Progress Not Perfection

As people bump along through intro (because really, bumping along is what it is), we tend to become frustrated at points. At times we feel we’re doing “one step forward, two steps back” as we discover reactions to foods. Die-off alone can trigger major fatigue; add to that the massive learning curve and focus involved, and we can feel like obsessed zombies for stretches of time. At points, we consider giving up. We wonder, “Is it worth it? Will there even be results? Am I throwing time, energy, effort and money down the drain?”

In the Twelve Step community of recovery, a phrase used is “progress not perfection”. It applies well here, and in a couple of ways.

First, if we veer from the program, all is not lost. After sustaining an injury during intro, Jo needed to weigh out whether pain or painkillers would have a deeper impact on her body. She opted for painkillers, and worried whether these would undo the gains brought through intro. Before their turn, I snagged a handful of unsoaked cashews and gobbled them up. I was really sad about the misstep, somewhat disappointed in myself. Annie felt the need to omit a number of Stage 2 & 3 preparations and move on to some from Stage 4. At two months in, Kim is still experiencing pre-menstrual symptoms while noting that my own disappeared very early on.

Need any of us fret? Not at all. As a total perfectionist in some areas, I truly understand the desire to do things just so and, perfectionistic or not, certainly we all want maximum results for our incredible intro efforts! What’s important to focus on is progress.

Because intro brings up so much -fatigue, frustration, unavoidable mistakes, avoidable misteps, an unmasking of reactions not previously obvious (see GAPS Guide page 57)- it is sometimes hard to see the forest for these prickly trees. We can lose sight of the fact that our bodies are undergoing an incredible and profound healing, even while frustrating reactions arise. Because the body is undertaking this healing in waves and layers, we experience the light in glimpses. Nicola Ann is newly experiencing a racing heart and significant fears, among other issues, but also reports that the whites of her eyes are holding white vs yellow, her urine test is finally normal, redness and blisters on the skin are gone, she is so far experiencing no pre-menstrual acne, and she’s able to move around better than she has in a long, long time.

While after his first day of healing my son slept through the night for his first time ever, and while he spoke his first-ever sentence on the third day, and while he showed other miraculous turnarounds within the first week, his stools were all over the map for several months and every time he was offered the fruit he so craved he began screaming at the top of his lungs and lunging about. Scary! I initially put a lot of effort into tracing the cause of the stool changes -eggs? almond flour?- and ultimately let it go. I mean, my son could now talk, bathe, toilet, have his hair and teeth brushed… I finally focused on the forest and let the trees go. Over time, the stools became consistently fine and my son was also able to have fruit with no change in his countenance.

Ultimately, no human will experience perfect health. Children doing GAPS have an excellent chance of becoming fully healthy. However, they will still tantrum some days, they will still wake in the night at times, they will still get the flu and vomit all over themselves. Adults doing GAPS also have an excellent chance of becoming very healthy. We’ll not necessarily, though, develop the boundless energy of children, if we’re inherently introverts we’ll remain introverts, and we may be far more vulnerable than our children to the effects of non-GAPS foods. The idea of GAPS is not to become invincible, perfect, powerhouses. The idea of GAPS is to support the body back to effective digestion -and assimilation and use- of key materials so that we can enjoy very good health. It’s possible that we could tweak endlessly for even better results, but I think there’s a point that we need to apply the 80/20 rule. ie. It can be wise to apply a good go of energy (“20%”) to achieve excellence  (“80%”). After that point, we’re in danger of shifting to applying 80% energy to achieve an additional 20% gain. Sometimes, it’s okay to say, “Enough.” We can say, “You know what, we started out with all these issues, and we’ve had these gains. We’re going to coast here for awhile and enjoy, and if more healing comes, or if one day we’re inspired to make another couple of major changes we will. But for now we’re going to focus on how far we’ve come.” And, so long as we carry on with our general course, the healing will continue to unfold, slowly but surely.

What might the 20/80 look like in GAPS? It might look like largely eating the program as outlined, but also: ingesting three tablespoons of nut butter every few days even though it makes us crabby; including beloved spinach in the family’s meatballs even though one member has gas afterwards; eating an abundance of GAPS treats on a child’s birthday party two months into healing, experiencing splitting headaches the next day, but remembering the event with smiles anyway.

