ua mama bear – Gluten Free – with PANDAS

Family Health and Happiness Beating PANDAS and Being Gluten-Free

Holding my breath November 11, 2012

Filed under: PANDAS Information — uamamabear @ 12:15 pm
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We are approaching a year since we entered the twilight zone with the wonderful illness that is known as PANDAS – since our diagnosis we thankfully have had only two recurrences, one happened just before the school year began – and both boys started exhibiting symptoms within days of each other and the other recurrence happened just to my middle son (the one with the more severe symptoms). They both went on a round of antibiotics and all symptoms subsided. I am so afraid of going back to that place where we were a year ago, that I am super sensitive to their mood, their reactions, their comments – could it be PANDAS or could it be that he is just a 13-year-old boy! Will this nervousness ever ease? I think only time will tell, but I hope for my sanity it does. To be on hyper alert of how he is feeling, each morning when I wake him, I wonder is this the day he starts crying saying how horrible he feels – thankfully we know what causes these feelings and we have antibiotics on hand at all times, but I wonder what if I don’t see the signs early enough?

This is the part of PANDAS that makes mothers feel crazy – wondering should I give them antibiotics now, should I wait? I felt crazy before the diagnosis because of his symptoms and how severe they were and how fast downhill they both went  – felt like my world was falling apart around me. Now we have a diagnosis, we know that antibiotics and a gluten-free diet help them with their symptoms, yet I am still scared, what if I let the symptoms go on too long? Holding my breath…waiting, monitoring, patiently supporting, educating myself on new research and telling myself to breathe. Dealing with PANDAS is a  journey that our family will all go on together to help each other figure it out and support others in their journey with this illness.


Organic, Grass Fed/Grazed, Cage Free, Free Range… – What do they mean? July 26, 2012

Filed under: Health — uamamabear @ 10:10 pm
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Trying to go to the grocery store and read all these labels, or find the small print to understand what they mean by their large catchy, healthy looking labels is at times overwhelming. We try to get our food from local CSAs but food in our house goes faster than the once a week time we get it from the CSA with three growing boys. So I go to the local grocery store and try to decipher labels. I stand there looking over the many different labels that are just screaming “PICK ME, PICK ME!” organic sounds good, but so does cage free and then there is free range! I found this article on what all the different labels mean and which ones are better – hope this helps you as it did me!

Then there is buying meat and the occasional 1/2 gallon milk – it says on the label grass-fed or grass grazed, but in doing further research that does not necessarily mean that is all they ate – cows when fed grain will produce more milk and will get fatter and provide “more” meat – as one grocer told my husband  – well if you don’t feed the cows corn then you won’t get that “nice marble look to the meat” – that’s okay by me – I prefer not to have my meat have a marbled look.

I have found two websites so far that have helped in my research of what it means to have grass fed cows. One is Eat Wild and the other is Grassland Beef – I have read and also just heard from a doctor that purely grass-fed cows have higher levels of Omega-3, they have more good fats and less bad fats, and richer in antioxidants, and as I have read from farmers that their cows are healthier when they just eat grass, and so there is no need to pump them with antibiotics – yes it produces less yield, but from the farmers side maybe not necessarily – they do not have to buy feed, or antibiotics for the cows – they just need land for them to roam. One researcher looked at all the nutrients that a grass fed cow provided and it showed high levels of omega-3 with a perfect balance of Omega-6 – if the cow just eats 1/3 of his diet on corn/grains – that balance is cut in half – omega-3 levels drop while the Omega-6 levels stay where they were – not giving us the benefit of the Omega-3s when we eat/drink as when the Omegas are balanced.

I don’t think I have it in me to become a farmer – so I will just search for one to help me provide the best kind of nutrients for my family. If you have any tips or websites to help, I would love to hear about them.

Happy label reading!


Coconut, it’s good for you! July 24, 2012

Filed under: Health — uamamabear @ 9:11 pm
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Before my son got sick, I thought we ate a well-rounded Food Pyramid diet. But then things changed and we had to rethink our way of eating. In doing so I have been researching alternatives to our dairy and found coconut! I found out that coconut is antibacterial, antiviral and antimicrobial, it is called a “functional food” because it provides added health benefits beyond it’s nutrient content. Here is a link from the Coconut Research Center listing all the benefits of  coconut.  I also read in Natural News that coconut oil is a great anti-aging moisturizer, helps speed up metabolism, and helps prevent fatigue! Need I say more for all us busy moms!

We are using coconut milk and coconut oil in our smoothies and for all our cooking needs – I am going to make an effort to note how healthy we are this winter as all those viruses come out when the children go back to school – and hopefully be thanking the wonderful coconut!


Gluten Free – WOW! That must be hard! July 18, 2012

Filed under: Gluten-Free Information,Health — uamamabear @ 7:45 pm
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This is pretty much the comment I get from someone when I say we are gluten-free. Or the other comment I get is: “I could never do that” When it comes to the wellness of your child, I think anybody could – I hope they would.

