Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
2 Mar

My Son is Growing!

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

My son, Gabriel, was born a bit early and was small from the start, 5lbs 14 ounces, but the doctors told us he was healthy. My wife had made the decision to nurse exclusively as she believes it is the healthiest option. My wife and I ate a normal, varied, and healthy diet consisting of whole grains, fruit, vegetables, meat, etc. She and I were both healthy and in good shape. From the start it was apparent Gabriel was a colicky baby. He spit up large amounts of breast milk and screamed for hours on end. The doctors told us that plenty of babies had colic, and although it was rough, he would grow out of it. Early on, one doctor recommended that my wife cut dairy from her diet. She did and there was some mild improvement. Later on, other doctors decided Gabriel suffered from acid reflux and prescribed medication. The medication may have helped a bit but, but my wife attributes the improvement more to propping up his crib. My wife tried soy formula for a while, but Gabriel spit most of it up after the meal.

His toddler years were not much better. Mealtime was always a battle with lots of screaming. At this time he developed digestive issues; he would go from being constipated to having bouts of diarrhea continuously.

When he turned three and started preschool his health became progressively worse. He constantly had a cold which turned into bronchitis often (four or five times that year). The doctors prescribed antibiotics every time. Everyone, including the doctors, told us that getting sick your first year in preschool is normal and with each cold defeated your body’s immune system becomes stronger. I remembered my childhood; I got bronchitis twice a year every year until I was in middle school. I figured everything happening was just part of growing up. Thankfully, my wife did not accept this.

After a year of continuous sickness mixed with antibiotics, my wife started looking for answers in his food. On Mondays, at around two in the morning, Gabriel would wake with an intense cough that many times became so bad he would vomit. We had a Sunday night tradition of pizza and movie. My wife, thinking it might be the dairy, made us cut out the pizza as well as all other dairy. Gabriel was still sick with intense coughing but the “super sickness” of Monday mornings disappeared. Soon after, she took Gabriel to see a naturopathic doctor, Dr. Hogg. In addition to telling us to watch for certain symptoms like eye-crusties, excessive earwax, and whininess, he immediately told my wife to take my son off wheat. Two weeks later we saw some improvement, but he still had the constantly runny nose, croup cough, and earwax so thick the doctor could not see his eardrum. Dr. Hogg told us to remove oats, soy, and corn from his diet as well. The results were amazing. It has been two and half years and he has not had bronchitis since, nor has he needed antibiotics for anything. He has had the occasional cold, but always beats it within three days.

My wife became very strict with his food. Determined to keep him as healthy as possible we went all organic and Gabriel’s diet consisted mostly of brown rice, quinoa, millet bread, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Animal protein was included two to three times a week. Although he didn’t get bronchitis again, mealtime continued to be hell. His appetite was nonexistent. He was already small for his age so my wife would make him sit until he finished everything, which always took well over an hour. There was lots of yelling and tears involved. He also constantly complained about stomach aches, went from being constipated for a couple days to having diarrhea, and at three years old developed hemorrhoids. The only meal that Gabriel really enjoyed (and devoured) was during our weekend trip to the diner. Every Sunday morning he would eat a large plate of scrambled eggs, bacon, and hash browns. I was always amazed at how much and quickly he would eat on those mornings, and he always begged for more bacon.

My wife and I also noticed that when we gave Gabriel meat, he devoured it. When he was in kindergarten, we made the decision that we would give him a serving of meat: beef, chicken, pork, or fish at least one meal per day. We noticed an immediate uptick in his energy level. While his energy and mood improved dramatically, he was still having serious stomach issues. Around this time my brother was really talking up the new “primal diet.” He had always had lots of colds as a child with ear infections and asthma. He spoke about his new diet like some miracle cure. I figured he was exaggerating. He sent me two books, The Paleo Solution and his favorite cookbook, Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals.

After watching Gabriel get progressively less sick with each change in his diet, I looked into the whole Primal thing. I read the two books my brother sent me and found Mark’s Daily Apple. My wife was still very concerned amount Gabriel’s symptoms: Eye-crusties, excessive earwax, and hemorrhoids. At this point the only grains left in Gabriel’s diet were brown rice and quinoa, but they made up a substantial part of his diet. My wife and I discussed the possibility of going grain free over the summer of 2011.

