plant some or sprinkle some peppermint leaves in or around areas where you are having issues with mice, etc. Plant marigolds in your garden to keep rabbits away and chives to keep the deer at bay.  (The marigolds also took care of the beetles eating my green beans!).  Diluted Neem oil is also effective against a whole host of garden pests.  Use garlic/onion/cayenne or all three in a spray on pests inside and out.

Cedar is also another major critter deterant.  Use cedar mulch, or spray diluted cedar essential oil in problem areas (use instead of moth balls!).

Other essential oils that are useful against pests include peppermint, lavender, lemongrass, basil, and clove.

To kill of the weeds, try this recipe for simple, frugal, safe weed killer:

Homemade Natural Weed Killer 

  • 1 gallon white vinegar
  • 1/2 c. liquid soap
  • 2 tbsp. salt

Combine and shake. Place in spray bottle and spray leaves and stems of weeds only. Avoid surrounding plants.  This really works! And I loved spraying the weeds with my two-year old tagging along behind me today, knowing he wouldn’t be harmed by smelling or touching the spray!

Instead of going to the store and buying pricey, toxic bug spray, try this recipe: (Do not be intimidated by the essential oils–check out the link below for suggestions on all sorts of essential oils that can work just as well!)

Personal Bug Repellent

1/2 teaspoon citronella essential oil
1/2 teaspoon eucalyptus essential oil
1/2 teaspoon lavender essential oil
4 ounces distilled witch hazel

Mix ingredients in a 4-ounce spray bottle. Shake well. Spray onto exposed skin, avoiding eyes and mucous membranes. Reapply every 2 hours, or as needed.

Recipe courtesy of Laurel Vukovic.
August 2004
Herbs for Health

I love this website for a list of which essential oils repel which insects and all the possible carrier oils, as well as ratios to mix up whichever bug spray will suit your needs best!

I am excited to try these recipes using coconut oil and essential oils!

Check out the Bug Busting Bonanza for more helpful hints! Happy natural pest-ridding!


Toxic Talk Tuesday – Natural Pest Control

I am excited to announce yet another edition of the Fabry’s Toxic Talk Tuesday, and this time, it is  topic I am over-the-top excited about–natural pest control!!

Ever since I began the journey into healthier, more natural living, I have been concerned about the chemicals we so readily turn to to kill unwanted pests in an around our homes.  It disturbs me that we will spray toxic chemicals in our homes, on our floors where our babies crawl, and not give a second thought to the possible danger we may be causing.  But we also do not want bugs, spiders, ants, and mice invading our homes! So what is the answer?

Thank you Chris and Andrea Fabry for once again enlightening us (as always, in a broadcast so humorous I was laughing aloud) to natural forms of pest control.  After all, pests have been around for as long as people, and people have never been too keen on them living in their home.  So what have people done throughout the centuries to keep pests from invading?

You can go ahead and listen to the whole broadcast, but Andrea’s website had far more easily accessible information.  I have reproduced it here.  Following are the four R’s of natural pest control: Remedies, Recipes, References, and Resources from Andrea’s website, MomsAWARE:

Remedies

  1. Garlic and/or onion and/or cayenne. Liquid sprays can be made with any or all of these to help deter/kill pests inside and outside.
  2. Cedar is often used as a moth repellent, but is also effective against other pests.
  3. Diatomaceous earth (DE) consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae. DE is effective against insects with an exoskeleton. Be sure to choose food grade.
  4. Pyrethrum. Pyrethrum powder comes from ground chrysanthemum flowers and contains pyrethrin, a natural pesticide. This is not the same as pyrethroid, which is a synthetic pesticide. (Cats are sensitive to low doses and some may be allergic to pyrethrum.)
  5. Borax and all derivatives. Borax is a natural compound with powerful dehydrating affects and a wide range of applications as a pesticide. Borax is a toxin and must be used cautiously when children and pets are nearby.
  6. Neem oil. The key insecticidal ingredient found in the neem tree is azadirachtin, a naturally occurring substance that disturbs or inhibits the development of insect eggs, larvae, or pupae. Diluted neem oil sprayed on plants can control aphids, moth larvae, spider mites, whiteflies, and Japanese beetles. It will not harm insects that do not chew the leaves, like butterflies, ladybugs, and bees.
  7. Essential oils. Peppermint, lavender, lemongrass, basil, and clove are just a few of the effective oils.

