Two steps forward, one step back!

I wrote previously about starting the GAPS diet as a way to look at healing my eczema. I had a crazy rash on my hand that was driving me insane first of all with itchiness … and then with pain. Within a week of going on the GAPS introduction diet I saw immediate results and the rash on my hand cleared up, just a shadow of where it was. It was just astonishing how quickly it all happened! I was, as you can imagine, totally thrilled.

I haven’t found anything anywhere – in all the GAPS blogs I’ve looked at or books I’ve read – about how long to stay on each stage of the Introduction diet. My assumption was that when you see improvement that you would move on to the next stage, so I did that and began adding raw egg yolks to my soups as per stage 2. It certainly made them more filling and creamier, and I enjoyed that very much! I am really not a fan of raw egg yolks, but mixed thoroughly in the hot (not boiling) soup was just fine.

That same weekend I had contact with a dog (which I am highly allergic to). A sweet and friendly little fluffy thing that I couldn’t help but pat (although I OUGHT to know better by now!!). And also I began making felt again. So when the rash appeared on my hand, and my skin immediately began to split and blister again, I couldn’t really be sure what might have been the trigger.

I do not think I patted the dog with my affected hand, but I am such a sensitive little poppet that just being around the dog would be enough, or touching the furniture where he sat. As for the felting, well just handling the wool sucked all the moisture out of my hands, and then the soap began to irritate my hand where the eczema is, so that could  be the culprit.

To be sure, I’ve gone back to stage one of the GAPS diet for a bit longer, and as I have a HEAP of felting to get through over the next month I am wearing a glove on my hand, which irritates me almost as much as the soap does. I like to use my fingertips when I felt, to FEEL the felt, but if I don’t wear the glove I won’t have any fingertips to feel with!

The eczema is still there but much improved, so I’ll be plodding along on stage one a bit longer yet. On the bright side the other half of our shared household is keen for soups every other night so the family will be on a semi-GAPS diet too. For my family I am going to do my best to reduce the grains, dairy and sugar they consume, which means re-thinking the menu. I have been making my own homemade granola with soaked oats for a while, but even the oats have to go now! It wasn’t until I started GAPS that I realised that I have about five different ways to serve oats for breakfast!

I’ve got a few yummy meal ideas to share with you now though. Never knew eating soup could be so much fun 🙂

Caring for myself with GAPS

I just wrote about how I’m gradually shedding the load I carried during winter … and over at Sacred Essence I wrote about the importance of honouring the SPACE between seasonal changes. This Spring I am not leaping into the meadows, ready to dance with the bees and butterflies. I am walking slowly and taking time to smell the flowers … and stare at them.

Last weekend I had two very beautiful and peaceful experiences meditating and communing with the plants … one of these experiences led to connections between the grevillia flower and the terrible eczema that I have had on my hand. I will write about those experiences in my next post, but first my hand:

Eczema has always been there as a part of my life as has (surprise surprise!) asthma also. Asthma and I have an understanding and we know how to keep a respectful distance from each other now, with occasional clashes … but eczema has always boggled me. Never could quite work what triggers it. It’s never been this bad before, but as one friend pointed out to me, after such a period of dreadful sleep and the associated anxiety and tiredness that comes with sleep deprivation, it is probably a stress response this time. A week ago it was red, swollen and blistered where the skin was so thin and tight that it had begun to split. It was so painful I couldn’t move the last two fingers on my hand without wincing and I would spend every spare moment looking at it in utter astonishment about how it got to be so bad so quickly. Even the sheet brushing my hand at night would wake me up with pain. Incredibly, within one week of focused healing this eczema has begun to clear and my hand is functional and looking almost normal now.

I started by going on the GAPS Introduction diet – and it is largely to this diet that I credit my recovery. At the same time I have been meditating and also using a Thought Field Therapy treatment (TFT). And sleeping. Sleep helps 🙂 A lot.

The GAPS Intro diet could be seen as harsh. Basically I have had meat stock and soups made from this meat stock for every single meal for the last week. We all know that chicken soup is a nourishing meal when we are ill, but never before have I experienced such quick healing from a diet change. I’m no stranger to limited eating. I have had many food sensitivities in the past. It is my hope that this diet will help me reach the stage where I can eat anything I’d like to once again and not experience the instant mucus response, wheezing, joint pain or tiredness and fuzziness that goes along with it.

It is not a weight loss diet, it is a diet for healing the gut, along the idea that our digestion is the root of our inner health. I’m not going to describe GAPS here, but I recommend that you research it thoroughly before you consider starting it. It sounds extreme, but I have come through Stage 1 and I am ready to gradually introduce more foods. In a week, apart from the healing of my eczema, I have noticed lots of other changes in myself: my skin and eyes are clear and sparkly again. I am holding myself more upright. I am sleeping really well. I am dreaming again. Happy dreams 🙂 I am able to plan ahead and find myself WANTING to get back into my work and move through projects.

I did experience a bit of ‘die back’ (where the toxin-producing bacteria begin dying off and releasing their toxins into the system) by day 3, but no more than a bit of back pain and tiredness, and I do not feel hungry if I eat my soups with enough fat, meat and veggies in them. Anyone who knows me will be able to tell you how I can put my food away 🙂 and I am terribly grumpy when I am hungry so it was important for everyone in the house that this didn’t happen!

It takes preparation and time. Cooking stocks is a slow process, but that goes well with my current feeling that I need to move slowly through this gap between the seasons. Healing shouldn’t be rushed either, but having said that, I am delighted with the progress I’ve seen so far.

The best thing about it though, is now that I am feeling better in myself, I am more able to see the best in others again, and for a while there I wasn’t doing that. I didn’t realise what a weight I made for myself by thinking bitter thoughts about everyone and everything. Now this weight from my belly has been lifted, in all senses of the phrase … and I can think caring thoughts again. It’s a pretty good start, don’t you think?