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.
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!
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.