Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Journey with GAPS

About three years ago I embarked on a Whole Foods diet to try and get a "handle" on stomach issues that have "dogged" my every step for over 12 years, gradually increasing in intensity the last two years. The Whole Foods diet didn't bring about a cure or even relief so I abandoned it after 3 months. In fact, as I've continued to read and investigate my symptoms, the Whole Foods diet, which consisted of a variety of whole grains was detrimental to my health, only setting me back having to start all over in the healing process. It's a road I didn't choose but one that I'm nevertheless on, complete with "mountains to climb and rivers to ford". I often empathize with what Paul must have struggled with when Jesus said to him in 2 Corinthians : " My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Paul with his unknown affliction was asking for some relief, possibly even a cure yet God chose to allow the affliction to remain. Paul accepts this and even goes on to say: "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Cor. 12:9  It is so difficult to not only accept but be thankful for and even "boast" about one's weaknesses! Paul was certainly a godly man whose example I'd like to follow. Can't do it without the help of the Holy Spirit!

 Nothing seems easy. Where are the days when a hot dog, fries, and a root beer float were more than a dream? At 63-GONE I guess!

Ok-back to my current endeavor to heal an inflamed digestive tract. I recently had my second round of food intolerance blood tests revealing 47 food items that I must avoid-a bit improved over a previous test taken 2 years ago in Holland, which revealed 61 food items my system did "not like"!  I'm currently saying "NO" to these foods and following a rotation system where I tract what I eat and don't repeat foods but every four days. This is all confusing enough but I'm also weaving into this complex system the GAPS diet.

What is that exactly? Until a month ago I would have asked that same question but now I'm knee deep in a program I'm committed to for two years! Here goes:

GAPS: Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natash Campbell-McBride MD
This is a natural treatment for a number of illnesses ranging from autism to depression; schizophrenia to ADHD; and, for me in particular: general digestive distress.
The authors premise is that all diseases begin in the gut. If you heal the gut many, if not most problems in the body will disappear. I'm not going into a detailed explanation of this theory nor the medical research behind it. If interested buy her excellent book. But what I am going to share is my particular experiences thus far.

The diet is quite radical and never would I have attempted it if my "condition" wasn't pushing me flat into a wall with no other options available. I'm so tired of feeling stomach upset after I eat that I'm willing to try "just about anything" if there is a sliver of hope of someday eating and actually enjoying the "eating" experience once again. I'd also like to stop dropping weight. I'm not a wrestler!!

Getting back to the diet-it involves ridding your body of all sugars, (except a bit of honey), carbohydrates, dairy, and all grains-YES that means no more bread, potatoes, cake or ice cream, popcorn, and on and on the list goes!
Basically you start with light soup three times a day for the first week. How about fish soup for breakfast! THAT was a first for me. I ate mostly organic meat, tons of vegetables and soups made from these two food groups and fruit between meals for the first stages of this program.

After week four I had about completed the intro portion of the diet, and I've had more downs than ups on this journey. I've experienced gluten withdrawal-similar to a drug withdrawal where I'm depressed, moody, and tired as well as die-off reactions from my body shedding off  the dead carcases of "bad" microbes that had been living on the sugar and carbs I was feeding them in my gut. This die-off reaction manifested itself in the form of flu-like symptoms where I could barely get out of bed for four days. Nice-huh?
I'm finally over these two mountains but I'm still not out of the desert, since I continue to experience stomach aches following my meals but I will admit it is slowly getting better-I think. I'm on week five and I can say I have had two full days of NO stomach distress. Wow-My stomach has the same sensation as others feel after they eat-just full!

I know my stomach is sensitive and raw and just doesn't like the work of digesting what I "send down".  Unfortunately I can't just "tell it to relax and rest"- take a vacation for a month or two. Wouldn't that be great! I guess this is why Dr. Natasha Campbell says the healing is a SLOW process taking upwards of two years to complete, since we can never really rest the stomach.
I'll occasionally update this journey on my blog with hopefully more positive progress.

 Committing to memory:
2 Cor. 4:16-18
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing; yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen but at the things which are not seen."

Not sure how stomach distress is "working for me an eternal weight of glory" but I'm just leaving it in God's hands.

P.S. Anyone reading this with children who have either tendencies toward autism or other behavorial disorders I'd highly recommend purchasing Dr. Campbell's book. I think you will find a great deal of wisdom to assist you with good diet choices to help your child.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas in Indianapolis

Christmas Eve:

Christmas morning:
Cookie fun:

Snow fun:

Have a Merry Christmas and  a Happy New Year full of God's Blessings! from Hunter & Nancy

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Leisurely December days around Austin

What do two retired adults do around Austin in December besides bike? How about hiking, wine tasting, fly fishing and reading a good book on a bench along the Guadalupe River for starters??  Fortunately, the weather cooperated with us this particular year with record breaking temps of over 80 degrees for the majority of the month. We'll take it!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December 1st

Ok, it's 80 degrees outside in Texas with sunny, warm breezes and it is the beginning of the Christmas season?? I see it in the stores and here it on the radio but do I believe it? Yes, after reading this little poem:

"Love brought Him down from the glory, Love made Him come from the sky; Love in His heart for the sinner Led Him to suffer and die". —Anon. 

