Does your child have a health issue that doesn't seem to be getting any better? Have you tried all sorts of natural and pharmaceutical remedies with no success? Are you frustrated with all the "good" advice and no results?

Babies and young children today are dealing with health issues that were unheard of in past generations and many parents are struggling to understand what is causing their child to suffer and how they can help. Health issues such as:

Poor weight gain or "failure to thrive"
Eczema, hives, and other skin irritations
Constipation with hard dry stools that are difficult to pass
Chronic watery diarrhea
Stomach pains, flatulence and colic
Reflux and excessive spitting up
Food allergies and food sensitivities
Thrush and Yeast infections

Although these health issues are very different, they have the same root problem - gut dysbiosis, which just means a gut system that is out of balance. This means that the number of pathogenic, or disease producing microbes in the gut outweigh the number of probiotic or health supporting microbes. These pathogens create endo- and exo- toxins that irritate the lining of the digestive tract and leak through the gut wall into the bloodstream where they can create a variety of seemingly unconnected health issues. Contributing factors to gut dysbiosis in children include:

Use of antibiotics
Birth by C-section
Formula feeding
High sugar consumption
Mother (and occasionally father) with gut dysbiosis

The last point is often overlooked in conventional treatment of eczema and other skin problems, particularly if the child is being breastfed. Gut dysbiosis in the mother results in an increase in immune response in the mother's blood and in her breastmilk. The baby's immune system responds to these immune factors as if they had been exposed to the toxins directly. But because their immune system is immature it results in dermatitis, eczema, asthma, or allergic reactions while the mother may have none of these issues. Topical application of steroidal creams provide only limited results and can be very harmful to the child's growth and development.

The mechanism behind this response is somewhat unclear to me and I hope more research will be done in this area. However, I have confirmed in my own practice that when the breastfeeding mother addresses her own gut dysbiosis, the child's eczema eventually clears up. This may also explain why some children "grow out of it" as their immune system matures or when they are weaned from the breast. Please note that I do not recommend weaning early to resolve eczema as breastfeeding has many other important health benefits. Contributing factors to gut dysbiosis in adults may include:

Antibiotic use
High stress levels
High sugar consumption
Birth control
Use of certain prescription drugs such as hormone replacement, antacids, or anti-depressants
Poor diet

Because the baby gets their bacteria from the mother if born vaginally, gut dysbiosis in the child can also occur from the start of life if the mother already has digestive problems. The child would then suffer from colic, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, bad breath and other digestive symptoms. Since gut bacteria play a major roll in the immune system the child may also suffer from lowered immunity, chronic ear infections, asthma or allergies. This points to the necessity of establishing a good bacterial population well before pregnancy and promoting it throughout early childhood while reserving the use of antibiotics for extreme life-threatening situations. If antibiotic use does become necessary then using probiotics throughout and up to three months after the course of antibiotics will lessen some of the negative effects.

By far the most effective method of addressing gut dysbiosis is through the GAPS nutritional protocol. This short-term healing protocol is designed to limit the growth of pathogenic microbes, promote the growth of probiotic microbes, heal the digestive system, support the body's elimination channels, and support the body's detoxification systems.  To find out more about the GAPS diet I recommend you read Gut & Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell-McBride or visit her website at www.gaps.me. You can also make an appointment with me or another Certified GAPS Practitioner close to you.

To Your Health!

Kathryn Doran-Fisher,
Naturopathic Doctor and Certified GAPS Practitioner
Elder & Sage


New Video on GAPS


I'm trying my hand at informational videos. Why is it that the thumbnail always catches me making a funny face? Oh well, here is just a little bit about the Gut & Psychology/Physiology Syndrome. Remember that I do a GAPS Intro class on the 4th Wednesday of every month beginning at 6pm here at the shop. Cost is only $5! Hope you enjoy the video
If you don't have any serious food sensitivities or digestive disorders, here are some of my general recommendations for healthy eating and weight loss. Follow this plan closely - avoid eating out while on this plan so you know exactly what you are eating. Herbs, spices, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and unrefined sea salt can be used as seasoning to taste.


A minimum of 3 TB of fat should be eaten daily up to unlimited amounts to encourage satiety, boost energy, and help to detoxify the liver as long as they come from the following sources: butter (pastured preferred), ghee, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, flaxseed oil (no more than ½ tsp daily), fish oil, cod liver oil, or coconut oil. Other natural fat sources such as lard, tallow, palm oil, or chicken fat are also allowed but often more difficult to obtain good quality. Processed vegetable oils should be avoided at all costs. It is also important to vary your fat sources to give the body adequate types of fatty acids i.e. don’t rely on olive oil alone for your fat sources. It is difficult to consume too much natural fat as the body has regulatory mechanisms that discourage this (feelings of fullness, discomfort, or nausea). You may find that if you are not used to eating fat you will have to limit your intake initially and slowly increase the daily amount allowing your body to adjust. Remember that fat is not stored in the body as fat – excess calories from refined carbohydrates are.

