Post-GAPS Update


, , , ,

I have attempted to write an update a couple times since going off the GAPS diet, but it just hasn’t gotten done. A lot has happened in the last two and a half months since I stopped GAPS – which I have to say is one of the best health decisions I have made. I cannot even imagine what my life would be like if I was still walking that path. (That is not to say that it is a bad way of eating, but it was most certainly bad for me). Apparently, my body really needs grains, or raw milk, or both. I’m not sure, but putting those back in my diet pulled me out of a pretty scary decline. The power of food. It’s just crazy to me that omitting particular whole foods can have such a profound effect on a healthy diet.

The first day off, I drank about a quart of raw milk and had some potatoes at dinner. I continued to drink a lot of milk. A couple days later, I had some rice. Then I had some quinoa. Within just a few days, there was a noticeable improvement in how I felt. I regained some energy and came out of the crushing fatigue and brain fog I had been living with. Within a couple weeks, the leg cramps were gone. Eventually, I realized my memory problems were diminishing, and while I still experience brain fog, it is not as debilitating as it was. I actually didn’t realize my memory had improved until I had some days where I was doing worse again, and I just couldn’t retrieve words adequately or complete thoughts. I have had memory problems for a few years now, and it seems to be worse during times of stress. My body was under significant stress this summer. The neurological tingling and twitching has lessened a little, but unlike the cramps, it has not gone away. So, I am still very tired and have a lot of days where I feel irritable, apathetic, achy, but undoubtedly, I am in much better shape then I was over the summer. I can get through my days. I can do school with Jonas. I can take care of my kids. I can keep the house from falling into complete disaster. It is still a disaster, just not a complete one!

I look forward to the day when I start feeling good again, when I feel like I am doing more than just getting by, when I no longer feel like an old woman….when I feel like myself again. I look forward to the time when I can more profoundly engage mentally, emotionally, physically with my husband…when everything about me is not so dulled by the fatigue and all the other things that go along with this. I am blessed that he is a gracious and understanding guy and that he is my best friend. I just long to be able to do and be more in our relationship. By the time he gets home, there is really not much left of me and just engaging in simple conversation can take incredible effort. I look forward to the time when I have the energy and stamina to be a fun, involved mom. I know I am a good mom, and I am certainly doing the best I can in these circumstances, but I long to enter into my childrens’ fun, their creativity, their precious thoughts more fully. I long to have the energy to be silly and free with them, the patience and calmness to let them make messes without it being a big deal, the mind and interest to listen, fully present and engaged, to their rambling stories and thoughts. I do try, and I do enjoy them, but my children often feel like a chore to me these days, and that makes me sad because I am living the life I longed to live – being home with my family. It’s just that I am so completely drained. I have so little to give and I covet alone time, time when no one needs anything from me, time when I don’t have to do anything or be anything. That is not my natural self; it’s just how I am because of my body’s current state, and I hate it. I don’t want their childhoods to pass me by like this. And while I look forward to growing old and gray with my husband, I don’t want to waste these prime years of our lives, feeling 90 already. Oh, how I just want to live life well with my family! How I long for life to sparkle again.

I know God is trying to teach me greater reliance as I struggle through this. And I know I am often resistant. Perhaps that is what this whole thing is about. Just a lesson that I need to learn, one I keep dodging. Why is it so hard to give up control. So hard to let go of expectations of what my life should be like, how I should feel, what I should be able to accomplish. My many miscarriages taught me that God is trustworthy even when life is heartbreaking. They taught me that I can have peace and rest when I am grieving. That He is closest when I am the most broken and helpless. They taught me that He really does use all things for good. I trust Him in this current situation. I do not doubt there is a reason; I do not doubt His love and goodness. But I have a hard time unclenching the fingers that hold on so tightly to what I think I should be able to do and control.  I have a hard time just letting go and letting him take care of me. I have a hard time asking for and accepting help from others. I am definitely getting better at lowering my expectations of what I can accomplish – and doing it with less feelings of guilt – so I guess that is a small triumph. There are so many things to say about all this, and I’m not going to go into any more details right now. I would like to flesh out my thoughts on this more fully, but that is a different post.

I finally got in to see the doctor my mom wanted me to go to with Jonas. He determined that I didn’t have any food intolerances, which, until GAPS, I never suspected I had, but once I was on the diet I started getting paranoid about. So that is a blessing. He thought my problems are mainly hormonal and not food/gut related. He specifically suspected my thyroid and progesterone. He ordered a hormone profile (saliva test) and thyroid panel (blood). I received the results and he was right about the thyroid and progesterone. My estrogen is also very low and my DHEA isn’t ideal. I have an appointment next Friday to talk things over.