Recipes

Downloadable Pest Punching Printout from MomsAWARE

    1. All-Purpose Pesticide Powder
      • 1/2 c. bay leaves
      • 1/2 c. peppermint leaves
      • 1 1/2 tsp. each citrus peel, garlic powder, diatomaceous earth, cayenne pepper, pyrethrum, salt

      Grind the ingredients into a powder using a blender or mortar and pestle. Dust along affected areas.

    2. Homemade Ant Trap
      • 1 tbsp. hot water
      • 1 tbsp. honey or sugar
      • 1/2 tsp. borax

      Place the ingredients in a small glass jar and shake to mix. Soak a cotton ball in the mixture, slightly squeeze out the excess liquid, and put the cotton ball on a small lid. Place the ant trap where you see the most ants. After the ants have disappeared, discard the cotton ball and keep the lid for reuse.

    3. Neem Oil Insectide
      • 1 qt. warm water
      • 2 tsp. dishwashing liquid
      • 5 tsp. neem oil

      Mix water and dishwashing liquid. Slowly add the neem oil while stirring the mixture vigorously. Don’t prepare more of the neem oil insecticide than you’ll need, as it will lose its potency if stored. (1 oz. neem oil mixed with 10 oz. coconut oil makes an excellent mosquito repellent!)

    4. All-Purpose Onion/Garlic/Cayenne Spray
      • 1 garlic bulb, chopped or ground
      • 1 small onion, chopped or ground
      • 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
      • 1 qt. boiling water
      • 1 tbsp. liquid castile soap

      Mix garlic, onion, cayenne pepper and water; add liquid soap. Shake and pour into spray bottle. Freeze for long-term storage.

    5. Apple Cider Vinegar JarPour an inch or so of apple cider vinegar into the bottom of a wide-mouth jar. Make a funnel with a sheet of white paper with a 3/4-inch hole on the bottom. The bottom should not touch the vinegar. Place the funnel into the jar and tape edges to secure the funnel to the jar. Effective against fruit flies and gnats.

References

Here are a few natural solutions recommended for specific pests.

  • Ants: Peppermint, soapy water, cucumber peels, mint tea bags, dry mint leaves, cayenne pepper, borax and sugar (see ant trap recipe above), diatomaceous earth (DE).
  • Aphids: Spray streams of water onto plants to dislodge heavy concentrations of aphids. Use a mixture of castile soap and water to spray on smaller concentrations; the soap will dry out their exoskeleton and dehydrate them. Add peppermint essential oil for added potency. Garlic spray can also be effective.
  • Beetles: Pyrethrin, neem oil, peppermint, thyme.
  • Fleas: Borax, DE, lavender, lemongrass, peppermint , citrus peel extract. See the Resources section below for a natural flea-control company.
  • Flies: Basil, clove, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint.
  • Four-legged garden pests: For squirrels, chipmunks, deer, etc., onion/garlic/cayenne spray can be an effective deterrent (see recipe #4 above).
  • Gnats/Fruit Flies: Apple cider vinegar jar (see recipe #5 above).
  • Mice: Mice tend to avoid mint. Place fresh mint boughs where mice are present, or spray diluted mint oil. For bait, crush a vitamin D pill and blend with cheese.
  • Spiders: Spiders help keep the pest population at bay, but too many spiders can be unnerving—to say nothing of the poisonous ones. Diatomaceous earth is effective because as spiders walk across it, the razor-sharp microscopic fossils penetrate the exoskeleton, causing the spider to dehydrate and die. Suggested spider repellents include essential oils such as tea tree, eucalyptus, citronella, and peppermint.
  • Termites: Cedar oil, nematodes.
  • Ticks: Cedar oil, DE, rose geranium oil, lavender, lemongrass, citronella.

