The Autumnal Equinox will occur on Tuesday, September 22, 2014 at 10:29 PM EST. The equinox is a point of balance during the year, when the number of hours of darkness and day light are exactly equal. It signals the beginning of Fall, and is synonymous with the entry of the Sun into Libra, a sign which is devoted to consideration and inclusion of a variety of different perspectives.
There are many foods that are included in the GAPS Healing Protocol, but which are on the short list of top allergenic foods. Dairy, nuts and eggs are all GAPS legal, but when I eat them, I feel terribly anxious and depressed and sleep poorly. Dr. Natasha is understandably loathe to unnecessarily eliminate healthful foods from the diet, but in my experience, following the GAPS Healing Protocol without implementing an elimination diet like the Paleo Auto Immune Protocol, often results in a delay in healing. I could scrupulously follow the GAPS Healing Protocol, consuming a nutrient dense organic whole foods diet, rich in healthful fats and quality protein, fermented foods and bone broths, probiotics and fish oil, take nightly baths with Epsom salts to detoxify, and get plenty of fresh air and sunshine, but if I continued to consume nuts, dairy and egg whites, I would persist in feeling like a total wreck.
I love to listen to podcasts, and today discovered a new one that I really enjoyed. It’s called Phoenix Helix, and is the creation of blogger Eileen Laird, a woman who has essentially healed herself of crippling Rheumatoid Arthritis through following the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol. The first episode of her new podcast about healing auto-immune conditions, features her own story, as well as interviews with four other people with auto-immune disorders, who describe how they cured themselves of truly devastating conditions through dietary and life style changes. All of them endured ineffective, as well as in some instances, damaging treatment with conventional medicine, as clueless doctors prescribed myriad pharmaceuticals, immunosupressants and surgery. These interventions did not heal the underlying cause of their illnesses, which in each case was an auto-immune response to the foods that they were eating. When the offending food items were avoided, healing began very quickly.
I see the same thing frequently in my office. Depression and anxiety are often part of an auto-immune response to allergenic foods. Patients come to see me on multiple medications; anti-depressants, anti-anxiety agents, stimulants, mood stabilizers, and anti-psychotics, which often become unnecessary when they stop eating the foods that are making them ill.
One of my patients had Hidroadenitis Supperativa, a very miserable skin condition, characterized by recurrent painful boils erupting in the groin and axilla. Over the years she saw numerous dermatologists, who in addition to admonishing her to keep herself cleaner, prescribed one course of antibiotics after another. Only when she stopped eating gluten, did the abscesses disappear, only to return when she inadvertently consumed gluten. The Hidden Plague is an excellent book by Tara Grant about curing Hidroadenitis Suppurativa with an auto-immune protocol.
My housekeeper has Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. I tried to help her for years with the GAPS Healing Protocol, but it was only when she eliminated nightshades from her diet, did her excruciating migratory joint pain finally resolve. For people who do not respond to GAPS or to conventional Paleo, the auto-immune protocol should be implemented sooner rather than later. It can spare you a great deal suffering, and often put you surprisingly quickly on the road to healing.
Here is a link to the first episode of Eileen Laird’s new biweekly Phoenix Helix podcast.
My comment/question is bringing up the rear. I had this experience some years ago: I eliminated casein/ dairy for two weeks without obvious change. Then I eliminated gluten. On the third day I began to experience new, major bowel issues. And in the days/weeks/months to come I experienced symptoms after virtually every meal. Do others have a similar reaction when eliminating gluten? If they do, my research has not revealed it.
Dr. Tsafrir says
Hi Marian. I have also never heard of such a thing.
Thank you, Dr. T. I doubt it makes a difference, but I might clarify that the bowel issues have persisted over the years, albeit gradually milder (maybe going from acute reactions to chronic?), and the symptoms after meals appeared to be acute allergy-type reactions.
In 1994, after two doses of Prozac, I experienced a complete transformation of consciousness: heaven on earth. But definitely not mania nor hypomania. Very similar to the Master’s experience, as described in the Tao. It lasted 3.5 days, followed by the relapse from hell. That cycle has repeated maybe 75-100 times over the years. At the least, it seems to have given me a variety of experiences that are outside the norm, as the one I wrote about in my previous comment.
Dr. Tsafrir says
Very remarkable. I am sorry for the relapses from hell, but a blessing to experience the heaven on earth. I just saw a wonderful play last night. One of the characters said that she learned to ask, not “Why me?” but rather “What for?” someone else told me that they heard another version, not “Why me?” but “What now?” I like both of those and could imagine that you might have thoughts like that and could fruitfully ask yourself the second question.I wish you all the best.
Thanks for your generous reply.
