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After medications failed to treat my autoimmune disease, I turned to nutrition to address my symptoms naturally. I want to empower your health with the same steps I used to heal with food.

Reader Interactions

73 Comments

  1. Thanks for the post. I’m always so amazed at people like you who, so young, take control of their lives and make improvements no matter how hard it is. I’ve been toying with starting the GAPS protocol but it scares me. I think I am going to start with the SCD instead and maybe move to GAPS – as you did. I, too, do very badly with SUCH a low healthy sugar intake and even though I struggle with Candida, I am wanting to succeed. I’m so tired of feeling poorly and having anxiety and other digestive issues. I want to be healthy – I’m only 44 – i shouldn’t be feeling this way! I just ordered Breaking the Vicious Cycle and already downloaded the Metabolic book you suggested. That is at the printers right now.

    Thanks for your candor and honesty. I’m eager to hear and learn more about your journey b/c not only am I interested, but it will help encourage me on my own.

    Blessings to you!

  2. I have hypothyroidism, so I can relate on the hair loss. Do NOT feel shallow for being concerned about hair loss. I’ve spent many showers crying as clump after clump of hair falls out. It’s a major part of our femininity, and, more importantly, it matters to you. You shouldn’t apologize for feeling upset by something that is NOT NORMAL. If you were whining over one lousy pimple then maybe people would question your priorities. But when you’re really sick, and you’re watching everything fall apart, it’s very hard to deal with overt physical symptoms. Your body is the first thing you present to the world, and if you feel terrible on the inside AND on the outside, that can have devastating effects on your self-esteem.

    With that said, we’re also our own toughest critics. I always thought (I visit the blog daily) you were beautiful and never noticed anything unusual about your hair.

    Congratulations on taking control of your health. There will come a day you will look back and realize just how far you’ve come. Until then, I hope you feel better!

    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment! It is SUCH a relief and comfort to hear from someone who knows that this feels like. But we are both on the right track, I’m sure, and we have such a beautiful and healthy future ahead of us!

  3. Thank you for this! I’m considering starting the GAPS diet for both me and my 1 yr old. She has a rare form of food allergies called FPIES (Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome). Do you have a suggested reading list a person new to the diet could start with? I wish you the very best on your continued journey to better health! Thank you!

  4. The right thyroid med is very important and changing meds can mean a huge improvement in body temperature and hair loss. You did not mention your body temperatures, but the hair loss is a sign of low or Hypothyroidism. For years, Armour was the leading natural thyroid medicine. but times have changed. From an excellent source of information- DCNutrition.com
    “NOTE: We used to recommend Armour’s desiccated thyroid until 2010 when Forest Labs changed their formula. We found that the “new” Armour’s did not raise axillary temperatures and, overall, our patients continued with hypothyroid symptoms. We now use NatureThroid and get the results we used to get with Armour’s. [ Read more at : https://www.dcnutrition.com/Products/detail.cfm?recordnumber=228%5D
    For me personally, the new Armour caused thryoid to slow down and my TSH went to a 10. I though the test was a flluke, so 2 months later I retested and it was worse (10.6)! The new Armour has too much copper for me, as excess copper plays havoc with candida. So when I switched to a compounded T3 & T4 prescription, I finally found my ” normal” and my body temperatures are the best they have been in years! The T3 in the med is what will help raise body temperatures. If you have Hasimoto’s, you need compounded, sustained release T3 only as your compromised thyroid can not help you convert the T4 to T3 for the body to utilize, whether you get your T4 by taking a natural thyroid (Armour or NatureThroid) or Synthroid. When my daughter, who has Hasimoto’s, switched from 11 years of Synthroid to the compounded T3 only, she finally found she has energy and she lost all her excess weight in 6 months without making any other changes in her food or exercise. Insurance does not cover compounded meds but it is SO worth the money!!! The right med can be a game changer!! Talking to a compounding pharamist is a great way to get a good referral to a doctor or nurse Practitioner who knows how to treat thyroid issues the way they should be. Other excellent sources of info:
    FREE on the web: http://www.dcnutrition.com/problems/Detail.CFM?RecordNumber=234
    Book: Solved: The Riddle of Illness by Stephen Langer, MD and James Scheer
    Book: Hypothyroidism Type 2: The Epidemic by Mark Starr, MD
    Product for thinning hair that works: BOSLEY BOS REVIVE Shampoo and Conditioner Set – For Visible Thining hair( choose between the products for non-colored or color-treated hair)
    Hope this gives you some new info, new direction and new hope!!

    • Thanks for sharing your experience and suggestions! I’ve read Dr. Starr’s book, and I think it has some great points. I do have very low body temperature because of the hypothyroidism and I’m trying to fix my thyroid with metabolic principles.

  5. I have just begun trying to eat differently and am following a grain free, real food type diet. I am taking it one step at a time and am learning not to let the whole thing get overwhelming. I have to admit the GAPS diet intimidates me but I may try to follow it as much as I can.
    Thank you for posting your journey. It gives me hope to hear of other’s successes.

