GAPS & Human Design

The last few weeks I’ve written about what to do if you’re stuck on GAPS. Detox support being the first priority, and then following up with more pinpointed strategies to up level your GAPS game. 

 

But what if I told you it wasn’t just about the physical stuff?  What if healing yourself is not just about food, or detox, or meat stock?  Well it’s not. 

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Stuck on GAPS: 5 Ways to Uplevel + Escape a Plateau

If you are following the GAPS diet, implementing proper detox support, and still not seeing the results you want, it can be beyond soul-crushing. I have totally been there, and it’s hard to spend all that time, money, and effort just to have your health remain unstable.  Here are 5 things I emphasized on GAPS to finally get the healing that I desired + longed for. 

 

1) Sun Bathing

With no sun screen, GASP!  The idea is to expose as much of your skin as possible during the hours of solar noon.  You can find what time solar noon is in your area by googling ‘solar noon [your time zone],’ as it changes throughout the year. I hate to reduce this down to  the concept of Vitamin D because there are so many aspects of the sun that we do not understand.  However, I will say this.  When you are wearing sunscreen, your body cannot absorb Vitamin D.  Vitamin D is not actually a vitamin, but a hormone that makes all healing possible.  Without it, you cannot heal yourself.  And about 75% of the US population does not get the recommended daily allowance (which is still too low in my humble opinion).  So there is a very likely chance you are not getting enough.

 

Dr Natasha says that during solar noon, if a person lays out for 30 minutes, they will absorb an average of 10,000 IUs.  If you have ever taken a Vitamin D supplement (far inferior to the sun itself), you know that the average dose to gain back Vitamin D deficiency is 2,000 IU.  Basically, all of this Vitamin D you are absorbing, you are saving it for winter like a squirrel.  How awesome is that???

 

To start: get in direct sunlight, facing the sun.  When you close your eyes and look toward the sun, you are absorbing vitamin D through your eyeballs.  Start with laying out for 10 minutes on each side.  As the days progress, your tolerance will increase and you can stay out for longer.  I’m usually out for about an hour total these days.  If you get sunburnt, you’ve stayed out for too long.  Wait for your skin to recover, and then go back to the amount of time your were previously tolerating. 

 

Fun Fact: when combined with the use of enemas, I’ve noticed that laying out in the sun will occasionally induce the passing of parasites.  I had a client who noticed the same effect when she took a Vitamin D supplement. 

 

Also, I struggled with rashes a lot, and I noticed that laying out in the sun worked wonders, making my rashes more manageable, and then ultimately they disappeared. 

 

2) Meat Stock

Dr. Natasha recommends drinking at least 5 cups per day for adults, 3 cups for kids, and 1/2 cup for infants.    Because basically, meat stock is the literal the glue that seals your intestinal lining. So especially if you have food sensitivities, allergies, or yeast issues, you probably want to drink as much of this as you can! Meat stock has been the single most active component in my gut healing.  At the moment, I’m drinking around 6-8 cups per day.  You can read more about meat stock here and more about my story here

 

3) Fermented Vegetable Brines

The most ignored + non-sexy part of the GAPS diet= fermented brines! They are liquid, which means they go straight into your bloodstream, giving them an edge over fermented foods.  Becky Plotner told me about a study done with kimchi, made with conventional vegetables, that showed that after the fermentation process, all the glyphosate was gone.  Potentially suggesting these microbes from fermentation could also be dissolving pesticides in your own body!  I recommend them to all my clients to drink before meals to increase their digestive capacity, and therefore decrease the amount of time it takes them to heal themselves.  Starting with a small amount and then building up to consuming as much as they can without a die off reaction.  The first two recipes I tell all my clients to make are sauerkraut juice and beet kvass

 

4) Liver

The biggest game changer of them all.  In this article, I explain of eating liver every day saved my life.  In summary, I have the MTHFR genetic mutation which means by body ‘cannot digest and absorb’ B vitamins.  And B vitamins are essential in detoxification and energy production.  I had to go on B12 injections twice a week and take all these methylated supplements, which I hated.  Then I started eating liver, and I got off of all that sh**! Which showed me that liver had B vitamins in a form I could absorb!  In forms that everyone could absorb, unparalleled to any other source. 

