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Today on the Bumi’s World Podcast, we get honest and raw with amazing 14 year old Isaac Whitton and his Quirky Cooking mum Jo Whitton. Jo and Isaac share how their Quirky Journey began with GAPS. We learn what GAPS is and why they chose a natural wholefood approach to healing and recovering from Isaacs severe OCD, depression and anxiety. This is such a heart-warming and real episode that shows the loving bond between a family, and how they will do anything to provide love and support for each other in times of need, to move forward with health and happiness.

To listen to the podcast, click here.

You can follow Jo and Isaac at:

www.quirkycooking.com.au

Read the transcript of the interview below OR download and print off by clicking this button:
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BUMI’S WORLD TRANSCRIPT: JO WHITTEN OF QUIRKY COOKING

Intro Speaker:
Welcome to Bumi’s World. Creating a generation of empowered kids connected to mind, body, heart and environment. Here’s your hosts Jen Richards and Leanne Anders.
Leanne Anders:
Welcome to Bumi’s World. A fortnightly podcast dedicated to covering topics aimed at all ages from toddlers to teens. Helping provide tools, tips and information necessary to raise connected, empowered leaders of tomorrow. I’m your host Leanne Anders.
Jen Richards:
I am your co-host Jen Richards. We have a third co-host which is totally awesome. The amazing cave kid Bumi who is actually just returned from the Amazon. We’re so lucky to have him here.  He went there to meet his mate Bear Grylls. They’re on a mission to teach piranhas about kindness. Piranhas bite a lot so they thought that they needed some lessons in kindness. It’s okay, Bumi is back now and we’re ready to learn about our podcast interviewee today Leanne. Who have we got on?
Leanne Anders:
Today we have two special guests. Quirky cooking Jo Whitton and her son Isaac. Jo is an author, wellness speaker,[inaudible 00:01:09] mix queen, blogger, podcast host and, is dedicated to making the GAP start easy and achievable for families addressing gut health issues. Jo is also a loving and dedicated Mom. Today, Jo’s fourteen year old son Isaac, who is here to talk with us, is actually the main reason for starting GAPS. Today we talk about Isaac’s journey and the support he received to help him recover and heal from severe OCD, and move forward with health and happiness. Welcome to the show Jo and Isaac.
Jo Whitton:
Thank You. Hello.
Leanne Anders:
How are you both?
Jo Whitton:
Good.
Isaac Whitton:
Good.
Leanne Anders:
Today we want to hear a little bit about your story Isaac. Can you tell us a bit about your story and how you started the GAPS diet?
Isaac Whitton:
All of my life, I have suffered with minor OCD, up until about two years ago, where it was anything but minor. It was very severe. I had all sorts of different rituals that I felt like I needed to do and all these things. Anyone who knows about OCD would be able to relate. I felt like I had to think certain thoughts, otherwise things would happen to me, or do certain things in certain order. Things like that. It got very bad so I had to … we had to do something about it. We got on medication temporarily. With the thought of as soon as possible getting off of it.

I was on it for about a year. It helped but not permanently. We needed to do something permanent about it. Mom talked to a few health professionals and we started GAPS. I’ve been on GAPS for about a year and a half now. I’ve been able to come off of my medication a few months ago. I’m doing fine without my medication, which is a huge accomplishment for me. Up until now, I guess that’s the story. I guess it’s a few other details.
Leanne Anders:
That’s the overview?
Isaac Whitton:
That’s the overview. My greatest accomplishment is being able to get off my medication and be able to cope with everything. I’m just really happy that GAPS has helped me with that.
Jen Richards:
Bumi, our cave kid is doing a little tribal dance of excitement because he’s so happy for you to have taken a natural approach to getting off your medication. I’m actually doing the tribal dance with him. Woo-hoo.  That’s the sound I make when I dance. For people who are not sure what GAPS is, could you Isaac or Jo just tell us a little bit about what GAPS is?
Isaac Whitton:
GAPS is a diet that stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome. It’s supposed to heal the gut. The gut has a connection to lots of the bugging within the brain. When it heals the gut, it helps a lot with anxiety disorders.  Mom I guess you can expand on that.

