Yeah, I know. The “Best Food” ever? Not exactly the kind of description you would expect for someone writing about going through the GAPS Intro diet. After all, Intro is this horribly scary, super-depriving bout of self-torture where you’re stuck in a state of utter anguish ingesting nothing but hot soups and soured cabbage, right?
I kinda really like Intro.
One of the things I like about it the most is that it has completely changed how much I desire and appreciate food. For one thing, my appetite is still through the roof — which is a great thing for me, because my body never had an appropriate appetite before.
But more than that, food has just never tasted so good to me in my LIFE. Everything that I’m allowed to eat just sounds delicious — to the point where I don’t even care about not being able to have the other stuff yet. And I get SO excited to introduce new foods. Sensitivity test, wake up, new noms to eat. It’s like GAPS Christmas, every day!
I do want to say here, though, that I know this is not everyone’s experience. Some people report continued loss of appetite, along with other icky die-off symptoms like nausea at the sight of food. That just hasn’t been the case for either PH or I, though.
Uh, are we doing something wrong?
I really started to wonder. Were we not eating enough ferments? Not doing enough detox strategies, like juicing and baths? Not taking enough probiotics, maybe?
Well, we didn’t introduce our BioKult until late in the second week, which could possibly account for our lack of die-off symptoms. We also didn’t have our fermented cod liver oil until a few days later, which being such a potently nourishing superfood, has the potential to kick up the cruddy die-off feelings because it aids in detoxification.
Wait, maybe those bad bugs are dying, after all
Actually, it turns out that my mega-appetite actually may be a die-off symptom in and of itself. A GAPS-experienced blogging friend of mine explained that since the pathogenic flora are no longer getting to dine on a steady stream of starches and sugar, they will instead just tell your body to keep shoveling down everything in sight, in hopes that they get what they want before they keel over.
Meh, well, I’ll take it. I love eating. Which is actually something I used to not be able to say.
And PH did start to experience some insomnia, however, he wasn’t convinced this was really anything out of the ordinary for him, or that it would not have been happening if we weren’t going through Intro.
He’s been under a lot of stress with work, and says that he was waking up in the middle of the night or very early in the morning to go pee (understandable, given the extraodinary amount of broth we consume, and dinner time is no exception — we go to bed not long after we eat dinner so we can get plenty of sleep) and then was unable to go back to sleep because he had so much on his mind.
This thoughts-spinning-around-in-your-head thing is a symptom of neurotransmitter deficiency, and is fixable with amino acid supplementation. You can read more about how to do this in The Mood Cure by Julia Ross. So, since we’re not doing any other supplements than the FCLO and Bio Kult, we’re holding off on continuing amino acid therapy til after Intro.
But as for me, I’ve been sleeping great, and as long as I go to bed early enough, I have plenty of energy during the day. Especially when I get my morning juice. PH’s sleep troubles seem to have gone to the wayside the last few nights, and he says he feels like the juice gives him a good pick-me-up in the morning as well.
Basically, we pretty much feel awesome! Let’s move onto all that good FOOD we’ve been getting to eat!
Some of our favorite dishes from the What Can I Eat Now? handbook have been baked casseroles — something I rarely used to make. With layers of meat and veggies, with broth poured over, we don’t even miss the cheese all that much!
One we really love is the Taco Salad Casserole (totally-not-doing-it-justice picture above). We used a really tasty sirloin steak layered with tomatoes and onions, and a chili and garlic mixed in, topped with guacamole when it was served. Amazing!
Nut flour bread.
Oh heavens. We had been really looking forward to this one, and it did not disappoint. I made my own almond flour (I’ll put up a post about how to do that soon), and used butternut squash. Somehow that, mixed with eggs, salt, and ghee, turns into this unbelievably amazing bread-like egg bake delight. I guess really, it’s not very bread-y, which is fine cause eventually we’ll be able to make much more believable bread alternatives with other ingredients, but for now, this was just perfect! We also loved it with zucchini, and I left some of the almonds kind of chunky for a little crunch.
And honey! We 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 stop eating, was such a treat! We also started dipping our crispy walnuts in honey for a snack. Tastes like candy!
Oh, man do I have a new love in the kitchen. My cheap little juicer! (Under $30 bucks!)
Juicing begins in Stage 4 of Intro, starting with a little bit of fresh carrot juice. I’d never had carrot juice before, but now I just cannot get enough! Once we started adding fresh mint to it — aah! Even better. In stage 5, we get to add in fresh fruit to the juice, too. Really excited for that!
Juicing is important on Intro as both a detoxification method as well as a way to give your body a jolt of healing vitamins and nutrients, as well as carbohydrates. And energy, like I mentioned earlier!
Fresh salad and my new olive oil obsession
Ahh… we got to have our first taste of RAW food, finally! A fresh salad with soft lettuce and peeled sliced cucumber was suggested in What Can I Eat Now?, the Intro handbook we’ve been following. And wow, was it refreshing.
As a dressing, we were to use our Olive Oil and Fresh Herb Blend recipe from the book. It was amazing in the salad, but we started adding this stuff to everything! Olive oil is supposed to be added to every meal once it’s introduced. Which I’m more than okay with, because mixed up with fresh garlic and herbs from our garden, it’s the best thing ever! I mix up a fresh batch about every couple of days.
“We’re so normal right now, it’s not even funny.”
This was the conclusion we came to eating a three-course dinner of a cup of vegetable soup, fresh green salad, roasted chicken drumsticks, caramelized onions and asparagus spears, drizzled with herbed olive oil, and a side of nut flour zucchini bread with honey butter (ghee). What about that sounds even the slightest bit restrictive or like we’re missing out on “normal” food? Yeah that’s what I thought! SO normal, y’all.
The Home Stretch
We’re already now into our (most likely) last week of Intro. I’ll be putting up our Week 4 update next week, and before we know it, we’ll be on Full GAPS!
What about you?
Are you thinking about giving this GAPS thing a try yet? You’re in for some amazing-tasting food, I tell ya. Share your thoughts in the comments!