GAPS Stage One

Blog Post | March 17, 2016 | By

I am usually a by-the-book planner. This time I don’t know what happened up there in that head of mine, let’s just say I didn’t stick to my usual status quo. Bryce and I visited our Nutritionist yesterday, Wednesday the 3rd of February and she gave us the thumbs up we’d be eagerly waiting for (all through the Christmas holidays mind you – I am not patient at the best of times so this appointment was like Christmas coming again!),

YES she said, GAPS will do wonders for your family. Great, let’s go.

So we started today, Thursday the 4th February.
I am so excited, probably too excited. After many years of trial and error I finally have a direction and plan for tackling my family’s health and nothing or no-one is going to stop me, or for that fact talk any ‘sense’ into me. Yes, I’m kinda crazy. To defend my craziness a little though, we have been preparing and researching since November and I have an important group of meet-ups with GAPS mum’s happening next week that I want to be past die-off for, so we’re strapping on our boots and I’m raring to go.  We’re actually off to the Airport tonight to collect my beautiful Mother in Law as she’ll be touching down from Perth to come and help us for the first two weeks.

It’s a beautiful sunny Friday morning and I’ve just caught my MIL outside in the backyard watching the planes, I’m sure she’s wishing she could hop on one and go home quick smart as we have hit the ground running! (I’ll put a side note in here, if you were well prepared as I mention below then I believe you could get by without the extra help in those first few weeks, if anyone does offer though take it up, every bit helps in early GAP’s).

See I thought that Bryce and I would start Thursday so that I’d be right for the following week and we’d start the boys Saturday. Well, the ball started rolling and it was too hard to make another meal and the boys wanted to eat the Pumpkin and then Fish soup’s that I made yesterday so it kind of organically happened that we’d all start together. Now if I were to do it again I’d have soups and stocks frozen, drinks made up (thank you Jo Whitton for the Gingerade Lemonade – that woman is a GAPS Godsend I tell you!), snacks made up and colourful GAPS charts that my boys could refer to see what foods they COULD have, rather than the, “No, sorry, we’re on GAPS, we’re fixing our tummies so we can eat so much more food yay!” conversation that I had countless times today (actually it was my 4-year-old that suggested that nugget – I’ll blame my GAPS brain for missing that one). You know what though, today has been crazy, we’re only Day two and there’s been plenty of ‘I don’t like GAPS Mum’ moments but we’re on the ride now and nobody is getting off! Kicking, screaming and protesting will be ignored.

Today we had a Sunday morning miracle. We’re at Day four (and a world away from Day two, now affectionately known as Armageddon), Jack looks at his chicken soup and said ‘Yes, delicious thanks Mum!, can we please have brisket tomorrow? ‘.. Say WHAT! I never thought I’d hear that from him, the boy who loves his porridge (or GF Weet-Bix) and rice milk every morning and we had struggled to get many veggies, or meat for that fact into him at all, he has been by far our fussiest eater – what a eureka moment! So today we snacked on chicken drummette’s, meatballs and some green beans and zucchini zoodles cooked in stock and they both were ok with it. Hallelujah!

We’re well into Week one now and surprisingly I’ve found that Jack (out of all of us) has suffered the most. Samuel who is used to a low salicylate diet is actually flying along, he has the odd outburst of aggression or frustration (which thank you Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride for telling me this is so normal) and the odd watery vomit, whereas Jack is missing all his staples and is very emotional about it (MILKKKKKK Mummy, where is my Rice MILKKKKK!). Previously, Jack was eating the closest to the SAD (Standard Australian Diet) out of all of us, as we’d been so wholefoods, almost Paleo focused prior to RPAH but that all went out the window as RPAH focuses on refined foods, so I lost the battle for the year with my carb craver and meat and veggies avoider Jack. It has been stressful and demanding but I feel hopeful. Hope like I haven’t felt in many years and I wouldn’t give it up or stop as I KNOW it’s going to get better and that sourdough picture up on my fridge with eggs and avocado is keeping me keeping on. I actually have no inclination to quit. Nil, none, nada. The thing I think I’m finding the most difficult is their need for me and me alone. It’s exhausting, it really is. I had mentally prepared for the food battles and energy depletion but I hadn’t factored in the emotional reliance on me from the boys. I’m hoping as with a lot of GAPS trials this is just a phase, to survive it I’m trying to find little moments of sanity for me, a quick rest on the bed whilst they’re watching a movie, or a walk down the street on my own, these little snippets of time are becoming my sanity of late and they do really help!

Take Away’s from Stage 1:

  1. PLAN! This I would say is probably the most integral part of the whole process to date. Prepare snacks cooked in stock and some jellies for the fridge (Ginger and Honey or Coconut and Honey, or for Samuel still being low salicylate we also did Apple Jellies, have soups frozen and ready to go along with lots of stock – whatever you can handle, we mainly focused on a short (1 – 1.5 hour) chicken and lamb stock due to the histamine issue. 
  2. Each night I do an Epsom Salt bath for the boys to detox. I roughly put 2 large handfuls of salts into each bath, sometimes with Vitamin C powder to help counteract the chlorine in the water and also some Macrobiotic sea salt. I do every night for the boys and as I rarely get a chance for a bath amidst all my other Mummy tasks, I will try to sit on the couch with my feet in a tub with the Epsom Salts in there for 20 minutes or so and I find this really helps also.
  3. Use carcass’ and bones for stock. We were finding that the cost for the stock was becoming a little crazy (hello $26.95 for one organic chicken!). I started buying organic chicken carcass’ and using 1.5-2kg of these in the filtered water instead and it costs me between $5.50-$7 per stock instead. Given, you don’t get the meat but we were getting too much meat anyhow (and with histamines fresh is best). If I need to cook up some drumsticks, I’ll throw these in also as the fat from the skin makes a beautiful gelatinous stock and the meat is a world better than a whole chook we found in terms of moisture. (Great to throw into a bowl of stock, vegetables, salt and some duck fat afterwards – yum!)
  4. Be kind to yourself and practice patience with the kids (and hubby also!). I have to say the first few days of Intro, with young children is intense. They are detoxifying so they feel pretty miserable in their own skin and only want Mummy – for everything. I’ve found keeping focus on moving forward, reading about the next stages and doing a lot of prep when they’re asleep, plus (to my dismay) a lot of TV time is the key to surviving it, oh and when you can, get out. For a walk, a drive, just take 5 minutes or 5 hours if you can to get out the house and away for the kids just for a bit. One night I went down to the local cinema with my sister and it was so fabulous, it was such a reprieve and yet so simple. It is crazy but as with all things it does pass and if we’re going to get the results we’re looking for eventually then I’d do it all over again if I had too.

Holdaway Family_PI_700

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