Resources

Beyond Pesticides

Natural Pest Control: State-by-State Guide

Further Resources:

MomsAWARE

Toxic Talk Tuesday: Pests Broadcast

Toxic Talk Tuesday: Lawn Care

It’s that time again! Chris and Andrea Fabry delighted us with yet another broadcast of Toxic Talk Tuesday, and this time, the topic was lawn care–just in time for summer!

Definition of the Day

A pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances intended for:

  • preventing,
  • destroying,
  • repelling, or
  • mitigating any pest.

First, let’s start off with the quiz of the day.  To take the quiz yourself, click here.  I have listed the questions, answers, and more information to help set the stage for understanding pesticides.

1. Which of the following is NOT classified as a pesticide by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)? Pledge Furtniture Spray

While Pledge contains hazardous chemicals, it does not fall into the pesticide category. Products containing chlorine bleach, triclosan (hand sanitizers), and mold/mildew remover are all classified as pesticides. According to the EPA:

Many household products are pesticides. All of these common products are considered pesticides:

• Cockroach sprays and baits.
• Insect repellents for personal use.
• Rat and other rodent poisons.
• Flea and tick sprays, powders, and pet collars.
• Kitchen, laundry, and bath disinfectants and sanitizers.
• Products that kill mold and mildew.
• Some lawn and garden products, such as weed killers.
• Some swimming pool chemicals.

More information here and here.

2. Which herbicide product is represented a label containing 2,4-D, a chemical used in Agent Orange during the Vietnam era, which according to the EPA is “reported to result in blood, liver, and kidney toxicity”?  Ortho Weed B Gone

Roundup, Touchdown, and Kleeraway are all trade names for the chemical glyphosate, which is also hazardous.

According to the organization Beyond Pesticides, 2,4-D has been linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, and much more. Because it is widely available, the health effects “are of particular concern.”

More information here and here.

3. According to the EPA, children are exposed to the chemical 2,4-D through lawn care products. If a child is exposed to 2,4-D indoors, the exposure most likely comes through: Dust on shoes of person applying the product.

According to the EPA’s TEACH Chemical Summary on 2,4-D:

Children are most likely to be exposed following application of 2,4-D as a residential lawn care product. Exposure is most likely to occur via inhalation of indoor air and house dust generally subsequent to lawn care application of 2,4-D, or via contact with 2,4-D-treated grass or turf. Hand-to-mouth activity can also contribute to exposure from 2,4-D-contaminated house dust in younger children. The dust on shoes of the person applying the 2,4-D to lawns may be the greatest contributor to indoor 2,4-D contamination. Exposure of children may also occur from diet, drinking water, and swimming in lakes treated with 2,4-D (with highest concentrations of 2,4-D occurring within 24 hours of lake treatment).

More information here.

4. This pesticide category accounts for 70% of all agricultural pest-control products used in the United States: Weed Killers

According to the EPA:

A pesticide is a chemical used to prevent, destroy, or repel pests. Pests can be insects, mice and other animals, weeds, fungi, or microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses.

The USDA article linked below traces the history of pesticide use in this country, stating:

During the 1960s, agricultural pesticide use was dominated by insecticides, accounting for about half of all pesticides used. The quantity of insecticides applied fell as the organochlorines (DDT, aldrin, and toxaphene) were replaced by pyrethroids and other chemicals that required lower application rates. Today, 70 percent of the quantity of pesticides used in agriculture are herbicides.

More information here.

5. An organic household pesticide may contain harmful ingredients if its material safety data sheet contains what? Propietary blend of emulsifiers and solvents to 100%

The use of essential oils in pest control is positive. When coupled with toxic chemicals contained in the “inert” ingredients, however, a product’s safety may be compromised. This product may or may not be just as hazardous as a product with no essential oils.

According to the EPA:

Inert ingredients are “other” ingredients that do not control the pest, but serve other purposes such as dissolving the active ingredients or affecting how the product works.

