GAPS Stage Two
Hello Day five and hello egg yolk’s! Which means day one of stage two and the boys and I did get our egg yolk excitement on this morning, strange things happen in GAPSland! The boys are currently very lethargic and excreting something that smells like it came from the local sewerage but we’re moving along the GAPS train and I feel much more settled and like I can get through this now. I may’ve felt like this a little earlier if I’d planned a bit better, but as Sophocles said,
“I have no desire to suffer twice, in reality and then in retrospect”,
so I’ll pick up my socks and move on and learn for tomorrow. Or maybe the day after as I’m sure I’ll fall asleep in front of the TV tonight!
Hold your horses, as my mother would say. Jack has started having intense emotional meltdowns for the last two days since starting the yolk and I’ve been getting some tummy cramps so at the moment I’m keeping a close eye on him the next few days to see whether it’s a detoxifying process or if he’s still not able to digest them properly yet (if it’s the latter I’ll pull him off again, up the stock and try again in two weeks – I’m to watch him for the next few days and he’ll either start to get better, which means it was a detox reaction or the reactions will remain in which case I pull the offending food, which means he still has the intolerance). I actually seem to be tracking ok on them so far though I’m thinking I’ll swap over to the easier to digest duck eggs as my body is physically feeling tired and weak and I’m starving but I’ve just been advised, thanks Mary (Mary Kelly from Good Mood Food is my ‘Help, I have a question!’ go to superwoman, I do love her just a little, or a lot), and she said that’s completely normal its my body going through Ketosis which in laymen’s terms is the process of converting from a sugar burner to a fat burner. To help with the lack of energy I’m going to up the fat with some sweet and it all should be well, sweet!
The boys and I have all been super hungry these last few days, I’m learning fast to have plenty of snacks ready to go for the next day so I’m starting to poach some drumsticks/drummette’s/meatballs and veggies in stock the night before. (A point on that, snacks are vital to getting through this, so use whatever ingredients you can tolerate and have them on hand at all times if you can). As Samuel can’t tolerate honey yet due to the salicylate’s and none of us can do coconut, our sweet snacks are apple jellies and fat bombs made from duck fat and stewed golden delicious apple’s for Sam & the fat mixed with honey for Jack and then I’ve also just made liver pâte which seems to be working so far – yay!
We’re struggling to get them to drink the stock so last night I sat down with Jack and we read through the different stages so when at dinner he didn’t want to drink his stock I told him the more we drink stock the quicker we’ll get to Stage 6 (the berry stage!) and that worked – shameless bribery at play I’d say but anything that gets it done without hurting any animals or children in the process is a win!
Mary also suggested to me that if the boys are struggling with stock or eating veggies just keep placing it in front of them every meal and eventually they’ll start to eat it as it’ll seem normal. After chatting with Mary, we also discussed the boys hunger and she said that its actually a great sign of healing as their bodies are craving the nutrition so to just keep feeding them and it will subside as they get the nourishment they need.
We’re at day eleven and both Bryce and I are getting some exacerbated symptoms. For him foggy brain, feeling irritable and just restless and for me the anxiety is returning (heart pumping sensation). I’ve just read that this is completely normal, for things to get worse before they get better so we’ll suck it up as best as we can and get on with it. My family came and took the boys out for the day today, which was perfect timing, actually any day someone offers to come and take the kids out for a bit is perfect timing isn’t it! Anyhow, I’d asked them to do so, so that we could get a through a whole lot of tasks – tidying up the house for starters! I usually like to keep things pretty neat and tidy but have had to let go since starting GAPS, however it hasn’t bothered me as much as it usually does, well I say that but I think it still does! It felt super cathartic I must say just to see clean floors again, see it does still bother me J… We also cooked about 12, 500mL pumpkin soups to freeze and did two lots of chicken stock (one was great but the other was a bit watery, I used just carcass and a little too much water, I find it definitely works a whole lot better to use a little less water if using just carcass, or add some drumsticks or drummette’s into it). The boys are really loving the little drummette’s as a snack and I send some along to kinder most days. I also usually send a thermos with some pumpkin soup – load up the salt and fat and it tastes delicious, and some kind of a vegetable cooked in stock, usually green beans or beetroot. Some days I’ll also send avocado in pieces that I’ve soaked in lemon juice to stop it going brown with some yummy salt on top.
On that, we are loving salt and have been told that if the kids want it, go for it. As long as it’s really good quality Himalayan or Celtic sea salt it’s actually giving our bodies minerals that we need, it’s only the old fashioned table salt that we should be wary of. We have a little dish at the table that they love to pinch some from for the top of their meal. Sometimes Samuel will do his finger pinch and it all goes straight in the mouth. Whatever works for you buddy. Speaking of dishes, we have a fabulous supermarket called LaManna nearby where I’ve been to buy some great colourful bowls, that are really cheap and I let the boys pick a bowl each meal which is really helping with keeping them involved and a bit of fun in it all. (I’ve put a picture down the bottom of the post).
Stop the press. We’ve made it to the three-week mark and we’re all still alive and kicking…just! This last week has been probably one of the toughest of my life. I was aware starting GAPS that it would be a big undertaking physically, one thing I hadn’t factored in was the emotional toll. This in hindsight was a little naive. The meltdowns have come thick and fast, and that’s just from hubby! In all seriousness though, the boys have had a bit of a rough time. It’s interesting watching how they do respond, Jack’s meltdowns are emotional full of tears and wobbly lips and Samuel’s could rival the Incredible Hulk – energy, destruction and quite a bit of screaming (what a lovely way to put it, ‘quite a bit’, intense is probably a better word). I tell you this not to scare you, but to prepare you. It’s like when you get married, no one tells you about the post wedding blues. Once that wedding and honeymoon is over it’s like you’ve disappeared back into the beige walls of life and poof you’re a normal person again. This is the same. Knowledge in this case is power, as then you can prepare. Funnily enough, whether its due to healing or because I’m on a mission, I’m coping much better than what I would’ve pre-GAPS. Yes, I have my days where I lock myself in my room for a cry (for five minutes – with young boys this is all I can manage before the door gets knocked down), or tell hubby for the fifteenth time within two minutes of being in the door how HARD my day was. For some reason (you may call it healing or having hope) but the next day, or next hour I get up, dust myself off, take a breath and brace myself for the fight again and you know what, you get through, you really do I promise, I normally wouldn’t have coped so well.
