Tuesday 25 December 2012

Our story to healing

How we went from Failsafe to GAPS to healing...

Some of you have followed my family's journey on the RPAH Elimination / Failsafe Diet. After 7 years on a low chemical diet, I decided, as did many other mothers, that there must be a cause for these intolerances and set about finding why. This lead me to Biomedicine.



Biomedical doctors look a little deeper than your average GP and seek to correct any imbalances. They use blood and urine tests, as well as symptoms and other things as diagnostic tools. I have found my medical professionals to be invaluable, from RPAH Allergy Unit as well as my biomedical doctor.

Over the last few months, I have seen a dramatic change in myself since starting supplements to correct these imbalances. As I saw improvements I started to challenge with higher chemical foods. Firstly I introduced some salicylates with success. I was reacting to Fodmaps and sulfur, so I chose new foods that were low in those as well. Zuchinni, Carrot and Pumpkin initially. I started with very small amounts every day until I could tolerate a full cup. Amines however were still causing reactions.

As some of you know I am not good with moderation and of course had many blowouts in the excitement of being able to eat something new! When that would happen I would just pull back and then resume the gradual liberalising...  

Part of my biomedical treatment was probiotics. They were a little tough to handle at first but as I started to cope with them, I thought I might try some chicken stock. The amines were previously too high for me. Cooked it very briefly in the beginning and enjoyed the extra flavour very much!


At this point, I realised there needed to be much gut healing. I have previously read the GAPS book but had filed it away as the food required relied very heavily on amines, nuts, eggs, coconut. Seeing as I was tolerating some new food, I thought I would try to introduce some healing foods next.

Coconut was first on my list... I had read it has so many healing qualities and is used in a lot of GAPS baking. To try it, I just added a small amount to my usual gluten free baking.

Broth... as I mentioned before I started to use chicken stock. I increased the time it was cooked every couple of weeks and gradually moved over to lamb broth and bone broth.

Egg was next... I had bought chickens earlier in the year to see if I could eat eggs if they were really fresh. Started by using a small amount of egg in cakes, then gradually was able to tolerate eating an egg cooked on its own.

Nuts... they are not really necessary and aren't recommended to eat daily, but I did work on building tolerance to almonds. Started with just one a day.

Fermented veg... initially I thought these were really gross. A tiny taste made me violently ill (die off is very rapid!) I bought some from Kitsa's Kitchen and started just having a tiny 1/4t of the juice each day and built from there. I now have lots of lovely jars... all different veg and enjoy several tablespoons with meals.

Kefir... also an acquired taste but very healing. Since dairy was not an option initially, I started with coconut and water kefir. It does work quickly and the die off is rapid so I started slowly. Many blowouts with this as I started to enjoy the taste and have found a level suitable for me now.

Kombucha... fermented tea. Having been sugar free for so long, I like things that are not too sweet. This tea is kind of vinegary. If left to ferment too long, that is what you get. If you want to add mango, you get a lovely iced tea. I really enjoy it just as is, and have a glass every morning with breakfast.

It took six months to get to the kefir and fermented veg stage. I didn't remove grains at the start as a lot of people do. There was less than 10 foods for me to choose from and I couldn't think of anything to eat.

GRAIN FREE... really

I often read that GAPS/PALEO diets meant you didn't really need to snack... thought what a load of rubbish! No snacking, how could that be...

At this stage I thought, I think I am ready to be grain free... I had a number of new foods, enough to make satifying meals. So I bit the bullet and made the change.


When you make yoghurt and ferment it for 24 hours, it is meant to be lower in casein and lactose. So I gave it a go with cows milk... reaction but nothing like I would have before. So I tried goats milk and that has been going well. Just small amounts at this stage each day.


Breakfast can be eggs or meat with kale, mushrooms, zuchinni stir fried in ghee and coconut oil... with some fermented veg, avocado and papaya or mango with broth added to make a soup or just in mug on the side. As well as a glass of kombucha

Morning tea is unusual. If I am out for the morning till after lunch... I will take a few nuts, a slice of grain free cake or some chia pudding with coconut custard. Most of the time, I'm not hungry until mid afternoon.

Lunch can be anything... if I had morning tea, I don't eat it. But if I am home, I will cook some chicken add some fermented veg and a couple of spoonfuls of homemade goats yoghurt. Or have a salad or just have a big mug of broth.

Afternoon tea very rare (I know shocked me too!) If I have made a slow roasted shoulder of lamb, I might have a pick at that. Or have a bit of homemade goats yoghurt and some fruit.

Dinner is roast meat with veg... either made into soup with broth or just by themselves. Could be a stir fry or casserole. Basically meat and veg.

I am a bit of a dessert fiend... so I have made lots of delish puddings, cakes and chocolate treats... Cookies are a bit hit and miss... some I love and then can't stop eating. I have found it easier to not have too many baking snacks on hand. I make cakes and slices and freeze them, then pull one out and stop there.

It has been difficult and die off is really not much fun... but look at the amazing variety I can now enjoy. Food is again my friend!


I am now on the mission to heal my children so they too can enjoy this food... my approach is slowly slowly. I am not jumping in the deep end with GAPS intro, but gradually working on liberalising their diet like I did mine, with healing foods. Their first foods have been a few moderate salicylates and coconut oil; small amounts of broth a couple of times a week and half ml every few days of fermented veg juice. Will keep moving them towards grain free as I did.

Good luck with your healing journey... remember we are all individuals and you need to do what is suitable for your family

Disclaimer: I am not a medical practitioner and this website does not constitute medical advice. You should consult your doctor or dietician in relation to food intolerances or allergies and any dietary changes you make.