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GAPS Introduction Diet, Week 2

Friends, GAPS has me feeling like I’m in a Dostoevsky novel. You know, back in the dark ages of medicine. The doctor exits from the patient’s room with a somber look and says something like, “I have bled her. And now the thing to be done is to wait. She will either recover, or die.” Most days, it feels like a struggle to survive the cure.

For my second week on the GAPS Intro Diet, I was able to move on to Stage 2. For me, this meant adding in eggs. I’ve had trouble with eggs in the past. A typical reaction for me includes eczema on my hands and digestive distress. I decided that I needed to be slow and deliberate so I took the entire week to incorporate eggs.

I started by adding raw egg yolks to my soup. Egg yolks have been compared to human breast milk because they can be absorbed almost entirely without any digestion at all. Start with one egg yolk per day added to a bowl of soup, and work your way up until you’re adding 1-2 egg yolks to each bowl of soup. You really can’t eat too many of them.

The thought of eating eggs raw is so taboo in our society, that I realize this may be a shocking thought for a lot of folks. The truth of the matter is (according to the National Egg Marketing Board in England) just about one egg in 7000 is contaminated with Salmonella bacteria–and these are the numbers for conventional eggs laid by battery hens in cages. Infected eggs come from infected chickens, so buying your eggs from a source that you trust is the key here. I get mine from a small, local farm and (bonus!) the eggs are also soy-free. Eggs laid by hens allowed to peck and forage and roam will give you added nutrition as well. If you need a little more convincing, this page has great information on the safety of raw eggs (about halfway down the page). And if the thought of raw eggs just makes you entirely too squeamish, you can cook them. They will be a bit less nourishing and bit harder to digest.

The way to add egg yolks to soup is to carefully separate the white from the yolk while warming your soup gently on the stove top. When your soup is just warm, drop the egg yolk into the soup and whisk quickly with a fork until it’s incorporated. Don’t let the soup get too hot or the yolk will cook.

I spent a few days trying out egg yolks and was delighted to find that they gave me no trouble. Up next–soft-boiled eggs.

Soft-boiled eggs are somewhat of a rarity these days, which is a shame because they’re completely delicious. A soft-boiled egg is an egg that has been boiled so that the whites are fully cooked but the yolk is not. It takes a bit of practice to figure out the exact timing (everyone seems to have their own method and number of minutes) but it’s super-easy once you’ve figured out your magic number. On my stove-top, I let the water come to a full boil, drop in the egg, boil it for exactly 6 minutes, then run it under cold water while I peel it.

The soft-boiled eggs can be mashed and mixed into your soup (my favorite method), or they can be eaten on their own with some soup or broth on the side. As it turns out, while I have no trouble with egg yolks, egg whites bring out the eczema on my hands. This isn’t unusual, since the whites contain complex proteins (which are difficult to digest) and antigens (those things your body thinks are invaders and cause allergic reactions). Most people with egg allergies are allergic to the whites. I tried them several different times to confirm the reactions I was having, and have decided that for now I need to leave out the egg whites and stick to the yolks.

At first I thought this meant I’d be stuck eating soup with egg yolks for weeks until my gut would accept egg whites. But when I went searching on Baden Lashkov’s (author of the GAPS Guide) blog, I found an encouraging note. She says if you cannot tolerate one of the recommended foods, to leave it out of your diet for a few days to allow your body to recover, skip it, and move on to the next step. Which is what I did.

So while week 2 was spent entirely on incorporating eggs, week 3 is looking a little more exciting (stew! casserole!). Maybe I can do this after all.

What I ate on Week 2 (Introduction Diet, Stage 2):

  • more soup. I continued adding new veggies every other day or so. I added egg yolks to my soup. I tried adding egg whites, but reacted to them and have taken them out of my diet for now.
  • Ginger and lemon tea. I started adding about a teaspoon of raw, unfiltered honey to each pot. I think this has given me a small energy boost and a little less brain fog.
  • “Juice” from fermented veggies. I increased the amount I was eating from 1 teaspoon to 2 teaspoons without any trouble.

The supplements I took during Week 2 are the same as last week, but the quantities have changed:

  • Hydrochloric acid before meals; I began Week 2 taking 4 capsules before every meal. By the end of the week I had reduced it to 3–a sign that my stomach acid is recovering.
  • Having finished the super-strength probiotic course, I resumed my regular probiotic. I still split my dosage though, taking half in the morning and half at night, having learned my lesson the hard way in Week 1.
  • I’m continuing to take my prescription meds.

Finally, I’m continuing to take a nightly detox bath. The detox baths have been so helpful to me in reducing my die-off symptoms. They also help me relax and manage my stress from the day–never a bad thing when you are trying to manage chronic illness.

So, how was I feeling? Still bad. Not horrible. Just bad.

My energy recovered slightly, but nowhere near previous levels. I still needed to rest often during the day, and we did a week of “light” homeschool (I let them do fun math workbooks, instead of teaching math lessons. You have no idea how much energy it takes to teach first and third grade math every day!)

I also still had a considerable amount of brain-fog. Completing thoughts, focusing on conversation or reading was very difficult.

Apart from these two things, and the reaction I had to the egg whites, I felt generally pretty great. I had none of my usual digestive pain or distress. Even the familiar bloating and distension was reduced slightly. I am hopeful for the future.

They say that week 3 is when you start truly feeling better. Onwards and upwards!

Print Recipe

Basic Sauerkraut

An essential GAPS recipe, sauerkraut will provide you with lots of probiotic juice for Stages 1 and 2.
This is less of a formula and more of an art. Once you are comfortable with fermenting veggies, feel free to do some experimenting with adding different vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices.

