“What am I supposed to do when gut healing is expensive?”
This has been a reoccurring theme and question lately.
It started when a darling community member sent us the following long message (it is long – and not even the full message, but I’m guessing you, too, might see yourself in this scenario).
When Gut Healing is Expensive
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Message 1: Wasted Money
I went to one naturopath recently and wasted over $300 because she was telling me to eat casein which is in dairy that I am allergic to even though I continue to tell her I was allergic and I didn’t want to cause more inflammation in my body.
I went to a naturopath who just did a scan of my hand and told me what I needed to do and that didn’t help.
I’ve been to several nutritionists / chiropractors, which hasn’t help me but after tons of research on my own I am pretty sure that I am struggling with methane dominant SIBO.
So I am now saving to go to a functional doctor to get tested and hoping that I can start making progress on years’ worth of damage and suffering.
Here I am today with constant bloating, yeast infection symptoms in more than one area that won’t go away. The fungus makes me wake up to at least one of my eyes being bloodshot pretty often and chronically constipated to the point where I cannot go if I don’t take something to help me.
I’m struggling to find someone else who can hopefully help me. So many days I feel like I’m dying and I have brain fog that makes me question/doubt myself all the time and anxiety that makes me fearful that I will never get over this. And now I have an issue with food because I have deprived myself so much that I always feel the need to eat.
I have spent and wasted so much money and I’m now scrounging just to get enough to go see another natural doctor to help me.
Thank you so much for your time in this matter. I wish insurance would help a little more or there was just some way to make this more affordable because so many people like me that need this treatment are in pain and exhausted and can barely hold a job or much responsibility because they never know when they will have a worse flare up. Thank you again!
Message 2: No Money to Get Started
And after the first message, I received the following one as well.
I’m just in the process of trying to figure out what’s wrong, and I feel so overwhelmed since I don’t have a diagnosis (one of the pillars!) but also not financially able to pay for a doctor who’s willing to search and test.
So, I’ve been overanalyzing what I eat, trying desperately to eat “healthy” (whatever that might mean), and then feeling shameful and discouraged when the bloating returns and the gas is still bad.
I’m not trying to dump on you, but writing about the chronic stress of how eating is going to make me feel (and look!!! No one likes looking pregnant if they’re not!).
I hear the desperation and frustration. I, too, have been in these shoes, so I thought I could shed some light on the topic of “when gut healing is expensive.’
Let me first share with you that, like many of you, I have spent thousands on my healing journey.
Each pillar is pricey. But even before I knew anything about my 3 pillars to ultimate gut healing (diagnosis, diet, and lifestyle), I was spending (wasting??) so much time, money, and energy on the diagnosis part.
Thus, there are two ways to look at the beginning:
- Spend a lot of money aiming at whatever moving target is out there, jumping from doctor to doctor.
- Spend no money, but time and energy, with Dr. Google.
This might seem like a no-win situation to you. This is because both ways of looking at the beginning as described above are no win.
And that’s why I’m here to help in the best way possible.
I want to share 6 steps I’d take if I were starting the journey over to save time, money, and energy.
6 Steps for Saving Time, Money and Energy with Gut Healing
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This is a shameless (total shameless) plug for my 90-day gut healing journal. Because yes – yes I truly, actually, and 101% confidently can tell you that keeping this journal can and will save you time, money, and energy. If I had to start all over again, I would get this journal and use it exactly as I created it to be used. In other words, all the pages should be filled. The journal key should be used and then also customized just for you. Habits should be created and followed. Even the mini vision board would be crafted and visualized often. Seriously. This is one way to get leaps and bounds ahead of your own game.
Testing: Part I
I would spend 30 days journaling my heart out, understanding my mind, body, and spirit. In the journal, I’d start making notes (on the back pages that I’ve already set up for you!) for testing, questions for doctors, research questions, etc. Around the 30-45-day mark, I’d set up testing appointments. By this point, I would have consulted briefly with Dr. Google and the Internets, so I might have some idea. If I had insurance for general doctor’s appointments and bloodwork, I’d get all of that done first. You don’t need a specialist to get the tests done, but if money is a main concern, then don’t pay out of pocket for those. Have insurance cover as many of those tests as possible. When the test results come back, I’d gather them and move on.