Eileen @ Phoenix Helix says
Judy, thanks for spreading the word about the podcast. You and I had similar experiences, where GAPS took us part of the way, but the AIP was an important missing piece. I understand Monica’s defensiveness. No one likes to be told what to do. I encourage people to actually listen to the show, though. Like Judy said, there’s no dogmatism there. The reason I interviewed 5 people for the show was to show 5 different experiences. Some of them have never done the AIP, finding regular paleo (similar to GAPS) to be effective with no further restrictions. Some people reached remission quickly; others are still healing. Autoimmune journeys have much in common, but there are always differences. If I’m selling anything, it’s empowerment: that we have more control over our health than we realize, and I do believe each person is the leader of their own health journey. How can it be any other way?
I love that, selling empowerment. What a great thing to sell! It seems to me to be true, that it is so empowering, not to mention a huge blessing, to be able to take effective action to deal with debilitating medical/psychiatric problems when conventional medicine has little to offer. It’s such important work that you are doing.
I may have to try that instead. Is there a book/cookbook or website you recommend? Is AIP more straightforward than low histamine?
I think it is more straightforward. There is an excellent website called Phoenix Helix that is full of great information. All the best.
yes…that sounds good…I’m not feeling defensive…I’ve been at this a long time and people actually quite often do want to be told what to do because it’s a rough journey healing ourselves…sometimes following others guidelines can be a problem…sometimes it can actually be harmful…and when it comes to food lists, well, I found out that I could learn a lot from diets and yes, I learned from GAPS and Paleo both…a whole lot…but for me in the end I had to scrap everything I had been told and listen to my body. In the end, my body knew more than any list of good and bad foods…
we need somewhere to start…a jumping off point…foods to eliminate etc…but if there is a really complex illness that combo of foods that should be eliminated can be drastically different from person to person…
that is rarely made explicit…and that is all I’m pointing to…I’ve not listened to your show yet, right.
I’ve worked with Chris Kresser most of the time I’ve been at this…he watched me go vegan and supported it completely because it’s what I needed and that was clear…so I know that people can package something and call it Paleo and still have inherent flexibility because Chris has that capacity…I just think it would be very helpful for some significant (perhaps minority percentage) of folks to be told that all the guidelines might need to be scrapped at certain junctures…that self-experimentation and the data acquired from that might need to trump…and in fact should.
thanks to all of us in this milieux! we are bringing healing to 1000s and to ourselves too…it’s wonderful…and this sort of discourse is part of it.
Having been at this for many years now always learning from and tweaking different diets I have to say when I see a diet like the one Eileen is selling I really wish they’d say…
that it is a prototype…it worked for her…IT IS NOT the be all end all for everyone. Your mileage may vary. GREATLY.
Ultimately after trying and sticking to numerous diets anyone who learns to really heal will find themselves on a completely unique AND evolving diet.
There is nothing stagnant about healing. In fact if it’s working it will be the most dynamic and astonishing thing we’ll ever encounter.
Sticking to closely to something externally dictated has risks…other than for getting our bearings at the beginning (and that can, indeed take some time…learning from others is a good thing at this point) it can otherwise end up harming…this is a general rule about anything that is followed dogmatically, really.
Don’t get attached to any diet…that’s my advice. Listen to your body. Learn from those who’ve gone before you but don’t get too attached to believing that what was right for someone else is definitely right for you…it just doesn’t pan out that way quite often and forcing ourselves into other people’s path can actually be very detrimental. Flexibility and non-attachment both is a good thing…
Thanks for writing. I agree with you that each us needs to figure out what works for us, and that what may work in one season, may not work later, and that non attachment and flexibility are very important, but I did not experience any dogmatism or hear Eileen saying that one size fits all. I do believe that there is a similar pathophysiology behind most of the auto-immune conditions, and therefore there are unifying principles of treatment that have wide applicability for many.
that’s good to hear…I can just tell you that if I stayed strictly paleo (and I was for a long time) I would still be very sick. Not only did ALL meat bother *badly* me for a time (it was necessary that I be vegan for 8 months!…if I’d not had the flexibility about learning to soak and sprout and pressure cook legumes…I would not have found my way out…and I might have starved.
I’m no longer vegan…but I’ve not gone back to a hard-core paleo either…it’s clear it’s simply not always the right thing.
I simply won’t call my diet by ANY ideologically based name anymore…I eat densely nutritious whole foods that agree with me and deeply nourish me…some of them require prep.
I am getting better faster than ever…what an exciting life this is.
ideology has no place in healing…I guess that’s my point.
Isn’t it fascinating how different each of us are? I am happy that you took the time to write was has worked for you. There may be someone out there who reads it and it will point the way and they will be helped. I love what you said about ideology having no place in healing.