Posts Tagged ‘candida’

Review of My Food My Health Menu Plan Service

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Back when I thought that candida might be causing the eczema in my sons, I began looking into doing a candida diet. It seemed to overwhelming to me to try to revamp the menu on my own, so I decided to see if I could find and test drive a menu planning service that would deliver me menus, recipes, and shopping lists customized for the candida diet.

Enter My Food My Health. I don’t remember exactly how I stumbled on them, but somehow I did find the service, and it appeared to be exactly what I was looking for. However, I didn’t want to commit to 3 months of the service, especially since money was tight at the time, so I requested a short trial to see if I liked it, and offered to review it in exchange for the chance to try it out. They set me up with a free trial, and now I’m fulfilling my end of the deal.

All in all, I found the service quite impressive. They have a lot of recipes, and are apparently adding new ones from time to time. You can customize your diet with specific issues, such as candida, celiac, eczema, etc, and you can also exclude specific foods (because they cause allergies or you just don’t like them). You can add other family members and specify exclusions for them as well.

Making a menu is as easy as clicking on  “Create New Meal Plan”. This generates a menu all ready for you. I found that I wanted to customize the menu, which was a little tedious but not really difficult. It puts one recipe per meal, but you can add more to create a 2 or 3 dish meal (such as adding a salad to a casserole, or an omelet to hashbrowns). I really like the fact that this menu plan allows you to plan all 3 meals instead of just dinner like some do. I was told that they are working on making the menu planner easier to use, which should make it less tedious and more user friendly in the future.

The list of recipes is quite extensive. Our family is vegetarian and mostly gluten-free, and there are still so many recipes we can use! (I ended up decided not to do the candida diet, by the way.) I didn’t expect to find many that Manny could use, but I did find a few. And they are really tasty, too.  Most don’t use exotic ingredients–a real plus for most people. A few do, but that’s okay; it’s fun to try new things once in a while.

I must emphasize how tasty the recipes are. I have only tried a handful, but I am very impressed. The Chickpea Chilli was a hit with my husband–and he doesn’t even like garbanzos! When I made the Seared Tofu with Green Coconut Curry (minus the jalapenos, for my daughter’s sake), along with a simple veggie stir fry, my husband said that it was better than eating out at a restaurant! The Quinoa-Millet Banana Muffins were very simple and easily adaptable to my son’s very restricted diet. The Puree of Chickpea and Tomato Soup earned me several complements at church, and I can’t wait to try out the Quick and Simple Ratatouille tomorrow, to serve with our traditional Monday pasta.

It is easy to print out recipes; you can either print out the whole week’s worth at once, or just print individual recipes. I found the latter worked better, though for some reason they always had 2 pages, and page 2 was usually blank (except for the website info and page x/x and time stamp on the bottom). That might be an issue with my printer, though. I like having printed them out; I can file them in my menu binder and use them again and again, even if I don’t continue with the service.

Once you have made your menu, you can click on shopping list and see a list of all the ingredients needed for the week’s menu. You can print it as is or hide certain things (say you have rice already in your pantry, you can hide that item). You can also edit the list manually, which is good if you need to add items to it. Personally, though, I wouldn’t print the list. I put my shopping list on my iPod with the ShopShop app, so it’s easier for me just to copy from the list. I do like how it the MFMH list is categorized, though. Ingredients are listed under headings like Produce, Eggs & Dairy, Flour, Pasta, Nuts & Seeds, etc. This makes it easy to see which items you are buying, as well as keeps you from running around the in a slap-dash fashion, or missing things when you are in a section. Currently it lists items from individual recipes separately–as in, 3 eggs, 6 eggs, 2 eggs, etc. I have been told they are working on the shopping list to consolidate the repeated items, so in the future it would show 11 eggs, not 3, 6, & 2.

One feature I wish it had was the ability to start the week’s menu on any day of the week. It starts on Sunday, and it is given in real time. Once a day has passed, you can’t change the menu. I shop on Tuesdays and like to make the menu Wednesday through Tuesday. This means that I would have to do Sunday’s recipe on Wednesday and plan my menu before Sunday, then change the days on the print out. This is awkward for me, but not impossible. Of course, this wouldn’t be an issue for someone who wanted to make the whole month’s menus at once. They could view the shopping list for each week and purchase the non-perishables for the whole month at once, and then just get the fresh produce as needed. This would mean less time in the store, which would definitely save money. You can plan your menu many weeks in advance with this service, so that would be very feasible. And from what I’ve been told, I’m the only one who has ever had an issue with this in the 4 years they have been operating, so I guess it’s not a big deal.

