Hello beautiful people. The wait is over. I FINALLY got my life together and wrote this blog post. These past few months have been draining, frustrating, uncomfortable and eye opening, and I’m finally ready to share what leaky gut is and why I am on the GAPS Diet. I mentioned leaky gut a few posts ago, but I didn’t go into much detail.
I actually purchased this book in November and suspected I had leaky gut, but I was too overwhelmed with all of the information and wasn’t in the right space mentally or emotionally to take on the GAPS Diet. First thing first: what is leaky gut?
Leaky gut means exactly what it sounds like. The lining of the gut leaks out food particles and pathogens (bad bacteria) into the blood stream that would normally be digested and/or detoxed out of the system. The body then identifies them as foreign invaders and attacks. However, the body cannot keep up with all of the invaders and a lot of the toxins are absorbed into the tissues of the body causing inflammation. The inflammation causes even more stress to the body, and while the body is focused on attacking the invaders, it’s unable to handle the issues that arise as a result of the inflammation. For me the inflammation clearly happens in my skin, but leaky gut can cause all sorts of issues and autoimmune diseases like digestive disorders, malnutrition, allergies, asthma, eczema, thrush and a host of psychological problems like ADD, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, dyslexia and autism.
How does this happen? Our gut flora is responsible for digestion and proper absorption of food. When the flora becomes imbalanced it can lead to leaky gut. Imbalanced gut flora can be caused by antibiotics (which wipe out good and bad bacteria), contraceptives, stress, candida overgrowth, and eating a diet high in refined sugars, flours, processed foods, and preservatives which introduce toxic chemicals into the body. All of these things cause stress to the immune system and weaken its ability to properly do its job. If you are interested in learning more about leaky gut, click on the image and link below.
The GAPS diet (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) is designed to heal leaky gut and the numerous side effects it has on the body. A huge part of GAPS is obviously the food one eats, but the GAPS program also includes detoxification and supplementation. As I previously stated, I’ve known about GAPS since last November, and I’ve learned of too many success stories to not believe that it works. It took me so long to actually implement the program, because I was scared to take on this process. For GAPS to really heal the gut it takes 18-24 months or longer, and it is extremely restrictive in comparison to the Standard American Diet. I didn’t want to believe that I had leaky gut, because I knew the path to healing would be a long, hard road. I showcased a lot of the symptoms, but the biggest indicator was that I could no longer pin point what caused the allergic reactions. My diet was already extremely restricted, but I would get random flair ups and wake up with swollen lips or eyes and break out in hives. I never knew what exactly the trigger was. I got the confirmation I needed when I visited a Nutrition Response Testing Practitioner in New York.
I had been seeing all types of doctors for the past year trying to figure out what was going on with my body. Naturopaths, homeopaths, nutritionists, dermatologists…everyone, and no one was able to give me a clear answer. Not to mention I spent entirely too much money on doctors and supplements. But I digress. In February a friend of mine told me about a Nutrition Response Testing (NRT) Practitioner she saw in New York who helped her with some candida and parasite issues. My first question of course was, “What is Nutrition Response Testing?” The two key parts of NRT are the analysis and the personalized health improvement program. The analysis is done by testing the body’s own neurological reflexes and acupuncture points. The NRT practitioner checks specific points of the body by testing the muscles of the patients extended arm. If the patient is unable to hold the arm up, this indicates underlying stress or dysfunction in the body. From this analysis a personalized health improvement program is designed for the patient in order to build their immune system back up and resolve the stress or dysfunction. The program involves nutrition and all natural supplements that support the immune system.
At the time it sounded crazy, but I was willing to try anything. I was living in Seattle so I was unable to visit the doctor in New York. I found a local NRT practitioner, but ended up spending over two hours in her office and leaving more confused than when I entered. Luckily, I spent a few weeks in New York in June, and was able to visit Dr. Alicia Armistead of Healing Arts NYC. She quickly did the analysis, explained to me that my body was not digesting food but rather leaking it into my blood stream, and told me the things to eliminate from my diet as well as the toxins my body was struggling with. I had already determined that I would start the GAPS program when I got back to Seattle, but getting confirmation from Dr. Armistead gave me the extra push I needed. Throughout this entire ordeal, she has been the first doctor to confidently give me an analysis of what’s going on with my body and guide me in the right direction towards healing. Every other doctor has guessed at a treatment that might work for me. Dr. Armistead also helped me find an NRT practitioner in Seattle that I’m going to see for the first time next week.
I know all of this sounds….different, but after all of the doctors I’ve seen and the research I’ve done, I wholeheartedly believe in the power of nutrition and real food to heal. Medications and processed foods did nothing but make the eczema worse and caused some other health issues I’ve been dealing with. Western medicine is about suppressing the symptoms that pop up instead of getting to the root of the problem and supporting the immune system to heal naturally. I’m trying to get back to the way God intended us to live. Amen?
Any who…I’ve given you a LOT of information to digest, so I’m not going to go into much detail about The GAPS diet today. I’ll just say that the intro stage, which I am currently on, focuses on meat and bone broth, animal fats, and boiled vegetables and meats. About every four days I am able to add a new food. The full diet excludes all grains, sugar (honey is okay), processed foods, chocolate (I don’t know how I’m surviving), corn and corn products, potatoes, soy, yams and a lot of other foods. So I basically eat meat and veggies. Keep a look out for my next blog post to learn why these things are so essential for healing the gut and how I jumped into the GAPS diet completely unprepared. A learning experience it was. Much love and until next time!
I'm Lauren, aka Just Du Pree, and I want to thank you for reading. This is a space where I share my very personal journey healing from eczema and topical steroid withdrawal (among other things), life lessons I've learned along the way, and occasionally the thoughts of an awkward Black girl (no Issa Rae). I'm a performer and filmmaker, so if you feel so inclined, pop over here to see what goes on in my mind on the regular. If you like what you see, you can stay up to date with my work here. Much love, friends!