While American unemployment skyrockets and millions of people face Food Insecurity, I wish so much that every human had access to good, safe living conditions and real food to eat, and the luxury to nourish our bodies toward better health and better immunity.
Holding these wishes in my heart, I am now going to tell you more than you ever wanted to know about the crazy dietary adventure we had the luxury to begin last July, which continues to yield amazing if slightly unpredictable results. And I won’t be talking about COVID 19 for the rest of this letter.
First we’re going to discuss the liver. It is an unsung organ, not nearly as sexy as the intestines or the adrenal glands or the brain, but Really, Really Important. According to Wikipedia, “Estimates regarding the organ's total number of functions vary, but textbooks generally cite it being around 500. …The liver is an organ only found in vertebrates which detoxifies various metabolites, synthesizes proteins and produces biochemicals necessary for digestion and growth.”
The liver is called upon whenever you take drugs of any sort, drink alcohol, or eat. If you want to make proteins, regulate your blood sugar, have a functioning immune system, or regularly filter your blood, you’ll want your liver to be working as well as possible. Other systems, such as the endocrine system, depend on it. It’s Really Bad when the liver stops working entirely. Meanwhile, more and more people in the developed world have livers that aren’t functioning optimally (approximately 90 million Americans have Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, with millions more suffering various other conditions involving the liver), which contributes to a laundry list of problems. If you have a health problem, there is no doubt that you require a functioning liver to heal fully.
Why would the liver suffer so particularly with our Standard American Way of Life? And how would this manifest for the average person? There are probably many answers to the first question, but I’m interested in a particular pathology that I knew nothing about at this time last year, and now believe might affect the liver health of millions if not billions of people worldwide: chronic Vitamin A Toxicity. And as far how this liver impairment might look in an average person, here’s a partial list of symptoms that one might experience:
✓Headache, fever, dry skin, dry mucous membranes (mouth, nose)
✓Nausea and vomiting
✓Pain in muscles and joints
✓Numbness and tingling of hands and feet
✓Loss of concentration, and sleep problems
✓Hair loss (thinning)
✓Dry eyes, sensitivity to light
✓Decreased night vision, which may persist after treatment is stopped
✓Swelling of the feet or ankles
✓Low blood counts
✓Anemia and/or bleeding
✓Abnormal blood tests: increased triglyceride, cholesterol and/or blood sugar levels.
✓Increases in blood tests measuring liver function.These return to normal once treatment is discontinued (see liver problems)
✓Pulmonary embolus or stroke
✓Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
✓Skin desquamation (peeling and shedding)
✓Problems with kidneys
✓Inflammation of the liver
✓Inflammation of the stomach
✓Hearing loss, and ringing in the ears
✓Problems with lipids
✓Problems with blood sugars
✓Inflamed, and peeling of the lips
✓Dry nose and mouth, nosebleeds
✓Thoughts of hurting oneself, or others
✓Psychosis(seeing or hearing things that are not real)
✓Bone density loss
The idea of chronic Vitamin A Toxicity can be imagined by thinking of the liver as a rain barrel. Next, imagine a compound so toxic that the liver is called upon every time it is consumed, in order to safely encapsulate and then store the poison until it can be excreted in poop. This multi-step elimination process is required for vitamin A, because both the preformed version (found in animal foods) and its many precursors (such as the carotenes found in plants) are extremely toxic. The “side effects” of high-dose vitamin A (drugs such as Accutane and retinol-based chemo drugs) are well established and very dangerous, and while low doses of A have been presumed safe, especially among alternative medicine practitioners and those who preach the benefits of cod liver oil (like I used to! I hereby rescind my recommendation and apologize for making it), there is evidence that it can be dangerous over time.
Now, you can further imagine a person who eats foods high in vitamin A, either a large quantity all at once, or medium-sized quantities every day for many, many years. Over that time, the liver encapsulates and sequesters the extra A, but if its ability to store and safely dispose are gradually overtaken by consumption, eventually the liver-rain-barrel fills up. The liver is huge, and it has lots of capacity, so it is interesting just how much vitamin A must have accumulated in some people over time. It is at this point when toxicity begins, because there is simply no safe place for the A to be sequestered, detoxification and elimination are impaired, and instead the A just sort of bumbles around within the body, damaging various organs and processes depending on where the bloodstream is able to dump it.
