Surprised by Joy

When we were preparing to begin the GAPS diet back in early 2017 we mentally prepared ourselves for two years. We could sign on for two years. It seemed long, but at that point, considering how sick Raleigh was, we were committed. Then two years came and went. Raleigh was a vastly different child at two years on GAPS, but he wasn’t fully healed. Two years was a big disappointment for us, but it taught us some valuable lessons.

You can go back a few posts and find out about our two year mark on GAPS.

Today Raleigh is 3 years and 2 months on the GAPS diet. We are an entire year past where we believed would be our exit. Raleigh is also not 100% healed. He is still dealing with some eczema. Honestly, it is hard to type that. I still want to be able to say he is fully healed. I believe one day I will be able to say that. I believe the eczema will be completely gone one day. I still have great Hope.

Sometimes when you’re in the middle of your hero’s journey you forget how far you’ve traveled. You forget the hurdles, the mountains, some of the valleys — it’s easy to forget. I spend a lot of time reflecting over our journey. This journey has been my life for the last three years, and even years before we began GAPS when I slipped down the preverbal rabbit hole and began turning over rocks and looking for the hidden answers.

I think back to last summer (2019). Last summer, Raleigh was wearing wet wraps on his arms and legs just to keep him cool enough to make it through the heat of the day. He was exposed to mold and horse dander and both exposures caused his body a great deal of stress and set us back for months. It was rough. He was still fairly cut up on his arms, feet, shins and ankles having come off those tough exposure situations. 

We left the summer of 2019 and went into Fall; which became our very first season without wet wraps. Wet wrapping began for us in 2015 and grew in intensity as Raleigh’s eczema grew in intensity. The summers have always been the hardest as heat seems to bother him more than cold. Before we knew it we were in the winter of 2019, and Raleigh was still managing not to need any wet wrapping to help him deal with cuts and moisture. The itch was less intense and cuts were becoming more infrequent. This was new. 

Winter turned to Spring and the infamous ‘Rona was upon us, and we were marking the days of being wet wrap-free. This was one of those small changes that pointed to a larger change — to healing. Over the course of the three years we’ve been on GAPS, we’ve been Surprised by Joy with a handful of small-but-big clues that things are indeed changing and healing is continuing. This was yet another one of those clues.

I began saying that if we could make it through the summer (2020) without him needing wet wrapping — since heat is his biggest trigger — we’d be done with wet wrapping forever, and we could have the bonfire we’d been talking about for years. When he no longer needs the wet wraps, of which we have many, we plan to burn them all in a celebration. The closing of a door. The beginning of a new chapter. No more wet wraps.

So here I am in mid August of 2020. The days are still hot as you-know-what and Raleigh has not needed one wet wrap. Wonder of wonders. Miracle of Miracles.

What if we had given up at two years?

Last year I learned of a GAPS coaching program that Dr. Natasha had created out of a growing need in the GAPS community. I had two years of intense personal GAPS experience under my belt and a desire to help others. It felt like I had found my calling. I began the GAPS coaching training in April of 2020 and just finished it this past July. I am now a certified GAPS coach.***

This journey has led to some unexpected places.

What gets me is that the absolute worst thing of my life led me to my purpose. Not only is God using food as medicine to heal Raleigh, but in His graciousness He has also shown me part of my purpose on this earth — one of the reasons I am here is for this: to help others find healing.

It is about the journey. The journey has led me here.

We began with a destination in mind. I think most people probably do the same. But one of the most valuable lessons I have learned from year two to three on the GAPS diet is that it’s about the journey not the destination.

The journey will continue to change. Raleigh will continue to heal, just as he has this entire time. We will continue to be Surprised by Joy with the little clues that big healing has happened. There was never meant to be a destination. One day he will likely come off of GAPS, but I don’t have a set date in mind anymore. This journey is his, it’s mine, it’s all of ours. We are meant to learn from it and grow.

I’ve held onto most of the old socks we’ve used as wet wrapping since 2015. They are in a couple of grocery bags taking up space in the garage. They smell of shea butter and beef tallow. They are a reminder of where we once were. They carry with them some intense emotions and moments in time that I’ll likely never forget.

This journey has shaped us. It has changed me. It continues to change me. I look to this fall and a grand bonfire and the closing of a chapter in this book of healing.

Keep on keeping on.



*** Please feel free to contact me if you’re interested in GAPS coaching. Email me at:  Please ask for my packages and pricing list. I will be working on my website for a while. Thank you. Danielle



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