Optimum Health the Paleo Way by Claire Yates – “You’re not doing Paleo right unless you’re eating more vegetables than a vegetarian”

I love books (as many of you who follow my Facebook page would know) you can never own too many books.

When this book landed on my table to review I was excited.


Why you may ask? Surely I have read every Paleo info/cookbook under the sun? Well not quite but almost! The major difference with this book is that it is written by an Australian author something that is pretty rare in the Paleo community at this point in time.

What does this mean for us? Apart from supporting a home-grown author and practitioner the book is full of practical all time favourite recipes that have been given the Paleo twist.

No converting measurements, wondering where you are going to find a Bison or elk to cook up (anyone else noticed that US authored books love their bison!!?) and any sauces/condiments used are easily found without having to ship them from the US.

This is a HUGE plus for me.  Even though I love all my US written Paleo books to be honest with you I am not a fan of many of the “Americanised” dishes  so find myself skipping those pages all together.

The recipes in Optimum Health the Paleo way also suit our climate and our seasonal produce. Claire also writes in a way that I think all Australians will relate well to.

A bit of background info on Claire Yates the author.  Claire is a Nutritional Medicine practitioner holding a Bachelor of Health Science. She is very passionate about the Paleo way of life and helps many of her clients in her private practice, Indi Nature in WA and you can also follow her on Facebook.

Now onto the book, it is broken into two parts.

Part one is about the Paleo Template which covers all of the below topics (see image).


Everything you needed to know about gut health, things that cause leaky gut, food intolerances, inflammation, what Paleo is, how to tailor Paleo to you and the all important “28 day Reset protocol” including all the tools and meal plans (huge bonus the work is done for you so no excuses!!) you need to give Paleo a go for 28 days to see if you can get down to the real cause of your health complaints or working your way to optimal health.

Let’s face it everyone in modern day society has some health issue and most people have just learnt to ignore the symptoms and carry on with life. This doesn’t have to be the case! Eating Paleo and undertaking a reset program like this (or elimination diet as many would call it) removing all the problematic foods society consumes daily really allows you to listen to your body and work out all those foods that perhaps you have not associated with headaches, eczema, sinus issues, bloating etc.

“You’re not doing Paleo right unless you’re eating more vegetables than a vegetarian” – This is my favourite quote from this book which I now use EVERYWHERE when people say to me “ugh, I can’t eat that much meat, that Paleo diet is all about meat”.

This is the worst misconception about the Paleo lifestyle. It isn’t about meat; you build your meals around vegetables, then fat then protein.

I can safely say I eat more vegetables now that I follow this Paleo diet than my short lived vegetarian stint. My boys love their veggies and they are the main part of our diet (even above fruit, fruit should be eaten in smaller quantities – and yes this took me awhile to get my head around too!)

More veggies, less fruit, and LOTS more GOOD fats than we as a Western society are used to eating.

Fat is not an evil word. It is the basis on how your whole body functions. Your brain is largely made up for fats about 60% in total.  A newborns brain grows about three times its size in the first year of life. Starve the brain on a the recommended “Low fat “ Standard Australian diet as promoted by our Government eating guidelines and the Heart Foundation and we are a nation full of nutrient deprived people with diseases and neurological conditions popping up faster than Dr’s can diagnose them.

Claire covers many fascinating aspects of how the body works, what it needs to perform at its optimal level of health and many help topics along the way to help those already suffering from a variety of health conditions.

Part two of the book is recipes!

Over 100 recipes for meals, drinks, snacks and treats (yes there is no deprivation living a Paleo lifestyle, the right way of doing it is just enjoying these healthier “treat” options only occasionally – they are NOT every day foods as “treats” have become in our modernised world. When you eat a diet that satisfies you and your curb your cravings you don’t miss these “treat” foods at all. I can’t even remember the last time I ate a sweet (other than a home-made coconut cream based sorbet) and I don’t’ miss them at all!

The book hasn’t been written as a family cookbook specifically but there is something for everyone even if you serve it up to the kids a little differently. Some of the recipes only serve 2 so recipe would need to be doubled/tripled etc. for families.

It covers everything from condiments and Paleo essentials (home-made milks, pestos, dressings etc)soups, salads, granola, smoothies, juices, side dishes, Paleo pizza!!, lots of Asian inspired dishes, meatballs/patties, sorbets, slices, pancakes, good old fashioned warming winter meals, BBQ favourites  and lots lots more.

Many of the meals only have a handful of ingredients which is what real food should be about; you don’t need a thousand ingredients to create a fresh, healthy honest meal.

For those of you like us, who have allergies to consider there is nut & egg use in this book (as well as nightshades & FODMAPS foods) but with a few simple modifications you would be able to cook the vast majority of what’s in the book.

Claire and her publishing company have given the go ahead for me to publish a recipe from the book which I think you will all love and perfect at this time of year with cherries in season.

