It seems that everyone (and their mother) has been asking me about how the diet is going. It’s actually been quite interesting having conversations with so many people who are interested in the concepts of the GAPS Diet, and who are more and more convinced that diet and health are intricately connected. I’ve had quite a number of people express interest in doing the diet, or seeing the need for it in a loved one’s life. I am convinced that most people I know would greatly benefit from doing the GAPS Diet themselves. I hope that my documentation of our family’s journey on the diet will show you that if we can do it, anyone else can too!
Changes in our Health
It has been quite an interesting month. For the first time in my life, I’ve begun to be regular.
Yeah, you know what I mean.
(I just thought I may as well put that out there – this blogger cannot be shy about these things, especially while journeying through the GAPS Diet. What’s the point? Everyone poops and pees, but no one wants to talk about it.)
Chris has noticed much improvement in this area as well, but we’re still very much in the beginning of our healing. As for our poor little guy – his chronic diarrhea has come and gone, and as of now has not yet permanently gone. It doesn’t help that on a couple of occasions, while in the children’s programs at church/MissionFest, he has been given a cracker or cookie, which has caused several days worth of diarrhea 3-4x/day, each time. It was my fault for not making it clear enough to the childcare workers (at our church), except in one case (MF) where I wrote it in big underlined letters on the registration form, and even provided a snack for him, and they STILL gave him a cookie. It’s a good thing it wasn’t an anaphylactic allergy, because I don’t think they even checked the forms before giving a snack… not good.
I have noticed some improvement in my energy levels, although it’s difficult to really tell when I’m already sleep-deprived from having a baby that doesn’t sleep all that well. I do, however feel a significant difference in my mood and “mental energy”. Pre-diet, I felt “blah” all the time, and often felt sad/down/angry/moody for no good reason that I could tell. I couldn’t figure myself out, or how to change it. Around a week or so into the diet, I began to notice a marked difference – I have noticed less moodiness/mood swings (in all of us, actually), and I feel more motivated and energetic to get things done around the house instead of sitting around on the computer or whatever. Though it may sound cliché, I am also a happier person in general – I feel lighter and more like myself, without a downer mood hanging around my neck. I am loving this result, and think it would be worth the effort, just for this.
Isaac’s behavior has also seen a drastic improvement. Pre-diet, screaming tantrums and meltdowns were a daily (sometimes hourly or more) occurrence. Now, I actually can’t remember the last time he had one. Of course, he is still two, and testing the limits/learning obedience/finding his individuality are all still parts of his day to day, which still sometimes causes some friction… but honestly, he’s a different kid now. It’s been a joy watching his sweet and (usually) obedient spirit return to the forefront. (As a side note, we watched his behavior go haywire on a couple of occasions… which were the times he had accidentally ingested something with grains/sugars/preservatives/food dyes. Confirmation for what we already believed!).
Prior to beginning the diet, Aliza was throwing up multiple times a day, sometimes projectile vomiting that would cover her and me in copious amounts of “spit-up”. She would sometimes require multiple outfit changes, even in just an hour. A couple of days into the diet, and her throwing up ceased completely. We’ve now been puke-free for a month, and counting! Her sleep has also seen some improvement. Nighttime is still hit and miss (she’s getting her first two teeth at once right now), but naptimes have become pretty good. She usually naps in her bed for over 2 hours in the afternoon, plus her morning nap.
As for eliminating our food allergies, we’ve already seen success with some already. I’ve successfully reintroduced tomatoes into my diet with no reaction, and Chris has added a few things successfully in that he was sensitive to as well. We’ll be trying to introduce some dairy (butter, homemade yogurt, some cheeses) in a few weeks, starting with butter, and hopefully our dairy sensitivities will have been healed.
Changes in the Kitchen
I’ve started to get into the groove of cooking GAPS-style. Keeping on top of making sure there is always bone broth available (to drink, to use in cooking, and to make soups), making pretty much everything from scratch (ghee, nut/coconut flours, condiments, coconut milk, salad dressings, etc), and the endless chopping of vegetables has kept me plenty busy.
I’ve also enjoyed the challenge of finding a few treats that can satisfy the occasional desire for sweets. Last night I ate several peanut butter brownies with chocolate frosting, topped with bananas and strawberries… all entirely GAPS-legal. Interestingly enough, however, our cravings for sweets have greatly lessened. I can now think about chocolate chip cookies without salivating or feeling compelled to go make some and eat half the batch. I think they’d be a great treat (if I make them with healthy ingredients, after we’re done the diet), but I no longer crave them (or anything else, really) so intensely. (OK, maybe sushi… but that’s another category altogether :)).
One of the common complaints of those with damaged gut flora (which is mostly everyone in North America, although they don’t know it) that often finds improvement through this diet is picky eating, especially in children. We were hoping to see improvement in this area for Isaac, as well as for Chris. In the last couple of weeks, Isaac has begun to regularly enjoy several things that he used to refuse, including butternut squash soup, huge amounts of green salad, cooked peas, cooked green beans, squash, veggie soup, broccoli, soup with pretty well anything in it, etc. He often now eats almost everything put in front of him, which never would have happened before.Chris has also been acquiring the taste of lots of new foods(and even enjoying them), such as cauliflower, veggie soup, butternut squash soup, tomato soup, broccoli, beans, peas, carrots, salad, zucchini… etc. I was not a fussy eater before, and I’ll still eat just about anything 🙂
The overall consensus is that we are feeling great, and encouraged by our results so far. There is definitely still a ways to go in our healing (especially for Isaac), so we are continuing onward and upward. Chris still struggles with cravings for Coke, and I am still occasionally craving things like homemade bread. Once we’re off the diet, we will be able to enjoy homemade sourdough/soaked/sprouted bread from time to time, but Chris will need to find a replacement for his Coke addiction. I am looking into water kefir, but am not yet sure if it’s GAPS-legal.
The big question these days is how long we will be on the diet. The answer is… we don’t know. We are figuring we need to be off of it by August at the latest, because we’ll be travelling halfway across the country for Chris’s sister’s wedding, and staying with family for several weeks. The author (Dr. N. Campbell-McBride) does say that the diet can take up to 2 years to complete, especially when you are trying to heal some of the more serious things like schizophrenia, or celiac disease, or autism (which we’re not). I’m hopeful that we can be finished with it by summertime, but we could always go back on it when we return home in September, if necessary. Time will tell!
(The official one month mark of our GAPS journey was February 24, which was last Thursday, the day we left for our weekend away at MissionFest Edmonton, representing AIM. Thus, this long-overdue GAPS update is just a little late, but better late than never, right?)
*This post is linked to Fight Back Fridays at Food Renegade.