*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.
This is part two of a three-post series about my GAPS Diet journey.
If you want to read part one click here. Part one was about what my day looks like eating the way Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride discusses in her Gut and Psychology Syndrome book.
In this post, part two, we will talk about the symptoms I had when I started GAPS and how I am doing now; after 90 days on the GAPS Diet.
(Originally written in 2013 – some sentences have been updated)
I have experienced a lot of healing on the GAPS Diet so far. When I started this diet I barely had the energy to even make the food.
Heck, I barely had the energy to even think about making the food! I certainly couldn’t go shopping for the food. All I could do was research what I needed to do. By God’s grace, I was eventually able to read the GAPS book and figure out a plan.
I started simple, with just broth and a little veggies and some meat. I noticed small changes within a week in my energy and healing.
Here is a List of Diagnosis’ & Symptoms I had Before I Started GAPS:
- Leaky Gut
- Adrenal Fatigue
- Low Progesterone
- Seborrheic Dermatitis
- Atopic Dermatitis
- Vitamin Deficiencies
- Low White Blood Cell Count
- Infected feeling in head, nose and eyes
- Cuts inside my nose
- Electric feeling in my legs
- Tingling in my arms and hands (ruled out MS)
- Terrible brain fog
- Extreme body aches – EVERYWHERE
- Poor concentration and focus
- Blurred vision
- Sticky, watery eyes
- Intensely itchy skin that cracks, weeps, bleeds and burns. Feel like skin is always crawling
- Sandpaper rash all over my body
- Cystic acne
- Extreme food sensitivities (sensitive to over 175 foods)
- Critically low body weight (96 pounds) (crazy thing is I used to struggle with being overweight!)
- Huge swollen lymph nodes in my neck, back of head and groin and some smaller ones on my face
- Overwhelming fatigue (could sleep 13 hours and still be tired)
- Facial swelling in my eyes, ears, cheeks
- Jaw pain
- Sores on my jawline and hairline
- Terrible irritability
- Severe depression
- Showers make everything worse
- Intestinal pain
- Kidney pain
- Abdominal cramping
- Significant hair loss
- Poor digestive motility
- Irregular menses
- Arthritic like symptoms
- Sores on gums
- Ridges in nails
- (There’s still more but this list is long enough – you get the picture)
As you can see I was a mess.
True healing only began once I changed my diet and lifestyle and implemented the GAPS Diet.
How I’m Doing Currently
- White blood cell count is in the middle, normal range now
- Leaky Gut is healing – my reaction to foods doesn’t last as long. It used to last for days and now it’s only one day.
- Vitamin deficiencies are improving
- Thyroid function is still not optimal
- I still have Hashimoto’s antibodies present
- I still have occasionally itchy forearms and neck which cracks, bleeds and burns depending on if I have introduced a new food or supplement or been stressed or not gotten enough sleep.
- Some irritability if I have not kept my blood sugar stable
- Periods are still not quite normal
- Digestion has improved but still not optimal
- Still have ridges on my nails
- Very dry skin on arms, hands and neck and still can’t take a normal shower because water can’t get on them
- Still losing a lot of hair and have a high TSH
- Occasional late in the day fatigue
Really Positive Changes
- I sleep soundly through the night now.
- I wake up refreshed after 8 hours of sleep.
- I can do regular exercise now and have normal muscle fatigue instead of feeling like my body aches so badly.
- My moods are generally good.
- I have gained 2 more pounds!
A Few More Thoughts About My Health and GAPS
- I still have Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I will be going in June to have an ultrasound on the nodule I have on my thyroid. I pray that it is gone due to this diet and healing in my body. Only the Lord knows.
- My thyroid hormones have been on a roller coaster due to some experimenting with medication (we will talk about that in post three of this series.)
- I can tell that my leaky gut is healing because my rashes on my arms are about 95% gone! My skin is still dry but the weeping burning sores are almost all gone. I still have some just on my hands. I cannot tell you how rewarding and encouraging that is for me. My skin was so painful and debilitating when it was at its worst.
- I am still fighting a small imbalance of good vs. bad bacteria in my intestines. It is a slow healing process though. I have to remember how big my small intestine is. Then I need to think about how many trillions of inhabitants there are in there! Healing takes a long time.
- I am not sure about my female hormones. I think they are off because of the irregular periods I experience and would like to have those checked eventually.
- As I stated in the list above, my adrenal fatigue is pretty much gone and my energy level is mostly normal again.
- I am thrilled that my White Blood Cell Count (WBC) is in the normal range. White Blood Cells help to fight off infection, aid in healing and are an integral part of our immune system. Without the right balance, I was susceptible to everything which is why I got Mono/EBV. Now I feel much more protected and notice a huge difference in how quickly I heal and how I fight off infection or colds.
- A month ago our whole family was sick. My husband was sick for 9 days and my sons got it too, really bad. Coughing, fevers, etc. I did not get it! I attribute that to God protecting me and eating a diet that is “clean” and free of sugars, starches, all of which boost my immune system and help it do its job.
- I am enjoying crawling into bed at night without fear. I used to fear that I would wake up itching through the night (which happened multiple times a week), not be able to sleep (more adrenal fatigue), or wake up swollen.
- Now mostly I sleep like a baby for a solid 8 hours or more. I am able to get up before the boys, around 7, and do my bible study too! Before GAPS I could barely wake up at 9 am and when I did I was still fatigued and couldn’t function.
- My energy level is wonderful. I have been able to plant a full garden this year and do all the manual labor that comes with that. I get muscle fatigue that is normal rather than before feeling fibromyalgia-like symptoms after doing any kind of light muscle work.
- I am able to cook, clean and take care of my boys like normal. We also just finished our homeschool year and co-op and which definitely takes a lot of energy.
- I have gained a few more pounds and hope to gain a few more. I enjoy fitting in the clothes that I do and shopping is getting to be fun again.
- Even though I am healing I am still in a fragile state. My body needs the right foods and supplements as well as the least stress possible and adequate amounts of sleep.
- If any one of these things is off balance or I introduce something new or take more probiotics I find I feel it the next day. The balance is probably the toughest piece to the puzzle for me. Once I start feeling good I tend to want to go full bore into everything I do. This is where the Lord is working on me though. Keyword = rest. I am learning.
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.
lynne warburton says
I too suffer from Hypothyroidism and Hashimotos, 2 years ago the NHS in England stopped prescribing T3 (saying that it was no more effective than T4!) I became very ill. I am now back on T3 and during the time I was ill i did a lot of research. Because you have Hashimotos some practioners say you would probably do much better on NDT, natural desiccated thyroxine ask your functional medicine doctor about it, also I found out that I have a faulty DIO2 gene, this means that I do not convert T4 into T3, you may want to get this checked too if you haven’t already. The geneticist suggested I would most likely do better on T3 only therapy or NDT. I am still recovering and I am not able to take in as much T3 as I need due to changes in my body whilst I was ill. I am very interested in the gaps diet and i am going to try it in the new year. its been good reading your blog and I wish you well on your journey to optimum health. Lynne Warburton
Hi Lynne, thank you for the kind words. I wish you well on your GAPS journey too! Healing is possible and great when achieved! Stay encouraged.