Chocolate Cherry Bites (makes about 25)

34 cherries, cut in half and pitted

2 cups of toasted shredded coconut

70g cacao butter

1 cup coconut cream

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

200g dark chocolate (at least 85% cacao)

1 small handful of cacao nibs

  1. Preheat oven to 160 deg Celsius (320F)
  2. Line both a baking tray and baking tin (approx 18cm x 28cm x 3cm deep with baking paper
  3. Place the cherries on the tray and roast for 20 mins. Set the cherries aside to cool slightly then place them in a blender with 1 cup of the shreadded coconut and coconut boil and blend until well combined. Press the cherry mixture firmly into the base of the baking tin and freeze for 5 – 10 mins.
  4. Place the cacao butter, coconut cream and vanilla bean paste in a saucepan over a gentle heat and stir until the cacao butter has melted.
  5. Mix the remaining shredded coconut and cacao butter mixture and pour it over teh first cherry layer again pressing down firmly. Place the tray back in the freezer for another 5 – 10 mins.
  6. Over a double boiler melt the dark chocolate then pour it over the slice as the top layer. Sprinkle over the cacao bins and place the tray back into the freezer until set
  7. Cut the slice into bite size pieces and store in the fridge. (and try not to eat all at once! How fab do they look??!!!)



So there you have it, not only is this book packed full of information in an easy to understand format written in a manner that makes it a pleasure to read, but it also provides you with the tools such as meal plans (which let’s face it when you’re new to a way of eating or elimination diets /reset protocol are always handy to have or even when you are simply too busy to meal plan on your own) as well as the recipes to go along with it whilst supporting a local author. What more could you ask for?

I highly recommend Optimum Health the Paleo Way for a range of people, from people new to Paleo, those who are trying to work out intolerances, for those who follow the Paleo diet and just need some inspiration or even people who are just after some “clean”, wholesome nutrient dense foods the way we as humans should be eating for optimal health.

You can buy the book in hard copy from here  and also as an EBook if that is your preferred way to read books.

So what have you got to lose? Try the 28 day reset and reap the benefits of the Paleo diet – hands down the best “lifestyle diet” I’ve ever eaten.

In health


I’d like to thank Claire and Exisle Publishing for allowing me the opportunity to review this book and for my complimentary copy.

Book Review – The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott

autoimmune book

Master 3’s healing journey living the Paleo lifestyle (whilst being allergic to wheat/eggs/dairy/nuts and more, as well as having intolerances to a host of other foods) has been a positive one. He is no longer the itchy, covered in eczema child he once was and he is sleeping again and no longer in constant pain.

Lachlan had been gluten free for as long as I could remember then passed his wheat challenge as a baby only to be diagnosed this year with a IgE wheat allergy (again) after I asked for him to be retested for wheat as I knew something wasn’t quite right.

I had also had independant IgG testing done through our Naturopath in December 2012 and wheat and a host of other items (like rice and legumes) came up as intolerances which is when we transitioned slowly to Paleo.

Interestingly many of the IgG responses we received when retested as IgE allergies in May this year at Westmead Childrens Hospital Allergy/Eczema clinic also came up positive allergies).
(Read more about our story here.)

Even though he was thriving on Paleo and his eczema was disappearing before our eyes now that grains had been removed something still wasn’t quite right. This lead me to yet more research and I stumbled across a diet called the “Autoimmune Paleo Protocol” online.

This protocol removes additional items such as eggs, nuts, seeds and nightshades which are all included in the normal Paleo diet.

Lachlan although he was not eating eggs or nuts due to his anaphylactic allergies to these items, was still consuming seeds and nightshades almost everyday in some form. Upon removing these items from his diet we saw a vast improvement in his energy levels, sleeping patterns, recovering from illness time and in his skin which was already doing really well since removing grains, legumes and pseudo grains like quinoa. His gut was finally getting the break it needed and it was showing on the outside.

Since I had always cooked with seeds (including things like mustard), and especially nightshades (tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, capsicum) I hit a wall as to how to prepare food for Lachlan and still have variety (especially since he can only consume chicken and fish as his protein due to being beef intolerant and wasn’t really tolerating lamb either as a baby so we removed this also).

It was then I came across this book. The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott, which made the transition from Paleo to Autoimmune Paleo so much easier!

(You can follow Mickey on Facebook and online at http://www.autoimmune-paleo.com. )

The book at this stage is only available as a PDF download from Mickey’s website (details provided at end of blog post) but she is looking to have it printed in the future.

Mickey herself is a chef and a Nutritional therapy practitioner who was vegan for quite sometime and then was diagnosed with Celiac and Hashimotos disease – both autoimmune conditions. She found her health deteriorating and introduced fish to her diet and then transitioned from vegan to Paleo slowly reversing mineral and vitamin deficiencies and then came across the Autoimmune Protocol herself which she credits to “making her feel like a real person again”.

This lead her to doing extensive research on the Autoimmune Protocol and therefore using her chef skills to prepare this Ecookbook to help others out in managing their autoimmune conditions.

The book itself includes over 100 AIP (Autoimmune Protocol Paleo) friendly recipes which are all free from dairy, eggs, nuts, grains, beans and nightshades – all foods which cross the gut lining causing further inflammation in a already ravaged leaky gut – something we all have to some degree but those with autoimmune conditions most certainly have.

Mickey has also included great lists such as these (below) which are nice and easy to print and stick on the fridge/pantry as a quick reference as to what to include and what to avoid on the AIP protocol.

Even though we have been following this protocol for some time and I live and breathe these lists, they are still stuck on our fridge as a constant reminder!