Perhaps one day we’ll commit to eliminating nuts for two weeks before retesting them, or opt to replace the spinach with kale, or focus on activities vs food for the next party. Maybe. And maybe not. Regardless, we’ve in the meantime introduced fermented fish or home-fermented vegetables, and/or are having a serving of marrow soup each day and/or have replaced rice with grated caulflower and…  It’s all stuff we weren’t doing four weeks or two years ago!

Progress not perfection.

Tips:

  • Before starting GAPS or intro (or now with your best recall), list the symptoms you are (or were) experiencing. On days of frustration, or when you wander from the program and wonder if it’s “worth it”, review your list.
  • As you proceed with the program, be mindful that many people experience a healing of symptoms they didn’t even really know they had! ie. After two months on the program, you find your feet no longer hurt. For the previous three years you’d been so caught up in the awful psoraisis that you didn’t even realize your feet were also screaming! As you discover surprise healings, add the old symptoms to your list.
  • If ever in doubt, return to your previous diet for a month. After one month, determine whether you had in fact been experiencing progress.
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24 thoughts on “Progress Not Perfection

  1. Thank you for this post. I was sitting here feeling so overwhelmed when I opened my email to see this post. Being a perfectionist I’m overwhelmed that I can’t do it all at once. After a couple days of backward steps I am feeling very discouraged. Thanks for the reminder to focus on what is being done and the progress that has been made.

  2. Thank I needed that also. I keep saying I’v come to far to go back now. I have go forward to find out where this is going to take.
    and what degere of healing it will bring.
    I keep saying any healing in a lot better than where I was. thanks Jane

  3. Dear Baden,
    I do not know how to contact you personally, but I have a crisis situation at this moment and would like to know if I could email you privately and personally. This is an emergent situation. Many thanks, Joan

  4. Baden – You and I must be working on the same wavelength! The post I just wrote is all about looking back at our first month and acknowledging all the tiny things that have changed for the better. They aren’t all the huge monumental changes I had hoped for, but there are enough signs that propel me forward – doing Intro imperfectly, but doing it anyway ;) Thanks as always for your wise reflections.

  5. Baden,

    So true! In an ideal life Intro would be done with no interference from upsetting events, but given that this is not possible, we have to learn to forgive ourselves for our imperfections. In addition to painkillers, I decided to juice more than my stage would warrant to try and boost my vitamin C (I read it is important to help woulds heal). And I ate two oranges. And I took a teaspoon of acerola cherry powder (I read in Dr Natasha’s website that this is the best way to take vitamin C). At that point my stomach was really really unhappy, but somehow pain got better. I felt like a general who had to sacrifice a few soldiers to win the battle.

    From tomorrow, if I feel ok, I will go back to my stage, but will try to continue juicing once a day even if it is only a few carrots and lettuce leaves. Somehow this week’s events made me realize I need more raw vegetables in my diet. Juicing was impossible for me before Intro – I immediately had diarrhea when I juiced – but perhaps now I am ready to try to gently up my juicing.

    Thank you for reminding me about the bigger picture…

    Jo

  6. Kathy, Sara, Jane and Jo: Thanks so much for letting me know that this post really resonated for you! I’m glad it gave people some degree of relief, peace, and psychological/emotional space. Yes!

    Annie: Yes, I think we were on the same wavelength indeed…because this was the post inspired by *your* blog a day or so before it :) And I totally love that our most recent posts connect so beautifully!

    Joan: By now your emergency must be past. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to get back to you earlier. Unfortunately, I’m not in a position to be able to assist with crises. For emergencies, it is important one access their local hospital. For issues that are concerning, one should contact their medical, naturopathic or GAPS practitioner by phone. For situations where one is in need of urgent emotional or practical support to continue GAPS, the email support lists or the phone list should be accessed. These resources are listed on this blog’s ‘Support’ page and can be accessed 24/7. I certainly hope that in the meantime your situation has resolved and that everybody is okay!!

    All my best,
    Baden

  7. Hi Baden,

    I love your site and book! I’m just curious if you know if certain blood types do better on Gaps. Blood type O are meat eaters so should do very well. Do you know of blood type A having a more difficult time with Gaps?

    Thanks!