Source: Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cabbage cored and shredded
  • 1 Tbs caraway seeds
  • 1 Tbs sea salt
  • 4 Tbs whey (or an additional 1 Tbs salt)

Directions

  1. In a bowl, mix cabbage with caraway seeds, sea salt and whey (if using). Pound with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer for about 10 minutes to release juices.
  2. Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar and press down firmly with a pounder or meat hammer until juices come to the top of the cabbage. The top of the cabbage should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar.
  3. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage. The sauerkraut may be eaten immediately, but it improves with age.

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  • You said: "I get mine from a small, local farm and (bonus!) the eggs are also soy-free." So...does that mean if chickens are being fed soy that it's going into the eggs? My mom is soy intolerant. I wonder if she's having problems with eggs. I'll have to ask her. Reply
    Elizabeth April 16, 2012 AT 7:27 am
     
    • Elizabeth, Little known fact, but YES! Whatever the chickens are eating goes into the eggs. It isn't much, so most people won't react to it. But if someone is truly intolerant to soy (or corn, or grasshoppers) if the chicken eats it, small amounts will end up in the eggs. Soy-free eggs are pricey and hard to come by. Your mom's best bet will be to try to find a local farmer (or friend) with a backyard flock. Most of the soy-free varieties in the stores sit on the shelf so long that they're not very fresh. Reply
      Erin April 16, 2012 AT 9:35 am
       
  • The GAPS diet is very interesting to me because my son was misdiagnosed for 4yrs w/Celiacs and he has Crohn's Disease. He had so MUCH intestinal distress! He would not do GAPS but I really think he could have seen benefits. Good Luck. I hope after all this "work" your out come is positive! Reply
    Joy April 16, 2012 AT 10:45 am
     
    • Joy, I have heard of many people achieving good results for Crohn's and Colitis on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. It's similar to GAPS, but less complicated and less severe. Perhaps your son would consider that road? Or perhaps he's feeling well enough with conventional meds and treatments, which is also great. I would have been happy to be taking pills for the rest of my life, if they'd only worked. Just thought I'd mention the SCD to you, in case you weren't familiar with it. Reply
      Erin April 17, 2012 AT 8:24 am
       
  • I am diagnosed as allergic to egg yolk. I love broths etc but wonder if this diet could possibly help me. Reply
    Suze April 17, 2012 AT 6:40 am
     
    • Suze, I can't say if it would help you or not. I can say there are testimonies from oodles of others who have overcome everything from food allergies to severe health problems while on GAPS. And I can say I think it would be worth your time to look deeper into GAPS and decide if you think it might be helpful. In all things, there is a cost to benefit ratio. The cost of GAPS is quite high. But the potential benefit for those with severe digestive trouble (like allergies) is also quite high. I'm happy to answer any questions you may have, and I hope the posts as I make my own way through GAPS are helpful and informative for you. All the best. Reply
      Erin April 17, 2012 AT 8:20 am
       
    • Suze, I ought to have mentioned that in cases of true allergies (anaphylaxis, etc) or extreme insensitivity (sever digestive distress) these foods would be introduced much later and very carefully on GAPS. Dr. Campbell-McBride outlines this procedure in her book. So if you went on GAPS, for example, you would simply skip egg yolks until much later in the diet. Reply
      Erin April 17, 2012 AT 8:56 am
       
  • Erin, I run the FB page for Redmond Clay, and so many people laud it for detox baths and also taken internally for things like colitis. I'm sure you don't need "one more thing" to look into, but I wondered if it would be even more effective at reducing your die-off symptoms...email me and maybe I can get you a product sample. :) Katie Reply
    Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship April 20, 2012 AT 8:22 pm
     
    • Thanks, Katie! Will do. :) Reply
      Erin April 21, 2012 AT 4:01 pm
       
  • You mentioned cost benefits ratio ... What do you mean the cost of GAPS is HIGH? Does this mean one has to be extremely disciplined? Have to go without proteins ~ I've been hypoglycemic for years so pretty much 'live' on proteins, but of course this plays havoc with digestion as I've always been tremendously constipated. Your insights? Donna Reply
    Donna June 22, 2012 AT 7:17 pm
     
    • Donna, For me, GAPS has been quite expensive. It has cost me a lot in time, energy (mental and physical), and money to stay on GAPS for 3 months. This is mostly due to the severity of my particular symptoms and the slowness of my healing. Other people may not find it so expensive, if they can move more quickly through the stages. And yes, you have to be disciplined. Not a crumb of starch or sugar has crossed my lips for 3 months, and that has been hard. I think many people on GAPS struggle with constipation. And everyone has their own unique solution that works for them. You can search the GAPS website, or Dr. Campbell-McBride's book for suggestions on how to fix it. Reply
      Erin July 7, 2012 AT 8:06 am
       
  • Hello,please help me,I am preparing to start the intro on the Gaps,and I am confused,do you start eating meat stock first for the 1st 7 days?Then what??I am trying to understand it all.Please help me if you can with putting this all together. Reply
    Ann July 14, 2012 AT 9:37 am
     
    • Ann, Do you have Dr. Campbell-McBride's book? Or the GAPS Guide? I don't recommend trying to do Intro without having one of these books. I referenced them at least once a day for the first month or two. Essentially, yes, you will start with plain meat broth, and then begin adding in foods. There is a specific order in which to introduce foods, and both the GAPS book and the GAPS Guide will tell you when and how to move on to the next thing. This link will get you started http://gapsdiet.com/INTRODUCTION_DIET.html but I highly recommend buying or borrowing a book before starting. It will help you immensely! All the best to you! Reply
      Erin July 16, 2012 AT 7:49 pm
       
  • Have you tried corn free eggs? Most chickens are fed corn (usually the GMO kind). Many people with gluten or corn sensitivities are also sensitive to it in egg-form. Reply
    Anna April 16, 2013 AT 7:13 pm
     
 
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