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.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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