Up to 3,000 chemicals may be classified as inert and are not subject to regulation due to business confidentiality.

More information here and here.

6. The EPA says this plant oil is effective for repelling mites, fleas, and mosquitoes: Euclyptus

Recommended for use on cats, dogs, humans and their clothing, and in homes.

For a list of other natural repellents, see the EPA’s Plant Oils Fact Sheet.

7. The first Roundup Ready crop (able to resist applications of the weed killer Roundup) was first marketed in 1996. This biotech soybean was genetically pieced together using this vegetable/flower combination: Cauliflower / Petunia

From the Organic Consumers Association website:

A gene from a cauliflower virus acted as a master control switch. It activated the bacterial enzyme that was able to fend off Roundup while still producing adequate growth proteins. A snippet of petunia DNA made sure those proteins were ferried to the proper location within the soy plant. Another strand of DNA from a different type of bacterium served as a molecular stop sign, preventing overproduction of the proteins.

A good word picture on genetic modification: Suppose you have a preschooler and you get home a letter saying, “We would like to conduct an experiment on your daughter. We would like to feed your daughter 1/4 tsp. of pesticide to your daughter every day until she is 18.  We have no reason to believe this will be harmful.” Would you be willing to allow your child to do that?  We do not have 100 years of study to see what these things are doing to us.  What we do know, is that some of these chemicals have been used to kill humans in the right doses, so is it not logical to ask the question–is this good for us?

More information here.

8. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs), originally designed to provide better pest control, are produced by inserting the DNA of one species into the DNA of an unrelated plant or animal. Because living organisms have natural barriers, the DNA must be forced in some way. 

Marker-assisted selection (MAS) is a non-invasive, natural approach to plant breeding.

According to the Institute for Responsible Technology website:

Because living organisms have natural barriers to protect themselves against the introduction of DNA from a different species, genetic engineers have to find ways to force the DNA from one organism into another. These methods include:

• Using viruses or bacteria to “infect” animal or plant cells with the new DNA.
• Coating DNA onto tiny metal pellets, and firing it with a special gun into the cells.
• Injecting the new DNA into fertilized eggs with a very fine needle.
• Using electric shocks to create holes in the membrane covering sperm, and then forcing the new DNA into the sperm through these holes.

More information here and here.

9. “Biosolids” is the term given to fertilizer derived from which of the following? Sewage sludge

Biosolids is a term used to refer to treated human waste. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a study of biosolids found 25 active chemicals in each biosolid sample tested. The study raises questions about the “transport, fate, and potential ecological effects of these contaminants once biosolids are applied to agricultural fields, garden plots, and landscaped plants and shrubs.”

More information here and here.

There are a couple more questions on the quiz, but I only included these eight.

Know that there are more chemicals than just what it says on the label.  Why? Any label has not only active ingredients, but it also has inert ingredients.  Up to 3000 chemicals are classified as inert ingredients and can make up over 90% of a product.  They are not required to list these because of trade secrets. If you have concerns about what chemicals may make up inert ingredients, go ahead and call the company and ask. Be proactive!

For any weed or plant you do not want try this recipe to get rid of it:

Homemade Natural Weed Killer 

  • 1 gallon white vinegar
  • 1/2 c. liquid soap
  • 2 tbsp. salt

Combine and shake. Place in spray bottle and spray leaves and stems of weeds only. Avoid surrounding plants.  This really works!

For your garden, plant chives to keep the deer away and marigolds to deter the rabbits.  Here is a great website on various companion plants to keep away pests and pesky animals.

The EPA offers these tips for safe lawn care:

  1. Keep grass at a height of 3 inches.
  2. Make sure mowing blades are sharp.
  3. Water 1 inch per week on average.
  4. Allow your lawn to go dormant in July/August.
  5. Consider non-chemical pest/weed control methods.

Consider grasscycling–leaving the grass clippings. It is very nourishing.

Dandilions are very nutritious! Studies are being done on a possible health benefit for cancer!

