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GAPS Diet, 5 Month Update

Even as I typed the title of this post, I had to shake my head. I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for 5 months. I had expected to be into a “groove” by this time. I had expected to have a rhythm to my cooking. But instead of feeling like I’ve hit my stride, I still feel like I’m stumbling my way through this diet.

First, the good news: there has been progress. In last month’s update, I reported that I’d successfully incorporated one egg white per day. Now, I’m up to two egg whites per day. Finally, I have arrived a fairly substantial (and normal-looking) breakfast. Two fried eggs, two homemade sausage patties with some fermented salsa on the side. I make a double batch of sausage and keep it in the fridge. It lasts me about a week and a half. Sometimes I’ll add some sliced avocado if I have time for cutting and slicing something. If it’s a busy week, I’ll hard boil a dozen eggs so that I can eat them out of hand in the car.

Not only have I increased my egg white intake, but I’ve also added a dollop of dairy. I’ve been making creme fraiche and adding a spoonful to my daily bowl of soup. I don’t add it every day. There are some days that I just know my gut can’t handle it, and so I don’t push. But the occasional creamy dollop is doing my spirit a world of good.

Now the discouraging news: I had more sick days in this past month than any other time since starting GAPS. Whether this was due to something I’d eaten, stress, or environmental factors is nearly impossible to discern. I have also read of GAPS patients having a “healing crisis”, where the detoxification process overwhelms the body and causes a regression in symptoms. I was unable to decide whether my days on the couch were a reaction or a healing crisis, and I finally decided it didn’t matter. On these days I ate only soup, and waited to start feeling better. I feel that in the past week or so, my gut is feeling more like I was at the beginning of the month.

Also discouraging is the fact that there are fresh tomatoes and peaches and raspberries and plums and pears just rolling out of the garden, and my symptoms return when I eat any of them. After some discussion with my naturopath, we decided that while I may feel better physically if I avoided these things, I feel much better mentally and emotionally if I allow myself to enjoy very small quantities of them in spite of the symptoms. So each day I decide which item I’m going to treat myself to, and I enjoy every little bite of it. The peaches from our tree this year are huge and delicious, they are my favorite indulgence.

As far as supplements go, I added nothing new this month, and I actually ditched one of my supplements. The ox bile that I added last month was making me feel all bloated and crampy, so my naturopath and I decided to set it aside for now. I also reduced my hydrochloric acid to 1 capsule with each meal (a sign that digestion is improving). Going into Month 6, here is what I’m taking:

  • Hydrochloric acid (1 capsule) 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

Detox routines, still exactly the same:

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

I took an emotional nose dive last month, and am still wondering if it’s all worth it. The physical progress I’ve made is undeniable, but emotionally I am so far behind where I started that it doesn’t feel better to be feeling better. I am exhausted by planning, preparing, and cooking 6 meals every day (3 for me, 3 for the rest of the family). And I’m saddened by a conversation with the Sweet Pea about how she doesn’t remember what it’s like to have a mom who can eat what she eats. It is very isolating to always eat something different, to always carry my own food, to never share a meal with someone. Seeing the physical progress I’ve made, I’m beginning to think that GAPS may have something to offer me after all, but I’m still counting the cost, still deciding if it’s worth it.

For these reasons, I’m claiming a little extra space for myself in the next month or two. I’ll be back the first Monday in October with the 6 month update, but I won’t be posting on the Mondays in between. It’s about all I can do to make the food and eat it, without trying to photograph it and write about it, too. And so, till then, I am marching onwards.

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