Erica: A Teenager Healing with the GAPS Diet! (Guest Post)

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This post is especially exciting to me! This girl is going to change some lives :).

Erica kindly agreed to share her story. She blogs at Edible Attitudes.


Erica’s story:

When I reflect on my childhood, I don’t remember a long period of time when I didn’t have some type of aliment. I never dealt with anything life threatening but everything was cumulative and seemly unconnected.

My first health problem was at the age of six months old when I had my first infection. Between the ages of two and three I was on continuous antibiotics because the ear infections would not go away. I began to notice environmental and food sensitivities to lactose, dust, pollen, and certain plants. In fourth grade, I began to have problems with my joints, specifically my ankles.

Seventh grade was when things began to rapidly spiral downwards. It started with my knees and ankles causing me a lot of pain. At the time I assumed it was because I am a softball catcher. But soon the joint inflammation spread and caused me to be in pain on a daily basis and everyday tasks were more difficult.

By the start of my sophomore year of high school, only 3 years later, I developed tendinitis in both knees and elbows, multiple fingers, left wrist, and right bicep.

My journey has taken a lot of work and sacrifice! I started seeing a functional medicine doctor in 2011 and was taken off gluten, dairy, corn, MSG, sugar, and soy. I took supplements that helped manage the joint inflammation. This helped a little bit but I still struggled with pain and multiple other health problems. I was frustrated and ready to change my diet again if necessary. I started the GAPS Intro Diet in November of 2012 with my mom and brother. This led to my first large and noticeable change in the joint inflammation. A few months prior I had developed a deep stabbing bone pain in my foot and within the first month of starting the GAPS Diet, it was gone. My knees also felt better and I could catch longer before having joint pain. Although GAPS was clearly helping, I still had pain, numerous other health problems, and couldn’t reintroduce foods without a flare up.

In April 2013, I was instructed by my doctor to remove salicylates from my diet because I had developed a sensitivity. My diet was limited to about 20 foods for four months.

It was hard, really hard at times, but it was totally worth it. In only a few weeks all my pain was gone. Completely gone for the first time in five years! I am 17 now and a senior in high school and am proud to say that I am free of joint inflammation. This spring and summer I played my first pain free softball seasons in five years. I no longer dread walking up and down stairs or biking or using a scissors or bending down to pick something up. Daily tasks aren’t painful anymore.

I assumed that the biggest change from modifying my diet would be physical, but it has actually been a mental transformation. I have learned to have perseverance, discipline, and self-motivation. I took responsibility for my health. It is not my parents’ responsibility to micro-manage everything I eat and do, it’s my body and I learned to step up and care for it. I have also learned life long lessons such as, people’s opinions shouldn’t matter to me. I know why I am changing my diet. I know that it works and that is enough for me.

I still have a restrictive diet because I am still working through other health problems, but I have been able to reintroduce salicylates without joint inflammation returning.

If I hadn’t been encouraged by my mom to change my diet and if I hadn’t taken responsibility, I can’t imagine how different my life would be now. Hardly anything about taking ownership of your health is easy, but it so worth it when you start to feel better and have a better quality of life.

If this sounds like you or someone you know and would like to read my whole story, you can purchase my book, A Teenager’s Perspective on Food Restrictions: A Practical Guide to Keep from Going Crazy. (Kindle version)

This post was shared on Healing with Food Friday.


13 thoughts on “Erica: A Teenager Healing with the GAPS Diet! (Guest Post)

    Janice Caper said:
    November 2, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    My 10 year old daughter is fairly newly diagnosed fpies. We were contemplating GAPS and your story is so inspiring. Thank you for sharing. We’re gonna do it. Thank you.

      Debbie responded:
      November 2, 2013 at 12:19 pm

      Yay!!! Let me know how it goes!

    Jennifer at Purposeful Nutrition said:
    November 2, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    This reminds me much of my daughter, who is 15. encouraged to see how this girl sees that it is helping her to be self disciplined and motivation. sometimes I worry that my dd will not have a healthy attitude toward food so I appreciate this other spin on it as well.

      Debbie responded:
      November 2, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      I was encouraged by her, too!

      This girl is introspective like my daughter, so I got her the book for when she’s ready to read it.

    Jennifer at Purposeful Nutrition said:
    November 7, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    This post is a featured post for this Friday’s Healing with Food. Congratulations!!

      Debbie responded:
      November 7, 2013 at 8:38 pm

      Yay :). She’s an awesome girl for sure!!!!

    […] Erica: A Teenager Healing with the GAPS Diet! from Debbie at The Sour Path is the Sweetest. […]

    […] Erica:  A Teenager Healing with the GAPS Diet! from Debbie at The Sour Path is the Sweetest. […]

    Dawn Tasher (@peelingbackthe) said:
    November 8, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Thank you for sharing this inspiring story at Healing With Food Friday! I am off to share it on Facebook and Twitter. Come back again this week – we are LIVE now!

    stephanie said:
    November 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    I agree, I have 2 teenagers that I talk to and try GAPS but a book that teens would “get it” would be amazing. No one should have to become deathly ill to want to do this (even low lying issues that don’t seem severe like PMS, acne, weight gain, etc) that affect many teens. I hope you are thinking of writing it…soon! 🙂

      stephanie said:
      November 17, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      You know, I just linked and found the book is already written. Yay!

      Debbie responded:
      November 17, 2013 at 1:18 pm

      Just to let you know, Stephanie,this is a guest post from another blogger :).

      My daughter is 12 and she’s still struggling with the food restrictions. I bought the book to hopefully help her,

        stephanie said:
        November 17, 2013 at 1:21 pm

        Haha, I just figured that out. So many links these days. I just find that our families overall health is not what it should be and it’s been a discovery and process over the last year. Thanks for your encouragement.

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