For best results do the jumpstart day once each week on the day of your choice.

Breakfast – Blended drink made with one dark leafy green and two fruits

(example: kale, pear and peach)

Lunch – Blended drink made with two vegetables and one fruit

(example: carrot, celery, apple)

Dinner – Vegetable, beef, fish, or chicken broth

1 TB of coconut oil dissolved in warm water before each meal.


For each meal up to 3 per day - 1 whole grain, fruit, or starchy vegetable, 1 full-fat dairy or protein, unlimited non-starchy vegetables or leafy greens, and at least 1 TB fat

If you find that you only need to eat two meals a day, make sure at least one of these is breakfast! All sweeteners should be limited to no more than 1TB of honey or maple syrup per day.


Drink plenty of water on both the jumpstart days and all other days. At least three tall glasses. Raw milk, Coconut milk diluted with water and herbal tea are also allowed in addition to water intake. Fruit and Vegetable juices should be limited to only the jumpstart days.


Whole Grains (all grains should be cooked whole or freshly ground and not refined) – Quinoa, Brown Rice, Millet, Amaranth, Oats*, Spelt*, Wheat*, Rye*, Barley*, Cornmeal

*Avoid if you are gluten sensitive

Fruit – Fully ripe banana, apple, grapes, pear, peach, melon, berries, etc. Limit dried fruit to 1 Tb.

Starchy Vegetables – Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Winter Squash, Corn

Non-Starchy Vegetables – Broccoli, Peppers*, Tomatoes*, Eggplant*, Carrots, Celery, Peas, Green Beans, Cabbage, Lettuce, Summer Squash, etc.

* Avoid if you are sensitive to nightshades

Leafy Greens – Kale, Collards, Romaine, Dandelion Greens, Chard, Endive, Radicchio, etc.

Full-Fat Dairy – Raw milk, Yogurt, Kefir, Cheese, Buttermilk, etc. Avoid soy or other milk substitutes. Homemade nut or seed milk may be used if you are sensitive to dairy.

Protein – Fish, Beef, Chicken, Eggs, Beans, Nuts, Nut-Butters, Lentils, Liver. Avoid soy or other protein substitutes.


1 serving of whole grain = 1/4 C. uncooked

1 serving of Fruit = 1 piece of large fruit, 2 small, or 1 C. of berries

1 serving of Starchy Vegetable = 1 C.

1 serving of Protein = 2 oz. meat, 2 eggs, ¼ C. beans, nuts, lentils

1 serving of Full-Fat Dairy = 1 C milk, yogurt or kefir; 1 oz. cheese

Supplements - Optional

Bowel Detox (Nature's Sunshine) - take as directed on bottle
Superdophilus (Natren) - Start with 1/4 tsp work slowly up to 2 tsp/day
Bifidonate (Natren) - Start with 1/4 tsp work slowly up to 2 tsp/day
Herbal Trace Minerals (Nature's Sunshine) - take as directed on bottle

Try it out and let me know what you think!

To Your Health!
Kathryn Doran-Fisher, ND, CGP

In my professional (and personal) opinion there is one food substance that has contributed more to the degeneration of health than any other chemical or toxin out there. SUGAR!

Every day I work with clients who battle their sugar addictions (and/or corn syrup and/or refined carbohydrates which are converted into sugar in the small intestine) and every day I watch as those who are able to successfully reduce or eliminate sweets from their diet - experience amazing improvements in health. But it's one thing to get an adult to give up the sweets and quite another to expect it of kids, right? I'm quite used to the panicked look in a parent's eyes when I even suggest it. The idea that springs into their heads is that if the children don't get their sweets they won't eat anything at all and then they will starve! Right?

Well, you may be surprised to know that just like adults, children do have a self-preservation instinct. So, they will eat whatever you give them if there is nothing else available. Yes, they will certainly not like it and they will probably cry and fight and do all kinds of horrible things that every parent dreads but... they will get over it. Perhaps you might think it is cruel to deny sweets to kids? Far better that they should suffer from lifelong health issues?

I am noticing a distinct trend in my clients.

