GAPS Introduction Diet, Week 4

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A friend of mine asked me this week how my GAPS diet was going. “I hope it’s going well,” she said. I had to think about my answer, because I didn’t feel like it was going well, but it wasn’t exactly not going well either. In my mind, GAPS was taking the form of a stout German nurse. I’m sure you know the stereotype. They showed up in a lot of old black and white films, were very solid and burly women who never smiled and man-handled their patients into the necessary treatments. They didn’t exactly offer comfort or gentleness, but they were firm, unyielding and got the job done. My new pet name for my diet is “Krankenshwester GAPS”

I spent week 4 in Stage 3 of the Introductory Diet. The foods in Stage 3 all sounded delicious and I had hoped that they would add a greater variety to what I was eating. As it turns out, my progress through Stage 3 has been pretty slow.

I began the week by adding avocado. I love avocado, so this was a most welcome addition. I ate one avocado per day, adding a portion of it to each bowl of soup or stew. If you’re unsure how to pick a ripe avocado, you want it to be firm, but just a bit soft when you squeeze it–kind of like a peach. I mash the avocado into the bottom of my bowl, stir in the egg yolk (continued from Stage 2) and then ladle my warmed soup or stew over the top of it, stirring it all together. No problems with the avocado, so I moved on to the next thing…

PANCAKES!

Okay, so they’re not real pancakes, like you’d get at IHOP (and I’m not one of those people who’s going to try to tell you that they taste just as good as “real” pancakes) But since I can’t eat fluffy, buttermilk pancakes, and I can eat GAPS pancakes, I’ll take the GAPS pancakes. And they are pretty tasty.

The GAPS Guide says to make these with three ingredients: pumpkin (or other winter squash), eggs, and nut butter. But there is no “official” recipe for these pancakes. It took a lot of experimentation for me to find the best ratio of those ingredients. But by the week’s end, I had my ingredients fairly settled, and I’ve posted the recipe below. My recipe uses egg yolks (no whites), and makes a small batch. My pan gets pretty gunky from the almond butter after two rounds and I have to wash it out. Making a large batch hasn’t really seemed any easier than making a small batch.

These pancakes burn fairly quickly, so keep the heat low and be watchful. You must also be quite generous in the amount of fat you use for frying them. Use a lot. I liked using coconut oil, but you could also use ghee or any other animal fat.

It also took some trial and error to find the right size. At first I was making them quite large (picture a normal pancake size) and they were impossible to flip. I finally settled on making them about 3 inches in diameter, so that I could fit 3 of them in my frying pan. They were easier to flip this way.

Just because I get to eat pancakes now, doesn’t mean I get to eat them all the time. No siree. I start with one small pancake per day and increase the amount gradually. And it’s best to eat them with some soup or broth, which helps digest them. Soup is still the basis of my diet, followed closely by stew. The pancakes fill in as afternoon snack.

Up next was scrambled eggs. Since I hadn’t been successful in my earlier attempts to incorporate egg whites, I decided that I should start with soft-boiled whites (easier to digest) and went back to adding soft-boiled eggs to my soup and stew, eating one per day. The first day was fine, the second day was fine. The morning of the third day I had noticeable symptoms of digestive distress. ~sigh. I went back to separating eggs.

The end of the week I devoted to nothing new. I backed off from dietary challenges and spent those few days recovering from the egg whites and allowing myself to settle into the pancakes.

Here’s what my diet looked like for Week 4 of Intro (Stage 3)

  • continued all foods from Stages 1 and 2 (soup, ginger-lemon tea, “juice” from fermented veggies, egg yolks, stew, fermented fish)
  • ripe, smashed avocado, mixed into soup and stew
  • squash and nut-butter “pancakes”

I began to reintroduce some of my former supplements. Here’s what my supplements looked like:

  • Hydrochloric acid before meals, to aid in digestion
  • Probiotic–half dose in the morning and a half dose in the evening
  • Prescription meds for ulcerative colitis
  • Trace minerals, added to a cup of water every morning
  • 1 spoonful cod liver oil, every morning

The cod liver oil is a GAPS recommended supplement. The trace minerals were recommended by my naturopath. Once I started adding in all these supplements, I had to make a chart for myself to remind me what to take and when to take it. I check off the boxes everyday and it’s so much easier than trying to keep track of it in my foggy, crowded brain (along with the day’s math lesson, dinner plans, what time soccer starts, and putting the laundry in the dryer)

I continued my daily detox baths, alternating baking soda and epsom salts. Pretty soon I get to add to my detox regimen with freshly pressed juices (my new juicer just arrived today and I’m so excited! More on that later.)

During week 4 I noticed an ever-so-slight increase in energy, and seemed to be a little less foggy-brained. This was the first week that I didn’t feel it necessary to take a nap every afternoon. Although I greatly enjoy taking naps, it’s hard to fit in an hour for napping every single afternoon. So at the end of week 4 I’m feeling like GAPS is still getting the better of me, but maybe I’m starting to close in on it a little bit.

Print Recipe

GAPS Pumpkin Pancakes

There are dozens of variations of GAPS pancakes. This is mine.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil or ghee
  • 1/3-1/2 cup fresh cooked pumpkin or butternut squash, or kabocha
  • 2 Tbs organic almond butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. In a food processor or blender, combine squash, almond butter, egg yolks, and cinnamon until smooth.
  2. Melt coconut oil in a heavy frying pan over medium-low heat. Spoon batter into frying pan to make small, thin pancakes (about 3″ in diameter) Fry on one side until lightly brown and pancake holds together well enough to flip. Flip the pancake and fry on the other side, until light brown.
  3. Remove from pan and serve warm.