 

So after Monica Corrado taught me how to make these liver ‘pills,’ I started taking them every day.  Becky Plotner once told me that one of these ‘pills’ was more powerful that any other B vitamin you could possibly buy at the store. 

 

5) See A GAPS Practitioner

Did you know that not seeing a GAPS practitioner ultimately cost me + my family about $20,000? I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not.  That was how much it cost to get the wrong ‘holistic’ treatments and expose myself to pesticides ‘that weren’t that bad.’ It took 3 years of my life and all that money to finally recover from this sh*t show, and I am just now starting to come out of the worst of it. 

 

The more toxic the world becomes, the more complicated cases get.  Though in 2004, when the GAPS book came out, it was common for people to be able to heal themselves without supervision, that is increasingly rare.  And though I know hiring someone to help can cost a pretty penny, consider what it would cost in both years of your life and in literal dollars to keep making mistakes, not getting the support + answers you need, and to unintentionally keep making yourself sicker.  So yes, working with a GAPS practitioner is an investment.  But in the grand scheme of things, this is your LIFE, and you deserve to live it.

 

 

So there!  Choose 1 of these strategies to focus on to get yourself unstuck, and you can implement more as you need them. My case has been so serious that I have needed all of these methods, and I implement them all on a daily basis.  That being said, my life definitely revolves around this!  And to the extent that you ‘need’ to do ALL of this? Well, that looks different for everyone.  So just do the best you can.  It’s all any of us can do. 🙂

Detox Support = NOT an Option

A lot of times when people think they are getting worse on the GAPS diet, it is because of Detox and Die Off. And they are actually getting better.  I’ve seen this on my own journey (hello, rashes!), and I see it with my clients all the time.  Basically, when pathogenic flora start dying as a result of GAPS, these little bugs explode and release all of their toxins at once. 

 

Contrastly, when they are alive and well, they eek out toxic metabolites slowly + steadily, just like humans breathe out CO2.  Dr. Natasha says this mechanism is what causes the symptoms we struggle with in the first place, and when they die it can exacerbate them. You can read more about the intricacies of detox + die off here.  But what I really want to tell you is this… DETOX SUPPORT IS NOT AN OPTION.

 

I know GAPS is a huge transition and the food alone takes a lot of energy, especially at first.  But if you are not supporting your body in shedding all the toxic waste that GAPS mobilizes, there is no point in doing GAPS in the first place. You’re already committed enough to go on GAPS, now it’s time for the follow through.  I suggest you start by picking one of these 2 detox methods to do every day:

 

Detox Baths:

When you can release toxins through your skin, it takes the burden off your liver and your internal organs.  It also is fucking relaxing and you will look forward to it at the end of your day.  Detox baths are one of my favorite things in the world, and I’ve gotten to the point where my day does not feel complete without one.  And as someone who has struggled with insomnia in the past, these baths help me get to sleep and are the perfect wind-down activity. 

 

If you have lead or other toxins in your bath water, use this formula to neutralize them before you add in more particulate:

 

Things you can use for a detox bath:

 

I instruct my clients to choose at least 4 of these substances and rotate them because each one pulls out a unique profile of toxins.  Ideally, they use all 6. 

 

These baths can be overwhelming if you have a high toxic load.  For example, before I got lyme disease, I could spend about an hour in a hot detox bath with 1/4 cup of epsom salts.  After I contracted lyme, I could spend about 15 minutes in the tub in warm-ish water with 1 Tablespoon of epsom salts before I would have to get out. I got too nauseas and my skin got too itchy.  So it’s important to start slow and build up from there.  I generally recommend my clients start with between 1 Tbsp- 1/8 cup particulate in warm water and expect to stay in for 15-20 minutes, but to get out earlier if they feel the need to. 

