I’m looking for my inner “healing junkie.” Have you found her? She seems to run and hide the second the baby wakes up, like right now.
(A day later…) But it’s not the baby’s fault. I lost my spiritual way a few years back, when I started doing too much to put out into the world instead of into my body and my home.
And I lost my nutrition way when my son started attended preschools and birthday parties, and I taught myself how to make “healthy” gluten-free options so he could have bread, cake, muffins.
The problem is, my gut was so harmed from years of a grain-based and low-fat diet — and then hit hard during my first pregnancy by the introduction of corn and lots of goat cheese — that I just can’t tolerate even gluten-free substitutes or much in the way of sweet. I really need to be grain-free, starch-free, sugar-free.
After having symptoms of IBS through most of my pregnancy and postpartum, I finally had three episodes in the space of one week and convinced me to do the GAPS diet — the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet, designed by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride. It takes much from the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, and I consulted both back in 2006 but never did them full-out. Now I am.
It’s tough as a mom with an exclusively breastfed baby to get enough calories. The first week was very challenging as I subsisted mostly off of homemade chicken stock made into broth with veggies. And I ate egg yolks and nut butter. I had days of feeling shaky and like I could not possibly get enough calories.
It was sugar withdrawal, and once I was out the other side, I felt like I’d broken an addiction. What a relief to be free of the highs and lows of starch-laden diet.
Granted, I wasn’t eating nearly as many carbs as most people do, but I was doing a lot more than I had in the past, including lots of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and rice. And I was eating fruit whenever (even though most of it doesn’t combine well with meat), and too much of it.
Most importantly, I was acting like I was in fight or flight mode all the time instead of believing in the goodness of what I was taking into my body.
But three weeks ago, I put a stop to that. Nothing packaged passes my lips now, with the sole exception of some nut and seed butter because I just can’t make that much. I do have lots of properly soaked nuts to munch on if I need something I can take with me, but I’m trying to eat only sitting down, and only at home if at all possible.
I borrowed the DVD Crazy Sexy Cancer from a friend, who got it because our friend, Liz, is just starting treatment for breast cancer. The film reminded me of the importance of the spiritual component to healing. I, too, used to be a healing junkie, but it’s hard to be that focused on yourself when you are a mom.
Until crisis comes. And then I had to make a change. When I saw the film, I felt so good about having gotten on the GAPS bandwagon and decided to make my health a priority.
So here’s how my fridge and plate look:
- all my meat is cooked fresh (mostly from our farmer) – nothing processed or packaged
- I’ve got stock simmering on the stove most of the time and have broth with each meal (if not as the basis of the meal)
- I’m not eating any fruit except apple cooked in water with the water thrown out to lessen the sugar
- my day begins with fresh juice – celery, parsley, cucumber, dandelion green, carrot, and a little beet and apple
- I wait until after preschool dropoff to have breakfast, which includes broth with veggies well cooked and either egg/nut butter/zucchini and onion pancakes (just those four ingredients) or just an egg
- other solid foods include almond meal/egg/coconut oil “bread” (just those three ingredients!) and avocado
- sauerkraut accompanies all meals, as does some pickle juice and a digestive enzyme
- my probiotic is now Bio-Kult
I’m also adding in some flower essences and essential oils, and I got acupuncture today (that means last Wednesday!) and will try to get some craniosacral therapy or an osteopathic treatment.
I also plan to try to implement the following evening ritual when there is nothing else going on:
- Put baby to bed 7-7:30
- Computer time until 8:15 or 8:30
- Bounce on the trampoline and/or do yoga
- Snack 9:00 (I just can’t make it nursing all night without one!)
- Straightening up, prepping for the next day, and trying to do some meditation 9:50 to get to bed at 10
One week later…
Plenty of ups and downs. I haven’t hit the above timeline at ALL (though I did go to bed at 6 p.m. on my birthday!) There is no time to write when you spend about 2-3 hrs/day on food prep and eating mindfully and also spend about 2-3 hrs a day nursing a baby and trying to get her to go to sleep!
GAPS is clearly the way I need to go, but it’s causing me to have to let some other things fall to the side. That is probably a good thing!
So before another week goes by, I’ll go ahead and document this phase of the journey and share just a few resources for the GAPS-inclined, especially in the DC area:
Simply Being Well and Monica Corrado’s new GAPS blog
Harris Whole Health