After a full two years of diet experimentation, Gabriel, at six years old and 32 lbs, went grain-free on September 1st 2011. In addition to going grain-free, we added eggs every morning and increased his intake of meats, avocados, nut butters, and sweet potatoes. Within the first month his stomach issues disappeared, as did his hemorrhoids. He did start to complain about his knees and ankles aching a bit. He looked taller to me so I measured him; he had grown an inch in one month! His appetite, for the first time in his life, exploded. In the morning he now eats three eggs, a salad, a banana covered in peanut or almond butter, and raisins. Some mornings he is still hungry so I keep sweet potatoes in the fridge for him to eat in the car. Lunch and dinner are both much larger with a full portion of meat and massive amounts of fruits, veggies, nuts, and sweet potatoes. Dinner still takes a long time, but only because he devours all his food and then tells us he is still hungry. It is like his body is trying to make up for six years of undereating. Five months into the new diet he has grown over two inches and put on nine pounds, a 28% increase in body weight!

We have seen a great change in his physical ability and mental state as well. He used to come home complaining about being the slowest kid in class. Now he comes home complaining there are still two boys in 1st grade faster than him. The other day he did 19 full pushups. He is still very skinny, but his musculature has noticeably increased. Emotionally, he is able to handle his emotions better and has a greater ability to concentrate on school work without becoming frustrated.

I was inspired to write to you when I woke up last Sunday morning and found him reading your cookbook, Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals, marking the pages with the recipes he would like to try next. We read to him every night before bed a book of his choice and some nights he requests your book. So far his favorite recipe is the BLTA Chicken Breast Sandwich; it is also my favorite.

As mentioned earlier, Gabriel was a colicky baby. We now have our second child, Elliott, who was exclusively nursed until six months of age. My wife Caron kept her grains to a minimum during this time and Elliott nursed without issue. Once in a while we would cheat by ordering a pizza or having bread and cheese as a late night snack. The results were immediate; Elliott would be congested and whiny the next day. Now that he is transitioning to solid foods, we have purchased a Vitamix and Caron is making his baby food from organic, real food. So far, so good; he is totally healthy with no immunizations. This past week my wife tried adding in rice cereal in the mornings to see how he would handle the grains. He spit up most of the meal within an hour each day.

Mark, I love your website and your book. You have influenced my eating and exercise habits as well, in the same way as most of the people writing to you. As I hear so much about children with health issues, I hope this story will encourage other parents whose children have health problems to consult a naturopathic doctor, experiment with nutrition, and read books like yours.

Finding this new approach to eating has changed all our lives, but especially my son’s.

Grab a Copy of The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation and Start Getting Primal Today!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. What a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL story!

    Bless you for not stopping until you found something that worked for your son and your family. It breaks my heart to see so many children suffering with terrible physical and psychological issues, and their parents at their wit’s end, when all it would take to turn things around is a change in diet. A *big* change, granted, but a change in food nonetheless. No meds, no therapy, no expensive gizmos and contraptions. Just good quality food, fresh air, daylight, and play.

    I hear about all the whacked-out things kids are experiencing now and I just want to bang my head against the wall. I look at people’s shopping carts in the supermarket, and all I can do is shake my head. (‘Cuz the alternative is banging my head against the wall.) Like it’s some big mystery why so many people are so ill and why so many kids can’t still.

    Amy B. wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  2. That’s so awesome that you’re all feeling better! It’s a great foundation you’re giving them too.

    Nion wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  3. Amazing story! Instead of “out of the mouths of babes”, we learn from what is going into them.

    Andrew wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  4. As a former neonatal ICU nurse I have seen a dramatic increase in reflux diagnisis’ in preemies.

