I have decided that today is officially my last day on the GAPS Intro diet. Having now completed all six stages, I have a very definite idea of what works and what doesn't and what food intolerance feels like for me.
Pinpointing the exact culprit of an intolerance episode isn't always so easy, as the symptoms tend to manifest themselves anywhere from 24-72 hours after the fact. Having the diary has helped immensely, but sometimes it seems to me that there could be one or more foods causing any given intolerance episode. So, it has become a matter of repeated trial and error.
I am using the diary to identify potential food candidates for repeat trial. For example, I am currently suspecting the chickpea hummus I had a couple of weeks ago as well as the canned strawberries I had on my yogourt for breakfast a few days ago. I will try each of these foods again, but in isolation making sure the rest of my diet is "safe" for a few days following the trial so if I experience intolerance symptoms during that period, I will be fairly confident that the trial food is the culprit.
So far, I have identified raw and cooked cabbage and black or green tea as definite irritants and now potentially strawberries and chickpeas. "Try it and see" has become my motto and as of tomorrow I will be following the full GAPS diet while trying various foods for intolerance reactions. I will not be reporting daily in the diary as I have been during the Intro diet, rather I will add an entry only to report the trial results of a new food and/or a significant change in my weight.
I have already tried potatoes, grains (in the form of bread and English muffins) and dairy in small amounts and I am greatly encouraged by the lack of reaction so far. I will slowly increase my intake until I am certain that I am not gluten and/or dairy intolerant. As mentioned above, strawberries and chickpeas will be individually tested again and monitored for reaction and eventually I will add other legumes in small amounts, again individually and monitored for reaction. These are all forbidden foods on the GAPS diet, but having tried most of them already, I am looking forward to adding as many of them as possible back into my diet.
Overall, I would say it has been a significant adjustment to my cooking and eating habits, but it has all been for the good. I am feeling much better now than I was at New Year's, the constant sluggish, bloated, inflamed feeling has disappeared, my skin and "foggy-headedness" have improved considerably and I've lost 15 pounds!
I hope to be back to a new-and-improved version of my former diet within a few months and with luck and a little willpower, I would like to lose another 15 pounds. Time will tell, but I hope you'll stay with me and see what happens!