Foods to include
Foods to avoid

The book also includes 2 x 4 week meal plans and shopping lists making it perfect for those of you who are time poor or hate meal planning or just starting out and a little overwhelmed as to where to begin.

The book covers basics like making bone broths for the recipes, Kombucha, kefir, coconut milk/cream and covers all meal categories – Appetizers, Beverages, Dressings/Sauces, Salads, Soups (Beet & Fennel is Master 3’s favorite – he has named this Dragon Blood soup), Vegetables, Chicken, Seafood, Beef and Lamb and of course desserts – yes you can even eat yummy desserts on the AIP protocol such as this beautiful Coconut Raspberry “Cheesecake” which Mickey has allowed me to publish here for you along with her super yummy Coconut crusted Cod recipe.
Coconut Raspberry “Cheesecake”
coconut cake
Crust Ingredients:
  • 3 cups dates pitted and soaked for 5 minutes in warm water
  • 1 cup coconut oil melted
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Filling ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups raw honey
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut butter (a.k.a. coconut cream concentrate –Mickey has a recipe for homemade coconut butter in her book.
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 5 cups frozen raspberries
  • 6 tablespoons tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • fresh raspberries for garnish
  • thick coconut flakes for garnish

1. Place the jars of coconut oil, coconut butter and raw honey in a pan with very hot water in order to let them soften.

2. To prepare the crust, preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Strain the dates and place in a food processor or high-powered blender with the melted coconut oil. Blend for 30 seconds or so until a chunky paste forms. Be warned you may have to stop and scrape the sides if you are using a blender, and the oil will not completely mix with the dates, but the crust will still turn out fine. Combine the coconut flour, shredded coconut and salt in a bowl. Add the date paste and mix thoroughly. Place the mixture into the bottom of an 8″ spring-form pan, pressing the mixture down evenly. Use a small spatula to clean up the top edge around the sides of the pan, where the filling will meet the crust. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the crust browns and hardens a little bit. The texture will still be soft until it finishes cooling. Set aside while you make the filling.

3. To make the filling, combine the raw honey, coconut butter, coconut oil, and frozen raspberries in a saucepan on low heat. Stir until the raspberries are no longer frozen and the mixture is warm, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender and add the tapioca starch, vanilla extract, and salt. Blend on high for about a minute, until completely mixed. Pour carefully into the spring-form pan on top of the crust.

4. Set in the refrigerator undisturbed for at least 12 hours to allow the cake to cool and completely harden. When it is solid, carefully remove the spring-form pan. Decorate the top of the cake with thick flake coconut chips and fresh raspberries.

A great dinner or lunch dish we love is the Coconut Crusted Cod

Coconut Crusted Cod

24 ounces cod fillets, cut into 2 inch thick strips
1 1⁄2 cups coconut flour
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ginger powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup finely shredded coconut
2 tablespoons coconut oil
mango salsa (p.72)

1. Wash, dry, and debone the cod fillets.
2. Combine the coconut flour, ginger powder and salt on a plate or shallow bowl. Place the coconut milk in another shallow bowl, as well as the shredded coconut. Dip the cod strips into the coconut milk, then the coconut flour mixture, back into the coconut milk, and finally into the shredded coconut, paying special attention to creating a thick breading.
3. Heat the coconut oil in the bottom of a skillet on high heat. When it is hot, cook the cod strips for five minutes a side depending on thickness of the fish, or until the top and bottom are nice and browned and the fish is cooked throughout. Once the cod strips are in the pan, try not to fuss with them too much – because there is no egg in the breading, they are a little delicate.
4. Serve with mango salsa.

The book is beautifully photographed and Mickey can also email you a text only version if you would like to print it (I have it saved on my computer and iPad for use in the kitchen (as it is interactive wherever the text is highlighted) and also have the text only version printed & bound at Officeworks for quick use in the kitchen.

I really think even if you don’t wish to follow the Autoimmune protocol for gut healing but have food allergies or intolerances to any of the above ingredients (which I know many of you do, especially things like nightshades (tomatoes etc) this book is a great resource to help you with variety in your diet and I highly recommend it.

It has introduced me to a whole new way of cooking and lead me to adapt my own little selection of AIP friendly recipes from the foods I used to cook for our family.

I can’t thank Mickey enough, she is a lovely lady to deal with as well and I wish her all the best with her book.

This protocol is truly life changing and I speak from experience with Master 3.

You can buy The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott through my affiliate link here: Click here to visit Autoimmune Paleo and I will receive a small commision which allows me to buy more books to review for you all.

(I paid full price for my copy).

Look forward to hearing from any of you who wish to know more about AIP or if you do purchase the book or already own it your thoughts.

In health,

~ Kat

Practical Paleo – Book Review

Practical Paleo

The title says it all.. Don’t expect Masterchef creations from this book because you won’t find them.

What you will find is real, quick wholesome Paleo food for people from all walks of life.

Diane Sanfilippo holds a Bachelors degree and is a Certified Nutritional Consultant who runs a great health blog called “Balanced Bites” (and is also on Facebook) as well as having her own private nutrition consulting practice, teaching nutrition seminars throughout America and has a top rating weekly podcast “The Balanced Bites” podcast which you can download for Free from ITunes.