 
Jo Whitton:
You’re resetting the gut flora and, in helping to re-establish good bacteria in the gut and get the bad bacteria under control and heal the lining of the gut so that the proteins and the foods aren’t escaping into the bloodstream and causing reactions. There’s a lot of things that it can help with. A lot of people find it helpful for allergies, healing allergies. It helps with autism. It helps with, as Isaac said anxiety disorders. Schizophrenia, ADHD, Depression, all sorts of things. So really, really important to heal the gut.
Leanne Anders:
Jo, when was that pivotal moment for you as a Mom that you knew you had to do something about Isaac’s health?
Jo Whitton:
For days.  When he suddenly hit rock bottom with anxiety and depression and within one day he went from doing okay with,  I suppose he had obsessions and things but, it wasn’t so bad that we weren’t coping. In one day he went to completely not coping. Within two or three days, it was so bad that the whole family wasn’t coping. I knew I had to do something drastic to help him. At that stage I didn’t know what was the problem. I didn’t understand what was going on. It was just all so weird. It was like he was suddenly really superstitious.  I’m thinking “Where’s this come from?” If he read about a disease he thought he had it. If he put a knife pointing the wrong way then someone was going to be killed. All these sorts of things. If he walked into the kitchen one way and walked out another way something terrible was going to happen.
Isaac Whitton:
I had to always retrace my steps.
Jo Whitton:
He always felt like rocks were closing in on him. He was going to be crushed. He couldn’t breathe. All sorts of things that were completely imaginary, but were so, so real in his mind. I didn’t know how to fix that. I would hold him and reason with him and try to talk him through it and pray with him. Just talk and talk and talk and talk, until I was blue in the face. He was like “Mom, I understand that it’s not rational but I can’t help it. It’s like I’m in another world and I cant get out of it.”

I started researching online. I remembered something popped into my head about OCD. I had mentioned something jokingly about OCD and cleaning the kitchen or something on my Facebook page once before. Someone had jumped on me and said “OCD’s not something to joke about. It’s a very real thing. It’s much worse than just cleaning the kitchen all the time.” I quickly deleted that post. I was like “Oh I’m really sorry.” I had no idea. I thought of that comment and I thought “I’m going to look up OCD.” I looked it up and he had every single symptom and I went “Oh, okay.” So the next day …
Isaac Whitton:
Even a year before the major thing happened, I already had trouble with washing my hands too often. Getting eczema on my hands from washing them too much or rashes and stuff. Wanting to keep things tidy and everything. I never, ever thought of OCD as being the answer. I didn’t even know what OCD was at the time.
Leanne Anders:
Did it happen over a slow period of time Isaac? That you got to that stage?
Isaac Whitton:
Actually, It kind of didn’t. It was always a minor thing in my life. I never knew it. It was always just something I’d … [crosstalk 00:08:21]
Jo Whitton:
Looking back now we see signs of it. That we didn’t realize at the time.
Isaac Whitton:
Since I was four or something.  In the year I think  two thousand and twelve or thirteen, I had a bit of trouble with anxiety but I thought I was just depressed a little bit. Then obviously it went away for awhile. Then suddenly it just …
Jo Whitton:
Like that, it just came back so bad.
Isaac Whitton:
It was very stubborn but at the same time I was always having problems with OCD in my life and never really knew of that.

 
Jo Whitton:
Something tipped you over the edge we’re not sure what. We feel like it was that house that tipped him over the edge. Soon as I realized that, I thought of my friend Jude Blereau, who is a whole food Chef in Perth. I thought of what she told me before about people healing the gut with GAPS and how she really recommends it for those who try a whole food diet but it’s not enough.

There were people like my husband even at the time, he argued with me and he said “Why isn’t whole foods and eating healthy enough? Why is that not enough?” I’m like “In some cases it just isn’t because the gut is so damaged, that you’re not actually absorbing the nutrients from these healthy foods that you’re eating. You’ve got to heal the gut so that the foods can actually be absorbed.” I thought of what she told me about that.  I started researching GAPS and I rang her. I talked to Brett Hill.  I talked to lots of different people.

