I am thinking, rethinking, researching, considering. It is hard to get ones head straight about the best course sometimes when it comes to health. There are so many different opinions. Some I can discard without a second thought. Others make some sense even though they conflict with other things that make sense, and it is just so hard to know sometimes what is truly the best. My head is spinning a bit as I try to organize my thoughts about what I am reading and how it might pertain to me and my family.
When we started on GAPS, I told myself that this is not going to be some perfect magic cure, but I believed that it did have wonderful potential to heal. I still believe that. After being on the diet for a while, I also believe that different bodies have different needs, and that we need to listen to our bodies to know how to best nourish ourselves.
I am still committed to GAPS, and I have hopes that it will resolve Jonas’ digestive issues and improve my health, but I am considering tweaking our individual diets a bit due to some issues that are cropping up.
I continue to feel great on GAPS however, I have recently developed a couple negative symptoms. I started experiencing leg cramps at night which I have never had a problem with. The only time in my life when I am prone to them is when I have too much sugar, like over the holidays. I know that leg cramps are a sign of mineral deficiency: calcium, magnesium, potassium. I find it curious that my body is showing signs of mineral deficiency when the bone broth I consume daily is full of minerals. Is something blocking absorption?
A few weeks ago, I heard a podcast with Dr. Caroline Dean who wrote the book The Magnesium Miracle. Fascinating. She says magnesium is “the life of the body,” and that most people in today’s world are deficient. Unfortunately, the podcast is no longer available for free, but based on the information I learned there, I would recommend the book, though I have not yet read it! Anyway, for the last few weeks, I have been using magnesium oil because transdermal magnesium is absorbed much better by the body than are oral supplements. The leg cramps I had been experiencing 3-4 nights a week disappeared immediately – for a couple weeks. But, then about a week ago, I started getting them again – though not as often or intensely – despite the magnesium. I wonder if it is potassium I am missing.
In the last couple weeks, I have also become constipated and nothing seems to help much. Not even green smoothies packed full of spinach. So, I am trying to figure out what is going on in my body to cause these issues. I have been reading a lot of blog posts as well as the comments, which are oftentimes just as enlightening, if not more, but I am not sure the best course of action yet. Well, my first decision is to add a little gluten-free grain back into my diet to see if that helps. I have quinoa soaking on the counter tonight which I am looking forward to. I know the Body Ecology Diet, another gut healing diet, allows certain seed type grains like quinoa. I love quinoa, and the fact that it is a complete protein and high in minerals makes me think I should add it in to my diet for a week or two and see how I feel.
As a side note, Bridget has also been struggling with constipation lately. Today, she was complaining about it since she hadn’t been able to go in a few days. Since she has never shown signs of digestive (or other) problems, (I have just had her on the diet for solidarity and to give her gut a chance to clean itself up if necessary), I offered her a piece of sprouted toast and butter, thinking maybe that would help. Well, she was able to go (a lot) just a couple hours later. So, I think it might be best for her to have a bit of properly prepared grains on a regular basis. Although, she did complain a while after she went that it hurt a little when she “pushed her tummy out.” Can a grain free diet cause a person to develop sensitivity to a food they previously did not seem sensitive to? Or maybe the tummy ache is a temporary thing after being off of wheat for a while. The discomfort seemed minimal, but it does give me pause and brings up questions regarding sensitivity. We’ll take it slow.
Here’s the thing about GAPS: I understand the importance of eliminating grains and sugars so as not to feed the bad gut flora, but I also think anytime you are restricting or avoiding an entire food group, you risk robbing your body of things it needs. Unlike the paleo crowd, I do think, ideally, we should be eating properly prepared whole grains. I understand why the paleo movement has such momentum – so many of us these days have digestive issues due to the state of our food supply and the general toxic nature of our modern world – and I appreciate their commitment to whole, real food, but I think the goal should be to heal and then eat a well balanced diet that includes some grains, though probably not as much as most people in our culture eat.
I haven’t even gotten into the specifics of anything I have read in my search to solve my newly developed issues, but I better call it a night and share some more about what I have been coming across later this week.