GAPS Diet Days 13-14: The Healing Power of Community

A brilliant mentor of mine once gave a lecture titled, “Relationships are Better than Kale.”  Or in the case of the GAPS Introduction Diet, relationships are better than bone broth.  The people we choose to share our lives with play a critical role in our health and happiness. Friends are better than bone brothFortunately, my cup this weekend was full of both bone broth (still very important in this stage of gut healing) and heartfelt connections with people I respect and love.

I spent Friday night with one of my best friends from college and met her one-month-old baby girl for the first time.  How quickly we are growing up!  I cooked us a vegan/GAPS Diet meal of butternut squash soup and beet burgers for them, boiled chicken and sauerkraut for me.  Over dinner we talked about typical (for us) meal-time topics: natural childbirth (she had her baby at home), breastfeeding, hormonal imbalances and detox protocols.  Even though we follow very different eating plans (she’s been vegan for years), we support each other in our individual commitments to health that make us each feel vibrant and whole.  If time spent with a soul-mate friend wasn’t enough to fill me up, dinner was followed by hours of holding, bouncing, cuddling and admiring her newborn.  If you ever need a reminder that life is a perfect, beautiful gift, spend some time staring into the soft, sweet eyes of a baby.

Needless to say, my weekend began on a very high note.  And it just kept getting better.

I spent Saturday and Sunday on a weekend retreat at the posh ranch home of the aforementioned mentor.  She and I spent Saturday afternoon sipping cinnamon tea and talking business – ethics in clinical research, PhD programs in medical anthropology and social justice.  We also chatted about co-dependent relationships, setting boundaries, and inequality in partnerships.  And then we just had a straight-up love fest where we told each other how much we appreciate each other.  She’s just one of those people that brings out the best in me.  It certainly helps that our values align and she is the most inspired whole foods cook I have ever met.

After an indulgent dinner (spicy cauliflower soup, pecan tapenade & chile-stuffed summer squash and mole-glazed Cornish hens) with my mentor’s family and a few of her closest foodie friends, we lounged around the fire pit talking science, history and food while gazing up at a stunning night sky.

I climbed into bed Saturday feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the beauty in life.  Even though my diet wasn’t perfect (olives and mole are definitely cheats at this stage in the GAPS Introduction Diet, not to mention the vegan chocolate truffle I snuck a taste of), I couldn’t help but feel strong, grounded and happy in the company of good friends.

I woke up Sunday feeling heavy and constipated, but still in a fabulous mood.  The sun was shining brightly (I actually slept in!) and we had a day of total relaxation (something I almost never do).  I spent the morning sunning, reading and dozing on the patio, and then we wandered through antique stores and got massages in the afternoon.  I should never underestimate the power of taking time to recharge my batteries.  It was exactly what I needed in this detox stage of the GAPS Introduction Diet.

My mentor and I connected this weekend on deeper level than ever before.  I think this is due in large part to my willingness to be vulnerable with her.  I opened up about things that make me feel shameful and uncertain.  And I took the time to tell her how much I appreciate having her in my life.  The ability to be authentic with someone – to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly – and to hold them and their opinions in the highest respect, is a model I want to bring to all of my relationships this year.

One of my spiritual guides tells me that we attract people who are a reflection of ourselves.  If this is true (and I believe that it is), I must be doing something right.  I am so grateful for the amazing friends who have chosen to be a part of my life.  They make me feel whole.

We, as human beings, are in this journey together.  May we each find the support we need to be our best and healthiest selves.

Day 13 Foods

GAPS Introduction Diet-approved foods: Bone broth stew, sauerkraut, carrot juice with ginger, hardboiled eggs, avocado

Full GAPS Diet foods: Creamy cauliflower soup (with sprouted cashews, mole, raw garlic and cumin), homemade cashew milk (made with sprouted cashews, honey and vanilla), cinnamon tea

Cheater foods: Agave-sweetened coconut truffle dipped in vegan chocolate

Day 13 Symptoms:

  • Woke up feeling energized and motivated
  • Rushed during breakfast (not mindful)
  • Tingly tongue, stomach gurgles and slight swelling in face with carrot-ginger juice (tasted so sweet)
  • Alert, engaged and focused throughout the afternoon
  • Bloated stomach
  • Body odor
  • Slightly enlarged breasts (likely due to hormone sensitivities from yesterday’s yogurt consumption)
  • Sleepy from 4-5 p.m.
  • Mouth sore on inside right cheek after dinner
  • Runny nose after dinner
  • Sugar cravings
  • Mild headache
  • Increased need to urinate from 9-11:30 p.m.
  • Feeling constipated and gassy

Day 14 Foods:

GAPS Introduction Diet-approved foods: bone broth, fried eggs with avocado and sauerkraut, organic green juice (kale, cucumber, cilantro, lime juice, celery)

Full GAPS Diet foods: cinnamon tea, mole-braised short ribs, salad dressed with olive oil and lemon juice

Cheater foods:  almond flour bread (made with almond meal, coconut flour, raw honey, homemade cashew milk, olive oil, and baking powder - this is the cheat), olives

Day 14 Symptoms:

  • Deep sleep
  • Woke up feeling heavy and constipated
  • Bloated stomach
  • Hot flashes and sweating
  • Dry skin
  • Sore face
  • Canker sore inside right cheek
  • Stiff hands and joints
  • Dry, sticky cotton mouth
  • Stomach cramps and bloating after bone broth (detox symptoms)
  • Stomach cramps and headache after eating breakfast of eggs, sauerkraut and avocado (detox symptoms)
  • Sleepy after eating almond flour bread
  • Heavy and tired eyes in early afternoon
  • Feeling heavy in face and abdomen
  • Clear thoughts and authenticity in mid-afternoon
  • Exhaustion at 10 p.m.