[January 11, 2010] Some weeks ago, I received an email about a little boy who was on GAPS but who was, aside from a few glimpses of healing, still struggling.
I advised his mother to return to intro, with a few modifications.
Recently, I very reluctantly took my own advice. Those of you who’ve read GAPS Guide know of the incredible recovery my son has sustained. His teeth, stools, speech, tolerances for baths and sounds, etc, all resolved early in our implementation of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet then GAPS.
Two issues persisted, though: night-time peeing and, aside from a few nights early on, night-wakings.
Because full relief from nightwakings was the absolute first sign of healing, I knew this symptom was diet related. I’d also heard of several other kids for whom nightwakings and/or bedwetting had been resolved by a change in diet. I was, however, resistant to returning to a stricter stage of GAPS -so I didn’t. Beyond happy with our progress in all other areas, I continued waking with my son 2-12 times every single night.
Finally, I posted to our support list. A number of different suggestions, based on what had worked for different families, came in. I collated the responses into one document, then pondered my starting point. I first tried the easiest potential solution: magnesium baths before bed. No luck.
I then tried a low oxalate version of GAPS (which intro basically is). I am very excited to report that my son has now slept through the night for four consecutive nights. Since he’d only ever achieved one night at a time ever before, I have trouble believing this is a coincidence. I will enjoy exploring the matter of oxalates and their effects, as well as finding the magic amount my son is able to tolerate. My plan is to stick with “no oxalate” and “very low oxalate” foods for two weeks, then start adding in “low oxalate” foods until his tolerance is determined.
It’s interesting to note that many GAPS children struggle with spinach and nuts, both of which are high oxalate foods, as are many commonly-used GAPS fruits. Apparently, one of the issues with oxalates is that in sensitive people, they can cause crystals to form, their sharp points actually inflicting pain internally.
Below is a detailed list of the foods we’ve been focusing on the past four days. On each day I have accidentally or in one case intentionally (to allow him to enjoy a surprise birthday party) included very small servings of some oxalate-containing foods such as onions or peanuts. These small amounts demonstrate that the goal is sufficiently “lower oxalate” and not “no oxalate”.
Note: To determine what I should narrow my son’s foods to, I cross-referenced several Low Oxalate Diet lists (some of which conflict with each other, so I looked for the lowest common denominators) against GAPS’. His list currently includes:
Green (not red) Grapes
Cauliflower ONLY IF WELL-BOILED
Peas ONLY IF WELL-BOILED
Turnips (not for early SCD/GAPS)
Meats, including fish
School snacks are: hard-boiled eggs, leftover stew, canned salmon.
I would like to extend a huge thanks to the mamas -Kathleen, Anne, Maria, Millie, Cara, Irene and Teri- who submitted their experiences to help out my dear son and I. I am, of course, deeply grateful!!!
Update May 11th, 2010: In response to Noel’s comment below, I wish to provide an update on this post. Yes, Noel, reduced oxalates has been very effective! My son continues to do full GAPS, but with a focus on meats and other low-to-no oxalate foods. He does have small helpings of nuts (up to about 1/8th cup per day) and eats any fruits and GAPS veggies he wants at a birthday party. So long as his oxalate count over any given week is low, he sleeps right through the night. If he has increased oxalates for several days in a row, the nightwakings start up again. His night-time peeing has continued, but I’m not worried about that at all.
Update June 4, 2010: See also this post.by