Starting Gaps. 37 days in. My journey.

by | Aug 24, 2016 | 0 comments

Good Afternoon friends. I hope this finds you well.

I have promised for a while now (about 37 days ? ) to tell you all about GAPS (Gut & Psychology Syndrome). Not necessarily the in’s and out’s of WHAT GAPS is, as there is LOADS of info on the net out there about that … but, about my journey. Why I am doing it and how I am going.

Since moving to Tasmania almost 3 months ago my gut health hasn’t been great. In many ways I feel like I have stepped back over 10 years to when I was first diagnosed with all my intolerances & sick almost daily.

At first I thought that maybe it was my bodies way of telling me to STOP after months of craziness & stress with moving interstate & having to do most of it alone with hubby moving 2 months before me & the 4 kids. But as the weeks went on & I was resting & my health wasn’t improving I started looking into other things.

After a lot of reading, confusion, crying & being “sick of being sick”, I had a good chat to my friend Jo (Quirky Cooking) & I decided I needed to try GAPs…. so on Tuesday 19th July I started.

I bought every book I could possibly find to read up on what I needed to prepare, I joined Jo’s AMAZING step by step GAPs programwhich includes loads of recipes, meal plans & pretty much everything you need to know to enter into it confidently and I spent a week preparing my freezer & my mind!

Now, if you have been around for a while you know I keep it real, so I have to tell you that whilst my freezer was ready my mind certainly wasn’t. As I have been gluten and dairy free for over 10 years and refined sugar free and additive / preservative free for maybe 4 years (I can’t quite recall), I went into this pretty naively thinking there was NO WAY I was going to detox, because “I eat well” …. Ha Ha Ha, well I was certainly given a rude shock with that thinking. My first 4 days was spent with a horrible migraine, throwing up, I didn’t move from the lounge and I was horribly irrational, like PMS on steroids. My poor family. GAPs say this is ‘normal’, so I thought of the positives, forced myself through those days and focused on WHY I was doing this. To heal my Gut.

I did 6 days of Intro Stage 1 before moving onto Stage 2. At which I was told this was the most crucial healing stage so I should stay on it as long as I can. Issue with that is I am STUBBORN and whilst I wasn’t loving it, I could have stayed on it, bored and missing food forever! So I decided to give myself 2 weeks on stage 2. I found it difficult to know when to move on from each stage and this is probably the #1 reason I loved Jo’s GAPS program and group so much as the wealth of knowledge and support there was far greater than anything I could Google or read in a book.

So around day 21 (and still stage 2), I decided I was symptom free. I was feeling good, I was no longer detoxing and I hadn’t had a gut pain in the whole 21 days, I had lost some weight (2 dress sizes in 12 days – that I must say for MY body, I felt I needed to loose as this weight was put on in 4 months because of anti depressants 2 years ago and no matter what I did I couldn’t drop it). I LOVED the fact that I was eating SO MUCH fat (healthy fat) like I had never before and could lose weight, a huge confirmation for everyone out that that thinks fat is bad!

So I ventured on, a bit too eagerly and once again naively to Stage 3. After breakfast, introducing (too much, I now know) avocado and egg white, I had irrational anxiety, simply because I had to go grocery shopping. After lunch (the same food I had), I was horribly impatient (to say the least), with the kids … neither of these things rang any alarm bells as they should have that I was reacting to this food, however, after dinner, the alarm bells were ringing and shaking violently all over my house. Within half an hour of having dinner I was like someone that needed to be locked up. I won’t go into detail (to save a little of my dignity after all I have yet to mention coffee enemas), but I will just say, it wasn’t my finest moment. I was depressed. Angry. Irrational. Yelling … and UNABLE to stop myself. It was scary.

Through tears the next day (I then cried for 4 days), I messaged the private GAPS group and was recommended to go back to Stage 2 and see a GAPS practitioner. I listened to this advice and made a phone appointment with a Clinic I trust and have dealt with before back in NSW, and got the first available appt with Kate from Mullen Health (she would have spoke to me sooner but was annual leave!)

So I hung around on Stage 2 eating broth, soup, more broth and more soup (we had a running joke in our home that sometimes I would laugh at and sometimes I would cry at, that I was eating SLOP for dinner), until my phone appointment last night (Day 36). This appointment couldn’t come quick enough as my mental health dropped to a low it hadn’t been like in years and I wasn’t at all coping with my exhaustion and how depressed I was again for ‘no reason’ (Please know that I KNOW things get worse before they get better on GAPS, however, after struggling with this for almost a third of my life, I am good at listening to my body and knowing when something isn’t right and something is missing). Whilst my gut felt good and the food was incredibly tasty and nourishing, I was concerned about my mental health and that whole cycle that this can have with your gut.

Kate (from Mullen Health) was AMAZING. She took the time to really get my History so we could try and get things sorted. Without going into too much detail (there is a LONG history with my gut health and mental health including Pyrolles and Under Methylation), I was unable to go to the bathroom in this whole 36 days without help (bring in the coffee enema, NO judgments will be tolerated please, each to their own and I have been doing this on and off for years), she has advised me to jump to full GAPS (just avoiding the things I can not have of course still), having loads of broth daily still (such an important part of GAPS) and we are getting more tests done to work out which direction to go from here.

I was so relieved that I was getting help from an expert, because we are all unique cases and what works for some might not work for others.

My plan is to stay on full GAPS for 2 years, unless something changes after I get these tests done that tells me otherwise, but we will cross that bridge if and when we have to. This doesn’t scare me too much (I just need to wrap my head around the list of can eat and can’t eat) and get my passion for food back again (how can I be an foodie and cookbook author and have NO passion for food!?)

Would I recommend GAPS? 100% yes. BUT the advice I would offer is DON’T do it alone. Join support groups, buy and read books, be gentle on yourself, don’t rush things, ask for expert help if and when needed!

For those that know me, you will also know my love for a good Coffee (just one a day satisfies me quite well), it is not only the taste of the coffee I love but also the social side of it. I generally get up in the morning and hubby makes me a coffee to start my day, it is kind of a love language thing. I had my first coffee today in 37 days. Actually, I lie, I had half a one!!!!! And it was weak! What a wuss I have become! As I can not do dairy and normally do rice milk, I have to experiment with milks in my coffee now. This morning hubby used Organic Coconut Cream from a tin and ‘stretched’ it for my coffee. It was lovely and creamy, but lacking ‘something’ in the flavour. So with the rest of the tin I watered it down a little (to make it more like milk), added a pinch of salt, some honey and some vanilla powder and it is waiting patiently in the fridge to be tested out tomorrow. After that I will try my homemade Almond milk. Will keep you posted!

My replacement of Coffee on GAPS was making up a paste with fresh turmeric, fresh ginger, coconut oil and honey. A teaspoon of this added to hot water. I LOVE this drink and I certainly won’t be giving it up!

If there is anything I have forgotten to mention, don’t hesitate to ask and I will do my best to answer. As I say though, this isn’t medical advice, this is simply me, keeping it honest and sharing my journey and hopefully along the way helping at least one person a day.

Thank you for your support!

Wishing you a truly beautiful rest of the week!

Take Care of You,

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