  6. Congratulations on your GAPS anniversary. Mine is in June, so we’ve been on a similar path for different reasons (rheumatoid arthritis for me). Like you, I’ve had to tweak the diet, and I learned that I can’t have nightshades or nuts. I have anti-inflammatory supplements that help a lot, and meditation has a profound positive effect. It does feel like a miracle when I compare my health from one year ago to today. I’m also accepting that I’m not one of the “quick fixes” who can do this diet for 6 months and be all better. I had some grief about that, but now I just feel grateful for being able to use food as medicine. My patience grows with how good I feel. It’s also easier now than it was in the beginning. I’ve developed new eating habits and no longer even think of my old cravings. I’m not tempted by SAD foods any more, and I’ve got a rhythm going regarding shopping, cooking, prep and self-care. For those considering starting GAPS, do your research and plan in advance, but know that with time, it gets easier. It’s always the big changes that are the hardest, but if they lead to positive changes in your health, that gives you the motivation to keep going.

    • Hello Eileen,
      You mentioned that you have RA and find relief with anti-inflammatory supplements. Could I ask you what supplements those are? I, too, have RA and am about to embark on the GAPS Diet. I’m still in the process figuring out everything I need to do and finding the right fish oil, cod liver oil, and digestive enzymes. Do you take any prescription medications for your RA? I have a medication and am not sure if I should stop it and focus on natural remedies.

  7. I have been on GAPS for a couple of weeks, and I am SO excited to be healing. I have also been working on mild thyroid issues, but gut things are priority. One of my Drs. ( I see two — an integrative medical chiropractor and a holistic physician) has me on a bunch of Bs for the thyroid and the desicated thyroid.

    I really like your blog. It’s infinity supportive and encouraging. Keep it coming!!!

  8. Lauren I think it’s remarkable what you have done in the past year. I’ve been embarking on this nutrition health issue for a long time and I still realize there’s so much I don’t know and I’m continually
    learning.
    I have done lots of things trying to get healthy but have not tried the gaps program. I’m definitely looking to that direction! Would you mind sharing with me a sample of a 2 or 3 days menus that you eat? I really can’t handle the thought of fermented foods! Or organ meats! Eating meat at all is particularly hard on my stomach. So the thought of organ meat literally makes me ill. As do fermented foods. The smell of sauerkraut turns me inside out. 🙂

    • Sandra, I have a couple of sample menus on my website. It’s on a page with samples for 3 different healing diets: paleo, gaps & wahls. http://www.phoenixhelix.com/2013/01/24/what-do-i-eat/ . As for difficulty digesting meat, GAPS is designed to heal your digestion so that’s no longer a problem. The GAPS Introduction diet guides you through this process. For example, braised meats or meat simmered in stews and soups are easier to digest than grilled and roasted meat. So be sure to buy the GAPS book, so you have all the information before you begin.

  9. I am easing my 1 1/2 yr old in to the full GAPS Diet. Although, since I am still breastfeeding him I assume I will have to go on it at some point as well. I would really like to go see a GAPS practitioner because I have a lot of questions, but they are so expensive. He was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia several months ago, has also had eczema for about 6 months, was sick with quite a few colds/ear infections last year and has had increasing problems with constipation. I believe it is all connected and digestive related. I’m hoping GAPS can heal my sweet baby boy before he has any more health problems.

  10. I love reading your articles and recipes! I too have been struggling with some health issues and have taken a natural healing approach. I also had hair loss, i had a very severe receding hairline at age thirteen due to my illness. I found that putting manuka honey and/or vitamin on my head helped. I put manuka honey on my scalp for 3 hours everyday for 3-4 months and i ended up seeing major changes! Wish you luck with your healing!

  11. This was informative and helpful. One thing I would find really helpful, is if you post typical days with everything that you eat. I find it extremely overwhelming to figure out what to eat when I am also trying to eliminate so many foods. I am currently (attempting) to take a short term disability leave from work to address health issues. I say attempting, because I am not sure if I will be approved, as it was initially denied. I turn 46 this weekend, was diagnosed w Celiac 9 years ago, then told I had Crohn’s (not sure if this is accurate though) and then Hashimoto’s. This all started 10 years ago when I was diagnosed with minimal change disease, a very rare autoimmune condition of the kidneys. It was treated w immune suppression and I was on massive doses of prednisone (80 mg/day) until remission which was 2 months and then I spent 4 months weaning off of the prednisone. I have never felt well since then. Traditional medical treatment has been awful. I know the SCD or GAPS is what I need though food has always been an issue for me, so this is so hard. Gluten free was one thing, but all these other eliminations, so hard. It is also difficult for me to truly focus on myself and tell what I react to and what I do not react too.

    You have a great site and lovely writing style. Thank you for your contribution!!