The consensus was, “You definitely need to heal the gut and it’s pretty much either GAPS or PALEO AIP.” I decided to go with GAPS just because of the people that I knew that had done it that really were helped by it. It’s very similar though to Paleo AIP. That’s how we … Then of course I said ” Okay, tomorrow we start GAPS.” Which I would not recommend because it’s quite a change.
Leanne Anders:
For parents out there who are listening Jo and Isaac and they’re seeing the same symptoms in their children, and I know GAPS to start is quite extreme. What advice would you give parents if they want to go down a similar path?
Jo Whitton:
I would definitely say to begin with something like a Paleo diet and work backwards from there. If they start with something like basically getting rid of preservatives, additives, packaged foods, take away, that’s always the first step. Cutting down fat and sugars. No more of those biscuits and cakes and things. Just get rid of them. A bit of fruit now and then, maybe a little bit of honey now and then, that’s about it. Work on savory as much as possible. Full meals as much as possible. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, full meals. Not cereal and toast. Not sugary snacks in the mid morning. Have something savory. Have veggie sticks and dip. Make it savory.

Eighty percent at least should be savory. That makes a big change. Even just that. People will sometimes find going Paleo and mostly savory is sometimes enough and they’re okay again. Then for those who need to do more, working on getting rid of the starchy things in the diet. If you’re Paleo you’ve already gotten rid of a lot of the starchy fillers like rice and pasta and breads. Even taking it further back and getting rid of arrow root, tapioca and sweet potato and going right back to very basic foods.

Fresh fruit and veggies. Mostly veggies. Grass fed, wild caught type meats. The good quality nuts and seeds and things. Just lots of broths. Working on getting broths into the meals. Fermented foods, working on getting those in. If you’re going to have dairy, make sure its fermented dairy or Gi. Those kinds of things are what we can have on full GAPS and Paleo sort of diets. It’s actually not that difficult to cook that way for most people. It doesn’t take that long to get used to. It’s just very basic food.
Jen Richards:
It’s just going back to basics really. Bumi’s jumping up and down because he recognizes all the foods you’re talking about. He screaming like “I used to eat that all the time.”
Leanne Anders:
How have your friends and your family helped support you through this journey? It must have been overwhelming to start off with.  The trying new foods and also the emotional support that you would have needed as well. How have your friends and family supported you?

 
Isaac Whitton:
My brother supported me all the way. He’s always been … He’s my most supportive sibling. He’s always been supportive of me in every single way.
Jo Whitton:
He’s sixteen and Isaac’s fourteen. They’re very, very close.
Leanne Anders:
Wow that’s cool.
Isaac Whitton:
My friends, at first they had no idea what I was doing and obviously they didn’t believe a word I said. [crosstalk 00:13:51]
Jo Whitton:
I’m not sure how obvious but it was sadly true.
Isaac Whitton:
Then eventually they began to understand. Their parents began to understand. Every time I come over they understand. Some of my friends, actually, their siblings are doing GAPS as well now because of problems that they’ve had. Now my friends are supportive and they understand what I’m doing.
Jo Whitton:
When you go to their place, tell them about the sorts of things that you eat.
Isaac Whitton:
It’s funny because when I go to their place, they’ve got their lunch. Sometimes their other siblings who are doing GAPS, they’ve got a couple of girls that are doing GAPS, and they usually cook something up for me when I come over.
Jo Whitton:
Before they were doing GAPS when you were the only one.
Isaac Whitton:
When I was the only one, I’d usually go to their place and go “You got any eggs?” I’d grab some eggs and maybe some cheese and some vegetables and cook it all up in a frying pan, eat it whenever I went to their place. Vegetables and cabbage and whatever I could find.
Jo Whitton:
Their dad commented to me “I have never seen a teenage boy get excited over red cabbage like Isaac does.” “Oh My goodness, you’ve got red cabbage. I’m going to fry some of that up with some this and that.”

