The Last Ditch Effort Protocol

LDE Protocol crop

Such an inspiring name, amiright? That’s what I’m calling my current plan of mashing together everything I know about healing autoimmune disease/leaky gut and what has/hasn’t worked for me so far. Let me tell you how it is being painstakingly developed…

I didn’t used to be scatterbrained. Sometimes I feel like I need people who’ve known me a really long time to sign an affidavit attesting to that fact. “Lindsay was not always the HOT MESS she is today. She was organized to a fault, rarely forgot anything, and was just super hot. Sans the mess part.”

I know some of the brain mush comes along with being pulled in eight thousand different directions by adorable dictators children at any point in my day. But I also feel like some of it is my own doing as I try to do an acceptable job of momming while researching to make my own healing protocol. (Which will eventually allow me to be a better mom, right?)

I hate that there seems to be a trade-off with having crappy health, trying desperately to improve it, and having to take time to essentially ignore your kids to do it. Only so many episodes of Super Why per day are beneficial…

I’ve gotten so tired of being sick and tired that I’m willing to change (even more) to improve my health.

But the question remains- what changes to make? What food plan is best to heal my leaky, malabsorptive gut? What supplements do I take to fix nutrient depletions and make up for years (decades?) of malabsorption? What lifestyle changes can I make to help my stress level and rewire my anxious, scattered brain? Which of these things are somewhat evidence-based, or at least functionally sound with few adverse effects?


So I’m currently trying to read five books simultaneously (one of which is Harry Potter, not gonna lie. That one is not part of the protocol 😂), I just finished watching a super long but super awesome thyroid/autoimmune documentary, and I may have approximately 87 open tabs on the browsers of both my phone and computer.


I could scroll forever…

Much as the recovering perfectionist in me would love to sit down and go through all these great sources one by one, take some color-coded notes, draw up an excel chart of supplements, and make a calendar of appointments for the next month (massages, yoga, meditation classes, etc.), the chronically fatigued mom in me knows that isn’t going to happen without first having a healed gut and some energy. Or probably ever, because LIFE. Catch-22.

Two months ago, I broke down and purchased access to an official gut healing protocol created by some of the most trusted people in the functional/lifestyle medicine world (and spent an insane amount of cash on supplements to complete it, from now on referred to as the $$$ Protocol).

I ended up disappointed. It seems I know my body better than some random stranger on the internet, leaky gut expert or not. Who knew?!

It’s not that the protocol or accompanying information was bad. It would probably be a great start for someone unfamiliar with leaky gut (or “intestinal permeability” if we want to sound more legit…), and the supplements are probably fine for the average person (if expensive).

But there are several substances in the protocol with which I am not good friends. Dairy and I are probably forever broken up. Let me tell you, breaking up is hard to do when you’re still in love. But we’re finished. Done-zo. And the supplements for the $$$ Protocol included a heavy reliance on bovine colostrum and colostrum-derived proline-rich polypeptides. I tried starting with small doses (low and slow!), but it didn’t work for me. I don’t need help having brain fog and fatigue, thankyouverymuch.

I should have known better.

So I forged on without the colostrum, determined to complete 60 days on the $$$ Protocol, wondering why I still felt miserable. Die off from the gut infection supplements? Something in the remaining supplements? Carb withdrawal that somehow lasted over three weeks?

I apparently lacked attention to detail before I started gung-ho into the $$$ protocol (imagine that), and I looked past the fact that the supplements contained soy. It can’t be that much, right? That couldn’t possibly be the problem.

I should have known better.

Last but oh-so-certainly not least, I–your intrepid PharmD–had no idea that ashwagandha is a nightshade. You would think I would have run across that at some point in my research. I also found potato starch in one of the supplements–good for resistant starch, BAD for me. Nightshades and I are a well-known no-go. They make me feel *almost* as bad as gluten. So that’s saying something. Like getting hit by a bus.

I should have known better.

It wasn’t all in vain. I did have a starting point, and it did give me the motivation to start the Specific Carbohydrate Diet again with a few tweaks. I could write several posts about SCD, so maybe I will… Google it for now. Elaine Gottschall is my heroine. And Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, the founder of the GAPS diet (very similar, she basically took SCD and kept running with it).

This failed experiment of the $$$ Protocol leads me to where I am right now- trying to put together all I have learned about my body, what works for me and what doesn’t, and what is likely to help heal my intestinal permeability. It also led me to a ridiculous crying spell follow-up appointment with my oh-so-patient functional medicine doc. I don’t think he knows what to do with me. I’m what you would call a “difficult patient” on so many levels…

I’m already feeling less difficult now that I’ve cast aside the dairy, soy, and nightshades again. Whew.

Stay tuned for Part 2 and I’ll reveal all my secrets for the LDE Protocol. Kidding- the information I’ve compiled isn’t secret. But it might as well be with as little known as it all is. That’s why I’m here. It’s allllll coming out into the light. Get ready.







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