  12. Hi Lauren, first of all I want to congratulate you on your 1 yr mile stone with GAPS! That is something to be celebrated. I have autoimmune type 1 diabetes. I’ve been wanting to go on the GAPS diet, but I get really over whelmed when I start looking into starting because it seems that especially the intro diet involves a lot of whey and the juices of lacto-fermented veggies etc., but you don’t eat the yogurt or the actual vegetables. It seems like A LOT would go to waste, and not cheap stuff since raw milk and organic vegetables aren’t free! And I’m not sure how to tell if can “handle” a food. Are food intolerances manifested different for everyone? Do you have any thoughts or advice for me with any of these concerns? Thanks!

    • Hi Karen. My wife has type-1 diabetes. We’ve been following GAPS since January. You don’t have to strain the yogurt. That’s optional. I wouldn’t say there’s much “waste” going on. Some times nutrients are extracted from certain things and the refuge discarded. No big deal. We are certainly making good use of chicken bones — something normally thrown away. We make a big stock out of it each week.

      GAPS is a big move. But you can start small. I wouldn’t even worry about the ferments at first. Just filter out the illegal foods and start eating more of the legal foods.

      You can read about how we applied GAPs specifically to treating type-1 diabetes here: http://diabeticdharma.com/gaps-for-type-1-diabetes/

  13. Hi, Lauren…
    I recently found your blog and I’ve been reading with great interest since I also have UC and candida. After years of trying to find an answer to What on earth was going on, I was finally given an UC & candida diagnosis a little over a year ago. (Knowing what I now, I was headed this way for a very long time, but didn’t recognize the maaaany signs!) Anyway, tried the no sugar, no dairy, no fruit, no almost anything candida diet for a while..and yes, at first, it helped a little, but started to get worse eventually and my weight fluctuated wildly…great loss, then regain all while eating the same way. That’s when I heard of SCD about a half year ago. WOW, a great deal less unbearable pain in my stomach, esp at night, instantly…and I feel MUCH better having a little fruit and honey and a little (permitted) dairy, honestly. My question is WHY did you lean towards GAPS eventually? I’m impressed with SCD thus far, and I have certainly heard of GAPS often, but was wondering what pushed you that direction? Honestly, I’m wondering if there’s a good reason to eat chocolate..hahaha…;) or any other reasons to study this, also? Feel free to email me. =)

  14. I’m a 72 year old male and a raw foodist and was never sick ,a year and a half ago I was diagnosed with bowl cancer and had half my bowl removed since than I eat raw organ meat and raw fish, I never been on chemo or any other medication and feel great now.
    The reason I got cancer is as farr as I can see coursed by environmental poisoning
    I red your blog and comments and it sounds all good.
    I have found out about the danger of plastics and would like to add a link to some concerns about it,I know plastic was not good for either human or nature but did not know how bad it really is till I found this site.http://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/avoiding-toxins-in-plastic

    Please share it around as we have to stop using it just like we have to stop genetic modified food.
    Love to you all and lets try to better for our kids sake.
    Bless you all

  15. hello love your little story im also 23 suffered with stomache problems for a year half now doctor said ibs.. im on my 9th day of gaps and feeling better. im taking 3 HCL pills with meals im less bloated and less pain also fermented cod liver oil also digestive enzyme pills plant based. added sauerkraut juice egg yolks im making coocnut water kefir today also yogurt tomorrow. since im intolerant to diary supposeble my test said . so sticking with non dairy items.

  16. i added in some veggie juice that i had cooked them in and i added to much to my soup and it upset my intestines alot. had a lot of pain all day today. what type of foods are you eaitng now ? and what stage are you in? full gaps right? what do a day of meal look for you?

  17. If you are into mind and body medicine and God, I highly suggest beinhealth.com course FML or for my life. A week there and you may come back well. Sometimes its a journey and sometimes its instant. I have had both, the instant and the journey, but being well of an incurable disease is a miracle regardless. Hey I hated their website and all…I just had this cute little girl who was alive and well and twenty something pop in and tell me all about this place and I could not get her story out of my mind…because I knew it was true. I left there well of a handful of conditions, life threatening allergies, heart arrhythmia, adrenal fatigue, brain damage and neuropathies. Yes all that. I came home and in six months time quit having nearly constant migraines. They specialize in showing you the roots to your disease and teaching about Gods love. It was a great adventure and I have been sending people there and just getting the biggest thrill out of seeing them also become well. Its a class, like a college lecture. Its drama free and no altar calls… I get well just sitting in my seat when the teacher closed the course in prayer from the podium. I had heard something in that class that meant a great deal to me and had prayed about it. I have a condition left….and I love your diet info. I have been wanting to change our diets, me and my two girls. Thanks for all the great info. If you pray about the class and want to take it, drop me a line and I will answer any questions you may have. I am not in any way affiliated. I was just forever changed and am so grateful. My husband of 20 years became a Christian because he saw me healed. Its really awesome how God uses all things for our ultimate good…works them together and out. You are right about that stress thing and the fluoride. They teach all about what stress does to your immune system for one.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment, and I will look at the site you recommend. What a wonderful testament that your healing journey showed your husband the light of Christ! I know that God is constantly redeeming all the trials in my life and I don’t know where I would be through all my health struggles if it wasn’t for my faith. God is good!