 
Isaac Whitton:
I love red cabbage.
Leanne Anders:
You surround yourself with really good friends. That’s so important.
Jo Whitton:
So important.
Jen Richards:
Isaac, I can relate with you as a teenager. I suffered with severe depression. I had no idea where it came from. I had lots of my friends to support me as well. Do you have any advice for other kids out there who might be suffering with some depression or OCD or they just know somethings not right with them. What advice would you give them?  That’s a big question.
Isaac Whitton:
That’s okay.
Jo Whitton:
Get back to what we were saying helped you.  It’s lots of things. His diet.
Isaac Whitton:
Diet I would say helped me. You don’t have to go all the way and go GAPS.
Jo Whitton:
You might not have to.
Isaac Whitton:
You might not have to but try to move one by one. Sugar, dairy things like that. See if it helps you. It will. It should.

 
Jo Whitton:
What did we have for you? We had, health coach.
Isaac Whitton:
We did a bit of psychology. We had counselling. Lots of exercise. Talk to your family about it so they understand you and understand what’s happening.

 
Jo Whitton:
Not just hold it in. Lots of talking time. Lots and lots and lots. It takes … I think parents have to realize too that they’re going to have to spend that time, even if it means days off work or days off school. It’s vital, to spend that time talking things through. I find that that just helps so much.
Leanne Anders:
It helped you both knowing where Isaac is at but also it would help him being able to bring to the surface things that he’s not sure of how its actually effecting him.
Jo Whitton:
Yes. Another thing that we’ve found helpful also, when we researched other peoples stories … Do you want to talk about that?
Leanne Anders:
Yeah, We did. We looked at websites about other people who had similar things to me and how facing your fears and going forward and [inaudible 00:17:41] just getting rid of those rituals and things that you have with OCD. Depression and stuff.
Jo Whitton:
He found … One day he was laying on the floor, you know how you get, I don’t know if anyone has been here before but .. when you’re so paralyzed by fear it’s almost like you cant move. He was laying on the floor just sobbing. I started reading to him stories on the internet of people who had OCD and what they did and how they got better. He suddenly just jumped up off the floor with a smile on his face and said “you mean they got better?” As soon as he realized that there was hope to actually get better …

 
Isaac Whitton:
You want to work towards it. [crosstalk 00:18:28]
Leanne Anders:
That cycle of hopelessness?
Jo Whitton:
Yes. I think that is probably one of the main things with depression. For them to know that this won’t be forever. You can change this, you can get over this. People get over this all the time. There are ways to work on it. It’s not forever. If they think it’s hopeless and it’s forever, that’s a downward spiral which you know where it can end. If a child has hope that they can get through and that other people have gotten through it, that just changes everything.

