GAPS Diet Update: 5 months

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This freezer fudge whips up real quick! Paleo, GAPS, SCD. Yum!

It’s been 5 months since we began the GAPS Diet. I still can’t decide if that is – no, wait. Yes, it does feel like a long time. It feels like an eternity! But be that as it may, it’s time for a little GAPS update.

We made it!

Well, we made it to the Full GAPS diet, after around 4 months on intro. For some people this is not a long time to spend on the intro phase, but it was way longer than I had expected. I was feeling like we had kind of rushed into Full GAPS, and I started stressing. We were pressing into Full – because we were preparing to go on a 10-day out-of-state trip and wanted to have as many options available to us as we could for traveling.

The trip went amazingly. God heard our prayers and He went above and beyond what we expected – which is just like Him!!! The trip was a relative breeze; it even went smoother than pre-GAPS trips. I’ll write more about it in an upcoming post, but I’m so happy to say it went well and it is possible to travel on the GAPS diet!

Stress Hurts, and Perspective Heals

GAPS moms do tend to stress a lot. It’s a big load to tow. We tend to carry it all on our shoulders and be so unforgiving to ourselves. I had been stressing about rushing through Intro. I felt like I had messed up so many times. (I had.) But I got to sit down for a few hours with the wonderfully amazing Andrea from It Takes Time and Moms AWARE (who incidentally lives right up the road from me! Score!) who gave me such a hopeful, peaceful perspective.

Through her wisdom (she’s been there – they were on Intro for TWO YEARS and she has NINE CHILDREN – I wasn’t kidding about the amazing part) she got me to realize I was focusing too much on healing. Sounds funny to a GAPS mom, but it was true. Stress was hurting me and our family. She made me realize my mistakes weren’t the end of the world. It just goes the way it goes. She helped me to see our situation from the outside – that if another friend came up to me with the same story, I would be telling her she was doing a great job.

Wow. She had no idea how much I needed to hear that. Because of that conversation, I have since relaxed so much about our GAPS lifestyle. It’s not a do-or-die, everyday-needs-results way of living anymore. It has taken the pressure off of me and allowed me to leave the healing in God’s hands, where it ultimately was the whole time. I had made GAPS my new god for a while, I’m sorry to say.

God is just so gracious and gentle. He could have really given me a proverbial spanking for doing this; instead, He sent me to a warm Christian friend for the encouragement I so desperately needed.

It makes me tear up just thinking about it. We are, many times, way too hard on ourselves. What a good Father we have!!!

So it was so nice to visit with someone who had been there and lived to tell about it. And I got a free kombucha SCOBY out of it too. Rock on!!

The Good News

I thought it would be helpful to list all the changes our family has seen since beginning the GAPS diet.

