Die Off Guide Part 1: What is it, Really?
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about die off and detox. So let’s dive in! Being a GAPS gal myself, I was pretty toxic at first and the amount of ‘good bugs’ in my gut were extremely lacking, so I have a ton of personal experience on this topic (moreso than I would like haha).
The Micro Biome
Now, if you are a GAPSter, you know what a micro biome is. You know that a healthy one is necessary for a healthy life and an overgrowth of ‘bad bugs’ is ultimately why you have needed GAPS in the first place. So in my situation during this protocol, my gut flora started to shift in a very profound, healing way. Over time, I was replacing the ‘bad guys’ with the ‘good guys’ and the environment of my gut transformed from being a complete nightmare to resembling one of a healthy person.
And frankly, when parasites started coming out of me and my ‘yeastie beasties’ (thats the scientific term I believe 😉 ) felt like they were eating me, I felt like sh*t. A big steaming pile of it some days. So why didn’t I just give up and go back to eating potatoes and bread?
Because I knew that my ‘bad bugs’ were originally WAY overgrown due to the absence of ‘good bugs’ in my gut. And that these bad boys emitted toxic metabolites just by being alive inside of my body. For example, Candida Albicans (technical term= ‘yeastie beastie’) alone emits 176 toxins, such as alcohol, ammonia, acetone (nail polish remover), and acetyl aldehyde (changes the shape of proteins and triggers autoimmune reactions/ disease). So just like when I breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, my pathogens are doing the same thing in my body. But instead producing ‘waste products’ that hurt me.
Being on GAPS, I not only stopped feeding these ‘bad guys,’ but I also introduced ‘good guys,’ which attacked and killed all the bad ones. And when these little crum bums died they exploded and released all of their toxins at once. So instead of getting a slow, constant trickle of toxic metabolites when my ‘bad guys’ were alive (ultimately my inspiration for going on GAPS), I got a flood of them all at once.
On top of that, the GAPS diet encouraged my body to detox chemicals and metals. Since pathogenic microbes need a toxic environment to survive, these ‘bad guys’ also started leaving and dying because their ecosystem had been compromised. All of these details culminated into a rather intense die off reaction for yours truly.
There are a few things I kept in mind during this time, as it got very concerning and scary. First of all, I knew that symptoms I struggled with were going to be exacerbated, hence the explosion vs. the slow trickle. Also, I did not want this process happening too fast because my body has to detox all of these toxin metabolites (a side effect of the ‘explosion’). This process is a lot for anyone to handle, but especially since I’m a GAPS gal, I have a sluggish/ compromised detox system too. And in general, bodies can only clear toxins so fast.
Think about it as a slow drip coming out of a faucet. If I have a rush of toxins becoming mobilized, they are only going to be able to leave my body at a certain pace. When I mobilize more toxins than my body can handle, they end up getting recirculated and cause more harm than good. This is the reason I want my die off to happen slowly. And there are strategies I use to make that happen if you want to keep reading in my Die Off Guide Pt 2: 9 Ways to deal with Die Off.