GAPS Intro Update: Cravings, Perseverance, and “Pancakes” in Week Two

We’ve now made it halfway through Intro! I’m so glad we’ve been able to stick it out so far.

The beginning of week two meant the introduction of Stage 3 — egg whites, soaked and dried walnuts, avocado,   and our first FRIED food happen on this stage. Needless to say, we were super jazzed about starting that one.

That first fried food was the introduction of the Intro Squash Pancake — three ingredients — squash, eggs, and fat to fry in (tallow or ghee). At first glance, the most pathetic excuse for a pancake ever created.

I remember reading through my What Can I Eat Now? handbook and seeing Cara’s note about this: “By now I’m sure you are quite excited about the idea of pancakes!” I was like, “Uh, no, I’m sure by then I’ll be dying for ACTUAL pancakes. You know, with actual flour? Give me a break.”

I’ve since eaten my words.

And about five too many squash pancakes that first day. (You’re supposed to only have one. Oops.)

I cannot describe to you just how delicious these cakes tasted. Golden and buttery (fried in ghee), they almost had a sweetness to them that just knocked me off my feet. PH was equally enamored. “I’d eat these like, on a normal diet!” Me, too.

But, even these pancakes couldn’t compete with what awaited us the next day. Creamy butternut squash cakes mixed with ground walnuts — OH sweet heavens! They tasted like peanut butter cookies to us. I can’t remember the last time I was this wild about a food. Inappropriate-sounding noises spewed forth from my mouth and, again, I ate way too many of the cakes. Not sorry about that one.

The other introduced foods have been lovely as well. I have never enjoyed guacamole so much in my life. Avocado tastes so good to me!

Changing cravings

It’s so weird now when I’m around food I can’t eat on Intro. It used to drive me crazy how much I would crave something especially when it was in front of me, but now I feel, almost neutral. Almost.

It’s like my body looks at a loaf of bread or a chocolate and goes, “NO, no. Get that away from me. You’re gonna be real sorry if you stick that in your mouth.”

And then my mind is like, “Omg are you crazy?! Why are you on this silly diet… EAT THE NOMS!”

But in the end my body kinda wins. The illegal treat in question looks good to me, but my body doesn’t want it. Very bizarre.

I also am driven to avoid the foods that aren’t allowed because every time I have the opportunity to have just ooone bite, my mind flashes to the past couple weeks that I’ve worked so hard to stick to this. I don’t want to throw it all away by giving into one stupid cookie.

And yes, I really could be undoing all the work I did. When you mess up, or have even a GAPS-legal food youre not ready for, you’re supposed to start over again, at at least the stage prior to where you cheated or moved too fast. You could lose a week or more. If you’re consistently sneaking cheats, the diet is pointless and you need to start from the beginning again. See what Cara from Health, Home and Happiness has to say about this:

I would like to repeat, that when you are first starting the diet, if you give cheats, even something equal to a grain of rice or a single chocolate chip every other day, you won’t be able to see if the diet is working and there really isn’t a point in doing it.  It’s very important to have fanatical adherence while you’re testing the diet so that you have a baseline to work with and see what foods are causing reactions.

Cara really knows her stuff. She literally wrote the book on GAPS Intro. So I’m listening to her on this one.

Back away from the bread: Choosing to be anti-social

Even though my body is saying “no” to the foods my mind is craving, it’s still really hard to be put in situations where the stuff you used to eat all the time and now you cant, is just sitting there staring at you. It’s almost a little depressing. Worse yet is when you’re watching someone eat something you know you’re not going to be able to have for potentially the next two years (the recommended time for adults to heal on GAPS).

Yeah. No one is meeting me for coffee for the next two weeks!

So whenever possible, I’ve been staying at home. Avoiding visiting friends (except Danielle who is also on Intro). Not even THINKING about entering a restaurant or any event involving other people’s food. PH has been eating alone while on the job. If I worked in an office, I’d skip going to the lunchroom. I won’t do this forever, as full GAPS really isn’t nearly as restrictive or challenging, but for now, it’s necessary.

