It’s hard to believe I’ve been on a gut-healthy diet for 3 years now. Starting the journey was a difficult decision to make. I think most of you can probably relate, when I say that the difficulty is not in eating a gut-healthy diet, but the hardest part is just starting. Change can sometimes feel overwhelming.
I had huge incentive to start though. I did it for my youngest son, Sam. We adopted him from China when he was 3 years old. After receiving the diagnosis of microcephaly and global developmental delay, we spent the next few years immersed in the world of sensory integration and neurodevelopmental therapies. I know these therapies are life changing for many individuals, but we saw no changes in our son after 3 years. In frustration I decided it was time for me to go back to school to get a break from working with my son. Even though I was doing it for purely selfish reason it was to be the most beneficial thing I would do for Sam (and for me). I spent a year studying nutrition, and then went on to become certified in the GAPS diet (The Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet). By the time I had finished studying Natural Nutrition, I knew that I needed to learn more about the gut to help Sam.
Sam and I marked a date on the calendar for the end of October 2014, and I talked to him about the diet daily. I ended up moving our calendar date ahead by a week. Once I’ve made a decision I like to jump right in.
The changes for Sam were life altering for him and for us as a family, but what I hadn’t even considered at that time was how it would impact me.
Here’s how things have changed for me after 3 years on a gut-healthy diet:
1. I used to be a mouth breather at night, and often during the day as well. When I look at my history, I realize I’ve had sinus inflammation for my entire life. I still have some inflammation, but I breathe well through my nose all the time now.
2. I don’t have seasonal allergies anymore. I used to dread spring, because it meant months of itchy eyes, a drippy nose and severe fatigue. Anti-histamines never seemed to work. Amazingly those allergies are gone.
3. Other allergies are disappearing. This summer for the first time in 35+ years I have been able to pet dogs without getting hives. It feels amazing to be able to interact with a dog. Reactions to other animals are diminishing.
4. I’ve had skin issues since I was a baby. Rashes and dry skin plagued my childhood, and then I developed eczema on my hands in my early teens. Like most people, I had tried every topical solution known to man. NAIT treatments helped (an acupuncture desensitization) but they still weren’t addressing the cause. I still get some eczema, but it is much better. Dry skin is a thing of the past. It still gets dry in our Calgary winters, but “normal” dry, not cracked, scabbing or severely itchy.
5. Like my skin issues, I’ve had multiple chemical sensitivities for as long as I can remember. I can remember feeling nauseated from being in a new car or from the smell of gasoline as a young child. With each passing year I seemed to react to more and more scents, until I couldn’t be close to anyone wearing perfume, or sometimes even be close to someone wearing scented lotion or deodorant. At its worst, I couldn’t go into a store if anyone in the store had perfume on. I certainly couldn’t go into a conventional grocery store with its aisle full of scented laundry and household cleaners. I used to have to hold my breath to get through the perfume section of a department store. Sometimes exposure to scents left me vomiting and bedridden for a few days. I still have to be careful to avoid chemicals, but I’m just so grateful that I’m not living a life of avoidance anymore.
Since most of these issues had plagued me my whole life I hadn’t even recognized them as problematic. I had just assumed it was normal for me to breathe through my mouth, have itchy, irritated skin and react to most environmental triggers. It seems so absurd now, but like many people I had just accepted that that was the way I was.
I still have a ways to go. I measure my gut leakiness regularly. I figure I have another year to go to reach optimal gut health. I don’t plan on ever eating grains, or legumes regularly again. Maybe my future will include small amounts of sprouted ancient grains, but I don’t miss them. I like muffins and pancakes made with nut flours and butters better.
Where ever you are on your journey, I hope you are seeing the changes you want. It doesn’t happen overnight. When I think of how long I was suffering from health problems, the last 3 years seems short. After decades of damage, repairing it all takes time.
What has been the best thing about your journey? Are there still symptoms you struggle with?
Happy, Healthy Journey!