I booked our babysitter for the day today (yes, my Mother in Law has gone home now, insert sobs and snot, lots of it), as I had to do some GAPS research and appointments without the little men. As I went to leave Samuel started getting quite upset and asking me to stay (normal so far right?!), however his lip started to quiver and he came over and curled up in my arms and just sat there cuddling me asking me oh so quietly not to go. I did go, I cuddled him, told him I loved him and I’d be back in a few hours and left (and yes I was choked up and torn, I’m no super mama). You may be thinking ‘so what, what’s so special about a child getting upset when you leave?!’. What’s so special to me, to us, is Samuel showing that emotion. Whenever I’ve left before he’s either waved me off or grabbed at me (quite Hulk like) and been very vocal in not wanting me to go, loud, boisterous, big sobs, ranting (more a demanding response than emotional). Today though, today was different. He was quiet, affectionate and emotional in his response.
Healing is starting to happen, today I see it and this is enough to power me on, power me through the next bout of tantrums, hunger cries and questions of why.
Samuel has started to show significant behavioural issues. Yes, there was a moment last week when all three of us stood at the kinder gate crying, thank goodness for some beautiful kinder Mum’s coming to my rescue. He’s started to exhibit strong spectrum type symptoms and behaviour and after a week of detective work and desperation to find out why I’ve realised that:
- He cannot yet tolerate Pumpkin soup! Pumpkin is a moderate salicylate food, but the concentration of it (having so much in one sitting) was just too much for his body to handle and was causing reactions. His reactions generally would involve: Red rash type spots under his chin, red patches on his arm (only occasionally), red cheeks and then the behaviour would disintegrate. He’d either start throwing things around the room, snatching toys off Jack aggressively and if I try to remove him from the situation he’d hit out at me, throw balls at my head and just scream, a lot. I’ve spoken to my Integrative Doctor, Dietician and Naturopath and they all said this is purely a reaction to his body pushing a detox too hard. They said he needs plenty of love and comfort during this time, so I try to put him in a safe place to scream/hit/throw where he can’t hurt me or others and then when there’s a break in the screaming I’ll immediately go to him to comfort and hold him.
- He cannot tolerate strong odours: We were at the shopping centre Sunday and then the pool Monday (he no longer swims, Jack does swimming lessons) and I’ve now learnt the mere fumes of the pool set him off. The chlorine smell is too intense and at the end of Jack’s session on Monday Samuel was off and running – literally, out the doors, down the street and screamed/thrashed/kicked as I bought him back inside.
The behavioural issue is a hard one to tackle and as a parent you have to do what sits well with you and go with your intuition. For me I found in the last few days that if a situation occurs say at the pool, we were going to the park for lunch afterwards, which we continued to do, but he wanted to go on the swings. So I explained to him that his behaviour in the pool wasn’t fun so he needed to sit on the park bench for five minutes and when the timer was up he could go a play. A wonderful parenting mentor, Kevin Lehman calls this the ‘teachable moment’ (having a consequence for the behaviour at a later point to when they’re actually doing the behaviour as when he’s in the hyped up state, there’s no way I could rationally talk to him then). This has caused me a bit of conflict and I’ve reached out to quite a few people for help on the forums the past few days, as when we were on RPAH this behaviour was really contained so obviously as his body is detoxifying it’s sending so many toxic gases to his brain his body just can’t cope hence the outbursts. So I’m aware that he’s not being a ‘naughty boy’ he actually can’t control the behaviour. Therefore, I tossed and turned, ummed and ahhed about how to approach it and in the end my Mama instinct was that I wanted him to feel loved (hence a big cuddle and holding him after the outburst) but for his sake and the sake of his brother I felt there also needed to be some kind of discipline to say this is just not ok (running out the swimming centre onto the road, throwing things at Mummy’s face for example), therefore I now implement the ‘teachable moment’ with him. I keep the moment’s less intense as I understand the behaviour isn’t fully in his control but I implement them none the less and I’ve noticed that he seems truly remorseful afterwards and we can then chat about it calmly and compassionately. I share this not as an instruction manual but hopefully to help, as last week I was so stuck (so very stuck and desperate) and didn’t know what to do to deal with it as it was happening everyday and really starting to affect our family. Looking back, I can now see that the daily pumpkin soup dose wasn’t helping so I’ve pulled that as of yesterday and already I’m seeing some good results (i.e: less meltdowns).
Take Away’s from Stage Two:
- Alway’s have snacks on hand
- Being on GAPS is all about constant detective and intuition work. If you feel like some reactions are more than just detox, I’ve found making a food diary of food eaten and reactions and also noting environments you’ve just been in has really helped to pinpoint issues and amend from there
- Ask for help when you need it. I was alway’s pretty useless at this and GAPS has well and truly taught me the art of asking for or seeking help. It may not alway’s come but you’re better to ask and not get once than to never ask at all
- Use all available resources to make GAPS fun. Bowls, thermos’, glasses, spoons, salt dishes, anything you can think of thats different from your normal meal routine, do it. It doesn’t even matter if you have kids or not, when you’re eating stock meal after meal choosing a pretty bowl is a nice little gift to you