I can hardly wait for the next Toxic Talk, airing in June.  Their topic will be safely ridding our home of pests! You can be sure I will be posting the summary of that as soon as it airs!

For more recipes, check out this blog.

Check out Andrea’s blog, MomsAWARE!

Andrea also has a detailed blog post about Natural Lawn Care.

Check out the original broadcast!

Read other Toxic Talk posts!

 

Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil Giveaway!

ImageI am excited to host my first official giveaway on this blog!

I recently had the pleasure of sampling Tropical Traditions amazing virgin coconut oil. Coconut oil is a nutritional powerhouse and can offer a wide range of benefits, including maintaining cholesterol levels, increasing immunity, and aiding in weight loss.  Coconut oil also contains antioxidants, and natural antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.  Unlike many oils used for cooking, it is safe when heated at high temperatures, thus making it ideal for frying.  Coconut oil is extremely beneficial, not only nutritionally, but for a number of other purposes, including skin and hair care.

Tropical Traditions virgin coconut oil is different than other oils on the market.  They are the premier supplier of virgin coconut oil in the nation and are highly praised for their amazingly superior oil.  Their oil is still made by hand using small scale producers and family farms, contains twice the antioxidants as any brand on the market, and is USDA certified organic.

Although it is pricey, Tropical Traditions is constantly offering sales and special deals that make it easier on the pocketbook.

For more information about the health benefits of coconut oil, check out this post by Passionate Homemaking.  There are also a wide variety of ways you can use this oil in your household. Its versatility is one of my favorite things about coconut oil–I literally use it for dozens of purposes, including moisturizing (all of us, especially the kids!), eating, frying, multiple personal care uses, and so many more!

Check out Tropical Traditions selection of coconut oil here.

To browse their website, including a huge selection of other quality, organic products, click here!

Tropical Traditions is offering one quart of their Gold Label Virgin Oil free to one winner!

TO ENTER:

1. Sign up for the Tropical Traditions Sales Newsletter (sign up through the link on their homepage), and come back and let us know in a comment below. Stay informed on future sales and specials!

2. For a second optional entry, “like” Tropical Traditions on Facebook. Come back and let us know in a second comment.

Giveaway closed.

Congratulations to our winner, Autumn Stan!!

Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.

Simple, Frugal Chemical-free cleaning that WORKS!

I am extremely excited about April’s “Chemical Elimination” Challenge–Natural CLEANING!

In preparation for the blog post, I have been testing a variety of options in our own home, and I simply cannot wait until April before I give a brief plug for Norwex:-)

In my Chemical Elimination blog post, I will be more thorough, but let me just give you a quick overview of Norwex.

From their website:

“Norwex is committed to radically reducing the use of chemicals in personal care and cleaning to promote health. More than ever we feel the need to emphasize the positive environmental impact of reducing chemical use.”

“In the last 50 years more than 80,000 new chemicals have been produced and introduced into the environment. “Ecology” refers to the way human beings, animals, and other life forms and nature interact and influence each other.

The ecological approach considers that all living species and nature are interdependent, and that there are limitations to what nature can absorb in terms of human activities such as pollution.  Change something here, and the consequences will pop up there.  Radical change — manmade or otherwise — may overwhelm the delicate balance in the environment, resulting in unintended and dramatic negative change.

We must find a way to provide for the needs of the present, without sacrificing the ability of future generations to provide for their needs.  Contributing to the change by becoming part of the Norwex family will result in an improvement in quality of life.

“We strive to improve quality of life rather than standard of living.”

Behind this aim lies the value and beauty of life itself, both for us, and other life forms. 

From a health point of view, it is equally important to radically reduce the use of household chemicals.  Research and information on the health effects of chemicals has not kept pace with their development and use. “Most of the chemicals that people are exposed to everyday have never been assessed for their impact on human health.”

The harm chemicals have on humans is extensive.  Chemicals found in the average home are linked to many serious diseases such as allergies, birth defects, cancer, and psychological abnormalities.  Many today believe that the extensive use of chemicals indoors contributes to “modern” diseases such as asthma and allergies.”