Christmas is the love of God sending his only Son, Jesus Christ, and although we celebrate it only once a year on December 25th, actually we need to celebrate it every day of our lives!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Our "home" for the next 6 months!

"The Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him, strength and glory are in his sanctuary....worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.'
Psalms 96: 5-6,9

Monday, November 12, 2012

An "ordinary" life

"Brightly colored sunsets and starry heavens, majestic mountains and shining seas, and fragrant fields and fresh-cut flowers are not even half as beautiful as a soul who is serving Jesus out of love, through the wear and tear of an ordinary, unpoetic life." Frederick William Faber

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A "day" in Dallas (Fort Worth)

Our unique lifestyle (living fulltime in a motorhome) allows us the freedom to just "pull up stakes" and roam wherever our imaginations, family, or especially (for the older crowd of which we are now an active member) where the weather dictates. Since it is November and soon the northern winds will be blowing our rig is heading south. How about Texas this winter?
Now timing is everything-right? Who would have thought that my two best high school girlfriends and their husbands would be in the Dallas area at exactly the same time as Hunter and I were passing through? One girlfriend does live there but the other was just heading south to visit family. Thankfully we keep in touch and decided this was the perfect time for a small "high school reunion" event.
Here are some highlights:

Daily cattle drive-14 cows?

Hunter enjoying a Texas beer at a "famous" saloon.

A Remington painting, an example of what we saw at the 
Amon Carter American Art Museum (one of my favorite artists!)

One of many outstanding Chihuly glass exhibits at the Dallas Arboretum.
Check out this artist!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Painting with a 3 yr. old?

When you retire life just seems to slow down and things that were so important just a few years ago no longer "push you" to complete. Deadlines are gone. Life is no longer a blur of activity, at least for me. (I can't speak for every retired person.) I have discovered that the journey takes on a greater significance than the intended end goal. There is actually time for lessons to be taught and learned and fun to be shared. "Stop to smell the roses" becomes a phrase to practice and enjoy.
So when I was asked to paint my grandson's room and my grandson thought he should help I had to remember the above mentioned principles. Savor the moments together with your grandson at your side!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Words to think about today.

A loved one in my family shared this with me today and I wanted to pass it along.

"All people share a connection.  We breathe the same air; feel the warmth of the same sun; share life on the same planet.  Our paths are connected in ways both seen and unseen.  The food on my table may have come from a farm nearby, from across the country or from across the world.  Similarly, new technology allows me to connect with loved ones or strangers faraway.  As humans we also share in feelings of happiness and sadness, peace and frustration. We are one in God, connected in spirit.  Knowing we are one, I demonstrate empathy toward others. I am understanding, compassionate and willing to listen.  Whatever I do, wherever I am, I am connected to God and all people and to you.”  “Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:20. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

to be continued....Slovenia

Three days spent at a working farm in the hills of Slovenia makes one think back to my farm roots. I feel privileged to have been raised on an Iowa farm. Cows, pigs, barns, and lots of open space conjure up warm memories. Even the "smells" are welcome to my senses. (As Hunter would add-"Your sense of smell is dead"!) I especially enjoy the farm-type food of fried potatoes, beef floating in warm gravy, soft and chewy bread, and of course, that all important final dessert! Our time at the farm house in Slovenia met all expectations and more! Check out Rebecca's blog for photos.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

6 Countries in 6 weeks!

13 people, (the Stall clan), gather in Montegalda, Italy for a memorable family reunion. Site seeing and "play" circle around naps and filling hungry "tummies"-child and adult alike! Rebecca's house vacillates between a whirlwind of activity and an oasis of rest. Thankfully everyone is able to "roll with the punches" and find humor in even the most stressful of moments. 

A beautiful country just a 3 hour car trip from Venice where the Stall clan spent 7 delightful days at an all-inclusive resort swimming, boating, relaxing, and of course eating amazing food with NO cleanup!

Hunter & I spent a lovely evening in Innsbruck, a charming town nestled in the Austrian Alps.
Four days spent in Mutterstadt with Klaus & Rita biking & hiking along the Rhine and eating delicious Bavarian sausages and dark, chewy bread!

Driving back to Italy from Germany we traveled through this breathe-taking country. Photos do NOT do it justice!

-to be continued--