    Treatments went from medications like cisapride, that were later found to cause heart issues, to a horrid surgical intervention called the Nissan Wrap that basically frevented the child from vomiting. Thankfully that fell out of favor, but is still used on adults.
    At the time I couldn’t figure out if infants had always had reflux and we were now diagnosing it more, since the drug companies could benefit, or was it a new or increasingly severe phenomena ?
    Hindsight tells me a bit of both. Pregnant moms eat more problematic grains, babies are less tolerant of wheat and dairy, and don’t even get me started on soy based formula! Lol

    Congrats to this family for figuring it out, heaven knows I could not get the docs to consider this back Iin the late 90’s early 2000’s When I was intuitively so opposed to medication and surgical intervention for these fragile babies who suffered from reflux AS WELL as the treatments.

    RenegadeRN wrote on March 2nd, 2012
    • Oops, sorry for the typo- diagnosis. If you find more, my apologies, typing too fast. ( not an indication of ignorance) 😉

      RenegadeRN wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  5. What a wonderful story. Your children are so blessed to have you and your husband as their parents.

    farmgirl wrote on March 2nd, 2012
    • oops… should say “you and your wife” :-)

      farmgirl wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  6. Wow. What a story! Beautiful family and Gabriel is quite an inspiration.

    stef wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  7. Hello Gabriel, glad you’re feeling better! I’m impressed with your 19 push-ups; there are lots of adults that can’t do that. (Now you need to start working on pull-ups; there are even more people that can’t do those!)

    dragonmamma wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  8. Great Story!! Thanks for sharing.

    John wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  9. Gabriel’s Dad here, I am glad so many of you liked Gabriel’s story and I hope it will encourage others as well. To answer one point, we probably will keep experimenting with food. It has led us in such a healthy direction as discussed above, but also helped us with “party food” as well. 6 year olds go to parties, so when the rest of the kids have pizza, it’s nice to know he can eat hotdogs, hamburgers ( bunless) and French fries without getting sick. At Chistmas and Easter we know he can eat candy canes made from real sugar, not corn syrup, and dark chocolate Easter eggs. It is obviously not healthy or primal, but treats are a part of modern life so it has been helpful to know what we can do and not do.

    Edward wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  10. Wow! What a great story! I’m going through a similar situation, I’m currently exclusively breastfeeding my 4 month old and on a strict elimination diet. Right now I am dairy free and gluten/wheat free, I’ve been contemplating going completely grain free but I am concerned it will be difficult to get proper nutrition with no dairy as well as no grains. I’ve already seen an incredible improvement in my 4 month olds “fussiness” with the diet I’m on now but I think there are still things I’m eating that are bothering her. Thanks for sharing your story!

    Toni wrote on March 2nd, 2012
    • Toni, you might want to check the amount of broccoli you are eating…can make kids quite gassy.
      I had a mom bring some breast milk to the NICU for her preemie and it was light green! She said she had been eating alot of broccoli casserole she loved. ( baby didn’t get THAT milk! )
      Sorry if that was TMI, folks!

      RenegadeRN wrote on March 2nd, 2012
      • Thank you for the tip. Fortunately I do not eat large amounts of broccoli. I probably eat it once a week, haven’t noticed it bothering her but I’ll pay close attention next time. :)

        Toni wrote on March 2nd, 2012
    • I would think you could still get plenty of nutrients into your diet even with the complete elimination of grains. On the contrary grains contain anti-nutrients and are not the main source of nutrition in our diets. Increase your protein, fruit, and vegetable intake. It’ll be better for both of you.

      (not a doctor, just personal experience and opinion)

      Charissa wrote on March 3rd, 2012
  11. So glad for you guys! What a gratifying story, and I wish you and your family continuing great health.

    Tina wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  12. Wow such a truly amazing story. It really makes you sit back and think what our bodies have gone through over our adolescent and adult life before finding the primal way. Congrats to you and your family for looking outside the box and finding a new path for the future!

    Tony wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  13. So glad to read this success story and hearing about another happy turnaround! Somewhat reminds me of my own childhood. I was raised on formula, grains and dairy. I ate lots & lots of homemade bread growing up… mostly because I was craving the butter on them! If I had only known then, what I know now!! In my teens, I was scrictly low or zero fat/high carb… I ate probably every 1.5-2 hours… I almost existed soley on whole grain ceral and skim milk. I just can’t remember feeling good as a young child and I always seemed to have health issues until I went primal. It’s absolutely amazing how much better I feel now that I eat lots of grass fed beef, backyard eggs, grass fed butter, pastured pork, fish, vegetables, coconut oil/milk, etc.

