Thursday, September 6, 2012

GAPS Intro: Day One Here I go!

Last Novemember we started little Henry on the GAPS diet.  At that time he was considered failure to thrive, he weighed just a little over 20 lbs at 30 months old.  In an effort to help Henry heal his issues with chronic aspiration, difficulty swallowing, chronic diarrhea, lack of growth, reflux and asthma like symptoms;  I put the entire family on a gluten-free-dairy-free diet for close to a year before we even discoverd GAPS. 

The GAPS Diet is based on Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride's book Gut and Psychology Syndrome.  The purpose of the introduction  Diet?  In her own words "To heal and seal the gut lining quickly."    I personally like the words "quickly."  This of course can mean different things to different people.  She mentions that most people will need about two years to heal their body, some more, some less.  Many people come to GAPS with a host of medical and or psychological problems.  While others may only have  simple digestive issues.   I can't recommend more highly,  that you begin by reading the book, no matter what your situation.  The book will  help you to understand the basis behind the diet and why.  I personally feel that no matter where you fall in the spectrum of chronic issues or if you feel you are in optimum health,  you can still benefit from the diet and the principles Dr. Natasha teaches about having a healthy gut.   She discusses how chronic health issues, autoimmune diseases, autism, celiac, seizures, OCD, schizophrenia and basically all disease originates in the gut.  If you can heal your gut, you can heal your body. 

Last November, we put Henry on the introduction diet and went through all the stages with him until just a few months ago  he was able to "graduate" to the FULL GAPS diet it.  Eleven months later Henry has gained four pounds and he has grown several inches in height.  He can eat many foods that he could not tolerate prior to GAPS including dairy, which used to cause him to become very sick.  This included abdominal pain, vomiting and having days of diarrhea sometimes with flecks of blood and weakness afterwards.  I am AMAZED at the healing that has transpired in my son due to his progress on the diet.   The rest of my family remains on the FULL GAPS diet which allows for most fruits and vegetables but is free of grains, starchy vegetables and most beans except white beans, lentils and green beans.   Our family hasn't tried lentils yet.

I didn't personally do the GAPS Introduction Diet because I felt that I couldn't handle my body detoxing while I was trying to start Henry on the Intro.  Everything GAPS was so new to me at the time and I felt really overwhelmed as I started the diet for him.  I felt that I needed to have the energy to cook for him and so I just started eating the full GAPS diet which is less restrictive.  Over the coarse of the past few months, just doing full GAPS I have improvements in some of my symptoms which included abominal pain, body aches and fatigue.   

Prior to beginning GAPS I was dealing with what I thought was" chronic care giver fatigue".  I don't know if that is the official terminology, but that's what I call it!    You mom's know what I'm talking about, this is the fatigue that comes from taking care of a sick child night and day.  It is the fatigue that comes with fighting what feels like a loosing battle when doctors run gamuts of tests and tell you they have no idea what is wrong with your child and they aren't sure if they can ever fix it.  It was the fatigue of me working night shifts and trying to also take care of a sick child and three other children; at the time my husband was unemployed and then under-employed for almost two years during the most difficult time of Henry's illness.  Naturalpaths like to call this adrenal fatigue.  The adrenal glands are responsible for your "fight or flight" hormones.  News flash, you aren't supposed to LIVE in fight or flight mode for years at a time!  Warning:  If you do, you drain your body of certain hormones, you end up with chronic fatigue or adrenal insufficiency.   Eventually your body just says: I've had enough.   Most days I was so tired I wanted to just sit around and do nothing.  Note: working nights shifts doesn't help this any.  I felt like I had constant brain fog.  I started to use caffeine as a way to stay awake, the only problem was I had to keep drinking it all day to stay awake.  Then I couldn't sleep at night.   I KNEW I was addicted to caffeine, but I couldn't give it up--wait, isn't that the definition of an addiction?    Also, for the past several years I had this horrible abdominal pain on the right side under my ribs.  Sometimes it would be associated with nausea, bloating and feeling like I   couldn't eat for hours.  I had every test run because it really seemed like my gal bladder, but everything came back negative.   Then I started just feeling like my bones ached ALL the time, I started to feel like an old woman and I am only thirty-two.  Some days it hurt to walk.  I knew that I needed to exercise but I was having too much pain and I was too tired to imagine even trying.