My progesterone came in at 26 pg/ml. The normal lab range for a woman my age is 75-270. My estrogen is also very low: less than 0.5 pg/ml, and the normal range is 1.3-3.3. DHEA is below average, but within range. My cortisol levels are right where they should be, so my adrenals are likely okay, though I know that sometimes struggling adrenals will keep pumping out cortisol to try to keep up for a while, but I don’t think that is probably true in my case. My TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) came back at 0.663 uIU/ml which is very low. The functional range is 1.8–3.0. Typically, a high, not low, number indicates hypothyroidism because the pituitary gland pumps out extra TSH as it tries to send the message to the underactive thyroid to produce more hormone. Many conventional doctors will only test for TSH which is woefully inadequate because while it can be an indication of thyroid dysfunction, it really only measures what the pituitary gland is doing. For a list of important thyroid lab work, go here. My Free T4 is perfect (T4 is the inactive form that must convert to T3, the active form), but my Free T3 is low – 2.6 pg/ml. The functional range is 3.0-4.0. I was also tested for antibodies (indicative of Hashimoto’s, and autoimmune form of hypothyroidism) and that came back negative. Thyroid is complex and there are many different combinations of low/high/normal numbers that can create hypothyroidism. The combination of low TSH (below 0.8 according to Stop The Thyroid Madness) and low T3 (I am pretty sure I saw a number somewhere, but I can’t find it now) indicates low thyroid function. Specifically, it can be a sign of hypopituitarism (low functioning pituitary gland), especially if other hormones are low. So, I am guessing that my problems originate in the pituitary gland, and that my thyroid, ovaries, and adrenals are healthy, but they are not receiving proper messages from the pituitary. Unfortunately, if the pituitary gland is damaged, there is no way to recover its function. The most common causes of damage are head injury and tumor (most often benign). So, if my doctor believes me to have hypopituitarism I will need to have an MRI to rule out the possibility of a tumor.

I am pretty familiar with hypothyroidism, but had never really given thought to low progesterone before. Reading about its symptoms sheds additional light on my problems. It wasn’t B12 like I originally thought, but low progesterone and hypothyroidism share a lot of the same symptoms with B12 deficiency. I am the type of person who likes to try to fit all the puzzle pieces together – figure out why, how when….But I don’t think I will necessarily find those kinds of answers, so I am trying to focus on understanding the problem and what should be done about it. I wonder specifically how these deficiencies possibly relate to my miscarriages. After the first three, my doctor ordered basic blood tests, and they must have checked my progesterone at the time, but everything came back “normal,” which makes me think it was not the cause of my losses, yet it makes sense if it were. But see, here I am, trying to work through things that I probably will never get answers to. In this case, I think it is best to simply say that God gave me those trials and walked with me through them for my own betterment. I don’t need to know the physical cause of the miscarriages, even if I want to.

As I have been reading about progesterone, these are some of the things that have most stood out to me:

  • Helps to maintain nerve functioning and protect against deterioration (the reason for the tingling I have been experiencing for the last several months?)
  • Keeps blood clotting levels stable (I think I mentioned that I have experienced a few blood clots in the varicose vein on the inside of my knee. The first, when I was pregnant with Nolan 1.5 years ago, became so big and painful that I couldn’t walk without limping. The ones I’ve had since then have not been nearly as serious).
  • Stimulates collagen production which increases skin elasticity (Though I have a youthful face, I have noticed an increasing amount of facial wrinkles, and maybe I’m wrong, but mid-30’s seem a little young for wrinkles. The last couple years I have also noticed vertical lines on the flesh of my finger tips. I read in the past that it is often a sign of adrenal fatigue due to loss of collagen).
  • Extreme physical and mental fatigue because it hinders the function of the energy-producing organs
  • Pain: headaches or migraines, jaw pain, lower back pain, or chronic joint and muscle aches even when there has been no physical exertion. Apparently, this is because progesterone deficiency has been linked with abnormally low production of the body’s natural painkillers. (Since Nolan’s birth, I have experienced more and more body aches. It started with my lower back. Then I started to develop some joint pain, most noticeably in my elbows and thumbs. My forearms also ache sometimes. I have never been one to get headaches – maybe one a year – but since my problems this summer, they have become pretty frequent. They are not debilitating. They come and go a lot of days).
  • Infertility, miscarriage, and low libido of course.
  • Mood swings, irritability, foggy thinking etc. (Umm, yes. I just want to be my laid back, happy, perceptive self again!!)
  • Help normalize blood sugar levels (I have to eat every couple hours or I just feel terrible. This is one of the reasons I really suspected adrenal dysfunction).
  • Dry Skin, dry eyes, brittle nails, cracked heels.
  • Slow metabolism, cold hands and feet, low body temperature.
  • Memory loss and lack of mental acuity (both thyroid and progesterone aid in mental acuity and lack of both makes decline in mental sharpness more severe).

