Sometimes Eating Dirt

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After being diagnosed with an auto-immune disease back in January, I made some major changes to my diet. In addition to the gluten free diet I have been following for years, I eliminated a few other foods that might be causing me problems, mainly eggs and dairy. Six weeks later I attempted to add eggs back, and realized that I definitely can’t eat them at this time (I’ll try duck and quail eggs in the future, but not yet.) Sadly, even without eggs and dairy, I was still battling more than a normal (for me) amount of anxiety and still not sleeping well. Inspired by the book I’m reading right now(which I love–common sense, great advice, no super crazy stuff,), Eat Dirt, I eliminated a few more foods (all grains, seeds, nuts, nightshades, and legumes). Per the author’s advice in the book, I am now on a month long diet of mainly organic meat, vegetables, unsweetened coconut milk, and a little bit of fruit. I don’t think this is the most sustainable way for me to eat long-term, but the idea is that my gut should do some healing and then maybe I’ll be able to eat a wider range of foods again. Right now I’m eating a lot of chicken soup made with bone broth, and having a coconut milk smoothie every morning with collagen in it, which is supposed to be super good for you (It is flavorless and easily dissolves in liquid). What’s crazy, is I feel amazing. It only took a couple of days for me to notice some major changes. About a week ago, I gave up my one cup of caffeinated tea per day by accident. I just forgot to make it for a few days, had been wanting to cut it out anyway, so haven’t gone back. My anxiety is currently under control, and I am sleeping way better too. Seriously, it’s CRAZY!!! The only downside is all those foods I can’t eat. But honestly, at this point, it’s not that difficult to avoid them. It takes a lot of planning, but as long as I have acceptable foods around, I am just fine. My current favorite is zucchini sauteed in coconut oil with a chicken breast. All dusted with lots of Herbamare. Simple things taste so good now.

Baseball season is here, so Jonny and I took Mabel and our little guys to watch Gabe and Keats play last weekend. A friend whose son is on their team commented, “Now it will be Mabel eating dirt instead of Job!” So true. I laughed, and told him about the book I’m reading right now, and about all the beneficial microbes that we are exposed to when we get our hands and feet dirty. The average toddler supposedly eats a teaspoon of dirt a day! And that’s a good thing! I can’t say that I am going to stop interfering when Mabel puts dirt and other objects from the ground into her mouth (mainly because I’m concerned about choking!) But I do feel a new sense of intention surrounding getting outside and getting dirty. It’s good for me and good for them!

Seth is spending a lot of time turning wood on the lathe. He is working on candle holders, and I am the lucky recipient of all his practice pieces. I am trying to utilize candles more often. One thing I have been attempting is to light a candle on the table while my younger kids work on their lessons. Sometimes it seems to help them focus. Other times it’s a total distraction and I just have to put the candle away. Whether I get to light them or not, I just like having candles around. They make things feel cozy, which I still don’t often experience in our new house. It must take a long time to feel at home somewhere new! Maybe especially if you loved your previous home as much as we did!

p.s. Thanks for all of your orders! I am working to get everything shipped out in the next day or two, in plenty of time for Easter if you wanted Easter basket play silks! There are about a dozen play silks left in the shop if you missed getting one. There’s also still some goat milk soap. I fell out of my soap making rhythm, so I won’t have any more ready for about six to 8 weeks. I did make labels for all the soap going out this time, and all future bars as well!

Comments

  1. Ginny, can I ask what were your numbers when they did your blood draw for Thyroid? I have all the classic symptoms and suffered a miscarriage so I had my OB test my thyroid level as well and they said my numbers were fine at 3.090
    I just want to feel better again and not so sluggish. Joint pain is horrible. Since the birth of my 20 month old, my hair falls out with each shower and brushing. It normally would stop 5-6 month postpartum, but not this time around. So I am looking for natural remedies because I really would like to avoid prescription meds.

