My Journey So Far…
Have you ever walked into a supermarket (albeit slightly hungry), looked around and realised there is nothing there you can eat? That is, without going home and standing over the stove first. Welcome to GAPS Intro, our current place of dietary residence.
It has taken us many long years to get to this point so let me take you back a wee way to give you an understanding of why we have chosen GAPS.
I’ve had gut health issues since birth, I had terrible bowel functioning resulting in my Mum having to stimulate my bowels with cotton buds just so I could poo. I was tiny all through primary school, in Grade 6 I was as tall as most of friend’s chests. I didn’t put on weight or muscle mass easily and now looking back my Nutritionist believes I’ve always been celiac. I battled terribly through my 20’s with anxiety, depression, two bouts of Glandular Fever, Adrenal Fatigue and PTSD. I then met my gorgeous hubby, we shot off to Fiji to tie the knot and soon after had our first son, Jack. My health continued to spiral down, I was always exhausted and anxious (even from the moment I’d step out of bed in the morning I’d feel anxious and it would stay with me the whole day through) and was probably suffering from Post Natal Depletion. Fast forward 21 months and along came Samuel. From just a few weeks old my precious baby boy was full of colic and come 7pm each night I’d put him down to sleep and he’d scream for three or so hours e.v.e.r.y night. I then did what most breastfeeding mothers do and cut dairy completely out of my diet (we were already gluten free and fairly dairy free) and that helped him settle somewhat. Then in December 2014 I was at my Naturopath and in hindsight it was a blessing, as my babysitter cancelled so I had to take both boys (then one and three) along with me (joy all round really!) and at the end of the appointment he asked me if Samuel (my youngest) was always this ‘energetic’. I looked at him and answered a resounding ‘YES!’. He literally could not and did not sit still. He would ask for a book, hop on my lap, then hop off. He couldn’t sit still to eat dinner, do some craft or even watch TV (hello ADHD) and had a constant spotty rash around his mouth. He then diagnosed him with a salicylate intolerance, to which I replied “Pardon, what is that!? I’ve heard of stalactites but not salicylates!’ and to be honest my depression meter sank to all new depths as I looked at the list of allowed foods on the low salicylate diet (also know as the RPAH (Royal Prince Alfred Elimination Diet) and the Failsafe Diet). Due to other dietary issues (garlic, onion and cabbage included) we were stocking our fridge and tummies with about six vegetables and two types of fruit.
We saw immediate results. Within three days Samuel was a different child.
A world calmer, personable and connected. For the next year we stayed on the diet conducting different challenges at times but we could never get him to ‘baseline’ (the point at which they’re not reacting). My Mama Bear instincts kicked in and the more I read the more I realised this wasn’t an issue with the food, it was the way his body was processing (or in his case not handling the detox process well) that was the issue. This slowly but surely led me to GAPS as I believed that gut healing was the path we needed to take not just with Samuel but with all of us (as the problem had originated from Bryce and I and our gut micro biome, so if he needed fixing I figured we did too!). By mid 2015 my mental health was getting pretty dire in terms of the effects of constant anxiety and I was exhausted! So after much research, emailing, talking to those in the know (and being told not to do it!) I persevered and here we are, about to start our GAPS journey and I you know what, I am so ready and so excited to get started.