In this way, a person with Vitamin A Toxicity can descend ever farther into a symptomatic hell involving skin problems/eczema, other autoimmune issues of every description, eye problems, digestive issues, all sorts of other problems involving epithelial tissue and hormones, kidney issues, and many, many other problems, without actually noticing that the liver is a causal issue. Although some people get “liver pain,” the actual pain, suffering, and skin problems are generally noticeable almost everywhere _besides_ the liver. For seven years, while Eliza’s behavioral and eating problems intensified, along with all sorts of symptoms involving Pain…I never once realized that “appetite suppression” and “severe headaches and brain inflammation” are just two of the potential issues that can occur if an individual’s liver is toxic with Vitamin A. Some researchers hypothesize that in some cases, weight gain might be a way that the body is attempting to create extra storage areas in which to sequester Vitamin A, although this is not a symptom my family has ever struggled with so I don’t have an opinion about that theory at this point.
There are various reasons why a large number of people might currently be toxic in Vitamin A specifically. Vitamin A exists in almost every food we eat, so it’s almost impossible not to get a large daily dose - which is why the liver has “devised” such a careful way to deal with it in the first place. We’ve been eating plenty of A for a long time. But then, along came a misguided fortification project in the USA in the 70s; since then we have consumed higher levels of A in various grocery staples (milk, some bakery products, etc.) than ever before. Also, the vitamin A load on the liver can be passed from mother to child, so it’s reasonable to imagine that many kids now begin their lives with higher levels of A than they did prior to the fortification program. Then, there are prescription and other drugs (along with some foods - mostly vegetables, actually) that stress out the liver, and impair the same detox cycles that the liver needs to safely remove excess Vitamin A from the body. Then, there is glyphosate, an incredibly common pesticide used widely in conventional agriculture that specifically impairs the liver’s detox function still further. In addition, there are certain currently-popular dietary fads, like “paleo” and Healthy Eating advice in general, that promote the consumption of tons of green leafy vegetables, “eating the rainbow” (including peppers of all types, sweet potatoes/“yams”, carrots, and squash), and supplemental liver, egg yolks, and dairy - all of which are VERY high in vitamin A.
The low Vitamin A diet theory is simple : since it takes a VERY long time for the liver to get rid of stored vitamin A (some researchers think that an adult liver can sequester about seven YEARS worth), one eats a diet that is very low in A, over a long period of time. It appears to take about six months of low-A eating to make a big difference in a child’s liver stores, while adults can take even longer to excrete much A, depending on how well the rest of their detoxification system is functioning. Health improvements can occur much earlier, or not, depending on the individual - much more research is needed concerning ways to optimize this approach! An important thing to keep in mind is that this is not about what our cavemen ancestors ate, it isn’t based on a cuisine, and it’s not intuitive. It is an attempt to recover from a poisoning, and it’s an experimental medical diet that relies on a few foods, such as meat (and legumes and grains), that happen to be quite low in Vitamin A.
This is the newest and most out-there theory I have had occasion to test, but I was more interested the more I learned (the theory was first developed a few years ago, by an engineer named Grant Genereaux). Also, we had literally tried all the other diets out there.
Okay, yup, I’ve officially gone over to the other side. No colorful veggies? Meat and potatoes and rice?? Not LETTING my children eat their vegetables???
I wanted to try this because…well, because the vegetables weren’t helping. At all. Three years ago, I read Dr. Gundry’s lectin theory, and Terry Wahls’ autoimmune healing story, and many many other accounts of healing diets that included incredibly high amounts of vegetables. We were feeling fairly rotten at the time, so I thought: okay, let’s make our diet even more nutrient-dense than it already is, and eat as many veggies as Terry Wahls! I couldn’t think of anything else to try. And if a gallon of veggies per day could heal her M.S., then surely it would help us recover from mold toxicity and all the other invisible Everythings that seemed to be making us so unwell.
Except, the vegetables did not help. Even though I bought the best and most organic and local ones in huge quantities, and cooked them and blended them and ate them raw (but of course never raw kale, due to goitrogens…) and fed them to us day after day after day. Even though we ate balanced macronutrient ratios and plenty of good fats and proteins and everything else that was supposed to be a part of a healthy diet. Even while some of us choked and others of us chewed constantly to get them all down, Eliza was deteriorating, not-eating, having horrible meltdowns and constantly stressed behavior, and then she started getting those horrendous headaches and was having near-constant chemical and/or mold and/or LIFE sensitivities. The rest of us had bunches of Issues too.
The vegetables, after a good solid 2.5-year attempt, were. not. helping.
