Hello from the other side.
The other side, in this case, being a healed leaky gut.
I did not know when this day would come, but it has finally arrived. I paid a visit to my functional medicine doctor and showed him my test results from a leaky gut urine test I had done while living in Australia and our conversation went something like this:
“These test results look really good actually”-him
“If you looked at these test results would you say this person has leaky gut”-me
“No. This is fantastic you have healed your gut”-him
“So I can eat grains again!?”- me 🙂
Now of course the last bit was me being a little over-excited, but the bottom line is that my test results demonstrate that I have healed my gut and, more specifically, the junctions in my stomach lining have tightened up enough that large particles of undigested foods and toxins are not escaping and entering my blood stream. YAY!
I’m writing about this now because when I first got diagnosed with leaky gut, I kept trying to search online for an answer to how long it would take to heal my gut. Most of the bloggers that I began following are healing auto-immune disorders and so are on longer term diets than I had hoped I would be on. I had come across a few articles specific to the GAPS diet that stated that children with leaky gut usually need to spend a year on the diet, while adult leaky gut could take longer. Because I didn’t have a specific illness I was trying to address by healing my gut, I really didn’t know what to expect.
If you have been following my young blog from the beginning, you know that I was diagnosed with leaky gut and explored a few different diets in my journey to heal my gut. I didn’t have a specific amount of time in mind, but I did start my diet 1 month before moving to Australia and I knew I would be in Australia for 1 full year. And so, I decided I would do the diet for that full year and see how things went. Just shy of 12 months is when I did my second leaky gut test and those are the results I showed to my functional medicine doctor this week.
So what did I do to successfully heal my leaky gut in 1 year?
- When I decided to dedicate myself to healing my gut, cheating wasn’t an option. There were no sneaky bites of cake here and there or a small sip of beer. I was in it to win it.
- At the start of my leaky gut diet I wasn’t having enough bone broth, but the last 10 months bone broth was a staple in my diet, and I really think it made a huge difference in my recovery time.
- I started a love affair with hydrolyzed collagen and gelatin powders. The unique amino acid composition of these supplements significantly helps regenerate and heal the lining of the stomach and I know this affected my recovery. A few of my recipes using these supplements are here, here, and here.
- I got adequate rest regularly. My body has always been one that has needed 8-9 hours of sleep to function well, and this year I paid even extra special attention to this. It’s logical- your body needs energy to regenerate and heal itself- and leaky gut is no exception! Adequate sleep is a must.
- I changed my relationship with food. A few years ago, my idea of cooking was boiling some pasta and opening a jar of pasta sauce. Needless to say, things have changed on that front! I learned to love cooking and feeding my body wholesome food. I still view food as something that brings me satisfaction and pleasure, but I am now more concerned about the nutrients I am consuming than anything else. I know what my body needs and I give it just that (with something chocolate-y on the side!)
Now, with all of this said, I am not ready to jump back into my old eating habits. While I would love to enjoy a croissant and a cafe au lait (pictured above), I’m not going to do that just yet. I feel that my current diet is meeting my nutrient needs and that my body is very happy eating this way. I would like to transition off of the GAPS diet in the next few months as suggested by Dr. Natasha Campbell, soaking and sprouting foods like brown rice and quinoa and seeing how my body reacts. I am not in a rush to get there, but I do think it is important to have a varied and balanced diet and that will be much easier once I have successfully reintroduced some of the foods I have been avoiding for the last year.
So, I am here to tell you that I have arrived on the other side, and you will too. Your journey may take shorter or longer than mine, but it will be great and your body will thank you.