    TJ wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  14. AWESOME story! I’ll be sharing this! Thank you for sharing your (and your son’s!) success with a Primal diet!

    Dustin wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  15. Nice family, great story! Gabriel’s transformation is amazing. Kudos to mommy and daddy for taking good care of him!

    Álvaro wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  16. Two inches in five months is puberty level growth, that is awesome!

    Eric wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  17. Congrats! My daughter growing up was always cranky, whiny, mood swings beyond belief. When I convince her to stay primal she has fewer mood swings, and able to concentrate etc.(peer pressure gets to her) my son was always stuck n baby fat mode even as he entered teen years. The boy has abs! School work improved too. I wish I had known about this 15 years ago. Cheers to their next 15 years and to healthy children!

    Tamara wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  18. Thank you for sharing this excellent story! Your family is lovely. Surely I’m not the only one who’s dying to give those chubby little breast-fed baby thighs a little squeeze?? =)

    I cringe every time I hear someone say a baby has been deemed “colicky,” and that all one can do is wait it out. Smacking a label on a hurting child doesn’t make the hurt go away. Kudos to you and your wife for pushing for answers!

    Suzanne wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  19. What a beautiful family! I wonder if the solution to all cases of colic involve food choices.

    Koritt wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  20. Thank you for sharing your story. It really hit home for me due to many similarities between Gabriel and my 18 month old daughter. I nursed her exclusively for 6 months and she was very colicky/irritable/lethargic as an infant. She screamed every time she had a bowel movement. She also had projectile vomit often. My doctor attributed these symptoms to an underdeveloped GI tract. I asked him if my diet could be causing it, ‘of course not you eat healthy’ (i.e. whole grains, dairy, legumes, veggies, fruit, small amount of meat). I had a dairy allergy as a child and continue to have difficulties digesting the stuff so I tried eliminating it from diet. It helped a bit, she wasn’t screaming anymore, just bloated and crying. When I introduced solids, we started with CW (i.e. rice cereal, barley, peas etc.). She’s definitely allergic to cows and goats milk (vomiting at 12 months). My doctor still doesn’t believe me about the allergy (thinks I’m overreacting) and recommended soy formula, thankfully I didn’t take his advice. After doing a lot of searching we came across the Paleo diet. My husband and I have started removing all grains and legumes from our family’s diets except rice, peas and peanut butter. My daughter still has eczema on her face, breaks out in hives occasionally, has loose stools or is constipated but is generally less sick. I too worry that she won’t get enough calories if we eliminate the above. Does anyone have any suggestions for green vegetables for a child with no teeth. She is no longer nursing either (she weened herself a couple of weeks ago), does anyone have any suggestions for a milk substitute. Thanks again!

    Natalie wrote on March 2nd, 2012
    • I use coconut milk and make it myself which I highly recommend doing if you decide coconut milk is the way to go. There are various directions on the web. The easiest is to make it from unsweetened coconut shreds which you can buy in bulk. Warning though, making coconut milk can be messy until you figure out a method.

      For the toothless one, wouldn’t any green vegetable be good zipped up in a blender? Add enough fat to your child’s diet and she should get enough calories? Coconut oil, butter, etc.

      Sharon wrote on March 2nd, 2012
      • Thanks for the advice! I have given her some coconut milk to try but it had guar gum in it; I’ll definitely give the homemade coconut milk recipe a try. Have you had any trouble with coconut milk acting as a laxative? Are you concerned that it doesn’t have any calcium, DHA etc. in it like Cow and Goat milk do? I’ve thought about giving her Carlson’s Cod liver oil but now I’m not so sure.

        Natalie wrote on March 2nd, 2012
    • Just a thought from a silly grandmother here, but my granddaughter loves quinoa (steamed with organic, gluten-free chicken broth) just like you would steam rice. And since peanuts are a legume, we’ve been giving her organic creamy almond butter in place of peanut butter. Both would be good sources of calories if you’re worried about that.

