Healing Arthritis and Osteoporosis on the GAPS Diet
Today a blogging friend, Dina-Marie, shares her story of healing with us!
I am Dina-Marie, the mom of 10 children, 7 of whom are still at home, and I am very excited to share my story with you! Living in West Texas, my husband, John, and I home educate our children and we all work together in our 22 + acre vineyard.
I began my blog, Cultured Palate, because unfortunately, my story is all too common. I think you will understand my passion to spread the word about REAL food as you read more about us.
Two years ago, if you had talked with me about my family’s health I would have assured you that we were healthy. After all, being the stay-at-home mother of 10, I had a vested interest in making sure everyone was healthy – my job would be easier! I made most of our meals from scratch, baked our bread, bought grains in bulk and because of my meat allergies, we were primarily vegetarians. I had breastfed all 10 babies until they were a year old and made sure they ate their veggies and took a daily vitamin.
Having been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and meat allergies in my late teens, my diet was limited to say the least. I was determined to do what I could to prevent these allergies in my children. So, thinking all my problems were meat related, meats were not introduced into their diet until they were a year old.
We had your typical childhood illnesses and my arthritis flared up especially after the birth of each child. While each flare up was worse than the previous one, I consoled myself with the fact that I was, after all, getting older. Not until I was diagnosed with osteoporosis at the age of 47, did I begin to question our diet. But, then again, I was getting older!
Still, I felt that there had to be more to the equation. It was not, however, until my arthritis prevented me from doing such simple task as cutting my own pancakes, that I was introduced to the GAPS diet. My daughter-in-law went to a Weston A. Price conference and not only heard, but spoke with Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride about my condition. Her enthusiasm was contagious and I immediately began the diet. (Get the GAPS book here.)
GAPS Diet Results:
For me, the results were phenomenal. In about 2 weeks my hands were moving. The swelling took longer to go down, but the pain subsided. Progressing through the Introduction Diet very slowly, I was eating boiled meat by the end of stage 2! I could not believe that, as good as it was, I had missed out on 30 years of meat eating!
While I realize that not everyone needs the GAPS diet, I also knew that our family had the potential for unhealthy gut bacteria because of my own unhealthy gut. Feeling that we had nothing to lose and much to gain, we embarked as a family on the Introduction diet. Taking it at a quicker pace than I originally had, my husband and I were amazed to see the die-off symptoms, especially in our younger children. From vomiting to lethargy, the symptoms confirmed our fears that we were not as healthy as originally thought. As we continued through the phases, we began to notice behavioral changes — a definite calmness and peace was in our home.
Transitioning to a Traditional Diet:
After several months on the Full GAPS diet, I slowly transitioned the family to a traditional diet. At this point, I am continuing on the Full GAPS diet for myself to allow more time to heal and I am excited about the progress. For the children, the behavioral changes have remained and there is a greater ability to focus their attention on the tasks at hand.
I have now learned the importance of probiotics in the diet and we enjoy kefir, yogurt and fermented vegetables. I also have learned how to properly prepare grains by soaking them prior to cooking to break down the phytic acid. This is especially important since phytic acid is a calcium inhibitor and with my osteoporosis, I would like to help insure that my daughters do not experience the same. Other revelations include the importance of good fats in the diet and knowing where my food comes from. (Note from Kelly: Cod Liver Oil is also a crucial part of the GAPS Diet – find Fermented Cod Liver Oil here, find GAPS probiotics here, find yogurt and kefir starters here, learn to make fermented vegetables or buy them online here.)
Not for the Fainthearted!
The GAPS diet is not for the fainthearted! It takes preparation and commitment – especially for a family. In our case it was well worth the investment.
I have been on the GAPS diet for 1 year now and I am a new woman! I now eat (and love) meat – we have even butchered our own grass-fed steer. I am free from arthritis pain, and I am successfully reversing my osteoporosis. My hair has even started growing again! Through this past year, Kelly’s blog and others like it have been invaluable. That is why I started Cultured Palate – to encourage others in the GAPS diet and traditional real foods because healing occurs through diet. Come by and visit!
Thank you Dina-Marie. If you have stories of yourself or your family members being healed on the GAPS Diet, please share them with us in the comments!
More GAPS Diet Posts:
- Gut Health 101: 6 Questions and Answers About A Strong Immune System and the GAPS Diet
- Is Your Immune System Messed Up?
- Apprehension Over the GAPS Diet