My Experience with the GAPS Intro Diet: Week 1
Well it has officially been a week since I started the GAPS Intro diet. And I am feeling pretty darn good! Tired, but good. Even though I know it can take different people different amounts of time to see some progress, it’s all about celebrating those little wins along the way. And for me there have been a few so far! Mostly some really great looking No. 2’s as well as some nice looking skin. Might I even say glowy? My face feels so soft and any existing blemishes have taken a hike, YAY! And otherwise, I sometimes get these little whitehead bumps on my arms which also seem to be disappearing. I reeeeeeally like this.
Just to give you a bit of background, this is my life right now: A couple months ago I quit my job in digital marketing in the city and moved back to my small 6000 population hometown, in with my parents, with the intention to start a company. Craving a simpler life and a new adventure, I followed my gut and made the moves. The business idea evolved into starting a grain-free baking business. Exciting right?? But as I went through recipe development and testing my new creations, I kept having flares of major inflammation in my intestines. This is something that just happens for me from time to time but I decided that it just wasn’t good enough and that I wanted to re-try the GAPS Intro Diet to heal up for good. So here I am.
I am SO beyond lucky to be at home, working as much or as little as I please and having the time to cook and also relax. When I was working full-time it felt impossible. Not only does the cooking and prep take so much time but the whole process is pretty darn exhausting. The intro diet is quite a bit lower in carbs than my normal diet and just the changes that are happening on the inside take up a lot of energy. The idea of doing this diet while slogging away in an office for 8 hours a day is overwhelming. So I am seizing the moment! If I was still in my job I would have banked some holiday time for this for sure. I know it seems like a waste of holiday but the way I see it, once the digestive system is healed, life is pretty much a holiday. Am I right?
Anyway here is a little summary of how the days of my week went:
I had been thinking of starting the Intro Diet for a while but it never felt like the right time - holidays, birthdays, etc. But after a few occasions had passed and I was going through a pretty painful flare up, I woke up one day and decided that it was Day 1. This was a tough day. I’d had some cauliflower carrot soup the night before so I started my day with that mixed with homemade chicken meat stock. Because I was slightly unprepared, I was just doing some egg drop soup style meals. Eggs are not Stage 1 of the diet but in a relaxed fashion, thought I would ease into it. I think because of the existing inflammation I was dealing with, this soup caused a lot of bloating and the pain I already had lasted for the entire day and into the night. Ugh.
I woke up exhausted because the night before was so tossy turny because of the pain and bloat. Because I know myself and that vegetables are harder for me than eggs, I ate 2 poached eggs for breakfast to calm things down. Then I went on a shopping adventure to find all the free range meats, organic veggies and pastured eggs I could find. For the trip I drank a mixture of a little bit of ACV (apple cider vinegar), manuka honey and cinnamon. This is something that always makes me feel better and I just needed a break from the pain. When I got home I made a chicken soup with some onions and carrots and also a tomato onion beef soup. By night I was feeling a lot better! I actually had to make an order of grain-free muffins that I promised to deliver the next day which was pretty painful. I was so tired and the smell of muffins… Jeez. But I did it, treated myself to dry skin brush and an epsom salt bath and went to bed.
Woke up feeling like a champ! Started my day with a glass of lemon water like I usually do and had a good healthy looking No. 2, nicest in a while actually. Chicken soup for breakfast, beef soup and and ACV drink packed for the day and I heading into the city to do my muffin delivery. I felt pretty darn bloated all day but then had another No. 2 when I got home and felt a bit better. This night I felt pretty restless and kind of grumpy for no reason. Who knows.
Woke up grumpy and super tired. I ate chicken soup for breakfast and then made some coconut creams from my GAPS Diet bible: The Heal Your Gut Cookbook: Nutrient-Dense Recipes for Intestinal Health Using the GAPS Diet. This is the best book ever! And these coconut creams are just coconut oil, honey and if you like, sea salt. Which yes, I like. I usually use less honey than the recipe says because I don’t really like too too sweet things. So I stirred up some coconut oil, manuka honey and sea salt and put them in the freezer for later. THEY ARE SO GOOD.
One thing I really struggle with is going too low carb. It makes me feel like a total garbage can and I just know that style of diet is not good for me. This is tricky because the higher carb veggies like carrots, squash and beets can be really tough for me to digest. Eating enough to have enough carbs is hard on my intestines. So a bit of honey here and there really keeps me afloat.
And the rest of my day was easy breezy. I decided to take the day completely off and I caught up on one of my favorite TV shows: Made in Chelsea. If you know what it is don’t judge me please. I know it's ridiculous but it's so good. And really I think this is just what I needed. Total relaxation zone out time. Basically ate soup, tea, some coconut creams and beet kvass shots in between. I take a probiotic supplement (HMF Multi Strain is my current favorite) in the morning but as the diet points out, it is really important to incorporate cultured foods and beverages into the diet as well. And I love beet kvass. The magic of beets brought to a whole new level.
Woke up to another nice looking No. 2. YAY. Also noticed the glowy skin thing. Very likely a benefit of healing soups and fully digesting what I'm eating. SO exciting. Decided to move on to Stage 2 and start having some egg yolks in my soup. Breakfast was butternut squash soup with two egg yolks. Nice.
Another day of taking it easy. More Made in Chelsea and made myself some new soups. Getting so very skilled at this! Soups are tasting very good. One was a chicken soup with broccoli, onions and squash and one was sort of a beef, mushroom and onion concoction. This day I was pretty darn bloaty and gassy but in a way that didn’t hurt if that makes sense? More airy. I was pretty regular with the beet kvass shots and even tried a Coconut Water Kefir shot. I know this isn’t even allowed on the Intro Diet but I had it brewing from pre-diet and needed to bottle it.
Because I am a nutrition obsessed person I was asking Google what the deal with Coconut Water Kefir was. Turns out it is very very good for a person. The reason that it isn’t allowed on GAPS is because it is a way strong probiotic and actually fights Candida and takes up residence in the gut rather than passing on through like most probiotics. It can cause a bit more die-off and could be the reason for all the bloat! And it was so tasty. Bloat or not I am digging it.
Woke up feeling super energetic but then had my soup breakfast and a shower and felt like going back to bed. That was all the energy I had apparently. So I watched a few episodes of Sex and the City where Carrie goes to Paris! And just to be clear, I am not a big TV watcher. To a fault really. I alway feel like there is something better to do but currently, it feels really good to just be relaxed and take every day by day, moment by moment. Learning to relax is potentially part of all of this.
All day I was also having flashbacks to pretty crazy dreams from the night before too. I wonder if that is part of it too. I won’t go into details but there was some very interesting and life relevant events in there. Should probably start documenting. Was a bit bloated at night time but nothing too bad. And I definitely kept on with the Beet Kvass and Coconut Water Kefir today. So that is positive! Had another epsom salt bath which = a great sleep too.
VERY nice No.2 and still feeling glowy. Still super tired but about to go do another run for groceries. Because of my current small town dwelling, I actually have to travel 30 minutes on the highway to find all my magical foods. And today I’m feeling the need to mix it up a little bit. Might go crazy and make Ghee Caramels today (same as Coconut Creams but with clarified butter, HELLO)! It’s the little things, you know.
Overall, I am feeling very excited and motivated to keep going. No this is not easy but it feels very worth it. My goal is salad by summer. Raw veggies? Wow, that seems so far off but something I really really want. Week 1 down and who knows how many more to go. Think I will stick with Stage 2 for a while until it feels right to move on. Following my gut and so on.
On the the next: