I’ve learned something about myself recently, and that’s that I’m what I now call an 80% gal.
I’ve realized that I’m just not a finisher.
I love having ideas.
I love starting projects.
And I love working hard until things are kind of near the end, then I have to either really push myself because I have a big deadline or a commitment to someone, or I just switch tasks and never quite finish.
It’s not that I give up. (At least that’s my excuse.) But it’s just that I find something else to do, some other shiny object. And I leave that last 10-20% of project number one sort of “on my list.”
This has been the demise of MANY series here on Kitchen Stewardship, unfortunately!
I’ve gotten more emails asking me the results of two things over time than any other.
People really connect with that because they have the same problem that I had. So I feel bad about not finishing, especially when it comes to Gut Thrive in 5. My vision was to do this awesome five-part series detailing our experience with each phase in Gut Thrive.
However, after I finished the first part in great detail, I got bogged down by the fact that I needed to dig into so many details until it was such a big story that I never got back to those posts.
However, you guys deserve closure.
At this point we did Gut Thrive over two years ago, and exactly how the nitty-gritty went is pretty foggy, which is probably a better thing anyway because really, you just want to hear the overview, and how it ended up for my husband and me! So here’s what I can say…
We Mostly Finished Gut Thrive In 5
Gut Thrive In 5 is about a 12-week program that includes a “maintenance phase” as the official part five of what you’re supposed to do.
My husband and I did the first at least 10 or 11 weeks, really solidly with the food, omitting everything with near 100% accuracy. That meant no grains, no dairy, no alcohol, and quite a few other restrictions.
Gut Thrive is sorted into four groups, and my husband and I were in different groups, so we had a little bit different food eliminations. Around week 10, we could start incorporating dairy again, and neither of us noticed any big reactions. Then around week 12, you’re supposed to start transitioning slowly back to a maintenance diet. I think it’s probably even called the 80% maintenance.
But it turns out I’m not that good at keeping up 80% one hundred percent of the time. shrug
It was the beginning of summer and we have to admit that we sort of jumped right back into fairly average eating habits. I mean, we always eat healthy and real food. But we always have cheats when we are out, and we do like to have cocktails, wine or beer with friends.
What can I say? We’re normal people.
Gut Thrive’s Supplements Are Intense
I probably have just two criticisms about the Gut Thrive program. You know, I’m always completely honest with you here at Kitchen Stewardship, probably sometimes too “open book.”
But that’s just how I’m going to be. Practical and straight with you.
There are a lot of supplements on the Gut Thrive program. They’re expensive, and you really need to have a pretty strict schedule to keep up with them. Sometimes you’re taking supplements five or six different times during the day.
We were actually very good at this, especially for the first 9 or 10 weeks. The supplements do start to taper off after about the halfway point, but you’re still doing quite a bit there at the end. Because we both work at home, I think it was easier for my husband and me. We had each other to keep accountable, and we had the ability to always have our kitchen, just a few steps away from our office.
It takes a little more planning when you are out of the house.
So I’m confident that we did the supplements well, but it’s definitely a big chunk to bite off. So that would be something that you need to make sure you are ready for if you embark on Gut Thrive. It doesn’t make sense to do a program halfway, so just know that it’s a commitment!
The other criticism I have is that the webinars that you watch each week were very long. They included a lot of the chit chat at the beginning that was from when Gut Thrive was run as a live program with the first beta group. However, it’s my understanding that Christa has redone all those webinars and made sure that there aren’t any inconsistencies in the written material, so I’m pretty sure that that issue that I had has already been taken care of.
Hooray! I sent over some suggestions, so I hope they were taken into account.
Now let’s get into the question everyone is asking…
Did Gut Thrive In 5 Work for You? The Final Review
It’s so hard to identify whether a gut healing program really works when you don’t have a ton of overt symptoms at the beginning.
Many people who go through Gut Thrive are in a lot of pain and are quite desperate. So not only are they highly motivated to do every single step perfectly, but they also have a really easy way to see progress and results.
“I hurt, and then I hurt less.”
“I hurt a lot, and then I don’t hurt at all.”
“I hurt every time I eat, I don’t hurt every time I eat.”
“I have a huge rash, the rash goes away.”
My husband and I just had little issues.
He has Crohn’s disease, which of course is a chronic autoimmune disease (or so we thought until his last colonoscopy – more on that later!).
However, since his surgery in 2002, he really hasn’t had many if any symptoms the entire time, and he’s never been on medication since then. So there wasn’t an easy before and after like, this always happens when I eat and now it’s gone. It was always very intermittent.
He’s had trouble losing weight and hits a lot of plateaus. He’s not extremely heavy, but there’s always that 10 or 20 pounds that he would like to see gone.
Energy is a problem for both of us, but the confounding factor is that we don’t sleep enough.
And that’s, again, where it’s really hard to review any healing diet or program when the human body and our environment are throwing in so many variables. It’s not like we can put ourselves into a test tube situation, you know?
For me, if you’ve read my fighting candida posts, pretty much since my second child was born (and she’s now 11) I’ve had this weird persistent rash at the base of my hairline, kind of the top of my neck.
There was a time that it spread all over my body!
