This is my first GAPS recipe. Super easy and simple to make. And the more you reheat it, the more it becomes flavorful.
This and a teaspoon of plain yogurt every meal are the only things I ate for two straight days while in Stage 1 GAPS Intro Diet. I’m not allowed to eat celery during this stage, so I meticulously picked out the celery before I eat the soup. But everything else, I can enjoy.
This is a hearty and delicious soup. However, after eating it for 2 days – breakfast, lunch and dinner – and not have anything else, I kinda grew tired of the taste. If only I can add noodles or eat it with something else. Like rice or bread maybe? But of course, that’s not allowed.
GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome, a condition which establishes a connection between the functions of the digestive system and the brain. [SOURCE]. If you want to know the nitty-gritty of GAPS, you’ll find a good deal of information here.
A GAPS diet is a healing diet that fixes leaky gut, a condition of increased intestinal permeability or intestinal hyperpermeability. [SOURCE] The way I understand it, when you have a leaky gut, your intestinal lining is damaged and becomes porous, which allows partially digested food particles and other toxins to escape into the bloodstream. Why is that bad? This article explains it better (and in plain English, too).
The first reaction your body has to these “foreign” bodies in your blood is to fight like hell. Initially, your Liver is called into action to work overtime and try to screen out all the particles that your intestinal lining was supposed to be taking care of. In most cases, the liver has no chance of keeping up with the constant flow of waste into your blood and all the toxins, undigested food molecules, yeast, and other pathogens start to accumulate in your body.
Now the sleeping giant wakes up (your immune system) and it is not happy. It goes into full battle mode to fight the evil intruders and get them out of the body ASAP. More often than not, the body cannot keep up with the task at hand and the majority of these foreign bodies absorb into tissues throughout the body… causing them to inflame.
Inflammation is also an immune response and causes even more stress on your system. Now that your body is focused on fighting the large war, the little battles are starting to be ignored, like filtering out the blood, calming inflamed areas of the body, fighting bacteria, regulating the gut, etc. This process flow can lead to your body fighting itself and an array of autoimmune diseases… [SOURCE]
Bottomline, a leaky gut often contributes to autoimmune diseases such as what I have – an autoimmune Thyroiditis (not yet sure if it’s Hashimoto’s or Grave’s as my endocrinologist didn’t bother to find out.) So, to cure autoimmune diseases naturally, one must first fix the leaky gut.
Why the GAPS diet?
I’ve rant about how I don’t like taking medicines for my Thyroiditis because of the ugly side-effects that I’m experiencing. And the fact that taking steroids and synthetic thyroid hormone doesn’t really get to the bottom of the disease. It only controls it – one way is by suppressing the immune system which has some really serious long-term side-effects – and NOT cure it. If I stop taking these meds, there’s a good chance that I’d feel sick again after a while.
This led me to search for alternative ways to manage my condition. Something that will have a long-term positive effect and won’t have me dependent on synthetic drugs for a lifetime. The term “leaky gut” always come up when I search for autoimmunity cures so I thought to pay attention to it. That’s how I came upon the GAPS diet.
Actually, I found this autoimmune diet first and though I thought it’s too restricting (like what else can I eat?), I decided to try it. Hence my gluten-free diet started, which I abruptly halted after just 4 days. The more I read about autoimmunity and leaky gut syndrome, the more I’m convinced that I should be doing the GAPS diet instead.
Another thing that I attracted me to the GAPS diet is the fact that it’s not a permanent regimen. You can make it part of your lifestyle, but you can also starting eating regular foods AFTER the diet. Yes, the dieting period has an end. It’s a healing diet and as such, its purpose is to heal something in the body. Once it successfully served its purpose, you can get off the boat. But of course, there’s a process to it. You can’t simply jump in and jump out anytime you want.
The fact that I can reintroduce and eat regular food again after a while appealed a lot to me. It made me feel less deprived, considering how limiting the diet is during the first stages. I like the idea that I can look forward to eating “normally” again once I’ve fixed my leaky gut and autoimmune condition. Sort of encouraging, actually.
The GAPS Diet is divided in two main sections: the Introduction Diet and the Full Diet. The Intro Diet is further subdivided into six stages and every stage has a list of food that one is allowed to eat. The higher you go, the more choices you get. But technically, there are still a lot of restrictions.
I’m now on my first stage of GAPS Intro Diet and these are what I can only eat:
Every ingredient must be natural, certified organic if possible. Boiling is the only allowed method of cooking, so this first stage is essentially a soup diet stage. Good thing I enjoy soups a lot, especially beef soups. But the only thing I can do at this stage is to make the most delicious natural beef broth by boiling bone marrow, sea salt and whole peppercorns. Then add carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and small pieces of meat (preferably those soft tissues and fat from the bone marrow). Everything must be boiled thoroughly such that the meat and vegetables are soft enough to literally melt in your mouth. Talk about mushy!