 

If you do not have a bath tub, use a pot and do a foot bath instead.  With my foot bath clients, I recommend starting with 1 Tsp – 1 Tbsp of particulate.  And if they know they have metals + toxins in their water, divide the prescribed bathtub formula (see above) by 4.

 

I always rinse off with cold water after-the-fact.  The contrast between the hot and cold water induces the effect of hydrotherapy, basically flushing out the toxins in your veins. 

 

Enemas:

Instead of starting with these every day (super hardcore, especially for a beginner), I recommend my clients who want/need to focus on enemas to do them every 3rd day.  Here’s the bottom line:  I think enemas are the most effective detoxification method ever. Period. 

 

Basically, if you are not pooping, you are not healing yourself.  And all that work you’ve done on GAPS with your food that is causing pathogens to die gets hijacked.  Because if your poo + toxins are not leaving your colon, the toxins get reabsorbed back into your body.  And then your food rots inside you, causing more health issues.  But that’s not all!  If you are not pooping every day, you are constipated. Dr. Natasha recommends to not ever let yourself go more than 2 days without pooping.  

 

And maybe you’re thinking, oh great that doesn’t apply to me!  However, most GAPS people (including my-lovely-self)  aren’t emptying their bowels fully.  Aka, their poop comes out in a skinny ribbon-shape sometimes.  If you’ve read the book, do you remember Dr. Natasha talking about fecal compaction?  Basically, it’s when dried poo gets stuck to the walls of your colon creating the perfect environment for parasites and pathogenic bacteria (and hence, causing you to squeeze out your poo like it went through some kind of noodle-maker).  You’re colon is constantly resorbing this literal sh*t back into your bloodstream.  Enemas are the only way to physically remove this compaction.  You can read more about how to do an enema here

 

Both of these detox methods are a part of my daily routine.  And yes, I have done enemas every day (after I poo naturally first) for the last 6 months, and my body has not gotten dependent on them at all.  Though it’d be ideal, you do not have to start out with both of these methods.  I get that you have a life and that you have things to do.  Just choose which method feels most vital + relevant to your life and start there. 

 

After making detox a priority, my healing time got exponentially faster.  It’s one of the first things I bring up to my clients if they are not feeling well or are not getting the results they want on GAPS.  And I’ve never seen implementing or increasing detox support not make a difference. 

How to Make Liver Pills: An Essential Part of the GAPS Diet

‘For optimal healing, eat the amount of liver equal to the size of your hand every day,’ says Dr. Natasha.  ‘Not your palm, your hand.’

 

Personally, that sounds like an incredible feat.  I think I may have had a few days like that where I’ve plowed through some pâté, but for the most part, when I heard these instructions, they sounded impossible. 

 

More Powerful Than Any B Vitamin You’ll Ever Buy

HOWEVER, getting to the point where I was consuming liver every day changed my life. It got me off all my b12 injections.  A couple of years ago, one of my doctors prescribed b12 shots 2x per week. And not the kind you can get from a regular pharmacy, no no no.  I wasn’t cool enough for that. I had to get a special methylated form from a compounding pharmacy because I am a special, sensitive snowflake. It would have to be refrigerated and in the dark or else I would risk an infection. 

 

When I would go too long between shots, my face would feel like it was melting.  I would get hysterical, and raw, amplified emotions would take over my entire being. I would more or less stop functioning until my partner would be like, ‘do you need a b12 shot?’ About 3 or 4 weeks into consuming liver every day, I got off all of these injections. Still not consuming the amount of liver the size of my hand, but #lifegoals. 

 

Liver’s Essential Role in Detoxification + Energy Production

I have the MTHFR mutation (also fondly referred to as the mother f*****r gene), and what that means is that my body cannot digest, absorb, and utilize B vitamins to save my life. Quite literally. 

If you have this mutation, your body has a hell of a time detoxing because B vitamins facilitate your liver’s function every step of the way.  B vitamins are also what give you energy, and I know as a chronically ill lady, I need all the help with my energy levels that I can get!

 

How to Make Liver Pills- The Easiest Way to ‘Eat’ Liver Every Day

I used to always have pâté on hand to support my body in this way (a very specific recipe with wine in it that made the liver not taste like metal), but with all the other GAPS cooking, I felt overextended. 

