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Driving home from Georgia after attending my father-in-law’s funeral, I read aloud the GAPS book. It is such an interesting book and made so much sense, as far as, our overall health being related to our intestinal health. I had posted earlier about my experience with GAPS and the amazing relief I have found from my arthritis pain, as well as, beginning to eat meat for the first time in 30 years.
So, even though we felt that our children were healthy,we decided to begin the Introduction Diet as a family. (The Introduction Diet is a 6 phase elimination diet which helps give a boost to the beneficial bacteria in your gut while eliminating the “bad” bacteria.) After all, I cook most of our meals from scratch, make our bread and overall have a healthy lifestyle. Since no one has health problems which stand out, we decided to take a couple of days per phase, just to make sure everyone’s intestinal bacteria is balanced and healthy.
We started last week in Phase 1 which basically consists of eating soups made from bone broth, the boiled meat cooked during the process of making the homemade broth, probiotic juice from homemade sauerkraut and kefir (since dairy is tolerated by all). I made beef (from our own grass fed steer) and chicken broth. Using the GAPS compatible cookbook, Internal Bliss, I tried new recipes which included, Creamy Garlic Soup, Carrot Soup, Slow Cooked Chicken Soup, Butternut Squash Soup and Cowboy Stew.
To our amazement, the children, especially the three younger ones (ages 3, 6, 9) had detoxification or die off symptoms. These are symptoms caused by the toxins released as the “bad” bacteria die in the gut. Symptoms included nausea, headache, irritability and lethargy. Thankfully, by the end of the week, the symptoms were almost gone.
In Phase 2 we added eggs, as well as, casseroles made with meat and vegetables.
Everyone perked up with the addition of eggs but they sure missed the biscuits and jelly!
In Phase 3 we added avocados, sauerkraut, more cooked vegetables and muffins made with almond flour.
There were varying responses to the avocados. While we have had guacamole, we have never eaten plain avocados.
To begin with, I sliced 2 between the 9 of us in an effort to introduce new foods slowly. Instead of mashing them in our soup, I served the slices plain with eggs at breakfast. I think the texture was the main problem, especially for our 9 year old.
The big hit of the new phase, were the muffins. While they were not biscuits, they were delicious to souls starved for any type of bread product or even something resembling bread!
Unfortunately, we will not be having the nut muffins for a few days. Everyone seemed to react poorly. Intestinal gas was noticed by all.
In an effort to make the almonds as easily digestible as possible, I had soaked them in salt water overnight. This reduces and helps breakdown the phytic acid in the almonds. After soaking, I dehydrated them in the oven. Once dehydrated, I ground them in the food processor to make almond flour. Even with all this prep work, it was obvious that our gut was not ready for them. So, I will wait for several days and try them again.
Overall, the week has been very encouraging as I see the progress of the children. The presence of die off symptoms confirmed the fact that perhaps we are not such a healthy family after all and benefits will be reaped from this diet.
I have been on the GAPS diet since early November. In addition to the relief from my arthritis and being able to eat meat again, I have also noticed my hair and nails are growing once more. I had assumed they stopped growing as a result of a change in hormones related to menopause. Evidently, I was wrong and it was actually a nutrient absorption issue.
This is truly an eye opening and life changing experience for us as a family! While the GAPS diet is not difficult to follow, it does require commitment. Planning and preparation are also vital for success. To make it easier, I planned the weeks worth of meals at the beginning of the week. With the menu plan posted on the refrigerator, I was able to prepare everything as needed, even with the pruning in the vineyard!
You may also be interested in: GAPS Introduction Diet – Week 2