  18. I finally decided it was time for SCD shortly before a 3 month journey to southern Africa. I wasn’t going to start it until I got back, but while I was there, a former vegan starting to eat LOTS of meat and avoiding grains and sugar as much as possible in the bush, I had a few highs after several years of all lows. I kept my skin covered ALL the time, with clothes, hats, and baby sunscreens (that I don’t use anymore, now I only use the Badger brand) and my pasty Irish skin didn’t change too much, except for some darker freckles. The day after my return, I started the GAPS intro diet. Seven months into the diet, I decided I felt well enough to slightly expand the diet and go back for 2 weeks. My bowels stayed regulated the ENTIRE time, even with eating raw fruits and vegetables, which was just so… convenient! Other symptoms came back in full force, but then again my biggest problem is a completely atrophied stomach lining, which clearly has hardly begun healing in such a short time. However, my reason for commenting is that following similar sun protection protocol, in just 2 weeks, I’m TAN for the first time in my life. My face is orange (relatively, this is still a ginger talking)! It’s so weird, but at the same time, I knew right away it was the diet making positive changes. While even following the diet at home I am plagued my horrible, embarrassing reflux, it’s nice to have the little reminders that I’m doing something good to stay on track. Also, one of the hardest real foods/real lifestyle changes I’m having trouble agreeing with is the SUN SUN SUN mantra for vit D, coming from a family of dermatologists. I still believe everyone has different sun tolerances, and coming from an Irish background, there’s no way spending as much time unprotected in the sun as much as possible couldn’t lead to skin cancer, but I feel like I may be more internally protected now from the damaging rays in a much healthier way, which is one of those totally unexpected benefits from this diet!

  19. My naturopathic doctor told me my thyroid was under producing and acting stressed. She recommended a sheet of nori and 4 brazil nuts daily. This provides iodine and selenium. My thyroid rebounded into normal range in a couple of months.

  20. I am just starting GAPS! After four years of infertility, acne, weight gain, brain fog from hell, and a myriad of other random symptoms, I figured I had thyroid issues, and I finally found a good doctor. Turns out my thyroid is fine, but I have a MTHFR gene mutation that can lead to insulin resistence, systemic yeast overgrowth, and heart problems……great.

    So I did some research and decided to give GAPS a try to get the yeast under control, since the doc thinks it’s what’s causing most of my problems. I have bone broth cooking on the stove, a fridge stocked with probiotics, grass fed meats, and organic veggies (dang those things get expensive!) and lots of mineral/magnesium supplements (drops, magnesium is so important to proper organ function). I admit, I’m a bit terrified. I’ve done low carb for two years now, and have been gluten and soy free for 5 months so I’m sure I can do this…but it’s a bit overwhelming to start.

    Thank you so much for your helpful info….your blog is the reason I even found GAPS!

  21. Hi! Two years ago I spent 10 days, including my birthday in the hospital, battling ulcerative colitis and pancreatitis. It was awful! Through a hospital error, I left the hospital with no drugs and was very sick and anemic before I found out I needed something! I went to the gasto doc and he put me on drugs that he said I would be on “indefinitely.” I searched for a natural doc who helped me become drug free and healthier than I’ve ever been! My enzymes and super malt came from Xymogen and after 3 weeks and I had stopped bleeding! My life is better now without wheat ,most dairy and junk food. God is good!

  22. Thanks for this post–I started GAPS about 1.5 months ago, so it’s really interesting and encouraging for me to read about your experience and improvements after a full year. I am doing GAPS to heal food allergies which manifest as painful, red, itchy skin rashes. I can’t say the rashes have subsided yet (and I wouldn’t expect them to so quickly), but I have noticed some amazing things in the short time I’ve been on GAPS. First, my nails are suddenly beautiful! For the last five years or so, they have been in horrible condition, breaking and splitting easily. It looked like I chewed them even though I never did. Now they are super strong! Second, I am way less gassy, to the point of having almost no gas at all, ever. Third, I went from having awful insomnia to being able to fall asleep within 15 minutes, and finally, I have so much more energy! I used to get really sleepy in the mid-afternoon, but now I can sail through the day easily. I’m encouraged by these early signs of healing, and I hope when I’m a year along I will have had as much success as you have!