      PrimalGrandma wrote on March 2nd, 2012
    • Gabe’s dad here, my wife uses the Vitamix to blend up all his veggies. If it is too bitter and he won’t eat it she mixes it with sweet potatoes and he always eats it.

      Edward wrote on March 2nd, 2012
      • Thanks everyone. We’ll definitely give the suggestions a shot.

        Natalie wrote on March 2nd, 2012
    • I don’t think your child needs green vegetables at her age. She’s very young to be eating vegetables.

      Instead, try homemade broth made from beef soup bones. The broth will heal her damaged gut.
      Raw pastured yolks (not whites) would also be good for her, as many as she will eat.

      If you are afraid to give her raw egg yolks, save the marrow from the soup bones when you make beef broth, and cook the yolks in the marrow only a little.

      To the homemade beef broth and egg yolks, add a big pinch of good quality salt.

      If you cook bacon, give her a *whole* strip and let her lick or suck the fat from the strip of bacon.

      If she weaned and you want breast-milk substitute, look into homemade formulas, Weston A. Price foundation has a couple good recipes that are much more nutritious than commercial formula:

      I don’t think giving green vegetables to your little girl is the way to go. Too much fiber. It will probably make her constipation worse. Also, vegetables don’t have many calories, but fat does! Perfect for a growing child! She needs fat, not vegetables.

      Hope this helps and that your child grows nice and strong!

      Strawberry wrote on March 2nd, 2012
      • My reply is awaiting moderation because I posted a link, so wait for it to show up.

        I just wanted to add something to my reply: you asked about calcium; beef broth will have lots of calcium, so no worries!
        Egg yolk has lots of DHA, so there you have it!

        Sardines have LOTS of DHA *and* calcium. If your daughter won’t eat sardines (pan fried or broiled is really tasty), then try other fish.

        It’s a lot easier than you think to get calcium and DHA from non-dairy sources.


        Strawberry wrote on March 2nd, 2012
    • I guess it’s technically a fruit, but we’ve had great success with avocados with our toothless toddlers – great source of fat, too. Also, very well-steamed green beans and asparagus with plenty of butter (or in your case, maybe coconut oil!) are easy to gnaw on with toothless gums.
      Our 2nd kid was grain free until about 15 months (when we added rice), and we got a ton of helpful info from the WAPF (Weston A.Price Foundation) website. It’s not “paleo,” but it’s “ancestral health” based, and it has a ton of grain-free recipes and ideas for kids/toddlers under the children’s health section. Maybe it would be helpful to you.
      It sounds like she’s allergic to cows/goat’s milk (I assume pasteurized?), but have you tried them raw and fermented? My kids get eczema from pasteurized milk, but yogurt/kefir/raw milk are totally fine. She may need to heal her gut with a non-allergen/healing diet like GAPS for a while before she’s ready for any dairy, though!
      Way to go on listening to your better judgement and discarding some of your doctor’s advice – it sounds like you have really helped your little girl improve her health!

      Danielle wrote on March 3rd, 2012
  21. We have been trying to move our girls towards a Primal diet for the last year. This article convinces me that we need to go hardcore for our youngest, who has more symptoms from wheat and sugar. Now to convince her…:-)

    Rennivan wrote on March 2nd, 2012
    • I found that when I simply made the old food unavailable and replaced it with delicious meats (read: fats) that my own daughter’s protests didn’t even happen. I anticipated a big fuss but what I gave instead is just so darn good she doesn’t miss cereal AT ALL. It’s amazing what they’ll accept when you aren’t trying to convince them, but are just deeply convinced yourself.

      Joy Beer wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  22. Amazing story. Congrats to you and you wife for listening to your gut and helping your whole family.

    Tracy wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  23. So awesome! I have done the same with all three of my little ones. My eldest cried for a solid year and was always sick. She was diagnosed with Celiac Disease at 15 months of age and the same week I was told I had symptoms related to MS. The whole family is grain-free, gluten-free, soy-free and out must-have food is bacon! Thanks for sharing your story! Love to see healing, especially in little ones and their family.

    Michele Lauren wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  24. So awesome to read these sorts of stories!

    I have to say that I get very frustrated when parents won’t go outside of their doctors for information (like this family did!).

