Carley Smith goes by “The Fairy Gutmother” moniker, but the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner isn’t just administering wisdom to make others’ (health) dreams a reality, the Grand Junction, CO woman used these methods herself to turn around her health. After Smith, 31, unknowingly contracted Lyme disease, it led to a series of challenges and misguided advice from doctors that harmed her physical and mental health and quality of life. It was only when she started researching Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet (GAPS) and went on the GAPS protocol that she was able to turn her health — and her life — around.
After Smith contracted Lyme, she (unusually) got her period for four months straight. Doctors put her on different birth control pills, but eventually they told her to just “go lay in bed with my feet up,” she told WellBe. The constant bleeding led to a bacterial infection in her uterus and she went on a heavy dose of antibiotics. That triggered a flu-like reaction and she started losing cognitive function. A friend suggested she get tested for Lyme, and it came back positive; she was put on antibiotics. Those antibiotics caused her to break out in tiny little bumps; she was put on more antibiotics. Her stomach became swollen; more antibiotics.
Carley recalls thinking, “‘I’m not even taking Lyme medications anymore. Now I’m just taking more medications for other things that the other medications [caused.] This is ridiculous!’” Smith recalled to WellBe.
The GAPS Diet to the Rescue
To get out of the spiral, she started researching and learned about gut health and the GAPS Diet protocol. The GAPS Diet is about eliminating foods that harm your body and incorporating nourishing foods to heal the gut and seal the gut lining. After a few weeks, Smith’s cognitive function returned and, over the two years she was on the GAPS protocol, her Lyme symptoms stopped.
Smith went back to school to become a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and Certified GAPS Practitioner and now works one-on-one with patients. With the GAPS Diet, clients start with an elimination diet, to first cut out, then gradually re-introduce foods into their diets to figure out what could be compromising their immune systems.
Bone broth is a major component of the GAPS Diet, and Smith says it helps heal and seal the gut lining. “If you have a permeable gut lining, toxins can leak into your [bloodstream]and cause autoimmune attacks and various other issues,” she said. Specifically, the collagen from bones, which gets extracted in the bone broth-making process, helps rebuild the gut lining, and vitamins and minerals support optimal gut health. Additionally, bone broth can help with digestion and hydration, she said. Smith also recommended fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, kombucha, and cultured or homemade dairy products for their beneficial probiotics.
Watch the full WellBe interview with Smith for more from our conversation, including why she used milk intended for baby cows, known as Bovine Colostrom Therapy, to heal her gut and her Lyme disease.