 
Jen Richards:
Isaac, did you think it helped … Did it help knowing you weren’t alone when you saw those YouTube clips?
Jo Whitton:
Definitely, definitely. One thing was, I thought that no one on the face of the entire planet had anything similar to me. I thought it was exclusive completely. When we read up about it, it helped me so much to know that people have worse than me and have gotten over it. I have hope and I needed work to reach that place and I will be able to get over it one day.
Jen Richards:
I think if any kids are out there listening now, the way you’re inspiring them and giving them a link to know that they’re not alone, it’s just phenomenal. Thank you for speaking up.
Leanne Anders:
Isaac we know a huge part of happiness and connecting with your inner genius can help you overcome many things. Can help you grow and develop as a person. What’s something that you would call your inner genius and how has that helped you?
Isaac Whitton:
I’ve been interested … I’ve always been, got attached to certain things, certain …
Jo Whitton:
Hobbies.
Isaac Whitton:
Hobbies, and gone through them for a while and sort of gotten out eventually. One thing that’s never, ever, i’ve almost been doing it for a year or two years. I’ve been doing it for about a year and a half is Rubik’s Cube. I’ve got one almost two years ago, September,  2014 and started messing with it. Straight away I said I said I should “Oh I should learn how to solve this.” So I went on YouTube and over about three days off and on, I sat down every day and for an hour or two learned how to solve. After about three days I learned how to solve it completely. The first time I solved took me about … First time I solved it without looking at my phone,  took me about like five or ten minutes or something and I was so happy to be able to. I had a cheap that broke, you could hardly turn it.
Jo Whitton:
It’s like a two dollar cube.
Isaac Whitton:
It was at a school get together type thing. It was one of those really cheap ones.
Leanne Anders:
Is that the first one you picked up?
Jo Whitton:
Yeah.
Isaac Whitton:
I had a Rubik’s Cube when I was like four I had one but it was just sort of the same model and it just broke fairly [inaudible 00:21:28] and I didn’t learn how to solve it obviously because I was tiny. That was the first one. Ever since I learned how to solve it and got into it, it just helped me so much. I was having my mind off my OCD. Everyday I would do my school work then go and play with my Rubik’s Cube. I would practice every day trying to get faster and faster. Working towards under two minutes and then once it got down to where I could under a minute and a half and then under one minute. When I got under a minute I was so happy.
Leanne Anders:
You’re fast.
Jo Whitton:
Isaac thinks that’s very slow now.
Isaac Whitton:
It’s okay for a starter.

 
Jo Whitton:
For a beginner.
Isaac Whitton:
Rubik’s Cubing gave me something to focus on. Keep my mind off my OCD and to give me something to look forward with. Rubik’s Cubing was something I always wanted to be up there with the professionals. Professionals can get an average of eight or nine seconds  or five stuff like that. I always wanted to get there. To be up there with them. The world record at that time was 5.5 seconds. As the single [inaudible 00:22:52]. I didn’t think it was possible at first but now I’ve down quite a ways and I now know that’s possible. I’m still practicing but I’m doing it a bit less now but it’s still a hobby of mine and I still love doing it. It’s helped me a lot with keeping my mind off anxiety and things like that.
Leanne Anders:
Would you say having an extra activity and a goal has helped you get through this Isaac?
Isaac Whitton:
Absolutely. [crosstalk 00:23:24] It used to be worse.
Leanne Anders:
Isaac who are two people in your life that you consider to be your mentors. This can be people you respect, admire or look up to. It has to be someone you know. It can be someone, anyone.
Isaac Whitton:
[inaudible 00:23:50] and mom.
Leanne Anders:
I love that.

 
Isaac Whitton:
I was trying to think of someone else. If it weren’t for Mom, I don’t know where I’d be right now. It’s such a blessing that I was born into a family that knows so much about health. Especially mom, she helped me so much.

 
Leanne Anders:
It brought tears to my eyes. That you love and respect and admire and look up to your mom.
Isaac Whitton:
Always will.

 
Leanne Anders:
Isaac. Now you know what you know. You’ve come through this completely incredible journey. You’ve gone down your own yellow brick road and you’re now in the Emerald City it seems with being [inaudible 00:24:33] with what you know what are your goals?
Isaac Whitton:
I don’t know. I want to say the right things and help other people. If they have problems like this. I don’t know. Maybe, as a career I’m interested in technical things like Computers and stuff. I would like to do also as a side thing maybe have my website or cooking show or just help other people. Touring maybe.
Jo Whitton:
He’s talked before about maybe looking into counselling.
Isaac Whitton:
That would be super.

 
Leanne Anders:
He’d be very good at that. You speak from the heart Isaac. You’ve shared the stage with some very famous people in the cooking world haven’t you?
Isaac Whitton:
I met Pete Evans a few times which is quite a privilege.  Thanks to Mom, I’ve been able to speak on stage in front of two hundred people at a time. I’m going to the Mod Forum in a couple of weeks with Mom to Sydney to speak.
Jo Whitton:
To speak and cook in front of them.  He’s going to make Battered Chicken.
Isaac Whitton:
[inaudible 00:25:56]
Jen Richards:
Maybe one day he’ll come and cook with Bumi. He’s got some pretty cool cooking tricks that he learned from back in the cave days.