    I often recommend these things to families, but very few want to hear it. I wish more doctors would recommend these natural cures to common problems!

    Good on you guys for going against the grain.

    Hey, that was a pun!

    Zoebird wrote on March 2nd, 2012
    • You need to create a t-shirt at Cafepress ASAP! That’s a good one!

      Joy Beer wrote on March 2nd, 2012
      • +1

        PrimalGrandma wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  25. I just love it when kids lives improve with Primal.

    Melissa wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  26. While I’m thrilled that your family is thriving and that eating primal is working well for you, I’m concerned that you said Elliot has not been immunized. Immunization, contrary to what many anti-vax folks will tell you, has been proven to be sound, safe, and critical for our health. Recent outbreaks of whooping cough, measles, and even polio have been linked directly to anti-vaccination fears. Our generation is incredibly fortunate-we haven’t seen the devastation that measles, whooping cough or polio can wreak, precisely because we were vaccinated as children. And the reason that vaccination works is that we’ve achieved a significant proportion of the population who are vaccinated. When you refuse to vaccinate your children, you not only put them at risk, but you put the rest of us and our children at risk as well. When I hear the anti-vax claims, I was concerned, so I did quite a bit of research, on both sides of the issue, and the science is pretty clear-vaccinations are far, far safer than the anti-vax crowd claims, and while there are (very rarely) side-effects in some people, those side-effects are far less dangerous than actually contracting the diseases being vaccinated for. I encourage anyone who is concerned about it to do your own research, and don’t buy into irrational arguments-look for the science behind the claims of both sides.

    Matt Meeks wrote on March 2nd, 2012
    • I have done research, a lot of research…. I will not be vaccinating my children; kudos for this family for thinking outside the box on SO many issues. How great of them for living a life that is controversial in more areas than one :) Thankfully we live in a country where it can still (for how much longer who knows) be our choice. There are informed natural doctors who know “alternative” choices for vaccines too.

      Kk wrote on March 2nd, 2012
    • Knowing what vaccines are MADE of and doing months and months of research I chose NOT to vaccinate my children either. Not as one who was swept away with anti/fear of anything but of solid research and a desire/understanding of the human body. We looked into and put our children on the GAPS diet, and hold to the belief that health starts and ends in the gut. I agree with Kk, there are natural doctors out there with alternatives. It is great to still have a choice in that matter, though I too am not sure how long it will last in our country with the government needing to control everything in ours and our children’s lives, because they *know* what’s right for every individual. Vaccines hold so much financial and political power I was wary of them from that! Looking into how they make them and with WHAT they make them I shudder to think of the poor child’s body that has to receive them. There are many people (I know some personally) who have “naturally” cured whooping cough and polio. It is good to be informed, I agree.

      Laddybob wrote on March 2nd, 2012
    • Matt,

      I promised my grandfather, who had polio as a child (a mild case, luckily, he regained the ability to walk), that we would have our children vaccinated for it. Many states, including ours, have laws about children not being admitted to school without certain vaccinations — I think other states are more liberal about exemptions, but here you are not allowed to opt out unless you are part of a short list of religious sects. Since we are not yet decided on homeschooling or not, our daughter will probably be vaccinated. There is no law I am aware of, however, that says you have to do it on the pediatrician’s schedule. Some vaccinations require fewer or no boosters if administered later, in fact. Our daughter is ten months old, and has received the polio and whooping cough (there was an epidemic in our area around the time of her birth) vaccines, and will not receive any more until she is 4 or 5. It is often more helpful to try to find common ground with people of different opinions than to threaten them with consequences — they are doing what they think is best for their children, as are you, and as am I, and as you said, research is best. I don’t think the way the pediatricians tell us to do it is right, but I’m not willing to completely abandon medical advances, either.

      Erin wrote on March 3rd, 2012
      • Every state allows for exemptions with vaccines. Every state. Just google your state and there are lots of helpful sitess.

        Diane wrote on March 4th, 2012
        • Diane,

          You are right. New York State, however, is notoriously impossible to get exemptions from. Although NYS law has liberalized in the past few years from what it was, many of the sites that come up when you Google “New York vaccination exemptions” describe in great detail the difficulties experienced by people trying to get waived. Other states, I hear, are much more lenient.