Was it hard? Yes, at first it was hard to grasp the idea that we had to become a gluten-free house and what does that actually mean to be a gluten-free house? I knew that gluten meant wheat, then I learned that it was also barley and rye, sometimes maltodextrin, but not all the time! My husband and I read numerous websites and books about what is good and what is bad. Our son was even interested in learning what he needed to look for on the labels to make sure all foods were safe. Then talking to a friend I did not even think about the toaster we had been using for how many years laden with gluten and to read the labels body lotions, shampoo, body wash, sunscreen…gluten is everywhere!

As we began our gluten-free journey and we started reading labels at the grocery store, I was appalled at what actually is in some of our foods – I think everyone should take the time to read the labels of the foods you purchase, if you can not pronounce the words on the label, do you actually want that in your body? I do not! The other thing that helped me change and do it quickly was reading The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf, he writes about the scientific reasons why gluten is bad, what is happening in your body and what type of problems it can cause.

The other thing that helped us transition our family over to a gluten-free household is the internet! When the boys want a certain type of treat they have been missing I just Google for Gluten-free or Paleo recipes. Just this week we had Paleo Banana Bread I found the recipe at PaleOMG, it was amazing Banana Bread and so easy with a food processor. This week we have been drinking smoothies for breakfast and are trying some of the smoothie recipes from Everyday Paleo. I think when people hear “gluten-free” they think what will they eat! We are doing just fine eating items that do not have a label that we have to read, majority of the time, we are eating natural – fruits, vegetables, meats, fish…

It does take some time to get over the initial shock that food is making your child sick and the frustration of why no one mentioned it sooner! It does take some time to adjust your house to become gluten-free, but to see my child feeling so much better, laughing, playing, joking around,  it was not a sacrifice to have gluten leave our house, it was an eye opening experience that gluten is bad and my thought is no one should be eating it!


Put a Little Dirt in Your Diet! July 11, 2012

Filed under: Health — uamamabear @ 10:57 pm
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When I was growing up I often heard a saying “A little dirt won’t hurt you!” Well according to this article in the New York Times that may be true! Our society right now is trying to get rid of dirt – hand sanitizer, special Microban plastic for highchairs and infant toys, and many other antibacterial products – this may all sound good, but as we are killing off the bad germs we are also taking the good germs with them, leaving us stripped to nothing so when bad germs come along our bodies and immune systems have to fight harder to kill them off. Same goes for our food – it is being sprayed to ward all bad things off, but it is also killing off the good microbes that our bodies need. That is why, according to this article, being part of a CSA (community supported agriculture) when your fruits and vegetables are delivered to you or you purchase them from a local Farmer’s Market – they contain tons of good microbes to help your immune system fight off whatever comes its way.

Here is a link to Local Harvest, this website has information on what a CSA is and a way to look in your area to see when a Farmer’s Market is held or contact a local CSA, so you can start to put a little dirt back in your diet!


Celiac Awareness Month May 29, 2012

Filed under: Gluten-Free Information,Health — uamamabear @ 10:28 pm
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May is Celiac Awareness Month – and I am a little late to the party 🙂 There are only two days left in the month of May, but I wanted to share a great blog that a friend  sent me: GlutenDude He is putting a post on his blog each day for all 31 days of May to help with Celiac Awareness. So now you can enjoy 29 of those post instantly!

Something else to share for those skeptics (myself included) about gluten causing anything other than digestion discomfort. I have seen the changes occur in my middle son that it is true, gluten affects him, but I was not really sure about myself until this weekend! My oldest son and I went to a soccer tournament over Memorial Day weekend and yes I ate some gluten, it did not really bother my stomach, and I thought well I guess that it does not bother me that much one way or another. By Monday though I was very lethargic and grouchy, and my oldest very snappy at his brothers. It hit me today – it’s the GLUTEN!! I told my son today, we are going to be much more strict about staying off gluten and he happily agreed, he must be noticing his irritable mood also.


Curcumin Anyone? May 26, 2012

Filed under: Health — uamamabear @ 9:49 am
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Before PANDAS came into our lives, I had heard about and even cooked with Tumeric, but I did not realize the many health benefits in this one spice. At the time my boys’ were diagnosed with PANDAS, they started antibiotics, gluten-free diet (because of the test results showing high gluten intolerance), and the addition of Enhansa ( blend of curcuminoids) along with their daily multivitamin.

As the boys started getting better, I wondered what is really working, we changed so many things at one time. I tried to tell myself, it doesn’t matter they are getting better, but I still wondered. Then one weekend I ran out of Enhansa and found out that everything we were doing was working, because by Monday morning both boys woke up feeling horrible, complaining of their stomach hurting, headache, body aches. I RAN to the doctor’s office to get more Enhansa and by Tuesday night they were feeling better. Nothing else in their diet, supplements, or antibiotics had changed except for the missing Enhansa. That convinced me that there is really something to this spice, now I have researched it more and scientist show that it is helping with cancer, Alzheimer’s and other autoimmune diseases.

Here are two links that I found interesting. One is a description of Tumeric and the other site has links to quite a few research studies looking at how Tumeric helps.

Check out the PANDAS support group – Columbus, OH Facebook Page come ask questions, have discussions, meet other families of children with PANDAS.


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