Getting to the Root of My Gut Issues

Getting to the Root of My Gut IssuesIt’s been a little while since my last update on how my journey on the GAPS Diet is going.  I thought it was high time to share a few details that I’ve been discovering lately.

Getting to the Root of Things

The last few months have had me looking deeper and deeper at the root of my gut issues.  I feel like I’m finally getting to the bottom of what has contributed to so many of my health issues over the years.  It would have been really nice to have discovered some of these problems earlier on GAPS, but I’m glad to at least be figuring it out now!

Not Enough Stomach Acid

I’ve been working recently with my friend and terrific chiropractor, Dr. Rachel Yan.  She’s really helped me find some lingering issues.  Just a few days before I first went to see her, I was looking in Gut and Psychology Syndrome.  I read the section on stomach acid more closely than I had previously and started wondering if that was an issue for me, too.

At my initial visit with Dr. Rachel, one of the first things she wanted to look at was whether I was producing enough stomach acid.  There was a test we could do to find out very quickly how much stomach acid I was making.  Unfortunately, it involved swallowing a string.  I was too much of a chicken to do that!

Instead we did the test where you keep increasing supplements that contain hydrochloric acid until you develop heartburn.  Then you know to back it off and stay at that dose.  Well, let’s just say, I kept increasing…and increasing…and increasing!  Many pills later I finally managed to have some heartburn.  Apparently I wasn’t really making any stomach acid.  Not helpful for digesting your food!

Difficulty Digesting Fats

Another focus of ours very recently has been my ability to digest fats, or lack thereof, as I found out.  I’ve been trying to reintroduce dairy slowly and thought everything was going well.  But then, I started developing my rash a bit again and was feeling more congestion and tightness in my chest, which I had been free of for a while, and didn’t enjoy feeling it again.  I mentioned this to Dr. Rachel and she wanted to do some muscle testing of those foods with me.

We tried a bunch and it was showing that I was having trouble with the fat in those dairy products.  When we tried them all again later with a supplement to help me with fat digestion, the results were great!  I’m back to reintroducing dairy and I think my symptoms are finally improving again.

Moving Forward

My energy levels over the last few months have been rather varied and I think that’s been from all of the changes I’ve been going through.  I think my energy is starting to increase again and I feel like I’m moving forward once more.

It can be a challenge to get to the root cause of everything that’s going on in our guts with so many possible variables.  I feel like I’m finally starting to get to the bottom of some of the reasons I needed to start doing the GAPS diet in the first place.  I’m looking forward to seeing some improvements in the near future as I continue to help my body digest the nutrients it needs to heal.

What’s been going on in your real food journey lately? I’d love to hear about your journey in the comments!

This post is part of Fight Back FridayFreaky FridaySmall Footprint Friday, Farm Girl FridayGAPS Friendly FridaySunday SchoolMonday Mania, Fat Tuesday, Natural Living MondaysWhole Food Wednesday, Allergy Free WednesdaySimple Lives Thursday.


  1. This is so interesting. It sounds a lot like me! I have virtually NO stomach acid either. My chiropractor prescribed some heavy duty digestive aids which I take with every meal. When I don’t take them, I lose my appetite, I lose weight (some people may like this but I don’t), and break out with pimples.

    I have since moved and can’t see that chiropractor anymore. :( But in a couple of months I am going to find a new one. Can’t wait to get tested again. I have a feeling I will need to go on some sort of special diet.

    Do you take a digestive aid for hydrochloric acid and a separate one for digesting fats?

    • Mindy says:

      It’s nice to hear I’m not the only one who needs lots. 😉 I have the opposite problem. I need to lose weight and still have hardly lost any while on the GAPS diet. I’m guessing it’s because I have been digesting most of this great food I’ve been eating!

      Yes, I take separate ones for the HCl and the fats. I’ve got quite the regimen of supplements when I eat these days!

      It’s always so hard moving and having to find new doctors. Hope you find someone great soon!

      • tanya says:

        Have you tried 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar every day. (take in water) My son had stomach issues and that seemed to clear them up.

        • Mindy says:

          Hi Tanya,

          That’s a great tip about taking apple cider vinegar each day. I do actually take some most mornings, but apparently I still needed some more support at this point. I’m glad to hear it worked for your son!

  2. Mel says:

    I also have the same problem and was wondering what brands are safe on GAPS. I am on day 10 of intro and have not taken any supplements. I can really tell the difference! Thanks

    • Mindy says:

      You’ll have to check the labels to see what additional ingredients they add to the supplement. I’m currently using the Thorne brand for the digestive enzymes which you can only get through a practitioner.

      Congrats on getting going on GAPS intro!

  3. Rachel says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Mindy. Cheers to being able to digest your awesome food!

  4. Karen says:

    Thanks for updating us. I know if I take digestive enzymes regularly then I feel well but I get so
    tired of remembering to do everything. It is like a full time job just taking care of myself.
    What are you taking to help with digesting the fats. Sometimes I feel like I am not doing well
    with fats esp. cod liver oil & butter oil mixture. I have tried the Swedish Bitters at night but maybe I should take them together. Thanks for posting.

    • Mindy says:

      Hi Karen! It does feel like a full time job taking care of ourselves, doesn’t it?! I’m taking Beta-TCP from Biotics which I get through my chiropractor. I’m not sure if it’s something that’s available to individuals or just healthcare providers.

      Take care!

  5. Lori R says:

    Great post! I have been on GAPS (mostly) for over a year, and I am still having terrible digestion problems and take massive amounts of HCL and other digestive enzymes. And I do take bitters and ACV also. Not much helps. I did manage to get a GI lab that showed I have an extremely severe case of fungus in my GI tract. And we are battling that with anti-fungals. And since my digestion is still bad, I am headed back in for more labs to check my pancreas. But I have been in pretty bad shape, (bedridden and unable to drive at times), so hopefully most people won’t have to deal with this. I sure wish I had started GAPS earlier in my life! I definitely wish that our society and our medical system valued gut health more. I worry about kids growing up today – I see problems in my kids and we eat real food! Valuing gut health can literally mean your life:)

    • Mindy says:

      Thanks, Lori! I hope you’ll soon be seeing some nice progress. It’s so hard to not know what’s going on. :-( I totally agree with wishing I knew about so much of this earlier in life!

  6. I love Thorne! They have amazing stuff. So great that you are seeing someone into functional medicine to help with your digestion problems.

  7. I have been considering GAPS, but it’s a little intimidating. So far, as a lifelong vegetarian, I have started eating chicken and fish, but beyond that is a little overwhelming to me. I’m considering it for an autoimmune disorder/disease, but I have no issues with food and my stomach. Do you think stomach issues come up once you start the diet or do most people do it because of stomach issues?

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Lyza, alot of people do it becasue of stomach issues or they don’t have stomach issues but other issues as well. Some people have stomach issues crop up while on the diet with things they didn’t or didn’t realize they had trouble with before. It may be due to healing and cleaning up your diet and then undiscovered digestive issues come to surface. HTH

  8. I am glad you found someone to help! I know people complain about how many supplements providers push when we are trying to heal but I love it when they figure out what the issue is and can give us a healthy supplement until we can reach a norm! I am glad it is helping :) I tried the HCL supplement from my Acupuncturist but it hurt my stomach too much :( I am taking digestive enzymes though and they help a lot!

    • Mindy says:

      Thanks, Amanda! I would totally rather get everything I need just from my diet, but apparently I’m not digesting much of what I’m eating! Glad you were able to find some digestive enzymes to help you.

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