Starting GAPS

by lydia on January 10, 2011

The day has finally arrived that I start implementing the GAPS protocol. I learned about GAPS in the fall of 2009 and have been very intrigued by what I have learned. I was not eager to implement the diet at the time I learned of it, but I tucked it away in the back of my mind thinking that one day I just might need to do it. I have finally gotten to the place in my real food journey and in my health where I know I need this protocol to further heal my gut and alleviate the last irritating issues that plague me.

Attending Dr. McBride’s seminar at the Wise Traditions conference really sealed the deal for me. I knew I needed this plan of action in my life and began to wrap my mind around the implications of this strict plan in my life as it would entail lots more food prep on my part as well as make it very difficult for me to eat anywhere but home. After going gluten free in March of 2010, then to a lower carb lifestyle, not completely excluding grains but only consuming some soaked rice and sprouted corn once in a while, I have seen much transformation yet knew more healing would be needed.There are times it seems I tolerate corn okay and times that I don’t. Also when I eat rice, I feel like I did when I ate too much bread or carbs in the past, kind of refluxey (if that’s even a word). For more of an understanding on why starches are carbs are hard on an irritated gut, check out this post I wrote reviewing Elaine Gottschall’s book (of which the GAPS diet was formed on).

My main health issues that are currently afflicting me are totally gut related. I learned how to get rid of constipation and that being constipated is no joke. It’s crucial not to go more than a day with constipation. So since the conference I am happy to say that I have not been constipated, however I still have issues that I’d like to see resolved. My gut seems to get easily irritated and it feels kind of raw and inflamed at times. No real pain, just irritation plagues me, along with some gas issues. Yeah, I know this could be TMI for some, but when you are dealing with gut issues it’s just got to be discussed. Christian and I both suffer from ezcema, though it has gotten better for both of us. The eczema I have is mainly on my right hand and a little bit on my left hand as well. It has mostly gone away since I have started taking fermented cod liver oil. I became afflicted with eczema after the birth of my first son 12 years ago, since that time it has come and gone. At it’s worst point the eczema would flare up and my hands would be swollen, crack and bleed. Many nights I would wake up and have massive itching sessions that would only cause it to get even worse. It has been a total nightmare. Thankfully, I think it’s mostly healed and I don’t think it will come back after I heal my gut. Eczema is noted as one of the symptoms that many GAPS patients suffer with. Christian’s eczema has also gotten much better, he just has residual patches on his lower legs. It used to cover his lower legs and he would scratch and scratch and they would bleed. It was very heartbreaking to watch my child suffer through. I know we have come a long way in our healing and I do think that GAPS will get rid of our eczema once and for all.

So today I begin my journey with the healing nutritional treatment of the GAPS program. I spent the whole weekend prepping for it by making lots of sauerkraut, turkey stock, ghee and even some macaroons (though I do not plan to eat them unless I have a craving for something sweet that I can’t beat). I also took 6 coconuts, drained the water, chopped them up to make milk and dessicated coconut (though I am planning on turning it into flour).

My youngest son Christian, age 3 1/2, will be joining me in this and just in time. All last week he was ill and had diarrhea, as well as complained of being tired. I am planning to do the introductory diet with him for at least this week and see how it goes. Thankfully, he willingly eats stock which forms the basis of the intro diet. My hope is to get him through this week and alleviate his tummy troubles. He has been raised on raw milk, which has formed the foundation of his diet until now. I took milk away from him on Friday as it is not a part of GAPS, so far he is doing okay with not having it. I just keep telling him he can’t have it because it will hurt his tummy more and he seems to understand and then goes for a cup of water. It will be hard to make up for all those calories, nutrients and fats, but if it is aggravating his gut in anyway then I am eager to find another solution.

For those reading who are not familiar with GAPS, check out this post with notes from the seminar I attended at Wise Traditions. My goal is to do this protocol until I personally have 6 months of healthy digestion, in the hopes it won’t take forever. I am already eating a diet that is pretty close what is acceptable on GAPS and I have come to realize that I do not do well with any starchy foods at all. So I am hoping this will not be all that difficult. Honestly, I am looking at this as not a diet of deprivation but one of healing. I am tired of foods irritating me so I see this as not what I can’t have, but what I can have, a happy tummy. I do plan to keep my blog updated on my progress as well as share any recipes that I come up with, and hopefully post lots of pictures too.

(photo – my homemade ghee turned out great, I had a little trouble getting all the solids out, as you can see in one of the jars, but I think it will be fine as I am only using the ghee for cooking. I’ll just avoid the milk solids when I scoop it out.)



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Musings of a Housewife January 10, 2011 at 8:54 am

Wow. You are making me very scared. As you know, I went gluten free, inspired in large part by your story, but I still have some mild issues such as you describe. It’s hard for me to pinpoint the cause. I ate out yesterday, ordered a burger off the gluten free menu, and came home feeling NASTY. I felt pretty nasty in the tummy all day. I wonder if it’s the greasy cornfed beef? I used to tolerate restaurant burgers well. It’s been my go-to low-carb dining out meal for a long time. I’m bummed if I can no longer have it. I also think corn seems to bother me at times. I have taken to eating corn chips when I have the munchies, and a casserole with sprouted corn tortillas really bothered me both times I ate it last week. So I probably should eliminate corn.

I do hope I don’t have to resort to GAPS. It sounds so restricting. And I’m having trouble with getting the support I need here at home, which makes it difficult and awkward, especially when eating out.

I wish you the best of luck on this next phase of your journey to recovery and I am anxious to see how it goes!

lydia January 10, 2011 at 10:41 am

I was very leary of this for a long time Jo-Lynne, it has taken my a year and a half of psyching myself up for the possibility one day. If it helps I will post more often about my experience and include recipes and pictures – eating out is practically impossible and I RARELY do it anymore anyway. I suspect the beef could have made you sick. I won’t eat meat when I go out, I usually opt for seafood if it’s wild. The whole goal is to heal and seal the gut lining so that one day some of these foods can be added back in, like soaked and sprouted grains from time to time. I honestly don’t miss grains but chips once in a while are nice to be able to have. I plan to make my own chips at some point, as that crunch factor every now and again is a treat (not to mention a craving at times!).

Elizabeth @ Nourishing Creations January 10, 2011 at 9:43 am

I’m excited to learn more about your journey. I don’t know how I could take away raw milk from my 3 yr old- but you are a very determined mama- and it will serve you both very well in the big picture. I’ve got gaps files away in my head somewhere for when I’m ready, but in the meantime, i’m excited to learn more about it, and eventually read the book in full, also to learn about your experience with it!

lydia January 10, 2011 at 10:44 am

Elizabeth, I wasn’t psyched about taking the milk away, but since lactose and casein are hard on guts I had no choice since he is having gut issues. Not to mention he does not eat as much as he probably should and I think he may be anemic because of it. :(
Hopefully we will get to enjoy full fat dairy again down the road, I think we will. My goal is for enough healing to occur that we can have ice cream in the summer. Even still he and I enjoy our coconut milk ice cream just fine!!

vrinda January 17, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Great post and all the best for your journey!! I am looking at your ghee pics, ghee doesn’t look clear to me and the milk solids look white. When you make ghee, all the milk solids stick to the bottom and they should turn dark brown and ghee should become clear where you see the bottom of t and smell like a popcorn. In India people mix sugar with browned milk solid and enjoy as a trat.

vrinda January 17, 2011 at 6:09 pm

comment sent too soon without editing.:(

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