GAPS Report – Days 3-5

20 Feb

HOLY COW YOU GUYS – I DID IT!!

I have made it 5 days on GAPS with no cheating and I’m feeling very proud of that fact. It has not been easy, the first few days were the WORST! But on the eve of day 6, I’m feeling moderately better about the whole situation. I have been keeping a personal journal with all the TMI that you guys don’t want or need to know, and reflecting back I am seeing some positives.

Let’s start with mood: the first few days were awful, I was angry, frustrated, teary, EXHAUSTED, bloated, crampy, and headachy, fuzzy thinking. I felt very unsettled, back and forth and back and forth about what I was doing with this stupid diet (which was hard for me because, while I may take time to really make a decision, once I make it I don’t generally change my mind – so to be changing my mind every couple of hours was just agony). Then, gradually my headache went away, the cramps went from constant to intermittent, to gone, and I’m tired but not exhausted (like having 2 naps a day like I was). Today I feel ok. More energy than I’ve had since I started, still tired though. No more crazy mood swings. No tears today. However, we have a new symptom: achy hips at night, achy joints all day. Arthritis or further die off? Time will tell. I have read other people’s blogs about GAPS though, and the joint pain seems to be right on schedule.

Foods: Thanks to a dear friend who’s baby had such severe allergies she could only eat 6 (!!!) foods while breastfeeding him (the same friend I called the first night), I have many new ideas about what to do with food. She told me about the make-believe shepherd’s pie and last night she suggested a lemon, ginger, honey drink with my Soda Stream (it carbonates water which is GAPS legal). I made that today and it was delicious!! I threw a roast in the crockpot with broth, onions, and carrots – delicious!! And then I just drank the extra broth with my meal.

I have officially started on Stage 2 of the Intro Diet – which means that if I didn’t have an egg sensitivity, I could start adding in eggs. But I can’t. So it means I have started drinking sauerkraut juice (1 tbsp) before every meal to improve stomach acidity and just today I got to actually eat some. It’s pretty delicious. Bubbies brand is naturally fermented, so it is GAPS legal and saves me from making my own – which I may yet try, but for now seems like a lot of additional work on top of what I’m already doing. The best part of Stage 2 though, is the addition of Ghee (clarified butter). I had some on my zucchini at dinner tonight and it was a little piece of heaven. Depending on how my guts fare with these new introductions over the next day or two, I may move on to Stage 3 quite quickly – that means avocado for those of you playing at home.

Some successes of the past 5 days: Asking for help when I need it. Two birthday parties, no cake.

Also, in a dark moment I sent a pitiful email to my ND, who told me I could do some beans instead of meat. There are some beans allowed on full GAPS but certainly not in the intro because they are hard to digest. With my trusty Vitamix however, I can pulverize them beyond recognition before putting them in a soup, or mixed in with some broth or something, so hopefully that will work for me. It’s nice to know I have options.

Planned indiscretions:

  1. Ian and I are going in to Toronto on Thursday to see The Wizard of Oz and we are going to go out to dinner. I have already perused the menu online and picked the most GAPS-friendly items – but I would probably be asked to leave if I asked them to boil my steak, so the method of cooking may be illegal. Unless I could find a poached fish of some sort….and I will try to skip desert.
  2. Dinner out with friends this weekend – again, have pre-selected my meal. Also, a Kindfood cupcake may be involved. While they are not grain free, they are gluten, sugar, and dairy free. So not too big a problem – I hope.

So all in all, it’s been a good couple of days since my last post. I have to say though, that the nightly detox baths are my favourite part! And Ian can’t even complain about them because they are part of the program, and he wants me to succeed! ;)

GAPS Report – Day 2

17 Feb

After I wrote my last post, I had a colossal melt-down. Called my friend crying, saying I hated broth and meat and that there was no way I could do this. I went to bed firmly resolved to throw in the towel in the morning.