When I’m not around the stuff I can’t eat, it’s very much an out of sight, out of mind thing. In my own home, I get excited about the tasty food I make myself and eat, knowing it’s healing my body. I don’t feel deprived when illegal foods aren’t dangling in front of me like a cruel carrot on a stick. Or in my case, a banana. (Good GRIEF how I still want a dang banana. Two more stages!)

“Absolutely ravenous”

So instead of intensely craving only the foods I’m not yet allowed (or won’t be at all on full GAPS), I’ve been noticing lately that I just crave FOOD. ALL. THE. TIME. Even my boring Intro food. I just want it all day long.

I have never had an appetite like this before. I’ll eat a decent, square meal, and then an hour later easily be able to eat yet another one. On days when I’m at home, I am in and out of the kitchen constantly, eating throughout the day. My small saucepans and my little cast iron skillet I got (that I’ve mentioned as things you need to get started on Intro) are perfect for whipping up these pseudo-meals I make over and over. On days when I have to leave the house, my little lunchbox comes with me, packed to the brim with as many glass jars of food I can fit.

I read from the GAPS Guide that while initially, a decrease in appetite is common — and this was true for me last week, I wasn’t too terribly hungry most days — a huge increase in appetite usually comes next.

“After this stage, expect to be absolutely ravenous for about six weeks before your appetite normalizes. Plan to eat upon waking, then every hour or hour and a half all day long, then at bedtime. Expect to restock your fridge every 1-3 days.” (GAPS Guide blog)

Yep. Pretty much exactly that.

More Changes

Still no major signs of die-off so far. PH reports being fairly tired throughout the day now, while I only feel tired if I don’t get plenty of sleep. This has been so key for me feeling well throughout Intro. When I get about 9 hours of sleep, I’m golden. Any less, and all I want to do is nap.

I also feel more stability in my moods. I tend to be a little… emotional, I guess you could say. “Passionate” is a word I’m more fond of. 😉 And when I was beginning amino acid supplementation last month as per what I learned from The Mood Cure book, I was amazed at how much more stable my mood was. Things that used to make me fly off the handle, weren’t that big of a deal anymore.

But since I needed to cut out supplements prior to starting Intro, I noticed the mood swings creep up again. This week, I’m seeing an improvement. I think that my mood issues are part gut-related, and part due to deficiency in neurotransmitters which will require supplementation to fully normalize. More on this later when I publish my post about The Mood Cure!

Share Your Thoughts

So what do you think of our GAPS journey so far? Are you thinking of taking the broth-laden plunge yourself? Or are you an experienced GAPSter — got any words of wisdom to share?


And if you haven’t already, click here to enter to win a copy of Cara’s What Can I Eat Now? 30 Days on GAPS Intro Handbook! We’re giving one away this Saturday!

Oh, also, in cased you missed it, here’s how we did on week one of Intro.

[photo credit]


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MEDICAL DISCLOSURE: Your health is between you and your health care practitioner. Nothing in this blog is intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations is at the choice and risk of the reader.

21 Responses to GAPS Intro Update: Cravings, Perseverance, and “Pancakes” in Week Two
  1. Carmen says:

    You and PH are brave folks!
    I am following your posts with an eye toward possibly doing GAPS myself this Summer.
    Continued success to you both!

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Thank you Carmen! I hope you give it a try. It helps to have someone on board to do it with, so I’m really lucky that my man is all for it!

  2. I really enjoy reading your honest feelings about gaps because i’ve wondered about me doing it.

  3. Skye says:

    I SO deeply appreciate you tracking your progress in this way!
    I have been reading/ listening to comments @ GAPS & feeling like it “might” be a good idea for me (I don’t have any raging allergies, gut problems, autoimmune issues that would generally point one toward GAPS).
    However I am feeling more & more strongly that GAPS would be a good idea for me. My greatest challenge now is figuring out *when*, as I am signed up for a CSA that delivers copious amounts of food weekly…But even if I make this a 2013 project, I am still very grateful to hear all of your detailed experiences.

