It was a new hockey season and I went to the rink feeling like crap as usual. My head hurt, the brain fog was strong and I was exhausted. But I dragged myself to Trevor’s game as I often did. This day was different. It was a new season with so with many parents for me to meet. Being new to Virginia I was always looking to make new friends. I saw a hockey mom sitting on the bleachers and I thought she looked so beautiful and happy. I sat next to her and we began to talk.

Somehow the subject of illness came up quickly. I shared with her about my autoimmune disease, my symptoms and the treatment that wasn’t quite working. She had the same experience 8 years earlier. She told me about the diet she did. I remember her talking about eating nothing but bone broth and I just dismissed that option. It seemed way too hard! Meanwhile, I was avoiding corn, dairy, gluten and any processed foods. Even with all that eliminated and a ton of supplements I still felt like crap most of the time!

Over the months of hockey my new friend Meg and I learned so much about each other. Although diet was a big part of our friendship we were also business owners and hockey moms so the conversation never lagged. But one night she and her family were planning to come over and I had to cancel. As usual I just felt so sick! This particular night my stomach was a mess on top of my usual headache, brain fog and inflammation. Meg insisted on coming over. I was too sick to argue.

She arrive with a chicken, a ton of vegetables, coconut oil and a book called Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell-Mcbride. And my life was changed forever.

With Meg’s help we made my first ever batch of meat broth. I was now officially on the GAPS diet http://www.gapsdiet.com/. I began eating meat broth and vegetables and almost instantly felt better. I won’t get into too much detail about the diet as it is much better explained in the link shared. But I began to understand that all of my symptoms were the result of a leaky gut. Instead of treating every symptom I had it was time to treat the root cause.

The first stage of just broth was tough. And to tell you the truth I only made it through 4 days on this stage instead of the recommended 5. But I was feeling so good I trusted my body was ready for eggs and ghee and it was! The 30 day introduction period flew by. The miraculous part was that I never knew how to cook. I could burn a few crappy, tasteless dinners to keep my family from going hungry but my appreciation for food was about a zero!

Suddenly I began learning about vegetables, spices and kitchen equipment. I began making food that was out of this world. My family was amazed. I realized for the first time in my life I was experiencing mindfulness. This in itself was an important part of my healing. I just wanted to be in my kitchen and creating healthy meals that were healing my body each day. I was fortunate to have the support of my family because it certainly did take up almost all my free time.

I have been on the diet almost 2 months now. I make casseroles, soups, stews, burgers and amazing deserts. Last night was chocolate pudding out of a ripe avacado and cacoa powder. Tonight was a milkshake using that same cacoa powder, coconut milk, egg yolk and almond butter.

There is a lot of time and energy that goes into this diet. And many sacrifices to be made. I took my kids shopping today and they needed to eat lunch. While they ate I shopped and met them after. I was happy to have the time alone. I do miss the occasional date night with my husband when we would grab Thai food. But let me tell you about what I have gained…

My head doesn’t hurt. I can now function on 8 hours of sleep and rarely take naps anymore. I used to need about 10 hours of sleep and still took naps throughout the day. My anxiety is minimal. Honestly, I never even realized how bad my anxiety was or that it was related to my leaky gut until the healing process began. My inflammation is improving. I am happier than I have ever been! My husband thinks I look years younger, my friends say I look happy and healthy and my kids say I rarely yell. My leaky gut is healing!

Going back to processed and unhealthy food means going back to headaches, brain fog and exhaustion. I don’t even crave that food. When I have a sweet tooth I want my almond butter and honey. While my kids were eating their lunch I was imagining cooking up my chicken stir fry with coconut oil.

I fully and completely understand the enormous life change, sacrifices, time commitment and expense that is required for this diet. But just know that if your symptoms ever get to the point where mine were GAPS diet is a solution. Please just research this diet, ask me for help and know that it is possible to have your whole life back.

My friend Meg saved my life that day. It is a miracle!

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