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, February 12, 2016

GAPS Intro Diet - Stage 6

Date Weight Blood Pressure Breakfast Lunch Dinner Comments
Systolic Diastolic
Feb 12, 2016

2 Tim Horton's sausage breakfast sandwiches. large coffee with cream

Adding grilled meats, raw fruit (except citrus) as of Stage 6.

English muffins of breakfast sandwiches technically a cheat at this point, but I will see how well I tolerate them
Feb 18, 2016 186 115 82 Tomato soup, fennel tea Beef stew, chamomile tea Simple lettuce salad with yogourt ranch dressing, canned tuna, mint tea Apologies for the gap in reporting -- I was down with the flu since Saturday, so put the diet on pause. Feeling better, so resuming as of today.
Feb 19, 2016 185 119 79 Tomato soup, coffee Yucatan-style chicken soup, mint tea Raw veggies & hummus, mini-naans & brie Brie technically a cheat, but I seem to be okay with dairy, so I thought I would try it and see. Naan also technically a cheat at this point, but it's a flatbread (i.e. no yeast) and I seem to be okay with grains so far, so again, am trying it and seeing.
Feb 20, 2016 185 119 73 Slept late so no breakfast, just coffee Reuben sandwich, mint tea Baked salmon fillet, steamed mixed vegetables
Feb 21, 2016 184 115 76 Sunday brunch Sunday Brunch: grilled swiss cheese on rye, coffee boneless pork chops marinated in soy sauce and baked with Chinese 5 spice, simple lettuce salad with olive oil, fresh lrmon juice, salt & fresh ground black pepper
Feb 22, 2016 186 120 78 1 tbsp kefir before leaving home,
Tim Horton's sausage breakfast sandwiches. large coffee with cream at work
Tomato soup, fennel tea Mushroom soup, chamomile tea
Feb 23, 2016 184 114 73 Yogourt with applesauce Mushroom soup, mint tea Baked tilapia fillets, steamed mixed vegetables
Feb 24, 2016 184 110 68 Yogourt with canned strawberries, 1 tbsp kefir, fennel tea Tomato soup, mint tea Baked chicken breast, steamed mixed vegetables
Feb 25, 2016 184 115 76 Tomato soup, 1 tbsp kefir, large coffee with cream at work Yucatan-style chicken soup, mint tea Baked chicken breast, guacamole Felt some gas pains & bloating this morning -- I am suspecting the strawberries from yesterday's breakfast.  I will try again in a few days to confirm. Same with hummus from Feb. 19 (forgot to report that on Feb. 20!)
Feb 26, 2016 184 117 79 2 A&W Bacon 'n Eggers, coffee with cream Mushroom soup, chamomile tea Baked salmon fillet,mint tea, 1 tbsp kefir This is the last entry of the GAPS Intro Diet.  I am moving on to the GAPS full diet and will be reporting only when I try a new food and/or my weight changes significantly.

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