Like every other mother, I pushed my own health aside and focused on my children.  A few months ago, with Henry finally feeling better on GAPS I decided to have my labs drawn.  I found out that my vitamin D levels were extremely low.  I'm happy to report after just a few weeks of being on a vitamin D supplement, the fatigue improved, the bone pain and body aches resolved.  Man that vitamin D is important for a lot of thing!   I also felt like prior to starting the vitamin D supplement I was feeling anxious and also easily frustrated, that too went away after supplementing. 

So now that Henry is on the Full GAPS Diet and GAPS itself is a regular routine in our home.  I'm ready to take the plunge into the GAPS INTRO.  Remember how I mentioned that I WAS addicted to caffeine?  I gave it up about a month ago.  COLD TURKEY.  I did the unthinkable.  I stopped drinking it one day.  Not because I wanted too, but because I had too.    Even though I've been on FULL GAPS for ten months, I never had given up coffee, I was drinking a pretty strong brew, and almost a pot a day!   Suddenly one day after drinking it, I started having severe abdominal pain and nausea and the chills.  Not sure what it was but, every time I drank it I would feel this way.  I assumed I must have burnt a hole into my stomach from drinking so much coffee, so I quit.  With the last major hurdle out of the way, I was ready to begin the GAPS INTRO.

So hear I am, I started it today, I'm ready to finally take the time to heal my gut once and for all.  Have I been avoiding the intro?  Of course, I am so scared of detox and more fatigue!   Only this time, I KNOW what's around the corner; because I put my son on the intro and there is an amazing difference in his health today.  What's the secret thing that Henry and I share that I like to pretend isn't happening because I'm so used to my body being ill?   Every day of my life for as long as I can remember I've had cramping followed by diarrhea several times a day.  I always attributed it to "lactose" intolerance.  On the FULL GAPS diet, the bloating and pain has significantly decreased.  But I still have the runs, more often than I'd like to admit.  I'm just used to it.  But I know this isn't normal.  Much of my fatigue, bloating and stomach pain has improved on Full GAPS, but I still have reflux and pain from time to time that I would like to get rid of once and for all.

So here I am, FINALLY trying to take a step in the direction of taking care of myself, so I can hopefully be healthy long term and have the energy to take care of my family.  Today is DAY one of the intro and it looked like this:

Took my GUT PRO pro-biotic powder with water
Drank my chicken broth and had some grass feed beef that I had cooked for over 24 hours in my beef meat broth, mixed in my homemade pickle juice for a good pro-biotic source, you can also try kraut juice, and if you can't make your own check out Bubbies!  .
Had my cod liver oil--not fermented, gonna have to work up to that--I know it's the best kind!
Snack:  Drank my Kombucha, probably not recommended for the intro for kids, but I've been drinking it for a long time and it really sooths my stomach, it has an affect much like apple cider vinegar for me as far as aiding digestion.  I LOVE Kombucha and might have to post about it some day, but for now check out the link to make your own.
Lunch:  Grassfed/beef meat broth, with a little whey mixed in
Snack: Chicken broth with whey
Dinner:  Haven't had it yet but more of the same

So as you can see, the preparation part is pretty easy.  Just make a bunch of broth and be sure to have your probiotics, cod liver oil available  before you start. 

How I'm feeling today:

When I first started GAPS last November I felt REALLY nauseated when I drank broth, and then EXTREMELY tired.   If  you are doing the intro and are coming off a TRADITIONAL American diet, be prepared to feel a little off.  Start out slow and be nice to yourself.  Start the intro on a weekend so you can rest and have someone home to help out with the kids.   Mixing the pro- biotic juice from sauerkraut really helps with the nausea and digestion. 

Thankfully, because I am used to eating good fats like coconut oil, lard, real butter, raw milk and cream I'm not feeling nauseated even drinking broth that has oil pooling at the top of it.   What I do have is a headache brewing and I feel really sleepy and a little irritable, watch out family!  I'm also extreemly thirsty and having to drink much more water than I normally would.  I think I will go to bed early tonight, hum maybe I'll do a detox bath, that sounds relaxing.


1 comment:

  1. wow! great post! thanks for journaling it. hoping to join you on intro soon! :)