Twelve Thoughts for Twelve Days of GAPS Intro


3 egg yolks

3 egg yolks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“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.

That’s enough!


In the draft bin: What I am Feeding My Poor Family During Their Stay With Me

7 thoughts on “Twelve Thoughts for Twelve Days of GAPS Intro

  1. Natalia Holcomb

    I’m starting the Specific Carbohydrate Diet next week. My husband will be gone for 3 weeks so I’m hoping for some improvement with my gut issues. The chronic constipation started a year ago, for no apparent reason. I’d been eating Primal and treating an apparent candida overgrowth (yeast infections) w/ supplements and just returned from a weekend “off” at a lake house with friends. A week or two into the constipation, my (now) husband and I were hit with some bug that gave us diarrhea. Mine ended before the week was up and I went back to constipated. I saw a doctor and he gave me a miriad of supplements to take, primarily Vitamin C. It’s been all trial and error since then. The most improvement for this IBS that I’ve found is recently, with taking peppermint oil capsules 15 minutes before a meal, digestive enzymes at the start of the meal, and 200 mg of magnesium citrate at the end of the meal, plus 400 more at bedtime. Spaced throughout the day, I usually have a bowel movement (sometimes easy, sometimes now, trying not to strain) in the afternoon or evening.

    I’m now at 9 days gluten-free again and hoping to find answers. Glad I’m not alone.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Not alone! Thanks for sharing your story, too! I’ve read several stories similar to yours; in some way, it’s even more confusing than my lifelong issue! It’s good to have something that “works” for us, but it is always fluctuating and tenuous! I am so interested to see how SCD does for your constipation, and I wish you such good luck! I’ve tried vitamin C and digestive enzymes without success. Gluten-free helped other issues, but not my GI tract, although I have a family member who went gluten-free and that took care of their constipation issues (not a severe problem for them). The peppermint oil is a lead for me to read up on! Thanks! I do hope you check back in every now and then to offer any findings! Thanks!

      1. Natalia Holcomb

        I’ll keep you posted! It’s funny, I realized this morning that I’ve experienced constipation on and off pretty regularly throughout my entire life. I used to avoid using the bathroom at my friends’ houses because I didn’t want to be in there for a long time! It’s going to be a long journey 🙂

  2. myjourneythrume

    Oh Terri I totally feel and share your pain. No matter what I do, without flaxseed or soluble fibre supplements I do not poop on my own either. I too feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall. On the food intolerances my only conclusion is that the more you eat something you more likely you are to develop a food intolerance to it. I relied heavily on almonds, coconut, soya and others and hey presto that’s what I’m intolerant to for sure. But then it doesn’t always follow cos grapes I never ate and yet I definitely have an issue with them. And other things that I did eat lots of e.g. tomatoes I’m okay with…or am I…who knows cos my gut is far from happy, ditto my overall health. Interesting the link you make with leaky gut there. Think I need something to rub on my head from all the banging against the wall I’m doing. Do you ever feel like it’s all a big game that the universe is playing and beating you at? It’s like haha you’ll never get to the bottom of it, we’ll always find something else to throw at you…ok so now I sound like a loony and will stop. On a serious note, I’ve been taking peppermint capsules (enteric coated so no reflux) and I think theyre helping…tho really I have no clue. Also fennel tea seems to help a lot with bloating for me.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Yeah. C’est la vie. (I had to do that, you know, with your recent French connection. Ha!) That is the second peppermint oil “lead” I have seen now in two days! I had not read about that, and it sounds quite benign to try (I think–although I haven’t read on it yet!). I am relieved that at least I have learned to control so much with certain food avoidance! Before I even knew it was food, I was helpless against “the universe.” I am in hopes that you will get better through your searches! Thanks for the pointers on peppermint oil and fennel tea. Need to check those out!

  3. Pingback: Random Thoughts From Day 19 of GAPS Introduction | the homeschooling doctor

  4. Pingback: GAPS (Re)Introduction Finished | the homeschooling doctor

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