My past prior to GAPS*…
My official journey started off on the day when I woke up on the hard floor… Or so I thought I had slept on the floor and remembering thinking what a stupid idea it was!!! Apparently, I woke up from a seizure and was rushed to the ER. It was at the hospital where they ran me through numerous tests to cross the T’s and dot the I’s. My blood work showed that I had an electrolyte imbalance and was given a drinkable solution to increase my levels. I left the hospital with not more information gained, no prognosis, only feeling like my body was exhausted and severely run down.
Within the next month I was off work and recovering at home. Appointments were scheduled with several specialists to try to find a reason for the onslaught of the seizure, but it was a waiting game until I could be seen. And then came the second trip to the ER. This time luckily there was no seizure, but only the intense symptoms that something wasn’t right. My limbs were tingly, I felt nauseous & dizzy and I was having difficulty breathing with chest cramps. The second visit to the hospital revealed yet again low electrolytes but for no known reason. The only recommendation I got from the doctor was to see a dietician to correct my levels. The reasoning behind this recommendation: Eating foods high in electrolytes should fix the problem.
At the time, I didn’t know any better and that was the only option presented to me. So I started to eat copious amounts of foods high in electrolytes. I tracked my daily intake of electrolytes to get the recommended quantities, but I didn’t feel any better. Sometimes I even felt worse! I started developing diarrhea to certain foods I was eating. My body would become limp without energy when I felt a so-called “energy crash”. I had to constantly keep eating to avoid crashing, to keep up with the nutrition I lost when I had diarrhea and to consume my daily recommended dosages of electrolytes. Overall, this period in my life did not feel NORMAL and I knew something felt wrong.
Luckily, I discovered that cutting out processed breads and baked goods stopped the diarrhea. That seemed to improve my extreme symptoms such that my body could function better to return to a semi-normal lifestyle.
Eventually I went to see a naturopath that performed an IgG test to reveal which foods I was reacting to and perpetuating the diarrhea. On the list were onions, baker’s yeast, cow’s milk, peanuts, ginger, pineapple, grapefruit and the list goes on for another 8 items (there were 15 items in total). I immediately removed all these items and reported improved results in my digestion by simply playing the Elimination Game.
Although my health was improving from the bare bottom of waking up on the ground after a seizure, I still didn’t feel NORMAL. I was not willing to accept my new norm and wanted to change my circumstances for the better. I started off with drinking the Kool-Aid by watching the Forks Over Knives documentary. Motivated by the promise of better health I adopted the Whole Foods Plant Based diet (WFPB). I then got enticed to try the Smoothie Shred challenge, because in my own words “if a diet can help someone reverse lupus, why couldn’t it help me?”. I willingly admit I fell into the vegan trap, hoping it would help me feel healthier and more normal.
Why do I tell my story so extensively and in such great detail? Because I know what it feels like to be near death or have the fear of dying pop up into my mind more times than I’d like to admit. I know what it’s like to go through the medical system seeing no results, making no headway, nor feeling like they could explain to me the initial reason I became sick in the first place. The journey through the medical system was emotionally void and I was my only advocate when I bounced between specialists. I know what it feels like to not feel NORMAL, the feeling of loss when specialists cannot give answers to the cause of the issues, and the continual desire to want to bring back some NORMALCY.
From reading Dr. Natasha’s books, and becoming a Certified GAPS* Coach, I now see how the choices I made all played a part in the theater production of my crumbling health. So much of the information that Dr. Natasha conveys in her books is relevant to my past. Stress, hormonal imbalances, leaky gut, dairy intolerance, etc. were a part of my life pre-seizure. Post-seizure my leaky gut was the icing on the cake that kept me in a state of non-healing. Becoming vegan had promising benefits, but ultimately didn’t help to improve my leaky gut, hormone imbalances or my nutritional deficiencies. If anything it spiraled me into worse health that gave me a wakeup call that something else needed to be done.
My transition onto GAPS*…
The day that changed my life for the better was the day I googled “food intolerances”. I was questioning whether food intolerances could be reversed, how could a miracle not exist? And then I stumbled upon Dr. Natasha’s www.gaps.me out of sheer luck! Count my lucky stars, this was the answer to my question, the GAPS* Diet can reverse my food intolerances… JACKPOT! I became an immediate convert! It took little convincing for me to hop on the bandwagon when everything that Dr. Natasha explained made complete sense! The lightbulb went off in my head!
