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:
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.
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.