Many of the above are also related to thyroid dysfunction. In addition to the above, the main thyroid related symptoms I experience are:

  • Less stamina and energy than others
  • Exhaustion in every dimension–physical, mental, spiritual, emotional
  • Long recovery period after any activity
  • Inability to concentrate or read for long periods of time (sad and frustrating considering I have a degree in literature)
  • Wanting to be solitary
  • Need naps in the afternoon
  • Intolerance to both heat and cold
  • Eating to relieve fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dizziness when moving from sitting or lying to standing
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Nauseau
  • Breathlessness
  • Absent or diminished perspiration
  • Easy bruising and slow wound healing
  • Varicose Veins
  • Gritty, achy eyes
  • Ridged, peeling nails
  • Constipation
  • Hair Loss
  • Lack of motivation and loss of interest in normal daily activity
  • Severe menstrual cramps
  • Chest pain

I hope I don’t sound like too much of a complainer. I find it hard to remember back to exactly how I was feeling if I don’t make a record of it, so it is helpful to me to sort some of this out here.

There’s a lot to say about Jonas as well, but I will save that for later.


Favorite GAPS/Paleo Recipes From Across The Web


, , , , ,

Here is a compilation of some of our favorite GAPS and Paleo friendly recipes from the web. My list is heavy on baked goods and treats because when it comes to meals, we usually just do meat and veggies, pretty simple. When you are switching to a grain free and sugar free diet, it is hard (with kids, can I say near impossible) to give up baking and and an occasional sweet treat, so I hope the recipes below will give you some inspiration!

~Breads and Muffins~

Primally Inspired’s Easy and Amazing Banana Bread ~ If I could only have one grain free baked goods recipe, I think this would be it. It’s delicious and I love the fact that there is no added sugar. All the sweetness comes from the bananas. One tip: I made this three times in bread form. The first turned out perfectly. The next two were really wet and didn’t totally cook through. Since the recipe doesn’t call for a specific measurement of bananas, the outcome really depends on the size of your bananas. Rather than trying to figure out the perfect ratio, I have taken to making them in muffin form. They come out perfect at a little over 20 minutes. (CF)

Berry Scones from Health, Home and Happiness ~ So good and simple. In our pre-GAPS days, I sometimes used to do chocolate chips instead of the berries. The dough is a really good base to which you can add a variety of things. (AF)

The Urban Poser’s Best Ever Almond Flour Pumpkin Muffins ~ Bridget’s favorite. Pumpkin is a no-no in spring and summer for me, so I’m looking forward to having these come the beginning of October. If I remember correctly, I heap the spices. We like spice. (AF)

Primally Inspired’s Lemon Bread with Lemon Glaze ~ I’ve only made this bread once, because it is more time consuming, and I don’t have a lot of time. But it’s really good, especially with the glaze. I think half the amount of glaze is the perfect amount and it adds a lot more lemony brightness to the bread.

~Sandwich Breads, Wraps, Etc.~

Nourished And Nurtured’s Grain Free Sandwich Bread ~ This bread works great for sweet or savory sandwiches as well as butter and jam. If you are new to grain free eating, please understand that you won’t be able to produce a chewy, crusty loaf like you are probably used to. The texture is much more similar to a quick bread. (AF/CF)

Coconut Flour Bread from Nourished Kitchen ~ I like how nutrient dense this bread is: a dozen eggs and a half pound of butter in one loaf. It’s a nice bread, especially for those who can’t do almond flour, but I do prefer the texture of the first bread. This one is a little more grainy (a bit like corn bread). Also, I find the bake time to be way off. In my experience it needs about 65 minutes. (CF)

Cauliflower Wraps from Empowered Sustenance ~ Tacos are one of my kids’ very favorite meals. They were thrilled to start eating them again after finding this recipe. And for a mom with a boy who is picky about veggies, these are awesome. Some nights Jonas eats a half a head of cauliflower and he doesn’t even know it. (That’s right; he has yet to realize what they are made of). They are a bit time intensive but worth it. I usually double the batch.

