Healing my Daughters Gut

In my previous blog post – Gluten, Another Pandemic? I touched on our daughter’s health struggles with Celiac Disease. We have no family history of celiac disease so it was a shock to us when that blood test came back positive for a gluten allergy! I have learned SO much through the past couple of years and have wanted to share some of that knowledge here in hopes to help a few others. 

This post is not medically researched or here to give health advice, I am solely sharing our story and you can take what you like from it.


Firstly, our daughter began showing symptoms at the beginning of age two during potty training. She became very constipated all of a sudden and I thought she was trying to avoid pooping on the pot. My sweet little girl all of a sudden misbehaving, I thought it was what people called the terrible twos. I know now that that was not the case.

Her constipation would be so bad that 3 – 4 days would go by with no bowel movements. She would try so hard and we literally tried everything to get her to go, but for years she would have a bowel movement only every few days. It was very painful and hard, and often she would have what we called “poop toots” if you know, you know. And I don’t think I need to go on about that one. If you have questions, please contact me. 

Her tummy would be descended and the doctors weren’t giving me any answers except “put her on Restoralax”. After a year of Restoralax (this is a stool softener) we went back to the pediatrician and after driving nearly two hours to get there with my daughter, my toddler, and being pregnant, we were seen for less than five minutes and told “some people need to be on Restoralax for life, that’s it”.

What – in – the – actual – Fack?!!! 

No. I am not keeping my daughter on stool softeners for the rest of her life! She is 5! 

I was so shocked at these words. We left the appointment. The kids played in the park across from the pediatrician’s office and I sat on the grass pissed right off. Thinking to myself, there HAS to be more that can be done than keeping my kid on a stool softener for the rest of her life. What has caused this? Why is this happening? And what’s next? All while feeling SO alone and abandoned by our medical system. 

Back up a hot minute. Her symptoms were constipation, distended tummy (meaning big bloated tummy because she was so backed up), moodiness (who isn’t moody when they can’t poop), fatigue (she would often wake in the night), and this one for some reason always stuck out like a sore thumb to me – “darkness under her eyes & red rashy cheeks”. Also, she would also often say, her tummy hurt. 

If you or your kid has any of these symptoms, likely something ain’t right and you’re in the right spot here. There’s still so much to talk about so let’s keep going! 

I’m going to jump forward to this past fall of 2021. Ellery just turned 7 and even though she had been on a strict Gluten-Free diet for 2 years, we hadn’t seen any improvements in her bowel movements. We took her off dairy in the fall and that began to help a teeny tiny bit, but still not nearly enough to take her off Restoralax. We also focused our/her diet on drinking bone broth daily (I send her to school with soup every day in a thermos), eating fermented foods, and making our own kombucha. All things that contribute towards HEALING THE GUT and adding in good bacteria. 

One of my customers and now a friend is a holistic nutritionist and this past summer we were chatting about our kids when they came out to my Farm Store as her 2-year-old daughter had those same red rashy cheeks. I told her my daughter had the same cheeks when she was two and I had slapped vaseline on them and it seemed to help. She so gently responded, “we are trying to heal her gut” and I was like – WHAT! You are speaking the language I need to learn more about! 

So I asked her how they were healing their daughter’s gut and she said through certain foods with help of her friend who is a holistic naturopath and intuitive healer. Well, I booked my daughter an appointment with this naturopath and our world has been completely changed! I now have a kid that poops! …I’ll explain how and why!

Now, this is going to get a little different, so please keep an open mind. We first visited our naturopath in November of 2021. This lady works through the body’s energy and can look right at you and help diagnose many many different issues. One of the first things she spoke about was that Ellery had picked up some parasites, likely from one of our dogs, dirt-covered veggies from our garden, our well water, etc. This happened around age 18 months and these parasites had manifested in her gut. Now, these are not the typical pinworm parasite that you might instantly think of, these are microscopic parasites that can live throughout the entire body. These parasites in my daughter’s little body had grown throughout her gut, spleen, kidneys, blood, brain, and brain stem. Sounds nuts I know. 

Next what happened is even more far out. Our naturopath did some energy work on Ellery and removed the parasites. If this is totally not your thing, there are parasite cleanses you can take that work on the body (not as gentile as this though), there are kid cleanses and adult cleanses, just google it or check out iHerb online. These types of parasites need various herbs to remove them. And this is much more common than you likely realize, it’s just not talked about. 