She is also responsible for the very popular 21 Day Sugar Detox on Facebook.

Below is a chapter by chapter breakdown of what the book includes:

The book starts off by explaining what the Paleo lifestyle is and how it can benefit you.

It then goes into great detail in easy to read tables of what is and isn’t “allowed” in the Paleo diet, how to budget for the Paleo diet, how to eat out Paleo as well as Paleo travelling tips.

The next section of the book gets down to the How’s, why’s and how to fix common health issues in aspects of the human body.

Diane then covers Leaky gut, in a very easy to read and understand way, perfect for people who don’t want to wade through many medically written journals filled with jargon you need a medical degree to understand.

She talks about anti – nutrients and  how to heal a leaky gut.

There is a great section on Blood sugar regulation and sweeteners, and a very handy FAQ section which covers many topics people ask when considering the Paleo lifestyle.

Part Two of the book is the 30 day Meal Plans in which Diane has broken down by health conditions covering

  • Autoimmune conditions (see picture below for list of conditions covered)

Autoimmune conditions

  • Blood Sugar Regulation (Diabetes Type 1 & 2), dysglycemia, hypoglycemia)
  • Digestive Health (leaky gut, IBS, IBD, Crohn’s Disease, Colitis and ulcerative colitis and Celiac Disease)
  • Thyroid Health (autoimmune Hashimoto’s or otherwise & hyperthyroidism)
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromylagia and Chronic Fatigue
  • Neurological Health (Parkinsons and Alzheimers disease)
  • Heart Health (Cholesterol and blood pressure)
  • Cancer Recovery
  • Athletic Performance
  • Fat Loss
  • Squeaky Clean Paleo

Each section includes the page numbers of the recipes best suited to each condition as well as diet & lifestyle recommendations in the way of what to add and avoid and any nutritional supplements and herbs to consider for the specific condition.

Sample of the meal plans for Digestive Health

Sample of the meal plans for Digestive Health

Now Part 3 is the fun bit!!

All the yummy recipes including really simple information for those new to cooking because lets face it there are quite a few people who don’t know the basics and this book covers them which I think is great as a lot of people don’t cook because no one has shown them the basics. This is why I believe it’s critical to get kids in the kitchen helping from a very early age, we want them to be able to cook nutritious food for themselves when they finally do leave the nest so to speak!

From spice blends to broths and everything in between the recipe section is categorized by ingredient (poultry, beef, pork, seafood, sides, salads, treats & sweets etc)  with each recipe having a lovely photograph to accompany it.  (Because we all love to see what it is we are making!)

The recipes use simple, easy to find ingredients (well minus the Bison we don’t have too many of them wandering around) making this easy everyday food.

The back of the book contains tear out tables (that featured at the front of the book) so you can stick on the fridge or pantry door for easy reference without having to photocopy of have the book on hand at all times.

I give this book a 10/10 and a must have in a Paleo kitchen. (and I haven’t been paid to review this book!)

It’s easy to use, explains things in really easy to understand language (and I’ve had to read some pretty full on medically written journals to learn a lot of what is in this book about autoimmune health conditions) and is something you can really easily and practically pull out a few ingredients and have dinner on the table pretty quickly.

Having the 30 day meal plans already done for you also helps out greatly if you are new to Paleo, Autoimmune Paleo (and trying to navigate the do’s & don’ts as Autoimmune Paleo is a little more restrictive with no eggs, nuts, seeds, nightshades and certain spices) or if you are just time poor and want the work done for you.

The book is available online from a variety of Online bookstores and a portion is available to look at on Amazon.

You may also be able to find it at bookstores but I haven’t come across it at any local ones but maybe the larger stores in major cities may stock it, otherwise online is your best bet shop around for the best deal.

I will be continuing to review my favourite books that I have read in the past or currently reading so keep an eye out for more book reviews.

I would love to know some of your favourite books/cookbooks?

Happy reading



Our story, the journey so far

It almost felt like going through time warp writing this especially as a lot of our journey was done sleep deprived and with a lot of stress!

I had a very easy pregnancy with Lachlan, apart from a bout of sciatica I had no other complaints.

I again went overdue with him (as I did Riley) only this time I opted to be induced as it was for us at the time the right thing to do with a 21 month old at home and little support around us in case I went into labour whilst hubby was at work. (I also had to be partially induced with Riley as I went into labour and stalled at 3cm and he had to be born with forceps so I was hoping to avoid all that stress again).

Labour was a breeze (compared to that of Riley’s) after the induction period it lasted all of about 2.5 hours. Little (or should I say not so little 3.92kg) Lachlan Cooper was born into the world he latched on like a baby possessed and fed and slept like a little dream so life was good.


Collage from birth (good and bad weeks) till 2 years of age

Collage from birth (good and bad weeks) till 2 years of age

It was about the 3.5/4 month mark that Lachlan developed eczema and from my notes in his Blue Book he had a really bad bout of it which required antibiotics and steroid creams.

(I was no stranger to steroid creams in that I had to use them for a very small period of time with Riley when he was small as he also had eczema – his was more environmental issues as he has dust mite and pollen allergies, and once we started air drying his clothes inside his eczema disappeared within a month or two. I never liked to use them & used the least amount I could as I didn’t believe what the GP was telling me that these steroid where safe to us.. I mean they are steroids!??

