Tag Archives: yeast

I’m gluten free now, too… and I feel a million times better. Thanks, Wheat Belly

Black and white wheat iconOK, forgive me. I have been MIA over the summer months. I have a few confessions to make: Gasp – I hate cooking – can you believe it? Yes, the truth is out. I hate cooking and baking. I hate being in the friggin’ kitchen unless I’m painting something or eating a meal someone else made. So trying to find new, innovative ways to make low-allergen meals often falls by the wayside.

Also, I started my own business, which takes a lot of time. I used to spend the evenings after the boys went to bed blogging, but now I’m painting furniture ’til, well… really, really late.  You can check out my Etsy shop if you care to.

BUT, with that said, I have some really awesome news that I will try to keep short, but it’s kind of hard to because it’s been a pretty-life changing summer.

First I want to give you a little background on my situation: I developed Hashimoto’s Disease (a thyroid auto immune disease) about the time Lil Z was born. To be honest, since I had Lil Z, I have never been the same. I’ve had bad joint pain, I’m constantly exhausted and foggy-brained, and I have just felt off. It got slightly better when I went on thyroid replacement hormones, but really, I have never felt right.

I chalked it up to getting older.

And then the really fun part began. Asthma. In the last two years I developed asthma (well, “bronchial spasms” as my doctor called them because he wasn’t willing to commit to the term asthma yet). Anyway, I really didn’t worry about it much because I only had to use my inhaler like every six months. But then this horrible pollinated summer hit, and I was using my inhaler several times a day, and using Lil Z’s fishy nebulizer machine. But not much was working to keep it under control. I just could NOT catch my breath. I stopped working out and I avoided the outside. When I mowed the lawn, I had to do emergency visit to my doctor so he could prescribe me oral steroids. It. Was. Scary.

About two days after I started taking the oral steroids I realized my joints had stopped hurting and my ankles weren’t bothering me anymore. I also noticed it didn’t hurt to stand up anymore. And when I say “it didn’t hurt to stand up,” what I should say is the excruciating pain in my tailbone (it’s broken), knees, and ankles was gone. I told the hubs this and he said,

“You do realize that pro athletes take steroids not just because they make their muscles bigger, but because it makes them heal faster, right?” – The Hubs

What?! No, I didn’t. But I realized when I went on steroids, all my pain was gone.

Something was wrong with me. Very wrong.

I began to worry about what would go wrong with my body next. I began praying that God would help me get back my health, and I believe He answered that prayer.

Wheat-BellyA friend lent me her book, Wheat BellyShe had recently put her entire family on a gluten-free diet, and the changes in her family’s health were amazing (a story for another time).  I was skeptical about Wheat Belly, thinking it was just going to be a fad diet. But I was shocked. I was reading about me.

Davis explains that gluten helps create a hyper-permeable gut (aka “leaky gut”), which causes various compounds to escape the intestinal walls into the blood stream.

“So what happens if various obnoxious compounds mistakenly gain entry into the bloodstream? one of the undesirable effects is autoimmunity — i.e., the body’s immune response is ‘tricked’ into activation and attacks normal organs such as the thyroid gland or joint tissue. This can lead to autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and rheumatoid arthritis…conditions such as celiac disease, thyroid disease, joint diseases, and asthma.” – William Davis, M.D., Wheat Belly p. 83

Dr. Davis was the first person to actually explain why gluten can be so problematic for many people. I’d heard people say for years, “I don’t eat gluten.” When I asked why they always said, “Because it’s not healthy for you.” Uh, sorry, that explanation sucks, and was never good enough for me to stop eating it. I’d also read that there is a connection to Hashimoto’s Disease and celiac disease, but I tested negative to celiac disease.

Anyway, I went gluten free the day I began reading Wheat Belly. Within three days, my joint pain was gone and I rarely needed my inhaler. Within two weeks I stopped having asthma attacks completely.

Although they were significantly better, the fogginess and fatigue continued. I kept reading that the majority of our immune system is in our gut, and I realized that I needed to make even bigger changes to my diet if I wanted to heal my stomach (i.e. my immune system). I went grain free, sugar free, and dairy free for about month (this is getting long, so I’ll do another post on this at a later date). I also started taking really high doses of probiotics and diatomaceous earth (again, I’ll save those for another post). Basically, I started hitting my gut problem with a cannon, and I noticed significant results.

