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!