Powerful Detox with GAPS or SCD Intro Diets

We’ve been on the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet) / SCD (Specific Carbohydrate diet) for the past year and a half and have experienced incredible healing. My man used to have terrible asthma attacks that were degenerating into panic attacks in the months before we started the diet. I was having terrible digestive issues and since I have a poor liver from getting hepatitis A as a child my body was having a terrible time removing toxins. Despite being on the Weston A. Price diet and eating heaps of bone broths, I degenerated to having cyclical vomiting bouts every 7 – 10 days. Which seemed to be the only way my body was able to reduce my toxic overload.

I haven’t had a vomiting episode in nearly a year now and my man no longer gets asthma at all. We tested this out recently by walking through fields of goldenrod in bloom, which he has had extreme reactions to for all of his life. Despite the incredible success we have had with the diet, I am a bit of a perfectionist and there are various things that haven’t worked themselves out yet. On top of that we recently took a trip to visit family in the Catskills. It is always more difficult to adhere to the diet when you are unable to cook for yourself, and so we were eating some things that my body wasn’t quite ready for yet. Not only that, but with the Fukushima nuclear incident our world is exponentially more toxic. I also have a sensitivity to EMFs, although I have discovered that the healthier my gut is the more protection I have in dealing with low frequency electromagnetic fields.

As a result, when we got home I decided to go back on the Intro phase of the diet to get a healing boost, plus it was a perfect time, as it was over the fall Equinox. Changing seasons is a good time to do internal and external cleaning (I also cleaned my house) I used to quite enjoy doing fasts every once in a while, but have realized that they can be detrimental if you have more die-off than your body can handle. The other problem with fasting is it is quite hard to maintain self-control and slowly ease back into eating again. Going from practically nothing to full-on meals is extremely taxing on an unhealthy intestinal tract. So I figured I would get back on the Intro diet to give myself a healing boost. Click here for details of the GAPS intro diet. Click here for details of the SCD intro phase.

I’ll give you an outline of my experiences for the past couple weeks as I learned a lot about the Intro phase of these diets — which are basically elimination diets to begin with. The way I do it is to eat chicken broth for the first day and then move to carrot soup. I then slowly start adding in other foods–usually zucchini and broccoli cooked in the soup as well, then an egg yolk added into the soup etc. Add new foods one at a time so you can tell if you react to a food. The first time I did the Intro phase of the diet was in February 2010. At that time the experience was so overwhelming that it was impossible to understand what was going on, whereas this time I had a clear perspective, along with better knowledge of my own body’s reactions.

Before I go on I just want to say that I have a tendency to interchange the GAPS and SCD diets and have kind of been doing what works best for me from both of these protocols. After looking into the subtle differences between these diets I have to say that I really like the SCD diet a lot better as it is more affordable and could be said to be more of an open-source or ‘people’s’ diet. The GAPS diet seems a tad elitist. Don’t get me wrong I really appreciate everything the GAPS diet has done for me, it has really changed my life. But the Enhanced SCD diet has much longer established healing history, especially for folks with autism and is more accessible (affordable), than the GAPS diet is.

I have also found that the die-off on the GAPS intro can be very overwhelming especially if you have a bad liver or issues with digesting fats. Fortunately, I am a person who loves soup, so I am happy just eating soup and broth, but for folks like my man who need something a bit more variable and substantial, the SCD intro phase allows hamburgers and 100% grape juice jello. Also, I am in the habit of eating only two meals a day, but this is not the requirement of either intro diets, you can eat as much as you need to of the allowed foods. Usually you will experience the worst symptoms on day 2 and 3. Once you have gotten past that you should be able to handle anything else that comes your way.

Day 1:
I just ate chicken broth whenever I felt hungry, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I made ginger tea with no honey to sip on as well. The first day went very well and I felt fine.

Day 2:
I stuck with the plain chicken broth in the morning. In the evening I had carrot and zucchini soup, and started feeling pretty crummy and began to experience the herxheimer die-off reaction, so I took a bentonite, epsom salts and baking soda bath and went to bed. (It always amazes me how instantaneously I feel better when getting into a bath when I am detoxing!)

Day 3:
I felt really awful all day. I was actually quite surprised by this as I figured that I was pretty cleaned up from having been on the diet for 1 1/2 years. I took a bath again in the morning and stuck to the ginger tea and carrot soup. I had normal bowel movements, no diarrhea so I was confident that it was die-off not reaction to the carrot soup.

Day 4:
I had soup for breakfast and was feeling better from the day before. In the afternoon I decided to make some fresh carrot juice, but when I drank it I immediately had diarrhea. I stuck with carrot soup in the evening. I took a bath in the evening.