  1. When we began, all four of our children had reacted to eggs via my breast milk, so we never fed them eggs. Now, my three youngest can have any style of eggs, and they love them! My oldest son can tolerate the yolks, which is a miracle in itself as he was the one to react the worst. And yolks are where all the nutrition is. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am about this.
  2. Due to the increased and in some cases total egg tolerance, my life is a lot less stressful.
  3. All four of my children can eat ghee, which is basically clarified/strained butter. Full of vitamins and healthy fat, I am delighted to be able to add it to each meal.
  4. Three of my four children can tolerate butter – but since ghee is so similar to butter, we stick with the ghee. Hopefully soon my oldest will be able to have butter as well.
  5. My second son’s eczema is about 90% gone. I honestly have no idea what I did (if anything) or how this happened. All I know is that we moved to Full GAPS and I was not able to keep up with the daily juicing. It is so much to handle, something had to give for a while. I hope to reintroduce it slowly again. I mention juicing because I always thought that the juicing exacerbated the eczema. But now life is so much more bearable for my little guy. My husband wisely mentioned one time that food allergies are bad, yes, but you can avoid the trigger foods and feel fine. But eczema is constant and almost unbearable. Our son is so much happier these days. He still scratches a tiny bit, but the weeping and bleeding days are gone and I pray they stay gone.
  6. I had started feeling exhausted and was a real pill to be around. So I started giving my adrenals some love and taking some supplements and I feel so much better. I started taking Rhodiola Rosea twice a day, but it took several weeks before I felt any change. I also started taking 500 milligrams of trimethylglycine (TMG) which is something our bodies don’t make as much of as they need to nowadays. And probably the biggest difference was made by taking 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sea salt in a tall glass of water first thing each morning. I feel so much better these days! My dear friend Kelly from Primally Inspired also suggested taking SR Adrenal from Pure Prescriptions and although I haven’t bought any yet, I plan to soon when I run out of rhodiola rosea.
  7. When you move to Full GAPS, you are allowed to have kombucha. This makes my day every day. Yay for kombucha! I make a ton of it at a time and soon I’ll post my method for making large batches.
  8. I’ve been making 24 hour goat milk yogurt for several weeks now. (Tutorial also coming soon!) This stuff is amazing, and don’t even think it tastes bad. At all. Raw, unpasteurized, homemade goat’s milk yogurt has a wonderful taste and none of that gamey flavor you get from store bought. It’s a-ma-zing. My favorite treat. I love straining the whey out and eating it like cream cheese. Mmmmm! I have tested it on my children, and I don’t think they are ready for it yet, but soon. 🙂
  9. I have had scaly, dry skin on my lower legs for as long as I can remember. I mean, for decades people. It was like an alligator and I even got teased about it when I was younger! Yes, I did say ‘WAS’ – because it’s almost gone. Homemade yogurt is such a healing food and it is very simple to make. I think this is been the contributor to the improvement. Yay for smooth legs!
  10. My two youngest children have really put on some adorable weight since beginning. I LOVE THIS!!! I have always had fat babies but skinny toddlers. But my 1- and 3-year old have a healthy new layer to them and I am so proud. I think my older two have gained some, but it’s just not as noticeable. We all lost weight when we began, which is typical when you take out grains, and are now filled in nicely.
  11. I feel funny about mentioning this, because this is in no way a guilt trip. But I want to be honest. For the first time in my life, everything I eat is healthy. It just kind of hit me several days ago. There is no unhealthy food on this diet, unless you cheat. For the first time ever, everything I feed my children is healthy. I used to feel so guilty feeding my children unhealthy foods when their bodies were in need of healing, but I did it because of our limited diet. It is so nice to have dropped that guilt from my life. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t expect mothers to drop everything and start making all food from scratch. It has been such a difficult decision and journey, the GAPS diet, but now that things are getting streamlined, it’s easier to feed them everything healthy. And it feels good.
  12. My kids have been sick only once since starting the diet. That is amazing. We used to get colds on top of colds, alternating weeks of fevers and coughs.

All in all, things were so bleak and dark for several months, but we are coming out of it and feeling better than ever. I’m very happy with the way we eat these days. Yes, sometimes I want to be off the diet, but I do NOT want to go back to feeling bad and tired all the time. It’s just not worth it.

I want to fully disclose something – a part of my relaxing about healing has been that we now have a few restaurants in town where we can find GAPS-friendly choices. These are NOT GAPS-legal, due to not being homemade, and I don’t want to give people the idea that this is approved by the diet – it’s just something we do to keep sane. We eat out about once a month, so it is not a big deal and we have had no ill effects. Some people on GAPS can’t handle eating out or don’t want to risk losing healing time, and I completely understand. I don’t recommend it, I just feel the need to be thorough in my update. 🙂

Well, I guess that’s all. Are you on the GAPS diet? How is your journey going? I would love to hear how you are faring! <3

Love,

Dandy

13 thoughts on “GAPS Diet Update: 5 months”

  1. I have been following your posts for a long time for some emotional support, lol! Our kids are finishing up the intro and my husband and I are on the full diet for now…we definitely have reaped the benefits. My son use to break out with welts from carrots, onions, dairy, and soy. At first he couldnt even handle ghee… Now all hes gets (if he has alot of dairy) is a couple small pimple like spots where he use to break out into full blown hives. Kinda weird! I know you had posted about that with one of your kids?! Its amazing to see the level of healing you can go through in such a short period of time (even though going through it-it doesnt feel that way!). It is such a blessing that God gave us the knowledge to do something about our childrens health. Totally and completely awesome! Please keep posting about your journey it has helped me immensely! 🙂

    Reply
    • Oh, Priscilla, thank you for sharing that. I’m so happy to hear about your son’s increased tolerance to dairy!! That gives me increased hope. It is amazing to think of the healing that we’ve had… I guess when you stop and think of it, you should expect to heal from such a healthy diet, but it does get hard at times to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am so thankful for this diet and our healing. You’re right – God is so awesome!! I will keep posting about our journey, and thanks for reading!! <3

      Reply
  2. So, do you ever think you will let your kids cheat and go to a non-GAPS restaurant or eat a non-GAPS treat?
    I’m always curious about strict diets like this.
    Found your website looking for ginger gummies for my morning sickness and was just fascinated and amazed by your GAPS journey. Congrats on all your progress!

