We are quickly approaching our One-year mark for beginning the GAPS diet. More details of that history are above on the 'Our Diet' tab. For months we have felt healthy, strong and stable. There have been minor skin things here and there (we DO live in Congo), but no illness per say.
I have mapped out our next steps or the 'GAPS Exit Strategy' as I call it. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride suggests maintaining the diet until you have been feeling good, normal, strong, etc. for at least 6 months. I feel we hit that mark about 6 mos. ago and are nearly at the end of the benefits we can get from GAPS. We worked our way up to high doses of probiotics. And have already worked our way to a normal maintenance dose recently.
So, per her recommendations, we will begin slowly re-incorporating into our menus boiled new potatoes. Then soaked, sprouted, sourdoughs of gluten-free grains. Typically quinoa, buckwheat and millet are good places to start. Sadly, millet is the least tasty and the only one locally available. No buckwheat-farmers in East Africa...
We already eat all vegetables and fruits, meats, nuts and eggs without trouble. James tolerates butter and homemade yogurt well. We have not ventured as far as cheese quite yet. His progress may be different than the rest of us, but I hope our paths don't need to diverge too much.
I have had some mild tree nut reactions (tingling - no longer the anaphylaxis/run-to-the-hospital) with cashews, but no issues with peanuts or almonds. Cashews and hazelnuts remain on my allergy list, but 5-6 others are OFF! James has had a strange tingling with avocado, so it looks like that one will remain a 'very occasional' food. This is more complicated here in Congo where we have 5 trees dropping huge, luscious avocados twice a year. In the US, avoiding avocado will not be difficult for him. Last year he tested positive to some 30 foods. We have yet to challenge all of those, especially the three biggest: wheat, corn, soy.
So the rest of the family is moving forward full speed ahead toward gluten-free sprouted sourdough and potatoes, while James and I still have a few residual things that could use healing. For this reason, I decided it would be beneficial to have the two of us go through GAPS Intro again. There aren't any major symptoms to clear, we just want a deeper cleanse of our system. So last week I boiled up and froze gallons of bone broth. Monday we hit it hard with soup, soup, soup and tea, tea, tea. We also had wonderful steamed pumpkin. Did I really eat half a small pumpkin?
I am hypothyroid, and have been concerned this time through Intro. that we not go anywhere near ketosis and super low-carb. I have had raw honey in my tea whenever I feel like it and plenty of pumpkin. After only 3 days I'm feeling great! So we're continuing pretty quickly through the Intro. stages and not really obeying all the rules (like instead of 1 nut butter pancake today, we ate as many as we wanted topped with ghee and raw honey). Maybe I will just declare a soup fast one day of every month. It feels good!
By the end of the week, we will likely be through the Intro. stages and then join the others in trying out potatoes. James will need to try cheese first. Though a couple spots of eczema showed up when we added yogurt. I can't tell if that is because the yogurt we can make is from nasty dried milk powder or because he really does have issues with dairy. That decision will have to wait until we are back in the US in 6 mos.
James has always had HORRIBLE eczema in Africa. The allergist in the US tested him for all sorts of tropical grasses and the scores were off the charts. Unfortunately, grass in the tropical sun all day pollenates all year round and is airborne. No matter what I plant in the backyard, he would still be constantly reacting. As soon as we return to the US it disappears. The only thing doctors have to look at is all the scar tissue (from the skin on his arms and legs, you'd think he had the chicken pox about 20 times over). But GAPS completely removed his eczema - In. Africa. It just left around Month 3. He got those couple spots back again, but they are now gone too! No amount of cream, aloe, gel, bath salt or anything could solve that itching skin. But changing how he eats did. It allowed his body room to process the airborne allergies without being overloaded by un-digestible foods.
We are keeping the supplements that we've seen working, which for James is: magnesium citrate, ProOmega EFAs, 5HTP, fermented cod liver oil (FLCO) and Primal Defense probiotics. If any of those are missed for more than a few days, he feels (and we see) the difference! The rest of us take FCLO and Probiotics - it has made a huge difference in our immune system and overall health. After we get back to the US, we will transition from Probiotics to eating lots of fermented foods. We plan to continue the FLCO and add elderberry for cold/flu season.
There's where we are for now. Very happy with our progress and hoping the Exit Strategy works out well for everyone. Gonna go make some yummy applesauce!