So last July 1, we began an entirely new protocol, based on meat and rice and some berries and a few pale veggies with very low carotene content. I also stopped taking a low dose vitamin A supplement (prescribed by an MD, incidentally) which had coincided with some of my symptoms significantly worsening over a period of three months.
The first thing I personally noticed were bizarre and transient “detox” reactions. For a few days my eyes were extremely dry, and then they were so teary I couldn’t stop crying. Then it was as if I had pinkeye, but nobody else had it, and my vision was so blurry I was scared to drive. Once that stopped (completely, as if it had never been there), I had a weeklong headache and a bout of unexplainable and very intense itching. Then I had a cold that lasted for two weeks (in the middle of summer!) Then I developed a bunch of sties in my eyes. After these went away, my face broke out in intense acne… The symptoms kept coming and going like that for a few weeks.
Nothing was very noticeable for Eliza for about six weeks.
But the she started eating. And feeding herself with her own utensils. This was in mid-August. Soon, she started asking for seconds when she was especially hungry, and she started saying things like, “This TASTES good!” Eliza additionally started happily playing for many minutes and then hours at a stretch, both by herself and with her siblings - hours during which she did NOT whine and complain and ask to be entertained by audiobooks.
Ivy was thrilled, because Eliza suddenly started wanting to play. And Ivy herself ceased the chronic diarrhea and tantrums that she has (and we have!) been suffering for the past few years. Inexplicably, Ben’s nails, which had been brittle and thin and always broken for many years, started coming in normally and strong.
Lots of other interesting things were happening, but I cannot overstate how amazing the main phenomenon was: starting in the middle of last August, Eliza’s eating disorder disappeared. She had a few days of Strange Eating Habits and challenging behavior when she had the flu last fall, but apart from these normal sickness reactions, she has been FEEDING HERSELF and EATING TILL SATIATED and EATING PLENTY OF CALORIES Every. Single. Day. Since August.
This is so incredibly amazing. You can only try to imagine how amazing it is if you have not personally spent the better part of 7+ years wrestling food into this child. She recently reminisced, “…I remember back before this diet, when you’d try to feed me that STUFF” - “You mean FOOD, Eliza? That we used to feed you?” - “…Yeah, when you’d feed me that awful stuff and I didn’t want to eat.”
I have hours and hours of my life back, and days go by lately when I take for granted that we have pleasant and conversational mealtimes, and I never have to force feed anybody. It is amazing. And wonderful. And I love doing theatre so incredibly much more than I enjoy ministering to an eating disordered child. She feeds herself, enjoys food, and enjoys life. This is SO AMAZING.
That I was able to rehearse for three shows back to back, to orchestrate an awesome homeschooling year, to take daily naps during the month of January, and also to leave bedtimes to Jeff every night without any major trauma…is testament to how my family is in general feeling SO much better (with a few caveats, mostly concerning Jeff’s symptoms, which haven’t improved much compared with the rest of us, as is usual for everything we’ve tried to date for him, but WILL someday be a cycle that we break, if I die trying! Not that I’m determined or anything).
After so many years of tantrums and pain and crying and misery…it's like having two pleasant and happy young children living in our house (and Ben and Jem are doing well too, but the immediate crisis of the past few years has been with Eliza’s and also Ivy’s behavior and eating). Imagine: Eliza spent a month rehearsing for a play! And hanging out in smelly-perfumy-sometimes-even-a-teeny-bit-moldy buildings with few ill effects, and even fewer headaches! And going to evening rehearsals! And learning things, even difficult things, without daily meltdowns! And surviving boredom without needing to be plugged constantly into audiobooks.
Interesting Good Things noted by other family members after we started this Vitamin A Detox includ improved attention and focus, greatly improved Urinary and Kidney Issues, hair and nails that are growing much more strongly and healthily than before, great improvements in mood, a large reduction in need for dietary supplements (even ones that we’ve been taking for five years or more), much improved acne, and finally - FINALLY! - improvements in our collective gut function. Those of us who had been constipated are much less so. Those of use who had been suffering from chronic diarrhea are just as inexplicably much better. For the first time in years, we are eating such things at soaked steel cut oats with nary an issue at all. It is even possible that sourdough wheat bread may become a part of our diet for the first time in over ten years - the jury is still out on that one, though.
Anyway. Apart from the colds and flus we’ve had this year (which I am convinced is actually a piece of the A detox puzzle, though my theories for that are amorphous at best), our family is collectively doing the best we ever have.