I battled his eczema round after round and had another lot of antibiotics much to my dismay, I personally hate the use of antibiotics but it had gotten so bad even after following all the GP’s advice it was the only way of keeping him out of hospital with a skin infection. At this point I felt hopeless, like I’d let my son down and life with two babies under 2 was getting on top of me.

Being the very determined person I am I threw my very sleep deprived self into researching everything I could about eczema. I would read till I fell asleep and even then tried to read some more. The more I read the more connection with food allergies and allergens in general I came across, I asked our GP who didn’t think there was a connection but my gut was telling me something wasn’t right.

I tried a dairy free period of which I saw a significant improvement in Lachlan’s skin (I wasn’t eating much dairy at the time as dairy isn’t really my friend either) and when I would reintroduce it his skin became worse. I also noticed every time I breastfed him his face would become quite red and hot to touch for a period of time and would then subside.

Months past and I plodded along with the boys doing the best I could with a very unsettled cranky itchy baby who would constantly attack his face. I was  awaiting an opening with a paediatric dermatologist but there was a couple of months wait to see one so I continued to research.

Then on the 8th November 2010 I was in the kitchen clearing up the boys dinners when I gave Lachlan a baby teething rusk as his teeth were giving him some grief only to turn around and find his lip had started to swell tenfold. Then the drooling started I knew something was going horribly wrong so rang 000. I can’t recall much of what happened in the time I was on the phone or when the ambulance got there (Thankfully we lived about 10 mins from a major hospital at the time and the ambulance arrived quite quickly) but I remember I was shaking and terrified with a toddler sitting with me just waiting unable to do anything. I still feel sick to my stomach about that night. The two paramedics who arrived where just amazing, they calmed me down, got Lachlan in the ambulance and started to administer adrenalin to stop his reaction. At this point I remember Lachlan trying to scream but he couldn’t, his eyes wide open staring at me helpless.

Being so little (6 months old at the time) I knew how quickly a baby’s health could deteriorate so I was petrified I would lose him. They worked on him in the ambulance for a bit and managed to stop the reaction and my husband got home at this point and Lachlan and I were driven as fast as they could to the ER. It didn’t help that evening a huge hailstorm was brewing and the traffic was horrendous. It felt like the longest drive of my life.

We got into the ER straight away and given his age he was given priority and it took a good 3-4 hours to stabilise him and even get the necessary needles/drips etc into him. It took 3 or 4 nurses to get one drip into him I think we had seen half of the ER staff by this point as they couldn’t find his veins. It was horrible to watch him go through it and he was badly bruised all up his little arms after it. Finally stabilised very late that night we got transferred to the children’s ward waiting room of the hospital to wait for a bed.  The two paramedics I cannot thank enough, they came to see us several times whilst we were waiting for a bed just to check up on him.

I remember it being a very long sleepless night, I couldn’t let Lachlan go nor did I want to. I think I eventually fell asleep with him on my chest in the world’s most uncomfortable chair. I was physically and mentally drained that night but so thankful to have my baby boy safe in my arms.

The next day the hospitals head paediatrician and what felt like a thousand trainees came to access Lachlan. It was recommended that we avoid all dairy, eggs, nuts, peanuts and wheat until our appointment which they had organised at Westmead Children’s Hospital Allergy clinic in the December until we knew what sort of allergies we were dealing with. We were not prescribed any Epi Pen given his age and were just to go on life as normal until then. The waiting and not knowing what to feed him for this period was very hard. I almost became too scared to feed him anything and I didn’t have any other advice from the hospital staff as what to do.

As fate would have it we actually had our appointment with the specialist paediatric dermatologist scheduled for later that week. (I had forgotten this until now I went through my notes in his blue book. I always thought we saw him before Lachlan’s reaction). When we arrived he was quite arrogant and fobbed off every question I had regarding food allergies, sensitivities and their links to eczema. He told us straight up there was no connection at all it was all environmental and in his words “was something he would learn to live with for the rest of his life” and it could be managed easily with steroids and antibiotics.

As you can imagine we were outraged,  Needless to say we never made the follow up appointment with this dermatologist and waited for our allergy testing for the following month still forever researching.

We celebrated a birthday and  Riley was helping me make the birthday cupcakes he accidently brushed up some raw egg on his cheek, he immediately broke out in a rash all over his face. My heart sank and thought oh no not again so I quickly gave him some antihistamines and within 10 mins he was fine. I rang the allergy unit and spoke with the allergist we were due to see and he booked Riley in as well for cross testing with Lachlan. (Riley had been eating eggs baked in things with no reactions since about 12 months old).

December rolled on and Hubby, Riley, Lachlan and I went to Westmead Children’s hospital. It was a long day with two kids in a waiting room with lots of tests and questions and trying to recall the events of that evening. The allergist had us have skin prick tests for both boys.

The verdict for Lachlan he tested positive to Milk, Wheat, and Peanuts, Egg (both yolk & white) with the egg and milk readings being quite high. I sat there reading and being told the results and the flood of information that came with it and burst into tears. It was so much to take in and so much to process in such a short amount of time. I really wasn’t expecting a list that extensive and they had only tested the major allergens today not to overload us.