          Erin wrote on March 6th, 2012
      • I was going to comment on this as well. My older son had all of the vaccines on schedule, and has terrible digestive issues and the accompanying neurological issues. I have had not one, but two MD’s tell me that his issues are in part related to how he was vaccinated using the aggressive new vaccine schedule, as well as an overuse of anti-biotics and Tylenol. We spaced vaccines out with my younger son and avoided antibiotics and tylenol and he has no neurological issues, but still has some digestive issues that are puzzling for someone who has only ever eaten primally his entire life and was breastfed for two years.

        I have looked into the links between vaccines and IBD or Crohn’s, and have decided (with the full support of our doctor) to not vaccinate any future children at all due to our genetic vulnerabilities. I have spent the last three years working hard to help my son heal with food (VLC GAPS/Primal) and so I particularly loved your success story with your young son’s digestive issues, and the line about your new baby being healthy as can be with no immunizations jumped out at me. Lots of parents (and kids) learn the hard way that vaccines are not as safe for everyone as the CDC claims they are, which is why I was wondering if your older child had all of his vaccines, and if that played a part in your reluctance to vaccinate your younger child?
        Just eating the way we do sets us apart, so I am sure you are okay with having a really counter-culture opinion about the risk-benefit of vaccines as well. I know I am, but too bad for my older son, I learned a little too late.
        You are doing a great job. I know how tough it can be. Be well!

        momof2groks wrote on March 9th, 2012
  27. This is so great.

    I really admire how you kept an open mind and tried new things – until you found what really worked. What a beautiful (grain free) family you are!

    How interesting that Gabriel devoured meat when you gave it to him. It seems that his body knew exactly what it needed. Being able to recognize/feel the need for protein is key, and I’m glad I can. Mark wrote in a post that when our diets are carb-laden, our recognition gets thrown off course, and we can think we’re craving carbs when we’re actually needing protein.

    I wish I had been Primal when my daughter was very young, so I could have raised her Primal. Her grain and dairy intake have never been substantial, but I’d prefer she had none.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    Susan Alexander wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  28. That was a great story! I am happy when people can avoid meds and get healthy.

    Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  29. Good read. My toddler niece consumes too much sugars and grains and goes bonkers.

    Side note: I am always amazed and confused regarding people who cry from reading these posts. I cannot comprehend it.

    liberty1776 wrote on March 2nd, 2012
    • I think, for my part, I got a powerful visual as I read it of him suffering, and then a visual of him happily eating a great meal, and the mother in me felt a huge swelling in my heart at the mental image. It made me so happy the tears came. When we express the effect of tears, we’re just trying to explain how happy we are for them. You don’t relate to anything like this? Then don’t worry about it.

      Joy Beer wrote on March 2nd, 2012
      • I guess I should explain that tears in my eyes is not quite the same as crying and choking in tears. Are you puzzled by tears in the eyes, or are you picturing people just breaking down into hysterics? I don’t think that THAT is what people describe when they mention their own lachrymosity… :-)

        Joy Beer wrote on March 2nd, 2012
    • We are the same bunch who cry at dog movies, baby movies, weddings, and Hallmark commercials. Especially when pregnant. Don’t worry, we don’t understand it, either. :) Although in this case, I’d agree with Joy Beer that it has a lot to do with envisioning a suffering child who was finally able to experience comfort and happiness, and the relief his mother must have felt.

      Danielle wrote on March 3rd, 2012
  30. I loved this story because it could have been mine. Our youngest is only 10 months, but he began his life screaming! At 24 hours old, a nurse asked what was wrong with him; turns out he needed to pass his first bowel movement. He screamed for 2 hours, passed it, then was calm and happy (until the next one). He was colicky, didn’t sleep (I know every parent says that…he slept in 45-90 minute stretches for 6 MONTHS, then “improved” to 2-4 hour stretches), screamed as though in agony every time he woke, and spent months 6-9 with chronic ear infections (and, therefore, CW-prescribed antibiotics).