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9 Responses to GAPS Introduction Diet, Week 4

  1. The pancakes actually look good! I may have to try those. I used to make “pancakes” with an egg & some smashed banana. Was really good.

  2. I has been very interesting to read about your journey through GAPS. Thank you for sharing!
    Have you been making anything for the rest of the family with all those egg whites?

    • Ha! I made macaroons one week, and angel food cake the next week, both of them refined sugar free and apparently tasty. I linked to the recipes I used on my blog here: http://emptytofill.com/2012/04/27/second-verse-same-as-the-first/ I had not counted on the cooking that is a by-product of my GAPS diet, to use up the parts of the food that I can’t eat! My hubs also uses them with a few whole eggs to make scrambled eggs and baked oatmeal. So far, they have all been eaten!

  3. Hi Erin,
    I’m curious about why you don’t use the egg whites, and how using the egg whites affects baking/pancakes. Are you particularly sensitive to egg whites? Are the egg whites helpful for cohesion of the pancakes, or unnecessary?

    Although I’d tested sensitive to eggs many years ago, my dr. explained to me that many people have a false positive result on egg sensitivity, having something to do with immunizations.

    There is so much to learn with this GAPS diet! Thanks for sharing what you have learned :)

  4. thanks for sharing all this. I’m about the same place right now that you were when you wrote this on GAPS, just sitting down to try my first pancakes, while sipping my broth/avocado/egg yolk delight. I’m moving into my third week on the diet, have had many “detox” experiences, including dizziness and the need for lots of naps. (The first 3-5 days were very difficult!) I’m finally starting to feel a bit more energy. Like you, try to make leaps into the “next good thing”, and sometimes pay the price and have to step back for awhile. I appreciate your recipe for the pancakes, and would love to know more from your perspective (1 year later) how things are now?

    • Lynne, GAPS was such an up and down journey for me! I learned a ton, but it wasn’t what I expected to learn. I never found the healing on GAPS that others achieve, and eventually my GAPS diet transitioned into a Paleo Diet. Currently, I’m mostly following the autoimmune protocol of the Paleo Diet. I still don’t feel great, but it’s the best I’ve felt in a long time.

      My biggest take-aways from GAPS were mostly centered around dealing with the isolation of special diets. It’s taken a year, but I’ve finally made peace with not eating the same things as the people around me. Food was always very social for me, so the isolation was really difficult. I do make a point of cooking one meal a week that my family can all eat together. This is usually something that fits into my AIP Paleo diet, with some bread or rice on the side for the rest of the family.

      I also learned a lot about applying the principles of GAPS, without necessarily applying the “rules”. There’s a lot of freedom in doing this. I think the principles of GAPS are sound and will benefit almost anyone, but the rules of what’s legal and what’s not do not always apply to every body. Definitely, follow the protocol and give it a try. But if you’re still not seeing the results you want, it’s my opinion that you should experiment (within the GAPS principles) to find what works best for you.

      Hope that’s helpful information for you! I don’t regret my time spent on GAPS. I learned a lot. All the best to you, Erin

  5. Hi Erin. My wife has suffered w/ autoimmune issues for years. We stayed out of main stream med for a long time, but severe stress caused an acute bout of CHF , which landed her in the hospital. Went down the rabbit hole for awhile, but finally back in control, with the help of a functional med MD. Have been following principals from the Wahls protocol , but felt she still had digestive issues that needed to be addressed. So we started gaps a week ago. We’ve modified it a little, cause she doesn’t have real digestive problems as much any more. Normal stool, but still some bloating , which seems to have subsided with the bone broths, soups, lack of raw veggies, and addition of liquid whey or ferment juice with every meal. Stopped the green juices & smoothies for a while as well, even though I know she needs the phytonutrients. Give. The brief history, & your experience with gaps, do you think it’s safe to monitor her reactions & move towards full gaps rather quickly ? Thanks, Bob

    • Hi Bob, It’s hard to answer your question without knowing a lot more information, but I’ll give you my thoughts. Note that I’m not a medical professional, and my advice shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. Consulting with your wife’s functional med doc before making changes would be a great idea.

      It sounds like your wife has done a lot of hard work and is seeing some results. That’s great! If it was me, I would try to add things back in slowly, one item at a time, and see what happens. You can also consider foods outside of the GAPS diet (using common sense of course, and sticking to real, whole foods). From my experiments with healing diets over the years, there seem to be parts of each that are helpful for me, and parts that aren’t. And so I’ve arrived at a diet that isn’t quite GAPS, or Wahls, or Paleo, or WAPF, or SCD, or low-FODMAP…..but I use elements of all of them and base my food decisions on their various principles (which are pretty much the same).

      I guess what I’m saying is, every body is different and has different needs. I don’t believe there is a platform diet that is “the best” for everyone, or that will heal everyone. Your wife can consider adding foods back in as soon as she feels ready to do so (slowly!). See what happens, and then keep moving. Hang onto the things that work (so far, that sounds like bone broth, cooked veg, and ferments) and toss out the things that aren’t (even if others insist it is helpful!) She’s a lucky lady to have your support! All the best to you both.

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