The Pillars of Gut Healing:
ELIMINATIONNO: GRAINS, SUGARS, LEGUMES, SOY!
All grains including and not limited to amaranth, corn, rice, barley, wheat, etc. etc. etc. And yes even quinoa! Other than soy, this has actually been the easiest thing for me to eliminate from my diet, and it was very surprising. Maybe years of semi-clean liberal living in Portland and Olympia have led me to this quite naturally. It also can't hurt that I'm no stranger to gluten free cleanses and other types of elimination diets.
Ah sugar, how I love thee! This remains the most difficult for me. I have a sweet tooth, and I am totally addicted to sugar. GAPS and other diets allow for honey and other very natural sugars such as those found in fruit. But, I have found that I need to avoid it all as much as possible- at least for now. I strongly recommend researching leaky gut syndrome, candida overgrowth, and gut ecosystems to learn more about how and why years of eating shitty food, and particularly sugar, will ruin your gut.
Legumes and soy (even edamame) were a bit difficult to give up. Having been a vegetarian who firmly believed in a high fiber diet, I had made tofu and beans a staple in my restaurant, food cart, and home cooked meals. I gave these up last of all, and once I saw how they nearly IMMEDIATELY affect my gut negatively, it was much easier to give them up.
I have come to believe that my reaction to legumes and grains is made worse by my body's inability to handle antinutrients which are natural or synthetic compounds that interfere with digestion. It is one of the reasons that it is so beneficial to soak your grains once grains are tolerated. Fermentation is believed to help break down antinutrients as well.
FERMENTED FOODSYES: KIM CHI, PICKLES, SAUERKRAUT, YOGURT/KEFIR!
Check out my post about our pickle party, which includes a round up of favorite recipes and techniques. It was so wonderful to do this with a group of friends! Peruse the books Nourishing Traditions and Wild Fermentation for some wonderful and simple recipes. Then if it still feels too overwhelming, go look for some jars of Bubbies pickles or kraut. They may seem pricey, but you really need just a bit of this stuff to yield some wonderful benefits. In fact, it is recommended to start introducing just a teaspoon a day of the juice of fermented veggies to your diet when starting out. It is through lacto-fermented foods that you gain the highest level of beneficial probiotic to start the gut healing and sealing process. Go to http://www.wildfermentation.com/ and just read everything this awesome hippie has to say!
Yogurt and kefir, once tolerated, is an easy way to enjoy something fermented. But, it should come later on, when you are sure the gut is out of total distress. And, it needs to be truly fermented and without sugars, sweeteners and types of processing that destroys beneficial cultures. Although most people say to go only with home made yogurt, I have found an abundance of hippie yogurt available where i live for pretty reasonable prices.
BONE BROTHYES: GRASS FED BEEF BONES!
This has been the most immediately noticeable helpful, healthful and satisfying aspect of starting this process for me. My favorite recipe is here.
I found a wonderful ranch here in Oregon that is willing to sell giant bags of grass fed beef bones for around $2 a pound. We also eventually bought 1/4 of a cow from them.
Some of the broth I made was so thick that I thought it was incredibly fatty. But, after seeing the fat rise to the top and turning white (sealing in the gelatin below,) I realized the broth was a thick gelatin concentrate filled with the rich collagen, minerals, and the broken down material from cartilage and tendons like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine.
The sensation of gut soothing and sealing is palpable. If I'm experiencing any gut distress, a cup of broth will sooth me within a half an hour!
I love this article by Sally Fallon: http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/broth-is-beautiful
about the beauty and history of broth.