A lot of folks have said, well, how are you feeding Eliza differently now? What parenting strategies did you change in order for her to be focusing on piano and reading and not-throwing tantrums and whining all day? What is different? And the absolutely true answer is that the ONLY thing we did differently to precipitate these changes was: this strangely simple yet radical dietary approach toward improving liver health.
We’ve continued to eat a low vitamin A diet since July, but in the past few months I’ve been tweaking things to ensure that we eat more diverse sources of starch so that we can increase our B vitamin consumption - these I feel were lacking in most of our recent dietary experiments, since our gut flora was out of whack (and therefore not producing them, which is part of the gut flora’s job), and also because we were eating too much white rice, which is notoriously deficient in B1 and B2, and too few beans, since we couldn’t digest them (beans are very rich in Bs). More about this below.
There have been soooooo many theories over the years that have led to me experimenting with soooooo many different diets, usually involving us having to watch out for “sensitivities” (an ever growing list), or intolerances to obscure molecules like salicylates, oxalates, gluten, casein, etc. etc. etc., and always ultimately involving a restrictive diet that Didn’t Do Enough.
At best we would stabilize things for awhile and stop certain things from worsening, and there were a few improvements that we’ve grasped onto for dear life in order to bolster our courage…but there have always been these things troubling me: why did our guts not heal? And be able to handle MORE foods, rather than fewer? Why were my children still having such terrible eating disorder symptoms? Why would behavioral issues erupt so badly in a child (Eliza) who was born into GAPS, supposedly so healthy for guts and behavior? Why did Jem’s symptoms get worse AFTER we started GAPS, and why didn’t he ever improve? Why, no matter which plants and fibers and foods we tried to feed our gut bugs, did the dysbiosis and chronic diarrhea/constipation not improve over time?!
Although I was so excited about Dr. Gundry’s low-lectin/high-veggie diet at first, its failure to yield improvements ultimately sealed my decision to try something as bland and low-in-vegetables as this Low A diet.
And why would our family in particular be so toxic with vitamin A?
I have a few theories. One is about a bunch of co-factors intermingling, and causing other things to tip.
For one thing, at the advice of her physician, Mom took a drug called Bendectin when she was pregnant with me. One of its key ingredients is synthetic B6, a vitamin known to have neurotoxic effects at high or long-term doses, and while it’s unknown if her doses were very high, it could conceivably have started me off with both a skewed b vitamin ratio in my body, and possible epigenetic changes because of it, and/or it could have done some damage to my gut from the start. I have started thinking about the B vitamins as being somewhat of a see-saw in terms of causality with gut dysbiosis: our gut bugs, when everything’s functioning normally, both regulate and produce the levels of all the B vitamins in our system. When things are not functioning normally, OR if something is off with the B vitamins due to supplementing, etc., it seems plausible that this could CAUSE ongoing gut dysbiosis.
Moving on to other causal factors - my zinc-deficient formerly vegetarian diet, which also contained some of the most inflammatory “foods” in the SAD, despite my attempts at being a “good” vegetarian: industrial seed oils, like canola and soy oils, plus processed soy milk and way more tofu than actually gets consumed in Asian countries. Anyways, zinc is needed for detoxification, and also for normal B vitamin metabolism, absorption, and manufacture, another possible push in the direction of dysbiosis. I also think that animal protein and possibly animal fat are things I was missing for all of my life (as noted by how I used to, as a vegetarian, need to eat CONSTANTLY to avoid blood super plunges and hypoglycemia…whereas the one thing that improved ten years ago and has continued to stay great is that my blood sugar is really stable and three meals a day is plenty satiating with no painful pangs every half hour in between. This definitely has to do with animal foods in particular, not macronutrient ratios in general, because when I eat a moderate-to-high-carb (starch), moderate-fat, moderate-protein diet, my blood sugar is just as stable as it was when I was eating super low carb GAPS).
Did I have vitamin A toxicity as a teenager? I am not sure. I don’t know if my horribly painful periods and later my born-early babies and the PPD had anything to do with that, and it might be more plausible that those things were caused in part by zinc deficiency and B vitamin imbalances which later worsened as vitamin A levels increased (or maybe these prevented detoxification from functioning optimal, thus driving A toxicity as time went on). My digestion was not improving as I reached my twenties, and I imagine I wasn’t absorbing quite enough nor was I getting all the things that I needed as a vegetarian.