    I cut grains from my diet 2 months ago (he’s breastfed). A month later, as I held my screaming infant and waited for the antibiotics to kick in for the newest ear infection, I realized that they began shortly after I began giving him solids at 6 months.

    Immediately, I cut grains and dairy out of his diet (and dairy from mine). It’s been a month since the last ear infection (and 3.5 weeks since discontinuing the last prescription) despite fighting a nasty cold for the last week. He’s sleeping 4-8 hour stretches and he wakes up cooing! He’s a new child. I am so thankful to have discovered this at only 10 months!

    Lora wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  31. Great story. Organic food helps. I was colicky also as baby and they fed me goat;s milk which helped

    David wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  32. I think this is the best story yet! Not because the others aren’t inspiring, but because children are so precious.

    Andrea wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  33. We have a similar story over here. However, unfortunately, because we have not got a medical certificate for any allergies we cannot do the 100% shift. Certificates are required for daycare special diets. I am quite frustrated about the situation because I see so many issues (particularly the growing and the apetite) that I am convinced could be fixed if daycare was working with us on this one….

    Maya wrote on March 2nd, 2012
    • Not sure where you’re located, but I always had a lot of luck with family daycares where a parent stayed home with their kids and also opened up a daycare. If you find a good one, they tend to be more flexible and are not held to the same specific regulations. Good luck!

      Bel wrote on March 2nd, 2012
    • Have you asked your doctor to write a certificate for gluten-free at least? How about an accredited naturopathic doctor?

      I’ve heard that celiacs will score negative on the test unless they make themselves sick by eating the trigger foods beforehand.

      Kelekona wrote on March 3rd, 2012
  34. great story! the comment about excessive ear wax was interesting. when I was in grade school, quite a few times my ear would hurt and when we went to the doctor, it turned out I had this huge plug of ear wax blocking my whole canal. he would then use warm to hot water to flush it out. wondering if it was the grains I was eating back then. very interesting.

    Midgy wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  35. Beautiful story. Has the whole family been tested for celiac/grain allergies yet?

    moreporkplease wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  36. This story is inspiring. I have a 2 year old that is a picky eater and we struggle with eczema. She had some rice cereal when she was 8-10 months old before I knew about the primal/paleo diet. Cutting the rice cereal wasn’t hard at all but getting her to eat meat or eggs is a different story. I made all her baby food and she always ate everything except the meat purees. Now she learned to like bacon, smoked oysters,grilled salmon, sardines and sausage and she always liked vegetables and fruit. It sounds like quite the variety but sh doesn’t always want to eat these.When she refuses to eat any protein my last resort is making some humus or letting her eat some full fat yogurt. The grandparents and my husband feel that she is not eating much (and there are indeed days when she barely eats anything) so they give her rice crackers with peant butter. It is a constant debate between me and my husband: he thinks that even if it’s not the best food, it’s better than going to bed with an empty stomach. I would much rather choose the empty stomach versus the crackers.

    Laura wrote on March 2nd, 2012
    • Sometimes as a snack/treat I’ll give my daughter banana or pumpkin pancakes (I think Mark has a recipe for them on this site), she loves them!

      Natalie wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  37. Christina, you are a weirdo! This story is super!

    Lindsay wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  38. Thank you for this! I almost could have written it myself. From birth we struggled with our daughter’s health and every MD we saw was completely unhelpful. As a “last ditch” effort when she was 7 months we reached out to a homeopath and ever since, things have gotten progressively better and our daughter is now a happy and healthy 17mo on a primal diet with homeopathic treatments and my husband and I are on our way to a similar diet as well.

    Stephanie wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  39. Each week I think these stories can’t get any better – and then they do.

    What a beautiful story to illustrate how the body can sort itself out just given a change in diet.

    But more importantly what an amazing gift you have given your family. I can’t wait to read the update in 15 years time!

    Sian wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  40. What great parents! I learned very early in my son’s life that even when surrounded by the leading surgeons, doctors and other healthcare professionals, the best advocates our children have are their parents. We care the most about them and will not stop until all of our concerns are put to rest. Your perserverence is a great example to other parents. Thank-you.

    albertasara wrote on March 2nd, 2012

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