    Liz

  8. Hi Baden,

    I stumbled upon your work here and want to say kudos to you for how you are teaching and helping people! We just started GAPS intro and I have a few questions that I can’t seem to wrap my head around, LOL…I hope you don’t mind me asking you. I have been a holistic health practitioner (of sorts) and teacher for some years now, and am well-versed in the realm of allergies and sensitivities. I have done other detox/healing diets in the past, but was brought to the knowledge of GAPS recently and we decided to dive in. Myself and my kids are all allergic to a different extent and we need complete healing for eczema, night terrors, chronic constipation, extreme pollen allergies, food allergies, etc.

    The intro diet has been a challenge for us, especially the kids. Now, I understand from experience that just about anything can be a die-off symptom, but it’s also difficult to discern when you have kids with food allergies/sensitivities. So when I see my son’s eczema flaring up and my toddler daughter having such acid urine that it burns the skin on her bum, I wonder…die off or food reaction? Flushed faces and red ears are typically a sign that a child has eaten something the body is allergic/sensitive to. I’ve seen it over the years with my kids. We’re seeing it again on Intro…die off or food intolerance? I myself have been so incredibly lethargic and irritable…but I expected that, as I’ve done anti-candida diets before and had the same reaction.

    One question is this…my kids were just weeping the first two days at eating nothing but broth and boiled veggies. We are a very “health food” nutrition-oriented family; we always eat real foods with much diversity and great flavor. Stage One of the Intro diet seemed like torture to my kids…so we kind of “cheated” I guess, and we have decided to blend the broth with cooked butternut and acorn squash, creating a tasty squash soup. Will the benefits of the broth still get to the kids…have I messed up the importance of doing the stages? I don’t want to go thru all this trial and have it not work! We also added softly cooked eggs, because everyone was just so hungry.

    Next question…my family has been using homemade fermented foods (raw kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, etc) for a couple years now. And we always take probiotics as a matter of course. I see much in the GAPS literature about using these foods sparingly during GAPS Intro. Yet, when you have a situation like ours, when those things were already a part of the lifestyle, is that caution applicable in the same way? I feel as I read the literature that it is aimed toward families who have never eaten/supplemented in this way before. Is this a wrong assessment?

    Honestly, I’m unsure about how to proceed thru the stages with the children and avoid hunger strikes and misery, but also attain the healing we desire. It’s funny to feel like a novice in this realm…I’m second-guessing myself constantly. We’ve been at this for seven days now and I’m just cranky and exhausted and craving honey terribly. LOL

    I so appreciate your time and would love to hear your thoughts on these issues. Thanks so much! Cheers!

    • Hi Gabi,

      Sorry for the delay in my response. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by comments or life and have to take a break :)

      1. The question of what is die-off vs what is food reaction is the most difficult one on GAPS. Generally speaking, there is no way to know until one goes through enough healing to know their own body. This is a huge frustration for folks, but I don’t know of reliably fast ways around it, unfortunately.

      2. The first few days of intro is tough for kids (and many adults) -both those who’ve eaten terribly and those who’ve eaten quite well up to that point. Weepiness is common in early intro. It’s usually about Day 4 when a child’s system transitions and goes for the healthy, baseline foods.

      3. A soup made with orange squash isn’t cheating :) All tolerated, lower-fibre, GAPS-friendly veggies are permitted right off the bat. Some people avoid orange veggies initially if they believe them to trigger candida flares, but otherwise they can be used, no problem.

      4. Big hunger is also normal in the early stages. It’s why I recommend eating fats and protein upon waking, every hour or so, and just before bed for the first six weeks. It’s not a specific food one needs, but rather support to get through the very healing transition stages. I would carry on for now. You can always return to intro and do it ‘just so’ after some months or a year or so. Every effort you make toward healing will support the body to that end. No effort is wasted.

      5. Yes, even where ferments, etc, have been a major and regular part of one’s lifestyle, eliminate or reduce them before intro. People are very sensitive to these during intro, and the results can be more than a person might wish to bear. Many people coming to GAPS ate excellent diets -WAPF, etc- before coming to the program. The GAPS recommendations apply equally to these families.

      6. It is unlikely that you will avoid hunger strikes and misery. However, these are temporary and part of what the body does as it transitions. What you are going through is totally normal! Keeping the probiotic sources ”low and slow’, doing a different die-off relief bath daily, ensuring daily bowel movements, etc, are key.