Day 5:
First day of fall. Again I had only carrot soup and ginger tea. I got my period which helped explain some of the feelings of despondency and despair I had been feeling from the die-off symptoms. I was extremely grumpy and easily irritated, which was much more extreme than if I had either thing happening separately. I had a very powerful craniosacral therapy session in the afternoon and I took a long bath in the evening. I also added in red tea and was fine.

Day 6:
Exhausted all day, I spent the day in bed, my digestion was fine, it was exhaustion from the drain of my menstruation. I drank nettle tea and ginger tea (ginger tea also brings on menstruation very strongly so all of these things combined to really detox all of my systems). I added in kefir in the evening and had more die off but not as extreme as day 3, mostly just foggy brain and extreme irritability. I read some good books to keep me from thinking too much and had another bath in the evening.

Day 7:
I added an egg yolk to my soup and discovered I could drink my red tea with raw cream and everything was fine. When I was making soup in the evening I ate some of the ends of the raw carrots I was grating up to put in the soup. Shortly after dinner I had very runny diarrhea. I was quite surprised to have such a drastic reaction to just a few pieces of raw carrot. I took a bath in the evening to help alleviate any die off symptoms and had kefir before going to bed.

Day 8:
I started eating bone broth with a raw pastured egg yolk and white kimchi for breakfast, which I really liked and digested fine. Again only carrot soup for dinner with ginger and nettle tea in between times. I stayed in bed most of the day, as I still felt washed out from the diarrhea the night before as well as my menstruation so I took it easy (I had a really good book to finish) and again had a bath at night.

Days 9 onwards:
I am still not eating that much more. I have added in almond bread to my daily soup routine, I have also added in raw butter, yogurt and kefir right away. I have never had problems with dairy, but even so I found that using raw cultured dairy allows me to add the dairy in much earlier than if I was using pasteurized dairy whether it is organic or not. I didn’t take any probiotics during the first stages of the diet. There is enough detox going on from simply removing all other food from your diet that adding in a probiotic such as bio-kult or even a garlic supplement will be too much during the intro phase. I did take vitamin C (ester C formula) and I added seaweed granules into my soup, but this is mostly because I am quite concerned about nuclear radiation. If I was just starting the diet I wouldn’t add even these things in until later.

Generally the intro stage of the diet only lasts around 5 days and you start adding in other foods. As you see I have added in various foods at different stages, not necessarily following the strict intro diet guidelines. I also was doing this as a detox and was doing oil-pulling in the morning before breakfast as well. The first time I did the intro and beginning stages of the diet the die-off symptoms lasted for about a month–it was rough going. During that month I took baths every night to ease the symptoms. It is always amazing to me just how easily irritated and pissed off I get as the body is detoxing. Headaches, fever and hot-flashes can also be a symptom of the die-off, my partner and I were at each other’s throats constantly. Luckily we knew what was going on and would go take baths and relax. During this most recent detoxification phase I think the timing and the various other things that I was doing made this an incredibly powerful detoxification experiences. It was quite intense and I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have a bathtub!

For people doing this diet with kids and family I recommend not all doing the intro stage of the diet together especially if you are doing the GAPS intro. It would be really hard to be going through the die-off and being extremely irritable while your kids are also going through a really tough period. The baths are extremely helpful and it is useful to remember that when everyone is just flying off the handle, that it is from the die-off, not because anyone is really pissed off at each other. The SCD intro phase is more gentle, but still very powerful.

I also found doing the intro phase much easier to do now that I am already in the habit of cooking according to Specific Carbohydrate Diet guidelines. Many people recommend getting in the habit of cooking grain-free before going on the Intro phase of the diet and I definitely agree with that. It is a world easier to have certain habits and rituals down around food processing and not try to develop them while going through die off symptoms. Having the extra stress of learning new cooking techniques while dealing with the detoxing of your body is really just too much.

I also started doing visualizations while in the bath to help my micro-organisms remove toxic candida and bacteria and establish the beneficial micro-organisms in the gut. I will post one of these later. In the process of re-doing the intro phase of the GAPS diet, I started looking into the SCD intro phase a bit more and discovered some very good points that are made in the differences between the GAPS and SCD diets. As I mentioned earlier, I enjoy eating soup all the time, but many people can’t handle such a thing. My man, is one of those and gets quite annoyed having to eat soup every night. He also has had issues with digesting fat, which many people who have digestive problems have trouble with. The beginning phases of the SCD diet don’t use as much fat as the GAPS diet. We finally started taking bentaine HCL which has helped him with that process, but what we were finding was that he would start feeling nauseous immediately after eating much fat. The SCD diet is geared towards removing bad bacteria from our bodies before removing the candida yeast and the slower, gentler detox process is much better for the body. For people with bad livers like me, this process is more healing. On a side-note for people with IBS bio-kult isn’t recommended as it contains bifidus.