At first, I transitioned slowly onto Full GAPS*. I thought my health was decent in comparison to the other examples provided by Dr. Natasha, so why couldn’t I heal fast and quicker with the least amount of work? Ha, big surprise for me, I was overly optimistic! As the weeks went on, I saw noticeable improvements, such as my urgency to pee subsided and my excessive gas lessened. Although improvements were seen, it wasn’t the drastic results I wanted to see. So bit by bit I transitioned backwards from Full GAPS* onto Intro Stage 6 and then one step backwards onto Intro Stage 5, and so on until I reached Intro Stage 1. I cut out and cut back food items in a backward motion through the Intro Stages. It was only until I got to Stage 1 and 2 that I saw the most improvements from meat stock and soups. It proved to me how beneficial meat stock actually is for this healing journey.
I have no regrets for my past and how I transitioned. Each backwards step was a little bit of food-freedom lost, but in the end it felt easier to handle the gradual elimination of certain foods. I just got more comfortable with cutting out the foods accepting the fact that healing took priority over my cravings!
I look back on my declining health over the years and I now see how everything fits together with Dr. Natasha’s work. I thought I could heal myself with a cleansing diet, but ultimately I needed the GAPS* nourishing diet instead. My hormones need cholesterol, fat and other nutrients instead of plant foods. And because I cut out meat & fat for an extended period of time while I was vegan, my body was unable to digest fat easily when I transitioned onto GAPS*, and I had the classic symptoms of fat malabsorption. My leaky gut didn’t heal until I consumed meat stock in larger quantities. If there is ever a time to say “You we’re right”, I’d tell it to Dr. Natasha a million times over and let her know she’s one smart lady!
In the Present …
Presently my life revolves around GAPS* and the continuation of my healing journey. I focus on the five areas of GAPS*: Environmental Toxin Elimination & Reduction, Food Restrictions to avoid feeding the Pathogenic/Opportunistic Bacteria in the Gut, Re-Populating the Gut with Beneficial Flora, Detoxification and Boosting Nutrition (read more about each area in What is the GAPS* Protocol?). Each area has become easier to implement over time and much more enjoyable! For instance, here is a glimpse of my routine that I have currently:
Everyday I do my Epsom salt foot bath ritual! Yes, every single day! I make detoxifying a priority and a necessity for my health. My body is still processing toxins and will always be for the rest of my life. But I know that I am on the right path to bringing them into balance and harmony when I have my regular Epsom salt foot baths.
Most days you can find me in my kitchen where I enjoy creating delicious recipes! I LOVE to eat delicious food! I enjoy transforming non-GAPS* recipes into equally delicious GAPS*-approved dishes. Although like everyone else I don’t fancy spending copious amounts of time in the kitchen on my feet! So I try to find quick-n-easy tips, tricks and solutions to save time, produce less
dishes and utilize leftover odds-n-ends to make every dollar count! I also continually experiment with all variations of kitchen equipment/utensils and try to attempt different methods to achieve the same results. My recipes that I hand out give you multiple ways of cooking the same dish, allowing you to pick which one is right for your time constraints and available kitchen equipment/utensils you have on hand.
In general, I can definitely say that my mood and associated thoughts are much lighter and happier! I have optimism for life and am better equipped to handle the dark emotions or thoughts that occasionally arise. Life feels worth living and I can say I feel a lot closer to NORMAL! I live in the moment where life is beautiful, totally excited for future possibilities and feeling free from most worries.
On average, I do have A LOT more energy in comparison to pre-GAPS*! I am sometimes affected by menstrual or seasonal changes, but it doesn’t stop me in my tracks like it did in the past! My body does feel stronger and more capable to handle the daily tasks & chores! I can even skip an occasional meal without an energy crash and feel like the food nourishes me throughout the day!
Living in Wellness Coaching Services
I received my certificate to be a Certified GAPS* Coach in 2021. I am passionate about continually striving to learn more about GAPS* and all its facets. I love being able to coach individuals and families on GAPS* through my business. It is rewarding to help them to transition onto the GAPS* Protocol and help them continue to thrive on the protocol. My past allows me to relate to people and provide feedback based on my experience.
If my story has inspired you to want to connect with me for further assistance, please check out my Services to see if I can help you along your journey. I hope to be that person that either welcomes you to the GAPS* community or is that friendly GAPSter that you can confide in!