One year ago this weekend, my soon-to-be four year old daughter and I started the GAPS Diet. We have had our share of ups and downs, but mostly successes, over the past year. If you are unfamiliar with the GAPS Diet, here is a post I did awhile back as an overview.
I thought I’d give an update on where we’re at now… While I was typing, I gave this some thought and decided to post these pictures here because I think it says it all. This picture was taken early on in GAPS. The second was obviously, more recent.
Here is where I was at last July (yeah, if you want to know, you have to read this post. I’m not retyping it all here. ).
I would say most of that is still pretty accurate. I am more clear-headed than ever. Plus, my weight loss in the last year has reached 30 pounds total. Which is a nice little side effect of living the grain-free life. I have had a few mini-flares of fibromyalgia-like symptoms – typically spurred by eating something I shouldn’t have or stress – but they were mild and short-lived. I hope to eventually have NONE. I have remained sinus-infection-free throughout this time, and my only visit to the doctor marked a need for annual thyroid labs. Which is pretty remarkable for me, I look back and kind of feel like I lived at the clinic before this. I had a couple brief colds and was actually able to fight them off on my own. Also, I had my cholesterol labs done in December and in spite of the INSANELY “high fat” (only natural fats – no canola oil, no Crisco, no partially hydrogenated anything) diet I eat…my cholesterol levels were great and my triglycerides were AWESOME. So take that, Ansel Keys and your lipid hypothesis! And, my gums are healing and my teeth are less sensitive with the help of Ramiel Nagel’s “Cure Tooth Decay” gum healing protocol which follow alot of GAPS principles with some add-ons.
The holidays were tough – and being the true sugar addict that I am – I very easily got a little happy with the GAPS legal Christmas treats (and so did my daughter, which I’ll talk about later). Anyhow, after New Year’s, I reeled myself back in and started eating like I should again. My lesson learned is that even “healthy treats” are not really healthy if you just eat too many of them (I’m talking daily treats). And yes, they can set your health backwards. Since the holidays, I’ve been more tired and sleep has not been as good. I think that my adrenal fatigue is rearing it’s head again, and I’m just focusing on getting more rest and trying to lessen my stress. And things are getting better slowly. How come it takes no time at all to make yourself sick…and much longer to heal? Not fair. Well…seriously, it took almost 40 years to make myself this sick and healing sure won’t happen overnight. It will probably take years but will be well worth it.
My little girl:
Here are a couple of different posts that I have written over the past several months about her progress (here and here). We have had alot of successes with her, and some setbacks. It seems like the setbacks come fast and hard. Someone in our GAPS for Families Facebook page once said that healing is like the layers of an onion. You peel each layer back and find a new layer…and maybe that layer isn’t so pretty. I think Dr. Natasha talked about it in the book – that even after months of healing and feeling great – you can have set backs related to detoxing and different points in your healing process (ok, I read alot…I might be getting my info crossed…if it wasn’t Dr. Natasha, please feel free to correct me…anyhow, you get what I mean.)
We have maintained awesome control over her eczema. She has had a couple of tiny spots here and there but they have resolved pretty easily. Until recently, she had been pretty healthy and we were “cough free”. She continues to grow well, and the diarrhea is non-existent. Behaviorally and cognitively we continue to see fun changes.