Butternut Squash Flatbread from Empowered Sustenance ~ Love these. Quick to make, tasty and hold up well. While pliable, they do tend to crack if you use it as a wrap, though my kids successfully use it in place of a hotdog bun. In general, best kept flat. Great for sandwich type stuff and little pizzas. The recipe yields a small amount. I usually quadruple it. They keep well in the fridge. (CF)

Against All Grain’s Hamburger Buns ~ These are tasty and hold together well. They are a bit time consuming and are also heavy on nuts, but they’re great for an occasional treat. The recipe yields 4 buns, but I can get six out of it for 1/4 pound burgers. (AF/CF/Cashews)

Comfy Belly’s Butter Biscuits ~ These are a nice accompaniment to soups and stews and they’re super fast to throw together. (AF)

Gutsy’s Pizza Crust ~ We made pizza once since being on GAPS (cheese free for Jonas), and this crust worked out really well. I doubled the batch and it was more than enough for our family of four. It doesn’t have that crispy chewiness of my homemade (glutinous) pizza dough, but it’s a pretty good substitute. I suggest moving them to a pizza pan with holes or a cooling rack once they’re cut so the bottom doesn’t get soggy and limp. (CF)

~Snack Time~

Nourished and Nurtured’s Peanut Butter Bars ~ These are a favorite in our house. Rich and satisfying.

Nourished and Nurtured’s Apple Raisin Snack Bars ~ Another super snack. Haven’t used this particular recipe in several months because apples are so out of season and mediocre right now, but you can bet I will be dehydrating pounds of them in a couple weeks and then we can enjoy these again! You can do a search for homemade Larabars and come up with a lot of great ideas for bars like this one.

Simply Herb and Rosemary-Raisin Crackers from The Nourishing Home ~ These are delicious. My favorite is the rosemary-raisin, especially with Gouda cheese. (AF)

Against All Grain’s Anytime Cookies ~ Fabulous, date sweetend cookies. They’re cakey and homey. Tip: Don’t try to sub peanut butter for the almond butter. I did this once when I ran out of almond butter, and they did not turn out well. (CF/Almond Butter)

~Sweet Treats~

Paleo Spirit’s Chocolate Birthday Cake ~ This cake is kid you not amazing. Seriously. For those of you on GAPS, I sub honey for the maple syrup and it comes out great. I will still make this for birthdays when we are not grain free/gluten free. It’s that good. I have not tried this frosting recipe because I am in love with a different frosting. (CF)

Yellow Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting by Nourished and Nurtured ~ This is the frosting. Delicious, though it is a bit time consuming. The cupcakes are good too – a little dense, but I like them. I have successfully doubled the recipe and made a double layer birthday cake. However, I don’t remember what the bake time was. (CF)

Almond Flour Cut Out “Sugar” Cookies from The Urban Poser ~ These are just perfect for holidays. I love that I can still make special cookies with the kids and they taste delicious. (AF)

Against All Grain’s Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie ~ Made this for Mother’s Day. It was pretty amazing. The custard was especially good. There was something about it that wasn’t perfect, but it was so long ago, I don’t remember now. Perhaps the crust went a little soggy? But I honestly don’t remember for sure. I mostly remember that it was really, really good. (AF/CF)

Nourished and Nurtured Chewy Cinnamon Almond Cookies ~ These are quick and tasty with good texture. The honey flavor comes through a little strong for me, but I still enjoy them and the kids think they’re great. Plus they’re egg-free! (AF)

Healthy Fruit and Cream Bars from The Nourishing Home ~ Popsicles are the perfect sweet treat for summer and this is a great basic recipe for making them.


Food Renegade’s Breakfast Sausage ~ I’ve tried a few breakfast sausage recipes, and Jonas and I agree, Kristin’s recipe is the best. I usually do half pastured ground pork and half grass fed beef.

Lime and Basil Beef Kebabs from Mark’s Daily Apple ~ We’ve enjoyed these on the grill a few times this summer. Flavorful, vibrant marinade. We add zucchini from the garden to the skewers. Great meal.

Salmon with Avocado Mango Salsa from Taste Spotting ~ Perfect for summer. So delicious. We also enjoy topping salmon with fresh pesto.

Hamburger Soup from Keeper of the Home ~ Simple, frugal and satisfying.

Nourished and Nurtured’s Braised Cabbage and Sausages ~ Perfect fall or winter meal. If you’re not on GAPS or strict Paleo, toss in some diced potatoes. And if you like greens, add a few leaves of kale or swiss chard, cut in ribbons.

Whole Chicken In The Crockpot from 100 Days of Real Food ~ If you are on GAPS, you make a lot of chicken stock, which means you cook a lot of whole chickens. My mom turned me on to using the crockpot for whole chickens. I do prefer the crispy skin of a roasted chicken, but this recipe is great, especially for days when you need supper ready without much fuss.

Seared Scallops with Sauteed Kale (and sausage and bacon) from The Domestic Man ~ Good quality scallops are not within our normal food budget, so I made it without, and it was still so good.

The Nourishing Gourmet’s Split Pea, Kale and Sausage Soup ~ Kimi’s soups are the best!

