An update to my GAPS Diary…
We began Stage 4 of the GAPS Intro on Wednesday, October 26th. In this stage we introduced daily carrot juicing, olive oil, meat that is roasted or broiled, and baking breads with nut flours. I got off to a rough start and we ended up doing this stage for about two weeks, but that was mostly due to convenience. I went out of town for a week and it was just easiest to bring the allowable foods with me and not worry about introducing anything new. When I returned I had lots of work to catch up on, so trying new foods and recipes seemed like it would have taken too much effort.
On the first day I had a little bit of fresh carrot juice mid-morning. I don’t know if this was too much concentrated sugar, or if the chicken for lunch an hour later just wasn’t enough to hold me over, because I was hungry with sweets cravings within an hour of lunch. That afternoon I made two eggs, and had about 1/3 cup of yogurt on the side. I put cinnamon, sea salt, and a teaspoon of honey in it. This was a big mistake for me! My stomach ended up churning and my sweet cravings were worse! I felt out of control for the first time since we’d started GAPS and was about ready to scrap the whole diet! I ate two small handfuls of crispy cashews and justified it by chewing them really well, so they were basically like nut butter before I swallowed. I knew that foods should be warm and in certain combinations and I was breaking those rules. I calmed down, recognized that this was just a minor incident, and that overall I’ve felt great on the diet and do not want to give it up!
Housemate says she’s having a hard time with the baths because it seems like she can feel toxins being pulled from her and it is a little intense. She’s also been having intestinal pain in her lower right side off and on. This coincided with the introduction of dairy so she’s decided to take it out for a few days to see if that’s the cause.
The next day I was in serious food prep mode preparing for my upcoming trip to Seattle. I dehydrated almonds and baked the basic bread recipe for the first time. The variation I used was almond flour, yogurt, eggs, and salt. I tried these with olive oil on them and that was delicious. I also made beef soup, baked a chicken, and then baked squash in order to make pancakes.
Friday I was back at it again. I baked a double batch of the basic bread into biscuits so I could take some with me and leave some for the others. In addition, I made a batch of pancakes with pecan butter. I was concerned that I would need snack-type foods since I was going to be visiting several friends and would not always be near a kitchen.
When Man got home from work that night he told me that one of his co-workers had complained about the smell of his “non-breakfast” foods being heated in the kitchen in the mornings. Apparently the smell of soup makes them sick at that hour. He decided to keep the peace by buying a toaster oven to put in the smaller kitchen that this person doesn’t frequent. I don’t think I could have handled that situation with such grace. Housemate reports that her intestinal pain is gone now.
On Saturday morning I headed to Seattle. I took a big cooler filled with eggs, soup, chicken, roasted vegetables, sauerkraut, yogurt, sour cream, biscuits, pancakes, avocado, salt, and supplements. When I arrived I heated some soup and then went to a pumpkin patch and harvest festival with some friends and their kids. I was a little envious of people taking part in the wine tasting that was offered. I’m not a frequent drinker, but I do like trying wines. It just goes along with being a foodie for me. All the beautiful descriptions and complex flavors to discover.
That night was Halloween events, and because I was attending parties where I didn’t know a lot of people, I thought it would be difficult to go without drinking. I am susceptible to the “need” for a drink to loosen up when I feel a little social anxiety. Instead of alcohol, I went with a super-good friend as my “crutch,” and felt really proud of myself at the end of the night. I was surprised that I was easily able to stay up until 3AM with no caffeine, sugar, etc. Man and Housemate went to a party near home with lots of close friends and also stayed sober. Before bed we texted our congratulations to each other.
On Sunday I was so happy to wake up feeling great – with no hangover! That afternoon I went to my parent’s house and when I showed up they were eating nachos. My mom was baking a cake to make cake pops for work, and making some other sort of treat involving cool whip, cream cheese, and melted chocolate to draw a spider web. There was a HUGE bowl of Halloween candy on the table. This environment was a test for me. I was hungry, chips and chocolate are some of my go-to comfort foods, and the chocolate smelled really good! Right away I heated up some of my chicken and veggies. Soon enough I was satiated and that was the end of temptation.
Monday evening I went to a yoga class with a friend and had dinner at some other friends’ house. It was a last minute potluck and it turned out to be a sort of mini Thanksgiving. One friend made the most delicious turkey I have ever tasted! It was the only thing that I was able to eat, but it was so good it didn’t matter. No one seemed to mind that I all I had on my plate was a big pile of turkey. I found myself explaining to my friends that this diet makes me feel “high on life,” but not in the endorphin-rush sort of way, more of a continual feeling.
Both Tuesday and Wednesday nights I ate dinner at restaurants with friends. This was my first foray into eating food that wasn’t home-cooked. One night I had steak and a few asparagus tips. The next night I had grilled salmon and veggies. I don’t know what kinds of oils were used in these meals, but I didn’t want to be too difficult. I have to say that neither of the meals lasted me very long – I don’t think they contained the amount of fat that I’m used to eating. I also realized that I was constipated. I hadn’t really thought much about it since I was out of my normal routines, but it had been over two days.
I strayed from the diet one other time while I was away. I stayed with a friend who has a British housemate, and almost right away we started talking about our love of real foods. He insisted that I have an English breakfast that included eggs, English bacon, and blood sausage. These were all from pastured-raised animals and an authentic English butcher – not something I’m offered every day, so I had to say yes. Everything was delicious and I didn’t have any noticeable reactions, so it was worth it.
When I returned home on Thursday, refreshed and glowing from time spent with loved ones, I came to the realization that my skin had been breaking out mildly, but consistently. I traced this back to the introduction of the dairy and decided to remove it again. Over the weekend my skin was clearing.
I worked at the school all weekend and decided to make beet kvass after sampling some that a friend made. Housemate made a couple jars of sauerkraut. It’s amazing how much sauerkraut we go through now – we’re eating about ¼ to ½ cup per meal. We would save so much money if we could get it together to make a big batch, but that hasn’t happened yet, so we’re supporting our local cultured veggie producers.
Housemate said she had been feeling low energy and under the weather. She wasn’t happy about it, but says this was an improvement over the same time last year when she was having terrible allergies and asthma. She did a neti pot with probiotics in it and that helped her feel a lot better.
On Monday morning I grabbed a biscuit made with yogurt out of convenience and ended up with two new pimples later that day. So now I am really off dairy! I’m planning to stay away from it for a month and then maybe try a goat’s milk yogurt. Housemate tried dairy again and the intestinal pain came right back, so she’s also keeping it out. Man doesn’t mind at all because he gets to eat all of the delicious sour cream by himself.
Since I was away I wasn’t really able to start the juicing properly, but I’m getting in to having carrot juice twice a day now that I’m settling back into a normal schedule. I’m so hungry when I get up in the morning that I haven’t been able to just have juice and wait until 10AM for breakfast like Dr. Natasha advises. Instead I’ve been having it a couple hours after breakfast and a couple hours after lunch. Both Housemate and Man were enjoying the juice while I was away and they are now able to add in celery, lettuce, and mint.
Moving on to Stage 5, we’ll add some softer parts of raw veggies, like green and red leaf lettuces and peeled cucumber, then cooked apple puree. We’ll also be able to add some fruit to the juices. I’m a little nervous about adding fruit in – I’m afraid it will trigger sugar cravings, but we’ll see.
Read on for Stage 5 of my GAPS Diary.
If you’re getting started on GAPS and have lots of questions like this, join my upcoming online GAPS Diet Class and get them answered while you learn the cooking too!