Of Probiotics, Chickens and Catalpa Trees

Next week I start the GAPS diet. The simplest version is that this is the ‘eat soup until you feel better’ diet. The slightly more technical explanation is that you start off eating the foods that are very easiest to digest and most healing, with lots of probiotics, and slowly add in more foods as your gut heals up. I’m finding the book fascinating, both in how well our bodies can handle toxins if they’re in good shape to start with, and how very much the whole system (including immune system and brain function) gets messed up if the bacteria in your gut are out of balance.

With my symptoms (particularly the egg allergy) it seems likely that the GAPS diet is just what I need. The difficulty is that eating strictly stewed meat and vegetables for a few weeks, besides getting a bit boring, is kind of expensive, especially when you’re used to stretching out your meat with fillers most of the time.

Colton asked me about budgeting for GAPS when I was first launching into research and preparations. I laid out how I could use mostly inexpensive vegetables, maybe cover the probiotic from our current vitamin budget, since I wouldn’t need most other supplements during the diet, so it should be doable, but there were some unknowns, like how much more food I was going to need to eat without starches for filler. “But,” I told him, “I kind of have a feeling that if God wants me to do this, He’ll work it out so we get what we need at the right times.”

Flash forward a few weeks, and I’d just finished the grocery shopping trip that includes food for the first week of GAPS diet. I stretched the money as far as I could, including several Kroger e-coupons adding up $2 off any groceries, and standing at the self-checkout lane feeding all my pennies into the machine. (This is what I love about self-checkout–the machine doesn’t care if you pay a couple dollars of your bill in change. 😀 ) I knew I had more than enough food for the first week of GAPS, and with some good deals I’d found, both planned and unexpected,  I was actually pretty well stocked on GAPS food.

Still, it was hard not to worry. Were the deals I’d found good enough? Would they recur often enough that I could do this for several months? Had I spent my grocery money on the best deals or had I missed something? Was it going to be okay that I’d bought normal pesticided vegetables instead of organic, or would that ruin the whole thing?

As I was driving along telling God how stressed I was about all of it, I saw a Catalpa tree by the side of the road. When I was growing up in Pennsylvania, we had a giant Catalpa tree in our backyard. Our tire swing hung from the biggest branch, and I loved collecting the long seed pods and trying to come up with clever things to do with them. As you might imagine, I have very fond memories of Catalpa trees.

Somehow, seeing that tree just at that moment was just like God saying, “I haven’t forgotten you. I’m still taking care of you.”

Just in case I didn’t get the message, there was another Catalpa tree two yards down.

Three days later we were given six whole  farm-raised chickens.

It’s very hard to explain the magnitude of six chickens, but perhaps it will help when I explain that our medium size chest freezer went from a third to half-ish full to ‘won’t close unless everything is arranged just so’. The freezer above our fridge is also full, so I can’t really move food out to make room either.

Six chicken represents not just a stunning and overwhelming goodness of God, but also made me realize that He’d already been arranging GAPS diet food and I just hadn’t been paying attention. That .59 sale on frozen vegetables at HyVee? Yeah, fairly normal, but also a gift from God that came along just when I needed it. The manager’s special on fresh broccoli at Kroger, so that it came out even cheaper than the frozen broccoli on sale? Yep, that was Him too.

Apparently I’m not very good at noticing when God is blessing me.

Unless there’s a Catalpa tree.

Or some frozen chickens.

Those are pretty obvious.


Do you ever have those days when you wish you would be diagnosed with some impressive (but easily curable) illness, so that instead of just being foggy headed and really tired *again*, you could be heroically carrying on with your normal life while battling an impressive illness? Or maybe that was just me…

Over the last few weeks I’ve gone from realizing the Lyme disease could explain some of my weird symptoms to discovering I had a lot of symptoms on the official Lyme symptoms list to trying to read the confusing test results to realizing that I have Lyme disease.

Unfortunately, Lyme doesn’t fit so well under that ‘easily curable’  category. It’s caused by small, spiral shaped bacteria that attack whatever they happen to come across (resulting in a wide range of possible symptoms), and are very good at hiding in unexpected nooks and crannies and surviving all kinds of treatments that really should kill them.

The good part is that now I know I am actually sick, and I can do something about it. I’m even looking forward to being on the GAPS diet and eating nothing but soup for a few weeks, just because it might make me feel better. I’m hoping to get my immune system into such good shape that it can track down every last Lyme bacteria and slit its throat before it knows what happened (so to speak…).

Because I really don’t want to keep being the person cancels events because of getting sick again. Or has to schedule my entire life around the expectation of being tired a lot. Or sits and watches everyone else play sports because playing would be too exhausting. I don’t want to be the person with a long list of cool projects that never get done because I might have to rest after twenty minutes of washing dishes.

I’m thinking maybe healthy and energetic would be a nice change. I think I’ll go for it.