      Gabi, it is wonderful to have someone with your background and experience with us! For sure GAPS is different than some approaches, so it will be a learning curve regardless of one’s background. Your questions are valid and sound.

      All my best,
      Baden

  9. Thanks for your reply, Baden, and no worries on response timing! We’re all busy. :)

    I appreciate what you shared and it encourages me. I have been able to correctly advise so many people in the past and manage my own family’s health adroitly, yet this GAPS Intro seems to have thrown me for a loop, LOL. I think my brain is fogged with die off! It is odd for me to feel confused in this realm; I’m being harder on myself than I should, no doubt.

    We seem to be leveling out a bit on the extreme hunger and dislike of the Intro diet, thankfully. I am hopeful that the flare-ups and responses I’m seeing in my children are die off and not further food intolerance reactions. Have you any experience or knowledge of toddlers with acidic urine burning their skin? I’ve always seen that as an allergic response…a toxin release, too. On GAPS Intro, my toddler is having it daily and it’s pretty bad. I honestly didn’t think her die off would start so quickly.

    My younger son’s eczema is clearing up, which is wonderful. I wanted to keep us all on GAPS Intro until all the worst allergy symptoms are gone and the die off is finished. Do you find that to be the best protocol?

    One thing I am concerned about and feel was truly cheating…I gave all of us a wee bit of raw honey to boost blood sugar levels during a few days of the weepiest, heavy lethargy episodes. No one had more than 1 tsp. honey. Yet soon afterward, we had passing of gas and hyperactive flare-ups. BUT, I also gave probiotics (the same we’ve always used) around the same time. I’m sure the honey is a terrible idea…any thoughts?

    I hope you don’t think me impertinent, but I noticed that in one of your recommendations for the use of activated charcoal, you gave a caution about using it, saying it absorbs nutrients. According to my research, knowledge and use, this is not the case. AC is an adsorber, not absorber (different processes), and it does not absorb nutrients. So I believe people can use it without concern for removing toxins from the body. It is best used as a drink, mixing 1 tsp AC with a glass of water. You can also use it as a foot soak for toxin removal, combining it with epsom salts, baking soda and bentonite clay. I hope I have not offended you!

    Thanks again for your help and sharing your wisdom. I believe this is the way we all achieve healing…the sharing of health truths and wisdom that we’ve collected and proven. Cheers!

    • Hi Gabi,

      1. Yes, definitely I have heard of kids with urine (and feces) so acid it has made their skin immediately raw. (By posting to the email support lists you can probably connect with some of their parents.) The die-off relief baths have been helpful for this.

      2. It is very common for the die-off to start very early on, within the first day or two for most people.

      3. I recommend simply moving forward, forward, forward with the foods. It can take some time for one’s worst symptoms and/or die-off to disappear. The die-off, specifically, will keep appearing with time, regardless of what GAPS foods one does or does not eat. Generally speaking, we can’t get to and maintain a ‘happy place’ by keeping ourselves on intro. The body will go through waves of healing regardless, so we might as well move forward.

      4. Wee bits of honey are permitted on intro :) Although certainly the honey could have triggered these reactions, my primary suspect would be the probiotics.

      5. I *love* when people post other thoughts, ideas, corrections, etc! I completely appreciate you posting your experience with and knowledge about AC. I will adjust the posts accordingly. Thank you!

      I’m with you 100% that it’s in the collective wisdom that we all find individual healing. Again, so glad you’re here with us, Gabi!

      All my best,
      Baden

  10. Thank you, Baden, for your terrific book and all the help you provide here! Wow! I will definitely find a way to support you/your site, besides having already bought your book for myself. And thanks to both you and Gabi for that exchange. I have a similar background to Gabi, and had some of the same questions, so it was nice to find answers without having to ask more of your time.

    I do have a question for which I haven’t really found an answer: if our symptoms aren’t changing much, how do we know if/when to move forward? I know you say, “progress not perfection” and keep moving forward. But I feel like I would have no way to determine if I’m doing anything useful/harmful; and I’m not sure I’m seeing progress.

