The GAPS Diet Begins Today!
I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to go on a diet. In fact, I daresay it’s safe to say I’ve never been excited about dieting at all before this. I suspect that’s healthy… if you get excited about eating less than you like, you probably have a whole other set of problems. In any event, today I begin the GAPS or Gut And Psychology Syndrome diet in order to heal my gut and cure my ails… fingers crossed!
It actually hasn’t started out too well… Now, I don’t want you blaming the diet or its creator, Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride; this is entirely my own fault, I just wasn’t terribly organised. I’m sitting here at 9:20am, having now been up for nearly 2 hours, and I haven’t had breakfast yet. A lot of pyrroluria patients say they don’t want to eat in the morning but I am the exception to that rule, I love to eat in the morning (well, any time actually) and if I don’t get my brekkie in to me within the first hour of rising I start to feel queasy. So here I am, waiting for soup to simmer while my stomach churns.
GAPS actually requires quite a bit of forethought. It’s not just a matter of buying different foods to eat, we want to eat whole foods from clean, organic sources, untainted by chemical processes and preservatives. Guess where you can buy them? Yeah, you got it, nowhere. The first stage of the diet is comprised of organic meats, boiled and then served in their own stock, with as much fat and ‘connective tissue’ (ew) as possible. A soup may be made with peeled non-fibrous vegetables, provided they are cooked until very soft, which is why I’m still waiting. *sigh* The point is, you want to remove all potential gut irritants from the diet and start re-lining the gut wall and that needs fatty, gelatinous goo to happen. Ooh, hang about, the beeper’s just gone off- that means it’s ready!
Ok, I’m now sitting at my living room table with my laptop and a steaming bowl of chicken and pumpkin soup. The red stuff in the middle is a teaspoon of the juice from my homemade purple sauerkraut. It’s not my normal addition to chicken soup and I’m not sure how the flavours would go but it’s such a small quantity I can’t really taste it but truth be told, I’m so hungry right now I don’t think I would care even if I could. Naturally fermented foods are the other major part of the GAPS diet, for re-introducing good bacteria back in to the gut. I’m pretty impressed with myself for fermenting this sauerkraut two weeks in advance and I even managed to make my chicken stock yesterday but after something of a bender over the weekend (it was my last hoorah before GAPS so I went a little crazy on alcohol, dairy and gluten and drove myself into a bad-food induced pseudo-coma on Sunday which was meant to be my big cooking day, urgh!) I hadn’t yet made the actual soup component.
Mmm, the meat is lovely and tender, as it should be after an hour in the pressure cooker. I’m not a huge fan of the broth, it’s a flavour I’m not really used to. I’ve never been much of a meat eater; I actually went vegetarian from the age of about 10 to 16 and when I resumed eating animals, I could never really get enthusiastic about it. Anything that tastes especially ‘meaty’ gives me a knee-jerk reaction of repulsion that I have to work to suppress. I love animals and I hate the thought of raising them for the purpose of eating them, I had even considered more recently going back to old diet but I’m told my years of vegetarianism have contributed to my poor gut health so I’m trying to accept a compromise of only eating certified organic animal products, that way at least I know the creature had the best life a framed animal could possibly had, while it lived. In any event, the texture of the chicken is pleasant and I quite like the notion of the bone broth, in theory. If we are going to take an animal’s life for the purpose of eating it, we dishonour it if we do not eat every part and by making a bone broth out of a whole chicken, I feel I’m at the very least respecting the bird. Bargh, ok, subject change! Talking about this is making it hard to eat the darn soup!
I’ve also made kefir crème fraiche as a probiotic source but I’ve been warned to ease this into the diet. The juice from the sauerkraut is to be added to every bowl of broth but the kefir is to begin at 1tsp per day. I have lamb pieces in the oven right now, roasting before I boil them into broth too and as soon as I disinfect the jars, I’ll be attempting some home-made dill pickles too. So as you can see, this whole GAPS thing is not for the faint-hearted! Here are the basic rules:
GAPS Diet – Intro
(maintain until gastroenterological symptoms stop… hopefully, just 1 week!)
- Bone broth made by simmering organic bones (lamb, beef, chicken or fish)
- Boiled meats taken off broth bones
- Peeled, non-fibrous vegetables, cooked until soft
- Juice from naturally fermented vegetables (days 1-3)
- Naturally fermented vegetables (after day 3)
- Fermented dairy products (gradually increased, starting with 1tsp per day. High fat products such as cream are best for patients with constipation, high protein products such as milk are best for diarrhoea sufferers)
- Eat as much as is required to feel satiated but NEVER use microwave to reheat
- Drink plenty of water
- Make tea with fresh ginger root or drink peppermint or chamomile tea
It’s going to be an interesting week!