Decisions, Decisions..

Following the diet to a T is no small task. There will be many decisions you will have to make on your own such as when to introduce the next stage or a new food. As long as you have your health in mind and not just your pallet, I’m sure you will do fine. There is a lot of misinformation about the diet on the Internet and even some crossed communications on the GAPS site itself. I always check the GAPS site before making a final decision, but even then, things are not always clear. This is where you will step in and become your own advisor. For instance, for the intro stages it says at one point to avoid citrus and it also says lemon in your water is okay. I went with using a bit of lemon as I know its many attributes and feel it will work well with my body and healing. There are also a lot of rules that may seem confusing and you may be tempted to break some. The thing about that is, if you do this program correctly, chances are you will become stronger than a cockroach and have an immune system that can take anything on plus be allergy free. Is that really worth giving up?

I wonder if Dr. Campbell-McBride knows how much other practitioners sit around debating every suggestion she makes? Here are some theories and discoveries I have come up with about why she makes these recommendations:

Water first thing in the morning.

Drinking water in the morning helps to eliminate toxins. That is what this whole program is about. Also, having enough water improves digestion and can prevent constipation.

There is no coffee in the intro stage.

I had to tell myself that I could still have a half a cup of bullet poof coffee in order to believe I could do this. Then I read about her reasoning and gave it up after the first day. Coffee irritates the stomach lining, the same one we are repairing. It is kind of like Albert Einstein said, “You cannot simultaneously prepare for and prevent war”. On full GAPS a cup of weak coffee is allowed after a meal. I’m not going to bother at that point. I like my coffee with cream anyway and I prefer it strong and first thing in the morning.

There are no herbs allowed in stage one.

With Dr. Campbell-McBride’s vast understanding of the power and healing abilities of food, I believe she is holding these back because of their potency. What ever her reason, just do it. Ginger is allowed in tea so I also use it to steep in some soups. I have allowed turmeric as well being a similar root.

You must cut off the broccoli stalks and not use any very fibrous vegetables.

I love using the whole broccoli myself, but while I am in the intro stage, I avoid them. The strategy of this diet is to eliminate the pathogens and reestablish a healthy wall of good flora. Many of us have heard that fiber is great for our gut and digestion over the past fifteen years or so.. Well, that theory could be true for a very healthy person with a strong immune system and healthy gut. For the rest of us, pathogens thrive on fiber. This is not a no-fiber diet, but it is important to be very careful here.

Drink meat stock between meals and make soups with it.

The meat stock and later, bone broths have the precise nutrients your gut needs to heal. I have read too many blogs where people confess to not drinking enough. Don’t make that mistake! There are hundreds of ways to prepare it. Make it delicious! Make it a little different every time. Enjoy it. Make it your warm cup-a-Joe. I will be adding to my “Stock Options” page as new ideas emerge.

Include the supplements starting with stage two.

She is simply making sure essential fatty acids and probiotics support our process of getting back in balance. This is a symphony and you are the conductor. Lets hit all of the good notes! Here is a link to the supplements page.

You must include probiotic foods from the beginning.

When we follow the GAPS diet correctly, everything that enters our body has a purpose and a role to play. We need each part in order for the whole outcome to change. If you do not wish to make your own sauerkraut, a quality, live, store bought kraut can be purchased. If the adventure of making your own yogurt doesn’t interest you, most commercial yogurt cannot substitute. The one yogurt that meets the criteria of only using the yogurt strains and whole, organic milk is White Mountain Organic Bulgarian Yogurt.

Take your probiotic in the morning on an empty stomach with your filtered water and try not to eat until 10 o’clock.

This request is because our bodies have their own daily detoxification cycle. Eating too early will disrupt the cycle. Taking the probiotic on an empty stomach lets the good bacteria go to work uninterrupted.

A point I want to make is that this is not a low carb diet.

I am by no means saying to go crazy on the carbs, but you may need more and that’s okay. There are plenty of carbohydrates to be had and with all of the healthy fats they are less likely to spike your blood sugar. Here is one of my favorite way to get carbs on the intro phase: Pudding. 

GAPS does not have to be a high protein diet, but it does have to be a high fat diet.

Each person has their own capacity for protein consumption. Most GAPS individuals have hypochlorhydria and simply cannot digest more than a couple of ounces at a time. As you progress in the program, this will improve. You may need to take a supplement to aid in digestion or cut down on the amount of protein you eat until the condition improves. Sometimes a loss of taste for meat is due to the inability to digest it properly.You can still make the meat stock by adding additional bones to the mix. We just started adding chicken feet to ours.

As far as the fats go, we need them. They are what we make hormones from. Our brains are made from fat. Animal fats contain vitamin A and CLA’s that fight cancer. We as humans were built to run off of fats, not sugars. For those who were misadvised and endured a low fat diet, you will recover. It is of the utmost importance to choose the best fats especially when it comes to animal fats. Both humans and animals store toxins in their fats. (This is why cows fatten up so quick when they eat the wrong foods like corn). Once you are on the full GAPS diet, 85% of what you eat will be raw, cooked or fermented meats, fish, eggs, fermented dairy such as yogurt and kefir and other ferments such as sauerkraut.

You should detox your personal and home care products.

Once you take this step, I assure you that some people will think you are crazy. You are not. Why go through all of the trouble of changing your diet, taking the supplements, and detoxing just to apply toxins directly to your body? I am sorry, I will refrain from other rhetorical questions.. This step is worth taking, but there are so many varying degrees. You must decide how to go about this if you are not there yet. I started with dish soap and home care products and worked my way up to shampoo. I will never go back to the cheap stuff. Here is a website that is a wonderful resource for checking the integrity, if you will, of thousands of products: Environmental Working Group.