Six Months on the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet
August 20th, 2010 | Blog, Stories & News, candida, cyclical vomiting syndrome, diet, fermentation, fungus, GAPS, gluten-free, grain-free, hair analysis, health, SCD
We began the GAPS diet (or enhanced Specific Carbohydrate Diet) in February, so we have now been on it for more than six months. The difference is remarkable. I have sent in for another hair analysis so I can compare the result with the test I did last November. All of our conditions have not completely disappeared. We have had to do a fair amount of travelling earlier this year and it has been difficult to maintain full control over everything that goes into our mouth on those occasions, but on the whole we have done very well.
The hardest thing about this diet is that it makes it very difficult to socialize. We can’t really go out to eat, go over to peoples houses to eat or even out for a couple drinks. We have started to drink Bloody Mary’s on occasion, as they seem to be relatively harmless. Beer or wine or anything sweetened just does us in. Going out to restaurants is a real pain too as you can never really be sure what is in a dressing or soup or whatnot unless you really know the place you are eating at is dedicated to real food. It was surprisingly easy in LA to go out to eat, and I think the gluten-free fad has really taken off all of a sudden, so I think it will get easier as well, perhaps grain-free will catch on by default!
One of the main difficulties we have had is with fungus outbreaks, sweating and incredibly bad breath. Some of these symptoms are related to something other than our diet, but it is interesting to notice these bodily results. We also had a couple strange situations with moles suddenly turning black and then going back to normal and not changing color again at all. By the way, the bad breath is dealt with very well by doing the oil pulling detox, directions here.
Our longest stint not completely on the diet was for about a month in May and June when we took a trip to Los Angeles and then a couple weeks later to New York. During this time our diet wasn’t as strict as it should have been and we had some sugar in various sauces or marinades, and probably a lot of other illegal foods I can’t think of at the moment. When we finally got home and got settled and back on the more restrictive GAPS diet we had the same herxiheimer symptoms we had the first time we started the diet, but not quite as extreme.
My partner has had asthma and been allergic to dust mites and various other things for as long as he can remember. One of his symptoms was an incredibly runny nose, every morning when he woke up for around half an hour. The first time we started the diet this lasted for at least two weeks. The second time it was only for about three days. We decided to limit our honey to one cup of tea a day and avoided lychees, although they were at their prime and we love them so much.
Our usual fungal problems also re-surfaced, but this time not as extensively and they subside quickly. We also know to take a bath at least once a week to help remove toxins and maintain balance. The athletes foot I got in Culinary School nearly went away completely before we left on our trip but since our return is back again, I find that manuka oil from New Zealand is the most effective so I will have to try to order some from them again. I am sure that we brought the fungus we picked up in NZ with us. It has probably found the conditions here in Vancouver perfect for colonizing! Actually there is another tropical fungus that is doing very well in the Northwest so such a thing is not so far fetched as it might seem (article here).
The incredible irritability that arose with a vengeance when we first started the diet also came back the second time we re-started the diet. This time it wasn’t as extreme and didn’t last as long. When we first started the diet this lasted for at least a month. We really had to be careful to remember the grumpy feelings were the result of our toxic bodies and go take a bath in epsom salt and bentonite clay to calm down. It is very hard to keep working and maintain a regular schedule when you are easily irritated and upset, I can’t imagine what it would be like to go through these symptoms with kids going through them as well. I have a lot of respect for anyone who is doing this with kids. Hats off to you!
We added dairy products back into our diet fairly early and haven’t had any problems with it, so in that respect we are fortunate as it would be a lot tougher to maintain this diet for my partner if we hadn’t. At this stage, we have added back dairy and I am thinking of trying out lentil soup soon. We do react very strongly to other things like yeast, butternut squash, peanuts, soy, canola oil and sugar, but we have also been eating a fair amount of fresh fruits. It is, after all, the middle of summer and berries are very difficult to resist. I mostly have been cooking, or drying the fruits and that seems to work better on our digestive systems than eating it fresh. Next month I plan to start making more baked goods with dates and almond flour again. Last month we were limiting our fruit and honey because of our fungal issues, hopefully they have settle down now, but I will try adding in cakes and cookies made with almond flour again and see how we do. If all goes well I can’t wait to try making traditional halva and marshmallows again. I didn’t quite get the recipes right last time I tried, but it was to much honey for us at the time so I have been waiting to perfect them before posting.