 

That’s when I learned about this [RAW] liver pill method from GAPS chef, Monica Corrado. They take about 15 minutes to make vs the 2 hours for pâté. 

  • Freeze a grassfed (preferably organic) for 2 weeks.  This step is key because freezing it for 2 weeks kills any remaining parasites that may be left in the liver. 
  • Take it out of the freezer, let it thaw for long enough that you can cut into it, but no longer
  • Chop it up into little pill-size pieces.
  • Spread the pieces over the parchment paper
  • Put the spread back in the freezer

 

And voila! You are done.  I take about 10-15 pills per day, just knocking them back with water followed by meat stock.  Monica Corrado recommended take 2-3 per day. 

 

To give you a better idea of how it’s done, I leave you this parting gift.  A time lapse of me making liver pills! You can watch below. 🙂

 

 

 

***after you put your chopped up liver pills in your freezer, some of them may stick together. It all depends on how far apart you spread them out during the final ‘thawed’ stage. If this happens, break them apart before you swallow them.  I personally am not Type A enough to space them out perfectly.  Therefore, every morning before I take these pills with my meat stock, I will break them apart. Such fun! (ha)

 

**The biggest mistake I see people make [I made it too] is that they don’t cut the liver into small enough sized pieces.  If these happens, just take them out of your freezer and cut them again.

 

Let me know if you have any questions.  ~*~

Sauerkraut Juice: The Most Overlooked Part of the GAPS Diet

Consuming fermented brines has been one of the most important parts of the GAPS diet in facilitating my detoxification (they are dissolving pesticides in my body!), getting my stomach ready to eat (drinking this sauerkraut juice 15 minutes before a meal), and rebuilding my beneficial gut flora necessary for the rich, healthy life I intend on leading.

 

Becky Plotner says in her GAPS Stage-by-Stage with Recipes book that meat stock and fermented brines are the backbone of the GAPS diet. But most people on GAPS aren’t even drinking this Kraut Juice at all!! Which is crazy to me. Even though I used to be one of them. 😉

 

Now whenever I work 1:1 with a new person, this recipe is the first thing I tell them to make. Along with Beet Kvass, another holy, fermented brine. So lets get to it!

 

Takes ~ 10-15 minutes to prepare.  And about 2-4 weeks to ferment depending on where you live.

 

What you’ll need:

  • 1 head of cabbage (or more)
  • sea salt/ Himalayan salt
  • filtered water
  • Mason jars/ glass jars
  • 1 food processor/ blender

 

Amount it makes: more than you would think! Varies depending on the size + amount of your cabbage.

 

Directions:

  1. Cut cabbage into appropriate sized pieces to put in your food processor and blend until the pieces are small. 
  2. Put into jars, fill 1/3 way full
  3. Make your brine- mix 1Tbsp sea salt with 1 quart of water and stir/shake.  Pour this brine into your 1/3 full chopped cabbage jars and leave 1 inch (2.5 cm) of headspace to allow for the fermentation gases.  Repeat this process until all cabbage jars are full. 
  4. Screw the lids on tight and don’t open them, burp them (needing to do this is a MYTH!), etc until you are checking to see if your sauerkraut juice is fermented, which you can tell by tasting it for its sour flavor.  The more oxygen that gets in during the fermentation process, the more likely it is to mold. 
  5. Store in a dark place, or at the very least out of direct sunlight. 

 

When my Sauerkraut juice is finished, I strain it by pouring it through a sieve and then drink to my heart’s content. 🙂 

 

There is a little controversy around this next step (do your own research and make up your own mind), but I like to make an additional batch of brine and pour it over the fermented cabbage bits for a second round.  This 2nd time, it only takes about 3-4 days to ferment before it’s ready again. I’ve tried doing this a 3rd time, and the resulting product had lost a lot of it’s hutzpah by that round so I don’t recommend going further than fermenting the cabbage twice!