Anyway those are just some of the things I have noticed in my experience of doing this diet. I will do a more extensive examination of the differences between GAPS and SCD later, but in the meantime you can check it out for yourself on this informative site: www.gapsfacts.com

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Christie Olson

    I found your version of detox intriguing, HellaD!

    I am on day 5 of the SCD intro and am feeling aweful. I’ve never felt this sick before.I’d choose labor over this unfamiliar pain and discomfort.Nevertheless, I’m not ready to give up on this natural resolution to a healthy gut that seems to have worked for so many people.

    First, I eliminated all the illegal foods. Then started with fish, gelatin and grape juice, grape juic and water, and homemade yogurt and of course chix soup with pureed carrot and chicken. Initially I didn’t think the yogurt settled well, but because of the good bacteria I figured I needed it. Then the soup tasted good, a bit thick with carrots, and I noticed an aversion to the meat. I just didn’t want to chew it and choke it down. I have tried a few boiled eggs but felt cramping shortly after so stopped eating them. Just yesterday I tried eating some chix soup and within minutes of swallowing the chix felt a hard knot in my upper abdomen and dry heaved a few times. Nothing came up.Now I’m only eating little bits of hamburger at a time and grape juice and water. My BMs are more fluid, but I still can’t shake the constant cramping and abdomenal contractions when having a BM.

    Additionally, I have joint/tendon inflammation and flu like symptoms… Cold sweats, chills, feel cold in my limbs but warm through my torso. Thankfully I am still hydrated that I can lactate plenty of milk for my one year old son who still nurses.

    Sending my hubby grocery shopping tonight and thinking of taking things a little slower as you described in your post. Any other info from you knowledgeable self would be greatly appreciated!!

    1. Christie Olson

      I forgot to mention I was diagnosed with UC in 2007. Have had 4 or 5 flare ups including this one. They seem to happen ever couple years. This last one was after a brief minor flare up which was resolved quickly with a small dose of prednisone and temporary mesalmine suppositories and a health kick for a few months. Then no symptoms and great health the following year and the next while I was pregnant. Didn’t start having symptoms again until my Little One was about 10 months. Stress sleep exhaustion and caffeine got the better of me in May 2014. Now here I am curled up in bed waiting for the next urge to chase me to the bathroom.

      I m ready for a change. To take care of my family again. To enjoy getting up in the mornings.

    2. hellaD

      Wow Christie! That is full on, yeah probably really means you need it as you say.
      If I was you I wouldn’t include the yogurt just yet. I think you are getting enough of a die off just from eliminating the illegal foods. Wait to add yogurt until things settle down. What I often do is to just have the bone broth for about three days and maybe add a raw egg yolk to it (stir it into the broth as you add it) and see how you do with that. Also try avocado on the third day. Then move to the soup, and maybe just do only onions, carrots and zuccini in the soup, do that for a day or two, then you can start trying to add in some poached or steamed meats (I wouldn’t fry them) see how that goes and then slowly start trying more of the intro foods. Also be sure to take epsom salt baths and be sure to add in plenty of himalayan or celtic sea salt into your broth and even into your water. You need plenty of minerals for the inflammation in your joints and to help with keeping your detoxification pathways functioning. Add some baking soda into your baths as well.
      The baths are soooo important to get you through these first few days. They will help with pulling out toxins and providing much needed minerals transdermally.
      If you can I recommend getting some craniosacral therapy sessions or some other type of bodywork — even lymphatic drainage or fascial work because often there is also trauma from early childhood or your birth (cutting umbilical cord too early etc) that drives shock and shutdown into your gut and other organs.
      Go slow, it is easier on your body. It sounds like your liver is really struggling to deal with all the toxins. Do a coffee enema as well.

      1. Christie Olson

        Thanks so much HellaD. You gave me soany suggestions some of which Iwill to research because I have no idea how to do (coffee enema). And I’ll check out my local health foods store for the salts. And pick up some Epsom Salt. Thanks again!

  2. Yardana

    Why should bifidus be avoided for people with ibs?

  3. Sol

    I’ve had trouble digesting fat for a number of years. Betaine HCl didn’t help. What has helped me tremendously has been bile salts. This makes me think I need to do some liver and gallbladder detox.