That was a big problem, and I got that taken care of with the right probiotics. But it’s always been an issue on my neck and would spread around from time to time and then get beaten back. So that was my big thing that I was looking for to get better. (And of course, hoping for more energy and focus.)
Right at first, my husband lost 10 pounds very quickly. But then after a couple of weeks, it might have been week four or six, he completely plateaued and weight loss stopped, just like it often does. We usually attribute that to ditching the grains. But clearly, that’s not the only thing he needs.
Neither of us could really identify an increase in energy and focus. But again, see above, getting enough sleep is a constant issue so I don’t think we are very good testers for that factor.
For me, I was completely alarmed that my rash actually started spreading down to my shins for the first time. And I was just hoping and praying that it was some sort of healing reaction, like whatever was causing the rash was angry that I was starting to fight it and it was starting to fight back.
Some people call that a Herxheimer reaction, and who knows if that’s true or just an excuse for a bad diet doing something weird to your body, but that was my hope. Right when we finished Gut Thrive I definitely had the rash still on my shins and a little bit on my arms and a bigger patch than normal on my neck. It was concerning, but over the next month that all faded.
What’s really cool, and hopefully can be attributed to the efforts we put into the Gut Thrive diet and all the supplements is that about three months after we finished, even the initial rash site on my neck disappeared for the first time in eight years. I have to say that was impressive!
And it may make sense because, at the beginning of the program, Christa explains that for every year you’ve had a certain symptom or sickness, you need to expect at least two months for the healing process to work. Since I’d had the rash for about eight years at that time, I should have expected eight to sixteen months to get rid of it.
It took about seven or eight. So it’s cool that perhaps the work I did in the spring actually fixed something by the end of the summer.
That initial rash spot has never returned, although I did have a little problem that turned into a skin infection in a totally different area, about a year later. I’ll tell that story soon because I did get rid of it and am completely rash-free at this point.
Spoiler: it turned out I am toxic for lead. So that may have confounded all that I was trying to do with my gut. No gut healing diet can identify or heal heavy metal toxicity, of course.
My husband’s final assessment of Gut Thrive at the time when we finished was twofold.
First, he thought it really didn’t do anything for him. And second, he thought that the maintenance was too hard for us to stay on continually.
The “before” pic of my husband’s eye eczema. Unfortunately, no success story of any kind there. We haven’t found his root cause yet!!
Ironically, the next year, we both ended up staying grain-free for almost six months, and both of us still eat very few grains. But it does feel like summer always throws things off and gets us back into worse eating habits.
To make his assessment into a fair review of Gut Thrive, two things must be known.
First, we look back on pictures of him from right after we finished the program and he says it’s the slimmest and strongest and healthiest he’s looked in his life, except for when he trained for a half marathon, which just wasn’t sustainable for him. His body doesn’t like all that running and it totally fatigued him.
So in that sense, we look back on Gut Thrive now with the perspective of two years and think, “Hmm, maybe it really was an excellent program and there’s something to be said for it.”
The second point is that we didn’t do the maintenance part, so it’s kind of unfair for us to even review it negatively because we didn’t quite finish the program.
Remember me being an 80% gal? Sigh…
That becomes a problem when you need to keep up with something kind of forever, or maybe at least for a year, because of all the months that it should take to heal issues that have been going on for a very long time.
All in all, I think if you have a gut issue that Gut Thrive purports to help like autoimmune disorders, infertility, SIBO, constipation, leaky gut, Hashimoto’s, IBS, Lupus, and Fibromyalgia, or eczema and more, and if you’re willing to put in the work, it’s a great program.
The real benefit that I see is that it can be extremely expensive to work with a practitioner in person or online to identify what’s going on, and then choose targeted supplements and diet that can literally cost you thousands of dollars, and lots of time.
What Gut Thrive does marvelously that so many other programs can’t is to help you identify which of the four groups you can be in. So it’s like a uniquely bio-individual program, without having to pay the individual costs that are so high.
If you embark on Gut Thrive, be prepared to get organized with your supplements, get organized with your food, and have some time each week to watch the videos. (You can, by the way, skim the transcripts of the videos which is a fabulous option.)
For my science geek friends out there, you will learn a lot, and that’s another thing I really did love about Gut Thrive In 5. Christa is such a pro, and Dr. Tom O’Bryan of course as well renowned for gut health. She also includes other experts like Dr. Jack Tips to round out the program, and you will come away speaking pretty much like you are a gut expert or functional practitioner yourself!
It feels so good to finish. I hope that even though you only got to hear 80% of the story, hearing the ending was the important part and I’m happy to answer any questions in the comments or by email if you have them. You can also watch this free webinar to get more information about Gut Thrive in 5 to see if it’s a good fit for you!
Other posts about gut health you might be interested in:
- Part 1 of my Gut Thrive in 5 review
- What Does it Mean to “Heal the Gut” and 100 Key Steps You can Take Today to Start Healing Your Gut
- Why a Gut Healing Diet may NOT be the Place to Start
- The Care and Feeding of Your Microbiome
- Baby Steps to Managing IBD with Diet
- My Candida Story: Part 1
- My Candida Story: Part 2
- My Candida Story: Part 3
- My Experience with a Parasite Cleanse