Morning of Day 2 arrived with a pounding headache (had been there all night) and me not feeling able to face the day. I know part of this was caffeine detox. I also had terrible uterine cramping (like menstrual cramps – but I’m nowhere near due for those). I realized I wouldn’t get through the day with this headache, so I made myself some half caf coffee and had half a cup – so really, only a 1/4 cup of caffeine! Black, with honey (so still GAPS legal – in fact some coffee is allowed on the later stages, so I wasn’t really breaking any rules). I felt better within about 20 mins.

Ian and I had a long talk about this GAPS business – he’s so supportive and would love to see my guts (and thus me) get better. So I asked him to start prepping the days meat, because I just didn’t think I could do it. Off he went to the kitchen to simmer me some hamburger patties in broth.

Day 1 was butternut squash soup, boiled onions, boiled chicken, and broth. Day 2 was soup for breakfast (threw some chicken in to really spice it up), hamburger patties with carrots and cauliflower ‘sauce’ (boiled them in broth with the patties then threw it all in the vitamix). Supper was ‘shepherd’s pie’ – bottom layer of boiled ground turkey and butternut squash, second layer of boiled broccoli, third layer was whipped cauliflower. And broth. Lots and lots of broth.

Now most of the time I like meat. Since I fell off the GFV wagon we’ve eaten meat several times a month, mostly when we got out. But I think this much meat is going to kill me. I feel gross and bloated. And maybe starting to smell like meat a little. YUCK! I really don’t know how long I am going to be able to keep this up…

I’m trying to separate “die-off” symptoms from my body telling me cut it out with the meat. I will accept that the bloating, headache, fuzzy head, and EXTREME exhaustion are part of the die-off and detoxing from sugar/caffeine etc. However, those menstrual like cramps have me worried. For 10 years, they have been a sign that I am putting something into my body that shouldn’t be there. So now what? Do I push through, ignoring what my body is telling me in this respect? Or do I listen to it, thereby throwing in the GAPS towel? I just don’t know what to do.

Depending on how long I stick to this stupid Atkins diet, there are some helpful things I will take away:

  1. Adding naturally fermented foods to my diet to increase digestion and good bacteria.
  2. Decreasing almost to the point of elimination, refined sugar.
  3. Decreasing grains, even the gluten free kind.

Anyway, I have a warm cup of broth waiting for me so I should get to drinking it! Stay tuned for more updates, because at this point it’s less day to day and more meal to meal.

GAPS Report – Day 1

15 Feb

Last night I was pumped – happily making my soup, broth, and boiled onions for the coming day.

Tonight? I have a headache, am exhausted, and find myself already sick of broth, soup, and boiled onions. Even the detox bath didn’t help.

I am DYING for some sugar.

Less than 24 hours in and I’m ready to give up. Ugh.

Going GFV was a freaking breeze compared to this. GAPS will certainly be a day by day thing for me and in a pinch, I’ll just flip back to GFV now and maybe try GAPS again in the future.

But for now, I press on…going to go simmer some meat patties in broth now.

Gluten-free vegan: REDUX

31 Jan

*sigh*

So here we go again. Back to the crazy world of attempting to use food to heal from the inside out. I am a mess. My joints hurt, my guts hurt, and my thyroid is out of control – normal antibody levels are less than 35. I checked them last week and it didn’t actually read a level – just said it was GREATER THAN 1000! What a disaster!

Since my last post almost a year ago, any kind of dietary anything has been non-existant. I’ve been spending a lot of time debating doing the GAPS diet – but it’s pretty restrictive and can be challenging at the best of times. In a nutshell, GAPS is a diet used by a lot of parents who have kids with Autism, ADD, etc, to promote healing and psychological improvement (if you want to know why this works, you’ll have to look it up, or ask me – but it’s too involved to go into here). Anyway, GAPS is meant to heal the gut and subsequently the body’s inflammatory process is lessened and auto-immune issues thereby decreased.

