My Story

My story could possibly be summed up in this one experience. Just picture this: A business lunch meeting catered by Café Rio. Fifteen middle-aged respectable men sitting around a large circle, getting to know one another over pork salads and guacamole. Squished between 2 big men, a tiny little blonde slurping up a bowl of bright orange carrot soup.

That's been my life for more than a year but I still don't know if I'll ever get used to all the weird looks. And I can't really blame people! I would stare, too, if a girl brought her own cooler out shopping, or to catered meetings, or to church.

Even still, these days, a quick allusion to "dietary needs… mumble, mumble.. gut problems.." is all you need to get nods of sympathy and understanding. It seems everybody knows at least somebody who's on a "gluten-free"/"dairy-free" crusade for some reason or another. So that's how I get through the social awkwardness of bringing my own organic, homemade foods everywhere I go.

To the general public, crazy dietary restrictions might seem a little… unnecessary, maybe? Faddish, at best. But for those who, like me, have had a very real battle with their own bodies, it's worth a shot trying to go "(fill in the blank!)-free" for a while. And I tried. I tried everything to fix the digestive issues I had been experiencing for years. Gluten-free. Dairy-free. Sugar-free. You name it. And it wasn't working.

By the time I was a junior in college, pole-vaulting for BYU, I was so anemic and nutrient deficient, I could barely run 30 meters without feeling like I was going to die without taking a nap! Seriously! After just one jump I would lay on the grass and rest for 10 minutes before feeling like I could get up and run 8 more steps. Something was seriously wrong, and I knew it.

How could I be a Division I athlete and not be able to finish a lap around the track? Doctors kept giving me pills and telling me I was pretty much fine. BUT I WAS NOT FINE! And my athletic career as well as my hope for a healthy future was diminishing fast.

14wTRK Robison Invitational 005814wTRK Robison InvitationalBYU Women's TrackApril 26, 2014Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU© BYU PHOTO 2014All Rights Reservedphoto@byu.edu  (801)422-7322

Vaulting at the BYU Invitational. April, 2014.

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August, 2014. Just starting the GAPS diet.. at 94 pounds. I'd lost more than 15 pounds over several months of terrible abdominal pain and being unable to eat most of the day. And look.. still smiling;)

It was by divine guidance that I was finally referred to a nutrition program called the GAPS diet. Piloted by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, the "Gut and Psychology Syndrome" diet is meant to help heal the gut and restore the body to a state where nutrients can be absorbed, produced, and used properly. Feeling I needed to know more, I bought her book and was shocked to find that my unfortunate health history seemed to be spelled out almost exactly--the development of food allergies, seasonal allergies, asthma, eczema, malnutrition, and anemia; as well as chronic fatigue, abdominal pain, and bloating. All those symptoms that were being treated separately, finally had a bigger, more wholistic, picture.

You might be asking what the big picture was? What in the world could have led to these symptoms in me and lead to similar symptoms in thousands of others? Honestly, it's just a lot about the way we live. For me, it was years of antibiotics, processed foods, a low-fat, high-carb diet, stress, iron supplementation, and other prescribed medication. When I read Dr. Campbell-McBride's book and researched others' experience with GAPS, my world suddenly made sense. Long-story short--the bacteria in my gut was all out of wack and my digestive system was seriously damaged.

I'm going to send you to Dr. Campbell's book, The Gut and Psychology Syndrome, for all the really good reading about all the symptoms and causes of a compromised gut flora and damaged digestive system. For the purpose of this blog, I'm just going to tell you that our culture today is destroying our bodies' ability to absorb and process nutrients. Without nutrients, our bodies fail. And the only way to truly heal the body of this kind of destruction is through diet and supplementation.

It scared me half to death to look at what I would need to do for at least 2 years to heal my gut. But I felt peace in moving forward and dove headfirst into a world I had never known existed--a world of whole food, of nutrient-dense food, of consistent detoxing, and of more vegetables than I ever knew existed. Oh, not to mention, more dishes, more cooking, more cleaning, and more kitchen disasters than I've ever experienced either. (You'll hear plenty about those, I promise;)).

Now, over a year later, my life is totally different. Sometimes I can't believe how bad it had gotten until I go back and read my journals. I feel strong now. I have never felt healthier or as confident about my future. My anemia is gone. I have energy again. I can eat every meal without having stomach pain, gas, and bloating. And I think my family's favorite part is that I have WAAAAAAAY fewer HANGRY episodes due to a stabilized blood sugar level.

The hope and health I have gained from changing to a whole foods, nutrient-focused diet, is why I have started this blog. My hope is that I can help everyone, not just those with gluten intolerances or autoimmune diseases, feel empowered by the simplicity and excitement of preparing and eating real, whole food and, with it, enjoying true healing to the body and mind. I am not a food connoisseur by any means, but I do love, love, love sharing a good meal with friends and family. I hope that as you explore my blog, and come back to see it improve, you'll come to see me as a friend whom you can trust for the best resources, recipes, and tips for Everyday, Wholehearted living.

Amy

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August, 2015. And doing pretty awesome, I'd say:)

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10 Responses to “My Story

  • Wooo!! God is sooo good!! While preparing to leave a comment on someone else’s website. I gazed up and saw a comment you left with the link to your website(so glad you put it on there)!

    Im still in the beginning stages of this journey… (like literally wrapping my head around eating fermented veg…drinking stock everyday)… did I mention I have been eating a vegan diet for the last 8 months. So, this is rocking my world.

    But, having found your website helps me feel like I can move forward my journey!

    Thank you!!!