From my grandmother's generation most were raised on real food made at home and often straight from the farm or their own family gardens. Yes, there was certainly sugar but it was not nearly as ubiquitous as it is today. In Iridology analysis, these clients exhibit nearly perfect constitutional health. When questioned, the women claim they had no trouble with menstruation and hardly any menopausal difficulties. Children were birthed easily and good health was enjoyed well into adulthood. It is only now in their later years that they experience poor health and degeneration. Most are just looking for advice on how to reduce or eliminate the number of pills and supplements they take. They are not accustomed to these aches and pains and find them to be an annoyance. There are of course exceptions but let me continue.

In my parent's generation poor health begins to truly present itself on average now as they reach 50 and 60 years of age. This generation also enjoyed mostly real food and home-cooked meals in youth. Although pop and candy were becoming fast favorites at Ice Cream and Soda Shoppes around the country. Most were breastfed as infants although the trend was starting to change and few would breastfeed their own children in favor of a "more scientific" approach. There is more thyroid, heart disease, bone and joint degeneration, and digestive issues but again, not presenting much until after age 50. Menstruation was easy for the most part but menopause brings significant discomfort.

Then in my generation. The clients I see are experiencing poor health in their 20's and 30's. Mostly allergies, digestive disorders, and joint problems, but some auto-immune and arthritis as well. ARTHRITIS! That which was supposed to be relegated to old age. I suffered from it myself in my 20's before I started my education. We still grew up on mostly home-cooked meals but fast food was becoming more common. Every school outing involved a stop at McDonald's or Burger King. Little Debbie cakes graced our lunches and Halloween Trick-or-Treating became a contest of gluttony. Dental cavities and braces became the norm. More and more kids got glasses. More and more "fat" kids suffered from the bullying of their peers. As adults, more women experience menstrual pain and irregularities. Childbirth and breastfeeding do not come as easy as they had hoped. Maintaining an ideal weight is a struggle. Thyroid problems and heart disease are common.

And now, in my children's generation. Childhood resiliency is a thing of the past. Obesity is common, asthma, ADD and Autism are rising fast. Food allergies and eczema run rampant. Digestive troubles start even at birth. The physical health of our children is so poor that a simple trip and fall can result in a serious fracture. But then again, sugar is everywhere. Candy is used for teaching math in school. Every week a child's birthday or upcoming holiday is cause for yet another sugar-filled party. This generation is not destined to have the same longevity that their parent's will have. If this trend continues, I predict that infertility rates will skyrocket within one more generation and population rates will fall. But maybe that was the plan all along?

I certainly don't want to give you the impression that I think sugar is the only factor in this but it is certainly a significant player. I started this post thinking I was going to talk about my own experiences with converting my kids to a diet without sugar but that will have to wait for a part two. What needs to happen now is we need to wake up to what is going on around us! We need to take action to reverse this trend of degeneration. If not for us, if not for our children, then for our grandchildren's sake we need to do this. Because even though I am doing the best that I can for my own children, I know that some damage has already been done and may not be reversible. But by giving them the best that I can in their growth and development phase and teaching them how important it will be for their own children - perhaps my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will enjoy better health than I, instead of worse.

To Be Continued...

To Your Health and that of your children and grandchildren,
Dr. Kathryn
This article from the American Journal of Pediatrics describes something called Eczema Vaccinatum, a rare but potentially life threatening reaction to the smallpox vaccine.

If you scroll down to the Abstract they recommend that children with a history of eczema or any other skin disorder should not be vaccinated. Even if there is a history of eczema in the family they should not be vaccinated. And if a sibling is vaccinated they should be kept completely away from the infant for up to 21 days.

Skin rashes, hives, eczema and psoriasis are becoming more and more common in children. I have seen a definite generational trend which I believe is due to an imbalance in the gut bacteria.

There are four major channels of elimination in the body: the bowels, bladder, lungs and skin. The bowels primarily eliminate food waste, waste from the lymphatic system, and whatever the liver has cleansed from the blood. The kidneys and bladder handle cellular waste as they clean the blood. The lungs handle any waste that can be converted to a gas, like carbon dioxide. And the skin eliminates waste as we perspire. If any one of these elimination channels are weak, slow, or overwhelmed... the waste material is reabsorbed into the body and has to find another way out.

Eczema is a result of waste material being passed out of the skin that was never meant for the skin! These irritating substances come with inflammation, itching, and redness as the immune system works to get rid of it.

An infant has a very porous digestive tract. That is why large immune components from mother's milk can transfer immunity to the baby. But if the mother has a lot of waste material in her blood and the resulting immune response - her milk will contain those inflammation promoting immune components. This results in what I call "breastfeeding eczema". The baby's body is having an inflammatory response due to the waste in the mother's blood.