5 Ways I Prepped for Covid-19 Without Even Knowing it

While this Covid-19 Coronavirus has caught the mainstream medical community with it’s pants down, skilled alternative healthcare practitioners have been effectively treating viruses for ages.  Here are 5 things I’ve been doing for awhile that have prepped my immunocompromised self as much as possible for this pandemic.

 

1)Being on the GAPS Intro Diet

I’m on the GAPS Intro diet and have accidentally become an expert on it.  You can read more about how GAPS Intro has prepared my compromised immune system for the Covid-19 here or more about my general GAPS Intro story here

 

2) Sourcing Food from Local Farmers

The more I’ve learned about nutrition, the more I’ve learned that grocery stores just aren’t good enough.  Even the best ones.  Did you know a head of broccoli loses half of its nutrients within 24 hours of being picked, yet it takes 7 weeks on average to get to your grocery store?  Like I said, not going to cut it for me. 

 

Well, now we’re all wondering, ‘how long is our supply chain going to last?’ or ‘Are we going to run out of food?’  At least I certainly am.  And the empty grocery shelves speak to this fear.  When checking in with a friend in LA, he said…

None of us honestly know how long this lack of supplies will last or if it will happen again.  But I already know that if my back is really against the wall, I’d call Krista or Abram, my farmers and my friends. 

 

My partner and I also grow some of our own food.  Yes this is a privilege, and we’ve given everything we have toward this vision. Not because we were certain of a global pandemic, but because we intended on eating the best food possible.  And Lord knows… there is no way in hell I will eat canned food (dead food) in the midst of a health crisis. If I were, I know my immune system would not have a fighting chance against this virus. Instead, I am buying a ton of food from farmers, making it into GAPS Intro soup, and freezing it into individual portions.  

 

3) Eating Liver + Cod Liver Oil Every. Single. Day.

I have been eating large amounts of liver and cod liver oil every single day for the past few months. Both of these foods are incredibly high in Vitamin A. Becky Plotner of Nourishing Plot references that some believe every disease is Vitamin A deficiency. The National Institute of Health says that Vitamin A shortens the duration and intensity measles, another infamous virus.

 

Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning your body stores it up over time.  So the time to start building up your reserves is NOW. Cod Liver Oil is also high in Vitamin D, which is a misnomer because Vitamin D is so much more than a vitamin! Instead, I think of Vitamin D instead as a hormone that makes all healing possible.  Most people in America are deficient in Vitamin A and D.  So chances are, you probably are too.  

 

4) Having Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide on Hand

Dr. David Brownstein, a holistic MD famous for his work with iodine (also effective against viruses under the correct supervision, but I can only fit so much info into one post!), almost laughs at the ineptitude of the modern medical community.  He states that, ‘For over 25 years… my office has been successfully treating viral infections.’  The main things he orders for his virus-infected patients are intravenous Vitamin A, C, D, and food grade hydrogen peroxide.

 

The food grade hydrogen peroxide got me curious because I already had some on hand to clean my enema bag.  My doctor confirmed that if I got the Covid-19 virus, I could put 2-3 drops of 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide in a full glass of water and that should take care of it.  She said to do it as a last resort, but if I’m being honest, I’d probably do it at the first sign of symptoms along with high amounts of cod liver oil, Vitamin C, and a few other supplements (more on that to come).

 

5) Not Trusting the Government or Mainstream Medicine to Take Care of Me

After being too sick to work and mainstream medicine only making me more ill, I haven’t trusted the government or Big Pharma to take care of me for a very long time. I learned the hard way that I am responsible for the outcome of my life because I am the one who cares the most. Though no one changed my entire diet + lifestyle for me, I am so thankful for my beautiful family who supported me through this process. 

 

And even though we are not going to get direct help from the big whigs, we still have each other. And we are stronger together! Please reach out to me if you ever need anything or have any questions. I’ll be thinking of you.

 

GAPS Intro and Coronavirus: The Most Supportive Diet

Mass panic ensues. Toilet paper flies off the shelves, hand sanitizer evaporates the moment it’s back in stock, and politicians declare a state of national emergency.  I remember my partner stalking reddit back in early January wondering how big of a deal this new coronavirus was going to be.  But was any one of us really prepared for it???

