Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Everything I know of for helping morning sickness....

Pregnancy sounds wonderful when your five years old, but when it finally happens and you're laying around sick, it's not as much fun even if still quite wonderful!

Since I keep getting requests for this info, I'm finally putting it all into a blog post. This is my collection of notes, derived from many sources and experiences, on how to treat and prevent "morning" sickness during pregnancy. Do your own research on all of these! I'm not a doctor and don't pretend to be. Some of these suggestions have been miracle workers for others, but everyone has responds differently. It's worth looking around and seeing what works for you if you suffer from the pregnancy nausea.

I myself most likely dealt with hyperemesis gravidarum with my first pregnancy, though I didn't know to look for such a diagnosis. My second pregnancy was somewhat better, and I tried about a third of this list with that pregnancy, but with almost no success, I kept researching. Hopefully I'll be able to find some relief with some of these suggestions if I'm so blessed again!

From the research I've done, there are many causes and facets to to this issue, so you have to find what helps the underlying problem for you. Liver health and overall toxicity seem to be the main components, but they are by no means the only reasons. Even the mainstream drugs are inconsistent in their ability to help. When it comes to nutritional deficiencies, correcting them prior to conception is key, especially since so many critical aspects of development happen in those early weeks. Many women also have reduced stomach acid during pregnancy as well, which inhibits absorption!

So here is my list, do comment if you have any additional suggestions or find that something here was a help to you.


• Drinking Chiro-Klenz tea before pregnancy has reduced or eliminated morning sickness for many friends of mine. Build up to the standard dosage slowly, and watch for any negative reactions, as some people do not tolerate senna at all. It seems the other herbs in it balance the senna nicely.

• Lots of Milk Thistle (along with other liver support) such as Dandelion, False Unicorn, etc.
"I have found milk thistle (standardized to contain at least 70% - 80% silymarin) to be invaluable in preventing morning sickness. I began taking 2 tablets each day two months prior to this pregnancy and increased to 3 tablets daily when our pregnancy was confirmed. Milk thistle is liver supportive and protective." Wild Yam is also used by some. Many of these can be drunk as a tea or infusion, which may be easier to get down.

Anti-Nausea Syrup -  Any of the mints, especially in tea form, help a lot of people, as well as licorice. Peppermint is also helpful for pregnancy migraines, and some find the essential oils (just smelling them) to be very effective. Do note that combining mints with homeopathics may reduce the effects of homeopathy.

• Digestive enzymes, HCL, and ox bile.  Low stomach acid is very common in pregnancy, or if already low it can be exaggerated. Often liver and gallbladder are stressed during pregnancy. Sometimes just a little digestive support, such as enzymes (vegetable based ones work in all stomach PH levels) or HCL (which boosts stomach acid) or ox bile (which supports fat digestion) can be all you need to help your stomach handle food properly and not leave you nauseous. They need to be given with the first few bites of food.

• There are many broad spectrum enzymes as well - Papaya and banana are good food sources that have a lot of natural enzymes that help break down other proteins. Papaya is good for pregnancy heartburn too. 

• There are many homeopathics that can help. Sepia, ipecacuanha,  and nux vomica are three of the most common remedies, or there are homeopathic blends that some people prefer. There are several sites online that can help you identify the right remedy for you.

• Flower essences: "Rescue Remedy" or "Emergency Essence" often useful for prolonged or distressing vomiting, as well as general calming.

• Keeping up cod liver oil (though difficult!) was very important for me.  As it is a good source of vit A, D, and some EFAs, it is very important for the developing little one also.


• Sufficient B6, and all B vitamins!!!! - Be careful about where you buy though. Commercial folic acid is very toxic, and even folate can be a problem if you have MTHFR. Blood tests (especially intra-cellular) can help reveal if there are serious deficiencies in specific b-vitamins, though many doctors I've encountered just recommend a general supplement. For more info on MTHFR, here is one site with a lot of info.