Riley’s came up with eggs and peanuts. (He had never previously had peanuts before thank goodness!) The allergist was confident that his readings to eggs and given he had eaten them before with no major issues he would grow out of but for now we were just to avoid till the next appointment.

We saw the Dietician and spent some time with her got handed a folder full of information and that was it till March… We could email or call with any questions but that was it. No Epi Pen just we will see you in 3 months.

Lachlan’s wheat reading was considered low so they arranged for him to be challenged in hospital at this time as he did not have the developmental skills as of yet to be able to eat textured foods (they test with weetbix in the oral challenge). I did question the allergist and asked him in order for me to continue breastfeeding should I go allergen free which he said he didn’t recommend as it was very stressful on the mother. My heart told me it was the right thing to do so I did it anyway. This is when I put my already very healthy diet under complete scrutiny. Everything changed for the better when I decided to do this. Lachlan’s skin started to clear up (but we would still have our up and down weeks) but we seemed to be getting there but still using steroids.

At this time the allergist discussed a formula if I wanted to go down this path, my heart was telling me no, my head was fighting me with maybe this is the way things need to be? so we did a one day trial of soy formula (which I have only just forgiven myself about recently) as they would not give me a script for a specialty formula for him. Both he and I cried that day like nothing else, he refused to drink it and I don’t blame him it looked and smelt awful, and I immediately knew that there was no way I was going to do this. I also started researching soy at the same time and knew after reading the first 2 or 3 documents that this was NOT ok nor would I continue. If I had to remain allergen free I had done it for so long I could do it till 12 months of age at least.

March came and we went in for the 6 hour challenge. We were placed in a large room filled with kids, and their parents and a host of nurses and allergists and this is where we would remain till the end of the challenge and observation period to make sure no delayed reaction occurred. First they nurses started with a smear of weetbix (in water) on Lachlan’s cheek and then waited 10 mins, no reaction meant we moved to the next step of on the lip, wait, not reaction, then move onto inside the mouth etc etc till he was able to eat a full spoon of weetbix with no reaction.  We were considered a pass by the end of the challenge but needed to keep this up to build full tolerance to wheat and we had to stop if his skin got worse or we had any other symptoms. We did this and didn’t see any major changes in his skin so kept going with it to build the tolerance of it.

It was the month before in February that I purchased my Thermomix. Not trusting anything from a shop other than pure veggies, fruit and meat I learnt quite quickly that this machine would save my sanity with two young children and the amount of meal prep that lay before me.

I weaned Lachlan at 13 months and he never went on to any other form of milk or formula much to the dismay of the dieticians. Riley had never been a milk drinker nor did he have milk after he weaned at 12 months and he was a great eater so I had no concerns. Once I had weaned Lachlan I instantly saw changes in his skin. Even though I was completely allergen free he was still reacting to some of the proteins in my breast milk.

In this time we had decided to sell our older style home (which wasn’t helping the dust mite allergies Riley & I have or Lachlan’s eczema despite it being an all timber floored home) and build a new one, a fresh start for us all. So we hunted around for a carpet free home to rent whilst we waited for our land to register and the build to start. We noticed a change in Lachlan’s skin when we moved into our rental home which was all tiled. The older style home (which was still very neat and tidy) still had 50+ year of dust and obviously wasn’t helping with Lachlan’s skin.

In this time I started experimenting with different recipes trying to get my head around allergen free cooking now he was a toddler and not a baby although the delay in lumpy textures meant he was on purees for a lot longer than what most children are.

We were back in June for more testing and this time we tested tree nuts as well which added to our list of positive skin prick tests.

It was in the September that Feeding Two Growing Boys was born. I had lots of my personal friends asking me for recipes and a few allergy forums I belonged to at the time so I started the Facebook page to keep in touch with others newly working their way through this maze.

It was during this time that through pure trial and error I worked out Lachlan was soy and beef intolerant. This was through short elimination diets (which I talk about in my blog post “The right diet, is there such a thing”.) The nappies that came from eating beef where horrendous. Think about the worst nappy you have changed ever and multiple it by 10 and then some and this was 6 – 12 times a day. Something was very very wrong. I later came across the cross reaction theory in that children with cow’s milk allergies have an extremely high percentage (the actual percentage escapes me and I can’t find the source of where I got the info from anymore) of being cross reactive to beef. The stomach pains and screaming that happened at night time where like that of a child having nightmares, it was so heart wrenching to watch him in so much pain so beef & lamb (similar symptoms) were off the menu and through more eliminations other foods such as broccoli as well.

So I did the cooking with all the easy substitutions (egg replacer, Nuttelex etc) whilst I was finding my feet into healthier allergy friendly cooking. I found most of the recipe books written and the info given from the hospital to be high in sugar, bad fats and made it my mission to work towards better options. This is when I stumbled onto Fed UP by Sue Dengate. We trialled the “Failsafe” diet for a short period but once again I knew it wasn’t right for us. I found it very highly processed and once again bad fats and the no fruit other than pears honestly freaked me out. I grew up eating every fruit imaginable and the boys loved it to so this was going against everything I knew!!! (I know this diet works so well for so many but for us it wasn’t the right fit, we were always additive, preservative and colour free which I completely agree with we should all aim for this).

