My Gut Healing Protocol
After a long time of trial and error and trying to figure out what is making my stomach upset and what is actually good for me I have decided to do the GAPS Introduction diet. If you follow this blog and my Instagram, you’d know that I already did 3 rounds of Whole30 and I still think it’s an amazing reset. And that outside of the Whole30 program I am eating pretty well, mostly Paleo and lower in carbs with an occasional treat (because I still believe in balance). But despite my healthy diet I still have a lot of digestion issues, fatigue, anxiety and everlasting eczema.
All those doctor’s visits
So last year I went to the doctor for the first time after a long time, because I was so tired I could hardly walk. Which was not usual for me, because despite my hate of physical movement in my teens I’m now enjoying exercise and I think that I’m a pretty active individual now. So the crazy fatigue combined with breathlessness made me think there has to be some problem. And some of my symptoms definitely made sense when I found out that I’m iron anemic. So I did two rounds of iron infusion and eventually after a few months felt more energetic again.
But then at the end of last year I started to feel pretty average yet again, my digestion got really bad and my skin got worse than ever. I would have red and very very itchy eczema on my hands, but also on my whole back and a very ugly sore rash around my mouth and eyes. My lips would be so swollen and so cracked that I looked like I just had a bad lip filler done. It was so hard for me as I’m facing many people at work daily and I was so conscious of my look. I’m not crazy about makeup and hair etc., but looking like I’m seriously ill is a different story. So I paid a few more visits to the doctor and he decided to treat this with a series of antibiotics. And because I was desperate and wanted to feel good and of course to look good I went on antibiotics for about 2 months.
But guess what
Nothing changed. And I was so angry with myself, because I don’t like to take any pills, let alone antibiotics, unless absolutely necessary. And I just did so much damage to my already really bad gut for nothing. On top of everything else after all the blood tests I got diagnosed deficient in vitamin D. But why did I have these problems when I’m living on the beautiful sunny Gold Coast (and actually love red meat but still have iron deficiency)? My body wasn’t absorbing these, but the doctor wouldn’t really have an answer when I asked why. And when I complained enough because I still haven’t felt better and I could tolerate less and less foods the doctor finally recommended seeing a gastroenterologist. Which booked me for an endoscopy and colonoscopy to make sure that things are ok. Luckily I don’t have any serious health issues, but these procedures uncovered that I have a parasite in my body, mild chronic esophagitis, a few other little problems like polyps and also IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Which isn’t exactly a real condition, because no tests can really identify it, but I can confirm it’s definitely real. IBS can be described as chronic functional gastrointestinal disorder and people who have it usually suffer from constipation or diarrhea (or both), extreme bloating, flatulence and gas and other problems. Nothing pleasant.
And because of my pretty average experience with conventional doctors (it took nearly 1,5 years to get where I am now) I also visited a naturopath. The doctors would just tell me that I’m probably too stressed and that it might make some of my problems worse. To go home and have an ice cream because I’m not lactose intolerant… I haven’t started studying nutrition for no reason and these empty answers just made me angry. So I was so pleasantly surprised when the naturopath was a complete opposite of that. She would listen and ask so many questions that none of the doctors did and confirmed a few things that I thought were important. Like the connection between our gut and our brain. And that I’m deficient in some vitamins and minerals because my gut wall is compromised and not absorbing them well. She would discuss things with me and wouldn’t push me to take too many supplements or herbs as naturopaths sometimes can. She then recommended that I follow the weed and seed protocol and simplify my diet for a while to kill the parasites and the bacteria which is most likely causing many of my problems.
Weed, seed and feed is a popular way of restoring balance in the gut and helps with problems such as SIBO, IBS, parasites and others. It is a protocol that usually takes a few weeks and everyone might have a tiny bit different approach, but generally what you do is to cycle weed and feed stages for a few weeks, while being on a very nourishing diet without any processed foods, sugar, grains etc. The diet should be low in carbohydrates and starches, because the parasites and bacteria feed on those, so if we stop feeding them they should eventually starve and die. The weed and seed stages are making the process faster. Which might lead to unpleasant symptoms of die-off, but that’s our body signalling us that the protocol is working.
What is the weed and seed protocol:
Weed – basically we are destroying the overgrowth of our inner garden, meaning that we are killing the bacteria, parasites and yeasts in our gut with antimicrobial herbs, so the good bacteria can thrive.
Seed – repopulating the gut with the beneficial bacteria from probiotics.
Feed – Feeding our body appropriately and introducing more foods one at a time.
And what’s next?
And this is where I am now. Finally feeling like I have at least some answers and some kind of starting point. After evaluating the information I got from all the professionals I have realised that my anxiety is probably the biggest problem and something I have to work on, because it’s most likely affecting my digestion and of course vice versa. Because the connection between our gut and our mind is really just astounding. Stress is actually something that caused my fish allergy and egg allergy years ago (the proper egg allergy diminished, but now I seem to be sensitive to eggs again). So to help to heal my gut I started the weed and seed protocol and decided to combine it with the GAPS introduction diet, which is a diet therapy designed to heal the gut wall and cure many problems. It’s basically what the holistic health professionals recommend when healing the gut, but with a name on it. It is a highly nourishing diet with several stages and certain rules. And I have decided to do the Introduction part to help my healing process. But I will talk more about GAPS itself in another post 🙂