And if the infant is formula fed, eczema can still result because they are not getting the beneficial immune components or colostrum in breastmilk but instead getting soy, high fructose corn syrup, genetically modified ingredients, and a whole host of other things never meant for a baby's sensitive digestive tract.

Where does this excess amount of waste come from? The digestive tract. Due to an overuse of antibiotics over the last two generations, the gut bacteria normally found in a healthy digestive tract are being displaced by yeast and pathogenic forms of bacteria. Combined with stress, poor diet, and now superstrains of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics... we've got a real big problem on our hands. These pathogens convert even the healthiest of foods into chemical waste. There is a river of toxicity flowing from the gut into the rest of the body and overwhelming the body's elimination channels.

Gut dysbiosis is the underlying cause to a whole host of problems including: Colitis, Crohn's, Food Allergies, Eczema, Psoriasis, ADD, ADHD, Autism, Anxiety, Depression, Auto-Immune Disorders, Celiac's, Acid Reflux, Allergies, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Urinary Tract Infections, Asthma.... the list goes on and on.

An infant who has eczema is immune compromised and immune compromised children should not be vaccinated nor exposed to others who have been vaccinated. In my opinion, children with any sort of digestive problem at all should not be vaccinated. Any child with any of the above diseases or symptoms is immune-compromised due to a lack of good bacteria in their digestive system. That vaccination may be the last straw that puts their body into a state of crisis. Only healthy children should be vaccinated. And if they are truly healthy... why vaccinate?

Dr. Kathryn
When feces reach the rectum they should be about 70% water; and 30% a combination of fiber, undigestible materials, dead cells from the body, and bacteria. When these feces reach the toilet they float at first and then slowly sink and begin to fall apart as the fiber in them absorbs more water.The brown color of feces is a result of bile pigments coming from the liver. When feces are not brown, but have a chalky appearance, there is a problem in bile secretion and fat digestion.

Loose, watery stools or diarrhea can be produced by excessive use of laxatives (cathartics, which stimulate bowel contractions by irritation), nervous stress, gut dysbiosis, infection or the presence of toxic substances in the bowel.

Neglecting the urge to eliminate, not drinking enough water, poor bile production, poor hydrochloric acid production, gut dysbiosis, or eating foods low in fruit and vegetable fiber can lead to constipation. This is a clogging of the large intestine caused by waste material building up on the bowel wall to such an extent that feces can hardly pass through.

If you are eating three meals in a day but only producing a bowel movement once in five days, you could have fifteen meals still sitting in your intestines! This accumulation can become tough, hard and black like the rubber of a truck tire. When the bowel is that dirty, it can harbor an amazing variety of very harmful bacteria and parasites. These life forms will multiply on this putrid, decaying material creating toxins, poisons, and noxious debris that will seep through the bowel wall and enter the lymph fluid and bloodstream. Poor bowel condition is the source for many, many disorders in the body from allergies and skin afflictions to heart disease and cancer.

Even when you are having a bowel movement every day; how often or how much is not necessarily an indication of a healthy bowel. Many people will have loose bowels one day, stiff bowels the next, a smelly bowel one day, and so on. It is more important to establish regularity and determine how long it takes for any one meal to pass through the body.

The time it takes for a meal to travel through the digestive tract is called the bowel transit time. Normally it takes eighteen hours for food to go through the body and be eliminated. That means if you have breakfast at 8 AM, you would have a bowel movement just before bedtime. Lunch and dinner would naturally be eliminated in the morning the following day with one bowel movement shortly after rising and one just after breakfast.

The time it takes for food to be digested and eliminated depends upon the amount of roughage in the food and the water content. Bulkier feces travel faster as they provide substance for the bowel muscle to work upon. Otherwise a soft, fiberless stool becomes very difficult for the colon to move along. The longer it takes, the more water is absorbed, making feces compacted and hard so that it becomes difficult to eliminate them.

A healthy bowel has sufficient water, good nerve tone, good muscle tone, plenty of beneficial forms of bacteria, adequate circulation and the right biochemical nutrients in the right amounts. However, these things are not sufficient to bring health to a dirty, toxic-laden bowel. Cleansing must come first, only then can tissue rebuilding take place.

Bowel Transit Time Experiment

Take 2 oz. of liquid chlorophyll or 2 oz. of beet juice with a meal and take note of how long it takes to exit the body.

You will recognize the chlorophyll because your feces will be unmistakably colored dark green or red if using beet juice! Don’t take any more chlorophyll or eat any dark green leafy vegetables until you have passed all of the chlorophyll.