• Sufficient magnesium - very key. Chris Kesser and others say magnesium glycinate is the best absorbed oral form. Natural Calm is easy to take since it dissolves in water (and I make it into jello) though it is the most likely to loosen bowels.  Transdermal magnesium (such as Ancient minerals magnesium oil) is the best absorbed, but it cause itching/burning for some when magnesium levels are extra deficient. When you are not pregnant, you can more or less take magnesium to tolerance, ie, until you get diarrhea. Just take no more doses if you hit that in a day, and do slightly less of a dosage the next day. When pregnant, you don't want to take too much all at once, as stimulating the bowels too much can irritate the uterus. Epsom salt or Dead Sea salt or other magnesium baths are also an excellent way to get magnesium. Restless legs is often a symptom of magnesium deficiency as well.

• Phosphorus - phosphoric acid is the main component in many anti-nausea medications.

• Choline is another key nutrient, though we don't hear about it as often. Meat, but particularly eggs are rich sources. It is critical for neuro function and development, production of bile, protection of joints, and many other things.

•Zinc is often implicated in low stomach acid and nausea outside of pregnancy, and since it is involved in the break-down of estrogens and so many other biochemical processes, it is another nutrient I would check out and supplement if low. It is best taken with food if you do need to supplement, since it can trigger nausea when taken alone.


•Eating small frequent meals with a little protein and carb (such as fruit or such) helps many women, keeping blood sugar stable throughout the day. Keeping food right by the bed can be helpful as well, getting food in before you even get up.

• Eggs! You can put them in smoothies (raw if you are comfortable with that, or scrambled first), or hide them in many other ways if they are difficult to eat plain. I prefer egg drop soup. Sally Fallon theorizes that since estrogen and progresterone are so high at the beginning of pregnancy and they use up a lot of cholesterol, leaving little cholesterol to make bile salts. Little bile salts hinders digestion, particularly fat digestion - leading to nausea   ---- Thus, getting enough cholesterol (particularly eggs would be good for pregnancy) could help. Eggs are also a rich source of choline. There are many many other reasons why eggs are amazing for pregnancy, but it's nice to know they could possibly help nausea if you can get them in!

• Fermented foods. They help improve digestion, provide a pleasant sour flavor, and give probiotics. There are a number of commercial brands now that are raw, and they are easy to make at home (though I'd try to make them before pregnancy as much as I can.)

•Lemon juice - a classic help, which works perhaps because of it's ability to help digestion, and lemon water is known to gently help the liver. Some people suck on straight lemon halves while they fix dinner. 

• Ginger (as a tea, candied, dried, in stews, capsules, tincture, however) Some like to suck on it raw. I sprinkle ginger in a lot of my dishes now, it is a nice accent.

• Japanese pickle plum and apples are also noted to help.

• Water! Dehydration is the worst cycle for me and many others - if I get too low on fluids, it
makes me nauseated, which in turn, makes it harder to catch up. Carry a water bottle, flavor it with lemon if it helps, and sip sip sip. Don't let the cycle begin!

• There is a theory than beans and starches bind to toxins, and therefore help nausea. I found this to be true with one pregnancy, as bean burritos were my most craved food. Activated charcoal or betonite clay would do a similar thing, just take away from meals to the extent you can. You can put those in capsules if that is easier.

• Gelatin, in whatever form is palatable - of course. Broth is excellent for many reasons - but even jello can be helpful. I figured out how to make jello out of tea, which really helps me consume more nettle and other healing herbs.
• Low-carbing helps some people. This must be done very cautiously of course, since even though it is very stabilizing to the blood sugar, the transition to low carb can be very hard on the body depending on your biochemistry. Making snacks of butter (or homemade, low sugar ice cream!) can help keep one full and blood sugar stable throughout the day.

• Another recipe I've heard is to cook broth with barley and oats - strain out grains and add slippery elm powder. Tamari or miso or soup flavoring can add a pleasant taste.  Marshmallow root is also very soothing to digestive tract.

Other Notes: 

• Pressure point four fingers down on the inside of wrist - very powerful for me,
though not fool-proof. Sea-Bands try to do a similar thing.

