*These posts were written when my blog was more of a journal and will have more of a diary entry typestyle. If you are in the middle of the GAPS Diet or considering doing the GAPS diet, these posts will helpful for you to see what being on the temporary diet was like.
90 Day GAPS Summary Part 3
(originally written in 2013. Some sentences have been updated.)
This is the third post in my three-part series on my GAPS journey following Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride’s book Gut and Psychology Syndrome.
If you would like to read post one about what my GAPS day looks like, click here.
If you would like to read post two about what symptoms and issues I used to have and how I have healed after 90 days click here.
My Big Puzzle Pieces for Healing
In this post, I will address a few big pieces to my puzzle:
- Hypothyroidism & Hashimotos Thyroiditis
- Sleep Quantity and Quality
Hypothyroidism & Hashimoto’s
I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism and Hashimotos almost 7 years ago. Having the autoimmune condition Hashimoto’s has negatively affected my health for a number of years but it didn’t have to be this way. It is just “no big deal,” as my old Endocrinologist used to say. That was SO far from the truth.
Fast forward to the present. I now know that Hashi’s is definitely something to be managed through diet and lifestyle.
In fact, 80-90% of people with Hypothyroidism have Hashi’s and don’t know it.
That is crazy! Can you believe it?
It is crazy because treating Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is different than treating Hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s is an all-out attack on the thyroid gland and if it’s not stopped the thyroid will eventually die causing a host of health problems. Whereas with hypothyroidism the gland is not actually getting destroyed. Instead, it is just a bit sluggish. To learn more about Hashimoto’s you can read one of my most popular posts.
Having a thyroid dysfunction impairs every other part of your body on a cellular level. That is because God designed our bodies to run synergistically. All together. Just like everybody works together as a team to win the big game, every organ and part of our body work s together to make a healthy, functioning and thriving body.
When one part is off, other parts will be too. If one part is off for a LONG time (in my case) all other parts get worse and worse along with the main dysfunction. This in turn can cause more infections, more autoimmune conditions and in my case leaky gut.
It wasn’t until recently that I learned that I could actually cause my Hashimotos Thyroiditis to go into remission and that my thyroid could actually heal itself through proper nutrition (whole, non-processed, unrefined foods, rest, and exercise.) Wow! This makes sense because God did design our bodies to heal themselves if in the proper balance.
What does all this have to do with GAPS you ask?
Well, in my opinion, even though I wholeheartedly believe in GAPS and it’s healing abilities, there is more we have to address in healing our bodies than just a diet change – especially if you have an autoimmune disease. Autoimmunity of any type stems from gut dysbiosis and bad pathogens and significant diet changes are a big percentage that can lead to healing but there are other factors to consider.
For instance, I am healing on GAPS but notice that when my thyroid hormones are off I can have some of the same symptoms I have when I am detoxing or have eaten a food I am sensitive too. It is a tangled web to figure out sometimes and that is when I am thankful for my faith in the Lord. I can’t figure it out all the time but He can.
Here is an example: during the first quarter of this year I found out that my Reverse T3 (RT3) was extremely high. Have you ever been tested for that? I can almost assume the answer is no.
Most conventional docs only test TSH. That cannot, I repeat, CANNOT properly diagnose a thyroid problem OR Hashimotos.
In doing a little experiment with my Naturopath (once we found out about my high Reverse T3) we realized that part of my rashes were occurring because of the high level of this hormone!
Yet, I thought all along it was solely from food sensitivities. Once we remedied the RT3 a big amount of my (rashy) inflammation subsided.
Once the RT3 was low again my TSH shot up though (we knew this could happen) and because of that my Hashimoto’s antibodies also shot up. This rise caused inflammation as well and has affected me in other areas (fatigue, extreme dry skin, hair loss, etc.)
As you can see thyroid balance is delicate.
It is tough to get the right medication dosage while healing through your diet. The right medication AND right dosage can make all the difference in the world in how you feel though. For me, maintaining a proper thyroid hormone balance ALONG with sticking to the GAPS diet is crucial in how I feel day in and day out.