GAPS starts with drinking copious amounts of meat broth and moves to eating lots of meat, eggs, and naturally fermented foods (sauerkraut etc). When I read the book, it made a lot of sense for gut healing. But, when I consider what I know about anti-inflammatory/anti-estrogenic diets (for me), the amount of meat required just seems to go against all of that.

I met with my Naturopath to discuss the finer points of GAPS for me specifically and she agreed that all that meat would not be good for me. Further, I have an egg sensitivity and GAPS requires a lot of egg eating (I was really excited about this because I LOVE eggs), so that’s not going to work either. But, the gut healing aspects of the Intro Diet *would* be good for me.

So, basically we’ve decided that the best approach would be to start with the GAPS Intro Diet for a month or so, then moving on to a modified GAPS with a focus on Vegan and Gluten Free. I felt SO GOOD when I was eating vegan and GF and my body responded positively as well (recall when I actually made myself hypER thyroid).

What it boils down to is this: In keeping with Vegan/GF, I’ll be dairy and egg free for sure – with organic, grass-fed, antibiotic free blah blah meat or fish on occasion, and no gluten. In addition, I’ll be following the grain and sugar free approach of GAPS – no rice, quinoa, oats, etc and only honey as sweetener.

I can hardly wait.

Breakfast Woes

20 Apr

Are you guys any good at breakfast? I’m not. It’s mostly the result of my sheer laziness and my inability or desire to get up early a lack of time. Also, the things I crave aren’t what I should be eating: Eggs in all their forms, Tim Horon’s bagels lovingly covered in cream cheese or their equally delicious counterpart – the tantalizing Sausage Breakfast Sandwich, and pancakes/waffles/crepes (ok, so those last few really are due to a lack of time, because they can easily be made ‘safe’).

Good, nutritious breakfasts are something I really struggle with. Sometimes I legitimately don’t have time – I get called out in the middle of the night/early morning and have to go – a few hours later there’s a new person in the world and I’m STARVING after all my hard work (haha!). At that point I usually end up eating some toast and peanut butter (if we’re at the hospital) or some toast and peanut butter (if we’re at home). This is not nearly nutritionally good enough to get me through the last few hours of recovery, so by the time we’re all done I’m fantasizing about the BF sandwich again! The other thing I do is leave the house for clinic without eating anything – I’m usually fine for the morning, but then the afternoon comes and I’m all about the bad food choices!

My other problem is that I don’t love cold stuff in the morning – especially in the winter. So that makes cereal, fruit, yogurt and nuts, and my smoothies all seem very unappealing. Also, I don’t much love instant oatmeal – I like the real stuff, but see above re: time.

But a good breakfast sets the tone for your whole day and I know it keeps me from making bad food choices later in the day. So I’m going to work on this. For the next few weeks my goal is to have tasty, fast, nutritionally appropriate breakfasts. That can be eaten with one hand – while driving.

No, they didn’t kill me!

19 Apr

Sorry to leave y’all hanging after that last post. The good folks at Clear Passage did not kill me, I just found myself needing to rest and veg out the next couple of days. Then we were flying home. Then it was right back into work and……life gets in the way.

I kept meaning to write more about my time there – and didn’t want to write any other posts until I had finished the series properly – and so my perfectionist nature prevented me from writing anything at all….

So here we are, 5 months after the fact – trying to catch up:

 

The rest of my time at Clear Passage was good. The day after they kicked the crap out of me, I made them go a little easier on me. I was still red and achy the next morning. I’m going to skip over the rest (mostly ’cause I don’t remember the details) and just say that while it didn’t fix everything, it did make a tremendous difference where pain was concerned!

Though an ultrasound 2 months after confirmed that my tubes were (are?) the same, all the pain typically associated with my cycles and endo is SIGNIFICANTLY reduced. Surprisingly so. I even have a visual reminder of the change as my appendix scar (for 10 years has been kind of puckered in) is totally smoothed out now. It took me sometime to get used to the difference in how it looked and felt. Oh, and did I mention I now have almost NO PAIN??? :)

So, ultimately the verdict is that I would recommend this treatment to someone with wicked endo pain and I would absolutely consider going back myself, for a “tune up”, should the need arise.

