GAPS Diary: Stage 6 & Thanksgiving

In the latest edition of my GAPS Diary…

We moved on to Stage 6 of the GAPS Intro Diet on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. In this stage we can add in raw peeled fruit, more honey, and cakes and sweets made with almond flour and honey or dried fruit as sweeteners. I had been missing raw apples more than anything so that’s what I tried first. The crispness and the sweetness were wonderful! I tried raw pear a couple days later, which was also great.

None of us have much desire to have cakes or other sweet things on a regular basis, but we did want something like that on Thanksgiving, at least. It’s good to see so many GAPS-friendly recipes for sweets on the web so we don’t feel like we’re totally missing out on holidays and celebrations. Abstaining from sweets really makes you realize how much they are a part of everyday life for so many people. It seems there’s a “special” occasion, birthday, or holiday several times a week. Things like cookies are just everyday food, no longer reserved for special events. I think sweets once or twice a month might be appropriate for me.

Man had already incorporated alcohol back into his “diet”  🙂 but is still avoiding beer. He’s indulged in some other non-GAPS foods, which tend to make him feel bloated, but he’s still mostly avoiding gluten since that’s where he has the most noticeable digestive distress and brain fog.

After just a couple days on Stage 6, we moved to Full GAPS and we’re adding in additional new foods and monitoring how we feel. I’m still having soup once a day and ferments with every meal. Full GAPS honestly feels like a pretty liberal eating plan, and any inconvenience when traveling or eating out is completely outweighed by how good I feel.

I’ve been feeling so wonderful that I did not want to give up GAPS for Thanksgiving. Man & I went to Salt Lake City and I took the makings of my meal on the plane. Turkey from the farm we are members of, cauliflower for “fauxtatoes,” Brussels sprouts with hazelnuts, apples, crispy walnuts, date-pecan cookies, tiny containers of ghee and coconut oil, and unrefined sea salt – which I take pretty much everywhere now. (Unfortunately we couldn’t bring gravy on the plane, but my Man made the most delicious gravy! It was an excellent way to consume organ meats so I’ve asked him to write up the recipe and I’ll post it here). The turkey was already roasted, but I made the veggies and my apple-walnut bake while I was there. I didn’t feel tempted to eat any of the pies, which is usually my downfall (going to the stores with all the holiday chocolate lined up everywhere has been a little more challenging). I’ve never felt so great after a Thanksgiving meal! I ate a large amount of turkey and I don’t think it was what was making me sleepy after the meal all those other years. I’m pretty sure that was a carb-coma.

Man took a holiday from GAPS. He had mashed potatoes, wheat on several occasions, and was drinking. He was not feeling his best, but likes eating what his family makes. He was also lightly snoring again while we were there.

The morning after Thanksgiving we drove to Whole Foods to get food that we couldn’t bring on the plane or that I couldn’t live without for a weekend: sauerkraut, steak, ghee, eggs, salad makings, veggies for soup, apple, and pear. I had brought the turkey legs and wings in order to have bones to make into a soup while I was there.

While we were in Salt Lake we ate breakfast at a restaurant and I had eggs benedict with smoked salmon, no English muffin, and salad instead of potatoes. I feel a lot more confident about being “picky” about restaurant food now. This was the first time I’m aware that I had butter instead of ghee since I’ve given up dairy again. I felt fine and I didn’t break out, so that gives me hope for future butter usage.

I also tried a taste of some homemade elderberry wine at a friend’s house, which was my first alcohol since beginning GAPS. I was planning to wait until New Year’s Eve to have a drink, but I couldn’t pass up homemade wine made with foraged berries!

As for our general progress, I had my period for the second time since beginning GAPS and I’m amazed and excited to report that I had NO CRAMPS! I know this isn’t a concern for every woman, and my cramps weren’t especially severe, but I have had them every cycle for the past 24 years, so this is a significant change for me. I think I’m getting enough minerals for the first time in my life and going forward, cramps will be a great gauge of how my overall diet is meeting my needs.

Housemate went through a week of emotional turmoil and she was impressed with how well she’s handled it and was convinced that the diet has helped her remain calm. She says that in the past she would have experienced a lot of anxiety and irrational thinking and behavior in this situation. She has been struggling with some of the new foods and has identified more sensitivities than Man & I. When she was eating cooked apple she had really intense sweet cravings so she decided to stay away from fruit longer. Now she’s adding small amounts to her juice only.  Based on her symptoms, she thinks she has candida and that’s why she has more pronounced reactions. She’s also had bouts of constipation and diarrhea and wasn’t certain if it was a food or a tummy bug. She feels like GAPS has been two steps forward and one step back. It takes a few tries to really identify what food seems to cause which symptom. She had the biggest health challenges to begin with, and is making progress, so she’s completely committed to sticking with GAPS.

Man has lost 25 pounds. Housemate lost 10 pounds initially and has gained about 5 back. I lost 9 in the first few weeks, but have put 5 back on. I feel stronger than I have in a couple years and have actually had the energy to work out with weights, which I think is due to giving my muscles the properly digested fat that they need to work most efficiently.

It’s hard to put how good I feel in to words. My best description is nourished, calm, focused, and with enough energy to do anything I want. When I explain the ups and downs on GAPS, people tend to focus on the down moments, but it’s really worth it to me and I think for people who are interested, you’ve just go to try it for yourself and see where your experience takes you.

For more details about what GAPS encompasses and how it’s treated, please see Dr. Campbell-McBride’s GAPS website, or my GAPS Diet overview page. You can also contact me for a GAPS Consultation.

This post is part of Fight Back Friday at FoodRenegade.com!

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Lindsay Rojas (Vaughn) says:

I loved reading this! Thank you for taking the time and putting this amazing experience down in words. I am going to start GAPS, it’s just a matter of when. I know there will never be a good time. I know I am going to feel 110% better once I start this. Thank you for this inspirational post. Looking forward to this journey!

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Jessica says:

Hi! Just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate your GAPS journal! It’s nice to read about it from a more experiential perspective. I’m planning to go on it in January and will be helping a friend do it who has major health issues (including fibromyalgia).

I’m from Salem, OR and I’m interested in the NTP program. Any thoughts?

Jessica

jennutrition says:

Oh, thank you! I hope it’s helpful, I get a lot of encouragement reading other people’s stories so that’s why I wanted to share. 🙂

The NTP program is great and really gave me a solid foundation! It’s teaches you to differentiate between what’s in the news and what’s real based on physiology, science, and traditional wisdom. One of the areas where it differs from other nutrition programs is that we learn a Functional (physical) Evaluation, which allows you to learn things directly from the body that a person might not be aware of or tell you. There are so many directions you can go with the training, and I’ve made so many friends who share my passion. I’m a Group Leader for the Portland class this year and they are always working to enhance the program to make it even better. If you have other specific questions, feel free to e-mail me at bodywisdomnutrition@gmail.com or we can set up a time to talk on the phone too.