There is a way that you can add your own recipes, but it is a little hard to find. And the trouble is, it does not seem to add the ingredients to the shopping list. The box to add your own recipe is more just a box to add the name of a recipe you have, rather than being where you would write in the recipe. You can write in the ingredients, but you can’t add them to the shopping list automatically; you have to do it manually. At least it’s an option. I’ve been told this will also change in the future. Fortunately, your personal recipes have a special icon, so when making your shopping list you can simply collect the list of ingredients for those specific recipes and add it however you want–to their customizable shopping list, or to your paper or electronic one.

One neat feature I almost forgot to mention is that it tells you how many calories the recipes have, and gives you a total for the day on the menu. This is really handy if you are counting calories. I don’t count calories–never have and never will–but I know some people do.

The shortest subscription time is 3 months for $34.99. Other options are 6 months for $49.99 and 12 months for $89.99. This price is quite reasonable. I know a place that charges $5 a week for plans, which is reasonable, But My Food My Health’s plans are $11 a month for the 3-month plan, and the cost would go down if you subscribed for longer.

So do I like the service? Yes, to a point. It gets hard if you have too many diet restrictions (because it excludes recipes that could be easily modified, because the computer doesn’t know that, for instance, you could use a different milk or leave out the nuts), and recipes are not customizable by serving size, so if you are not doing this just for yourself, you would need to multiply certain recipes that are designed for 1 person and adjust the shopping list accordingly (omelet recipes are pretty much all one-serving recipes). I do love the variety of recipes and how tasty they are.

But will I subscribe? Probably not. I realize that what I need is just more recipes, not something that plans my menu for me. $35.99 is not bad for as many recipes as I can print out in 3 months–that would be a couple cookbooks worth of recipes, and as you know, most cookbooks are full of recipes you don’t use. This allows me to print the ones I like and put them in a binder, so it is definitely worth it in terms of just recipes. Some people will find it more useful than I would for the actual menu planning. And they add more recipes all the time, so an ongoing subscription will suit many people quite well.

Would I recommend it? Sure. I would say it’s definitely worth what they charge. You will not waste your money if you purchase a subscription. You can keep the printouts if you decide not to renew, and you’ve come out ahead. And you may like it better than I did and decide to keep the service.

What if you aren’t interested in a menu plan? They have a kid-friendly cookbook available that is gluten and dairy free  called Kids Delicious. The book would be especially suited for families whose children have autism, celiac, gluten intolerance, IBS or lactose intolerance. If my son were not so restricted in his diet, I think I would buy one myself! And who knows? Maybe I will get one sometime when Ralfie is older.

 

Disclaimer: I received a free 3-months subscription to this service in exchange for my review. However, the opinions expressed in this review are all mine.

Making Some Interesting Connections – Yeast, Heavy Metals, and Eczema

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

There might be a pediatrician or other MD that would make the connection, but they would be few and far between.

What connection? The connection between yeast, heavy metals, and eczema.

I’ve been doing a bit of research on the topic. Let’s just say that there does seem to be a connection. And it would make sense. I had dental work done (“silver” fillings) while pregnant with my second child–the one that inspired me to start this site. Now both my sons have eczema. This thought has gone through my mind more than once in the last year or so. Today, well, it just came together. It started when I asked myself why both of my children who have eczema also have yeast, especially since they were born at home and I had no antibiotics during either birth, and none in the second pregnancy–I did take some during the first pregnancy, but in the first trimester, and I took probiotics afterwards. On the other hand, I had antibiotics during the pregnancy and during the birth of my first, and all I had to deal with was thrush, which cleared up and she’s as healthy as can be today–no allergies.

Here are some links that I’ve been reading. They aren’t all great scientific studies, but in my opinion, sometimes the experiences of others are more helpful than all the scientific studies in the world. Hence this website. But I digress.

This site talks about the connection between candida and skin conditions. It made a lot of sense to me.

