Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Burn the Ships!

So, how do you start a diet like SCD / GAPS? Many people ease into it. They incorporate changes bit by bit and eventually they find themselves eating "Full GAPS" and after they have their GAPS wits about them they take the plunge into intro, the soul-sucking, will-breaking, level of hell in Dante's Inferno that it should have been.

But not us. No way. No easing in here. We went with the Cortez method of starting SCD / GAPS. We picked a date, educated the kids, and burned the ships. Nobody would be returning to the old world from our pantry!

Our local Whole Foods and natural foods stores were kind enough to take back all the boxed items. I stocked up on butternut squash at the farmer's market. I LIVED online in the SCD forums and at the PecanBread website as I learned the ins and outs of the diet. I gave away bags of things I couldn't return to the store. I think some of it is still sitting in my mom's pantry 15 months later.

I took a nice trip to Penzey's and purchased new spices. I bought fresh herbs at the farmer's market. I trapped my children in the bathtub daily and taught them about saccharides, di-saccharides, and poly-saccharides. We talked about the fact that they had "belly bugs" and that we were about to declare war on the belly bugs.

I took off a week from work and on August 1 we started. The first morning went okay. We ate some kind of weird intro foods and tried to take the kids' minds off things by having them play outside. My girls mostly ate what they needed to and nobody got sick (this is sometimes an expectation with the GAPS intro in particular). Perhaps because of the butternut squash they had enough sugars? Maybe it's because they had already been on a mostly whole foods, cooked at home diet? Who knows. The days went by. ZiZi picked at food but by the fifth or sixth day started eating with gusto. Anything. We. Put. In. Front. Of. Her!

This was huge! But I was DYING from all the food prep in the kitchen and so tired of boiled chicken. Yick! Somewhere between the fourth and fifth days I hit a wall. I have never run a marathon but I can only imagine day five on the SCD / GAPS intro is a bit like hitting the wall in the marathon. You want to quit. You must push through it.

I threw a temper tantrum. An honest to goodness temper tantrum. I was pissed that I even needed to be doing this diet - why me? My husband said something like, "Maybe it's just too much and we should stop." I know he meant that to be helpful but it felt like some weird undermining mind f***. I threw my most beloved and expensive chef knife in the sink and started yelling at him that this was the only way things would ever get better. He slowly backpedaled out of the room as though I were a wild animal and if he backed up slowly I wouldn't notice he was leaving.

So I cried. And I chopped. And I baked butternut squash. And I made it past the wall. I ended up taking off a second and then third week from work. I hit up CraigsList for some assistance - turns out you can get some help in your kitchen from a trained sous chef for about the price of a good babysitter. So we traded in our babysitting budget for a sous chef budget. But doing it alone when I travel for work two days every week was not going to work without backup. It took awhile to get it all down to a science and it was definitely a tough time.

All that aside... It was the most awesome thing we have ever done. By week two ZiZi was talking a bit more and by week four she was stringing sentences into short paragraphs. Things she had never done and development that previously looked like it would be months before hitting the milestone were suddenly being achieved. I took ZiZi to see her new classroom and her teacher, who had known her since she was four months old, was blown away by her sudden progress.

So was it the right approach to jump straight to intro? Who knows! I felt the looming deadline of the new school year starting and since I had a kid who was barely talking I thought we needed to just roll up our sleeves and give it a four week shot. It was awful, but we made it through and life hit a pretty consistent pace pretty quickly. Intro will be awful, regardless of when you do it. Now I'm just hoping that the homeopath we plan to visit does not tell us that we need to go back and redo it. But if he does, we will have to clear out all the contraband again (like honey) for the start. Because there is one really awesome thing about burning the ships. You don't go looking for a ride to somewhere else!!!


  1. it's your stalker here.....you have NO idea how much I relate to this entry!!! My breaking point was when I made 6 HUGE mason jars full of fish stock (allow me to mention that I FLIPPING filleted the fish MYSELF)...and every jar cracked to pieces in the freezer.

    I need to know...did you add any supplements (including anti-fungals) during intro?


  2. ps...this is gina from the yahoo gaps support group-- i email you every day :)

  3. Hey Gina! When we did intro we did the SCD intro rather than the GAPS intro. If I remember correctly we pulled everything for a couple of weeks and then slowly added things back one by one. We kept them on the supplements for about six months and then dropped the supplements for about another six months. Then retested and added some back in.

    I would highly recommend against the prescription anti-fungals as there is some evidence they can set kids up for oxalate issues and my kids fit that situation perfectly. We do sometimes use Olive Leaf Extract, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Garlic, and Uva Ursi.

  4. I agree with the prescriptions....do you have any suggestions as far as dosage for grapefruit seed extract? are there die-off effects with these as well?

    How did ZiZi react to the fermented dairy?

  5. Every time we do anything that attacks bacteria/yeast we get die off. Although with naturals (OLE, GSE, UU, etc.) some of the biggest die off symptoms for ZiZi is some minor diarrhea as the bacteria clears the body. It usually starts on day two or three and lasts a day or two and then she is fine. And that poo is STINKY!

    I was doing goat products and ZiZi seemed to handle them fine. However, her eczema was stubborn so I pulled all dairy for the past couple of months and hope to get my act together enough so I can reintroduce it again sometime soon.