How long did it take? Did you have more than one bowel movement that was green?

What to Do Now

Now that you know what your bowel transit time is, you can start working to improve it. Bowel cleansing can be as simple as getting more dietary fiber from fruits and vegetables. Fiber from grains tend to be a little more harsh on a sensitive bowel lining and should be avoided by those with bowel problems.

You may also want to consider a bowel-cleansing program that uses bulk laxative herbs. Most over the counter laxatives contain substances that irritate the bowel causing it to flush out bowel contents very quickly. Some will pull water from you body tissues and result in loose, watery stools. Bulk laxatives are different because they absorb water and push through the bowel, as dietary fiber would. A good herbal bulk laxative is psyllium. Psyllium will also help to clean the toxic material that has accumulated on the bowel walls.

If your intestinal wall has become dry and irritated you may want to use a mucilaginous herb like slippery elm instead. Slippery elm absorbs water and produces a slimy coating to soothe the bowel wall and ease the passage of dry stools.

Improve overall digestion by taking a food enzyme supplement containing protease, amylase, and lipase enzymes. If hydrochloric acid production is low or you experience frequent heartburn or reflux try taking Betaine HCl or 1 oz. of apple cider vinegar before each meal.

Beneficial forms of bacteria are crucial for a healthy bowel and immune system. Particularly if you have had a recent or frequent dose of antibiotics. Use the lactobacillus or bifidobacteria strains which are the most well documented for improving bowel health. Probiotics are also safe for infants and children.

If muscle tone is your problem, you may need a combination of a bulk laxative with a stimulating laxative like cascara sagrada. Cascara sagrada stimulates the bowel wall, encouraging peristaltic action to move fecal matter through the intestines. White oak bark can also help to tone up the intestinal walls as well as reducing hemorrhoids and diverticula.

Stress can be a major factor in poor bowel health. Without proper nerve function your intestinal system cannot do its job. If your bowel function seems to change constantly even when you are eating regularly, you may need to consider an herbal combination to reduce stress. Nutricalm is a wonderful blend from Nature’s Sunshine that helps to improve nerve function and reduce the effects of stress on the body.

Dietary changes such as the GAPS diet combined with an herbal cleansing programs are very effective, but the healing process can take up to a year or more before you will see a regular, healthy intestinal system. Colon hydrotherapy is another option that can help to speed your recovery. Ask a qualified natural health care professional or GAPS practitioner for more information about any of these.

No matter what program you choose, be sure to drink plenty of fresh, purified water daily. Water helps to keep the mucous lining in the bowel thin and slick to provide lubrication.

Here's to Your Health!

Dr. Kathryn

So, my research into the fascinating world of probiotics continues...

The more I learn about these amazing forms of bacteria the more frustrated I become with the commercial brands that are available to the general public. Most probiotic brands are contract-manufactured. This means that sometimes the person who developed the formula and wrote the label may not be all that experienced in the field of probiotics. So I've been on the hunt for a good source for a while now. I've blogged about Natren probiotics before and I still really like their product. However, they are limited to just four different strains of bacteria and I'd like to branch out because each bacteria has different benefits and the more you switch them around the more likely you are to hit upon one that gives you greater benefits and faster results.

I've mentioned before that bacteria are competitive. So if you blend different strains of bacteria they will often compete with each other. Upon further research it seems some strains are more aggressive while others will play nice. Lactobacillus casei is one strain that is very aggressive and will compete heavily with other bacteria. That's another reason why I don't use BioKult, the strain originally formulated by Dr. Natasha which contains L. casei. Research into probiotics is ongoing and we are learning new things all the time. I also don't like to use soil based organisms as this has been a controversial topic among probiotic manufacturers. Many of these spore-forming soil-based organisms can become just as pathogenic as the strains we are trying to get rid of. I'd rather play it safe with a sensitive digestive system. If my client wants to try soil-based organisms once some significant healing has occurred I'm okay with that. But not in the beginning.

