Today marks 365 days since I was as sickest I had ever been in my life. This time last year I was not functioning at all. I was literally in bed (after my pointless visit to the ER that day), able to do nothing and almost without hope. My face was swollen beyond recognition, red, burning and itchy. My arms were covered in itchy, bloody scabs. I had lymph nodes popping out all over the place, some of which were the size of eggs. They were very tender and painful. I had been diagnosed with Mono (EBV Virus) and was also dealing with adrenal fatigue, low progesterone and the autoimmune condition I had had essentially untreated for six years – Hypothyroidism with Hashimotos. There were a lot more symptoms too. To see more of an extensive list you can scroll down to the blue card with bullet points of all my symptoms and diagnosis before GAPS. That list isn’t exhaustive either.
I was reading through my GAPS posts and it brought back so many not so distant memories of where I was at and how I was feeling. It also made me grateful for where I am now just one year later. Praise God!
If you want to read about my journey click on the following links:
60 Days on the GAPS Diet: Reflections including a progress report
90 Day GAPS Summary: A piece to the puzzle (part one of three)
90 Day GAPS Summary: A piece to the puzzle (part two of three)
90 Day GAPS Summary: A piece to the puzzle (part three of three)
I found and implemented the GAPS diet about a week after I hit the bottom. I ended up having to stick with GAPS very strictly for 7 months. I had to stay on the intro (stage 1-2) GAPS for almost 3 months! Hard is an understatement. I kept searching the web and seeing people only on intro for a couple of weeks. My body was just not handling that. It was frustrating. I got through it though and have seen amazing healing. I have also learned SO much over the past year. I have probably learned more about our bodies, health and nutrition this past year than I have my entire life combined.
Since this post is a look forward, let me tell you where I am at now. I am grateful, in hindsight, that I only had to be on GAPS for 7 months. Some people have to do it for years. My goal was to finish out GAPS and transition to eating Paleo or AI (Autoimmune) Paleo. Within 7 months of GAPS I was able to start transitioning to eating more Paleo foods. I eat full Paleo now and weave in some GAPS basics like 24 hour fermented raw milk yogurt and bone broths every day. I am able to tolerate more of a variety of foods and it is such a wonderful feeling. I went from being so sensitive to any foods and not being able to eat things like onions or garlic because of the sulfur content, antioxidants and detox effect to being able to bake with coconut flour and eat all vegetables – even sweet potatoes! It is truly glorious. That transition didn’t happen overnight though. I still had to try each food to make sure I didn’t react. Sometimes I was more diligent than others about only doing one thing at a time so I could pinpoint where the reaction came from. That was one of the hardest parts though. Cheating was not really an option ever for me because it would cause such severe symptoms that would affect my entire family because I couldn’t function again. I would feel like I was on my death bed again. I really didn’t cheat. Now I do occasionally have too much honey or Paleo treats and regret that but my symptoms are nothing like they used to be.
Even though GAPS allows lentils, I still have never had those. They would be too hard on my digestion because I am still not fully healed. I also do not eat nuts. Through trial, I realized that nuts were certainly a food that caused my immune system to attack itself. I would get cracked, bloody and itchy knuckles. I pray this is temporary because I do hope to enjoy some nut butter again someday. The Paleo Mom has a good article about nuts and the components that can be good and bad for autoimmune conditions. To read it click here. I can eat 24 fermented GAPS Raw Milk Yogurt and seem to tolerate that well. It is not something I can have every day though or I start to get symptoms. Once in a while, I have a piece of Raw Milk cheese but it doesn’t sit well with me so it is not something that I would continue to eat. I have been able to have two small cups (total) of organic decaf coffee in the past two months. I use coconut milk and honey in it and it satisfies me. I would like to try a little ghee in it since having it with coffee is beneficial in certain ways.
This Friday I will have a post highlighting other things that have changed in our lives. We have literally revamped almost every area of our lives. From pots and pans to cleaners and even make-up. I will be sharing what I use and why we changed to certain products as well as all my Pinterest boards with some very resourceful links.
My name is Jennifer and I am thrilled you stopped by. Grab a cup of tea and stay awhile with me. You are valuable. You are worth it. You can heal. You are powerful. You can have the life you always dreamed of. My pain has become my purpose. It's my biggest joy to help you move from merely surviving your life and just "getting through it", to thriving and loving every part of your life!
Are you with me?