I call this a success.

 

Clear Passage – part 2

16 Nov

So, uh, day two was a little LOT more intense than day 1. I arrived at 9am and met with Evette again. This time she spent the hour focused on my uterus and bladder – it felt more intense than the day before, but she was just getting things warmed up! My second hour was with Larry (Belinda’s hubby and the other co-founder) and all I can say is “holy crap”.

He seems like a bit of an odd duck, but nice. Passionate about his work and really wanting me to be involved – ie, let him know exactly what I’m feeling and where, if any of the treatment was too intense and any emotions that might come up during the treatment. We chatted for about 10 minutes and then he got down to business.

He started by doing a general assessment of my abdominal organs. It was so interesting to feel how pliable things are on the left but how rigid things are on the right. When he was done that, he positioned himself sitting beside the table, facing me with my right leg draped over his right shoulder and then he started digging massaging my lower right abdomen. Gradually he increased the depth/pressure until I was sure he could feel the table through my back! He slowly (like 20 mins) worked his way up the right side of my abdomen to just below my ribs (most of the time I was feeling like things were on fire and ripping in my belly a ‘slight burning sensation’). At this point he had moved my leg back onto the table and it basically felt like he was folding my liver in half! I spent much of this time focusing on my breathing and talking myself through it like I do women in labour (“slow deep breaths, relax your shoulders, relax your hips, let all your weight sink down into the bed”). His treatment felt “productive”. Then, while he was kicking the crap out of my transverse colon (right across the top of my abdomen) I got all flushed and nauseated! Hello vaso-vagal response, how nice to see you! This lasted about 10 mins. Then he started to work his way back down my right side and I guess his hands were getting tired because then he stood up, raised the table, and started having a go at me with his ELBOWS! Good grief! This lasted about another 15 minutes and then we were all done. Phew!

Now I should point out, that all the while he kept checking in with me, making sure the pressure was ok, making sure I was ok. They are not trying to intentionally inflict pain, but sometimes breaking down scar tissue is a painful process – there is no way around it. Like I said, it felt effective. And looked effective. My belly was red for at least an hour afterwards…

Then it was time for lunch and since I only had an hour break, mom brought lunch to the clinic. We ate and then went for my prescribed walk around the neighbourhood before starting back again for the afternoon.

The first session of the afternoon had Evette hanging out with my cervix and tailbone again. And again, not so bad. It is however, an odd feeling to have someone massaging your tailbone from the inside!

The last session of the day had me with Kim again. I really warmed up to her this time – she seems like a lot of fun. She picked up where Larry left off – by kicking the crap out of my guts. She was focused on my left side though (equal opportunity for abdominal abuse today) and by the time she was done with me I was also feeling pretty done as well.

We came home and sat by the pool for a bit. I was eating arnica by the handful, slathering myself in homeopathic creams for inflammation and bruising and I also slept for a while. Several hours later I still had finger marks and redness all over my abdomen and I really felt beat up.

Mom and I went out for a bite to eat and a drink (we toasted to my pain and suffering) and then we went shopping for a bit (they told me I have to walk, they didn’t say it couldn’t be around a store – haha). As I was trying on some clothes, I noticed my poor red belly in the mirror – what really stood out though, was my appendix scar. Ever since I can remember, my belly has been puckered in along the scar, with a distinct divet to be felt. But now, it’s mostly gone! CRAZY. There is still one small part that puckers, but it looks totally different. I ran out of the change room to show my mom, but she didn’t really know what she was looking at. But I do because I’ve been looking at it for 9 years and it looks different. Scar tissue be gone!

At this point I was starting to feel really bruised and battered so we went home, I did my castor oil pack and went to bed. Nervous about letting them touch my abdomen tomorrow, but excited by the changes.

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