This Thanksgiving I am counting my blessings in a much different way than years past and I am so thankful for it! You see, every Thanksgiving since I can remember, I have walked away from the dinner table either sick, bloated, or filled with “unexplainable” symptoms. This makes Thanksgiving history for me, a “not so very” thankful time – at least when referring to the food.

This year, I have a new lease on Thanksgiving. I now understand my symptoms a lot better and have learned how to avoid most of the symptoms mentioned above. Even with the occasional “whoops” in my diet that sneaks in and causes me to take notice of another food I might be having trouble with at the moment, I am constantly grateful I have taken this path.  It sure beats not being able to figure out which food, drink or environmental trigger could be plaguing me, as was my life before GAPS!

Sure, there are people out there who look at me and think “what a pain to eat like that” or “I would never be able to do what you are doing”. Their insinuation is that life would be dull without the freedom to eat whatever you wanted. And, in some ways, I agree with them if you didn’t react to everything and were healthy! But if, you were me, and if you were sick all the time from food allergies/sensitivities, and if you needed to heal before your very life slipped away from you, you would eat this way to gain freedom, for the very first time, from many symptoms that became your daily grind; your daily prison cell! Because this is what GAPS did for me and I don’t mind shouting it to the rooftops that I can finally function on a daily basis. I can’t imagine a better Thanksgiving gift because now I can enjoy family, friends and the wonderful weather we are currently having in California for this week of thankfulness.

I know so many of us are preparing for a great day of family and fellowship, but I wanted to make sure I wrote a few of my favorite blessings from the GAPS Diet before the day had passed:

  • I have learned to slow down! It is impossible to be on GAPS without careful planning of what you will be eating, tomorrow and even later in the week. To make a butternut squash soup, which is what we are planning for tomorrow, I had to cook a chicken yesterday, pull the meat off of it, and begin the chicken stock with the chicken bones which simmers in my crock pot for 24 hours before I can then use it for the base stock to make the butternut squash soup in. Or, alternatively, I could have used my frozen stock which is usually in my freezer but I used that a couple days ago for a wonderful bean soup that warmed us after a rain storm. I’ll post a picture of this simple soup at the end of this post.
  • I have learned how to determine when to eliminate a food or fine tune my diet. With GAPS, your diet is so simplified that it is no longer an impossible feat to figure out what is bothering you. You have eliminated so many of your consistent food sensitivities that when something creeps in, it really makes it clear (usually) that the culprit is the newest thing you added in. It is much easier to fine tune a diet when it is so simple to begin with.
  • I have added in foods I couldn’t eat in the past. For example, before GAPS, I couldn’t have chicken soup, chicken broth, beef broth, etc. These foods were supposed to be so good for me but I had reactions to them. Since GAPS, I can now eat these healing foods regularly and they are even instrumental in helping my gut heal. You can’t beat that!
  • I am now able to determine if certain times of the month cause symptoms. Before GAPS, these hormonal changes were masked by food sensitivities and I never knew which was the culprit. Now I am able to let my health care practitioner know the patterns of certain symptoms which can help them determine better how to help me.
  • I am enjoying my food now! Sitting down to eat used to be a real chore. I was so afraid of how I would feel after (or even during) the meal. It was hard to get excited about a meal, even though it looked fabulous, because I knew I could react to it; and I usually did. It was so discouraging. In fact, discouraging is putting it mildly! Now I enjoy my food and rarely have a reaction to anything I eat. But when I do, I can almost always pinpoint the culprit because sometimes I try a new food on the allowable list and my body is not just ready for it. That doesn’t happen very often but it is a joy to know I can figure it out so quickly now to prevent a repeat performance! And the “reactions” I am dealing with now, are usually much more mild than those I frequently experienced before GAPS.
  • I can be human again! Yes, I have re-joined the world to connect with people and activities I couldn’t before. I still have a way to go but progress is priceless after not being able to be involved with life going on around me in the past. Now I can plan an activity for next week and actually believe I will make it! Before, I couldn’t plan something a day in advance because I never knew if I would be too sick the next day. It was terrible to stay disconnected with life that way. Now I can make plans and although I still have my ups and downs, I am encouraged that I am healing.
  • I LOVE this diet! This diet is full of nourishing, healing foods. I have the link to the GAPS Diet book on the right side of my blog if you are interested in reading more about it. I also consider this a stepping stone to my final goal when I can go back to eating a diet full of a variety of foods that I have learned to prepare through the online class I have been taking for over 2 years from Wardee at GNOWFLINS. I have kept my skills up even though I can’t bring some of these foods in just yet. I can’t wait to get back to the Nourishing Traditions style food plan. I love real food and love that this diet is steeped in the base foods I have been learning over the last few years. If you are not quite ready for the GAPS Diet but want to move forward learning more about real foods and traditional cooking, I highly recommend taking baby steps by taking this incredibly affordable eCourse from GNOWFLINS.
  • And finally, I know this is a temporary diet. I am expecting this diet to last between 1-3 years. Is it for everyone? No. Is it going to heal me without doing anything else? I hope, but I doubt it. I know it is a base component of a healing regimen I must build onto. I have doctors and alternative practitioners helping me to figure out the best supplements to support my body. I hope to include more exercise as I heal. I hope to continue good sleeping habits in order to allow this diet to have it’s best chance. I hope to fine tune the diet as I go for my personal needs. In short, I HOPE! Yes, I hope. And HOPE is what the GAPS Diet has given me. I was so discouraged before.

I want to conclude that the GAPS Diet is not for everyone. But, if you have an autoimmune disease, and if you are tired of medications not working or causing side effect after side effect, you might just be ready for such a diet change. If you are not at that point yet, I highly recommend the online classes described above as a possible stepping stool to the GAPS Diet if needed in the future.

So today I want to say thank you to Dr. Natasha McBride for the GAPS Diet. I want to thank my online support group for their encouragement and involvment in the Hashimoto’s community. I want to thank Wardee from GNOWFLINS for providing such a solid base before going on the GAPS diet. And I want to thank God for allowing me to find these great resources, as I have searched high and low over many, many, years for such help to no avail. I can now feel I am on a road of healing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who read this and please never give up. There is light at the end of the tunnel. It takes persistence but it is worth fighting for. Oh, and as promised, here’s a picture of the simple bean soup I made yesterday. Even my non-GAPS, non-gluten free, non-traditional food family loved it! Simple food is the most amazing thing!

And if you are wondering what a GAPS-friendly Thanksgiving feast would look like, I direct you to those who have gone before me and have been so kind as to post recipes for this great occasion. Thank you to Ann Marie over at CHEESESLAVE.com for this excellent post to help us out. If you have any blessings from GAPS you would like to add to this post, please comment below. I would LOVE to hear from you and it would encourage others too! Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Disclaimer: All posts are describing my personal journey through health issues and are in no way meant to guide anyone towards any method in particular. I am not a medical practitioner or have a dietary or medical license, and this blog is not intended to be taken as authoritative advice. Please see your doctor, or health professional before making any drastic diet changes! Also, occasionally I find others to partner with whom I have had tremendous help from and therefore, there may be paid advertisements and links to support them and help me financially run this website.
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