  • Stephen
    2 years ago

    Loved your presentation at Real Foods last night. Terrific information. Thank you.
    1. Can you remind me which of the Fermented Cod Liver Oils we spoke of? There are several–some with blends of flavors, some with butters, etc. Is the straight oil best?
    How is it best to take the oil?

    2. Will your cheese cake recipe work with any good organic cottage cheese. Did you say Strauss and one other were the best so far?

    Also, what a story. Reading your bio, you have come a long way toward health.

    • amoffat
      2 years ago

      Hi Stephen! It’s good to hear from you and it was great talking to you at the class yesterday! Yes-Green Pastures makes a safe, good quality fermented cod liver oil. I buy mine in the capsules but I know others like the mint oil. Any of the blends are wonderful for you–the butter blend is great as well since it has other fats too. Any are great! If you take the oil in the morning when you drink your fresh pressed juice, that can help regulate bowel movement and help digestion the rest of the day. Otherwise, ways to take it is pretty flexible as far as I’ve read. And Yes, you can use organic CREAM CHEESE, however I cannot guarantee it will turn out the same. Home-cultured cream is usually a little runnier than store-bought cream cheese, and does not have the cultures that make it the same consistency in baking. If you try it out, let me know how it goes!!

  • Stephen Schraedel
    2 years ago

    Thank you Amy, so much for answering about the fermented cod liver oil. Thank you.
    Btw, I’m on my 2nd pot of bone broth, maybe 3rd and trying to drink 3x’s a day. Love it–soon rich!!! Kefir is growing well. Perhaps I’m taking too much–I love the taste, but do I drink a lot …well, how do you recommend incorporating kefir into one’s life? (Can we over do it?)

    Also, I feel like I’m getting ahead of my understanding of GAPS. I’m only on page 15 or 20 of the book and feel a real desire to master the principles, but I didn’t want to wait for that before I began learning broth or kefir, so I dove in learned how to make both of those gems of health with total impatience and hastiness.

    Is this an okay way to proceed?

    Everything has been so helpful, thankyou.
    Made the Texas Sheet cake for Valentine’s Day. Amazing recipe. That one’s for keeps.

    • amoffat
      2 years ago

      haha i love your enthusiasm about these incredible healing foods!! I absolutely did the same thing–when I discovered the power of real food, it felt like all I wanted to do was try out delicious recipes that would help my body recover and give me energy and life again!! Personally, I think that’s the best way to do it haha–you gotta love what you do and be willing to dive in head first!! I wasn’t like that with all foods.. it took me forever to try roasted bone marrow but it really is so delicious;)

      As far as kefir, it is possible to over-do probiotic foods as first. I LOVE sauerkraut but cannot handle too much at a time. My skin starts reacting. You kinda just have to be conscious about how your body is doing and what kind of detoxing is going on as you start incorporating healing foods, since they are powerful foods. Kefir can especially alter bowel regulation so that’s an important thing to keep track of.

      I am so glad the texas sheet cake turned out well for you! I loved that recipe too but sometimes with the coconut flour and different ovens or altitudes it can turn out different for people. I’m glad you loved it!!

  • Stephen Schraedel
    1 year ago

    Hi again. I just wondered if you mind sharing what you do for diet. It sounds like you do fresh juice in the mornings–vegetable or fruit—then eggs, etc or an omlete
    But what is generally a good pattern?
    I’m still not real clear on what a GAPS diet is.
    Shall I just read tell book a couple timeś till I get it into my mind what it’s all about?

    • amoffat
      1 year ago

      Hi Stephen, sorry for the slow response–I did not see your comment! Yes, I would most definitely recommend reading Dr Campbell’s book a few times haha. That’s what I did to get a good feel for an overall routine for eating to heal the gut. However, each person is different and will need to adapt it to fit their needs. Incorporating good fats, broth, collagen, etc in the diet is crucial to healing the gut. Probiotic foods and supplementing with a probiotic with restore a healthy and strong gut flora. Juicing and other detox methods are important for getting rid of toxins in the body that are causing illness-whether physical or mental. These are the main ideas for GAPS but I believe the day-to-day dieting habits need to be adapted to individuals. I work out hard in the morning first thing and so I cannot always just suffice with juicing in the morning. I have to do mine mid-day on an empty stomach. I also have to eat earlier in the morning than recommended in order to get enough carbs and protein after my workout. It often depends on your schedule and work needs.

  • Stephen Schraedel
    1 year ago

    One sincere question I have with GAPS…
    has your eyesight improved, for instance, if you wear glasses or contacts since adopting the diet?
    Do you know of people who’s eyesight has imoroved while being on GAPS?

    • amoffat
      1 year ago

      Hi Stephen, personally I did not notice a difference. I already had pretty good eyesight before being on GAPS. However, in general, the GAPS diet would help the body to absorb and utilize better nutrients which are essential for healthy sensory organs. Dr Campbell-McBride says this about how the GAPS diet can help eyesight, especially cataracts.. “Antioxidants can help, such as supplementing frozen bee pollen, frozen algae, dried acerola cherry, fresh cherries, all other fresh or frozen berries and juicing particularly carrots and greens). Vitamins A and D are essential, so plenty of fresh eggs, liver and animal fats in the diet as well as cod liver oil”

  • Hi Amy,
    We have a question which I thought you would know the
    answer to. During the sacrament, when you were on GAPS,
    did you bring gluten free-bread, or grain-free bread, like
    almond-based bread, etc., or did you just take the bread
    everyone else eats?
    It seems like it would be six months of this before you can test or
    try grains. We would so appreciate any information or experience
    you could share.
    Thanks again for all you do and contribute to those who are
    just getting started,
    Stephen

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