I (Amy) simply cannot believe with all of the lifestyle changes we've been forced to undergo lately, that THIS kind of food (pictured below) is coming out of MY kitchen!?! Me?? Really?? (and this greek salad wasn't even for Caroline- it was for us! yummmm!)
PROOF that God is bringing good out of all of this pain in unexpected ways. (As well as our thinning waist lines...)
So what does sweet Caroline eat these days?
Lots of fresh, organic veggies & protein mostly. (grilled salmon at this meal, which she DEVOURS! Are you all looking for the "wild caught Alaskan salmon" in the freezer section of your grocery store now? SO much better for you than even the fresh farm-raised salmon...) Here's another tip: if you're eating vegetables like this, drizzle a little flaxseed oil on top to pack in the nutrition. (adds the omega 3's we are all missing from our diet)
And since we're having to limit Caroline's carbs & fruits right now (they both turn to sugar in the body & it's making her symptoms worse following that round of antibiotics...), I discovered a couple of little substitution "tricks" for a rather undiscerning mouth. :) Here I made "squash noodles" by using a vegetable peeler on a squash (or a zucchini) to make long thin strips and then heating 'em up over some olive oil. Waalah! Noodles! (can eat them alone or in spaghetti/pasta)
And instead of mashed POTATOES, you can boil an entire head of cauliflower in water until it's tender, and then puree it in the blender, add milk (or a milk substitute), butter (or butter substitute), and/or cheese (or cheese substitute), & mix it all up to the right consistency and you've got mashed "potatoes"! As you can see, I didn't quite get to my camera in time... :)
Update: We got the results of the blood test for various mineral levels! And as suspected, Caroline's zinc level (even after being on a zinc supplement for 3 WEEKS at the time of the test) was extremely low. In our doctor's words-- "at that level, hair and skin function is not possible." She believes that the zinc deficiency was the cause of Caroline's hair loss. (which might explain why it was more of a slow, diffused balding and why Caroline's poop had a MAJOR turnaround the DAY after we started on zinc last month and why her eyelashes started growing back in after we started her on a multi-vitamin BEFORE we ever went gluten-free... hmmm...)
There were also a few other trace minerals that were showing deficiencies as well that we'll need to address temporarily. She is obviously getting these minerals in her diet and vitamins, but because her intestines are not ABSORBING the minerals right now, it is leading to deficiencies. Though vitamin & mineral deficiencies are more rare here in our country, they are very common in celiac-type illnesses.
So we are thankful to feel like another piece of the puzzle has come together. Now it naturally leads us to more questions... what initially caused the zinc deficiency? is this full-blown, lifelong celiac disease or is it an immune system/intestinal problem that she will outgrow once it's healed & regulated? does this mean her hair should come back eventually once there's enough zinc to maintain skin & hair function? (our doctor seems to think so, though it will take a long time. We are thinking in the range of 6 months to a year...) We'll also be doing another blood test to see if it is a particular rare autosomal recessive disorder of zinc deficiency. (if it IS, that just means she'd have to take zinc the rest of her life, but we're not thinking it's this.) And we'll be continuing with the zinc, the diet, and a few more nutritional supplements to help get these intestines healed!
All that to say-- we still covet your prayers as we figure this out. I am working non-stop to get my child well to the glory of God. Marc and I both are. I'm a chef, a nutritionist & meal planner, a researcher, a maid, a church music director, a violinist, a RUF wife, and a regular mom. And it's not easy to be all these things at once. (to say the least!) But there's a line in a hymn that we sing that says: "I may not know the way I go, but oh- I know my Guide." Amen and amen.