It is a sick man’s diet – someone so sick that he can’t chew his own food! But as I said, this is not permanent so I’ll try to hang in here as long as I can, if it means I can improve my autoimmune condition and be able to eat like regular people again.
It’s been almost 2 months now since we celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary. On the day itself, we just took a quick break from work and had a lovely dinner.
Then a few days later, we went to Puerto Princesa City, Palawan to continue the celebration. This trip to Palawan was planned months before (got some promo plane tickets) and was almost cancelled because my grandmother passed away a few weeks before the trip. But my Dad (my parents were with us), said that we should push through because the airfare and accommodations were already paid for and were non-refundable.
I knew we should still be grieving but I was also glad that we decided to go. Puerto Princesa City offered a much needed respite from everything we’ve been through in the past year (and we’ve been through a lot). It is a city that hasn’t completely lost it’s countryside charm. As such, it is dubbed as a city within a forest and is pleasantly without the hustle and bustle of a typical metropolitan area. There’s no need to rush here. And their beautiful tourist attractions are aplenty and relatively within easy reach from the city proper.
And did I say we love the food? It was a Seafood Fest the whole week for us. Everything is fresh and a lot cheaper (compared to the prices in Manila).
A wedding anniversary should always be a special day, just like a birthday is, because it’s the day when ‘the union’ was born and each year, you should celebrate it’s growth and maturity. This wedding anniversary was a special one in particular because of the many many things that we’ve been through last year. We’ve had our share of ups and downs, of triumphs and trials – the really serious ones. We weathered the pain of losing our first child. We had 3 relatives who departed from us all within a span of one year.
I’d like to think that celebrating (anything for that matter) will somehow break the cycle of tragedies and sadness. We’re only on our third and we still don’t know what the future holds for us. So whenever there’s a chance, I’d like to make special moments really special. Something that you’d like to do again.
That’s why, as early as now, I’m looking forward to celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary. Ehem, I have the plane tickets already.
Last Valentine’s Day, D surprised me with a bag full of chocolates.
I am not a chocolate lover but such sweet gesture can really melt my heart, especially because he remembered to include a few dark chocolates, after I told him I will be cutting back on my sugar intake. Now, he’s learned to take notes. And speaking of notes, the highlight of the day was really the notes we left each other. Nothing fancy, nothing artsy. Just scribbles on paper.
But now that I’m on GAPS diet, I will need to say goodbye to chocolates for a while, and to anything with sugar and starch for that matter. Not that I will miss it nor will feel deprived without it. But I’m glad I had that last chocolate indulgence before I decided to plunge head-on with dieting.
Okay. As early as 4 days after I said I am on a gluten-free diet, I am quitting. But there’s a good explanation for that. I will switch to a more strict diet called GAPS, with the intention of healing my “leaky gut”. More of GAPS diet and leaky gut on my next post.
For now, I’ll leave you with photos of the gluten-free meals that I have, well, enjoyed somehow (some not as much as the others). It was an experience – to think and plan what I’m going to eat 3x times day. To choose the ingredients consciously. To stay away from those that I shouldn’t be eating. And it’s particularly difficult because I have a mother who cooks really great-tasting dishes. And I live in this part of the world where rice dominates every meal.
It was fun, even if most of the time, my food tasted bland. But what I like most about it is the feeling of being full, without being bloated. And humor me on this one but I’d like to think that if I don’t feel bloated, I’d be able to keep a flat belly. :p
But I was doing it wrong. Aside from the fact that the gluten-free diet won’t really do much for my autoimmune condition, I was loading too much carbs in my diet. I got carried away buying gluten-free stuff like noodles and oats (I successfully convinced myself that I don’t need the gluten-free flour and pancake mix). I guess I was just curious to know how these taste different from the normal starchy stuff that I eat before.
I started with the wrong mindset and purpose. My purpose should be is to combat autoimmunity, which is the cause of my Thyroiditis. Not to try and experiment. I am dieting because I chose to cure myself with food rather than with medicines. I’m still taking my meds though because I need them now to help stop the inflammation of my thyroid. But the ultimate goal is to hold it in check with something non-synthetic, non-steroidal and completely natural that won’t have ugly side effects in the long run. Which is what healthy foods can do.
So for now, I’m saying goodbye to gluten-free diet but will be welcoming GAPS diet, maybe on Saturday? We’ll see.
Last Monday, I started on a diet – my first.
I was diagnosed with Thyroiditis a few months after I gave birth. Initially, I thought it’s postpartum, but my anti-bodies test revealed that I have the autoimmune kind. The one where your own anti-bodies are attacking your body organ, which in my case is the poor thyroid gland.
So anyway, what’s the diet got to do with my condition? Apparently, everything.
I am taking steroids and synthetic thyroid hormone and I don’t like their effects on me. The first few days, I felt dizzy and weak. My eyes would always hurt, like a there’s a pressure pushing it from inside my head. And I have brain fog – I’m exerting too much effort to think and comprehend. I would read a paragraph and forget immediately what I just read. It feels like body and mind, I’m not functioning properly.