Lentils and Carrots with Swiss Chard from Nourishing Home ~ Simple. Warm. Nourishing. Homey. Comfort food.

Roast Leg of Lamb with Tarragon Mint Butter from Bon Appetit ~ We had this for Easter, and it’s one of my favorite lamb preparations. The butter is out of this world, especially on peas and carrots.

Against All Grain’s Prosciutto Pesto Chicken Roulade ~ Okay, I haven’t actually made this one yet, but it looks so very good, so I am sharing it with you anyway. I will have to give it a try while I still have basil in the garden.

The Bitten Word’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apple and Bacon ~ Brussels are one of our very favorite vegetables (well, not Jonas), and this is a delicious way to prepare them.

Farewell, Eggs


, , ,

We received the results from Jonas’ ELISA test. The one thing I really hoped it wouldn’t be, it is. Eggs. I rely so heavily on them. We go through 5-6 dozen a week. At least our monthly egg bill will significantly decrease!

You can see his result for eggs is in the extremely high category.

You can see his result for eggs is in the extremely high category.

But yeah, this is not at all convenient. The biggest challenge will be figuring out a way to still allow him to have some baked goods. When you don’t have gluten, you really need eggs. I think some people use chia seeds, but those are only supposed to be used later in GAPS, once most healing has taken place.

So, I’m a bit disappointed. And I’m feeling a little overwhelmed having to adapt to a change like this on an already restrictive diet. I don’t really need one more thing to figure out right now!

On the bright side, according to the test, he is okay with dairy and nuts. I am rather shocked about the dairy, as he really seemed to be reacting this spring. I don’t know. I wonder if the test is less accurate when a person has been off of a food item. He did have sour cream once about a month ago, and I thought it caused an increase in accidents.

My plan is to have him off of the eggs for a week or two and then try adding some dairy in. Give him a chance to get the egg out of his system and see what happens before introducing anything that could cause a reaction. It will be so great if he can start having kefir and cheese.

My hope is that once he is off the eggs, his healing will progress much faster. I can’t believe he’s been eating something every day that he is highly sensitive to! It will be interesting to see if he feels different. Other than sometimes being tired, he doesn’t have any physical complaints, but if he’s been living with this for a long time, maybe he doesn’t realize how good he could feel.

I mentioned in my last post how I regretted having him on reflux meds as an infant. Seeing as the medication didn’t do more than take the edge off his pain, I’ve thought in hindsight that there was something in my diet besides dairy that he was intolerant to. Eggs make so much sense. The poor little guy never got relief, since I consume them every day.

We did the best we could as new parents, but it’s hard not to regret not knowing better. I am confident that things happen for a reason though, and if nothing else, it was Jonas’ health problems that led us to discover Weston A. Price and traditional foods. And we are all better off for that!

I’m Parting Ways With GAPS


, , ,

Welcome to another thinking out loud about my health post….

Since my most recent post about my struggle to feel well, I have been thinking and thinking about my next step. My cousin Kara commented on that post, directing me to something that Kimi at The Nourishing Gourmet wrote about her GAPS diet experience. I have to say a big thank you to Kara because I think that is the direction I need to be thinking right now. The B12 injections may be what my body needs and perhaps it is just going to take longer than I expected to noticeably feel the positive effects, but in the meantime, I am really beginning to wonder – again – if the GAPS diet is the cause of some of my current struggles.

I wholeheartedly believe in this diet, but I also believe that it may not be for everyone. It has done miracles for so many suffering from terrible digestive issues like IBS and Crohn’s as well as for kids with autism and other such challenges. Though we don’t have it all figured out with Jonas yet, it has done wonders for him both physically and emotionally.

But for me? I am not sure. I wish I could see what is going on inside me. I wish I knew the state of my gut. I believe that the half a year I’ve spent on GAPS has done some good. I am just not seeing the results externally. I never would have thought of doing GAPS for myself. I ended up here because of my son’s need. Reading the book however, I became convinced that it would be good for me as well. There are a few reasons for this.

