We are just completing our second week on the GAPS diet. I am feeling so excited about what we are experiencing that I just have to write more about this diet and how it can truly help kids with sensory processing disorders. Our little Eliah has just been amazing this week. I feel like I’m meeting the real her for the first time. And it is also apparent that she’s been understanding much more than we previously realized. Because she is much more verbal now we are hearing thoughts and ideas she’s had about a lot of things that go on in our home that we didn’t realize she was aware of. I feel kind of bad in some ways because I know I probably talked more openly about my frustrations with her in front of her than I should have. I think it’s often a sad byproduct of having had my first child be less verbal, I just didn’t know what they could understand. Well now, she’s telling us about her frustrations, her sadness at seeing me get sad or frustrated, her fears at night, etc. This is only after 2 weeks of this diet. It’s truly amazing.
The other reason I do believe these changes are valid and not just a figment of my hopeful imagination is that several people in Eliah’s co-op school have noticed difference in Eliah this week and made a point to comment to me about it. Most of these parents don’t even know I’m doing this diet. Some of them I’ve never even talked to before this. The common theme is “Eliah just talked my head off today” or “What are you doing different with Eliah? She had such great eye contact with me today and told me a whole story.” or “I heard Eliah singing songs along with the other kids at school today for the first time.” Her teacher, who does know about the diet, has said Eliah has been completely “normal” in class the past week without any sensory seeking behaviors that are obvious. She said it’s a “drastic change”. There are even a couple of parents who are convinced they need to try this diet with their children after seeing what has happened with Elli. I’m just so glad something is really helping Eliah be more “connected” with others.
So there you have it. It’s not exactly a randomized, double-blind, clinical study, but it’s enough validation to make this crazy, labor involved diet worth it. I find myself chuckling now however. I was exhausted dealing with a sensory kid. Now I’m exhausted cooking and cleaning all day while Elli plays and seems content on her own for longer chunks of time. I guess there’s always something to tire us out as mothers- and always something to complain about.
This next phase of the diet is just going to be figuring out how to balance the extra effort of cooking with daily life. Also we need to figure out how to travel and do this as we head out of town next week. That will be the real test. I’m guessing I’ll have to leave out some of the daily recommended foods such as homemade fermented goat yogurt, sauerkraut, and bone broth. I know we will get through it though because after getting through the first 4 days of hell on this diet, I know I can do anything. And so can Eliah!
We are also pretty much through the hardest part of the intro diet. The detox reaction was really intense, but now that’s over (see my previous post for that story). I haven’t given her fruit yet, which will take a lot of strain off trying to figure out what to give her for snacks. She’s clearly had a major candida or bacteria die off reaction and I’m just wanting to make sure her body is clear of excess yeast before giving her fruit sugar. She has had a few episodes of detox reactions right before having a bowel movement and complained of itching in her bottom area afterwards so I know she’s still cleansing her digestive tract. For now, she’s happy eating her veggies and meat and breads/pancakes made out of squash. And at school there was a birthday party where all the kids ate a fruit “cake” and I gave Elli seaweed crackers as a special treat. She didn’t complain at all and the other kids wanted Elli’s treat instead of the fruit. So things just seem to keep working out.
A few friends have asked what we are eating, so I’m going to post what our meal plan has been the last 2 weeks. Meal planning is the hardest yet most essential part of this diet. If anyone even thinks about doing this diet, planning is the only way to succeed… and making your husband help with the cooking! See my menu plan in the next post.