Although most of these symptoms are symptoms of an impeding hypothyroidism, I’m still not comfortable taking steroids and synthetic thyroid hormone. With the little cognitive essence left in my brain, I looked for the common side effects of the drugs I’m taking and all items that I could relate to (I was currently experiencing), made me more resolved to tackle this thyroid problem naturally rather than medicinally.
So I searched for natural ways to cure autoimmunity. And I found out that I’m actually doing this to myself by eating all the wrong kinds of foods (for someone who’s at risk with autoimmunity, that is). Which boils down to why I’m on a gluten-free diet.
So I’m restarting this blog (I can’t believe how many ttimes I’ve restarted this blog!), with a series of gluten-free meals and recipes. But hopefully, I’ll come up with a bunch of other stuff, too.
So welcome me back! :p
Something that may explain why I lost Liam.
I know I said I had posted the last about him. But it doesn’t mean that I have forgotten him or have gotten over my loss. Truth is, there’s not a single day when I don’t remember him. Not a single night when I don’t replay the scenes and events at the hospital in my head before I sleep. Not a single instance when his memories do not bring tears to my eyes.
Right now, as you’ve probably noticed in my recent posts, I’m fussing over my enlarged thyroid, which prompted me to research more about it. And the more I research, the more I realize the correlation between thyroid disorder and pregnancy, and the risks it poses to the unborn child.
Somehow, it points to the fact that this thyroid disorder might have caused my baby to develop undetected respiratory problems, which could further explain why he wasn’t able to survive despite the ventilator and medications administered to him. Or why he passed meconium inside my tummy in the first place.
I have mentioned before that I’ve always had a slightly bulging neck and hinted that I may already have a thyroid disorder even before I got pregnant, which has worsened during the course of my pregnancy.
The thyroid gland enlarges slightly in healthy women during pregnancy, but not enough to be detected by a physical exam. A noticeably enlarged gland can be a sign of thyroid disease and should be evaluated. Higher levels of thyroid hormone in the blood, increased thyroid size, and other symptoms common to both pregnancy and thyroid disorders-such as fatigue-can make thyroid problems hard to diagnose in pregnancy.
Subclinical hypothyroidism — a mild form of hypothyroidism that has no apparent symptoms. Subclinical hypothyroidism occurs in two to three of every 100 pregnancies. [SOURCE]
If I did, these were the possible effects on my pregnancy and my baby:
Significantly more placental abruptions (relative risk [RR], 3.0; 95% CI, 1.1-8.2), deliveries prior to 34 weeks (RR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.1-2.9), and respiratory distress syndrome (RR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.0-3.3) were found in the SCH group. These differences persisted after controlling for maternal age, race, and abruption. [SOURCE]
The function test result during the first month of my pregnancy showed a normal-high TSH and normal-low TS3 and TS4.
Test results will show high levels of TSH and normal free T4 [for subclinical hypothyroidism]… High levels of TSH and low levels of free T4 generally indicate hypothyroidism. Because of normal pregnancy-related changes in thyroid function, test results must be interpreted with caution.
But the doctor thought nothing of it. I couldn’t blame him though, because I didn’t tell him I was pregnant. I didn’t realize it might have an effect.
If subclinical hypothyroidism is discovered during pregnancy, treatment is recommended to help ensure a healthy pregnancy. [SOURCE]
Because the symptoms of hypothyroidism are almost similar to pregnancy-related complaints, I wasn’t aware then that something might be wrong. But now that I’m no longer pregnant, the symptoms are more apparent:
Hypothyroidism signs and symptom may include:
Increased sensitivity to cold
Pale, dry skin
A puffy face
An elevated blood cholesterol level
Unexplained weight gain
Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
Heavier than normal menstrual periods
Brittle fingernails and hair
Nine of those symptoms reflect how I’m feeling since I gave birth until now; fatigue, muscle aches and joint paints most notably. And there’s actually another condition that I’m looking into — postpartum thyroiditis — which could explain the lump in my throat.
Postpartum thyroiditis — a painless inflammation of the thyroid gland that develops within the first year after childbirth — often lasts from several weeks to several months. For some women, postpartum thyroiditis leads to long-term underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).
For the majority of women, thyroid function eventually returns to normal. However, some women who develop postpartum thyroiditis develop hypothyroidism and require lifelong thyroid hormone replacement therapy. Because hypothyroidism presents a significant risk to developing babies, it’s important to make sure the condition is under control before attempting another pregnancy. [SOURCE]
These are only speculations based on a cursory online research. I will still consult with an endocrinologist to know exactly what type of thyroid disorder do I have and if indeed it had an effect on my baby.
I know getting the facts now will no longer bring Liam back, but at least, I will be more knowledgeable of my condition and prevent unfortunate consequences, if and when God blesses me with another pregnancy in the future.
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