    Reply
    • Hi Sam! Thanks for your kind words!! Well, we are not on the GAPS diet anymore. But while we were, I did not allow any cheats. Man, it was so tough. The whole diet was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but we saw a lot of progress. Ideally, the diet is supposed to be followed for 2 years, or until digestion is normalized. We made it 6 months and I finally burned out. 🙁 I am still planning to write a post about coming off the diet, but haven’t gotten it started yet. 🙂 Thanks for reminding me, though. Best wishes with your pregnancy! And relieving your morning sickness – I’ve been there and it’s NO FUN!!! Thanks for stopping by!! <3

      Reply
  3. This is the second time I’ve read through your journey. Last October I did 2 weeks of intro by myself, but it got interrupted by a trip to Disneyland and the holidays. It was just terrible timing. I remained GF/DF/SF bc of newfound allergies. The first time around was HORRIBLE. I mean the detox was just awful. My 6 kids and I (ages 21 months-8) started intro 32 days ago (You count in weeks? I count in DAYS), and my detox has really been much easier. I also took my kids off dairy, gluten and sugar 7 weeks before we started, so their detox has been less bad than it could have been. That is also how I confirmed the dairy allergies.

    We are kind of on stage 5, but I may back us up to stage 3 again. I also was given the impression that we would breeze through intro and full GAPS in a matter of months bc of all the supplements my practitioner has us on. My kids also have life-threatening allergies to peanuts and tree nuts, except almonds for some reason. Two of my kids also have dairy allergies that manifest themselves through sinus infections and congestion. My barely 5 year old keeps reacting to avocado. She has tantrums and meltdowns and cries a lot if she eats more than 1/4 of an avocado. Carrying around 6 epi-pens everywhere I go and having to vet every food they have is such a weight. Educating teachers on how to use an epi-pen, making them promise not to give my kids anything to eat that I didn’t provide is exhausting. The worrying is exhausting.

    Today I re-read your whole journey bc I needed the encouragement. I felt like I was reading letters from myself from further down the road. It was encouraging and discouraging at the same time because I have a feeling our journey on intro will be similarly long. Really I need us to be done with intro by Memorial Day when we go on a cross-country trip to visit my family for 3 weeks. Our intro diet has been complicated by no dairy and no honey bc of candida. No juicing, no introducing fruit yet bc of candida. That has been super frustrating. And I have to keep my daughter off avocado. She LOVES avocado. Her birthday was a couple of weeks ago, and since we couldn’t have cake, I stuck a candle in half an avocado, and she loved it.

    I really would love to hear about your transition off of GAPS, what you eat now, how your kids have healed. We have experienced some amazing healing. My kids and I were either chronically constipated or diarrhea, and now we are all pretty regular. That is amazing. When my daughter doesn’t have avocado, she is her sweet self I remember from two years ago. I have eyebrows again, which is awesome. I lost half my hair when my youngest was born 22 months ago, and it is finally starting to grow back in. I have shorties all over my head. My energy is way better. My moods are more even. I feel like my skin is getting softer and more hydrated. My kids all had super stinky noxious disgusting gas all the time. I mean it was putrid and constant, and now they rarely toot, and it doesn’t make your eyes water if they do. I was having chronic tummy aches and bloating no matter what I ate. I’d wake up with a flat tummy, and no matter what I ate, I’d get a dull tummy ache and bloating. That is gone. It came back when we introduced almond flour (commercial), so I took it out for a while. My health had deteriorated dramatically over the last few years, and my doctor finally said I wasn’t digesting my food or absorbing nutrients and I needed to heal my gut. I feel like I’m getting access to nutrition for the first time in a long time, despite a fairly healthy diet before.

    Yhis is mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting. I mentally quit every single day. I don’t currently have any allies. My wonderful husband is getting very concerned bc it is taking a toll on me to some degree, and he doesn’t want all of the fun sucked out of our lives forever, and he doesn’t want me chained to the kitchen for life, even though I cooked most things from scratch to begin with. He had misgivings when I started, and though he agrees the improvements we’ve seen are good, he’s not sure they are worth the price. He’s not doing it with us. In front of the kids he supports me, but we have lots of conversations about it after they are in bed. He wants answers I can’t give. “How long?” I wish I knew.