Like I said earlier, I got a little overzealous with the treats. As parents, we want our kids to feel normal and accepted and have fun. And somehow in our society, fun almost always seems to equate to treats. It seemed like every time I turned around there was some potluck, holiday party, birthday party in school, SOMETHING, that she “needed” treats. And instead of just saying NO, I was the fun mom who sent the treats (and not the practical mom I wish I would have been in retrospect). Lessons learned. And that took it’s toll. Based on her history and diagnosis of leaky gut/candida from our integrative physician, we believe that she had a resurgence of yeast-related problems. Right after New Years, she developed these really strange OCD symptoms (she has NEVER had OCD symptoms before) and started saying some reallybizarre things and had a nonsensical phrase that she repeated over and over…and over and over. That was right about the time that we reeled life back in and hopped off the goodies bus. I became diligent about Epsom salt detox baths, juicing, serving homemade broths high in nutrient content – at least a cup a day, cutting out sweets, probiotics and an immunoglobulin supplement that we get from our doctor, chiropractic adjustment, eating well with nutritionally dense foods, drinking kombucha and eating other fermented foods for good natural probiotics…sheesh, that’s a list and I feel like I missed something. No wonder I’m tired though. Seriously. But…think about that…we were able to WIPE OUT OCD SYMPTOMS THROUGH DIET AND SUPPLEMENTS. In a few weeks. Now if that isn’t cool I don’t know what is. So reflective of our bodies’ awesome God-given healing abilities, that simply doesn’t get enough credit these days. P.S. Any of those would be good things for ANYONE to do if you’re looking to feel better, GAPS or no GAPS.
Anyhow, it took about a week of that diligence to see the bizarre statements go away, and a full three weeks before we said good bye to the nonsense phrase that I am pretty sure we had heard 10,000 times by that point. Somewhere in there, she got a cold that she fought off, but had the little cough for quite awhile. She has had a couple of random fevers for a day in that time period, and now the cough came back last week and turned really ugly. She is back on her antifungal medication as of Friday night. I am thankful – and I’m pretty sure that we have been dealing with candida all along since New Years – as we are seeing her typical pattern of improvement after only a couple days on the medication. Today is definitely a better day, which is encouraging.
Some other observations with her: even through the cold her mood has been pretty good and we have seen very little of the ear rubbing sensory stuff. Last weekend she got a hold of three chocolate covered pistachios somewhere outside our home, and we did see a brief resurgence of the withdrawn hazy behavior again. Thankfully, it was short lived and the next day she got rid of all the pistachios and she was better. I can’t help but wonder if that contributed to her current chest cold, but I guess I’ll never know.
I am telling you this for a couple of key reasons. If you’re already on GAPS, but behind us timewise, I want you to know that it isn’t always smooth sailing. There are pitfalls but we keep moving and things get better again. Even having her on a medication now isn’t getting me down – we are so far ahead of where we used to be it just can’t. And, it’s been a year since she’s been prescribed anything…and I think that’s pretty amazing. And even when there are issues – now we see setbacks with cognitive and behavioral things – and not skin rashes and diarrhea, and typically not chest colds. She’s moved into a new phase of healing, which is exciting. Someone once told me the brain is the last to heal and I see that with her. I also want to emphasize through our story that what you put in (and on!) your body MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE and is utterly more important than our society (and modern medicine) believes. We have seen the far-reaching effects of three tiny chocolate pistachios, or a small gluten free french fry serving at the fair, or too many treats over a period of time. We’ve seen behavior change with eating nuts, and too much fruit make her an angry little diva with wild blood sugars. I’m certainly not perfect, but those observations remain enough for me to AIM HIGHER. Not just for the two of us, but also for the rest of my family who is not on GAPS at this time.
Anyhow, I’ve probably babbled on long enough. So that’s it…we’re having a little Happy 1 Year On GAPS Party tonight and I’m making celebratory pizza so I had better get going on it. I don’t think this post would be complete until I supply the awesome recipe from Starlene over at the GAPS Diet Journey blog. It’s our favorite!
Have a wonderful night everyone!
This post was shared at Butter Believer’s Sunday School; The Better Mom’s Mondays Link Up; The Prairie Homestead’s Homestead Barn Hop; Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesdays; Cooking Traditional Foods Traditional Tuesdays; The Tasty Alternative’s Allergy Free Wednesdays; Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesdays; The Cultured Palate’s Tasty Traditions; GNOWFGLINS Simple Lives Thursday; The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter; Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday; Vegetarian Mamma’s Gluten Free Fridays;