  23. A year ago I cut out all the foods to which I had sensitivities. That means I have been eating almost no packaged foods and no refined sugars. I also added in some supplements that my naturopathic doctor recommended. About four months after I started, I noticed that I had fine hairs growing in around my temples. Those hairs are now 6” long and more are growing in. While I knew my hair had thinned since I was little, before that happened, I didn’t realize that my hair was actually supposed to be thicker. My sickness and hair loss wasn’t as extreme as yours but I am confident that in time your hair will grow back too and you can wear it any way you want!

  24. Hi Lauren,
    I love your blog and site and that you are doing this whole thing as such a young person. I am now 59, but was diagnosed at 16 with type 1 diabetes. Believing that the type 1 can be healed naturally, I have been on a long journey with food, diet and supplements. I went extremely low carb, quite ketogenic and on the full GAPS diet. While this plan has been very helpful in improving my over-all health and lowering my insulin injections, I was still not healing. My plan is to stop avoiding the GAPS intro diet and start on October 1st, and watch myself heal. Thanks to all who have written about their experiences, very inspiring.

  25. Hi Lauren,
    How are you feeling now? I am thinking about starting the GAPS diet for my UC but looking to know the following:
    Are you still on the GAPS diet? How long did it take before you started to notice a difference in your UC? Have you had any flares since you have been on it? How is your current health?

  26. I have had ulcerative colitis for 3 years. I have recently started the GAPs diet. It has been 2 weeks and now I have no energy. Feel just really sluggish. I feel a lot better (symptom wise). But iam having a hard time stabilizing. Anybody have any advice how to get a regimen going that works. Basically I went from eating terrible to GAPS over night. I juice cabbage carrots and apples every day. Then I eat plain meat and fruits and vegetables. I want grains and pasta bad. But not sure if that’s a good idea because of fiber. GAPS is great but isnt specific for U.C so it seems. Any help. Thanks for reading

  27. Thank you for sharing so very much with us! Your blog and emails are wonderfully insightful. Our early days sound a bit similar! My body now has a
    Voice I hear at age 50, and only wish I’d been listening and understood all it was trying to tell me since I was a very young child. For as long as I remember I had belly aches, constipation, enemas administered by my very dear Mom, bland diets, trouble breathing though asthma not detected, bumps on the back of my arms that both hurt and embarrassed me in public, allergic reactions all the time yet 45 years ago, food allergies weren’t really addressed so I was merely tested for animal and environmental types to no avail. My symptoms are and were numerous. Suffice it to say at 48, I was constantly sick in crazy ways and though I have always worked out, am physically fit, lean, never smoked nor touched drugs and slept well, I felt incredibly sickly. I took a food allergy blood test and it showed almost everything in the list as an allergy to my body. I went to a Naturopath and for five weeks did a strict detox of Repairvite, Clearvite and food elimination diet. My allergies are so sensitive I even was allergic to both of those but continued the five weeks to hopefully heal my gut. Magnesium in 1200-1600mg was and still is he only thing that gets things ‘moving’ for me. I went to a second naturopath for hopefully more thorough help since I was not any better and even breathing foods caused allergic reactions. After a GI profile test showed h pylori and a saliva test showed adrenal fatigue, I did a three month protocol for both and gi profile came back negative this time. One positive. Other than that, I have no progress with how fired up sensitive my body is to eating or breathing foods and the list seems to be growing. It is now 14 months. I truely believe in staying away from all that I’m reacting to, I just don’t know how long this will take nor what else I can do to help myself feel better and possibly add more foods to my diet. The list is short right now and thank goodness for your recipes with coconut!!!! I live on everything coconut!
    Thank you for listening to my story and cheers to you!!!!! You’re great to share and I appreciate it immensely
    Amanda

  28. First of all, super cool that you are attributing your success to Jesus- He’s so cool. He can just turn the worst thing into the best thing, and I know he wants all of us to know empowerment. I don’t know you, but I love you. I also just wanted to say, try a castor oil rub for your hair. I’m a white girl with super dry, curly hair and I started reading black girl hair blogs- they have a lot of issues with dreads and tight braids pulling out hair. Do a scalp massage a few times a day with castor oil (or without) and you may seem some progress. Praise God sista!

  29. HI Lauren-

    First I’d like to say that I adore your blog! So thank you for putting in all the time and effort to help out people like me! 🙂 I have been experiencing digestive issues for AT LEAST the past 10 years… probably even longer (I’ve been living with them for so long, I can barely keep track anymore!) I am also dealing with a TON of food allergies and sensitivities, hives, candida, adrenal fatigue, leaky gut and as of yesterday, a severe diagnosis of acid reflux (had it not been for the constant phlegm and mucus, I’d never have known I had it.) I’ve decided to forgo my prescription Aciphex & antacids and try the natural approach. I’ve been on a modified version of GAPS for almost 2 months and have lost about 35 lbs (the food problems have caused me to gain almost 100 lbs in the past 1.5 years) and am also low histamine, low FODMAP & low sulfur. I look forward to much more healing in the future and I wish you the very best as well!

