Elissa’s Story

At age 60 when my mother died I was obese even though I Elissa Hirsch_2had been a vegetarian for 40 years and did not eat junk food. When I first went to an integrative nutritionist my goal was to become a poster child for vegetarianism. She help me lose weight using a protein shake that was soy based. She recommended an abundance of supplements to address the deficits in my profile. She used a lot of tests, urine, stool, blood. Each time I would take that urine test I would hope to ace it but each time my results got a little further afield. I was losing weight and feeling better so did not understand why my testing profiles were not improving.

I did learn a lot from this first nutritionist. But at the same time several health issues were not resolving and were even getting worse. It is rather like having a relationship with someone who is not Mr. or Ms. Right. You learn from that relationship so that you can recognize true love when it occurs. My frustration with the first nutritionist sent me looking elsewhere and I found Beatrice Levinson, an excellent GAPS practitioner. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Beatrice said if I wanted to get well I needed to eat meat, and not only meat but organ meat, and bone broth. I was in shock. For 40 years my identity had been that of a vegetarian with a disdain for people who ate meat. Now she was telling me I needed to become one of those people. I bought the GAPS book, read it through, and took the plunge. through Beatrice I learned that for 40 years I had deprived myself of essential nutrients and that my health issues were due to having a leaky gut. Healing the gut will heal the body. I had also been on birth control pills for 40 years and taken NSAIDS for pain.

As a baby boomer, I was not breast-fed and was a colicky baby so I have probably been in need of the GAPS protocol since birth. I have always struggled with my weight, not being drawn so much to sugar as to fat, which I understand now was what my body was craving. But I denied myself because it was the era of low-fat eating. I have 40 years of abuse to overcome. I will very likely be eating according to the GAPS protocol for the rest of my life, but this is fine with me because I absolutely love it. I have learned to make bone broth and am learning to ferment. I am lucky to live in an area with a provider of excellent kraut so it has not been imperative to take that on immediately. I was already eating differently from most people and that of course did not change. I still ate differently but I was following a new set of rules. I look forward to my strange breakfast of bone broth with bits of sausage, vegetables and a soft cooked egg floating on the greens.

I still think of meat as medicine but slowly I am learning to prepare it in interesting ways. I may never be an excellent meat cook, but I’m good enough. I do not miss sugar or concentrated carbohydrates because my body is getting what it needs. I am taking very few supplements now compared to over 30 a day because the nutrients in my body needs are available in the food I am eating.

The nightly cramps I would get in my legs have vanished. It took a while. They became slowly less frequent until now I cannot remember when I last had one. It must be six months. My digestion is so much better. I am not going to say I never fart, but I do not have to worry about being in meetings or having people over forElissa Hirsch dinner. The tooting just doesn’t happen. My gut is healing. I am eating so much fat, it is incredible that I have not gained weight. I have more energy. My traditional medicine doctor at my yearly check up said that most women as they age become less healthy. I am becoming more healthy so whatever I am doing, keep it up. I told her I was trying to tell her what I was doing but she didn’t or couldn’t hear it. It is outside the paradigm she has been taught. It should not be, but it is so.

I think it is important to have a wise guide when you enter the land of alternative medicine. I feel I have found the “yellow brick road” and that I will continue to acquire knowledge and improve my overall health, vigor, and immunity as I “practice” how to live cleanly and intentionally. // PS I forgot to mention that fitness is very important. I have found a fitness practice that works with my lifestyle very well. It takes one half an hour and I can do it at home. You do it every day because improvement is in small increments. So I am strong now and flexible and of course that helps. In the beginning I had so much inflammation it was very difficult to do this daily program but now I look forward to it.

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