    1. hellaD

      Hey Sol,
      I have just been reading this amazing and intensive article on sulphur and liver etc detoxing. You may find that some of the information in there is incredibly helpful for your situation. It has really widened my understanding of our various pathways for detox and immune-building and many things that I was wondering about are answered in it. It is quite long but well worth the read. http://treatautismnow.wordpress.com/2010/06/05/phenols-pst-and-sulphur-metabolism/

  4. Christine

    This is some great information. Thank you for sharing your experiences with intro. We did intro as a family Jan-Feb of this year and it was pretty rough. As the only cook in the house (eldest child is coming along, but his specialty is breakfast right now), I found the process EXHAUSTING. I’ll be revisiting intro next month (solo this time), armed with the benefit of experience. 🙂

    One thing I did notice in your post, though, was that you tested your partner’s allergies by walking through fields of goldenrod in bloom, which may not have been an accurate test. I’m not saying the results are necessarily inaccurate, just that he probably isn’t allergic to goldenrod, but to ragweed, which pollinates when goldenrod blooms. Since goldenrod in bloom is impossible to miss and ragweed is practically invisible to the untrained eye, goldenrod gets the rap for seasonal allergies. Having said that, I noticed last season that my eldest child didn’t experience seasonal allergy symptoms on days when he had eaten sauerkraut. He’s dairy-allergic, so I imagine yogurt and kefir could have similar effects, but I have no proof of that. I wish you all the best as seasonal allergy season comes around again! 🙂

    1. hellaD

      Yes good point about the goldenrod and ragweed, actually he was tested in particular for that allergy. Also the ragweed grows in abundance alongside the goldenrod. Also there are various other things that I didn’t mention that show just how much his allergies have cleared up.

      Anyway good luck with the diet, I am currently going through the first weeks of it with my mother who has pancreatic cancer alongside some very serious SIBO and other gut issues, so it is pretty tough. We are going very gently tho because her body couldn’t take a huge die-off right now.

      I have found that using magnesium oil is incredibly helpful as well as doing clay detox baths using this amazing clay bath formulas from http://www.ancient-minerals.com/ I am also giving her regular biodynamic craniosacral therapy sessions which I have found help to relieve and relax a highly traumatized gut that is in total shock. Along with various other things — like being sure to protect her from any dangerous EMFs…. I have found that these things are very important and that it is not a good idea to rely on diet alone in the healing process.

  5. Ildi


    i have started GAPS about a week ago and I am extremely irritable. My friends are shocked.
    My question would be, how do you know this irritability is from the die-off, and not because the body is missing some nutrient?


    1. hellaD

      Most likely it is from the die-off. Take epsom salt, baking soda, essential oils (rosemary, lavendar, geranium) you can add in bentonite clay or magnetic clay as well.

  6. Terry


    I am currently on the SCD Intro Diet, Day 9 and haven’t noticed any changes with my symptoms (mucus and blood). However, I am also tapering on Prednisone and have gone from 15 mg daily to 6 mg today. Do many people find their symptoms increase or stay the same for awhile? Thanks

    1. hellaD

      Good questions. We found that our symptoms were much worse for a while before getting better. Although we didn’t have blood and mucus, so I am not sure about that. I do know some people who the SCD diet isn’t right for. It might also be good if you can just use bone broth and egg yolk for about 3 days before adding in other foods. It is pretty hard to do but worth it and then just very slowly move to carrot and zucchini soup and soft boiled eggs and maybe avocado for a few days before trying other foods.

  7. Freddy

    this is a great page thanks!!

    there is so much to take in, i will have to read natashas book and look into doing this diet..

    however i get bad tummy aches with certain foods.I discovered some of these foods fall under the branch of high histamine – have you heard of this before? there are also high oxolate problem foods. I think high histamine and oxolate foods are not addressed in GAPS and are even on the allowed list of foods so it may be worth taking note of that.

    i noticed that you mentioned you were very sensitive to EMF. I too am very conscious of EMF and was researching into how to protect myself. I found a very interesting product that has my interest completely but it sold by someone in the USA while i am in th UK. It incorporates orgonite but is very different to plain orgonite. People have also commented on its effects in the forum but if you are particulary sensitive it might be an excellent way to see if works as advertised – i believe there is a money back guarantee from the person who sells it but probably best to double check this

    If you were interested let me know.

    can i ask -do you think the scd diet then also does the same thing as GAPS in the sense it is a treatment for autism, adhd, depression and all the other things listed on the front page of natashas book (gut &psychology syndrome)?


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