Norwex allows you to clean and disinfect your entire home with the use of simply a microfiber cloth and water! Check out their website for their full line of products and how this amazing technology works!  You really have to see it to believe it.

On Tuesday at 7pm, we are having a Norwex party at our home.  If you are in the QC  area and are curious, please contact me–I would love to have you come!  There will be light snacks and Christina will be demonstrating how Norwex works…by cleaning parts of my home!!

If you are already familiar with Norwex and are eager to purchase more of their amazing product, check out my consultant’s websiteyou can place an order on-line through me or her!

I cannot say enough good things about Norwex. It will truly revolutionize the way you clean, and you will never have to stock your cupboards with sprays, solutions, detergents, and chemicals to clean your home with again!

Beginning Our Journey Through GAPS

Last year, when we were growing concerned about Jeshuah’s autistic symptoms, I began doing research on the explosion of autism in the recent years.  One of the books I found extremely helpful and compelling is Dr. Natasha Campbell’s “Gut and Psychology Syndrome.”  In it, she draws the correlation between our “gut” (intestinal) health and our overall health, particularly our mental health.

You see, our brain’s function is dependent on our body receiving the proper nutrients.  Over time, our bodies can become overloaded with toxins from the air that we breathe and the food that we eat.  In the last few decades, our diets have changed drastically.  Where people once used to live off of the natural, real food of the land, industrialization has now afforded us the ability to now eat primarily processed, packaged, manufactured “foods,” most of which contain chemicals or have been sprayed with pesticides or preservatives which are extremely toxic. (Obviously. They are meant to kill pests!).  All of these chemicals and processed foods are harmful to our bodies, and over time can cause excessive damage.

But the purpose of this post is not to provide proof that the American diet is harmful, or that the introduction of so many chemicals has done more damage than good.  There is ample proof for that elsewhere. My desire is to share how our family has (finally) decided to take these threats seriously and dramatically change the way we eat.

I have been convicted about doing this for some time now, but I have been so intimidated by the magnitude of the task, that I have put it off.  When Jeshuah’s autistic symptoms disappeared with chiropractic treatment, the urgency to change our diet was not there any more.  However, he still has allergies, skin irritations, pain in his arms and legs, etc. that leads us to believe there is more going on with him.

Eliana and I have also been battling thrush for weeks now and Stephen has had recurring digestive issues.  All of this can probably be treated by going on Dr. Campbell’s GAPS diet.  Her research has shown her that the reason for many of these issues is that the protective lining of the gut becomes worn down and then the toxins from our food go directly into our blood stream and affect our immune and brain function, causing a wide range of issues, including autism, ADHD, allergies, depression, chronic yeast infections, etc.

But the gut lining can be healed, and these issues can be greatly diminished or disappear completely.  The healing process typically takes at least two years on the diet, depending on the severity of the issues.  Once healing has taken place, you can usually begin eating many foods that were not allowed on the diet before–foods such as gluten and ones that have a high starch content like potatoes.  These things are not bad, they simply do not aid the process of healing once the gut has been damaged.  But while you are able to return to eating most foods, all foods should still remain whole and real in order to avoid re-injuring the gut.

And so this is the process our family is beginning.  That GAPS diet looks extremely overwhelming and intimidating at first, but the more I research, the more I find out my options, and the more comfortable I become.

We plan to start the diet in April, and commit to being on it for at least two years.  It means daily detox baths.  It means ridding our home of harmful chemicals.  It means all of our meat needs to be organic/grass-fed/hormone/antibiotic-free, etc.  It means all dairy products are organic and raw and preferably fermented (yogurts, kefirs, etc.). It means all produce must be organic and fresh–nothing canned. It means nearly everything we eat is made from scratch.  Obviously, this means no eating out. It means we will have to bring our own food with us when we visit other people. It means a lot of hard work and sacrifice.  But we trust it will all be worth it in the end.

For a full list of foods allowed and not recommended, visit here.