  30. I’m so glad I discovered your site, it’s an absolute gold mine! I have “IBS” as far as my diagnosis goes, although my hypersensitivity to fibre and crazy flares have always left me wondering if it’s really Crohn’s… and on top of that like 10 other chronic illnesses. Basically my whole body is inflamed and sad and all my hormones are totally out of whack.

    I’ve tried and failed so many times with SCD, GAPS, and Paleo because they are so restrictive and there are so many things I can’t digest or have reactions to. I can’t wait to read through more of your site as you seem to really get all of this and have been through modifying and researching it all already!

  31. Hi Lauren! What have you found about helping your hyperthyroid? I was just diagnosed and am having a multitude of digestive problems so I’m at a loss of what to do. I’ve semi-started the GAPS diet, introducing bone broth, soups made with the bone broth, sauerkraut, lots of well cooked veggies and limited fruit, but I’m at a loss of what to do other than that 🙁

  32. I realize this is an older post and you probably have found thyroid help by now. But I wanted to tell you of a thyroid support herbal supplement that I take that was recommended by my chiropractor. It’s called Thyro Plus made by Nutri-West.
    It’s not a cure all, but I definitely feel better when taking it!

  33. Hello Lauren,
    Your site is an inspiration to me! I am a Doctor of Oriental Medicine with thyroid, anemia, and digestive issues. I have found very good results from taking Standard Process/MediHerb products. I am currently taking Chezyn (a liver/zinc chelate formula), MediHerb’s Thyroid Support formula, and PURE Encapsulations Thyroid Support Formula. My hair is still grey, but is growing and much less brittle. My energy and sleep are so much better! I hope with eventually incorporating your dietary recommendations to be in my best of health by the time I’m 50 (in 2 years). Blessings!

  34. Hi! I found your site because I am about to start the gaps intro for me (30) and my 3 yr old daughter next Monday! I am worried about too much weight loss since we are already both so petit. Do you have any suggestions? I have been following another blog on gaps but became discouraged when the woman couldn’t give me advice on this. I, too, have a lengthy history of psychological issues and unhealthy eating habits. I have been researching health and food for the last 8 years, and tried the BED diet before getting pregnant and got way too thin. I can’t make that same mistake again! I would appreciate any advice, as I truly believe this diet is the next step in my healing journey!

  35. So great to hear someone else is managing colitis without the side effect ridden medication. I completely manage my ulcerative colitis with diet too after suffering with horrible side effects and hating putting all that medication in me each day. I’ve started a site that has a whole load of the recipes I cook with now that don’t aggravate or upset my gut. Including all sorts of things I didn’t think I’d be able to eat when I switched to a vegan diet. Take a look, I hope there’s some recipes that can help you too 🙂

    http://www.theallnaturalcure.co.uk

  36. Hi Lauren,

    a great post. I’ve recently started a healing diet, I have generally moved towards a healthy eating regime anyway after falling ill but this one (maybe you have heard of it, autoimmune protocol paleo diet) throws all grain out including psudograins.

    It’s been tough and I have also drop the bat several times but I BELIEVE that food and gut healing is a very important element in learning to live and be fully well.

    I did try the SCD diet but it was scary, and the GAPs diet looks scary too so i can understand why you went straight into the full version. The good thing about the AIP is that it does integrate some aspects of the GAPS e.g. bone broth and fermented foods, so i guess I’m about at the intro stage of it right now.

    Thanks again for sharing, I will follow you as it’s good to see another Believer share so openly.

    Shalom

  37. Hi, everyone.
    I am a 70 years old male, feel and look better than 20 years ago.I live in northern Italy near the mountains. Five years ago i discovered I had a serious intolerance to gluten with no obvious symptoms, just feeling bad, weak and old. I also have thyroid problems in that my immune system has completely disabled my thyroid. In a sense this is ok because it is easy to regulate the thyroid dosage. Also have nearly recovered from serious bone loss due to bad nutrient absorption.
    My progress is astounding. I am doing serious hill and mountain biking, climbing and hiking.
    I attribute the changes in my health to the following:

    1) almost zero grains. 2) almost zero sugar (I use unrefined brown sugar). 3) very low carbohydrate diet. 4) I eat only a couple of things on the “”foods to avoid”” list for Gaps diet. 5) eat two portions of home made yogurt and one portion of home fermented vegetables per day. 6) eat a very large amount of partially cooked vegetables. 7) very small amount of meat, other than Alaskan salmon.
    (absolutely zero wheat etc., zero white sugar and almost zero prepared foods)

    Plus several supplements: 1) very high dose of vitamin D3 and K2, 2) six or seven anti-oxidants. 3) high dose of omega 3. 4) medium high dose of calcium and bone related mix.

    While I cannot say that I am following the Gaps diet, I am using the general outlines and try to stay away from foods not allowed. Drastically reducing carbohydrates is as necessary as drinking water. Taking vitamin D3 and K2 are something to do after checking your D3 blood levels, mine was below the minimum and is slowly moving toward the mid range. Something a little higher is my objective.

