Saturday, April 16, 2011

Long Version

"So how are you doing? Haven't talked to you in a while."
"Pretty good," I reply, trying to decide what to say next...

If it's been even a few weeks since last catching up, there are so many details.
If it's been much longer than that, we should just take a day relaxing at Starbucks over our strawberry frappes...except I can't have a strawberry frappe, or anything else they have to offer for that matter. Which is part of my new adventure (besides the fact that Starbucks and relaxing just don't go together anymore with a baby under 1!).


Rewind to my pregnancy a year and a half ago - I was dealing with - no, more like suffering from - a mind-numbingly itchy rash covering my legs, hands, and various random spots on my body. It peaked and dissipated several times throughout the pregnancy, and I wrote it off as something to do with pregnancy hormones. It went away a few weeks before the birth, and stayed away for three months...until October of last year.

The rash came back with a vengeance, and I knew it wasn't pregnancy related. Then weird health things started happening - such as getting shingles on my face that left me with an unsightly scar in the shape of the state of Illinois on my forehead. I assumed I was sensitized to something during pregnancy, and set out to pursue answers with an integrative medical doctor.

Was it gluten...dairy...or a food issue at all? Perhaps environmental, or systemic/auto-immune? Over the past four months we've done a battery of tests, little by little, seeking answers. And this past month, we got some.


I am allergic to anything I eat...
...because I have a leaky gut.

And why do I have a leaky gut? Parasites!

Nematodes living within me, sucking up nutrition I should be receiving, and creating a compromised gut lining that allows food particles from anything I eat to escape into my blood, which results in allergies.

So I've been off gluten and dairy for weeks now, and am gradually working my way into a grain-free diet. I was already avoiding processed foods for the most part, but have now cut out all forms of sugar (refined, unrefined, and natural) and am seeking to help my gut heal with nourishing foods...which is where the GAPS diet comes in...

There is a lot of info online about the diet, so I won't get into the concept much, other than to say it is a diet limited to foods that help the gut heal instead of working against it. Absolutely no starches (potatoes, most beans, corn, etc) are allowed, as well as any additives or processed foods. A "must" on the diet is incorporating homemade meat or bone broth into every meal, and utilizing the live cultures found in homemade yogurt, kefir, raw milk, lacto-fermented pickles/sauerkraut/carrots/etc., as well as taking a good quality pro-biotic supplement.

I am unable to completely go on the "intro diet" that is supposed to occur before the "full GAPS diet" due to breast feeding - it creates a pretty good detox that I don't want Chloe to have to deal with.

Though my diet options are limited, grocery shopping got whole lot easier since I can only eat fresh items. Just don't ask Micah how our food budget is doing this month. :-)

Oh, and those parasites? They'd better be kissing my bad gut flora goodbye and taking their exit. I took a strong medication last week to get rid of them, and can now focus on rebuilding the gut lining they destroyed. Which means maybe I'll be able to eat like a normal person again someday. That's what we're hoping for.

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