Sunday, September 7, 2014

Journey to Healthy: Starting GAPS

Read about our health prior to GAPS:
Our Unhealthy Past
My Journey to 80

Well I have received sooo much feedback and questions about how the GAPS journey has gone so far. So many people have either heard about it or have considered jumping into it, but decided that it was just too much work or would cost too much money. Before I get to an update on how it is going, let me start by explaining how this all came about for our family.

Finding Out about GAPS
Around April, I talked to a friend about her journey with food allergies. I had asked her to pray about LJ because she was about to get the prick tests done at the allergist. She ended up really opening my eyes with her own testimony. She has food allergies to MANY things. She also has had some depression struggles in her life. She shared with me how in the past 5 years she has made so much progress. She said she had discovered that most of our immune system is in our gut and that melatonin is produced in our gut. No doctor prior to her natural doctor had made the correlation between stomach problems and her depression. She also explained that food allergies or intolerances are caused by foods leaking out of our gut and if left untreated, you just develop more food allergies.

Suddenly some things made sense about my LJ. She had suddenly developed a sensitivity to a new allergen and some times it seemed she had already hit puberty with some of her mood swings.

I came home with some new found hope about my LJ. I looked up information on my friend's alternative medicine doctor and realized that I could not pay the $$ to go there. So I started to pray. I figured if God wanted us to see this doctor, he would provide a way.

I posted something on Facebook about my hope to get answers and a couple people threw out the term leaky gut to me. This put a name to the foods leaking into the system. Thank goodness for Google! On to researching I went.

WebMD suggests that the medical community doesn't really know much about leaky gut. Leaky gut is basically when your intestinal walls become permeable and foods are released into the blood system, turning into toxins in the body. (There are many pictures on Google that can give you an idea of what I'm talking about.) So... the foods that take the longest to digest are often culprits of "food intolerances" because they are not as easily absorbed before penetrating the walls! That totally made common sense to me. Dairy has like two processes to get digested and grains take a long time to digest as well. Hence, LJ struggled with them among some other things.

So... at that point I was pretty convinced LJ had a leaky gut, but how to fix it? My neighbor talked about her having healed from psoriasis on a clean diet. Well all this talk on Pinterest and FB about clean eating intrigued me and at that point I kind of looked into Paleo and GAPS. Just about the same time I met a lady my age who struggled with ulcerative colitis and had some great success with the GAPS diet. I hadn't researched much about GAPS at this point, but she was very helpful and encouraged me to try it.

I came home and explained my findings to my husband and even told my Mother-in-law about it. Within a few days she called me to tell me that Dr. Oz had had a program about leaky gut. All around, it seemed like GAPS kept popping up everywhere in conversation and that God was pointing us to the new journey on GAPS... but could we do it?

Deciding to Do it
Ok. So I have to admit, as I began researching this new thing called GAPS, I was skeptical and a little overwhelmed thinking about the restrictions! No Wheat! No rice! No oats! No sugar! No canned fruits or veggies!  No processed anything! No Heinz ketchup! No Jiff peanut butter! No... No... No...

Suddenly I recalled a friend who had told me about all these things she couldn't have on a diet she was on a few years back. Honestly, I remember thinking...

"she's crazy! How can she go without ___ & ___ & ___? I could never do that!" 

Well... I confirmed with her... yep! Same diet! YIKES!

At that point, I just kind of held off... knowing this was what we needed to do, but how can I make my picky eater do this? How can I afford this? WHAT AM I THINKING?!?!

So... I made the easy wimpy way out... I decided that I would try it first! I could be a guinea pig! I'd see how this would go for me and maybe transition her on it. I kept researching on the GAPS site. It just seemed so confusing for some reason.

I wanted to know why... teacher here remember... gotta learn the WHY! So... I bought the book... the best decision I have made on this diet so far! If you are considering the diet, buy the book. It's called Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. It really helped me. I highlighted and tagged so much!

What causes leaky gut?
The unbalanced gut flora (bacteria). (Surely you can remember the Activa commercials, right?) If the good gut flora are outnumbered by the bad ones... the walls become permeable. Then those bad gut flora become toxins in your body!

Hello auto-immune diseases! Got one of them? What American doesn't? What does every American eat too much of sugar and carbs! What do bad flora want to feed on... yep sugars and carbs!

Ok. So neurosurgeon and nutritionist, Dr. Campbell-McBride explains it so much better in her book... but that gives you a basic idea. You can read more on the GAPS site or in her book. So many things that were eye opening that I could go on for awhile...

Suddenly on the pages I was no longer on a journey for my baby girl. Now written on the pages I saw myself, my son, and then even my Mom. My children got their tummies from me. (Hence a genetic piece of the puzzle!)

Inflammation? Yep... Chronic Back Pain!
Bloating after eating? Check!
Cramping? yuck!
Diarrhea? How did I not pay attention to that?
Auto-immune disease? Yep! Hashimoto's Thyroid disease
Allergies? environmental, including intermittent asthma
Depression or Anxiety? Not extreme but bouts of "PMS" moods... what woman doesn't :)
Milk intolerance? Ugh... don't eat ice cream before bed! Been thinking I was lactose intolerant for a long time!
Eczema? some on my hands here and there

Formula fed? Yep!
Antibiotics as a kid? Who hasn't? But I even have an allergy to Penicillin because I had it so much as a kid!
Other meds that hurt your gut? the pill, ibuprofen, pain meds... ugh!
Bad diet? As a kid it was Kraft Mac n' cheese, pop and fast food! SUGAR for sure! CARBS oh yeah!


Suddenly so many things made sense. I looked back at LJ's health history! BAM!!! Antibiotics when she was under 2 days old pumped solidly for 48 hours! The good gut flora that she got from me... killed by antibiotics! IT SEEMS SO OBVIOUS NOW!! And there were cycles... sickness... antibiotics... diarrhea... bad eating...

Suddenly the guinea pig option was out! Now... FOUR of us were in! Me, my Mom, LJ and baby T!

Bring on the probiotics!
Bring on all the No foods!
Bring on learning to cook differently!
Bring on... a whole new ME... a whole new family!

This isn't a diet... it's a life change!
One that I am so glad we are making!

Now... where to start?