I haven’t had too much trouble with my extreme migraines that always end with cyclical vomiting syndrome since January, before we started the diet. I have gone down about three times in the past six months. Two of these times were from working too much as well as getting my period at the same time, which has been knocking me out ever since we lived in that mouldy apartment in New Zealand. Both of those times I was able to feel better relatively quickly with a bath, a cup of bentonite clay and a sleep. Prior to starting this diet, I would bed-ridden at least once a week, throwing up about 6-7+ times a day, unable to keep anything down, even a sip of water, and it would last 1-3 days. Looking back, I can’t believe I managed to (kind of) maintain my website and my online craft and photography stores to the extent that I did. All I know is it sure feels better to be better!
This last weekend, we went out for lunch with some relatives to a Malaysian restaurant. The food was fabulous, but it is hard to control everything when you are at a restaurant and we had a small bowl of hot and sour soup, which must have had a fair amount of corn flour and sugar in it, as well as tofu and we are not sure what else. The next day I felt awful. We had also been up very late working on our upcoming short film and my period was starting, so I am not blaming this episode entirely on the meal, although it probably had something to do with it. I took a bath and started drinking bentonite clay right away but even after a nap I felt worse than ever. I was sure I was gonna start puking again, and was feeling just miserable. My wonderful partner brought me a cup of ginger tea and made me sip tiny sips of it until I could drink more. It was incredible how fast I started feeling better and could relax and go to sleep again. Ginger is still the best cure for nausea, hands down. I felt better when I woke up again and my period had started. One of the things that can happen when releasing toxic energy is that old symptoms come up again work their way through your system and leave you feeling renewed and better than ever. So perhaps that is what was going on, since I have been feeling quite energetic and much clearer since then.
Going through that discomfort again was an interesting experience, as it made me remember what I have lived with for the past 4 years. I finally can have respect for myself for dealing with the conditions I was operating under as well as I did. I had become so used to getting this terrible uncontrollable and repetitive vomiting that I didn’t realize how bad it was. One of the problems with being ill for so long is that some people get to a point where they think it is time for you to get over it, and buck up–or perhaps you have just been faking it all along. Feelings like this are valid, but are also made extreme as a result of bad food and damaged intestines. This is why it is so important to take control of what is going into our bodies for ourselves.
I have noticed when my digestive tract is damaged and the protective insulation of micro-organisms is not providing a filter/buffer or lining for the assimilation of foods, my other senses are also hyper-sensitive. I have become super sensitive to industrial cleaning chemicals after having been around them for too long working in kitchens for years. This sensitivity seems to be less acute than it was a couple months ago when I nearly vomited when someone got on the bus with strong perfume or deoderant on. I believe Rudolf Steiner said humans actually have twelve senses and I think at least one of these had to do with digestion.
Being on the GAPS diet has also helped me to define how I cook more clearly. After working in kitchens all my life I am used to cooking cyclically–we start with the stock and sauces and other basics and build up from there. Once we have our mis en place then the rhythms of food come naturally into play, what vegetables or fruits are fresh and cheap at that time? Is it too hot to turn the oven on more than one day a week? Have you soaked your nuts? Made the yogurt? Kombucha? Is the sun out? Humidity up?
Food processing with micro-organisms, making large amounts of food in batches after foraging or harvesting, developing cycles of cooking–these are the things that we need to learn to work into our daily lives for ourselves. In my years of cooking I have learned as many ways to cook a noodle as I have met chefs and all of them make a fantastic noodle. We each have our own style and rhythm of cooking. To find this is our mission. Cooking and processing food is extremely therapeutic and grounding. It is especially helpful after spending hours on the computer, zipping about in internet-land out in the ethers of the universe. Taking care of your temple with conscious awareness and care is the best starting point for developing healthy rhythms for living. Growing your own food and cooking with your rhythms is one of the best ways to balance your life, slow down, and care for yourself and your family.