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GAPS Diet–3 Month Update

Friends, it’s getting hard for me to come back here every month to “update” you on my GAPS progress, and to only say that things are still pretty much the same. Alas, I have made little progress since last month’s update.

Since remembering my GI doctor’s suspicion of SIBO, and reading that I should not expect results for 3-6 months, I have not sought to try many new things. I have stuck to my soups and stews and roasted chicken and to the handful of cooked vegetables that I know my gut can handle. Since this month marks 3 months on GAPS, perhaps I will venture to try some new things in the weeks to come.

Soup and stew are still the basis of my diet. I make at least two gallons of chicken broth every week. For dinner I allow myself some creativity and variety and experiment with different roasted meat recipes. With dinner I have some cooked veg. Two new things I’ve added are organic butter and small amounts of raw fruit.

GAPS has a very specific protocol for introducing dairy into the diet. After at least 4 weeks of no dairy products, you can introduce ghee. Ghee is butter that has been separated and strained to remove the milk solids (the proteins). After some time on ghee, you can try introducing organic butter. I’ve been putting small amounts of butter onto my cooked veggies. Not only is it really yummy, but my tummy seems to be handling it well, too.

Summer arrived and brought with it a bountiful offering of fresh fruits. I refuse to be on any diet that does not allow me to eat strawberries and apricots from my own garden. I can easily give up sugar, potatoes, and bread, but please don’t ask me to give up warm, sun-ripened strawberries and apricots that fall off the tree and into my hand. Thankfully, these fruits are soft and my belly doesn’t have problems digesting them as long as I’m able to eat them in moderation.

I’ve also hunted down a few GAPS-legal convenience foods that I’ve added into my diet, for the weeks when I just can’t afford the energy to do a bunch of cooking. More on this in a few weeks.

I’m still taking all of the same supplements, and have added one new one. After a discussion with my naturopath about my sluggish digestion, we decided to add a magnesium citrate supplement. This little pill has worked miracles at getting things moving more quickly through my intestines (I know, TMI?)

Here are all of the supplements I’m currently taking:

  • Hydrochloric acid (2 capsules) before meals, to aid in digestion
  • Probiotic–full dose in the morning
  • Prescription meds for ulcerative colitis
  • Trace minerals, added to a cup of water every morning
  • 1 spoonful cod liver oil, every morning
  • 1 capsule of fish oil before meals
  • magnesium citrate at bedtime

And my detox routines remain the same, though I’ve added the Redmond Clay Bath Plus bath salts to my bath routine:

  • (almost) daily detox bath, alternating Epsom salt, baking soda, and Redmond Clay Bath Salt Plus
  • daily, fresh-pressed vegetable juice with ginger

After 3 months on GAPS, how am I feeling? Meh. On the one hand, I am grateful for less pain, fewer sick days on the couch, and symptoms that have decreased in severity and frequency. On the other hand, I am still having sick days and symptoms. Not only that, but the extremely limited and intense diet is draining, especially during these summer months when I want to be able to go places and do things with my family. Mobilizing my GAPS menu at this stage of the diet is quite difficult and takes a lot of energy. So I frequently choose to sit out from some activities, simply because I can’t afford the energy to prepare for them. And so it feels a little like I’ve traded some of life and living, for less pain and symptoms. Some days that feels worth it, other days not so much.

Also, I have continued to lose weight. In my mind, I had set a weight and told myself if I reached that weight, then I would allow myself to start being concerned. I had 48 hours with a stomach bug last month that dropped me down to that weight, and I never rebounded. So now I am beginning to be concerned at my inability to put on some pounds.

However, I am committed to GAPS through October, which will be 6 months on the diet. And so for now, it is onwards and upwards.

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