    One of my boys was allergic to wheat and eggs when he was younger, and after 3 years of eliminating them from our diet, he outgrew it. He and one of his brothers had eczema. Eliminating their trigger foods helped, but one of them was allergic to grass. If the grass was active, it didn’t matter if I dressed him in a snowsuit, if he went out in the yard, he would immediately break out in these huge welts and hives and bleeding eczema. When the grass was dormant he was fine. What finally made a big difference for him and really cleared them both up was when I started making my own laundry detergent. For some reason he stopped reacting to the grass. I had tried every detergent on the market. A few years later I kind of forgot why I was making it (other than to avoid chemicals, which was the original reason I tried it), and when we went on our annual pilgrimage to visit my parents for a month, I didn’t take any. After washing their clothes in my mom’s store-bought detergent, immediately he reacted to the grass. Bleeding eczema again. When I rewashed everything in my stuff, it healed. I don’t understand it, I just know there is somehow a link for them.

    Thanks for sharing your journey. I needed the boost and dose of reality today. And I needed to vent. Please write an update. It’s like my crystal ball.

    Reply
    • Wow April, thanks for your comment. Reading through your journey brings back so many memories. I mean, our stories are so very similar. I don’t know if it means anything to you, but please let me say – I know exactly how you feel. When I was going through our journey, I needed to hear this.

      I have been meaning to write a GAPS update for several months now, and it just keeps getting pushed back. I promise I will update soon! But for now, please know I know how you are feeling. I’m sending mega prayers your way. Hang in there, Mama. Listen to your gut (healed or not 😉 ) and only do what you can, when you can. <3 Love and hugs, Danielle

      Reply
      • Actually, it means A LOT to me that you know exactly how I feel and that our journeys are so similar. This week our practitioner removed ALL VEGGIES from our diet. All of them. I call it stage 0 (bc you can’t get any lower than this). We can have meat, fat, eggs, small amounts of ferments, and dairy (though half of us react to dairy, so that is out). She wants us to stay this way indefinitely. That will never happen. Today is day 6 of it. It is so hard to come up with meals to eat. Especially bc we are foodies. And we love veggies. My youngest will put down a pound of broccoli in one meal. I love to garden. We love fresh veggies from my garden. She doesn’t understand why I’m so upset about this. I think we can get some high-speed healing by doing this short-term, but long-term is out of the question. It’s not sustainable. How on earth would we eat while traveling? My husband really wants to go somewhere with the kids for spring break next week. We’ve been at this for 5 weeks. She talks about us like we are the sickest people out there. I disagree. I think we are more middle of the spectrum. We won’t fly through like some people, but we aren’t dealing with any autoimmune disorders or neurological disorders. Just some food allergies. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to the update. Thanks for the support.

        Reply
        • WOW April. Wow. I don’t understand that at all – no vegetables??? Although of course I’m not a practitioner. It seems like you are all going to be really constipated! Am I missing something? I don’t see how that is sustainable at all. Hm. Well, I just hope everything works out. Does she have you on l-glutamine? Just wondering. I will try to post the update soon, it might not be what you are hoping for, but I will be honest in my update. Hugs, April! There is hope and a light at the end of this tunnel. <3

          Reply
          • Hi! I found you through pinterest – your carrot fermenting recipe and then saw you did
            gaps which i am now doing. I just wanted to comment on the only meat thing: I happened to be reading the FAQ on the gapsdiet.com page yesterday, Dr. Campbell McBride actually addresses that specifically saying that it is perfectly healthy to do so and that some with severe cases will actually do a meat only gaps diet for 5 or 6 months until they heal their bellies enough to add veggies 🙂 I myself am doing regular intro and have found that taking digestive enzymes with meals is huge for me (i use a pill form from NOW) and even more spectacular has been kefir milk!! oh my it is changing my life 😀 I have been sick for 5 years and I finally have this little miracle. I am so grateful for gaps. And I thank god every day for helping to keep me on track with it and for his continued grace and healing 🙂

          • Hi Adina! Thanks so much for your comment! That is good to know. I never tried enzymes but I wish I had. Yes, milk kefir is AMAZING!! It changed my life too. Many blessings to you, and here’s to your continually improving health! <3

  4. I’m reading this years after your GAPS journey but wanted to let you know it has been encouraging to me! We’ve been on full gaps for about 14 months and we’re about to embark on the intro diet. It has been helpful and encouraging to read your experience – thank you for sharing!!

    Reply
    • Hi Betsy, thank you so much for your kind comment. I’m so glad to hear this series has helped you and your family. I know when we were going through the diet I couldn’t read enough of other people’s experiences; it was very reassuring to me. Best wishes to you and your family in your journey. <3

      Reply

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