First things first: the whole a-few-times-a-week blogging thing is not working out.  As I suspected, my procrastination is getting the better of me and instead of blogging, I just think about what I should blog…later.  So I’m getting back to daily posts, come hell or high water!

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I’m on day 4 of the GAPS intro diet, and my body is…confused.  On the first day I was dizzy and weak; Days 2 & 3 I felt energetic and positive, and spent much of those days doing heavy physical labor that left me feeling better than when I started.  Today I pretty much feel like I’ve been run over by a Mack truck.  This is probably due to the heavy physical labor of the previous two days, but I’m not counting out the main reaction to the intro diet, which is commonly known as die-off – I’ll get into that in a different post.

This seems as good a moment as any to discuss (and remind myself) why I’m doing this, and why now is the time!

What is GAPS?

GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome, and has been developed by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to describe a myriad of symptoms that she believes originate in the gut.  These include autism, schizophrenia, depression, ADHD, ADD, dyslexia, depression, and other serious issues.  (Can I just say, wow??? if she’s right?)  She also has found (and I’ve read a number of testimonies to the same effect) that most food allergies and sensitivities are caused by problems in the gut – that’s why I’ve started GAPS.

Dr. Campbell-McBride developed the theory after her son was diagnosed with autism, and she successfully healed his condition with nutrition.  Yeah, read that sentence again.  WOW.  She suspected that his autism was being caused by a “leaky gut” that was allowing undigested particles of food to leak through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream, where it affected the brain and other organs.  She used a combination of healing bone broth which supports re-growth of the cells of the gut lining, and probiotics which re-line the gut with beneficial flora.  His dramatic transformation inspired her to try out her protocol with other patients, and after many successes she published her book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome in 2004.  An expanded edition was published last year, and in the seven years since the book was first published a number of support websites have cropped up all over the internet.

So what I’m trying to say, is this has been around for a good while.  And seriously, the testimonies are heartening.  On Monday I posted a link to a beautiful tear-jerking blog post where a woman posted several videos of her son before and after starting GAPS.  If you haven’t watched the videos yet, I really encourage it – so inspiring!

Why now?

Even thought I’ve had the book for several years, I hadn’t read too far into it for some reason; the diet came onto my radar about six weeks ago, when Ann Marie Michaels of the Cheeseslave blog offered her class, called “Reversing Food Allergies”.  Wait, what?  Reversing food allergies? The possibility had never occurred to me, but all of a sudden I couldn’t think of anything else.  Just think, one day I might be able to have bruschetta again.  I could have birthday cake that isn’t made with millet and amaranth (nothing against those fine gluten-free grains) or almond butter and a dozen eggs (that would be the grain-free version, since my body started to react to all grains).  I dreamed of the freedom that I used to take for granted: to be able to eat anything put in front of me.  To enjoy a dinner party without sending instructions to the host in advance (or worse, neglecting to tell the host in advance and having to stir the food around on my plate to keep from being too obvious about the fact that I can’t eat what they made – ugh).  Imagine!  Can you imagine?

Still, six weeks ago I wasn’t quite ready.  It’s quite a commitment; Ann Marie had stayed on the diet for two years – not an uncommon amount of time, as many people’s guts are quite compromised.  I didn’t want to jump into this unless I could complete it, and when is the right time to embark on a two-year journey of even more stringent foodways than my current gluten-free dairy-free grain-free egg-free soy-free sugar-free way of life?  Oh dear.

I hemmed and hawed.  I read Ann Marie’s webpage a few times a week.  I wondered where the money would come from.  Did I really want to be on a special diet for my wedding in September?  For our honeymoon?

I signed up.

Then a financial crisis came along, and I got scared.  I canceled every non-necessary purchase I had made in the previous days, including my enrollment in the course.  Still, the thoughts persisted.  I might be able to heal these food allergies. I got a 45-day work assignment in rural Texas, in a hotel room with only a microwave and mini-fridge.  (I leave next Wednesday).  Strangely enough, even that didn’t deter me; I could pack our extra slowcooker in my suitcase, I thought.  Although it seemed crazier and crazier to start this ball rolling, it also seemed to make more sense than anything else I could imagine…if I could heal.

And then, of course, I received the great Mastering the Art of French Cooking and realized that I would never be able to try so many of these wonderful recipes unless I healed.

In reading the GAPS book, I discovered that a baby’s gut health is almost entirely dependent on the mother’s gut’s health, and it became crystal clear to me that if I could heal my own gut, maybe I could prevent a future child from having to dodge gluten and dairy for all of her life.  Wouldn’t that be a gift.

(Do you sense the theme emerging?)

Finally, on Sunday night I stumbled upon Baden Lashkov’s blog that supports her book, GAPS Guide.  And there it was: “I’m starting the GAPS intro diet tomorrow, and anyone who wants to join me is welcome!”  Without thinking – I had to do it without thinking – I commented.  “I’m in.” God help me, I’m in!  It was just that simple.  Thinking about a decision can take a lifetime, but making the decision takes no more than a moment.  And I’m in.

The First Few Weeks

This first few weeks are very restrictive: my daily meals consist of soup made with bone broth, meat and vegetables, all well-cooked; and some probiotic food, currently sauerkraut juice.  Slowly other foods are added in: my introduction of raw egg yolks have gone well, and I will try avocado tomorrow.  Then pancakes made with nut butter and zucchini, and the thing that will probably save me: ghee.  (That’s clarified butter, which is luscious and safe for most dairy-avoiders to eat, and tastes even more like butter than butter, if you can imagine.)

For the most part I’ve actually felt really good even though I’m eating probably half of what I normally eat; there have only been slightly psychotic cravings for peanut butter chocolate fudge today (watching Julie & Julia probably doesn’t help a whit).  But I’m in, and it’s just that simple.

I’ll be posting about my journey, as well as other topics of course.  I’ll have to, with a daily post commitment!  (Secret: I’m glad to be back to writing every day.  I’ve missed you.)  🙂

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