What happens is the parasites cause inflammation in the gut and throughout the body, as well as producing toxins that make one feel ill. In Ellery’s case, the parasites caused so much inflammation in her gut that it likely (and I’m saying likely because we never did medical tests on this, but this is what research talks about) lead to “Leaky Gut” (holes in the gut lining allowing food particles to pass through into the bloodstream), which lead to celiac disease – intolerance of gluten proteins found in certain grains. 

If you don’t know about leaky gut, go do some research. You’ll be shocked how common it is in kids and adults. Drinking bone broth provides collagen directly to the gut wall and helps repair that membrane, hence why we are such big advocates of drinking stock/bone broth (not just broth from your grocery store isles). 

We all have parasites. But those of us that are having regular bowel movements are able to flush out the toxins from the parasites, as well as the parasites themselves. Darkness under the eyes is a classic sign that the body is not flushing toxins out, and that the toxins are continuously circulating in the body, building up. 

Parasites feed on heavy metals, so I’m not sure if it was the baked beans in the aluminum can or her childhood vaccines, but something fed these parasites and it all just blew up into a perfect storm. So we did a heavy metal detox smoothie throughout November and December to flush out any heavy metals present, it was really yummy and I’ll add the recipe below.

Another thing to flush out parasites is increasing fiber intake. So adding ground flax into Ellery’s diet was KEY!!! And it was easy, we just mixed it into her smoothie every night before bed, and bam, the kid began pooping! You don’t want the flax that’s on the Walmart shelf, flax seeds need to be stored in the fridge or they go rancid and turn into bad fats for the body. So go to your health store and purchase ground flax from their fridge, or whole flax seeds and grind them in your coffee grinder (that’s what I do as it’s much cheaper). We now add flax to apple sauce, pancakes, muffins, granola, etc. 

Christmas time came and naturally, we fell off the healthy smoothie wagon and Ellery stopped pooping again. We went back to our naturopath who looked at my girl and said, well there’s no more parasites, but there is a lot of scar tissue left in the gut. She removed the scar tissue through her energy work (totally crazy I know!) told Ellery to up her water intake and guess who came home that evening and has been having big healthy poops every day since! Yes, that’s right! UH-MAZING. 

As long as Ellery drinks a normal water bottle size of water every day, she has been off Restoralax for a couple of months now! If she goes a few days without drinking much water, then her bowels slow down. She knows though, she knows how good it feels to be regular and is really good about drinking her water. We often put a slice of lemon in her water and she likes that a lot. 

I’m just so happy, so relieved. So damn thankful for what we’ve learned as it was all so simple in the end. Ellery is still celiac and likely always will be. And currently, she is still off dairy. We will try to reintroduce raw dairy in a few months, but for now, we are allowing her body to get used to working on its own without the use of a stool softener. The research I’ve done though says that Celiacs are often dairy intolerant, as these go hand in hand. Ellery is also blood type O+, and I’ve learned that O’s are often intolerant to gluten and dairy, certainly not all, but it’s often O’s that come to my Farm Store in search of cleaner meat options and our delicious GF bread – I always ask ppl and the poll has been about 90%. Interesting right. 

A FEW IMPORTANT THOUGHTS

A couple of other things we changed in our diet was removing or significantly reducing nightshades (so no potatoes or tomatoes) and refined oils such as canola, sunflower, and peanut oils and replacing them with hemp seed oil, avocado, olive oils, and beef tallow or pork lard. We cook at home as much as possible, pack lunches when we hit the road, but we also live life still and occasionally eat out at McDonald’s or Edo. We try to reduce refined sugars as much as possible and sub in maple syrup and raw honey. We grow all our own protein on our ranch here (beef, pork, chicken & turkey) other than fish/seafood which we source from western Canada only now, a company called Skipper Otto (use our email jillianandbrett15@gmail.com in the reference to receive $10 off).  

Essentially Ellery’s gut was so badly damaged that it was not absorbing nutrients well. In order to aid digestion and increase nutrient absorption, we focused on feeding Ellery nutrient-dense foods as well as cooking nearly all her fruit and vegetables. Raw fruit and vegetables can be difficult for the gut to use, so steaming apples or cooking them at least partially will actually help the body to digest foods easier if it is compromised.

