So I have alluded to a new diet, but I haven't talked about it much. Now seems as good as time as any as it is currently absorbing almost every moment of our lives.
As you know, we have our food issues around these parts. I have Celiac's Disease which means that eating gluten (the protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and a host of other grains) slowly but surely destroys my intestines making it impossible for it to absorb things like iron and other important nutrients and vitamins. Celiacs over time can find that other foods disagree with them as well (milk, eggs, etc) due to the extensive damage that occurred when ingesting gluten.
Mr. F. recently discovered that he had a whole slew of food allergies as well. Mr. F. also has a shoddy immune system. And when I say shoddy, I really mean shoddy. The man seems to catch every virus flitting around. These viruses like to attack his weak spot (his sinuses) which means that every few months he gets a sinus infection which involves antibiotics to clear it up. And then we have seasonal allergies to contend with. You get my drift.
Finn, as you know, is super sensitive, showed no interest in foods until 11 months, and although was never tested for allergies, did show signs of being sensitive to certain foods (corn, for example).
I had seen reference to The GAPS Diet on various blogs. My initial thought was that the people who chose to do the diet were crazy. It seemed so restrictive: no processed food of any kind, no grains of any kind, no beans except for lima and navy, limited dairy (only cultured products and aged cheeses), no sugar except for honey, and no starchy vegetables like potatoes. I mean, was that any way to live?! No. I consider myself a Real Foodist and all, but this seemed cultist in the extreme.
However, the more I heard about it, the more I considered the benefits of the diet. The diet is temporary after all, geared toward healing the gut. After a period of time (depending on the extent of your issues), you can start introducing items initially banned (beans, potatoes, etc). Also, the diet is geared towards boosting your immunity. I started thinking that Mr. F. especially could benefit from a boost in immunity. Mr. F. and I talked about the possibility of doing it, but ultimately decided that it would be too difficult, too radical.
Months went by and I received a package in the mail from one of my best friends from college who is now a pediatrician. In the package contained the two main books on the GAPS diet and a note from her. She explained in the note how she had recently received training on the diet and was starting a support group in her area. She believed that I could really benefit from the diet as well as Finn (given what she knew about him). (At the time, she was unaware of the extent of Mr. F.'s issues, or I am sure he would have been mentioned as well). She thought she would pass on the books for us to examine, and she volunteered support if we decided it was a path we wanted to take.
I don't know about you, but when I start encountering the same thing over and over again, I start thinking that perhaps Providence is trying to tell me something, and I should listen up.
The books cinched the deal. Reading them and having the relationship of the gut and the immune system explained in detail, clarified that this is what we needed to do in our family. (Here is a decent, brief explanation). In our case, our guts have been damaged by antibiotics (a few times a year for Mr. F., some extended sessions for me to treat acne.), prolonged eating of gluten, and in Finns case, an inheritance of less than ideal gut flora from both parents. It seemed liberating and exciting to know that Mr. F. could strengthen his immune system and perhaps reverse his food and seasonal allergies. I could also benefit from healing a damaged intestine, and we could perhaps resolve some of Finns food issues before they became fully manifest.
As this is already long, I will post in a couple of parts. I will tell you how we transitioned to the full GAPS diet and then how we are faring on "the intro" portion of the diet. Fun stuff. Stay tuned.