I’m now eating small amounts of fruit and gluten-free grains (basically when I have a weak moment and eat one of the boy’s cookies). I did reintroduce dairy, but realized it was causing eczema flare ups. I am hoping that in several months after I heal my gut, I will be able to tolerate dairy again.

Results since going gluten free:

  • Joint pain -gone
  • asthma -gone
  • allergies – I rarely take allergy medicine anymore
  • stools – normal now (sorry for the TMI – I didn’t realize mine were not healthy because I have never had GI pain). Let’s just say, if yours float and look foamy, you need to change your diet because you have a malabsorption problem. Sorry for the TMI, again.
  • eczema – greatly reduced. It flares if I have dairy or a lot of sugar/carbs. I notice that when I eat dairy I get dyshidrotic eczema, and when I eat lots of carbs and sugar I seem to just have itchy run-of-the-mill eczema.
  • itchy scalp (I know, this ones crazy) – gone. I know, you’re thinking, “you’re a weirdo.” I have had  an itchy scalp (no dandruff and no rash, just an extremely itchy scalp) for at least 10 years, but it is now gone. I tried dairy last week, and it came back, along with some pretty itchy eczema.
  • yeast infections – Soooo TMI here, and again sorry. I have had chronic yeast infections for about four years now, which are now all but gone. And I think this bullet point can get the BIGGEST whoo-hoo of all!!! Again, I think I’ll save the topic of candida overgrowth for another post!
  • My hair and nails are much thicker/stronger.
  • My impulse control around food is much better. I definitely experience the opiate effect that wheat can have on the brain. In fact, I know if I have been “contaminated” with gluten not because I feel sick (like my boys) but because I want to eat everything in sight.
  • I’ve lost 20 pounds, which I have been trying to do for five years!!!

Wheat Belly is a must read, and it discusses more than just the health impacts of wheat on our bodies. Dr. Davis discusses the history of wheat, wheat’s genetic modification, and he recounts several stories of patients who tested negative for celiac disease yet had dire health problems (ulcerative colitis, crohn’s disease, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis) who went gluten free and experienced significant health recovery.

Oh the Horror! Flesh-Eating Brown Goo – Tips for Dealing with Diaper Rash

RAsh free zoneFrom what I hear from other moms, “normal” babies deal with diaper rash every once in a while – some more than others. But my boys, and other protein intolerant children, deal with horrible skin-eating diarrhea on what seems like an almost-daily basis.

There have been times that my baby’s butt will be lily-white, and an hour later he’ll have pooed a liquidy, yeasty nightmare that seems to burn his flesh on contact. Despite an immediate diaper change, his skin will be raw and oftentimes bleeding.

After they eat offending foods their diaper rash is often immediate, and may go on for days and days. They also usually get the “red anus ring” (yeah, chew on the beauty of that phrase) sometimes called an “allergy ring.” Even when I changed them almost immediately, their flesh will be raw and oftentimes bleeding.

So, after dealing with this problem for five years, there are some things I have learned. My boys’ diaper rashes are usually caused by the yeast that is in their poo, which is worsened when they eat offending foods. I have discovered some very helpful treatments to stave off this horrible diaper rash. When obvious tricks like changing them often and using lots of butt paste aren’t working, try the following:

Bathe them often, or at least bathe their “privates” as we call them in my family.

  • I know people who only bathe their children once a twice a week. I have found that when I try to do this, my kids’ diaper rashes are much harder to control.
  • In fact, I wash Manimal’s privates just about every time he poos, at least if I am home. If I don’t, I end up using a lot more fungal creams and pastes.