 

The empty aisles of canned food say no. And the mainstream medical community with their lack of viral knowledge and overflowed hospital beds? Say Absolutely not. 

 

GAPS Intro + Coronavirus= Being Prepared?

Lo and behold though, I stood prepared, which comes as a shock even to me.  Ever since I spilled pesticides on my stomach in 2017, I have been a ‘fascinating’ and complex health case, to say it lightly. And I’ve used the GAPS diet, mainly GAPS intro, to get this toxic sh** out of my system, deal with lyme disease + coinfections, and stop my autoimmune reactions.  Basically doing everything I could to make my immune system the most badass b**** on the block. 

 

Over time, I’ve learned how to take care of my health in the most dire situations.  And it turns out that a global pandemic also fits that bill. 

 

In Times of Desperation, GAPS Intro has been There

In my most desperate times, I’ve always turned to GAPS intro, which I am on right now for my 5th time (after contracting lyme disease [you can read more about my story here]).  And honestly, after all this pandemic stuff happened, I couldn’t be more psyched about being on this nutritional protocol, the most virus-fighting diet I could possibly be on. Especially since I fall into the higher risk, immunocompromised category.  

 

GAPS Intro = Best Diet to Fight Coronavirus

According to Melanie Christner at honestbody.com, the best foods to help viruses are meat stock, fatty stews, and probiotic foods. AKA the vast majority of what I put into my mouth. 

 

Becky Plotner, one of the most renowned and famous GAPS practitioners of our time (who is also my mentor… holla!) says roughly the same thing.  That the most effective foods are probiotic brines because they go directly into the bloodstream and outcompete pathogens. Clinically, she sees this as the most effective method (in large doses, but be careful of die off reactions).  Well, I already had 2 gallons of sauerkraut juice in my fridge, 1/2 gallon of garlic brine, and 1/2 gallon of beet kvass because these serve as one of the backbones of the GAPS intro diet.

 

What About Full GAPS?

A lot of people on full GAPS will actually go back to GAPS intro if they have a virus because it is most effective for the situation.  A recent client of mine, seriously immunocompromised, started shedding previously dormant viruses within days of being on Intro.  This is after years and years of going to fancy doctors and not being able to figure out what was wrong with her. 

 

But if you don’t want to go on intro, full GAPS is the next best thing.  However be warned.  Viruses even love some full GAPS food including nuts, raw cacao, citrus, and an excess of any fresh fruit. 

 

No other time in US history has the government encouraged us to stay at home, not to go out to restaurants, and not to work.  I understand intro may not be the best fit for everyone right now. But if you are in a position to use this viral quarantine experience to massively overhaul your health and strengthen your immune system, this could be the perfect opportunity to dive in. 

 

For more specific health measures I’ve taken to prepare myself for the coronavirus, you can continue reading here.

GAPS Cocktail

No, this GAPS cocktail is not alcoholic haha. It’s just a way to spice up your meat stock intake!

 

On GAPS, Dr. Natasha recommends you drink at least 5 cups of meat stock a day for adults, 3 cups a day for kids. But really in general, the more the better.

 

But How, especially at first when you’re not used to it, how can you stomach that amount?

 

Have no fear, the GAPS Cocktail is here!

 

I actually love drinking meat stock, but making this cocktail turns it into a fun and special treat.

 

What you will need:

  • 2 cups meat stock
  • 1 Tbsp Animal Fat (more or less depending how you tolerate it)
  • a splash of sauerkraut juice or beet kvass (fermented vegetable brine)
  • 1 smashed clove of garlic
  • sea salt to taste

 

How to put it together:

Heat up your meat stock first.  Make sure that it is the perfect temperature, warm enough so that your animal fat will melt when you put it in, but cool enough to not kill the probiotics in your vegetable brine.  Scoop in the fat, then splash in your brine.  Smash a garlic clove and toss it in there.  Mix it all around, and Voila! The perfect GAPS Cocktail!