    • ButterBeliever says:

      I’m so happy to hear that Skye! I’m also someone who didn’t have any glaring symptoms other than my inability to gain weight. But I honestly think *everyone* who was brought up in industrial society needs GAPS — our guts are that messed up. I hope you figure out a way to make it work for you and let me know when you get started!

  4. PattyLA says:

    I have been on GAPS for 27 months. You are doing great! It is worth it. Die off will come and go and that ravenous feeling will die down. Ours lasted more than 6 weeks though. More like 3-4 months. One key is getting loads of fat to fill you up.

    I’ll put you on my GAPS blog roll. I look forward to seeing your progress.

  5. Bethany says:

    Well you’ve got me decided that I’m going to do GAPS but I have to wait a while… got a nursing little one so I’ll wait till she’s about 9 months old and start next fall. But I’m following your journey! I also think I need to keep with the Primal Blueprint for a while… I love it, but I just got my husband on board to nix the wheat in his diet (after about 8 months of me not eating it) so it might be a while before he’s ready for me to do GAPS.

  6. Jo says:

    To help with the cravings, take a spoonful of coconut oil drizzled with honey. It really takes the cravings away. And tastes good too.

  7. sarah says:

    I really want to start GAPS. I have to wait until summer, when my youngest kiddo stops nursing & I think it will be easier with my older kids out of school. Hearing about your experience is very encouraging, so far!

  8. Susan W says:

    Ooh…coconut oil drizzled in honey. Just a dollop of the very best unrefined organic coconut oil is yummy! I’m going to have to try that.

  9. Tracy says:

    Hi Emily! Thanks for the update! Have you lost a load of weight yet, like you feared?

  10. Great job keeping on. Being strict can be so hard but it feels so good when you have stuck to your guns. We just finished a very strict 30 Paleo challenge and feel better for it. I totally relate.

  11. I wrote an article called The “Pancake Project” Engineering a better pancake on my site I added your article as a link because it’s such an interesting concept

  12. […] We honestly love it. The first week took a little getting used to, but after a while we really started to enjoy the excitement of introducing the new foods and have been appreciating them like never before! At this point now, our weird diet just […]

  13. […] weakling, striving-to-fix-itself state. “Applesauce” that isn’t, just like those “pancakes” that aren’t. (Though they are still […]

  14. […] got to introduce honey in Week 3 as well. Spread on top of our beloved nut bread, as well as those squash pancakes we couldn’t get enough of, was such a treat! We also started dipping our crispy walnuts in […]

  15. Liz says:

    I am really enjoying your site. I just happened across it today while looking for GAPS recipes on Pinterest. My husband and are are getting geared up to take the plunge into GAPS, but I find myself terrified. Mostly that is bound up in the fear of failure or the fear of not being able to fellowship with friends and family all because of food. Fortunately, our freezers are so full that we will have to go onto the GAPS diet soon or be overrun by beef and chicken stock :).

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Well that sure is cool that you discovered me from Pinterest! I do have a lot of GAPS/grain-free pins on there because a lot of my blogging friends are followers of the diet. But I’m actually not anymore. Not being able to be around normal people who eat normal things is a very valid concern, and one of the many reasons I don’t plan on ever going on any sort of a restrictive diet again.

      Could I ask you why and your husband are planning on starting GAPS? I was one of those who got sucked into the idea that *everyone* needs this diet, which just isn’t true. Even Dr. Natasha would back me up on that. I think GAPS should be used as an absolute last resort for treating very serious health problems. I’d be interested to hear more about your story.

  16. Kara says:

    Does it sound ok that I went through the whole intro in 2 weeks? I wasn’t having reactions to anything and made it through just fine….until I made the approved banana bread and was gluttonous. I had the whole thing gone in 3 days. After that, I was bloated and had stomach pain any time I ate nuts (and that wasn’t the care before). I’m fine if I don’t eat very many nuts at all….so strange because I’ve never reacted to ANY foods before GAPS. I only went on it because I got a yeast infection (small one) and wanted to nip it. I feel like I am doing it all wrong…

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