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Acid reflux symptoms have you stuck? Learn how Summer Brackhan and her twins have rediscovered their health, happiness, and creativity after embarking upon the Body Ecology diet!
There probably aren’t too many mothers who can say that they have successfully authored an inspirational children’s book with their young twins.
Unfortunately, there are definitely far too many women who can detail the horrifying acid reflux symptoms their young ones have endured. In the last five years, Summer Brackhan has found herself in both of these situations.
Earlier this year, Summer launched her own company - Nourishing Souls Publishing - with a children’s book she designed and co-authored with her twins Cole and Dakota. The book is titled “i love me!” and features affirmations and beautiful hand paintings done by the twins that help children gain confidence, courage, and the drive to be healthy, spirited participants in their family and community. The book comes after the family’s trying and ultimately rewarding battle to understand how the Body Ecology Principles and probiotics could help them overcome Dakota’s dreadful acid reflux.
Their struggle began very shortly after Summer gave birth. At first, everything seemed normal. Then one day, Summer heard a cry from the twins’ bedroom that was unlike any she had heard before.
“(Dakota) couldn’t breathe,” says Summer of her first encounter with his acid reflux symptoms. “He was moving his head back and forth, and you could tell he was trying but couldn’t because he had spit up through both his mouth and his nose. It was a scary moment for us, and after it happened several times, we came to learn that he had acid reflux. He would cry and scream in pain for many hours a day.”
Gastroesophageal Reflux disease, more commonly known as GERD or acid reflux disease, is caused by the back-flow of acidic material from your stomach to your esophagus. Acid reflux symptoms can include periodic heartburn, difficulty swallowing, gas and bloating, and several other horrible side effects. For more on acid reflux disease, read GERD in Children and in Adults, Part One: The Symptoms and the TRUE causes.
Dakota was soon taken to the doctor, but that didn’t prove to be much help at all.
“Our doctor said that lots of babies scream and cry; that it was just spit up,” says Summer in disbelief. “I was nearly in tears; I knew this was not spit-up. I knew something was wrong.”
Dakota received medicine for his acid reflux symptoms, but two weeks later, he was sick again and getting worse than before.
“It got to the point when he was throwing up 8 times a day,” recalls Summer. “His liver count was wrong, he was anemic, he had white spots in his mouth, and he was getting sensitive to light and sound. If my husband came in the room and turned on the light, it would startle Dakota, and he’d throw up.”
It wasn’t long before Dakota was on a feeding tube, another proposed remedy from the doctor, to curb his worsening acid reflux symptoms. Summer knew it wasn’t working. Luckily, real help soon arrived. “(Body Ecology Coach) Roxanne Bockman’s) son was taking violin lessons from me, and one day I had to tell her that he couldn’t come. My son had been throwing up so much that day, and I just knew the sounds of the violin would make him throw up,” says Summer. “Roxanne just said, ‘OK, I won’t come for lessons, but can I just drop something on your front door? I won’t even come in the house. I’ll tell you what it is later.’ What she dropped off was coconut kefir and cultured beets.”
“We gave the kefir and beets to my son, and within 24 hours he stopped throwing up, stopped screaming, and calmed down,” recalls Summer. “Three months after meeting with Roxanne and using the Body Ecology principles, his liver count was normal, and he was gaining weight. Before that, he had actually lost weight from six to nine months! Now his whole system was just saying ‘Thank you, all I needed was probiotics!"
Along with this, Summer also went through a radical shift in how she approached her son’s health.
“I looked at him one day and thought, ‘What if I treat you like you’re healthy, not like you’re sick?’” said Summer. “I didn’t say anything to my husband, but 3 days later, he noticed that Dakota seemed a lot calmer. There was a noticeable change. It was right then and there that my intention of who he was and what he could become was more important than treating him for what he’s experiencing at that moment.”
This experience - along with Summer encouraging her other son, Cole, to make positive affirmations a part of his daily life - soon served as inspiration for their new book together. One day last year, Summer led the boys in a new activity. Armed with the aim to inspire other boys and girls, the twins were set loose on a set of finger-paints and several sheets of paper.
“They started putting gorgeous handprints on the pages, which is exactly what I had envisioned without telling them anything,” said Summer. “I could almost cry; they had never even finger-painted before! When I told them how much I loved what they were doing, they just started saying, ‘I love you, Mommy. I love me!’ I just knew it had to be the title for the book.”
Soon, the twins chose affirmations to go with the paintings – powerful phrases such as “I am healthy” and “I am brave” – as well as the layout of the book. The homespun publishing house was born. “I named the company Nourishing Souls because I believe that if we really nourish ourselves at our core, then we will really know who we are,” says Summer.
“My boys call it ‘tangy’,” says Summer, laughing as she refers to the powerful recommended foods that have become a part of her family’s life. “We regularly prepare cultured veggies and drink Coco-Biotic, all of which the boys call ‘tangy.’ We have it every day in the morning and evening. We also cook a lot of quinoa, and we always have probiotics because our lives are so different without them.”
Although it would seem that most kids would be turned off by such a diet, Summer has experienced quite the opposite. “My kids eat differently than a lot of kids, but they’re very proud of their eating choices,” reports Summer. “They were showing their friends what they eat, and some of them went, ‘Yuck, we wouldn’t eat that!’ Cole’s response was, ‘You don’t say that about what my Mommy says is good for me!’ He’s only 5!”
“I pack my kids lunch every day, and after school, parents and teachers always come up to me asking, ‘What healthy snacks do you have for your kids now? Can we look?’ I’m not even the one who has mentioned anything to them!” says Summer.
Summer now hopes that she and her boys can help others feel better about themselves, whether it is through their book or by setting an example through their eating habits. “I think there’s going to be a change in our culture that comes because so many more of us want to have our own health rebalanced,” says Summer, pointing out First Lady Michelle Obama’s own campaign to change the eating habits of the nation’s children. “The more we reclaim our health and share it with others, it will become more of the norm. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from Body Ecology, it’s that if we really listen to our bodies, we know what they need. It has really changed our lives.”
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