I’ve been lax about blogging lately, but I have a good excuse: GAPS intro has taken over my life! Well, not completely, but I’ve been spending a TON of time cooking, eating and cleaning up. If you’ve ever done intro, you know exactly what I’m talking about. So far we’ve progressed through egg yolks, soft-boiled eggs (for Jesse), ghee, avocado, sautéed onions and nut butter pancakes. So I guess we’re in stage 3.
We’re both faring pretty well. The first day I was starving and couldn’t seem to get full no matter how much I ate, but I soon figured out that I probably just wasn’t eating enough fat. I started adding refined coconut oil to my soups and since then I’m actually able to get full after a meal. I’m still eating a lot, though – both Jesse and I have been eating four to five meals a day. This is partly where all of my time is going – eating that much soup takes me a long time! I’ve always been a slow eater and eating soup all the time just makes my meals take even longer.
Since I figured out the fat problem, I’ve been doing pretty well. I feel like I have less energy than usual at times, but I think that’s pretty normal for intro. I also have been getting some random stomach aches, but I can’t tie them to any particular food so I think they may just be related to detoxing. Jesse’s had some headaches (very unusual for him) but other than that has been feeling good.
We’re also hanging in there with the food. Both of us periodically go through feelings of “I can’t possibly eat any more soup!” but thankfully these have passed relatively quickly. I can’t say that I’m exactly happy about the food monotony, but we’re plodding on. Getting to add new things is, of course, super exciting. When we added in avocado on Monday, Jesse said that it was the BEST avocado he’d ever eaten.
Modifying Intro to Work for Us
By the third day of intro I was losing my mind over eating the same bland soups over and over. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to handle eating anymore if I didn’t make a change. So, I decided to add in sautéed onions a little earlier than normal. Sautéed onions aren’t supposed to be added until midway through stage 3 and we were only on stage 2 at the time. I felt comfortable about the change, though, and getting to eat those onions added much needed flavor and really saved my sanity. We didn’t experience any ill effects and I think doing this differently was completely worth it for us.
I also started incorporating bone broth into our intro diet. On intro we’re only supposed to have meat stock, which is different from bone broth because it’s only cooked for a few hours. I used only meat stock when we first started intro, but after a few days I found that I just couldn’t keep up with all of the demand. I had plenty of bone broth, though, so I started to add a little bit of bone broth to our soups. We didn’t have any reaction, so since then we have been eating both bone broth and meat stock. This has helped keep the broth-making to a manageable level.
I’ve also been willing to skip introducing foods. For instance, we did not try fermented fish. I have absolutely no desire to make fermented fish nor do I think I could eat it. We also did not spend any time adding in stews and casseroles, since they’re not appealing to me and I didn’t see how they would be much different than eating soups.
All of these changes bring to mind something I’ve been thinking about. Ideally I think it would be great if everyone could perfectly and precisely follow the intro diet. If you’re really struggling, however, I think it’s fine to modify intro to make it work for you. In my opinion, doing intro with some modifications is nearly always going to be better than not doing it at all. If you’re unhappy or overworked enough that you feel like quitting, maybe you can make some changes to make things easier on you. The modifications that I made really helped me be able to stick with the program.
I want to add, though, that if you’re going to modify intro, make sure you’re smart about it. Keep in mind that intro is based around the goal of eating easily digested foods. For instance, I felt comfortable adding sautéed onions because I was cooking them gently and thoroughly, so I judged that they would be nearly as easy on our digestive systems as the boiled vegetables we’d been eating. I would not have jumped ahead to raw vegetables, since those tend to be much harder to digest. If you’re going to make a change to how intro is written, take some time to consider whether your change is likely to undermine the goal of intro.
I am so glad that I decided to do intro when we didn’t have a lot of other things going on. All of the cooking, cleaning and eating would be so much harder to accomplish if I was out of the house a lot or was constantly needing to focus on other things. Plus, unlike most situations, there’s really no fallback option if you get too busy to cook. If you don’t cook your intro food, you won’t have anything to eat!
I’ve also appreciated being able to have some downtime in between all of the work. While I’d say I’m faring pretty well, I don’t have my usual energy at times and it’s been nice to be able to take more time to relax.
If you’re thinking of trying intro, I’d recommend trying to schedule it for a time when you don’t have much going on. I realize that this is not possible for everyone, but I really think it’s beneficial if you can pull it off. Beyond all of the work involved, I know that some people feel quite ill when going through intro so preemptively minimizing your responsibilities may help you get through the difficult times.
Well, that’s all for now. At the pace we’re going we should be mostly finished with intro in about a week. (Yes, we’re going fast!) Hopefully I’ll be able to reemerge to post some more at some point, but I can’t guarantee anything…there may just be too much cooking to do!
Have you ever done intro? What was your experience?
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