Here we are at the 6 month point of GAPS! Hooray! Let’s have a recap of the good, the bad, and the beautiful (because there really wasn’t anything ugly)! (Wondering what the GAPS diet is and why we started it?)
- Migraines: Disappeared! I still get headaches a few times a month, but I can still carry on normal activity. Considering that I was getting weekly migraines last spring and summer, which sent me to bed to sleep (or else caused me to cry and consider going to the ER!), this is an amazing improvement. Do you know someone who gets migraines? Here is some interesting info.
- Liver: Healing! Well, I can't actually see how my liver is doing, but it is probably healing due to the angry red spots on my skin disappearing. Often, skin issues have to do with the ability of the liver to detoxify the body. I drink beet kvass daily to help with my liver. Under the homeopathic philosophy of 'like treating like', I also consume a small piece of pastured-chicken liver every day in a smoothie. (I don't even notice it's there!)
- Digestion: Improving! Many of my earlier problems probably had to do with food allergies and leaky gut. I'm currently taking high doses of digestive enzymes and stomach acid. One way in which I can tell that my digestion is improving is that I can no longer see any trace of red in my stool or urine after eating beets (and boy, do I eat beets)! My body is breaking it down appropriately!
- Energy: Exists! Okay, I admit: I don't have a ton of energy. But I have more than before, which was pretty much none. I'm taking some supplements for adrenal support. It wasn't too long ago that I could hardly get out of bed, much less care for my children. Now, I just don't want to get out of bed, but I can!
- Weight: Lost! I actually don't remember what I weighed when we initially started GAPS. But I think I've lost around 20 lbs. or so. Which is really amazing because I wasn't trying. I was hoping I'd lose weight, but it was way more important to me to be able to function than worry about weight-loss. I never deprived myself when I was hungry. But when you're not eating starchy carbs or sugar for snacks, it's a lot easier to honestly ask myself if I'm hungry. ("Do I want a chicken drumstick or some nuts?" It's seriously difficult to overeat nuts and meat when you have TMJ!) I'm still in the CDC's category called 'Overweight' and hope to lose some more for my long-term health and energy. How can I lose weight when I'm eating so much fat?
- Emotions: Managed (mostly)! Before, I seriously went from no emotion to explosively angry in about 1 second. I felt I no longer had any control over myself. It was depressing and scary, and broke my heart to see the confusion in the eyes of my children! That probably had to do with my cortisol levels being depleted due to my food allergies. Now, I still lose it occasionally, but it's harder to push my buttons, and I can talk myself down when I do feel like yelling.
- Immunity: Increasing! Several of us did have the stomach flu, and I had a bad cold for most of November, but this is still fewer illnesses than we've had in previous years. We've also had absolutely no unplanned doctor visits since starting GAPS.
- Showers: Taken! This one sounds a little weird, but it represents a key change in my fatigue! I stopped showering daily awhile back because I felt zapped of all energy afterward. I just.couldn't.function, even worse than normal. It was horrible. Even as I was healing, I found the mornings I did shower that I was more exhausted than normal. My husband recently bought a chlorine filter for our shower. Now I can hop in, and it's like nothing happened! Amazing!
- Kids’ health: I still feel that there are some underlying issues with the kids' emotions. One son currently has moments of extreme emotion where he goes non-verbal (like some children with autism). He had a one month period of this when he was younger and we started eating gluten again after going off of it. I think that he's detoxing some junk and it makes it hard for him.
- Kids’ digestion: While all of the children are doing GAPS with me, they aren't taking any of the supplements. The children all still have beets in their stool, so I'm pretty sure they aren't digesting fully.
- Cost: I won't kid you. It's hard to make GAPS work financially. We have increased our food budget by 50% and still sometimes struggle. I hope to post in the future about some of the ways to make it work.
- Regularity: I don't poop every day. And I'm convinced I should.
- Forgetfulness: It's hard to remember to eat, do, and take everything that would be ideal for me to do. I'm pretty good about remembering to prep and make food, because if I don't, we don't eat. I'm also faithful with taking the pills in my pill container. But, otherwise: out of sight, out of mind! It's hard to remember to take my cod liver oil when it hides in the fridge. I often forget to start and end my day with refrigerated probiotics, to add some lemon juice to my water, and add apple cider vinegar to my smoothie. Ugh. There are many days when I totally forget, or choose not to because of some other child-related emergency that crops up!
Things to Try:
There are still several remedies or health-builders that I'd like to try for my family after further research.
- Bentonite clay
- Bovine Colostrum
- Dry Skin Brushing
- Vision Therapy
- Healthy Pots and Pans
- Treatments for my A1298 genetic variation
Thank you to all of you who have supported me on my journey! Aside from my awesome and patient family, I've met some wonderful local food suppliers, like Prairie Pride and My Minnesota Farmer. Thank you to my health care providers, Lisa at Between the Bridges Healing Center, Sherry at True Nourishing Traditions, and Abby at New Song Wellness. Thanks to Samaritan Ministries for prayers, financial support, and encouragement for alternative treatment. Thank you to my friends Nada Foede, Andy Lynn Waltz, and Ashley Rand who have loved me with gifts of food. Thanks to INdiGo Organic and WYSIWYG for accommodating my special diet. I still have a really long road ahead, but why not celebrate the milestones on this journey!?
We are gearing up to start the GAPS Intro this May. I haven’t told my husband that we have to give up coffee for that...! Hopefully, he'll still be game!