Gut Healing Journey
Full transparency here, I haven’t written a blog in years. I thought I would get back into it by starting off with something that I have been struggling with for quite some time and was a large motivation in me pursuing a career in nutrition. I never thought in a million years I would land where I am today, but I am so glad that I did. Four years ago I spent about 4 months in Pemba, Mozambique. I tell people that this is the place where I felt like my life truly began. It was such a magical experience for me. While there I ate with the locals, lived with the locals and drank out of a well that was about 6 inches deep because we were in a severe drought. I wouldn’t have done it any differently if I went back today, but my gut took a huge hit. About 2 weeks in to my trip every morning I would have to sprint up a hill to the latrines to use the bathroom while in extreme lower abdominal pain, I will spare you the details. Let’s just say I was dewormed before leaving to come to the states. Since coming back, I haven’t had my period, haven’t had a solid bowel movement, am always bloated and have a constant stomach ache and many bouts of lower abdominal cramping. I have learned to live with most of the pain (nothing compared to individuals with chronic illness, I would never compare this to what so many people are going through, my dad included), but throughout “dealing” with this I took it into my own hands to try and “solve” the issue with proper nutrition. I went to see many doctors but none of their “treatment plans” worked for me. I have tried it all and I won’t mention everything on here because that just seems exhausting at this point. Bottom line, it has been 4 years and I am still on the mend. I am often discouraged, but I will not give up. Like most of you out there, you know your health matters, and I will continue to pursue full gut healing for as long as it takes.
This spurted me into multiple Whole30’s, eating a paleo template diet, trying low FODMAP diets, eating plenty of gut healing foods (which I love), practicing yoga and meditation, juicing etc. You name it. The amazing thing about trying to learn for yourself is that through the self experimentation and learning you really begin to discover yourself and your resilience in some amazing ways. I am so grateful that I turned to knowledge because of this and since I have pursued my masters in nutrition and am now in route to become a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. Even more important, my own healing journey pushed me into starting the health initiative program for the ones I love most and I am so honored to give what I have learned away to my neighbors.
Ok, back on track. I went to see a functional medicine practitioner about 6 months ago, my wallet wasn’t happy and neither was my soul because I felt like when I left I had paid for someone to tell me things I already knew and “we need to heal your gut with probiotics and a gut healing shake…” I felt so discouraged so I called the practitioner and I told her how discouraged I was because I left feeling even more defeated than when I went in and gained no new valuable information. She then suggested that I be put on a protocol of oil of oregano, berberine and a high powered probiotic. I have been taking this combination at different dosages for about 3 months now and I am FINALLY noticing some relief.
Below describes just a portion of what these supplements help with, noting main reasons why I am specifically:
Oil of Oregano: fights free radicals, inflammation and bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Helps with diarrhea, digestive problems, fatigue, menstrual irregularities, parasitic infections and urinary tract disorders.
Berberine: kills bacteria on the skin and stimulates internal movement
Saccharomyces Boulardii: a probiotic that is not affected by antibiotics, has a beneficial effect in improving intestinal microbalance.
I buy all of these by the supplement brand Biotics. Along with these, I take CBD oil and a woman’s multi-vitamin daily.
The first time I truly noticed a difference in my gut health was when I had to take a course of antibiotics (reluctantly but my face was in excruciating pain) for a severe sinus infection. My doctor asked if I needed an antifungal to go along with it (some people get yeast infections after antibiotics, I am one of them, TMI sorry) and I said sure, because I usually did. After I finished 10 days of the antibiotic I was waiting to have to take the antifungal, but I never did! This was the first sign to me that my gut was truly healing. Sign number two is we are now at the beginning of April and I haven’t experienced any of my normal terrible spring allergies. I am still hanging on and waiting for them to hit me hard, but I am embracing the days that I don’t have to suffer. These are both massive wins.
So, what’s next. I am currently considering shifting into the GAPS diet. I have been eating a paleo template for some years now, this means paleo with some modifications, like the addition of kefir and beans and rice every now and then because I have found my body can deal with a small amount of certain foods that aren’t on the traditional paleo diet. While I have been studying for my NTP course, they talk a lot about becoming more in tune with your own innate intelligence. What an incredible way to describe coming more in tune with your body and its personal needs. Following the paleo template and my own nutrition experiments has allowed me to really tap into my own innate intelligence, but studying and fully understanding the depth of this topic I really want to dive deeper and connect further with myself and my own individual needs to achieve more healing.
I am fully aware that full healing could never happen and that we are always on this journey of self discovery, but journeying through this and deeming myself worthy of it has been a huge challenge and victory for me.
Since I was a little girl I made it a large priority in my life to serve others and put their needs ahead of mine. This is still a natural practice for me, but as I have gotten older I have realized that I matter too. It is even hard for me to write that down, but just knowing and learning to believe that I matter just as much as the people I love and serve has been a huge feat for me, and taking the time to invest in my own healing tells myself I am really starting to believe I am worthy. In so many ways.
My gut healing journey has been a long one and I know it will continue to me. For the most of us, we will be on the road to healing for a very long time but I hope that we all never give up because guess what? We really are worth it. So for me, the next step on my own personal gut healing journey I will slowly adjust to the introduction GAPS diet. Who knows for how long, and who knows if my body will signal me to stay on this or if it needs other nutrients to heal that aren’t in this protocol. Luckily, I am beginning to fully know and trust my body. That is tremendous growth and healing in itself.
I am excited to share my journey with you all. It is a humbling and vulnerable place to put it all out there for people to read and this adds a whole new element of accountability for yourself as well. I hope I am able to share with you all fully the experience I am in and continue to be in, and I hope you will share yours with me as well.
Note: Along with following and learning to follow your own innate intelligence, you make conscience and intentional “edits” along the way. With that said, nothing here stands concrete, just am listening to where I am at in this moment.
Here are some of my goals in the coming few months as I transition into my gut healing protocol:
Continue taking supplements listed above
Decrease caffeine intake & drink more celery juice throughout the week
Increase yoga & meditation to 3 days a week
Increase intake of fermented and cultured foods as well as gut healing bone broth
Daily transition further into a full introduction to GAPS(?) protocol
Discontinue eating 2 hours before bedtime
Add in digestive enzymes (possibly HCl supplements)
I am also starting to add in additional ways to help support my bodies natural detoxification systems. I will post a different blog on those once I can comment on how they are working for me ❤️
I will let you all know when I begin my transition into full GAPS. Throughout it all, I want to enjoy every part of the process.