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GAPS 4 Month Update

Friends, do you notice anything exciting about my breakfast plate pictured here? Look closely. Why, yes! That is an egg white on my plate!

After 4 months eating GAPS Intro, my belly has finally agreed to accept egg whites (one a day) with only the mildest complaints. This is my first real progress on GAPS, in terms of incorporating new foods into my diet. On the one hand, I am thankful for the progress and hopeful for the future. On the other hand, I am skeptical and wonder if the hard work of 4 months was worth it, just to be able to eat one egg white a day. And if that’s what it took for a simple egg white, how long will it take for nuts? Seeds? Raw veggies? It’s depressing to even consider.

I still have 2 months left of my 6 month commitment to GAPS Intro through October. I’m willing to finish it out, see where I’m at after 6 months. But I am still researching other treatments with my naturopath, should GAPS still be disappointing me at that point.

In July, my fermented veggies that my friend made for me back in April finally gave out. Most of it was eaten. The carrots that remained were fermenting into whisky by the smell of it. So I dumped them out (clogged the drain) and made some new ferments. I dabbled in fermenting veggies last summer, and learned some important lessons.

Lesson #1: Even though our tap water is among the cleanest in the nation, it still has chemicals in it that interfere with proper fermentation. Don’t use tap water for fermenting, unless you have a stellar water filter. I use bottled, filtered spring water.

Lesson #2: Even though my salt said it was “Celtic Sea Salt” and even though I bought it at a hoity toity natural food store, when I read the label I realized it had a chemical anti-caking agent in it. These chemicals also interfere with fermentation, and can turn your veggies mushy. Yuck. Now I use Redmond Real Salt.

After making a batch of whey and cream cheese (the whey is a handy addition for the fermentation process), I got to work and whipped out pickled cucumbers, sauerkraut, and salsa all in a few hours. The salsa has become my new favorite ferment (come back next week for the recipe!) and I eat at practically every meal.

I also did an experiment, which had some interesting results. A few weeks ago I was cooking a celebration dinner for some friends who had very good reason to celebrate, but no time or energy to prepare a celebration. These friends have diet restrictions so I made a gluten-free and dairy-free dinner. Dessert was coconut flour cupcakes with a coconut cream frosting. The frosting was a complete mess and kept getting on my fingers and the counter-top and the knife-handle. I took a few experimental licks of the frosting off of my fingers. It wasn’t entirely GAPS-legal (it was made with canned coconut milk and it was thickened with arrowroot–both of which aren’t allowed on GAPS) but it was fairly “clean” as cupcake frostings go. 15 minutes later I was trying to teach the Sweet Pea’s math lesson, and my head was spinning and my arms and hands were all tingly. It felt like I’d eaten a dozen Hostess cupcakes, instead of just a few licks of honey-sweetened coconut frosting. Lesson learned–my body no longer knows how to process starch. Proceed with caution.

My naturopath also recommended a new supplement (what’s a month on GAPS without a new supplement??). I’m now taking ox bile with each meal. Yes, it’s exactly what you think it is–bile from an ox. And yes, you can get that in a capsule. Ox bile is very good at breaking down fats and drawing out specific nutrients. My naturopath and I are hoping that it will help convince my body to put back on a few pounds.

Here are my supplements, heading into month 5:

  • 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
  • 1 capsule ox bile before meals
  • magnesium citrate at bedtime

Detox routines are exactly what they were last month:

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

4 months on GAPS has me feeling pretty much the same as I have all along, with the added bonus of an egg white every morning at breakfast. Emotionally, I’m still struggling. The sheer output of energy required to eat for a day is exhausting. I have my cooking down to about once a week when I make big batches of soup, stew, and roasted chicken to last me a week. But in order to do the actual cooking, there is some amount of pre-cooking–making whey, coconut milk, broth, rendering fat, or fermenting veggies. It seems there is always something that must be cooked. And there is always the fear that I will arrive to cooking day, and realize I forgot to prepare some ingredient that takes 3 days to prepare, and then have nothing to eat.

As if cooking for me wasn’t enough, there are 4 kiddos in the house who, for some odd reason, expect to be fed at least three times a day, even when I’m exhausted.

And so, while I guess I’m seeing some small progress with GAPS, I’m still questioning whether it’s worth it. The cost is high. The benefits have not yet risen to surpass the cost. Till next month–onwards and upwards.

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