GutPro is an custom probiotic I've been investigating that was formulated with GAPS in mind. Here's what I like about this product:

  • No L. casei, soil-based organisms, or other aggressive forms - so this means you can get a nice blend of different bacteria forms and really know what you are getting. It contains L. plantarum, L. gasseri, L. salivarius, B. bifidum, B. infantis, B. longum, B. breve, and B. lactis.
  • No dairy, soy, FOS, inulin or other ingredients - this is purely the freeze-dried bacteria. Now one drawback to this is that any slight amount of heat, sunlight or moisture will wake up the bacteria and they will be HUNGRY! Without any food for the bacteria they will die quickly and you'll be wasting your money on a bunch of dead bacteria. Many companies like to guarantee their product to survive room temperature for a certain number of weeks. But room temperature is a lot different than the temperature in the back of a delivery truck in July. Which leads me to the next point.
  • They will ship with an ice pack - This is one of the benefits that Natren also has. Their product is constantly on ice so you are guaranteed to get a live product. So I was glad to see that GutPro will do the same.
  • Available in powder and capsule form - This makes it ideal for starting out with small doses. You can also use the powder for babies, children and also for rectal implantation in severe cases. I prefer the powder in most cases. Especially when the client has upper digestive issues such as heartburn, reflux, burping, or ear, nose and throat issues.
  • No strains that cause problems - Apparently certain strains of bacteria like L. acidophilus can create a byproduct called D-lactic acid (L-lactic acid is a beneficial form produced by most probiotics including some of the same types that produce D-lactic acid).  Some people with compromised digestive systems are not able to metabolize D-lactic acid which can cause acidosis leading to behavioral problems particularly in those with autism or other psychological symtpoms. So GutPro avoids those strains that can contribute to this. Find out more about this here.
  • It's made locally - I'm pretty happy about this one. GutPro is made and shipped from Ann Arbor, Michigan. How about that? One of the founders of the company is Dan Corrigan, who recently did a talk at the local Weston A. Price chapter.
So we are going to start carrying GutPro here at Elder & Sage. Here's what we can get:

One bottle of GutPro powder contains 12 TRILLION colony-forming units of bacteria. So that means at a therapeutic dose an adult would only need to take 1/32 tsp. This means there are 480 servings per bottle. A child would need even less, 1/64 tsp. Luckily the company also provides measuring spoons so you don't have to try and figure out how to get 1/64 of a teaspoon. An adult would need a smidgen and a child just a drop. The retail cost for a bottle of GutPro powder costs $155. Pretty steep for only 60 grams but again, you're getting at least 480 servings. I am only going to recommend this product if you have already reached your therapeutic dosage as a replacement for the Trenev Trio product from Natren. If you are just starting out on GAPS, stick with the Natren Superdophilus, Bifidophilus, and/or Bulgaricum. This should be a significant cost savings over Trenev Trio at $62.95 for only 30 servings. Hmmm, $2 per serving or 32 cents per serving?

The GutPro capsules contain 600 Billion CFU's (colony-forming units). So you'd have to get 20 bottles of GutPro capsules to equal what you get in one bottle of GutPro powder. Each capsule contains 5 billion CFU's. There are two extra ingredients required to encapsulate it and remember that capsules won't provide any benefit to the ear, nose and throat. This might be a good option if you prefer capsules, don't have upper digestive issues, or would like to remain on just a maintenance level dosage of 10-billion bacteria.  One bottle gives a single person a two-month supply at 2 capsules per day for $49.95.

To Your Health!
Dr. Kathryn

Note - At this time I am not going to recommend GutPro for anyone under the age of four. Stick with the LifeStart Powder from Natren. On occasion I may recommend the Superdophilus powder, Bifidonate powder or Bulgaricum powder from Natren as well.
The use of probiotics at the beginning of life cannot be stressed enough. A probiotic is a microorganism living within the body that positively contributes to the body's health. A healthy body contains ten times more probiotic bacteria than body cells. These bacteria make up 70% of our immune system and are our first line of defense against pathogenic forms of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other parasites that will invade and infect our body.

A baby is born with a sterile gut. The infant's first introduction to bacteria comes from the mother's vagina as they travel down the birth canal. In a healthy mom the main colonizing strain of bacteria is called Bifidobacterium infantis. Caesarean section babies have a much lower chance of acquiring this healthy strain of bacteria, less than 1% of C-section babies are properly colonized while 60% of vaginal births are colonized. If the mother does not have healthy strains of bacteria colonizing her vagina then the baby will be introduced to whatever strains are present including pathogenic strains.

Mother's colostrum may contain up to 40% probiotic bacteria assuming the mother is not taking antibiotics. The main strain present will be bifidobacteria which sets up an environment that makes it easier for other probiotic strains to colonize later on in life. Commercial formula does not contain beneficial probiotics and contains many sugars and other ingredients that will feed pathogens.

Bacteria begin to colonize and live within the intestinal wall within the first few years of life. These resident strains become a part of our inner ecosystem and are crucial to the proper functioning of our digestive and immune systems. That is why it is important to limit antibiotic use during the first few years of life so these colonies have an opportunity to become healthy.