• H. Pylori has been tied with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. It is a theory of course, but makes a lot of sense to me given how H. Pylori can wreak havoc throught the body, and often lowers stomach acid. With the immuno-suppression of pregnancy, this and other invaders can often cause more issues during pregnancy. Improving gut health and consuming probiotics throughout pregnancy is critical.

• http://www.blueribbonbaby.org/faq/how-do-i/morning-sickness/

• This thread discusses many of these things and more: http://www.mothering.com/community/t/618836/preventing-reducing-morning-sickness-and-hyperemsis-gravidarum-herbs-more

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

This snail is getting there....

Healing can be slow. Sometimes it can be    s       l       o       w......

In the past month I noticed that my older daughter wakes up happy in the mornings. I wish I could say when that started, but the sad things is, we don't tend to notice health. Maybe it started in April or May when the longer hours of daylight seemed to suddenly mean that she needed less sleep, and she started waking me up an hour and half earlier in the mornings. (Yaaawwwwn!) Or maybe it was earlier than that. I'm not really sure. We only realized it recently. Regardless, this is new! This is healing! The first 4+ years of her life, every day started with tears and whining and cuddling with mommy for well over an hour until she could be happy about the day. To have her start the day with, "I love you mommy!" and smiles and giggles and encouraging her little sister to wake up and play, that is wonderful. Even if I am a bit groggy.

And certainly more recently, the eczema on her legs, and elsewhere, is pretty much gone. I can feel a few bumps, but she doesn't have "chicken skin" everywhere. I wish I could say what we did, but it has just been time and healing. Eczema was never a huge concern for us, as it didn't itch or bleed, but it was rather sad, and not pretty. I don't know if she'll ever have baby soft skin there, but lack of bumps is pretty good!

These things seem so small to me, given that her diet is still a short list of foods, so many other symptoms are still present, and right now we goofed and gave too much of a new probiotic so her behavior and mood have been difficult.... It is helpful to look for the sunshine amidst the clouds. Every day I praise God that despite her system being a mess, she's growing and learning and happy. And that is happening with food.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Sprouts in jar - the easy way :)

 Have you ever looked the price of sprouts at the store? They certainly charge for the powerful nutrition! They are so easy at home though.

Step 1:
Put a little bit of seeds at the bottom of the jar. They will explode. Don't put many in there. These are broccoli seeds. So yummy!
I think for the pictures below I had a bit more seeds than this shows.
Mountain Rose herbs - I love them!
Step 2:
Fill jar half to 3/4 full with filtered water. I add a few drops of grapefruit seed extract to help ward off mold. You don't want mold.
Allow this to sit for a day or overnight.

Step 3: Put some kind of filtering material on the lid of your jar. On some sprouting site they recommended buying some tulle and using that, since I have some laying around, that was quite convenient. Ultimately I'm going to get a plastic lid though, since the metal ones are prone to rust. The rubber band was ripping the tulle, and seeds would get caught on the side and not stay moist, so just using a rubber band didn't work well. You'll have to experiment. Some people use a cheesecloth, but the kind I have has holes too big for broccoli seeds.

Step 4. Drain the seeds! And place them in a place where they can drain and you won't forget them. A cool dark area is great, but if they'll get forgotten about, then it is better to just have them out where you'll see them.
Tada! A sprouting contraption!
 Step 5: Later that day, rinse again. Here is the big thing with sprouts : you can't rinse too much, but you can rinse too little. I shoot for 3 times a day. Twice a day is the minimum. They sit next to my sink (except for these pictures) so that it is really easy to do.

Look! On day two the sprouts are forming.
 Step 6: Keep rinsing and draining (you don't want them to sit in a puddle, they'll mold.) Usually on the second day, I add a few drops grapefruit seed extract again to the water and let them soak a minute before draining.
Day 3: time for some sun!
Step 7: Also, smell them at each rinsing and look for any signs of mold. If your house is warm, then you know what warm and damp does. If they start to smell just a touch off, I'll do the GSE rinse, and that fixes it. Do note though that the sprouts will get very very tiny hairs that almost look like mold when they need to be rinsed more often. If you look closely, you'll see they're tiny white hairs on the stem of the sprout, not the seed head itself. Just give them more water and they'll be happy.
See, no hairs means well watered sprouts.
 Step 8: When you see the first green leaves, give them a bit of sun here are there. Indirect is best, you don't want them to get overly warm. 