  2. Julie Hohenadel says:

    Ginny,
    I have been reading your blog for a while now and enjoy it so much! I was just diagnosed last week with Hashimoto’s. I am overwhelmed with changing my diet but I sure want to feel better, so I will! I am reading the books that you have recommended but have trouble with all of the information! This is my last few days of eating normally. I want to eat my birthday cake! Lol
    Thank you so much for sharing your struggle. It is so helpful!
    Maybe it’s time for a “Hashimoto a long” on Wednesdays where people share what they are reading and eating and supplements, etc.
    Thank you again,
    Julie

  3. Just had to say that Mabel is one of the most beautiful babies I’ve ever seen (my own included). What a doll!

  4. Oh the bunny hat on Mabel – pattern please?

  5. Dacia Ray says:

    Hi there, I just learned that all of the city parks here in Seattle spray RoundUp on the grass, playfields, etc. I was horrified to learn this because, well, children play there and roll in and eat the dirt and grass, including mine! You are an amazing mom and woman, clearly. Just thought I’d pass that on since it was news to me. 🙂 I’m sorry to hear your body is unwell. I hope your diet and efforts to be well are wildly successful. That’s the last thing we mamas need is to be sick while trying to care for our broods. Peace and love to you and yours.

  6. Hi Ginny,

    I was wondering if you could give me a recommendation for a good metal detector? My 10 year old son would like one for his bday (April 20). Thank you! Glad you are feeling better 🙂

  7. Kathie Gray says:

    Dear Ginny,
    I have been reading blog for a while but never got up the nerve to comment before! I just wanted you to encourage you on your healing diet adventure, I recently did a similar diet (whole 30) and as well as loosing some much needed weight I saw incredible improvment in my health. Long story short I went from constant pain and struggling to walk and carry out my daily life to having minimal pain and an active daily life! I really hope you will see similar results. I definitely agree that adding bone broth and gelatin into my diet had a huge impact too!

    Also we light a candle at meal times to help our daughter with special needs focus and have found it very helpful, most of the time! Her OT says it works as a visual clue but I also think it’s a lovely, cozy thing to do!

    Best of luck with everything, Kathie.

  8. Dear Ginny,

    when we moved out of the house where we had been living almost 15 years and all the children grew up till at least toddler (two of them were born in the house), I had great difficulties with the change.
    although the new house was bigger, and very cozy, and we had been building it for over one year, doing a lot ourselves….
    I kept the feeling that you have … when will I really feel at home here …
    till …
    we went on a holiday, one week to the coastside, and then came back ! at this moment, it felt like home, for the first time ..
    so maybe an idea for you too :):):)

    all the best,
    Nele

  9. Hi Ginny – I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease this past Christmas – the week before actually when I ended up in the ICU. I am now dealing with adult onset Type 1 diabetes….and being insulin dependent. I am about to begin the AIP (paleo autoimmune) diet. It sounds so much like what you are doing! I just checked out “The Paleo Approach – Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body” from the library today. Actually, it all sounds fairly similar to GAPS which my family did for two years about 5 years ago for other health issues (it worked amazingly well!) and then remained grain and sugar and junk food free for the most part. I guess you’d say we are close to paleo now. Anyway, I’m very nervous about the eggs (we eat them every morning!!!) as well as giving up nuts, seeds and nightshades (tomatoes and peppers – yikes!) plus my already low fruit intake due to the diabetes. I know I can do it, as I’ve done GAPS, but still. I am definitely going to look into the book that you recommend. Also, what all do you put in your morning smoothie? I’m kind of at a loss for breakfast without eggs and being grain free! Hope you continue to make improvements in your health!!

    • Hi Laura! I struggled with giving up eggs too. I ate them for breakfast every morning, and sometimes for a bedtime snack too! I would notice that I would get shaky sometimes, shortly after breakfast. I thought it was strange, since I was eating eggs–so much protein! After doing some reading, I realized that I was probably reacting to an intolerance. After not eating eggs for six weeks, I tried adding them back, and got terrible joint pain. So-no eggs for me right now! For breakfast I eat some sort of organic sausage and drink a smoothie made from unsweetened coconut milk, cinnamon, collagen powder, and a banana. Sometimes I add a T of coconut oil too. Then for lunch I typically have some sort of chicken soup, and maybe the same for dinner, though sometimes I have a piece of wild caught cod and an avocado. I look forward to adding back some nuts and maybe nightshades. Longterm, I just don’t know… I just got a couple of Danielle Walker’s cookbooks at the suggestion of another reader. Hoping to get some good ideas!

      • Thanks Ginny! I’m going to try your smoothie for sure – only probably with a little bit of berries instead of a banana as they are so much lower in sugar. That is too bad that for now you can’t have eggs – and with your own chickens!!! I’m hopeful I will be able to add eggs, nightshades and nuts back in….other things like potatoes and high sugar fruits I can do without. And thanks for the recommendations on the cookbooks. I placed a hold on one from my library and look forward to hopefully getting some more good ideas. I recently got Wellness Mama’s new cookbook and so far we love it (even though I’ll be somewhat limited once I start AIP)!