    To be more clear: I have been doing the intro diet and Rifaximin (I had a positive SIBO test recently). 7 or 8 days later I’m still in Phase 1. Before starting, my primary symptom was burping a lot–evidence of eating things that feed the bacteria. On the intro diet I still burp a lot–less than before, but still consistently (and now I have some really smelly gas, occasionally, too. A problem I used to have, but have not had problems with for months.) I have tried eliminating this or that for a day (and there aren’t very many thises or thats to eliminate!) or switched stuff around (meat broth instead of bone broth, less fat, more fat, beef instead of chicken, no supplements (I have Lyme, so there are some non-GAPS related things I take), to no avail. I still burp. How do I measure when/if to move forward, if I can’t get a clean baseline? How do I make sure I’m not feeding the bacteria if I can’t find a burp-free diet even in Phase 1 of the Intro which supposedly contains no bacteria-feeding foods?

    I guess the summary is: I never had terribly bad symptoms; the minor symptoms I had don’t seem to be changing all that much. I am getting die-off (I assume–a couple of older health issues are resurfacing), so if anything, I’d say I’m “worse”–though not enough to concern me. Since it doesn’t sound like “progress” I have no way to know if I should take the next step forward, nor how I would evaluate it if I gave it a try.

    Thanks for your help. I really appreciate it.
    Erica

    • Hi Erica,

      Good to have you with us! And thank you so much for helping support this website, too!

      I saw Gabi’s awesome note with her thoughts about the Rifaximin -that was great.

      Additional thoughts:

      1. Move on from Stage 1 after seven days (max) regardless of what the body is doing.

      2. Burping and gas – Please apply the tips listed in this post.

      3. For some people it is hard to guage if there is progress, but I can bet there is! Doing worse (temporarily) is one good sign. Sometimes the progress is so gentle, it’s hardly (if at all) discernable. An awful trick we like to play on people is to invite them to return after a month of ‘no progress’ to their previous diet. This is one way to see how far we’d actually come! But if you can trust in your body’s capacity for healing, all the better :) So, do keep moving forward even though you are not yet seeing signs of progress (other than die-off) and even if it appears you react to nothing. Some people actually sail through intro, coming up with not a single issue throughout. Regardless, their bodies do heal over that period and subsequent months.

      4. For SIBO, Dr Natasha recommends GAPS (not medications). Of interest to you might be this post and Dr Natasha’s words at her FAQs page:

      How does GAPS diet deal with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)? Because fermented foods and probiotic can actually feed SIBO, what is your recommendation on how to address this situation?

      Majority of GAPS people have this problem. Just follow the GAPS programme, it will feed the gut and re-balance immunity and the nervous system in the gut wall. The body knows how to heal itself, just give it the tools.

      5. It is not necessary -and in most cases not possible- to establish a baseline of health from which to proceed. The alleviation of most symptoms comes with time; many people will not see immediate relief upon starting Stage 1.

      6. If rotating foods in and out, be sure to remove them for at least a week -preferably two- before reintroducing them. The body can take 4-14 days (and sometimes longer) to clear foods from the system, and display reactions as late as four days after ingestion, so pulling a food for a day or so won’t give you a lot of helpful information.

      For now, I suggest implementing the reflux tips linked to above and a daily -and rotated- detox bath, and moving forward with a new food every four days.

      Please let me know how things go.

      All my best,
      Baden

  11. Hi Erica, I hope Baden doesn’t mind me reading and replying to your question…but I just wanted to say that it sounds like your system is suffering from acidic imbalance in addition to flora imbalance (of course, we know these two things are related). I’m going to suggest that the drug you’re taking could be the culprit (Rifaximin…if I’m not mistaken, it’s an antibiotic). I don’t know if you’re using other pharmaceuticals, but you most likely won’t find complete healing while using them. I would be happy to suggest herbal options if you’re interested. I actually have a post about garlic as one of nature’s most potent antibiotics on my blog here:
    http://radicallynatural.blogspot.com/2011/05/glorious-garlicnatures-antibiotic.html
    I believe garlic therapy is severely under-appreciated for its broad-spectrum antibiotic properties and healing constituents…and no dangerous side effects like drugs. Of course, that wouldn’t be mainstream news, LOL! Just wanted to share and I hope that helps! Cheers, Gabi

    • Gabi, I not only don’t mind others reading and replying to the comments posted, I love it! I love everyone supporting each other, teaching me, sharing tips, yes!

      Also, thanks for your note about your GAPS post. I am going to check it out ASAP!