This thread on the Mothering.com forum about a lady’s experience with her daughter’s eczema and its connection to candida is fascinating. I was intrigued when she brought up heavy metals several posts into the discussion. If you read far enough, you’ll find out that she got them all out and they are both doing better.

I’m going to keep researching this topic, and I’ll keep you informed on my findings. I’ll also let you know what happens next week when we talk to Dr. Dramov again.

 

My Baby Has Eczema

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Our visit to the doctor yesterday confirmed our suspicions: Ralfie has eczema too. This makes two out of three of my children with eczema.

However, contrary to what one might imagine, I am not devastated. I had enough clues over the last 2-3 weeks to guess that he might have it–”acne” that didn’t quite look like acne anymore; redness around the anus; dry skin patches; yeast in the folds of the neck and behind the ears (Manny had it too). So when the doctor said, “You are right: he does have eczema,” I was not really surprised. In a way, it was kind of a relief; the suspense of wondering if he would have it or not was not fun.

I asked him about doing an IgE test, but he said it would not be accurate. Babies get antibodies through colostrum and milk, and it can take 6 months or more for them to die out. If he still has problems later, we could do it later.

Then I asked him about the stool test. He said we could try one. He would he interested to see the results, because he had never done a stool test on someone so young. Because I have been doing a relaxed infant potty training, I know I’ll be able to get the samples I need, uncontaminated by pee, pretty much whenever I am ready for them. I’m not ready yet, because we need to figure out where the money to pay for them is going to come from (it needs to be prepaid). We’ll probably dip into our savings for this.

In the mean time, I’m going to take InfaSkin for a week or two (about all we can afford right now) and also give Ralfie the probiotics the doctor sold us. And I’m going on a very strict diet this week. I would do it longer, but we will be attending a half-week conference, and I won’t have time to cook whole meals for myself. I will maintain a gluten-free diet, however. My son’s naturopath told me that redness around the anus indicates irritation in the gut, and gluten exacerbates an irritated gut, even if the person does not have Celiac disease. And gluten isn’t as hard to avoid as one might think.

Now why is it that my daughter has no allergies at all, and both my sons have them, one severely? There are several things I could guess. First, the yeast is suspicious. Sure, yeast likes warm, moist places, like the folds of a chubby baby’s neck. So why doesn’t every baby get yeast overgrowth there? I have wondered for some time if I might have an overgrowth of it myself. It’s something I might look into soon.

I have another theory, too. While I was pregnant with my second, I got some dental work done, and although I was told that there was no mercury in the fillings, I think there is. So I need to replace those fillings. More money, of course, so it’s not happening right now, but it’s something I definitely am going to do before I even think about getting pregnant. In the mean time, I’m going to experiment with eating lots of cilantro. Cilantro is able to chelate heavy metals out of the body. It can’t hurt, anyhow. I bought 2 bunches of organic cilantro yesterday. I would have bought more, but $2 a bunch was rather prohibitive. I’ll probably make some kind of cilantro pesto, only without the garlic. I’m not sure how he will react to that much garlic.

[*UPDATE* After getting the first comment on this post, I decided to do more research about chelation, and have realized that there is a lot more to it than just upping one's intake of cilantro. It could be a problem since I am breastfeeding, and the body tends to dump detoxing toxins into the milk supply, which is why it is not good to detox while nursing. I need to do more research and talk to a health care professional (probably my son's naturopath for starters) before I do anything like I mentioned.]

In doing research for cilantro pesto, I found a site that mentions that food allergies as as a side effect of heavy metal toxicity. It also discusses the link between heavy metals and candida, not in depth, but still, the fact that there seems to be a connection is intriguing.

I’m suspecting that he is not allergic to nearly as many things as his brother is. I had fried egg sandwiches yesterday, yet his red, swollen eyelid was less swollen and not red this morning. Eggs are one of Manny’s most allergic foods, but they didn’t seem to make Ralfie worse. I will, however, avoid them for the next couple of weeks, along with a bunch of other things.

So basically I’m eating my son’s diet for a while. I never thought I could. But I guess we can do what we have to do. For sure, I won’t be cutting calories and will be eating plenty of fat; I want to make sure my milk supply stays strong. Ralfie is doing anything but failing to thrive–he gained 3 lb 3 oz in his first 6 weeks, not counting the ounces he lost before my milk came in. He’s nice an chunky. I can’t even touch thumb and forefinger around his thigh anymore!