See how much greener they are?
Step 9: These seemed done at the end of the day, day 3. Sometimes they go a full 4-5 days. I rinse one more time, drain well, put on a regular lid, and stick in the fridge. I try to eat these within another 3-4 days, maybe rinse once or twice in there.

Step 10 (optional): If you want to eliminate the seed hulls (those brown pieces), then dump all of the sprouts into a bowl of water and swish them around. I scoop out the brown bits and throw them in compost, and take the sprouts back and forth between two bowls of water to get as much hulls out as I can. Then drain and put back in your jar.

Different sprouts need different amounts of time. For grains and pulses, you generally want the tail to be only as long as the seed itself, or it starts turning bitter. You can look up the best length of time for the seed you are using, or just taste and see when you like it the best. If I recall correctly, certain types of sprouts should be cooked before eating, but a lot of them can be eaten raw.  I particularly like broccoli seeds because they have a bit of spiciness and pep, which is delicious on it's own, but a great addition to a salad or sandwich or soup. Yum!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

No mess Cauli-rice!

If you hang out in the foodie blogosphere much, you'll come across many many recipes for cauliflower rice. Most of them involve either grating the cauliflower, or running it through a processor. I've done both plenty of times. And I perfected the cauli-rice flavor with the addition of eggs and select spices. Yum!

So now I give you the further improvement of skipping all the mess involved with making it!

one head of cauliflower (around 3lbs)
1 onion
2-3 cloves garlic (opt.)
2 cups broth
2-3 eggs
3-4 T lard or other fat
1 tsp salt (to taste)
1/4 tsp each of ginger, coriander, majoram

Trim and wash cauliflower, and place stem down in large pot. If you cut off most of the stem, it will be resting on the bottom most florets, but don’t worry about that. Pour broth into pot; it will not cover the cauliflower. Cook on high heat with the lid on until the whole head is very soft. This will take about 15-20 minutes or so. Check periodically for softness with a knife.

Mmm... the white vegetable.
When ready, use a knife to cut up some, right in the pot. Ultimately, you want to cut out the hard center of the cauliflower. Once the hard center of the head is out, use a potato masher (or if you’re not too picky, just the wooden spoon) to crush everything further. You’ll eventually have nice crumbles. If there is any liquid, then turn the heat back on and continue to cook, stirring often. Add a minced onion and garlic at this time too. If there isn’t much liquid, then add a couple tablespoons of lard.

See the florets being cut away from the center?
And look, here is the center, ready for the compost.

When everything is sufficiently soft, make a bowl in the middle, pushing all the cauli-rice to the sides. Add more lard and pour beaten eggs into the space. then slowly fold the eggs into the cauliflower as they cook.
Cauliflower bowl, ready for eggs.

When finished, season with spices and salt to taste. I usually stir-fry or boil a few other veggies and toss those in, then add in some fish or chicken or pork and a little fish sauce to taste!

This tastes closest to fried rice, though if you season right I bet it could go with sloppy joes too.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Egg white buns : Air to wrap around meat!

We eat a lot of egg yolks. Which means a lot of egg whites, collecting in the fridge. Though my first favorite way to eat these is pavlova or meringue cookies, I've also used the egg whites to add to scrambled eggs or baked goods, or to make oopsie style wraps (cream cheese blended in to make thin pancakes). However, since we don't have chickens to eat these extra egg whites, the problem still piles up. I'm very grateful that egg whites keep in the fridge for some time!

In the meantime, I've tried several recipes for GAPS burger buns. Most of them are glorified air, much like the puffed discs you find numerous fast food places. Air is good. The main purpose of buns is to be a delivery device, right? However, given our limitations (oxalate avoidance, minimal cheese) I wanted to figure out something that didn't involve nut flour or dairy. And I wasn't so concerned with having buns, really, I just always have a lot of egg whites!