      All my best,
      Baden

  12. Hi Gabi & Baden,

    Gabi: Thanks for your enthusiasm–I appreciate your desire to help. I’m curious what it is that I said that led you to state it sounds like I also have acidic imbalance–from your understanding, what are the “cues”? Imbalanced in which direction (too acidic or not acidic enough)? And in which part(s) of me (stomach? small intestines? blood? interstitial fluids? brain?…) I am interested in what you were thinking about this. Thanks!

    I should probably also say that, unfortunately, many people with Lyme and/or environmental sensitivities can’t (or shouldn’t) take garlic–there are compounds in it (I’m not sure which), which in a system with certain kinds of problems can cause a lot of tissue break down, and, in some instances, horrid bleeding. :-( I can eat small amounts of it if cooked, but I can’t do it raw, extracted, or in therapeutic strengths.

    Actually, people with Lyme have to be REALLY careful about their choices of anti-microbials (pharmaceutical AND natural) altogether–many can cause the Lyme to get much, much worse. I did a lot of research before choosing my protocol–for me, a 10 day course of Rifixamin made sense to try. And, yes, I am generally of the persuasion that pharmaceuticals cause a lot more problems than they resolve. Thanks for your concern and suggestions though.

    Baden: Forgive me for being slow, but I am obviously not getting something about this. Maybe my assumptions are incorrect and I should have just asked, “what is the purpose of Phase 1 of the intro diet?”

    It seems to me that there was a tremendous amount of emphasis placed on introducing things one at a time–to see if they cause problems and so they can be removed from the diet if they are found to be problematic (therefore my assumptions about Phase 1 were: it was for resting the digestive system, and for giving something to compare against when introducing foods).

    If the burping didn’t stop while I was in Phase 1, then I have not succeeded in resting my digestive system nor have I succeeded in figuring out some food(s) that ought to be eliminated for a while. No? Am I totally barking up the wrong tree?

    Thanks for your patience. I hope you don’t mind trying to help me understand this for a second time.

    By the way, I hope it pleases you to know that Dr. Siebecker (you link to her SIBO site in one of your blogs you recommended to me) highly recommended your book to a whole roomful of us (practitioners–NDs, nutritionists, etc.) during a day long seminar she recently taught on SIBO. That’s how I knew about it and why I bought it before ever attempting this protocol :-) (And maybe less pleasing to you, I also knew about Rifixamin, and went ahead and researched it as an option for me, because of what she–an ND who just spent a year researching for, and writing a book on SIBO–said about it during her seminar. I think it kind of parallels Dr. Natasha’s “audacity” in adding probiotics to SCD…)

    ‘Enjoying getting “acquainted” with both of you.
    -Erica

    • Hi Erica,

      How wonderful and kind that Dr Siebecker recommended my book to a roomful of practitioners! Thank you so much for letting me know that!

      Rifixamin – I have no issue with any person recommending or experimenting with any given item, and I’m sure that in recommending Rifixamin, Dr Siebecker knows what she’s talking about, just as I’m sure you (with your background and specific research into this) know what you’re doing. I was simply wanting to pass along Dr Natasha’s response to the question of SIBO in relation to GAPS. Yes, we know Dr Natasha to be very progressive as well as open-minded, supportive of new approaches where those are working well for people.

      Stage 1 – The purpose is as you note: a rest for the digestive system. It also generally kick starts healing, a long term investment in rebalancing the gut ecology. For many people, it relieves some major symptoms. It won’t, though, relieve all symptoms -that degree of healing can take up to two years. So, most of us will have symptoms even as we proceed through the program. The body isn’t reacting just to food ingested, but to its whole ecology. This means that, while for some people removing a specific food or element (eg. fibre) that is specifically and directly triggering a reaction will immediately alleviate some symptoms, a balancing of one’s ecology -to alleviate the rest- will take time. For my son, who had most symptoms disappear within 1-5 days, his stools were all over the map for several months. The changes weren’t triggered by a food, but by his ecology. At the same time, a careful introduction of subsequent foods (a) supports the body in a gentle transition to foods which make higher demands on the body, and (b) identifies foods that directly trigger a reaction (for some people this will be none).