  1. I’ve never thought of myself as someone with digestive issues or food sensitivities. The only challenge I’ve experienced in this regard is that my system tends to be slow. Being on a whole foods, traditional diet with properly prepared grains (soaked or sprouted), largely remedies this for me, but I can certainly tell when I have not been eating 100% as I should. My body is sensitive. So, I figured that GAPS couldn’t hurt and could greatly improve my health in this respect. (Ironically, GAPS made me really constipated, and my doctor prescribed buffered ascorbic acid as a remedy. It would be interesting to see if getting back on a traditional WAPF diet would resolve this problem).
  2. The book makes it clear, and it makes a lot of sense, that all disease starts in the gut. I have long believed that I have thyroid problems and this last year I’ve started wondering about my adrenals as well. I thought perhaps improving my gut would help support my metabolism.
  3. Mothers pass their gut flora on to their children as the babies make their way down the birth canal. Before that, babies’ guts are sterile. Having a child with fairly severe digestive issues forces me to consider what kind of bacteria I passed on to him. (There are additional considerations that I do believe contributed to his current problems, most important is the fact that, as an infant, we had Jonas on Zantac and later Prilosec for his reflux because we couldn’t find a natural remedy that worked. In hindsight I would not make that choice again. It didn’t do enough good and further damaged his gut, I’m sure. You can read here if you are interested in the reason reflux medications are a problem). Another consideration in this mother-child connection is that my mom has had health struggles much of her life, and she had a couple strikes against her gut health early on in life because she was formula fed and (if I remember) had several rounds of antibiotics as a teenager. So, I may have received sub-optimal gut flora from her.

These things considered, I still would not have set off on GAPS for my own sake. It is a rather drastic protocol and while I don’t know for certain, I don’t think I am so unhealthy as to need GAPS; that’s not to say I can’t benefit from it. Most certainly.

But now I am at a point of wondering whether I need to change course. I have assumed for a while that a B12 deficiency is causing my extreme fatigue and host of other problems, but now I am seriously considering, could it be that the diet has pushed me to this place. Reading Kimi’s post about her experience, I really identified with what she said. Particularly:

I stood at the bottom of my flight of stairs and stared upwards. In the 4 weeks I had been on the diet, I had gained weight (although I felt like I was starving all of the time and had been at my perfect weight before the diet), lost energy, and it seemed like the diet was stressful on my adrenals and thyroid. Despite all of the protein I consumed, I often suffered from low blood sugar on the diet. But not all was negative. It felt like it was helping both my digestive system as well as my daughters. But as I stared up those stairs, I realized I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t walk up those stairs. I didn’t feel tired in the sense of wanting to go to sleep, but the type of tired that made you feel life was blah.

Kimi was on the intro diet which is much more intense than the full GAPS diet that we have been on. I completely identify with that exhaustion. I. just. can’t. climb. those. stairs. For a while I’ve been concerned about the stress that the diet potentially puts on the thyroid and adrenals as I believe my metabolism is my main source of health trouble. Many enthusiastic proponents of the diet say this isn’t the case and that the diet can even heal these problems, yet I have heard this warning from various articles and blog posts. A few months ago, I became concerned about this as I started experiencing some problems, and I considered then whether I should stay on the diet. I decided to increase my carb intake by keeping a pot of lentils in the fridge. I eat at least a cup a day, usually at breakfast with lots of raw sour cream (fat is good for adrenals) and a couple over easy eggs. I eat fruit, honey, baked goods (though I’m not sure how many carbs are in coconut flour), squash. So, I am not low carb, but I think my body may need more. My husband pointed out an interesting fact the other night: I really started going downhill shortly after (2-3 weeks, maybe?) I went off of raw milk in June. (I misunderstood something in the book and didn’t realize I shouldn’t be drinking any milk, raw or not, at this point). I don’t know if it is the sugar in the milk or some of the nutrients or both, but perhaps that loss has really affected me. I do drink kefir, but I don’t know that the nutritional profile is similar enough. The sugar has been fermented out. I don’t think the vitamins and minerals would change, but I don’t know much about any of that. I would drink 16-24 ounces of milk most days, but with kefir, I don’t drink it plain, just in smoothies or blended with some berries, so I only get a cup or so a day. Some days not at all. Anyway, all this rambling to say: I think I need more carbs. I need to take my own advice:

I am going to be careful to listen to my body rather than blindly following a protocol just because so many others have found greater health and healing. If I discover after any given time that GAPS is not what I need, I will modify my diet so my body gets everything needed to thrive.

I am still trying to decide exactly how this is going to look, but I officially broke the diet yesterday. We went out to the farm to get milk. After some initial feelings of conflict – do I really want to introduce food that might undo some of the work I’ve done over the last months? – I drank a big pint of milk. Another glass of milk upon waking today.

I think for now I will continue to eat GAPS-like – lots of broth and ferments, no sugar, keep eating the lentils, etc. but add in milk, quinoa, sweet potatoes and maybe rice. See how I am feeling.

I have no idea if a change in diet will improve the state of my health, but I need to do something while I wait to see if the B12 is going to help. While everything I am experiencing can be explained by B12 deficiency, most of it could also be attributed to metabolism problems. I wasn’t sure about the neurological problems, but after a brief search I find that even this can be accounted for by adrenal fatigue!

I read a fantastic e-book a few months ago, The Nourished Metabolism, and I did put some of Elizabeth’s advice into practice. I am going to revisit it and make a plan for going forward.

