“We have soup every day for lunch.”
“I’m limiting my meat consumption to three times per week, max.”
“We’ve kept fruit out for eight months now, and counting!”
In the last week, I’ve received several excellent blog comments from families struggling with one or another aspect of healing. While I did reply to each one individually (you can read all the latest under Recent Comments in the right hand navigation), I noticed I was addressing something in common in several of the queries, that being the matter of additional restrictions. I believe that when one person takes the time to express a concern in writing, it is likely experienced by several other people too, so I’m going to talk a bit about this matter here.
The diet that Dr Campbell-McBride proposes for resolving gut and psychology syndrome is truly abundant: eggs, meats, dairy, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and more. However, it also relies on a few restrictions. While healing our gut and psychology syndrome, we eat no processed foods, enjoy milk only after it has been fermented at least 24 hours (into yogurt or kefir), decline starches such as potatoes and grains and, in the early phases, avoid fruit and nuts and limit honey. These restrictions are intended to help heal the body -and the program works!
If these restrictions help us heal the body, won’t more restrictions heal the body faster or more thoroughly? Not necessarily. In fact, adding additional limits may actually slow or compromise healing! How so?
1. The protocol presented by Dr Campbell-McBride to heal gut and psychology syndrome relies on a “building” diet. This means that most of us require a steady infusion of dense nutrition. We need to eat as frequently as the body desires, and focus on foods that repair. For most people, this means eating fats (most from the insides of animals) and animal protein (meat and/or eggs) every hour or so in the early stages. If in this context we limit meal frequency, fat consumption, or meat consumption, we restrict how much the body can do to heal, and also tax the body unnecessarily.
2. When we create “extra rules”, we set ourselves up for problems we need not have. Is your child taking an hour to get through a single bowl of soup? If he’s in the earliest stages of Intro, allow him this time. Once he seems reasonably healthy, though, lift your requirement for “soup every day at lunch”. Instead, offer a small cup of soup at the opening of a heartier meal, or use the tips in GAPS Guide 2nd Edition under Eating Broth to infuse any dish with super healing elements, or propose a win-win such as, “Sweetie, if you can eat your soup in half an hour today, we’ll have something else for tomorrow’s lunch.” Loosening any self-imposed reins can allow us to enjoy more freedom and more variety, both of which support more healing.
3. The foods that caused us problems early on may well be the very ones we need to trigger deeper healing later! Most of us need to remove fruit, nuts, and a few other things from our early GAPS protocol. However, just because we benefit from this additional restriction early on doesn’t mean we should maintain that restriction indefinitely! The idea of this kind of program is to heal the body, and GAPS does this quite quickly. Shortly, we will be able to reintroduce foods that once caused us problems and at that point we should, because these foods may be the very ones the body now needs to cement the healing.
My suggestion? Read your GAPS Guide 2nd Edition cover to cover (it expands greatly on the above concepts), then begin to follow the steps presented within it. If at any point your journal, or your strong intuition (not simply “craving”), or your health practitioner recommends additional restrictions, then implement those. Otherwise, aim to maintain as much flexibility and freedom as possible, and to continue expanding your diet, for the sake of your physical healing as well as for your joy.