  10. Nourishing Meals by Alissa Segersten and Paleo Perfected by America’s Test Kitchen might be helpful! After reading your post I was inspired to re-crack the two books I bought for the Lyme Diet for my daughter and somehow last night everything looked so good when I was nearly hating the thought of it all earlier in the day!:)) Mommy fatigue. I have made some of the non-gluten grain recipes from Nourishing Meals and even my super picky son loved the Teff Pancakes. I know that’s not on your diet, but I figure it that recipe was good enough to get him to eat it, the others are probably pretty good too! She also has a nice blog. Thanks again for the re-inspire, I really needed it!

  11. Ah, another auto-immune disease suffer. What a sisterhood, eh? I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism in December and am STILL getting things worked out. Its been disappointing because I never wanted to be one of those ‘pills every day to function’ people. But, here I am…and I AM feeling better, and that’s what matters.
    I need to revamp my diet too….I dont know if I could do such a strict eating plan though……*holds cup of coffee and glances nervously around* lol

    • My Hashimoto’s diagnosis came in January. 🙂 But this was after being hypothyroid for a couple of years. And I feel the same way about the pills. I love and hate them. As far as a strict diet goes, I have been baby stepping it, gradually eliminating more and more so that I can carefully re-introduce and pinpoint what makes me feel bad. Luckily, I gave up coffee a couple of years ago, it was just hurting my stomach. I switched to a daily cup of Earl Grey, and then recently switched to green or white tea because the Earl Grey was starting to feel like too much. So baby steps in that department too. I remember being sad for a long time about the coffee! Especially because Jonny still drinks it, and I would have to smell it! But eventually I didn’t care anymore. At any rate, I’m so glad you are feeling better!

      • I am very impressed with your diligence. I have many friends with autoimmune disorders and at a certain point it becomes a no brainer to eat with such restrictions — you simply just can’t live in chronic pain when you know there’s another way! I am fairly certain I have candida overgrowth and other issues –I only have a one-year old and three year-old but it feels like I just cannot keep up to cook myself specialized meals. I just started a program to target inflammation, gut healing, and blood sugar stabilization through supplements called Plexus. I have no idea if it will work, but I have heard that it is a game changer for gut healing and detoxification… I am going to give it a shot until I have the ability to become more disciplined with my diet… and er… cannot imagine life without coffee at the moment. Good for you!

  12. I hope your health journey is well….healthy! I think all through our lives we can tweak our diets and we know deep down what foods are unhealthy for us and we eat them anyways. I’ll blame it on the devil . Isn’t it nice that spring time is finally here? Walking in a sweater or light jacket with sun on my face is doing me wonders.

  13. I love the turntable pieces! My granddad had one, and if I had the space (and time *ahem*), I’d definitely have one, too 🙂 Among other things, he made candle holders, bowls (with lids!), simple wooden balls, and … eggs 🙂 (just an idea for next year’s Easter shop update…)
    All the best, Frauke

  14. Hi, I’ve been trying to work on my diet and when I checked the book, Eat Dirt I noticed it was on sale for the kindle $1.99- so I picked it right up. Thanks for the recommendation- here’s hoping that everyone feels better, soon!

  15. I have hypothyroidism and have tried many of the food restrictions you mention. One thing I struggle with is my desire to eat locally (I live on a farm in NC and coconuts just don’t grow here 🙂 ) and the fact that so many of the “allowed” foods are decidedly not. Tough to align the desire to feel your best and your philosophy of living and eating. The one thing that makes it easier is I have never had trouble with eating a limited variety of food. I can eat the same thing day in and day out or rather season in and season out. Here’s hoping you continue to feel better!

    • I completely agree with you regarding the desire to eat local, and struggle with the same thing (why all the coconut?) It’s really frustrating. But I’m hoping this is temporary, and I will be able to go back to eating a more “normal” diet in the coming months.

  16. It can be hard to be on a restricted diet, but so glad you are feeling better. Love the lathe candle holders. they are looking pretty good.Tthe bleeding heart looks so spring-ish. As well as the baby chickens, which are growing up. You have captured spring in your photos.