But then came GAPS. Which certainly rectified certain deficiencies in my diet, but there are things I think it then made worse. Diets that include carbs but are grain-free and don’t include beans…are low in thiamine. Thiamine deficiency in turn can do all sorts of things to the gut, which would explain why, over the past ten years, a bunch of things have not gotten better. Thiamine deficiency can induce urinary and kidney issues, which we’ve had in abundance in this household. B vitamin deficiencies, and especially lack of thiamine, can cause headaches. Without thiamin, carbohydrate digestion is impaired. Also, B vitamin deficiencies can contribute to skin and lip rashes (which you might remember we’ve suffered to horrible effect). Also, detoxification and proper functioning of the liver really really needs abundant thiamine - which could explain the “detox” symptoms experienced by many who commence a low vitamin A diet: the detoxification begins, people start to feel great, and then all of a sudden…the body runs out of thiamine, and if that person is already in the rock-or-a-hard-place position with their gut functioning not-allowing them to digest beans or whole grains, then there is no sufficient source of the nutrient coming in, and the liver is STARVING for it. The toxic A keeps circulating, the deficiencies perpetuate themselves, and Life Is Not Fun Anymore. Also, in order to absorb thiamin, one needs to have adequate levels of riboflavin...
Anyway - GAPS sharply increased our vitamin A consumption from both animal and veggie sources, and decreased our consumption of some Bs, which is how it mostly remained for the next ten years.
I should mention here that a few months ago I went over our diet with as fine a metaphorical-toothed-comb as I could, to search for possible deficiencies and overloads. I have been at this too long to believe that restricted diets are “always” nutrient-dense just because one cooks all the food at home and excludes processed foods. I’ve been cooking all our food at home for decades, and obviously that was not enough! Anyway, when I analyzed our diet using Chris Masterjohn’s very nicely-organized new resource that goes through each known nutrient and explains which foods contain which nutrients, and which factors impede and promote absorption…well, what I found was that the most-lacking nutrients in our diet at that moment (the low-A low-carotene one that I’ve described earlier, with very few veggies) were those found mainly in beans and whole grains, and are B vitamins.
Another interesting factor is one I alluded to above: carbohydrates dramatically increase a body’s need for thiamine and other b vitamins. And it makes sense that when humans evolutionarily switched from a hunter/gatherer lower-carb diet, to a diet that included more carbs, they would have needed to “find” the foods that contained those nutritional components that would aid the digestion of carbs (and also encourage the production, by feeding gut flora, of B vitamins). Anyway, a more plant-based diet would simply NEED to contain more B vitamins in order to promote health and procreation, and so it would make sense that things like sourdough whole grain bread, soaked and well-cooked beans, and other traditional preparations would supply these things, since they are found in all of the successful cuisines that evolved after the dawn of agriculture.
Interesting note: many B vitamins are very sensitive to degradation based on the way the foods that contain them are cooked (high dry heat causes great losses, as does use of food additives such as baking soda, etc.). In theory, a raw meat diet could contain more B vitamins than a cooked meat diet. And it does seem to me that humans would have eaten more raw meat back before agriculture.
So anyway, back to our diet switch ten years ago: when we started GAPS, what did we exclude? Sugars and starches, and all the whole grains and beans. I am still unsure what the “best” way to deal with gut dysbiosis/overgrowth is…but I’m more and more feeling like ideally, a SHORT starvation period for gut microbes (diet consisting of low A foods), followed by a careful re-feeding and seeding (that includes starches, and is still Low A) would have been best. There is this synergy in the gut, between the flora that is there, and that foods/fibers that come in to feed that flora, and the foods/fibers that come in to feed the Human, BUT/AND there is this other part: the way that nutrient deficiencies and/or overloads can cause ongoing inflammation to the gut, and prevent the re-seeding/re-feeding of commensal flora. A gut chronically irritated by vitamin A toxicity is not going to find relief with a probiotic.
By the time we added starches back into our diet seven years ago, I think we’d done some damage. We’d fixed a few things…but meanwhile, our B vitamin consumption was skewed and deficient in thiamine and possibly riboflavin, and our vitamin A consumption was going through the roof: liver, egg yolks, tons of dairy, cold liver oil, so many vegetables that one could practically turn orange…and this is currently my theory about why things degenerated and just didn’t start getting better until last spring. There may be other nutrients that Masterjohn has not yet surveyed, and I’m sure I’m missing multiple Somethings in my current assay of our diet…but I was pretty intrigued when I realized that the deficiencies I uncovered weren’t an across-the-board, worthy-of-a-multivitamin issue: it was B1, B2, and maybe biotin and B5, to a very obvious degree. Over the past ten years, we’ve almost never had any decent intake of thiamine, and riboflavin was probably affected by this too. And detoxification is just not going to happen with high intakes of vitamin A combined with these deficiencies. Kidney issues and attention and focus might also be at stake. I calculated that on most days for the past decade, we probably exceeded the USRDA (for whatever that’s worth) of vitamin A by a factor of ten - at least.