So this will be an interesting experience. I’ll keep you all posted.

My Baby Has Eczema: The Cause Found and the Healing Begun

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

It has been 5 months since the last post, and a lot has happened. Before I fill you in on the results of the stool test, what we did as a result, and the results, let me briefly review our journey with my son’s eczema for those who don’t have time to read all the posts from the beginning.

He developed eczema at 1 month old. It was diagnosed around 3 months, and we tried to avoid all steroids, even hydrocortisone. But he was a really miserable little baby. We tried everything, even goat’s milk formula (turned out all dairy is off limits, not just cow), and I restricted my diet to the point of frustration until he was weaned at 12 months. We added Triamcinalon, a medium-level steroid around 18 months just to control the symptoms, and not long after that we started to see a naturopath who was recommended by his pediatrician. When I ended the last post, we were waiting on the results of a stool test.

Test Results

The results came late in February. For insurance reasons, they were sent to his pediatrician, and we received a copy in the mail as well, which we shared with the naturopath at the next visit. It just so happened that my son got a bad cold that turned into bronchitis just after the test results arrived, and before the scheduled naturopath’s visit–which I think got delayed for some reason, probably the cold. My husband took him (since I think I was also feeling under the weather at the time), and the pediatrician went over the results of the stool test.

In a nutshell, he had a gut full of pathogenic bacteria. Which confirmed his suspicion that the source of the eczema was in his gut.

Let me explain a little. You may have heard about beneficial bacteria in the gut. They help to digest food and do other things. They coat the surface of the intestines. If they are killed off and yeast (such as candida) is present, the yeast will multiply to fill in the gaps. On the other hand, they can be killed off by pathogenic bacteria–and they had certainly been doing that, because showed almost no beneficial bacteria in the test at all, in spite of all the probiotics he had taken for the past year. There were also neutral bacteria, neither beneficial nor harmful, but taking the place of the good bacteria.

The doctor, of course, prescribed antibiotics to treat the bronchitis. Normally I would have hesitated, but when I realized that some of the pathogenic bacteria was susceptible to the antibiotic, I figured this would be a way of killing two birds with one stone!

Not long after we met with the naturopath. He reviewed the test results and explained them to me. He asked us to up the Infaskin probiotics that had already proved to help him so much, to counteract the antibiotics. I think he also upped the Vitamin D from 1,000 IU to 2,000, because he felt Manny could be getting a little more of that.

On a side note, the results for the parasite test came in later, and they were negative. He also showed a little yeast, but it didn’t seem to be a significant problem. Especially since he eats mostly gluten-free grains and I sweeten his home-made rice or teff milk with stevia, so his sources of sugars are quite limited.

What Happened As a Result

Just around the time the antibiotic treatment finished, a tree fell on our house. It was quite a disaster, and we’re still not back in our home almost 5 months later. That was March 15th. We spent the next 10 days living with some friends in their house nearby, and during that time, we used the Triamcinalon for the last time. We haven’t used it since.

Over the months since then, I have watched my son’s skin steadily improve. He went from breaking out in small patches most everywhere to breaking out only on his tummy, face, neck, groin, and folds of elbows and knees. And in the last month I haven’t noticed anything on his tummy. I ran out of the prescription 2.5% hydrocortisone and bought some 1% at the drug store recently. I remember when we would go through a 2 oz. tube in a week, but now I think that tube will last us a couple of months–and I don’t use it every day, at least, not on the same spot two days in a row. He scratches less. He’s a happy little 2-year-old when he’s not having a melt-down. And he’s steadily improving. At the last visit with the naturopath–back in May, I think–he didn’t change anything about his treatment and scheduled his next appointment for September, saying to only call if he got worse or stopped improving. Which he hasn’t.

So that’s the latest. He’s not cured, but he’s on the way. It’s going to be a while before we start trying things we have eliminated from his diet, though we occasionally try new things (like parsnips–he likes them and they don’t cause a reaction, yay!).

So now it’s your turn. Share this story with others or share your story. What have you done that has worked? What didn’t work? Every case is unique, and what worked for Manny might not work for the next reader. But what worked for you might. If you would like to share your story here as a post instead of just in a comment, let me know!