Writing really helps me think, so thanks for listening to my long ramble. If you have any insights or suggestions, I welcome them!

Latest Hypothesis: Nut Sensitivity….Maybe


, , ,

Jonas finally recovered from the latest accident marathon. He’s had a good week or more without accidents during the day. Staying dry all night continued to be a struggle, but he made it the last two nights.

There’s a possibility it could be a die off reaction, but I’m thinking not. Until today, I had no idea what the trigger could be….and then he went and had an accident. He actually had a potty accident plus two very small bm accidents – just a little more than a smear both times. So, that got me thinking, what did he eat yesterday.

He had nuts and I couldn’t even recall for sure the last time he had them. Possibly a couple weeks have gone by. I make Larabar like snack bars with ground nuts and/or seeds and dried fruit. They are a staple in our fridge. He was eating off of a big batch of apricot sunflower seed bars (no nuts) for well over a week. I am almost certain it has been a couple weeks or more since I made a batch with nuts. I use coconut flour for most of my baking, the only regular exception being this sandwich bread which is half coconut, half almond flour. I usually make one loaf a week, but I didn’t last week, so it’s been at least a week, probably closer to two since he’s had almond flour. I can’t think of any other times he would have had nuts during the last two weeks. Yesterday I made a new batch of snack bars with almonds and walnuts. I think there is a decent chance the nuts are the trigger.

I don’t remember if I mentioned it, but we recently did a finger stick food sensitivity test for him. We should get the results in the next week or so. It tests for 96 common foods. It will be interesting to see what it turns up. In the meantime, I am definitely going to keep him away from nuts and see if that helps.

A Little Weekend Health Update


, ,

Well, it’s been a bad weekend for me. Just exhausted for no reason. Because of my fatigue, I prioritize sleep. I’ve always been one to feel best with 8+ hours. This spring I made up my mind to make it a priority to get at least 9 a night. Yesterday I took a two hour nap and slept nine hours. Today, I recently got up from an hour nap. I would have slept longer, but I have so much to do around the house, I want to try to get some reading/researching done, and I want to spend time with my family. I feel in a fog right now. Was trying to do some reading on histamine intolerance and gave up. My brain just can’t process things right now. I do not wake up feeling refreshed. I just feel like I’ve lost another hour or two of my day.

I’ve had some sinus pressure again the last couple days, so I’ve had a headache all weekend. I have never in my life had sinus problems until the time a few months ago. So, I don’t know if the sinus trouble is the cause of my difficult days right now, or if that is just on top of my normal stuff. It’s been up and down since I started the B12 injections. Good days and bad. I never know what to expect.

I want nothing more than for someone to say – and for it to be true, “this is exactly what is wrong with you and this is what you need to do to fix it.” I would do whatever it is I need to. I just haven’t a clue what it is. I am still hopeful that the B12 will have a positive effect, and I am trying to be patient and give the therapy time to work. I am just confused. My B12 blood test came back at 575, which is healthy. My doctor prescribed the shots based on my symptoms. A person can have normal levels yet be deficient. I am trying to understand the possible reasons for this and will write about them at another time. So, either I am deficient despite my numbers, or there is something else going on. I would rather have been informed that my number was 175, a clear diagnosis and a solid reason for my health problems. It just can’t be that simple, it seems.

My little health crash seems to coincide with being on the GAPS diet. That could be coincidence or it could be caused by the diet. If it’s caused by the diet, is it because the diet isn’t working for me and is in fact making me ill or is it because the diet is more or less cleaning my body, kicking out the bad stuff and causing temporary sickness along the way.

(I am currently sitting outside watching my husband sword fight my children, coming up with all sorts of scenarios and props. I am so grateful and blessed to have a husband who loves to play with his kids – who has fun doing it. I watch them and I just wish I had the energy. I wish I could be that kind of mom, to play with my children, run around, be silly. The best I manage these days is sitting on the floor with them once in a while as they play Legos or Playmobil. I am vowing here and now to be a fun, active, sword fighting type mom as soon as I can get back on my feet).

Because I am nursing an infant, we never did GAPS intro. It can cause a lot of detoxing which isn’t safe for the baby. I think I need to get on it as soon as would be safe for Nolan. I need to do something. I feel stuck right now, and I don’t want to just drag this diet out forever. While full GAPS can be very healing on its own and does a lot of good, intro is a very intense and efficient way to repair the gut lining. Leaky gut allows partially digested food to pass through the stomach lining, causing food sensitivities and other problems. So, the goal is to repair the stomach lining, starve out the pathogenic bacteria and repopulate the gut with good bacteria.