      As we proceed through the program, our baseline to consider against is whatever we are experiencing after 1-7 days on Stage 1. If upon introduction of a food, we drop below that baseline, we remove the food. Again, though, the baseline early on won’t be a symptom-free state.

      While burping will eventually resolve through a balanced ecology, and in some cases sooner by food removal if it’s triggered by a specific food (which it may or may not be), in the meantimethe burping can happen even with a period of initial rest, as well as while eating a personally perfect list of foods. It is more that the body needs its ecology balanced, which is what the whole, longer program is for. Digestive supports like those on the ‘reflux’ page I referred you to can speed alleviation of immediate digestive issues, as well as support that longterm balancing.

      Does this help?

      All my best,
      Baden

  13. Hi Erica,
    I’m sorry if I came on too strong about the drugs…habits, LOL… In my experience, burping is part of an over-acidic imbalance…so I was thinking you might be too acidic right now, which drugs contribute to…I imagine it will pass as you continue on the GAPS protocol and your system starts to slowly heal. I’m finding that to be my experience after 4 weeks on Intro. I’m sorry garlic doesn’t work for you. If I might suggest it, the book Herbal Antibiotics by Buhner is a great resource for learning more about botanical antibiotics…many herbs are quite potent in this arena; maybe you’d find something that you could use. Cheers! GAbi

  14. Hi Baden,

    I didn’t take the time to read all the posts about your very helpful note on progress. So excuse me if I’m asking what someone else already did.

    I am so worried and overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with all the cooking and planning and expense, but awkwardly getting it done. (One way I save money, is by not eating much myself – I know, bad idea. Worried about my adult son, who chose to start GAPs but wavers almost daily (we’re at day 29). Current concern is his eating too much fruit (4 pieces yesterday), including apples with peels. So we should keep going even with this amount of “cheating”? And we can expect gains?

    Thanks for your ideas.
    Betty

  15. Hi Braden,

    I need some advise regarding constipation. I have had constipation my whole life. Without eating ALOT of fiber on paleo diet i would go every 3/4 days. If i eat quinoa or other high fiber grains- I am regular- every day. Eating lots of veg is not enough to get me regular. Now on the Gaps introduction I have not been for a week!! Im now on the 2nd stage of the intro diet. My aim to heal- severe dry eye and possible sjogrens syndrome.

    I started drinking fresh carrot juice 1/2 cup per day for 3 days now, It has not helped. And i have ordered Mag Citrate. I also am going to do Enemas- but I dont like the idea of doing these Enemas long term- since its not natural. Will this diet get me regular evenutally when the gut flora heals? Or is maybe i just have a slow Metabolic rate (blood type A) and i need some grains of alot of fiber have regular bowl movements?

    I have read on the internet, that type A, those who have slow metabulisms get constipation on this diet and need safer grains as well- like quinoa. What are your thoughts on introducing Quinoa or fermented brown rice much earlier (say stage 4) than what Natasha recomends if there bowl movements do not improve with the diet alone? And as long as the person doesnt have any noticable reactions to eating quinoa? Or Is it a good idea to leave it out as long possible because it is harder to digest?

    It cant be good to have constipation for this long, since i though you need to eliminate toxins through your stools.

    Please help!

    Sara

    • Dear Sara,

      I support you to take whatever path you choose to take, including merging aspects of GAPS with those of other programs, but in such a case I would have less experience to share with you about potential effects. I can share with you, though, what I have seen: in a healthy gut, fibre is not necessary to achieve bowel movements; a healthy gut can be created through gentle, methodical healing; combining various programs can complicate things or slow healing (on the other hand, it can be noted that every healing program has been the result of people trying out new ideas!); in the interim, yes, it is critically important to move the bowels daily; supports to achieve this can be used; an enema can be used even daily without creating long term problems.

      When we talk about constipation resolving through the program, we’re referring to the 2 year program including diet, detoxification, and supplementation. So, it is not expected that long term flora imbalance will resolve by Stage 3 or 4.

      I recommend trying each potential constipation remedy one at a time, each for a week before trying the next. Magnesium supplementation (via oral supplementation or an epsom salt bath) is an easy and common remedy, but many other things -Vitamin C to bowel tolerance, different foods, etc- work too. In the meantime, Dr Natasha recommends that one use an enema every time more than 36 hours have passed without a bowel movement.

      All my best,
      Baden

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