I’ve read that week 3 on the GAPS intro diet is often when you really notice changes and start feeling good. This was certainly true for me, and I had quite a few “light bulb” moments over the course of the week.
GAPS Intro Week Three
This is the week when I confronted my lack of patience. I started the week with my period and a round of metal detox, both of which bring their own set of symptoms. I got my first blemishes since starting intro. When I tried to eat some local, GMO-fed, pastured eggs, I got my first bad GI symptoms of the diet. But was it the eggs or my metal detox? I wanted to add in more foods rather than going 5-6 days without adding anything new. But I needed to acknowledge that I will never be successful if I don’t go slow. If that means being egg-free for a few days and sinking back into stage one + ghee until my stomach feels better, then I need to do that. I think a huge problem with my last elimination diet is that I would add food before a flare healed.
As much as I want to get through intro, I also have found myself to be very satisfied with what I am eating. I have foods I really miss, but I also love soup. It’s my favorite type of dish, and I’ve learned to make soups that taste really good. My constitution is completely happy eating soup all day, every day. Lucky me, huh? So I needed to wait a bit longer to add those pancakes or that butter. And you know what? By doing that, I was able to add those things and feel confident in assessing my reactions.
My biggest struggle this week once I worked through the above was my issues with nuts. I added in the GAPS pancakes (recipe coming soon!) on day 19. I have a very disordered relationship with food, and this often manifests with bread products and nuts. They are a “food without breaks” for me. But instead of holding off on them (it had been almost 3 weeks after all), I simply followed the rules. I do well with rules. I can stick to a diet like nobody’s business if it has strict rules. It’s when I loosen up that everything goes to hell. By following the rules (both of the diet and that I set myself) of just one pancake the first day, no more than 3 small pancakes in a day, no plain nut butter, no plain nuts, I know I can keep it under control. Hopefully this will allow me to learn how to eat nuts in a way that is good for my body. Because nuts and pancakes are a huge quality of life thing for me right now. While soups may be my favorite dish, having something that can function as a snack will really help with going out.
Even despite the above struggles, this week has been amazing for me. My mental energy was up and I was finally feeling really good about my diet. My stomach problems from earlier in the week cleared up quickly and I felt good. I began to notice that my stomach is getting smaller – whatever has been keeping it so prominent (bloating, inflammation, whatever) is finally resolving itself! Towards the end of the week, I developed some really bad back/shoulder pain and I started getting headaches. It turns out that having so much mental energy was leading me to do more work than my body was ready for. Remembering to wear my glasses, detox baths, and wearing my corset helped a lot.
Yes, you read that right. I occasionally wear a corset. It started as a self esteem thing, but it turns out it is great for my health in other ways. This past week, it was amazing for my back: as soon as I put it on, my shoulder pain stayed away all day. The first day I started wearing my corset again (I had taken time off to ensure that the volume of the soups wasn’t preventing me from getting enough calories), the pain stayed away, but came back an hour or two after I took the corset off. After a few days of regular wear, proper posture, and the strengthening of my back muscles, the pain was completely gone. It has also been a great way to measure the reduction of whatever causes my stomach to be large. I don’t feel like I have lost much weight, yet 3 weeks into GAPS I can close my corset completely with no discomfort at all – I’ve never been able to do that before (and just so you know, I do not tie my corset tight enough for it to cause discomfort).
In summary, it was a hard and wonderful week. The only food I added in was the nut butter and squash pancakes, making the nut butter myself from crispy almonds. That was successful, which I am very thankful for. My mind is clear and energized, but my physical body still has work to do before it is ready to take on more. After so many months of feeling tired and awful, it is so amazing to notice healing taking place.