In January I started the GAPS protocol in order to hopefully heal and seal my gut lining that had become agitated over the years for various reasons. One being a gluten intolerance, taking a dose of antibiotics, as well as having adrenal fatigue. I was able to stay on the regime for about 6 weeks with decent results, until the time came for me to get my home ready for market. I began to paint every day and do projects on the house and that left no time for all the food preparation involved on GAPS. So I decided to take a break from it and stayed as close to the full GAPS dietary guidelines as possible. Since life was so uber busy for about 6 straight weeks, at times I would simply eat for convenience, consuming some foods I knew that would somewhat irritate my already sensitive gut. I would occasionally eat corn products, and some rice as well as dairy and things with sugar in them rather than just honey. My health definitely did go downhill, though I think it was in large part due to all of my interactions with paints and other toxic items used to work on my home. Not to mention that it was winter at the time and I was stuck in an enclosed freshly painted home where nearly every room had been painted.
I quickly realized that I really could not tolerate any dairy other than butter or ghee, a fact I had pretty much already surmised was true, but now was certain of. I also retained a semi protuded belly that felt like it had lead in it. Not quite as lead like as I had felt in years past, but still that lingering pudge that would just not budge. One of my main goals in tackling GAPS was to relieve constipation issues that I had struggled with forever it seems and that sort of continued to fester once of of GAPS. As I finalized work in my home I began to shift back closer to the full GAPS plan, though I unfortunately was not able to include much bone broth. However, as I recently have re-upped my fat intake, and am staying consistent with taking my daily FCLO, and am faithful to take a daily dose of magnesium I have noticed my constipation dissolve.
So here I am to say, that my brief stint of GAPS eating showed me that I need to stick with it. There are many foods I am still sensitive to and I know that my gut lining still has a ways to go with healing. I do find sticking with GAPS to be a great challenge time wise, but it is worth the effort as otherwise healing would take eternally long or not happen at all. Right now I am eating lots of proteins, fats, ferments, some veggies, very little fruit if any at all and a touch of honey in my tea. Nuts are not something I tolerate well if consumed regularly so I need to limit nuts to perhaps once or twice a week, and to note I find I tolerate the nut butters better than the nuts themselves. I am very sensitive to sugar other than honey and even honey can cause me to crave more sweets. I have begun to take L-glutamine again to help with the sugar cravings and to feed those lovely enterocytes in my gut which will promote the healing and sealing of the lining. I am grateful to have gained a deeper insight into what foods heal me and what foods detract from that healing along with knowing for sure what foods are just never worth it for me to consume ever again. (such as gluten and straight milk.) Eating starches only agitates my gut and distends my tummy a bit. The weight comes right off my belly when I ditch the starchy carbs. Not to mention when I eat some starch it only makes me want to eat more and then everything just snowballs.
At this current time I am back following basic GAPS and am seeing good results already. I can’t wait to see what another 6 weeks will do for me. I do hope to consume more broth and now that my farmer’s market is almost back into full swing I should have no problem obtaining the most nutritious foods needed to maintain my healing. Liver is on my radar and this week in particular, I plan to eat it several times, as well as make ‘liver pills’ to take daily. After consuming some chili with plenty of liver in it yesterday, I know I feel great when I eat it. So it’s a no brainer that this super food must become a top priority in my diet.
Ferments are also key, and I am grateful to be teaching a few upcoming classes on various forms of fermentation at my local health food cooperative. It inspires me to hone in on this ever so beneficial art of food preservation and focus on repopulating the good flora in my gut. I have been enjoying coconut kefir as I cannot tolerate milk kefir, as well as cortido, sauerkraut, pickled beets, bread and butter pickles and soon will be relishing some cauliflower green bean pickles as well as water kefir and kombucha. The water kefir and kombucha will have to be fermented longer and will be more sour, but to decrease the sugar content this is a necessary step. The more fermented foods I eat the less I crave sweets.
Eating ample protein is key as well in defeating sugar cravings. I have found on days that I know I will be working out lifting weights, if I eat 4 eggs for breakfast I do not crave sugar at all and am deeply satisfied all day to the point I only need two meals. One of my goals in addition to healing my gut is to burn off some of the unwanted fat hovering in my midsection. Interval and strength training in addition to the GAPS diet are key in burning off fat stores. I have seen a fair bit fade off in the past few weeks and I hope by summer to say goodbye to the tummy flub altogether. A lot of the fat I had has slowly disappeared since starting to consume an all Real Food diet with a dramatic shift when I went gluten and grain free. I think my hold up on the last bit has been due in part to still having leaky gut and most likely some liver toxicity. So as I plod on I expect to see slow but constant forward motion as this is a one day at a time journey I am on.
Thankfully, I do not experience the uncomfortable symptoms that once plagued me, such as painful bloating, raw irritated gut, gas, constipation and very painful menstrual cycles (that had gone for well over a year, but came back as soon as I went off GAPS). Progress has been slow but steady and I am eager to see more and more issues melt away. Normal digestion would be a welcome friend and I do believe that is in my future. To all those out there fighting the good fight of obtaining greater health, hang in there it’s a fight worth suiting up in your armor for to slay the dragons of ill health!
(above photo – look how delicious eating can be on GAPS, you certainly do not have to feel one bit deprived. This was my breakfast today, smoked salmon smeared with cultured butter, sprinkled with kelp, one lonely sardine, roasted asparagus with mustard butter sauce, and fermented sauerkraut. I also had 3 cups of organic green tea with a touch of raw honey in each mug.)