Intro is restrictive. It begins with very healing, easy to digest foods. Basically broth, boiled meats and boiled veggies. Each of the six step adds in more foods. The length of time for each step is completely determined by the individuals progress. Some go through the entire introduction in a month or less, others, with really serious problems, may be on it for a couple years or more. It could be that I am reacting to something in my diet, and intro would be the easiest way to figure out what it is. Well, that and going to my mom’s doctor. I want to do that too. He will test me for food and environmental sensitivities. Mom has been feeling so much better since finding out her sensitivities and staying away from the offending foods.

On a positive note, Jonas’ accidents have been much more under control in the last week or so. He is still having trouble at night. Ben gets him up twice, sometimes even three times, and he still wakes up with a wet bed about half the time, which used to only occur once or twice a month. His days are much better at least. He’s been off of broth a couple weeks, or maybe three. I don’t remember. (Broth is high histamine, and I have been suspecting histamine intolerance with him).

Peach Ice Cream Recipe (GAPS and Paleo Friendly)


, , , , , , ,

I had a bunch of ripe peaches on the counter, and we love ice cream in the summer, so I thought I would come up with a peach ice cream. It was yum, and here’s the recipe.


  • One can full fat coconut milk, chilled (if you’re on GAPS, you can use Natural Value brand. It’s the only one I’ve found with no guar gum, plus it’s BPA free).
  • Five ripe peaches
  • Four raw egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 3/4 t ground ginger
  • 2 t gelatin (There are a couple brands made from healthy, grass fed cows: Bernard Jensen and Great Lakes).
  • a generous pinch of salt


  1. Warm a few tablespoons on coconut milk in a small saucepan. Add the gelatin and stir until completely dissolved.
  2. Add all ingredients, including the warmed milk and gelatin to the blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into your ice cream maker and wait patiently.
  4. Eat.
There's no time for a beautiful picture when you have little kids bouncing up and down at your side, eager for ice cream, but you get the idea.

There’s no time for a beautiful picture when you have little kids bouncing up and down at your side, eager for ice cream, but you get the idea.

Things Are Looking Up


I’m just popping in for a moment to say that I am having the best day I have had for….I don’t even know….for a long time. I still feel tired, but not the horrible fatigue, and I actually have motivation, which is huge. Today, I am tackling piles of clutter that have built up while I have been feeling so bad. There have been three big boxes of books sitting out on our porch for a couple months. They were given us by one of Ben’s coworkers because his kids had outgrown them. I have sorted through them, rearranged the bookshelves and put away everything we are keeping. Not exciting news, I realize, but I have just been feeling so fatigued and directionless and close to helpless, really, so I am thrilled to be able to look around me, make a plan, and carry it out. Yay!

Looking forward to more good days.

(And now, thanks to my title, I have that old Gershwin song in my head. Do you know it? “Things are looking up. I’ve been looking the landscape over, and it’s covered with four leaf clover. Oh, things are looking up since love looked up at me.” Anyway…)

B12 Update: My First Injection



My doctor prescribed me B12 injections (methylcobalamin). They arrived yesterday. Once Ben was home and I had a few minutes without baby Nolan, I grasped the flesh at the side of my stomach and tentatively stuck the needle in as Jonas looked on. Bridget wanted nothing to do with this. It wasn’t too bad. I found it a little tricky to press the plunger down at first and it burned a bit as I did. But all in all, it was just fine. Heck, I’d do a lot more than that if it means I can stop feeling like this!

Even after one shot, I have observed a couple subtle, positive changes. Most noticeably, I didn’t have any leg cramps last night for the first time in a long time. I still had tingling and muscle twitches, but no cramping. Sure, it could be a coincidence, but I prefer to believe not. This morning I also felt lighter. Not sure how to explain it exactly, but I just felt like I could breathe more easily. As I drove the kids to VBS, I actually found myself smiling. Just smiling because I was with my kids and my kids are awesome. (Crazy that I was surprised by a bit of simple, pure, happy for no particular reason happiness). By afternoon, I was feeling the fatigue set in, but I must admit that I had a better day than most. I am not ready to attribute my better mood, without a doubt, to the injection. I do believe our minds are powerful when it comes to suggestion, and I think there is something to the ability to feel better when you believe you will – to an extent. But, I don’t know, maybe that 3,000 mcg did something for me already. Whatever the case, I am very hopeful. And I am very grateful. I perceive God’s hand in all this. B12 was not on my radar, but a woman on the GAPS forum brought it to my attention at just the right time. I hadn’t even mentioned all the symptoms I was having. I was talking about my son, not me. But her words came right when I needed to hear them and probably saved me a lot of wasted time and suffering.

Part of me doesn’t want to get my hopes up, yet I will say: here’s to feeling better!