So enough of my jabbering, check out what I've come up with. I don't think I have the technique quite perfected yet, and I've not yet tried baking these, though I've done enough similar recipes I'm pretty sure it would work well.

2 cups egg whites
2 Tbsp coconut flour
4-6 Tbsp cooked squash
1 tsp honey (opt.)
pinch salt

Before you even begin, turn on your griddle. You want low even heat. First fluff egg whites with electric mixer, you don't really even need peaks to form, but getting to soft peaks does mean more air at the end. Then sprinkle coconut flour over egg whites, fold in a little, then blend in rest of ingredients, folding them in gently and then beating on low speed for a minute till just combined. Cooked on low heat on a greased griddle, using a spatula to make little rounds, about 1/2 inch thick. The batter in the bowl will separate some, just refold gently as you go along (you could use more coconut flour, but I don't care for the texture).  After frying, I prefer transfer to a barely greased pan to finish in the oven.

When all the buns are finished, bake at 350 for 10-20 minutes to finish insides. Or you can just leave on the griddle on low heat for a bit longer. If you bake, then they'll be warm and ready for the burgers!

Alternatively, you can line pans with parchment paper, and bake instead of frying. 300-325 degrees for  30 minutes or so depending on thickness. Parchment paper will help prevent sticking, though I have well loved stones and grease that seem to do the job well. I just prefer the more non-stick crust you get with pan frying. 

You could also make these up without beating the egg whites, but that would make crepes, not puffy flat bread.

Ultimately, these do deflate and end up more like the mashed down buns you have with one of those fat burgers, but who cares? It tastes similar enough to cheap white buns to make the meal happy. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

What my day would have looked like before GAPS...

Today was a full day.

Starting off sleep-deprived and groggy, the mild residuals of the previous day's headache still weighing me down, we moved slowly in the morning.

But I wasn't completely useless, I was able to wake up and get going.

A surprise interruption to my quick lunch plans and outing's preparations should have thrown me for more of a loop, but it wasn't a big deal.

I didn't turn into a clumsy person just because of surprises and playing "host" for a bit.

The stress of quickly grabbing kids, chowing down food, collecting what we needed, all while watching the clock anxiously bothered my stomach a little, but nothing terrible. I didn't forget anything either.

Then once there, I carried my toddler on my back, ran to the car for forgotten items, enjoyed the spring air.

I wasn't sneezing horribly despite forgetting to start my herbs early enough.

When I went into a room and had butterflies flying everywhere, I was able to marvel at them and felt calm.

Instead of getting jittery and squeamish.

I noticed a nasty chemical or burning smell in another building.

But it didn't give me a migraine.

Outside there is dirt and heat and the anxious watching of kids as the mingle with many others, climbing and laughing.

Meanwhile my sensory issues were very mild and I could ignore them.

And after a long afternoon visiting and giggling and playing, I drove home. In the sun. The direct sun that used to give me horrible migraines.

I only had a mild headache after the days affairs.

Arriving home, I still had energy to fix dinner and have someone over.

I didn't collapse in a chair, grateful for leftovers in the fridge and a capable husband.

Am I totally healed? Not yet, but I'm so much better.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Cabbage noodles

Cabbage makes amazing noodles. Slightly sweet and mild flavored, they go especially well with asian dishes, but I like them with sausage and bitter greens too. Slice thinly for more true "noodles" or you can do this with just bite-size pieces for anti-noodle kids like mine.

1 head of cabbage (about 3 lbs), thinly sliced into long shreds
1 c broth
1/2 c fat (lard works well)
1-2 onions, thinly sliced
generous amount of salt

In a large pot on med/high heat, put in fat, then onions and cabbage. You may not be able to add all the cabbage initially, but as it cooks down, there will be more space. Do not let them brown, but stir often.

Continue to cook on medium/high heat, stirring frequently. After all the cabbage is in the pot and it is starting to turn clear, add broth. Simmer with the lid off, continuing to stir often, until all cabbage has turned soft and transparent.

Salt to taste and serve.

Wonderful with stir fry, sausage, gravy, etc.

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