Monday, February 1, 2016

The GAPS diet -- one month in

Well, here we are in February already!  I can't believe how quickly we sped through January and we are having an absolutely beautiful day here in Toronto -- sunny and mild -- it really feels like spring is just around the corner although I know February, March and sometimes even April and May can be fickle and cruel.  Plus, we've had next to no snow so far, so part of me feels that we are going to end up paying for having it so easy thus far. But, never mind, I'm just enjoying this gift for what it is in the here and now! Tomorrow will be what it will be.

So, it's been one month since I started the GAPS diet and how am I doing?  Overall, I would say pretty good. The healing hasn't been as fast or dramatic as I had hoped it would be (that's just me being impatient -- the books clearly say that it's a long, slow process; we didn't end up with compromised digestive systems overnight and we won't heal them overnight either!), but it HAS been steady.

The greatest thing about it, I think is that it has given me a good roadmap to follow to start an elimination diet (which is what the GAPS Intro diet is). Now having achieved a more-or-less neutral, non-allergenic, non-inflamed digestive system, I have gained practice in slowly adding foods back into my diet and I am becoming aware of which foods I can tolerate and which ones I react to and need to eliminate again for now.

I have discovered, for example, that coffee and black tea are irritants, although I can have 1 or 2 cups of coffee a week and not have any problems.  Raw and cooked cabbage, too, is a problem, although fermented cabbage (i.e. sauerkraut) is easily tolerated. I know now what it feels like when I have ingested a food that I am still intolerant of and I know how long it takes (approx. 48-72hrs) for symptoms to appear.  And that's why the diary has become such a vital part of this exercise.

As of yesterday, I moved on to Stage 4 of the Intro diet, which allows me to have roasted meat and vegetables and I am currently trying potatoes. Although potatoes are off the GAPS diet completely, I seem to be having little, if any reaction to them and even though I don't eat a lot of them, it's nice to have the option of having them boiled or roasted (no french fries just yet!!).  Now that I know how my body reacts to intolerant foods, I feel more confident in branching out and trying different things -- still following the basic guidelines, of course.

I am hoping to move forward through Stages 4, 5 and 6 in the next couple of weeks and on to the full GAPS diet.  The best thing so far, is the elimination of the abdominal cramps, gas pains and bloating, which I recognize now as the symptoms of food intolerance.  Whenever I do experience symptoms, I consult the diary, see what I had eaten over the previous 2-3 days and eliminate any new food for the time being.  A tablespoon of kefir or whey helps calm things down again in the meantime.

My skin is slowly clearing up and I am gradually losing weight so that's good. The brain fog still comes and goes, although it is more intermittent again, like it used to be, and not a near-constant thing. So that's good too. Hopefully, as I continue on and my gut heals further, the fog will dissipate.

Time will tell!  On to February!

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