Testing: Part II
So, if I did not have insurance and this was all going to come out of my pocket, I’d research and figure out the best alternative practitioner I could find and start there. They will look at your journal and be helpful with getting you the right tests and help you need likely far quicker. But even if I had insurance and already had a lot of those “basic” tests done, I’d still make this appointment. Regardless, this is one of the first places I’d start.
(Caveat: If you are super sick with what you suspect to be something very advanced, then my best advice and recommendation is to go to the place you’ll be able to get immediate care. Now would not be the time for even researching via this post. You’ll need to practice reactivity vs. proactivity. And that’s okay. No shame. Stop here, and make that call.)
At this point, while you’re waiting for all testing results and doctor’s thoughts, I would not do a ton with diet. What I mean is that you should pay attention to eating more whole foods, less processed foods. You should attempt to eat for ingredients instead of ingredient(s).
However, if you’re not perfectly clear on what’s going on, then no not cut out wheat, gluten, dairy, soy, corn, nightshades, high-histamine foods, FODMAPs, meat, and air. Seriously. Do not do it. You’ll regret it. Just really focus on ingredients and ingredient(s) and record them in your journal. This won’t cost you really anything. Once you know for sure what’s wrong, then adjust accordingly and enter your gut healing phase.
If I had to start over again, I would have spent far more on lifestyle; far less on everything else. Because this is what will matter in the long run. Get honest with yourself. What is it about your life that’s causing too much stress? Remember, the forms of stress are abundant (and this is something I did not know when I first started this journey). Put your money and resources here. Believe me, it’s an awesome surprise to see what happens without spending thousands.
Good old supplements. You know what’s happening, right? You are likely taking far too many supplements. And because of it, you have no clue if they are working or not. If I had to do it all again, I’d take a minimalist approach to supplements, record it all via my gut-healing journal (from number 1 above) and each week and month, I’d reassess, asking myself, “How is this working for me?”
(By the way, in the journal, I already have that question in place for you!) I wasted so much money on supplements over the years. Be honest with yourself; are you, too?
And keep in mind, with everything I shared above that it comes from a real-life experience and healing journey.
Here is where and how I spent all healing money during the past decade:
- traditional doctors
- alternative practitioners
- physical therapy
- medications (ongoing and antibiotics like Rifaximin – which is the most expensive of all!)
- tests (every single one under the sun) and procedures like colonoscopies
- journals (Don’t believe that this didn’t add up? You can see all the various ones I kept over the years HERE.)
- schooling (yes, seriously! I originally went to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, then did advanced ADAPT Courses and a specific Gut Health Course.)
- higher-quality everything (food, makeup, skincare, personal care, home cleaning, etc.)
I am not kidding when I tell you that I have truly spent thousands-upon-thousands-upon-thousands during my decade-long gut-healing journey.
Do Not Misunderstand
Please do not misunderstand this post to tell you that you won’t spend a dime. You will. Sorry, but that’s part of it. Any illness requires money to heal. It’s the sad, but honest, truth.
All I’m saying is that, collectively as a healing community, we are spending way too much out here merely spinning wheels.
And I know that I can save you so much of that time, money, and energy by following the things in this post and gathering resources from agutsygirl.com (free ones, too, like The Beginner’s Guide to Digestive Health Testing, Complete List of Gut and Hormone Tests, the Master Gutsy Spreadsheet, 11 Yearly Gut Health Tracker Bullet Journal Ideas, etc.)
When gut healing is expensive, just return to my basic 6 steps for saving time, money and energy with gut healing.
Continue to go back to the drawing board (aka your gut healing journal) because that’s where your answers lie. Seriously. If your body reacts horribly to casein and a month of tracking it via your journal has told you so, then show your doctor and don’t let her tell you to eat casein.
The proof is in the pudding, and you, darling, are the pudding.
I’m just here to EMPOWER YOU to see it.
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You will heal. I will help.