Look what I got in the mail today!!! As a persistent allergy and anxiety/panic disorder sufferer, I've been looking for something.. *anything!*...to help. I'd heard about the GAPS diet protocol before, having friends in the natural/organic/bushcraft societies and not really known if this was for me. When I was younger, I still had the "Screw that! I can't have bread!" mentality. Thats not what this book is about at all. There is heavy emphasis on Autism, depression, ADD/ADHD...any "psychological' disorder, and their connection to the "Gut", or the digestive system.
We've all heard "You are what you eat!" ..usually from well meaning parents or grandparents. We've ALL heard it.. Does that mean I'm a giant piece of delightfully delicious chocolate cake? Sure..empty calories, full of 'dead' nutrients, rancid fats... yep.. thats me (no, I dont eat cake, but the same could be said for that dish of heavenly nachos at the local pub, or that nice big glass of soda on ice). Dont get me wrong... I cook. I actually cook ALOT. Most things I make are made from scratch..the old way. Little in my house comes from a jar, can or bottle... Even my kids, who are typical teenagers and have been known to gorge themselves on soda, chips and cookies at the least provocation, know that what Mom makes is good for them. However...is it good enough? Thats the real question.
My food makes a gallbladder sufferer pray for mercy. Rich roasts of beef, pork or chicken..mashed potatoes..handmade/homemade gravies... real butter on our vegetables, which usually come from the produce section of our grocery store. Whatever isn't eaten is frozen and saved for another evening. I dont use plastic storage anymore, having switched over to all glass with the silicone lids (making sure the food does not touch the lids) for freezing and any other food storage, after the big "OMG! There's BPA in plastic!" outcry. I always kinda figured that something like that was happening and had started converting to glass a few months before the big outcry came. I did it in a conservative way...each time we hit the supermarket, I'd buy one piece of pyrex to add to "The Collection". My husband thought I was just being eccentric... Now, he reminds me if I haven't picked up another piece in a couple of weeks.
In addition to the glass storage, I've switched out my cookware. No more non-stick stuff for me... Too many studies have pointed to the 'potentially' harmful effects of using non-stick cookware. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a 2 qt saucepan in cast iron? yyyyyeah.. I found ONE!...one.... In addition to the saucepan, I have three 'dutch oven' sized pots, and four frying pans...all cast iron :D One of the Dutch Ovens and one of the frying pans are nearly 100 years old... my great grandmother had brought them to this country (USA) in the very early 1900's, when she immigrated. I was brought to tears of gratitude and pleasure when my mother handed them down to me. She was having a hard time lifting them (though I bet she could now) and she knew that 1)I would make excellent use of them, and 2) I wouldn't allow them to leave the family. Its important to me, that we keep such things IN the family... Aww, I'm a sentimental old food, ain't I? Hell yeah! This pot and pan have nourished, now since I have my own two daughters, FIVE GENERATIONS of women. How freakin' incredible is that?!
SO... back to the point... I'm reading the first chapters of this GAPS diet (more info can be found at http://www.gapsdiet.com or http://westonaprice.org ). I've already learned more about LACTOSE INTOLERANCE then i EVER thought I knew... I knew lactase was essential for digestion of the lactose (hah! check that out... only one vowel from another, and an entire world of difference!). My elder daughter 'became' lactose intolerant in her mid-teens. It's gotten pretty bad...to drink a glass of dairy-milk, the poor kid has to take FOUR of those snazzy lactase enzyme pills... FOUR! not worth it...
I suffer from violent allergic reactions to things like dust mites, cockroaches (though, as I said in a previous post, I've never actually seen one), birch trees, maple trees, pine trees, cats, dogs... the list goes on an on.... Now see.. in 2008, I was rushed to the E.R. with systemic hives...which prompted me to go to an allergist, where I found out all these killer (literally) allergies that I have. I knew I had hayfever, growing up, and I couldn't be around cats. "Normal" allergies, in my opinion... This book, GAPS - Gut and Psychology Syndrom - isn't just about how to "fix" things like autism (ohhh, dont let a medical doctor hear that autism can be treated..they'll spit in your face, if not literally, figuratively), depression, ADD/ADHD.... it can help allergic people.. it can help lactose intolerant people. It is said, by those who participate in it fully, that it can cure just about anything... because it fixes the bacterial balance in the gut, or digestive system.
I know people who, at hearing E.Coli, go into full panic mode. Being raised by a very intelligent mother, myself, I knew that E.Coli and the streptoccocus (you know..that bacteria that causes strept throat?) are *naturally* present in one's intestines. Most people these days knows that E.Coli on the vegetables in the produce section comes from fecal matter (ewww, poopies!) in the fields that the produce is grown. This is NATURAL. Why? Dude.. if someone poops on your food, and e.coli is a naturally occuring bacteria in the intestine and bowel...guess what?! You're going to have e.coli on your food. Will I buy that? Probably not... pretty much freakin' grosses me the hell out (pardon the language and stuff). I dont know the science of all of this, of course (Bill Nye, I am not, trust me!) but... I do believe there is a tremendous difference between the bacteria E.Coli in one's intestines, and the pathogenic (or is that pathological?) bacterium E.Coli that ends up killing people. It's for greater brains then mine to discuss the differences, though.
So, I'm starting to learn about the GAPS protocol and I'm hoping that, if I rebuild my gut, it'll boost my immune system, which will, in turn, boost my body's abilities to fight the allergens in my environment :) Pretty awesome stuff, if you ask me.