Beet Kvass Recipe: The Ultimate Fat Digestion Aid

I’ve been meaning to write this article forever because I hear these questions a lot:

  1. I can’t eat that much fat without feeling sick, how can I do GAPS?
  2. I/ my kid threw up yesterday, why?

 

Well, in my experience, the answer is Beet Kvass.  Especially to Q #1 (#2 is more nuanced).  Here’s why.  Beet Kvass thins bile.  Bile needs to flow from your gallbladder to your liver to digest fat. 

 

At the beginning of my healing journey, my bile was pretty thick and stagnant, which is a very common side effect of growing up eating the Standard American Diet (SAD). I would get nauseous when I ate too much fat and was bummed I couldn’t absorb all the healing goodness that fat had to offer!

 

Dr. Natasha says that the more animal fat she sees people eat (pastured sources, of course), the quicker they heal.  So I knew I wanted to be eating as much fat as humanly possible.  That’s where beet kvass came in. 

 

I drank small amounts of beet kvass every time before I ate, and I increased the amounts of both kvass and fat simultaneously.  Now I don’t really worry about being able to digest fat. I’ve worked up to eating about a cup of fat per day!

 

So beet kvass is how I could do GAPS even though I couldn’t digest fat very well at first.  And what I tell people about Question #2? Well it could be low blood sugar, it could be a detox reaction, or it could be ‘you can’t digest fat that well and you ate more than your body could handle.’

 

So without further ado, here’s the recipe:

  • 3 small-to-medium sized beets with tops on
  • 1 quart sized mason jar
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 quart filtered water
  • 1 fermentation weight (optional)

 

First, chop the beets up so that they are about 1 cubic inch in diameter (2.5 cm).  Make sure you leave the tops on the beets, not the stems, but the part where the stems connect to the root body of the vegetable.  That’s where all the best bacteria is! 

 

Fill your quart jar with about 1 inch of headroom to spare.  This is where you can put your fermentation weight on top of your veggies if you want.  I like doing this so that the beets don’t float to the top, get exposed to air and get moldy. 

 

Now take your half quart of water (2 cups), and dump your salt into it.  It works best if you use a mason jar for this tactic because now you can just put the lid on and shake it up to mix up the salt.  Now you have your brine!

 

Pour brine over your chopped up beets up to the lip of the mason jar they are in, or a little bit below. Make sure your brine covers all the veggies.  Screw on the lid tight and don’t open this jar for at least a couple of weeks!  The fermentation time will depend on where you live.  But generally, the more humid and warm an environment is, the faster things ferment. 🙂  You’ll know it’s done when you try it and it has a sour taste.

 

Then introduce a small amount into your diet (ideally before meals) and work up from there!

 

Die Off Guide Part 2: 9 Ways to Deal with It

More die off does not equal better.  A pretty common misconception about die off is that ‘the more miserable I can be (aka the more symptoms I can put up with) during die off, the faster I can heal.’ But that is not the case. When I have too much die off at once, not only do my symptoms get way out of control, but these toxins overwhelm my body (you can read more about this process in my article, What is die off, Really? if you haven’t already) causing more harm than good.  

 

Basically, in die off, you want to go low and slow. Ultimately, you want to feel ‘off color.’  Not on top of your game, maybe a little fuzzy/tired/experiencing mild symptoms of what you typically deal with, but not completely wiped out.  And yes, some days will be more intense and difficult than others. 

 

But if die off is happening to quickly or intensely, or if I just want to have some ‘insurance’ against this happening, here are some of the strategies I immediately turn to:

1. Eating Building Foods

This is the first strategy I ever go to when I feel like my die off is getting too out of control.  It takes nutrients and strength to detox, as this process is very energy intensive.  The top building foods on GAPS are:

  • Animal fat (1-4Tbsp per meal, or more if you so desire/ can tolerate it)
  • Meat close to the bone (1 inch or less away from bone)
  • Organ meats- this one is SUCH a game changer for people, including me.  I used to have to get B12 injections 2x/ week to detox properly because I have the MTHFR mutation, but now I just eat liver (one of the best kept secrets in the world, in my humble opinion).
  • Bone marrow
  • Egg yolks if you can tolerate them.  I eat as much as my body desires of these foods if I’m feeling drained, overly hungry, or am feeling haggard from die off. 