While resident bacteria populations can diminish due to stress, antibiotic use, and toxin exposure it doesn't appear that supplementing with probiotics later in life will replace resident strains. They may however provide a hospitable environment to discourage the growth of pathogens and allow the resident strains to recover. That is why it is so important to get the right kind of bacterial strains living in the bowel wall within the first few years of life. If pathogenic strains are allowed to form colonies within the digestive tract it can be nearly impossible to completely eradicate them.

What does all of this mean for your baby? At the start of life there may be colic, reflux, skin rashes and/or poor weight gain. Later immune system compromise will result in frequent illness, ear infection, eczema, allergies, asthma, and bowel disfunction. Depending on the types of pathogens and the amount of damage we may even be talking about ADD, ADHD, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, or Autism. These are all disorders that have drastically increased over the last few decades as antibiotic use has increased.

I recommend that every woman who wants to have a baby begin supplementing with probiotics now. The sooner you can bring your own gut bacteria into balance, the easier it will be for your child. If you are pregnant or nursing you will also want to supplement with beneficial bacteria. You may want to consider a vaginal wash of beneficial bacteria to discourage pathogens within your vaginal tract. Having a powdered form of B. infantis will be crucial in ensuring early colonization. I suggest placing some in the infants mouth, dusting the nipples with it before breastfeeding, and possibly even putting some in the infant's bathwater or rubbing a diluted form over their skin. Frequent exposure to the right forms of probiotic bacteria are your child's best defense against chronic illness and degenerative diseases. This one simple thing will make a drastic difference in the health of your child for the rest of their life. More people need to be doing this because I have seen too many unhealthy babies. Get the word out!

To Your Health,

Dr. Kathryn
There seems to be an epidemic going on and I'd be really surprised if I was the only one who noticed. "Baby soft" isn't that the cliche? Isn't a baby's skin supposed to be super soft and incredibly healthy? Why do so many kids now have eczema and other skin issues?

Here's the scenario I'm seeing most often. A woman becomes pregnant and is determined to do absolutely everything to ensure the health of her child. No compromises are made. Home birth with a midwife or as close to it as possible. Breastfeeding not an option but a necessity. Baby slings, co-sleeping, nature based products and only organic foods - this mom feels like she is doing everything right. Then why does her baby have red angry bumps all over and intense itching? Now her friends and family are questioning her choices and she feels like a failure. What is going on?

As a mother myself, I know that questioning our parenting techniques comes with the territory and feeling guilty is a regular emotional state. But in this case I can truly tell these moms, it is NOT YOUR FAULT! The blame lies in the food industry, the medical industry and the pharmaceutical industry. These multi-billion dollar corporations have undermined every bit of common sense that human beings have developed over the last couple thousand years and they did it because they wanted to make money.

The problem is Antibiotics. The wonder drug of the last century. Antibiotics should have been reserved for life-threatening situations but instead were handed out like candy to anyone with so much as a sniffle. Now its in our food supply and our water. We can't escape it. These antibiotics have drastically altered the state of our own microbiological ecosystem within our digestive tract. In combination with a food supply rich in processed sugars and simple carbohydrates the symbiotic balance human beings have developed with certain strains of bacteria over millenia has been compromised in less than a generation.

Our intestinal systems are overrun with pathogenic organisms that compromise the integrity of the gut wall and allow undigested proteins to leak into our blood stream causing food intolerances, allergies, and auto-immune diseases. In a breastfeeding woman, these undigested proteins get into her milk supply. The baby's sensitive digestive system is designed to handle predigested foods not fully formed proteins and so these proteins leak into the baby's blood. The immature immune system handles this onslaught by eliminating the toxins through the skin, the most mature elimination channel the baby has. 

The standard medical treatment of cortisone or steroid creams calms the inflammation but does nothing to address the cause of the rash. Discontinuing with breastfeeding only makes matters worse as most infant formulas contain sugar and other undigested food substances that promote ear infections and asthma. Elimination diets can provide temporary relief but the mother may find she has fewer and fewer foods that do not aggravate the condition. Once the baby's immune system matures and other elimination channels take over the skin condition may go away but as I've often seen, the same pathogens affecting the mother will continue to do damage to the infant resulting in more serious digestive and immune diseases like autism, IBS, Crohn's disease and more.

This situation is quite frankly appalling. New mothers and fathers do not need this type of stress piled onto them in addition to being forced to cut maternity leave short, work full time to make ends meet, and fight against a society that still discourages public breastfeeding or breaks for lactation pumping.