    I have started to experiment with Baicalin to see if I can improve my multitude of immune response problems.

    I hope my info is helpful, sort of floundering around – it took a while the get headed in the right direction.

    Thanks and best regards, Riccio

  38. Hi there!

    I want to start by saying congratulations for doing naturally what the doctors told you only medicine and surgery could do. I was recently diagnosed with UC (about 6 months ago). I’ve been following AIP since, and fortunately had some improvement. Unfortunately, there were still some pretty serious symptoms that just wouldn’t go away (bleeding). My naturopathic doctor suggested going on a liquid diet temporarily, until the bleeding subsided. It started with a lot of smoothies/juices/broth, which seemed to help, but I still felt like something was missing. So one week ago I decided to start the GAPS intro diet. With all of the soups I make, I blend them all up so that there’s little work my digestive system needs to do. The bleeding is very minimal now, thankfully. I’m going to continue on stage 1 for another week, and then hopefully move on to stage 2 — if I continue with the gaps. The thing with GAPS that scares me, is it includes foods that are well known to be inflammatories (such as nuts, which are introduced in the 3rd stage I believe, in nut butter form for the pancakes). I worry about introducing these so soon. I really like the first stage because I can see how gentle it is, and is allowing my body time to heal. I’m contemplating going 1-2 more weeks on stage one, and then slowly working my way back to AIP. My reason for this is, well as I said, I don’t think introducing nuts or even eggs so soon is going to do my body any favors.

    I guess I’m wondering if you have any advice? I’d really appreciate it.

    Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

  39. Lauren, I also have hypothyroidism. I had hair loss, nail breakage, weight gain, muscle pain, lack of energy and all other symptoms from my “disabled thyroid”. Last year I tried gluten free diet. Well, all these symptoms were gone pretty soon. Then, I realised that I had dairy allergy/intolerance as well. Finally after being in a terrible pain I started GAPS intro diet. My pain was gone within 2 days! I am going through initial detoxification process now and I am so glad that I started it because I know after I heal my gut I will be a healthy happy lady! Good luck!

  40. You are an amazing young lady-wise beyond your years! God bless you for honestly sharing your story and your “golden nuggets” of wisdom.

    I have read the GAPS book and even have the cookbook, but it still overwhelms me (why, yes, I do have brain fog). I think more people would try GAPS if there were some clear menus to follow and maybe less of the uncommon ingredients that many of us aren’t ready for.

    Thank you for such great information and recipes! ♡

  41. Thanks for the article…I was diagnosed with crohns this past summer at the age of 29. I was wondering if you have ever experience joint pain with your colitis and if so did you tell a difference with it when doing the GAPS diet? I have pretty severe joint pain a lot of the time, my crohns symptoms are under control fairly well most of the time but the joint pain makes daily activities hard at times. Thanks so much for any input!

  42. I am in the throes of the GAPS intro diet. I don’t think it’ll take too long. We didn’t even know it but we’ve been preparing for this for a very, very long time. 9 years almost we’ve been experimenting, giving up, feeling the pain, getting through surgery, taking more pills, listening to our gut, trying new things and here we are. I absolutely LOVE your advice. Perfectionism really is the WORST– and without truly giving this over to God, I couldn’t value or love myself enough to actually say, “hey, it’s ok”.

    Thank you for your input. I love your blog, you are one smart girl. XO

  43. Hi Lauren,
    I want to get started on the intro to gaps diet and I’ve been doing a lot of research, but I’m trying to figure out how long each stage should last. It says to start with stage 1 then move to stage 2. How would I know when to move on?

  44. Hi Lauren! I am a 20-something suffering with UC – I have been going through this process for about 2 years and it’s been a struggle to find meals and foods that don’t cause a flare-up that actually taste good. haha! What recipes did you put together on the GAPS diet?

  45. Lauren, you truly are an inspiration. Your blog is very empowering indeed! You are my new health mentor, my new go-to resource. I hope you have found the resources needed for your thyroid and other issues as you heal and discover other layers of concern.

    My first health mentor is Dr Josh Axe http://www.draxe.com Dr Josh is also very empowering. His website covers a multitude of topics. I have seen articles on the thyroid. He has the same health philosophy you and I do: heal with food and natural remedies.

    I’ve been trying to get to the CAUSE of my ailments, decades of research and learning. Dealing with MS with nutrition not traditional therapy, 30 years now. You led me to what may be the REAL CAUSE, maybe I can turn this thing around now. Quick summary: Multiple Sclerosis – caused by – Inflammation – caused by – Leaky Gut – caused by Magnesium Deficiency.

    Thank you Lauren, I have known for years that I was magnesium deficient. But until I found your blog today I did not know that is the cause of MOST diseases. I’ve not really addressed it.