  17. Thanks for continuing to share the ups and downs of your experience–all of it is helpful and encouraging! 💛

  18. I was also recently diagnosed with Hashimotos, though I think I have had it for 10 years or more… Hang in there. I am days away from completing my first Whole30 (I cut nightshades with it) and am moving into a full autoimmune protocol (SO sad about giving up my chicken’s eggs). (Have you tried just the yolk – it is supposed to cause less reaction?) My doctor just tweaked my dose again today also. I can’t believe how bad I felt all this time and just chalked it up to “normal”. It’s nice to know that we are not alone. I wish you peace on your journey to health.

  19. I love your bleeding hearts, your sleeping bunny, and the schoolwork by candlelight. So lovely.

  20. Not all autoimmune issues are permanent. I was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease, aka hyperthyroidism and took medication for a year. I ate normally, no special diets. The Grave’s went into remission and hasn’t returned more than seven years later!

  21. I lived for years with only 14 safe foods. I went the alternative medicine route and can eat anything now. My thyroid did not work at all and I took a dose everyday to completely replace it’s function. I do not take any meds now. I hope you find the answers and am happy to hear you are doing so much better.

  22. I did that exact same diet for the first 30 days of Lent. I was already giving up sweets, and my naturopath suspects I have latent Epstein Barr, so I tried it. I also didn’t find it that hard to do once I was committed (and especially knowing it was short term).
    Unlike for you and unfortunately for me, it didn’t make me feel any better. Actually because the diet was so low carb, I think it actually brought my blood pressure, already low, to a *too* low state. By the end I was feeling more tired and sluggish than normal.
    Live and learn I guess….!
    I’m still glad I did it.
    Blessings to you!

  23. Megan Wahl says:

    I’m really digging (no dirt pun intended) those candleholders. Time for a shop for Seth? I’ll be a customer!

  24. My 15 year old daughter was just finally diagnosed with Lyme disease after having it for 2 and 1/2 years, not knowing what was making her hurt so much and be so tired all along (we went to lots of doctors, she tested negative early on and we never found a diagnosis until now, so she’s on the antibiotics/probiotics herbals etc etc now). I would be lying if I said I liked the Lyme Diet, it is very Lenten, and I hate it. I tried to do it for a week with her and punted it quickly! She’s stronger willed than I am:). I am going to try the Inflammation Factor program for her because I think that’s the point of it all, it seems a little more doable and understandable to me. Hard to do this for a kid! God bless you, Ginny! As always, your blog is so motivating and brings such peace.

  25. I read that book in two days. It’s amazing. While I haven’t made any major diet changes, we already practiced a lot of the common sense things he talks about. And with the supplements I was already taking (an amazing probiotic and gut health supplements) with my thyroid meds I really do feel great. Glad things are improving for you.

    • Yes! It made me happy that we were already in the right place with many of the things he suggested. What probiotic do you take? I try to switch every month. I just ordered Dr. Axe’s, but would love to know what supplements you are taking.

  26. jennyann1126 says:

    I can totally sympathize with your food issues after developing Graves disease with my last pregnancy. againstallgrain.com has amazing recipes and her cookbooks are top notch. They have helped sustain our family though the weird limited food options. She also has egg and nut free options for most recipes!

    • I may order her cookbooks… Do you have them? For some reason I don’t enjoy pulling recipes from the internet.

      • jennyann1126 says:

        I have the first two (bought used on Amazon) and they are the only cookbooks I use repeatedly. There are a lot of recipes in them she doesn’t have on the blog and every recipe I have loved. Which is quite shocking 🙂

        • Yeah, that is rare for a cookbook! I just ordered the first one used on Amazon, and requested the second from the library. 🙂 Thanks for mentioning these! I’ll be so happy when my month is up and I can add some foods back!

        • Kathleen says:

          I second the recommendation on Danielle Walker’s cookbooks. I’ve had great success with her recipes. I also recently started taking a collagen supplement every day. I have ulcerative colitis so I was interested in trying it to support my current remission with that chronic illness. But I also noticed that my fingernails had started splitting a lot. After taking the collagen daily for a couple weeks, my nails are totally back to normal.

          Thanks for the recommendation on the book too. Can’t wait to read it.

  27. Ariana W says:

    Eating simply can be a good thing to start feeling better again. I’m 40 and its been my aging experience that I simply can’t eat the things that I used to. I get severe migraines now when I have too much sugar. I can’t have caffeine past 2pm and coffee now makes me incredibly jittery and anxious whereas it never did before. When I talk with women in their 60/70s, they make comments like, oh, yes, I can’t eat the way I used to. An interesting aside, I know someone who cured severe celiac by eating “dirt”. Something to do with parasites/microbes found in soil that healed the gut….

