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    It’s GAPS Diet Week!

    October 2, 2012 by Brandy Vencel

    Here it is, anyway. Actually, it’s been GAPS Diet week every week for a month now. But who’s counting? So here’s the deal. After I wrote the update on my daughter last week, a bunch of you used the contact form to ask for help on GAPS. I’m too busy to read and think this week, but posting my GAPS resources won’t take too much time, so doing a “GAPS Week” here on the blog is a win-win, right?


    So, I will post once or twice a day until I hit the end of myself or go insane, whichever comes first. I hope this answers a lot of your questions. I am by no means an expert! But you asked.

    Mostly, I’ll be posting links to recipes. This post, however, will include some of the “extras.” And without further delay…

    • GAPS Diet Yahoo Group: It was one of you readers who first shared this with me so I’m just passing along good information here. You’ll find a lot of extreme cases on there, but I’ve found that I’ve gotten lots of ideas on tinkering with the diet from lurking.
    • GAPS Failures: If you join the Yahoo group above, you might want to balance what you hear. It seems common there to imply that, if GAPS isn’t working, even after two or three years, that you aren’t doing it right, need to cut out other foods, and so on. {And this may be true!} Personally, we have experienced wonderful benefits already, but like any therapeutic diet {vegan, liver cleanses, GAPS, Gerson, etc.} I do not think it is ought to be permanent for most people. Obviously, sicker people will need to do it longer {as in: years} than people like us dealing with relatively minor issues. But I do think that something that is initially a cure can be a poison if maintained for too long. Before we even began, I tried to read a whole bunch of GAPS failure posts so that I knew what to look for and had ideas on how to tinker with the diet. Here are a few of the best, in my opinion.

      Ketogenic diets {i.e., ultra low-carb diets that result in ketosis, which is the body burning fat for energy rather than glucose} are documented to work well for seizure disorders, even over years and years, but did you know that glucose is required for the proper functioning of the thyroid? For the formation of thyroid hormones? For the production of other hormones? Low-carb can be great…until your feet and hands start getting cold and your temperature has dropped below 98–or even 97–degrees and your hair is falling out. So, with that said, you may have to be careful and tinker with the diet based upon your body’s own needs. It isn’t one-size-fits-all.

    • Get your variety up: This is just advice, but I have four very thin little children who lost too much weight during the intro stages. Some of that is because in the very early stages it is almost impossible to get enough carbs, and some of that is because the small variety makes it difficult to keep eating. It is easy for me to get into a rut because cooking isn’t exactly my creative outlet, but I’ve found that I need to continue to push through and introduce new foods. We’ve hit walls with a few things, such as navy beans, and I keep coming back to good advice I heard during our first week: Just because you can’t eat one food doesn’t mean you can’t eat another. This idea of being “stuck on stage 3” is probably unnecessary for most people with simple problems. My solution was to follow the advice I received and keep introducing new foods. When we came back to things later, usually they weren’t a problem. For instance, I had a child react to eggs, but after two or three days off, reintroduction went without incident.
    • Probiotic supplement: A lot of people suggest BioKult, and I’ve heard good things about it. However, comma…in  her book Dr. Campbell-McBride says that she finds that probiotics from soil-based organisms {SBOs} are the most effective. BioKult has some of that–L. plantarum, for example. But Dr. Campbell-McBride also says to look for the widest variety of strains. BioKult only contains 14, many of which our family has already  been exposed to via prior supplementation. I went on a mission to find a different probiotic because I wanted to be aggressive as possible. I decided on Prescript-Assist. Unlike most probiotic/prebiotic supplements out there, Prescript-Assist has been tested and found effective against a variety of intestinal disorders in double-blind scientific studies. In addition to this, it contains thirty different strains, most of which our family had never used. My daughter, who was taking a “good” probiotic already in the days leading up to the diet, had serious die-off reactions when she started Prescript-Assist–and her dose was simply to get her tiny fingertip wet and dip it in the powder from an opened capsule, consuming whatever stuck to it. This is powerful stuff!
    • Probiotic variety: Right now, I’m toying with the idea of trying other strains when we run out of what we’re using now. For instance, I discovered a strain that is associated with good teeth {as in: people who have it in them tend to not get cavities and some people have cavities heal when they use it}. As you know, we have had cavity problems here. In the book The Art of Fermentation, it is mentioned a number of times that variety of microflora is imperative when it comes to good gut health. So I’m on a mission to introduce us to as wide a variety as possible during the short time we’re on this diet.
    • Need someone to hold your hand? I was determined to spend all of my money on food, which meant I spent a ton of time collecting recipes online {which I’ll be sharing later this week}. But if you have the money and need a “friend” {I had a friend I could meet with in real life, by the way}, you might try:
    • Detox baths: These took some getting used to because most of our children shower and they aren’t used to sitting in a bath. They have learned to enjoy them, however. We don’t do this daily, but three or four times a week on average. When I had a child with serious yeast die-off going on, she had two or three baths per day. They helped relieve her symptoms. The key is to rotate the baths: Epsom salt, baking soda, or cider vinegar. The formula is 1 cup per tub. You may find that one type of bath works really well for a particular child.
    • Magnesium oil: This is not listed on the diet, but I thought I’d throw it in. We have one child in particular who is prone to magnesium deficiency–muscle cramps at night, achy legs and arms, and so on. We could give her magnesium pills until she was blue in the face but it rarely helped. Magnesium oil soaks in through the skin and causes almost instant relief of muscle cramps for her. You can buy it here, or make your own by dissolving 1 scant cup of magnesium flakes in 1 cup of filtered water {heat it on a stove} and then pouring it into a squirt bottle. If your child’s skin is sensitive to it, try watering it down.
    From here on out, I’ll be mainly posting recipes.
    If you have helpful GAPS tips, please share them with us in the comments!

