As we know with any journey, not a single one of them is forged in a straight line. And, does every journey even have a destination? Maybe not, but they all have a beginning.
My new journey with food started when our second-born son was about 9 months old, and he was put on his first acid blocking medicine. It may seem like such a trivial thing, I even thought it was at the time, but it was the beginning of something much bigger that would change my life, and that of our family forever.
Within months of eliminating dairy from my son’s diet, which the doctor suspected was the trouble, he was still suffering from acid reflux. He was immediately put on acid blocking medicine, which I naively accepted in order to provide some relief from the sleepless nights and overall colic we were experiencing. I was weary and tired. But soon reality set in that I was giving my sweet baby medicine that I knew nothing about. And so my search for some alternative solutions began. Surely, he couldn’t stay on this medicine forever, I thought. Little did I know the long-term consequences these drugs could bring to his small frame.
My journey first took me to exploring essential oils, which I never did dive into for our situation and time, although I believe they provide some amazing support to our wellness. But what this stop on the journey did teach me was that I needed a new doctor with better answers. The doctor’s response to any alternative solution, like essential oils, was to call them the “modern day snake oil”. I left that office, never to return.
The second doctor we found began helping us when my son was 15 months old. She was much better at digging for answers, and through an endoscopy, we found that he was intolerant to wheat and dairy, and allergic to eggs. So, we began avoiding them entirely. Meanwhile, a year went by and my son was STILL on acid blocking medicine! How could he still need this while he lived with so many dietary restrictions?
Thanks to a friend, I was introduced to Chris Kresser, who has A TON of research that speaks to acid reflux in our society, not just in kids. We are SO quick to hand out prescriptions for symptoms, with little regard to the long-term consequences of them. Between listening to Chris Kresser’s podcasts and reading his book, The Paleo Cure, slowly I began to understand how my thinking needed to change entirely. Simply eliminating these “allergen” foods wasn’t the solution. We needed to take the time to heal and wean him off the medicine which had him bound.
Garrett has just turned four, and our journey with him is most definitely still in progress. But he is medicine free, healthy overall and growing strong. I look forward to the day when he can tell me more about how he’s feeling based on the foods he eats, but for now I am watching and learning from what I see and hear.
It has been worth every long night with a sleepless baby to see him thriving and happy. This journey has been wrought with challenges, and there is no sugar coating this reality. Every mom knows that when we look back, we can see the good with the bad. But when we’re in the middle of it, we feel alone and insecure. We take steps without knowing where we’re going.
If you’re feeling alone and insecure in your own food journey or wellness challenges with your kids, by God’s grace, you can take one step at a time. Even as I write this, I find myself wondering if something I fed my son today is adversely affecting him. There is no perfect day! Simply watch, learn, pray, and try something different tomorrow.