I then came across a few gut healing books which at the time had me in a spin, The Body Ecology diet by Donna Gates which at the time I had to reread a few time to process the information as it was full on. How on earth was I going to get a toddler to eat what she recommended??  I mean the boys where great eaters but I didn’t see it happening. I understood the connection with healing the gut so I kept researching as I was determined there had to be better ways to manage this but I did take a break with the trying to find the right solution as life with the two boys and the new build and running a business was all I could take at that point so just went with keeping Lachlan fed and safe which I did.

We had our next appointment in the May and we added a few more tree nuts to the list of positives and milk & egg readings were higher again.

A much happier, healthier child actually wanting to partake in activities

A much happier, healthier child actually wanting to partake in activities

Once we moved into our newly finished home in June, I had gathered enough information for me to start thinking about making some big changes. I did several more elimination diets (mostly gluten and wheat free) all whilst having a toddler who had gone from sleeping quite well to not at all. He was itchy, cranky and we were both so sleep deprived it was a horrible time one where I am surprised we both survived sane. Something had to give; I was in tears constantly through sheer frustration and exhaustion. The upkeep of the house from a constantly skin shedding child was huge, vacuuming his entire bed morning, after his day sleep and before bedtime, the floor and keeping our house clutter free was essential as was the mountains of washing.  I also found Riley playing up a lot in the last few months given all the time I was spending researching and trying to keep Lachlan from attacking himself and the amount of cooking I did. It was exhausting to have to deal with them both.

It was at this point I found a lot of the Failsafe ladies had moved onto Biomedical Dr’s and specialists and started investigating that route and then noticed a lot of them had then moved on to GAPS which I started to research (another Gut healing program), before taking a leap of faith and seeing a Naturopath as everything was pointing to leaky gut something no Dr knew anything about. The allergists couldn’t even explain it to me I felt like I was the one giving them a lecture every time we had an appointment.
Everything changed from here. We started him on a few supplements (I had always had him on magnesium, flaxseed oil, a probiotic and a green calcium through my research) but our naturopath wanted to detox his liver. We then ordered the IgG blood test in which we opted to test 93 foods this one test has changed our lives dramatically.
Lachlan tested very highly to grains (including rice, oats, barley and wheat). I always said  I had a gut feeling that something he had every day would come up as an irritant (rice) and sure enough it did. I started researching Grain free diets and it lead me to Paleo which I had heard quite a lot of following the pages that I had been for sometime but never thought to look into it anymore. Since being loosely Paleo (and I say loosely as Paleo is a diet rich in red meat, eggs and nuts are also included so we couldn’t follow 100% due to his known allergies) his eczema within a couple of weeks was nearly all gone. It was like a miracle cure that you hear or read about. I was amazed how quickly his body responded, the grains were irritating his gut and therefore causing the inflammation (which is what eczema is – it’s your bodies way of showing you something on the inside is not happy!).
To date we are currently doing the full 6 month elimination of all the foods he tested to and will then slowly reintroduce one by one and see what happens. I have also loosely done a Automimmune Paleo diet with him which is Paleo with some exclusions (nightshades, seeds, eggs etc) which a mix of the two is working well for us. He does tolerate spelt so we have chosen to keep that in his diet but only use it very sparingly as we don’t want to upset his healing gut.
He is now back to sleeping 12 hours a night, isn’t shedding the piles of skin a day so my workload has decreased and he isn’t scratching nearly as much (if he is tired or bored he will start out of habit).  He is such a happier little boy and has gained so much confidence in himself (he was very self conscious about his skin even at the young age of 2, he wouldn’t let anyone look at his skin but me and even then he was embarrassed about it) and now he is quite happy to show you his “Lovely skin, like Riley’s” as he calls it.
Last week we had our yearly skin prick test review and to no surprise to me he tested IgE (an actual allergy) to wheat again the same as when he was originally tested as a baby. He also tested IgE to rye, oats and barley which he also did in his IgG intolerance testing. Surprisingly though the allergist wants to perform a egg challenge on him due to his egg reading coming down slightly. Now I know from his IgG tests his body is highly rejecting eggs as a intolerance so he may never be able to eat them but it would be nice to think we could move from being labelled highly allergic to intolerant to eggs.
We have a month and a bit to go on the recommended 6 month elimination we are currently doing based on his IgG results which I will then sit down and reevaluate our next move.
How far he has come!

How far he has come!

So there you have it, long but to get the full story it had to be this way.

It’s been a long and stressful journey but I tell you it’s opened my eyes to so many different things and opportunities I would have never considered even doing in life like running FTGB’s facebook page, starting to write a cookbook and helping so many people who are at their wits end with their kids allergies/intolerances or just who are just overwhelmed with information they don’t even know where to start. I’ve been there and I know how they feel, it’s a lonely long road to travel and I hope that FTGB’s is a place you can come and “nut out” ideas, theories and most of all be supported by people going through a similar journey.
If you suspect leaky gut or digestive issues with your children or yourself it’s worth investigating the Paleo diet or even GAPS or Autoimmune Protocol if you have a confirmed autoimmune disease.
With 70% of our immune system located around the digestive system it is essential to eat well. Your overall health literally depends on it.
The information shared on Feeding Two Growing Boys is based solely on my own personal experiences and research.
The information offered here is not intended to replace medical/trained holistic advice.
Before beginning or making any changes please always consult your chosen health care provider.

