“Those without serious digestive problems and food intolerances can move through The Introduction Diet quite quickly.” Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride
When I started GAPS a year ago for my severe, chronically slow GI tract, I naively thought I could just speed through introduction. Not only did I think I could, I did, for better or for worse. This time around on GAPS re-Introduction, I’m less naive and more confident: food intolerances pinned down, cravings much improved, educated about issues like FODMAPs/amine intolerance/SIBO/coconut oil die off/etc, sorted through probiotic and supplement choices.
I am composing a list of thoughts from my twelve days of introduction, in no particular order. I am not a GAPS provider. I am not a practicing physician. Read my blog as an auto-biography of my musings and learnings as I journey through food, not as a source of medical diagnosis or treatment advice.
1. My fingernails are growing great with all of this broth!
2. Why does it seem I am getting more intolerances? I’ve seen other people complain about this. I used to theorize it was because I just wasn’t paying attention and didn’t recognize intolerances before starting GAPS. (A year ago, I never made a connection between food and any of my symptoms.) But I swear, when I started this diet, I was absolutely fine with chicken, chicken broth, and coconut products. In fact, I relied on them heavily early on. Over the year, head throbbing, tension headaches, fatigue, sleepiness, and grouchiness started setting in again–it took me awhile to pinpoint these “safe” foods as culprits, too, after initially feeling so great. Now, going through introduction, I can add egg yolks to the culprit list. I really thought those went fine on the last introduction, even though egg whites did not.
My second theory about my increasing food intolerance was that my body just took awhile to gear up its reaction after being inundated for so long with my dairy sensitivity (and possibly gluten–but I’ve had no true interaction with that this year so it’s not truly fair to say I’m gluten intolerant). And my third theory thought maybe I had a leaky gut early on, and so the foods I relied on heavily, I became intolerant to. Whatever the reason, egg yolks give me a 4-6 hour headache, sleepiness, and fatigue.
3. FODMAP foods clearly play a role in my bloating. Tomato, beets, and onion in a vegetable soup led to a few days of significant bloating and even a day of diarrhea (about 8 episodes), which prompted me to stop magnesium and all supplements, including the Saccharomyces I had been titrating up, egg yolks, Epsom salt baths, current soup batch, and sauerkraut. After several days, I pinpointed the diarrhea to too much tomato. The bloating to tomato, onion, and beets. When summer produce ends, I should probably be more FODMAP diligent.
4. Aside from that day of likely FODMAP overdose, I still don’t poop on my own. How that works I have no idea. Clearly my GI tract CAN work. So why doesn’t it all the other days? Insane. I can pee. I can sneeze. I can blink. I can gag. But I can’t poop. I stopped the magnesium for five days after the diarrhea episode, and I had five days of nothing. Coffee backwards and all. I retook my magnesium last night, and I’m sure it will take a couple of days to work. I am lucky, I guess. I really don’t have any uncomfortable feelings with this. I know some people do.
5. Hitting a roadblock at Stage 2 with eggs really puts a wrench in the situation. I had to waste several days figuring out it was egg yolks, which kept me on Stage 1 too long for my taste! I introduced egg yolks about day 4 or 5, when I was feeling very good. I started feeling bad in the head, and I didn’t know if it was a low carb syndrome or a response to the diet or just not enough calories. So I rode it out a day or two, very frustrated, until I dropped back to stage 1, removed chicken broth, chicken, and egg yolks (supplements and sauerkraut, too). I still am not sure about the chicken’s effects, and as I don’t want to feel bad again, I don’t want to stick it back in! However, the egg yolk I am sure about. The question is, what to do about it? I won’t eat them. I don’t want to feel bad. Do I stay on stage 1 until I can eat them? Ugh. Can I really stay on Stage 1 that long? I am not “that sick.” I should be able to fly through intro! Is it really the yolk itself? Or is it something the chickens are fed? Who knows?
This food voodoo is crazy. I guess that’s okay, as long as I’m not!
6. Ghee seems to be okay, I think. I don’t like it, though. But 1 teaspoon a day for two days seems fine so far. Good to know.
7. I have family visiting, and so I added in avocado to look and feel more normal eating. My turkey looks a lot better topped with boiled beets and avocado than it does plain.
8. I have lost track of stages. I’m certainly past stage 1, but not past stage 2, and since I know avocado from stage 3 and I get along great, aside from tummy bloating, I added that in yesterday. So I guess I’m stage 1, plus ghee and avocado. Those egg yolks really slowed my progress.
9. I did cheat one day when my family first came (Day 9). I had 6 super fresh sweet cherries. A few bites of fresh cucumber with vinegar. And wilted Swiss chard with bacon drippings. And some grilled zucchini. But I suffered no ill effects from that, and I’m back on track.
10. Is GAPS helping me? I don’t know! It clearly helped me identify food intolerances, but will they go away? And why is it the best I can get my constipation is GAPS plus magnesium? I really, really hoped constipation would go away. And if I am stricter will nuts, eggs, coconut, chicken?, dairy, and gluten eventually be able to be incorporated into my diet without dry eyes, headaches, grouchiness, pelvic pain, etc? Or are they things that will just need left out and retried intermittently?
11. Why are you doing this? Now it has become a challenge. A personal test of this diet. A curiosity of mine. Am I banging my head against a wall? Maybe, but it’s an experiment to try. I’ve always been stubborn, but I’m not stupid. So I’ll see what’s up. I’m watching. Weighing. Reading. Listening. Observing. In the end, I may not follow any diet plan at all except my own, based on my own self-observation. And that’s probably the best diet for me. I’m totally able to accept GAPS won’t cure my GI tract and food intolerances, but I think it deserves a good trial. And it seems there are plenty of other people and conditions it has helped.
12. I roasted a turkey that we had in the freezer from Thanksgiving for my family, and then I boiled the bird for me. I don’t know if that’s completely legal, but it sure did taste great and made good broth! It kept me going. It was a pastured turkey, and the meat is lasting forever. So is the darn liver on that thing. It was huge. And seafood still helps keep me going, too.
In the draft bin: What I am Feeding My Poor Family During Their Stay With Me