 
Leanne Anders:
He does.  I have tasted them.
Isaac Whitton:
He goes foraging.
Jen Richards:
Yeah, he goes foraging. He actually has a time machine so you can jump in it and you go back to his day and collect some pre-historic foods and bring them back. Take them to this age.
Isaac Whitton:
As long as we’d be able to get back.
Jen Richards:
He can but sometimes funny things happens like bones disappear or voices disappear so be happy with that.
Isaac Whitton:
I’ll just make sure I don’t start with paradoxes or anything.
Jen Richards:
Good idea. You actually have a YouTube. You’re already out there inspiring people. You have a YouTube channel, don’t you Isaac?
Isaac Whitton:
Yeah, I’ve always been a YouTube person. I’ve always loved YouTube so much. When I was … back in two thousand thirteen, between that’s before my anxiety and everything started. Two thousand twelve, two thousand thirteen I had a YouTube channel where I played online games and stuff.
Jo Whitton:
Kids ones.
Isaac Whitton:
Then I had a Rubik’s Cube channel  Recently I haven’t done much with that. [inaudible 00:27:11] Now I’ve started my cooking channel. That’s my third channel. This one’s going to be a lot more overly overt channel than my other ones.

 
Leanne Anders:
What’s your channel called Isaac so if anyone wants to connect with you or watch you they can find you.
Isaac Whitton:
Its Quirky Cooking Junior. No spaces. Just type that in on YouTube. It’s not very popular yet so you have to do exactly to the letter, otherwise it won’t come up. I’m getting started.
Leanne Anders:
He did a few a year or two ago then he got too busy with the Rubik’s Cube and then he’s come bck for it now.
Isaac Whitton:
I’ve got 400 subscribers I think.
Leanne Anders:
That’s great. We’ll be able to find you on there. Hopefully lots of other people can find you on there too. We all start somewhere Isaac. You’re starting out so young. You’ve got such a bright future ahead of you.
Isaac Whitton:
Thank You.
Leanne Anders:
Jo, how can we find you?
Jo Whitton:
If you just Google Quirky Cooking I’ll pop up. I’m pretty much  [inaudible 00:28:22]just about.

 
Leanne Anders:
Jo, you also have a Pod Cast show on [inaudible 00:28:25] called a Quirky Journey?
Jo Whitton:
Yes we do. The last one, Isaac spoke on that one as well. He spoke [inaudible 00:28:36]
Leanne Anders:
All the listeners who want to know more about the GAPS diet what it is. How you’ve been able to incorporate that into your household. They can find all the information they need …
Jo Whitton:
We started the Podcast to document our journey so it’s like day one up to now.
Leanne Anders:
Fantastic. Fantastic. We’ve come to the end of our Podcast now and thank you both so much for being on our show. Isaac, you were a true inspiration.
Jen Richards:
Bumi’s saying thank you as well. He’s actually got his Hula hoop out. That’s what he does when he says thank you.
Leanne Anders:
If you like this show, please let us know and leave us a comment on the wellnesscouch network and this episode or on ww.facebook.com/bumiandfriends. Please give us a rating and subscribe to our show on iTunes and help create a generation of empowered kids connected to mind body heart and environment.
Male Speaker:
This has been a production of thewellnesscouch.com Check us out on Facebook and join in the conversation on Facebook.com/thewellnesscouch. Subscribe to each show on iTunes and check us out on Twitter. The Wellness Couch, streaming wellness to your lives. [inaudible 00:29:59] These Podcasts can not take into account individual circumstances and are not intended to be a substitute for health and medical advice from a qualified health professional. You should always seek the advice of a qualified health professional before acting on any of the information provided by any of the ? Podcasts.

 

 

Jen Richards is a children’s book author, therapist at Matrix Re-Jeneration, creator of The Love Project and director of health food company, Rumbles Paleo. Jen’s mission is to create a new type of epidemic; a world-wide epidemic of conscious minded people who have the strength of mind, body and heart to live in the glorious heights of their full potential.

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