The right diet… Is there such a thing?

Does anyone else feel like the more they read and research the more everything begins to contradict itself??? (Especially when you are looking at gut healing).

One book says include this, the other books or blogs claims it’s the worst thing for you, so what do you believe without going crazy thinking about it all??

A typical week’s reading/research for me!

A typical week’s reading/research for me!

To be honest there is no one size fits all diet or lifestyle that works. Some people’s bodies need meat, others do well without it. It’s the same with dairy and grains and everything in between!

The key is listening to your body and finding what works for you. The ultimate goal is living life without underlying health issues and knowing how good it feels to have a body that functions well.

So much of society these days are so used to feeling run down, lethargic, constipated or to the other extreme, bloated, having migraines, headaches, cramps and don’t do anything about it because they are not connecting these symptoms with the foods they are putting into their bodies when in reality everything you put in your body determines how you are going to function and feel.

We need to go back to remembering food is fuel for us, the same way petrol is to a car. You put the wrong fuel in and well the car isn’t going to run very well, if it runs at all? Eat crap and you will feel crap, eat food that nourishes your body and your body will perform at its peak.

I’ve been everything, a meat eater (although I haven’t eaten red meat since a teenager by choice), vegan, vegetarian and am now a very happy poultry & fish eating, sometimes organic dairy eating whole foodie who dabbles in a bit of paleo but still includes a little spelt as it’s tolerated.. Confusing much!!???

The point is I have found what works for my body – I’ve never tolerated dairy well but can stomach some biodynamic organic dairy and a little feta cheese every so often and recently tried sheep’s yoghurt which was quite easy on the stomach. My eldest Riley is much the same with dairy and my youngest; Lachlan is anaphylactic so total avoidance of all dairy products for him.

I don’t like labels so choose not to label the way we eat (other than it being REAL food) but sometimes have to for others to understand what we are doing with the whole gut healing journey we are on for Lachlan (Master 3). For him grains and legumes are highly irritating to his gut and as soon as we removed these from his diet it was like a miracle overnight cure to his eczema after battling it for so long. It was truly amazing the effect things like rice, rice milk etc were having on his stomach.

A visual of the Real food movement philosophy

A visual of the Real food movement philosophy

We are always taught (especially as new mums) that rice is one of the least allergenic foods out there but believe me rice allergies/intolerances are actually really common these days and many believe it’s due to these hard to digest foods being given to babies as “first foods” when really in my opinion (and many others) now I have done extensive research into leaky gut/digestive diseases and autoimmune conditions, we should be holding off on grains for as long as we can in babies, their immature guts are just not cut out for it at 4-6 months old (the general accepted guidelines for introducing solids  (although in my opinion 6 months is better for a better formed gut).  There are so many great first food choices for babies, Sally Fallon author of “Nourishing Traditions” goes into great details in her books as to why & what a baby should be eating, I highly recommend checking out her books. She is highly regarded in the Real food movement.

So you’re all probably thinking –  how do you go about finding out what’s right for you and what’s possibly giving you grief?

It’s really about listening to your body and how you feel after you eat something. The best way to find these things out is through short elimination trials. One to two weeks is plenty (if you do not have underlying health issues such as leaky gut etc otherwise it is at least a 3- 6 month elimination required here once you know what you are dealing with) and then you reintroduce the eliminated food slowly and look for your body’s response to it. And remember it’s only doing one food at a time otherwise you won’t know what was possibly affecting you.

Keeping a food diary is a must when doing this as well as noting any symptoms you have no matter how small.

The most common foods that cause issues in many people are dairy, wheat, gluten but there are many many more.

I  personally believe no person should include preservatives, colours, additives, sulphites (there are some naturally occurring sulphites in foods which are ok but some people do react to them also) and manmade sugars (aspartame etc) in their diets; they do nothing for your body and have been linked to so many health issues and diseases.

This is where a REAL food diet comes into play. Think about how our grandparents ate it was very different to what the modern standard Australian diet (SAD) is today, so over processed and holds little nutritional value.

So if you aren’t feeling well, constantly tired, bloated, having bowel issues etc, challenge yourself to a elimination. Keep foods simple during the trial (caffeine and soft drinks, alcohol, chocolate etc are best avoided too for that time frame) and see how you feel without the offending food.

Days 2 – 4 are the hardest (withdrawal happens and I won’t lie to you!) but if you plan your meals, and have the right mind set behind it you may just discover how your body is supposed to feel everyday and that is awesome!

I also highly recommend working with a naturopath who specialises in food allergies/intolerances etc. There are some great aids they can give you supplement wise that have made a huge difference to Lachlan’s gut healing journey.

Here is to living a healthy happy life symptom free!

Would love to hear how you go!





The information shared on Feeding Two Growing Boys is based solely on my own personal experiences and research.

The information offered here is not intended to replace medical/trained holistic advice.

Before beginning or making any changes please always consult your chosen health care provider.