For many years, I have been struggling with allergies, asthma and various skin problems, starting with eczema as a child, progressing to psoraisis and now lichen planus.

When I was in my early thirties, I was infected with a pathogenic strain of E. coli through "dirty dining" before the introduction of the DineSafe inspection program. Although it wasn't fatal, it was definitely painful and apparently rare enough that there were only two practitioners in Canada at the time who were licensed to prescribe the antibiotic required to treat it. Fortunately one of them was right here in Toronto, so I was able to receive treatment quite quickly.

The upshot of the infection and subsequent treatment was that my digestive system was effectively wiped clean and I was told that I would experience digestive troubles for the remainder of my life. Not liking the sound of that and being used to eating and drinking whatever I liked, I chose to ignore what I was told and continue on as I was.

Over time I started experiencing periods of a sort of dreamy detachment whereby I would suddenly feel like I was in a dream instead of living in reality. I could still function and interact with the world, but none of it felt real. I don't know how to better describe these episodes. I wasn't exactly dizzy, although I would experience a bit of vertigo if I was moving during one of these episodes, however it would dissipate the moment I sat down.

As years went by, these episodes became longer in duration and more frequent and unfortunately, my doctor dismissed them for many years until she finally relented and decided that it was some sort of allergic reaction, and since my eczema had morphed into both psoriasis and lichen planus, she sent me off to both an allergist and a dermatologist. Both specialists were very good at treating the various symptoms I presented. My breathing is now under control and I have some great topical treatments for my skin as well as medication to treat my allergic reactions when they occur.

The problem is I feel that these are all just treating symptoms and not the root cause and my "brain fog" episodes are more extensive than ever! I decided to start researching on my own to see if I could find out more information about "brain fog" and what could possibly be causing it.

To make a long story shorter, everything seems to point to the digestive system, specifically something called the "Leaky Gut Syndrome". Essentially, it is the lining of the intestines becoming damaged through infection, poor diet, stress, etc., allowing food that is not completely digested and broken down into recognizable nutrients to pass through into the bloodstream, causing the immune system to attack the incompletely digested food particles as foreign objects, creating all sorts of bodily reactions (including eczema, psoriasis and brain fog).

Although the Wikipedia entry in the above link doesn't give much credence to Leaky Gut, further reading, specifically "Gut and Psychology Syndrome" by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride and "The Heal Your Gut Cookbook: Nutrient-Dense Recipes for Intestinal Health Using the GAPS Diet" by Hilary Boynton and Mary Brackett have convinced me to try at least some of the prescribed foods.

I am convinced that after my E. coli treatment, I never gave my digestive tract time to fully heal and re-colonize with healthy bacteria and I have been slowly damaging it further ever since. It makes sense to me that the worsening symptoms I have been experiencing over the years are caused, at their root, by my immune system over-reacting and essentially attacking food as it would a disease. And since my immune system has been compromised by a damaged digestive system, why not try to fix the problem at its source and allow my intestines to heal?

I document what I am doing in my other blog, A Locavore's Life, since it is better suited to the subject matter. This blog will act solely as my diary to track my progress.

Friday, January 1, 2016

GAPS Intro Diet - Stage 1

Date Weight Blood Pressure Breakfast Lunch Dinner Comments
Systolic Diastolic
Jan. 1, 2016 198 126 82

Starting Baseline
Jan. 2, 2016 198 126 78 Tomato soup, beef bone broth, yogourt, kefir Chicken soup, beef bone broth, yogourt, kefir Onion soup, beef bone broth, yogourt, kefir Not as bad as I thought it would be.
Jan. 3, 2016 197 126 81 Onion soup, beef bone broth, yogourt, kefir Tomato soup, beef bone broth, mint tea Chicken soup, beef bone broth, kefir, mint tea A little bloating and gas
Jan. 4, 2016 196 114 69 Chicken soup, beef broth, yogourt, kefir Chicken soup, chicken broth, chamomile tea Chamomile tea Feeling satisified, not hungry
Jan. 5, 2016 196 134 83 Tomato soup, mint tea, yogourt, kefir Chicken soup, chicken bone broth, mint tea Chicken soup, chamomile tea Starting to get used to it. Not hungry. Bloating subsided.
Jan. 6, 2016 195 120 82 Tomato soup, chicken broth, yogourt, kefir Butternut squash soup, chicken broth, mint tea Carrot-Ginger soup, chicken broth A few small snack cravings during the day, but satisfied with some yogourt and a cup of tea
Jan. 7, 2016 194 127 75 Carrot-Ginger soup, chicken broth, yogourt, kefir Chicken soup, mint tea, kefir Mushroom soup, chicken broth, yogourt Digestion becoming regular again. 
Jan. 8, 2016 194 126 73 Tomato soup, chicken broth, yogourt, kefir Chicken soup, chamomile tea, kefir Chicken casserole, yogourt, mint tea Moving on to stage 2!