Thursday, October 27, 2011

Soul Crushing Days

I like to refer to the first stages of SCD / GAPS, commonly referred to as "Intro," as soul crushing. I do not say it lightly because intro is really tough. Really, really tough. And soul crushing.

It is tough on the cook (usually a mom) because all the food must be made in the home. From scratch. Nothing from a bottle except perhaps coconut oil / olive oil. Nothing from a box. Whether or not she knows how to make everything from scratch. No premade anything. It is intense.

It is tough on the patient (usually a kid) because their former favorite foods are almost guaranteed NOT to be allowed on the diet. What will they eat during intro?
Lots and lots of broth
More broth
Soup if mom is sweet and adds veggies to the broth (extra work)
Boiled/broiled meat
Perhaps a bit of cooked fruit (on SCD intro but not on the early stages of GAPS intro)
Perhaps some fresh pressed juices
Cooked vegetables (but not old stand-bys -starches- like potatoes and sweet potatoes)
Sauerkraut -- lots and lots of sauerkraut
Oh, and cod liver oil too

So, isn't this something you are EAGER to do?

For many of us who put young children on this diet, particularly young children with feeding challenges and neurological conditions, intro is what leads to liberation. Liberation from the daily challenges of coaxing a child to eat a little more (insert healthy food here) before they can have (insert treat or favorite food here). If all goes well, it also leads to liberation from a multitude of worries. When the brain begins to be nourished it is a game changer.

This time on the diet boosts healing and is a wonderful step to quickly seal and heal the gut. It is so effective that some people voluntarily go back to intro a second or third time for an extra surge in healing. Intro is also the time you can "break" a child's willfulness when it comes to food. For that reason alone I would encourage anyone with a very picky eater to consider an intro boot camp.

Changing a child's eating habits is a daunting task. They will cling to their favorites for as long as you let them. They will self select down to the least nutritious foods possible if you let them. If you start intro before doing the full diet, you will find that it is the time period when parents become the parents and children become the children. There is no confusion of roles and the child *knows* instinctively they have no control over the situation. Your child's personality will drive how long it takes before they succumb to this new truth. This is especially fun if the patient is your husband and you have to break his will too. My husband has not yet signed up for intro, perhaps because he knows I can be meaner than a marine. Intro takes a spine of steel.

For the kids who have some sort of "autism" symptoms, the feeding challenge can be even more intense because those kids can be SOOOO stubborn. Some of them have brains that want things to be the same way all the time and when you change something it is a HUGE deal to them. Tantrums can ensue. Or worse yet, a food strike.

However, it is worth every difficult moment because correcting a child's nutritional deficiency is THE answer to so many issues for our children today. Child not talking? Might be nutrition related. Child eating dirt? Definitely nutrient related. Child not growing very well? Definitely nutrition related. Child cannot sit still? Check those sugars and chemicals in their food. Child seems okay but struggling with dyslexia? Yup, nutrition may play a role. Good food and good sleep are the two requirements for any child to thrive (after love, which is the most important thing). It takes a lot of love to do this for a child so the parents who are willing are some of the most amazing, loving people I know.


  1. Thank you I needed to hear that. Keep up the great work.


  2. Soooo true! It's a perfect title, too. By the end of week 1 I was ready to give up, but the benefits have been so awesome I've kept going. All the standing in the kitchen, chopping, cooking, cleaning is totally worth it!

  3. Kati, this is all very compelling. You should consider a book for those that wouldn't use the internet. If we could only teach this in med school...I believe nutrition is the root cause of all illness. Kudo's to you for all you've accomplished for your children!!!!

  4. Thanks so much all! Wouldn't it be great if doctors were required to take at least one nutrition class before graduating from med school? Doubtful I'll have the energy to worry about finding a publisher / book contract Mare, but thanks for the vote of confidence! I just hope to tell my story and help some other local moms heal a few more kids.

  5. Thank you for making us feel less alone and crazy in this horrible journey. What would really help, too, is a whole pile of stories, and even better, data, that shows that this damn diet actually works, and isn't just another internet pipe dream.There are so many nutritional "cures" out there...but this one is SO hard, that I need some proof that this is actually worth it. If it doesn't work, I may have to blow something up or kill someone....bad day....

  6. Anonymous - I am so sorry to hear you feeling so overwhelmed. But I totally get it.

    I can assure you this diet *does* work, although sometimes it is not the only thing a body needs to recover. In our household it seems to be about 70-80% of what was needed to recover.

    We will continue to add stories as we have time to write them up. It is helping a lot of children with a wide variety of issues. Look in the archives and whenever you see a child's name with "Story" after it that is going to be a healing story for you to peruse.

    I am hopeful to work with a researcher this summer and gather some true data points. Until then the anecdotal evidence we have observed locally is undeniable, but you'll just have to take my word for it (and read some of the stories).