  28. My daughter lived in China, way in the interior of China, and watched children there playing in dirt as well as eating it. She now has a baby and states dirt is PERFECT to help the immune system grow strong. Her daughter will definitely experience the joys of getting dirty from head to toe, and a little bit in the mouth on the way to the tummy!
    So glad you are feeling better! I have experienced anxiety, some times severe for years and have had thyroid issues as well. Your post really interest me, please continue to write how you are doing… I think I will go take some vitamins now and pull some simple foods out for dinner.

  29. Hi Ginny! I am so happy you have found an eating plan that works for you. I wanted to share a book that I’ve been following that has made a huge difference in my world. While I don’t have Hashimoto’s I have had Graves Disease for over 30 years [as do 4 of my children] and have been on every eating plan that has come around. I am now following Medical Medium, Anthony William, and am feeling the best I have ever felt. Just wanted to pass this on in case it might be of benefit to you.
    Much love.

  30. Nancy M says:

    I know it’s so hard figuring out all the diet stuff. I read with Hashimotos that you can be deficient on selenium and magnesium. So I take selenium in capsule form but I use Magnesium oil spray and also bought the calm drink & take Epsom salts baths. I had not realized how much anxiety I was experiencing. I thought maybe it was just getting older and having 3 teens but I found myself not wanting to drive at night or leaving my kids alone at night as my husband is gone on a long-term work project. So I think the Magnesium plays a role in that. I also added the collagen powder and I found a Coconut based powder that I also add to my hot coffee or I also make a morning drink using coconut milk, cacao powder, NuNaturals stevia and the collagen and coconut powder. If I don’t have the Coconut powder – I will stir in some coconut oil. I think the hardest thing for me is if I’m tired and don’t feel like cooking foods that are healthy for me & with my husband gone and running to track practice – that can also not help. So I also watch my iron, Vit D and Spuer B complex vitamins too. I know it’s a challenge but it sounds like you are doing well with it! Hang in there, it gets better. ☺🌷

  31. We just got another foot of snow here in Vermont. Seeing the bleeding hearts and the violets are a lovely sight. Thank you for sharing your photos.

    • We just moved from California to the east and I am seeing so many things I only read about in poems. I saw my first clump of snowdrops blooming and a cardinal! I’m hoping there are bleeding hearts here.

    • Hi fellow Vermonter : )

  32. hi ginny………..i have that book and love it – and i usually have a coconut milk smoothie with collagen for breakfast, too! glad you’re feeling well. i’m so looking forward to receiving your beautiful soaps in the mail 🙂

  33. Glad you’re feeling better! I am a soup, stew, and bone broth lover – so much so that I even wrote an ebook about Slovak soups. I’m pretty sure my oldest daughter would be happy eating them everyday. They are just so cozy (at least during cooler months).
    You’re giving me courage to try an elimination diet. My issues aren’t so severe but there is some definite gut healing that needs to take place. It’s just being the main cook for the family makes it extra harder.

  34. I can sympathize with the restricted diet. I’m following the same diet as you, although for different health issues. It is worth it though to feel so much better! I recommend you take a look at http://www.thepaleomom.com and http://www.healingfamilyeats.com for support and recipe ideas. There are many really good websites for the AIP (autoimmune protocol or Paleo AIP) which can be both a blessing and a curse (too many ideas). I find the online resources mainly helpful when I want a special treat for some special occasion (Easter for example) and I can find some tasty ones that still keep me on track with eating what makes me feel good. Over time you will probably find that you can add back in foods that are off limits for now. I can now have eggs occasionally, nuts and seeds, and the occasional nibble of cheese. You’re right though, I mostly crave simple food! I’m so pleased for you that you are feeling better!

  35. Hey Ginny, I’m so glad to hear you’re feeling well! Yay!

    Cheers and love,
    K Williams (P Flooers)

  36. I’m glad you’re feeling better! I’ve been looking at that collagen powder but I wasn’t sure about it. Having it in a smoothie sounds like a good idea. What kind of smoothie are you making?

  37. That bunny picture made me chuckle. Glad you’re feeling better!

  38. My dad used to say that his grandmother used to say, “Everyone eats a pound of dirt in their life, but please try not to do it in one sitting.”

  39. Love your blog and glad you are feeling better! I was diagnosed in January with graves hyperthyroidism which is also autoimmune but the opposite of your thyroid issue. I got treatment and also am feeling amazingly well these days. So good to feel normal again! I hope you continue to feel well too! 😀

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