Pour Apple cider vinegar in their bath water:

  • Vinegar will make the pH level in their hinter-regions a hard place for yeast to survive. I use one to two cups per half-filled tub and let my baby play. When apple-cider-vinegaryour baby is little like Manimal, he doesn’t care. Lil Z has caught on and can tell by the smell, so he refuses to take a bath in the stuff. What I do is simply clean the bathroom with white vinegar as he is bathing tell him he’s not smelling his bathwater, mama’s “just cleaning.” It works 50 percent of the time. Yeah, it’s a lie, but sometimes a moms gotta do what a moms gotta do.
  • I use Heinz, but I’ve also used organic stuff. Because it’s going on their butts, I don’t really feel guilty about using non-organic.
  • Beware: a lot of generic apple cider vinegar is really white vinegar made from corn, dyed and flavored. All the health-nut message boards insist it should be true apple-cider vinegar, so I’ve never tried any other kind on their yeast rashes. They make it sound like the world will end and yeast will start growing out of their ears, or something horrible like that.
  • In the past, I would dilute apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle to apply on their butt after I changed them, but it was really cold for Lil Z and Manimal, and if I didn’t get the mix quite right it burned; This is why Lil Z now hates apple-cider vinegar baths, because he associates it with my failed spray method. Since then, I’ve discovered tea-tree oil.

Put one to two drops of tea tree oil into your baby’s diaper rash cream as you apply it.tea tree oil

  • Tea-tree oil (a.k.a. melaleuca oil) is an essential oil from the tropical melaleuca plant. It is a natural anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-septic. It feels “minty” as Lil Z says, and the smell reminds me of eucalyptus. It’s pretty potent stuff.
  • This stuff really works, and I wish I had gotten some when Lil Z was a baby. Back in the day, I had read on several message boards that this was good for diaper rashes, but I never bought it because it sounded hokey, and is expensive. Well, a little goes a long way. I use Walgreen’s Brand, which is about $10 per one ounce bottle.
  • It can be toxic when ingested, so keep it away from your little ones.

Apply Clotrimazole Cream:

  • When Manimal and Z have the tell-tale blisters of a yeast rash, I pull out Clotrimazole cream. This anti-fungal cream, also known as Lotrimin AF, is used for athletes foot, ringworm and jock itch. We buy this stuff like it is going out of style. Please talk to your doctor before using any medicine, and also to verify that your baby actually has a yeast rash. Also, when you use this cream, make sure you use it as the package directs to make sure you kill off the yeast. If you don’t, you could inadvertently create a super-yeast bug that is difficult to kill/treat.
  • I used to pay anywhere between $3 and $7 per tube (even when I bought generic), but discovered that WalMart carries Nauterplex Brand for $.88 per tube. It works just as well Clotrimazole creamas the name brand, so whenever I go to WalMart I buy five tubes or so, and get weird looks from the cashiers who must assume I have some really bad fungal issues… down there. But, you know what, I don’t care that it says “cures most jock itch” in big bold letters. I’m saving money, and that’s all I care about.

Apply butt paste regularly:

  • This goes without saying, but butt paste is expensive, especially if you use the premium brands. We go through butt paste here like candy, so it was becoming a very expensive part of our budget.butt paste
  • I used to use A&D, Desitin, and Boudreaux’s Butt Paste when I had a kick-rear lineup of coupons I could stack at Target. Still these were pretty expensive. And then I discovered the Boudreaux’s Butt Paste knock off sold at the Dollar Tree: Baby’s Butt Aide. It has the exact same ingredients as Boudreaux’s, but it is $1. 16% zinc oxide cream, for $1. No coupon-slaving needed.

Use unscented baby wipes.

  • I really like the ALDI Brand wipes because they are thick like Huggies and Pampers wipes, but for $.99. They are the best generic wipes I have aldi-baby-wipesever found, and I bet you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between them and the name-brand wipes.

Use probiotics

  • These are the “good bacteria” that fight off the yeast in your body. Several studies have shown that probiotics have many health benefits, including increasing your immune strength and regulating your GI tract.
  • It is very hard to find ones that are soy free. I have found only one probiotic that is soy free, which is Phillips Colon Health. When we use it regularly, I see less diarrhea and diaper rash.philips colon health
  • Open the capsule and pour the probiotic powder into a cool drink. I did this once a day with the boys, but would do it 2-3 times a day when they were on antibiotics. The trick (I’ve heard) to taking probiotics while on antibiotics is to wait at least a half hour after taking your antibiotic before taking your probiotic.
  • I am sure there are better ones you can buy at health food stores, but whenever I am at a one, I usually have a screaming child, and reading probiotic and vitamin labels is at the bottom of my list of things to do.

If you do all these things, especially in conjunction, you should definitely see major improvements in yeast diaper rashes, oftentimes overnight. However, if you have tried the above tips and cannot get your baby’s diaper rash under control, make sure you call your doctor.