|1/8 of a grass fed cow in our freezer- my, how things have changed!|
The GAPS diet is based on the work of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. She discovered the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) and took it a step further by describing the gut-brain connection in the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome.
Some BackgroundOK, let's rewind. I think about this all starting for me around the time I buckled over in the worst pain in life one night while at work on a video shoot in the middle of nowhere a couple of hours North of Seattle. Sparing the incredibly gory details, I turned out to be suddenly and inexplicably severely allergic to chicken. I had been taking medication for MS, which was a misdiagnosis. I was told that this medication could be rough on the gut, and then told I should avoid meat. I blindly followed this advice and became a vegetarian. Later, I would find out that I was also extremely intolerant of eggs. But, not until after I was taking Imodium on a daily basis for a year. I was in a state of chronic inflammation, constant body pain, had vision problems, sleep problems, vertigo that lasted for more than 2 months at a time and more. With the help of a very insightful, brilliant hippie Doctor, I was able to start down the path to health. After elimination diets, cleanses, tests, and more, I was able to start to live a normal life, provided I avoid eggs and chicken and really pay attention to what things in my life affect my health. I also started to see and take group classes from a fantastic fitness trainer to help me rebuild my strength. I recognize how fortunate I am to be able to access these resources, and how fortunate I am to live in a city where resources like these are affordable, often covered by insurance or sliding scale fees, and abundant in choices. And now, almost six years after first visiting Dr. Nigh, I feel ready to level up and start exploring how I can really truly reverse the damage done- move beyond the food and seasonal allergies where possible, gain more energy and fitness, and simply feel even better. His advice I am taking- give the GAPS diet a try.
Starting OutI'm going to write a separate post about my thoughts on getting started with GAPS in more detail. I started by rising to these challenges:
- Eliminate grains from my diet. (Yes all grains including and not limited to amaranth, corn, rice, barley, wheat, etc. etc. etc.)
- Eliminate sugars and fake sugars. (Sugars are really hard on the gut and help nasty bacteria proliferate.)
- Start making and drinking/using bone broth.
- Add more fermented foods to my diet- pickles, kraut, kimchee and yogurt.
But, I had learned a few things during that time, like how to make broth and pickle things quickly and efficiently. I also ate my first egg yolk in seven years! Well, intentionally and without a horrible reaction, that is! So, I circled back around and decided to go for it and do the full intro, which I will get to later- it's complicated. Luckily, it doesn't last too long!
Six Months LaterI am the first to say that for the amount of work this requires, I have not had a simply amazing, magical, transformational experience the way many people seem to have. I haven't shed 50 pounds and starting doing cartwheels and become a 9th level yoga wizard master. But, I have:
- stopped wanting to go to bed the minute I get home from work
- started doing circuit training classes and yoga very regularly several times a week
- started cleaning my house and picking up after myself all of the time (a first in life, really!)
- started feeling better physically
- lost 12 pounds very gradually
- started eating more than the FDA recommended servings of veggies every day
- stopped having severe gut pain
- started seeking out more adventures!