    Every person is UNIQUE, with different needs, conditions and philosophies. You’re so right, there is not one solution fits all, we each must find our own path. You are a wonderful resource as I travel my healing path, which includes Dr Axe Leaky Gut, GAPS, the Elimination Diet, AIP Autoimmune, and FODMAP. These are discoveries in the last 3 months. I already see improvement instead of continued decline. But it is a lot to piece together into a workable plan.

    Wishing you the best – my new friend Lauren.
    I loved your articles on Perfectionist :-} and GAPS.
    Hugs!! Jaz

    • Jaz, thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful and encouraging comment! I am so glad to hear that my posts have been helpful to you. I do want to mention, because I’ve been in your shoes of looking for a single cause, that is often not the case. There can be many factors playing a role in causing ailments. I hold that in my mind when considering my own healing journey. Many blessings and hugs back!

  46. Oh wow everyone is really positive, i have ulcerative colitis and I’m on day 7 of the GAPS diet and I’m finding it really meaty, deathly and depressing reading that people introduce such mundane joyous foods too earky ….a year later makes me feel like this is a sentence or some type of punishment. I’m really unwell and I had fabulous results on day three and then I went backwards again and started bleeding and ended up back in bed, I have two little kids and I feel like I’m dying, I’ve just fought breast cancer and had two cycles of chemo and opted out to fight it naturally and then I got colitis. I’m not sure if I still have cancer but I believe that I will have it again if I reenter the drug cycle for colitis, so feeling extra trapped. Do you get worse before getting better? All my head mucous being a hay fever sufferer too has cleared up so I was imagining the mucous in my bowel has or is clearing and the bleeding is fresh bright blood and maybe this is good?

  47. Hi Lauren!!! I am excited to have re-found your blog/page! I came across your page while I was on Pinterest. I must have thought I pinned your page, but I didn’t lol. Getting along with it…I was diagnoised with crohn’s disease June of 2015. It has been a hard challenge and many hospital visits. I relate to how you described yourself on this about your post “My First Year on the GAPS Diet for Ulcerative Colitis”. I just wanted to share with you, I am not sure if you know of him, Dr. Sebi
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFQEYUXozXQ . I found out about this man last year online , but I didn’t have the “time” nor patience to read up about him and his teachings. I wish I would have before my crohns got worst. (probably could of helped 😛 but its all good). Any ways, I figured I share about him with you because maybe you and others reading this could benefit, acknowledge another teaching and understanding. He seems to be on point and explains in good detail what we should be eating. “Eat to live, not die”, is one of his quotes. I do not mean to over step by any means! I just wanted to share this with you. <3<3<3 You seem like you have way more knowledge and insight than I! I hope you and others can benefit from Dr. Sebis teachings. (By the way, I still have Crohn's, I am not in remission…that I know of. I just started the drug humira this july. I sort of had no choice. It was the drug or surgery. 🙁 I dont know which was better. I didn't want either but I was in pretty bad shape. I weighed 84 lbs. I am hoping to learn more about dr. Sebi and jump into his diet plan and understanding. I am searching for others who have healed themselves by listening to him, especially if they had crohns or colits etc. ) 🙂 I wrote this rather quickly there may be errors upon errors! Don't judge me please. I am just happy I found your blog again. I LOVEEEEE reading everything that you post. Blessings to you Lauren. I hope to hear from you soon <3 Peace and much love.

  48. Hi,
    Just started to read your story,
    And thinking its maybe something I should do.
    My physical health is a mess,
    Low thyroid – and I am not sure how many other things are wrong yet.
    But a lot….- do reading all the time, trying to find the answers,
    Meanwhile I want to tell you that I am on natural THYREOIDUM 60mg daily
    For more than a year, and it has done everything for my mental health, that I was sure I was losing before….
    Pigs thyroid, made in holland. Probably a bit the same as amour thyroid.
    Will read more from you blog, thanks
    And keep strong 😊

  49. Hello, I have had shocking stomach problems for as long as I can remember, chronic nausea and acid reflux which has just come along now. Bloating, burping and passing wind can also be issues. I had tried going off dairy, then gluten, then went onto the low fodmap diet but nothing was working to relieve the symptoms. I had several tests done but nothing came back positive, wasn’t a parasite, not H.Pylori, not lactose/dairy intolerance, no blood OR stool test came back with anything or an ultrasound!! I became so fed up with all this and was losing hope until a nutritionist suggested the gaps diet, not saying that I have improved much but a slight bit. I have been on it for over a month but am still on stage 2, I have a suspected histamine intolerance which hopefully gaps will fix and possible gastroparesis. Going to see a gastroenterologist next week, hopefully will get some definite answers soon.

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I’m Lauren Geertsen, an author and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. When doctors told me that surgery and medication were the only answers to my chronic health issues, I decided to use the power of nutrition and a natural lifestyle instead.
My mission at Empowered Sustenance? To show you the simple steps on your path to vibrant health.

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