 

2. Decrease Ferments + Probiotics

Probiotics kill pathogens. If you want less pathogens to die and release toxins, decrease the amount of probiotic microbes you ingest. I always go back to a level that I know I can tolerate.   Sometimes this means eliminating them completely for a little bit and adding them back in very slowly, carefully watching for a reaction. 

 

3. Decrease Meat Stock Consumption

GAPS blasphemy, am I right? Haha.  Here is the thing though, meat stock kills yeast.  So when yeast became systemic in my body, which it does in a lot of GAPS people, that means that it grows tendrils that burst through the wall in my small intestine.  Meat stock is so gelatinous and glue-like that whenever I drink it, it decapitates the tendrils! Killing the yeast, yay! But if too much yeast dies at once, this can cause too much of an intense reaction.  Dr. Natasha wants everyone on GAPS to drink at least 5 cups of stock per day. So if I have to cut back for die off reasons, gradually I work my way back up to at least that amount. 

 

4. Detox Baths

I use epsom salt, dead sea salt, seaweed, apple cider vinegar, bentonite clay, or baking soda- ideally rotating their use as they usher out different toxins.

This is a tricky one because in the right concentration, detox baths take the burden of detox from my liver and instead encourage toxins to leave through my skin.  However, in my experience, I have found if I put in too much particulate, these baths can be too stimulating at times (much like taking too many probiotics).  While most people start with a 1/4 cup of epsom salt in a bath, I had to start with about a Tablespoon, making my bath water warm (not hot), and work up from there.  The baths did REALLY help my symptoms though, once I got the concentration right. 

5. Enemas. 

Enough said haha. I knew that I needed to be eliminating my bowels completely if I wanted to dispel all the toxins that got mobilized during my die off process.  In the beginning, I like a lot of GAPS people, had overspill syndrome. This is where compacted fecal matter got stuck to the walls of the colon (lovely, I know), making it virtually impossible to detox because all the toxins my body worked so hard to release would get to my colon only to recirculate into my bloodstream. Here is an article that explains more of the why and how on this. 

 

6. Sun bathing

Definitely my favorite! Go naked if you can, and at solar noon. First of all, the sun fried and dried out my yeast rashes in a very good way. Second, I am still discovering all the wonderful, complex things that Vitamin D does.  And its not actually a vitamin, its a hormone that regulates virtually everything, including detox.  And you can store vitamin D in your skin, so you can sunbathe every day during the summer and save up for winter!

 

7. Rest

When I was going through die off, I was so TIRED.  I read lots of books and watched a lot of movies in my free time because that’s all I had energy for.  Only when I was calm and resting did my body really dive into the healing process. Make time and space for this, if you are anything like me, you’ll want it!

 

8. Juicing and GAPS Shakes

But only if you can tolerate it. I couldn’t at first because it was ‘too detoxing.’ I love freshly made juice because it contains the nutrients to both replenish what has been depleted by my detox/ die off process as well as the nutrients to ‘ship’ toxins out of my body. 

 

9. Go See a GAPS Practitioner

If I am doing everything ‘right’ and still can’t get my symptoms under control, I make an appointment with my GAPS practitioner. Yes, it is an investment, but being sick costs money. I KNOW it would cost a lot more to go to a conventional doctors’ office and go through the whole rig-em-a-roll of testing, poking, prodding, etc.  My health means everything to me, and each time I see my GAPS practitioner, it’s 300% worth the money. And actually pretty cheap considering she is saving my life. <3

 

Alright, I think thats it! Die off is tough, but it is worth it. And its reassuring to know that when I’m going through it, it means means body is creating a healthier micro biome for itself.  Patience and compassion for myself was a absolute necessity during this process. But giving this experience to myself and getting through it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. 

 

If you have any questions, leave a comment below of feel free to contact me.