Brain Grain Family Update

13 Jun 2014 8:13 AM |Alison Buehler

Ah, a week off between summer camps - there is nothing that more effectively reminds you to value peace than 30 kids for two weeks in a row! I lie, the camps are really my favorite thing we do at the Homestead Center, but it is amazingly restful this week.

I wanted to give an update on our Brain Grain Family Journey. I was reminded about how it started six months ago from talking with three separate folks who have been courageous enough to take this journey with their own families recently. It makes my decision to share our family trials publicly seem worth while when I know it has inspired others to make hard changes. I'm sure when my children realize what I have done as teenagers, they will not agree.

We began transforming our diet January 1st of this year because our youngest had such bad sensory integration issues (meaning she hated the way clothes felt on her body) that we were to the point of considering medication for our four year old. We had read the book Grain Brain over Christmas Break. I bought it for my Dad and he kept reading out loud from it, so we all passed it around over the holiday. I had expected it would be about weight loss, but the author implicated grain in so many other health conditions, it was on my mind. In addition, I had completed the 21 Days to Bliss program that fall, where we detoxed the seven major food allergens and I felt better than I had in years.

So January 1st we threw out every last bit of processed food from the house and began at the beginning. I detailed Cecelia's success in a previous blog, but haven't gotten around to sharing what the shift did for the rest of us.

I have been off antidepressants since January, successfully, for the first time in over 15 years. I have never lasted more than two months in five previous attempts. The food didn't do it alone (that is another long story) but the food change made it possible. I no longer feel like I need a nap every single afternoon despite getting plenty of sleep. My moods are more stable overall. My cravings for all things bad are almost gone. I wouldn't go back to the way I felt pretty much everyday for all the money in the world!

My boys. Our oldest is pretty even-keeled (more like his Dad!). Food doesn't seem to affect them as much as the rest of us. However, when I got his report card I noticed he hadn't had one sick day all spring. Not one. Our second child is a little more mercurial (like me). He is frustrated easily, cries easily, we joked that he didn't smile until he was two. He is a tough kid, though, so I didn't worry about him as much. I didn't really notice the difference food had made with him until I picked him up from camp a week ago.

Every day they bought candy at the camp store. Every lunch and dinner they had dessert. He didn't get enough sleep, which is a big factor for him. He was an emotional mess for the first five days home. We had a frank conversation about his diet and sleep, and within two days he told me he was feeling better. That is POWERFUL.

My husband is about as even-keeled as they come. He is less a follower of our diet than any of us. I have it on good authority that he still sneaks donuts from the doctor's lounge at work most days. Maybe he is less affected by food. Maybe those of us who notice such a dramatic difference are like the canaries in the coal mines. Maybe he can get by without a strict change.

I can't. When I went out of town for four days and got completely off my diet, I felt like crap for a whole week. I got a sinus infection and completely lost my voice. I took a nap every singe day for a week. When Cecelia spent the weekend at her grandparents, she wouldn't wear panties for three days when she got home. When Ben got home from camp, he changed right back into the sullen, moody kid he was when he was younger.

The good news? Our bodies are so resilient. If we get "off" we get back on quickly. Life is amazing on the other side! In fact, I have a life I never really thought was possible. It is really hard being the food Natzi mom. I apologize to my kids weekly that they have to be different. But I won't go back. I love them too much for that. If you have questions for your family, I would be glad to tell you what tricks make it possible for us. I can tell you what didn't work. I would recommend getting food testing (not allergy testing) - this is blood work we didn't do until recently. It takes the guess work out. Enhanced Wellness in Jackson is the only place in the state that does it correctly. Also, learn about Leaky Gut.

Ultimately, surround yourself with people who support health and who believe a better life is possible. The naysayers can remain unhappily laughing at you while you grab hold of life and GO!