There is a plethora of reasons why bone broth is the backbone of the GAPS Diet. First and foremost are its anti-inflammatory effects on the intestines. Amino acids such as glycine, proline, and arginine all have anti-inflammatory properties and bone broth is LOADED with them! Bone broth also contains chondroitin sulfate (a very expensive nutritional supplement), a structural component of cartilage that has been found to improve inflammatory conditions as well. Bone broth also has easily absorbable minerals that help heal and seal the intestinal lining. If you remember in my last post, I talked about how the over-growth of pathogenic bacteria can lead to “leaky-gut syndrome” because of all the toxins they secrete. These toxins cause the intestinal wall to become permeable, allowing “leaking” of undigested food particles and toxins into the bloodstream. The minerals as well as the gelatin in the bone broth help “heal and seal” the gut lining, decreasing intestinal permeability, and therefore “leaky-gut” syndrome. The results are decrease risk of heath issues, especially autoimmune disease! There are oh so many more benefits to bone broth, but these are the ones pertinent to intestinal health.
Being an ex-vegetarian certainly has made it difficult to embark on such a meat and meat stock based diet! If I hadn’t studied this diet and understood the science behind WHY it works; it would have been very difficult for me to accept that this was my fate! I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity to work with folks before embarking on this path myself. I have watched many clients (and friends) heal their illnesses by using the GAPS Diet, so the evidence was already there for me. But I have also secretly thought, “This diet is WAY too difficult to follow…Thank goodness I am healthy and won’t ever have to follow it!” Careful what you say….you just never know!
Why is this diet so difficult? Well for starters, there are 2 parts to the diet. The first part is the GAPS Introduction Diet and the second is the Full GAPS Diet. The Introduction is recommended if your illness includes intestinal distress. Well, there was no argument; I was certainly experiencing intestinal distress! The Introduction is divided up into 6 stages. I won’t go into detail about each stage for time sake, but Stage 1 includes bone broth, well cooked vegetables, meat cooked in the broth, sea salt, coconut oil, animal fats, liquid from fermented vegetables and that’s about it! So for the first week, that’s all I ate!
At first, I didn’t feel very hungry. My intestines were so inflamed, that I didn’t notice that my caloric intake had decreased dramatically. It was somewhere around Day 4-5 that I noticed how starved I was! It wasn’t quite time to begin adding avocado, but I did anyway. I knew that a calorically dense avocado would make me feel more satiated. At this time, I also started experiencing constipation (a complete 180!). This diet contains very little fiber at first, so things started to get bound up. Also, I was doing my best to “starve” the C. Diff by taking away all carbohydrates that would feed it. The addition of the avocado also added some good fiber into my diet to help things “move along”.
A few days later, I also added almond butter! What an amazing addition that was! I was eating it by the spoonful! I ended up eating a little too much and it caused bloating. It’s so powerful to take every irritating food out of your body. It becomes so clean and so sensitive that when you add a food in that does not agree, it is very easy to notice.
So far, so good. On my way to healing!