I wish I could go back in time and tell my great-grandmother about what I am seeing today. My great-grandmother had twelve kids and helped other women give birth during the Great Depression. She experienced hardship I won't even talk about here but I can bet she would listen to my story and know exactly who was to blame. "What are they eating?" she would say. "That's not food! You can't feed new mothers and children that and expect them to be healthy!" And grandma would be right.

There is a way out of this and I'm doing my best to get the word out. I know the GAPS diet seems difficult to many but it is extremely effective and not a diet you need to follow for the rest of your life. Once you get started on it, it really is not that hard to follow and it has the most dramatic results I have seen in my practice. If you know anyone who is going to have a baby soon I highly recommend they start supplementing with probiotics now. They can even do the GAPS diet (Full diet not the Intro) before the baby is born. Better yet, heal your gut long before conception and you can enjoy that beautiful baby soft skin, which is the way it is supposed to be.

Enough for now.

To Your Health,
Dr. Kathryn
I have mixed feelings about juicing. I normally try to promote dietary habits that would have been possible over 200 years ago because I figure the human race did pretty well for hundreds of generations before juicers, refrigerators, and microwaves were invented. Juices were certainly made over 200 years ago but without refrigeration the only way to consume juices on a regular basis were in fermented form. During apple or grape harvest I imagine they would allow the kids to get a sugar rush on some fresh cider or grape juice but the rest would be fermented into hard cider or wine to warm the adults on winter nights. We need to remember that juicing is not a normal way of consuming foods.

That being said, I still do recommend juicing not in spite of our modern eating habits but because of them. I'm sure it is no surprise to anyone reading this blog that the average American does not eat very healthy. The Standard American Diet is horrendous when it comes to actual nutrition. And people are just plain sick from these diets and the stress of modern society. Juicing is a great way to get a concentrated amount of vitamins and minerals into a very malnourished and depleted body. It helps the body to cleanse and detoxify itself and is a great cure for many modern diseases (*gasp!* Did I say cure? Don't tell the FDA!).

One of the main benefits of juicing is that you don't have to chew. The blender or juicer breaks down the tough cellulose wall of the plant and releases all of those nutrients. So instead of just one salad, you get the nutritional equivalent of sixty! But don't discard that pulp, it can be used in meatloaf, sauces or other dishes for added fiber. Vegetable and fruit fiber are much easier on the digestive tract than grain fiber, which can actually contribute to intestinal problems.

I do recommend getting a good juicer but it doesn't have to be expensive. There are many out there and a lot of people will tell you to be sure you don't get this or that kind because it heats up the juice and you lose some nutrients. I wouldn't worry about that too much. The benefits of even a poorly prepared juice far outweigh the minor loss of enzymes.  You will want to get one that is easy to clean though. Unless you plan on juicing things like wheatgrass the average juicer will be fine for your daily needs. If you insist on getting the best then I would recommend a Champion or Jack LaLanne Juicer. I'm sure there are others but if you feel like arguing with me you're missing my point. Feel free to do some research on your own.

I also recommend balancing out the nutrients in your juice with protein and fats by adding a couple of raw pastured eggs and some homemade sour cream or coconut oil. This is what Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride calls a GAPS milkshake and it is excellent for healing the gut lining and detoxifying the liver. The fat soluble vitamins included help you to absorb the minerals in the juice better. Plus it is really tasty! For best results use 50% vegetable for therapeutic benefits and 50% fruit for taste. Or you can try one vegetable and two fruits like my Live Food instructor taught me. She makes a beautiful apple, pear,

Ingredients to be cautious with are raw spinach, kale, beet greens, swiss chard, or other leafy greens high in oxalic acid. It's fine to use these occasionally but vary your greens. I've seen too many clients rave about their spinach salads while complaining of bone loss and kidney stones! Beets are an excellent blood cleanser but use a small amount at first if you are not used to them. It can cause a very strong cleansing reaction if you do too much too fast. Herbs are the same way, be careful adding parsley, cilantro or other herbs. Many herbs have strong cleansing actions and some can even be dangerous in large amounts. I once did a green drink almost entirely composed of cilantro for its "heavy metal pulling" action. To this day I cannot stand the smell or taste of cilantro. Let's just say I got very sick. =)

Vary your fruits and vegetables. All fruit juices have a high concentration of sugar and acids that can irritate your digestive system. If you frequently have loose stools or diarrhea I would recommend waiting until the stools firm up before drinking fresh juices.

The best time to consume your juice would be first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. For serious health issues start with just a small amount, maybe even a teaspoonful, and work up slowly. Remember that these are concentrated foods, more like a medicine than just a drink.

To Your Health!
Dr. Kathryn