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  • Reply Jessica November 14, 2016 at 2:51 am

    I am on day 4 of the Intro and having really intense aches in my arms and chest. My lower arms (near my hands) were aching so bad they even woke me up last night. I don’t have any other adverse physical symptoms. Could these aches be “die-off?” What is going on?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel November 14, 2016 at 6:39 am

      They *can* be die-off symptoms, yes. Are you part of any of the online GAPS groups? I would fine one and join it! I know there is one on Yahoo, but my guess is there are groups on Facebook now as well. πŸ™‚

      • Reply Jessica November 14, 2016 at 9:17 am

        Thanks! I will look into joining the Yahoo group now. πŸ™‚ Can I also ask you, did become LESS regular once starting GAPS? I used to be very regular, but now I am constipated one day and have diarrhea the next. Normal?

        • Reply Brandy Vencel November 14, 2016 at 10:00 am

          I have heard that that can happen as your body is healing! πŸ™‚

          • Jessica November 14, 2016 at 10:09 am

            Thank you! I really appreciate your time!

          • Brandy Vencel November 14, 2016 at 10:14 am

            You’re welcome! And I really cannot recommend joining a support group enough. They help you know what is normal and what isn’t … and what to do in either case. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Pilgrim October 4, 2012 at 2:28 am

    I really appreciate this focus on food. This is what I have turned to (since we aren’t doing a book club book) this fall. I don’t intend to try GAPS yet – but I am leaning more towards Paleo and need to hear about signs of going TOO low carb – especially that it impacts your thyroid (I have issues too). Do you have more links on the Omega 6/ Omega 3 balance?? I look forward to the recipes.

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts October 4, 2012 at 5:25 pm

      If you want to read on Omegas 6 and 3 {both of which are essential, meaning the body needs them and cannot make them}, I’d suggest running a search on Mark’s Daily Apple. Generally, they say the optimum ration is 2:1 or 1:1 (6 being higher). I actually take Eicosomax, an Omega 3 supplement, because I had a lot of signs of deficiency at one point. It is possible I wasn’t making the conversions necessary to utilize them; I don’t know. We definitely can’t afford as much fish as we used to buy when I had an inexpensive source. I need a new fishmonger! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Mystie October 2, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    My parents are on an ultra-low-carb, high-fat ketosis diet right now and they are pretty enamored with it. It sounds like they plan to stick with it; I’ll bring up the thyroid thing next time Mom brings it up.

    I need to look into probiotics a bit more. I just took the kids in to a new doctor to establish care and she recommended fish oil & probiotics for their eczema. I just got what Costco had; the boys can swallow pills. But I didn’t splurge for the chewable gummy probiotic for the youngers. πŸ™‚

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts October 2, 2012 at 5:16 pm

      I will be curious to know how it works for you! Our practitioner seems to think that most eczema can be solved by upping Omega-3s!

      Ketosis, from my understanding, can make some people feel *really* good. I have to be concerned because I have a damaged thyroid from when I had Lyme Disease. If I were feeling good on that type of diet, I’d just take my temperature regularly. A low basal temp is usually the first sign that you’re going south metabolically…

      Personally, I think that people feel great on a ketogenic diet initially because it is easy for most people to digest {as long as they don’t have low stomach acid and/or gallbladder problems}. So their bodies run smoothly on it. Nice! πŸ™‚

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