When we first got those blood test results back from our general practitioner, I was so overwhelmed to know that my daughter was intolerant to gluten. Changing up your pantry and way of eating will seem so hard at first. But it’s like muscle memory, it’s hard at first, then after a while, it’s not so bad. Then it becomes second nature to check the labels quickly and you will eventually just learn which food products are GF, dairy-free, etc. So if it feels totally overwhelming to change what you eat, or if you think someone you love could benefit from a diet change, just start with removing gluten and subbing in GF products. 

  • A friend who is a nutritionist once told me, that instead of worrying about completely changing up your diet to be healthier which will likely not be sustainable long-term, focus on incorporating more healthy foods into your diet. Over time your body will begin craving those cleaner, healthier options. Keep the chocolate, but add in the Ribeye Steak Buddha Bowl.

We have tried all the GF breads in the grocery stores, they all suck. But I have the most amazing customers who are a wealth of knowledge. Many of them have struggled with their food like my daughter. One of my customers and now friend recommended a delicious GF bread that is made in a little bakery downtown Edmonton. This bread is gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, and grain-free! It took the owner 4 years to perfect this recipe, wow hey! We now offer this bread in our Farm Store! Alongside all our GF meat products. If one of our sausages isn’t GF, I will always have a GF alternative, and they must always pass the approval of my daughter for tastiness. 

We have 3 different kinds of Bone Broth on our shelves for healing your gut. The recommended dose is 1 cup a day, consistency is key!! You can also purchase beef, chicken, or turkey bones from us or your local farmer and make your own Bone Broth, it’s super easy and there is a guide to making bone broth on my Blog here. Once your gut is healed, you do not need to drink bone broth every day. But know that it can take many months to years to heal your gut properly. 

We also only drink filtered water now or boil our water to reduce any chance of parasite intake.  

Also, some people with SIBO, a bacteria imbalance in the gut may find fermented foods irritate them more. So see how your body feels and talk to your doctor. For some people, running a strong course of antibiotics is necessary to kill all the bacteria in their gut every couple of years. Nuts hey! Everyone is so different, but most of us can really thrive when incorporating fermented foods into our daily diet (homemade sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, sourdough bread, kefir, oh there are so many, these are just a few foods). 

If we hadn’t done anything about Ellery’s bowel issues, it would likely have turned into Chrones or Colitis. The thing about the gut is it can be healed. Because Ellery has lived in discomfort for the majority of her life, I am conscious about trying to reduce stress in our home and focus on lots of dance parties and happiness to try and eradicate those sad uncomfortable feelings she lived so many years with. 

If you have questions or concerns, please reach out. I’m happy to share more about this particular journey. If you found this helpful, please share it with friends & family. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed, let’s do more of that! 


So a quick recap and things to think about or go and research:

  • Gluten-Free
  • Dairy-Free/Raw Dairy
  • Removing Nightshades & Inflammatory Oils
  • Parasites
  • Leaky Gut
  • Bone Broth
  • Fermented Foods
  • Parasite Cleanse
  • Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie
  • Ground Flax
  • Filtered Water!
  • Topical Magnesium (we use a lotion type)
  • Exercise is very important
  • Trampoline, up and down jumping
  • Be happy, don’t linger in sadness
  • Whole Foods

HEAVY METAL DETOX SMOOTHIE RECIPE: 

  • 2 Bananas
  • 2 Cups Wild Blueberries
  • 1 Cup Cilantro
  • 1 tsp Barley Grass Juice Powder
  • 1 tsp Hawaiin Spirulina
  • 1 tbsp Atlantic Dulse
  • 1 Orange
  • 1 Cup 
  • Ground Flax

Blend all ingredients except flax. Add 2 tbsp of ground flax to your cup for the appropriate amount of fiber intake. This recipe is one serving for an adult, but made 3 cups for each of my kids, hence mixing the flax later on.

TIPS: 

  • The cilantro can be a bit much at first, so start with a half cup or less and work your way up. 
  • Buy bananas on sale, slice and freeze them to have on hand. 
  • Orange juice works in place of an actual orange. 
  • You need all the ingredients in this smoothie as they work together. The dulse helps the cilantro do its job, and it’s actually the cilantro that helps remove the heavy metals. The greens help to detox. 
  • I have cilantro essential oils from doTerra, and when I ran out of the fresh stuff, a couple of drops worked just as well on those days I couldn’t make it into town. 
  • Wild blueberries are higher in antioxidants than regular blueberries.