So if that’s what was happening, it was no wonder that we had so many skin, immune system, and gut issues - constantly circulating high levels of vitamin A causing epithelial damage and chronic inflammation, and no matter how many awesome fibers we ate, and awesome nutrients we did have, our guts just couldn’t heal. Hence, ongoing and additional food sensitivities.
My current temporary plan is to continue eating a fairly low A diet, with the addition of foods and also supplements of just those four B vitamins (and this is SOOOOOO many fewer supplements than we were taking even a couple months ago) plus a bit of vitamin D3. In theory, this will continue to allow the gut to heal, and be able to digest more foods (like beans) that contain the important Bs that we’ve been lacking.
So here’s another thing that happens, it seems, if a person who is pre-disposed to storing excess Vitamin A eats a LOT of it (pre-formed and/or carotenes) every day for ten years: once the liver fills up, other deficiencies are created simply by this constantly-overwhelmed liver. For example, vitamin D is needed in extra amounts to handle excess A…but surprise surprise, the body becomes less able to manufacture and absorb D from the sun (or absorb it from supplements), especially in the absence of certain B vitamins (which are, ironically, used up even more quickly during sun exposure!), when A levels are high.
Another common situation with chronic vitamin A toxicity: higher levels of whole-body inflammation, and high cholesterol levels. This certainly meshes with my lab results over the past ten years: despite eating a “nutrient dense diet” at all times, no matter the permutation, certain things worsened, including my D levels (going lower and lower despite supplementation and cod liver oil), and my cholesterol (going higher and higher, and sometimes extremely high). Perhaps oatmeal doesn’t so much “sweep out the colon” and therefore somehow normalize cholesterol, as it contributes B vitamins that do so instead! (Although rolled oats don’t have many Bs due to being soaked and cooked and dried first, so maybe it’s something else entirely.)
Anyway, I’ve been soaking steel-cut oats and we’ve been eating them every morning instead of white rice. We’re all doing well with them, and it’s a start. I’m also soaking and making brown rice sometimes instead of white…and we’ve been having small amounts of organic low-fat yogurt for calcium. Eating one whole egg every day has caused a small patch of eczema on Eliza’s elbow, but as long as her appetite remains, I feel that the benefits of getting biotin and choline might make up for a bit of extra A. My goal right now is to keep our diet low in A and carotenes overall, but include those foods that have things we most lack otherwise, like B1/B2/biotin etc. No more four-egg omelettes!! But ideally, an egg a day.
Moderation. Such a very difficult thing in practice! How to even understand what it is??
In theory, as the gut heals, oxalates and other complicated sensitivities won’t be an issue any more, or at least hopefully not - because our guts will normalize and gut bugs will be breaking them own.
So, all meanderings inclusive, this is the basis behind our ongoing experiments: Recover From a Poisoning. In some ways, it makes more sense as a root-level Cause than many of the problems we’ve tried to target with our diets over the past decade. Not sure if Vitamin A toxicity was such a factor at the beginning (for Ben, zinc deficiency might have combined with protein deficiency and eventually malnutrition, which eventual Vitamin A toxicity would have certainly exacerbated - or maybe he was toxic from the start, a “gift” from my overloaded liver at his birth)…but it has seemed extremely relevant now. It fits with some of my chronic infection theories, too - when the liver is compromised, and all sorts of deficiencies and overloads are developing, the vicious cycle can continue with strange inabilities to fight infection. I wonder how many kids with autistic/etc. behaviors that begin with an early childhood illness or vaccination, end up with an overloaded liver that tips things over the edge?
Have I mentioned recently how INCREDIBLE INCREDIBLE it is that everyone feeds themselves and eats to fullness at just about every meal these days?!?! No? Well, that’s because I was spending so incredibly many extra hours that I used to spend feeding, at the theatre, singing and dancing!
I LOVE geeking out about these things, so please send along any thoughts you might have if you’ve read to the end of this treatise. :) All opinions subject to change, of course, but I truly do apologize for all the times I encouraged anyone to eat more liver and green vegetables, and said that white rice instead of brown was Just Totally Fine…