Our family likes to read books together, and we’re kinda weird in that we read the same books over and over again. One of our favorites is The Phantom Tollbooth. In one scene, after a banquet, one of the characters–stuffed full to bursting–says the following:
“To be sure, too much too quickly. I most certainly should have eaten too little too slowly, or too much too slowly, or too little too quickly, or taken all day to eat nothing….”
The thought of taking all day to eat nothing was always amusing to me, in an Seuss-ical nonsensical kind of way. But as I was cooking, and cooking, and cooking this past week, it occurred to me that it’s the perfect phrase to describe my GAPS journey.
GAPS: Take all day to eat nothing!
I’m thinking of having some t-shirts made.
The most exciting addition to my GAPS diet this week? Fresh juice! Oh, how I’ve longed to have a good excuse to buy a fabulous juicer and lots of fresh fruit and veggies that I then turn into piles of pulp and juice. Finally, I got to do it. GAPS encourages consuming fresh juices to deliver loads of nutrients that require no digestion, and to aid in detox.
I spent a lot of time researching and ended up with this one, an auger-style juicer. I love that it does more than just make juice. Plus I wanted to be able to juice greens and wheatgrass, and this style of juicer handles those veggies better.
I was so excited about the juice that I overdid it the first couple of days. How many times does it take me to learn that I need to start small and go slowly? I started off with a full cup of carrot juice and began adding in all sorts of herbs and ginger and lettuce within the first few days. My belly made it very clear that this was too much, and so I had to back off. I’ve spent the time since then only having the juice from two carrots and a small piece of ginger, diluted with water. Some days, I add in a small piece of lettuce. This seems to be going much better.
It’s recommended that you take fresh juice on an empty stomach, so I have mine first thing in the morning. They say that your body is in “detox mode” until about 10:00 a.m. and that it’s perfectly fine (perhaps even helpful) to not eat food until that time. Since starting GAPS, I’ve found that I’m not really hungry in the morning. I start my day with a glass of water with trace minerals and a few supplements, then I have a glass of juice. I’m usually ready for some soup by 9:30 or so.
In addition to the fresh juice, I added small amounts of raw veg this week. It’s lovely to eat a salad again! I began with small amounts of cucumber, peeled and de-seeded. I drizzled olive oil and lemon juice all over it. Over the next few days I added raw avocado, and then some small pieces of butter lettuce to the mix. I’ve arrived at a pretty delicious salad dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and chopped fresh dill. If I don’t feel like squeezing a lemon I use some raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. I look forward to eating this salad every day.
The last thing I added this week was fresh, homemade applesauce. This is my “dessert” at the end of the day. It’s quite delicious, but I’m not going to try to convince you that it’s as tasty as a big dish of creme brulee. I like to mix my apples, using some tart and some sweet. And I use a lot of coconut oil. I was going to give you a recipe for it, but honestly I don’t measure any of it. I peel, core and chunk several apples and saute them in a heavy pan with lots of coconut oil and a pinch of cinnamon or other sweet spices (I particularly like to use Chinese five spice powder). Once they’re soft, I add some water, cover the pan and let it simmer for a few minutes (maybe 5-10). Then I send all of it through my juicer, which also acts as a food mill. You could also use a hand-blender or even a potato masher. I like to divide it up between small ramekins so that after dinner I can just pop one of them into the toaster oven and have a ready-made treat.
Here’s what I was eating during week 6 (Stages 4-5 of Introduction Diet):
- continued all previous foods from Stages 1-3 (soups, stews, roasted meat, ginger-lemon tea, egg yolks, fermented fish, avocado, and pancakes)
- fermented veggies (sauerkraut, carrots, etc.), 1/2 tsp with every meal
- fresh, homemade applesauce
- small amounts of raw veggies, peeled and seeded
My supplements are all still the same:
- Hydrochloric acid (2 capsules) 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
Detox routines for week 6 included:
- (almost) daily detox bath, alternating Epsom salt and baking soda
- daily, fresh-pressed carrot juice with ginger
I can definitely say that my symptoms are better than what they were a few months ago. What’s hard to determine is whether this is because I’m actually healing my gut, or because I’m not eating anything challenging. I still can’t eat any of the things that I couldn’t eat previously, and my diet now is actually the most restricted it’s ever been. I think I’ll feel like I’m making definite progress once I can tolerate something that I haven’t been able to eat for years–nuts? dairy? egg whites? For now, I still feel like I’m plodding along slowly.
I’m still waiting to gain back some weight. For the first few weeks I lost weight steadily. I’m teetering close to, but not below, my self-determined weight-at-which-to-start-freaking-out. I had expected to be gaining back some pounds by now, but I’m not, which is a little discouraging.
And I find it hard to determine if I actually have more energy than in those early weeks, or if I’ve just gotten used to the amount of energy I have and have learned to ration it better. Perhaps a little of both.
At the end of this last week I felt like I had sort of plateaued. I think I’m going to be stuck in this stage for quite a while, tweaking this and that and still trying to bring in the egg whites and nuts every few weeks. I think it’s going to be quite boring to write about every week. So I thought I’d scale back these journalistic posts, checking in only once a month or so as I see progress. In the other weeks, I’ll be offering you some yummy GAPS recipes that I discover or develop along the way–recipes that you’ll love even if you’re not on GAPS. And perhaps some product reviews every once in a while, of things that I’ve found useful on my GAPS journey.
Coming along? Quite frankly I can’t believe you’ve all stuck by me this long. Thanks for being on my journey with me.