It’s Not Only About T4
Now, I don’t just take T4 (like I did for 6 years, making myself sicker unknowingly.) I take T3 along with T4 AND they are compounded. Compounded means that I get them specially made so that there are no dyes or fillers in them.
Did you know that commercial Synthroid has dyes in the tablets in all but one dosage? Yep, it’s true. Dyes can affect your healing and health as well. Some of our medications also have gluten in them. Gluten is very damaging for someone who has Hashimotos Thyroiditis.
Healing the thyroid is an enormous topic in and of itself and I don’t intend to get too deep into the subject here. I just wanted to paint a picture for you that our health is multi-faceted.
Usually, we have to address many different areas of our lives for ultimate healing.
Right now as I heal my gut through the GAPS diet I also have to take thyroid medication (hopefully temporarily) and work closely with my doctor to maintain the proper hormone balance so that my hormones work synergistically with all other parts of my body. I have to ensure balance so that the gut healing I am doing is not hindered by an imbalance in my thyroid hormones. Make sense?
Sleep Quantity & Quality
For me the other facet I have found to be really important for my healing is sleep.
I am a type A personality. All or nothing. Dive in with all I’ve got. This can be a blessing and a curse. I just don’t do things half way. So rest for me is something I am learning. I like to be “doing,” creating, thinking, and contributing.
Down time is new.
I notice that when this aspect of my life is off balance I also start feeling bad. When I stay up late and don’t get enough sleep my lymph nodes in the back of my head get swollen and tender again (due to the wonderful Epstein Barr Virus I have that gave me Mono at the beginning of the year.)
When I get too little sleep my body starts getting so fatigued that I ache. I get moody and irritable. It affects my family and, to be honest, my entire life. Again, as long as I am addressing my gut health with GAPS, I need to be sure to be getting adequate sleep (9-10 hours a night for someone in the middle of healing from an autoimmune disease) otherwise I am hindering the healing that is possible.
Did you know that between 10pm-4am is when our body does the most clean-up and repair? It is when we are rested enough (or we should be) that the cells in our bodies start the detox process and fix all the damage so that we can get up and function the next day. If we don’t give our bodies ample time for this restoration then we impede the healing process and we keep feeling worse and worse. It is another piece to the puzzle.
Healing is Individual
Dear friend, this is specifically my healing puzzle. Everybodies puzzle pieces are different. It does take a lot of trial and error to figure out how our individual bodies work the best and what we need but I will tell you from personal experience that it is well worth it to commit to figuring it out.
Feeling better and thriving in life is much better than just surviving (as I was doing for quite some time.)
Healing also takes a lot of patience. The waiting game with labs, finding the right doctor, challenging sensitive foods are all that requires this virtue of patience.
For me, it has taken great faith in My Lord Jesus to heal me. I could not be going through this without Him as my refuge because there are tough times and discouraging times. He comforts me and is my Shepherd who guides me where I need to go.
The Big Picture of Understanding Healing with GAPS
I hope I have helped you to understand that we need to address our health issues from many different directions. This is where “Functional and Integrative Medicine” comes in.
This kind of medical practice addresses your WHOLE body as well as your WHOLE health history, not just ONE symptom with a quick pill fix.
Our bodies are intricately designed and need a holistic approach to heal.
Our puzzles are each unique because we are all specially made and different.
As always, feel free to comment down below to ask any questions or even share your victories!
Helpful GAPS Resources for You
These are some amazing resources that will help make doing the GAPS diet attainable for you.
- Gut & Psychology Syndrome Book
- More GAPS Articles and Helps
- GAPS Cookbook
- Gut & Psychology Syndrome WAPF Conference
- The Best Homemade Bone Broth
- Making Your Own Kombucha
- The Art of Fermenting by Season
- If you have Hashimoto’s I strongly suggest spending some time perusing the articles in my Hashimoto’s tab or Autoimmunity tab on this website. There’s a wealth of information to learn.