Many people who dive into a journey of healing on the GAPS diet will experience some type of die-off or detox reaction.
Adding nourishment and nutrient dense foods into our bodies, this allows our guts time to heal allows and forces the body to also deal with accumulated toxins stored in the tissues and by excreting them through different pathways (urine, skin, bile, etc).
As the body heals and is able to deal with and work on getting rid of these toxins, they do not like this & release their poisons, which result in a die-off reaction. The severity of the symptoms depend on the toxic load the patient carries. People can experience headaches, fever, cold/flu-like symptoms, nausea/vomiting, cramping, stomach pain, diarrhea, skin rashes, constipation, frequent urination, depression, severe fatigue, etc. We want to welcome the body exposing of these toxins so we can continue to heal and want to aid it in the process.
Initially, when starting the diet, most people go through an initial detox period. This is where many people experience something similar to the “keto flu”. During this time it is best for the body to heal and rest. Listen to your body during this time. After this initial period, your strength will return an improve.
After this, you may have a ‘recovery regression’. This may present itself as an old or new symptom. This flare up is the body’s continued healing. A few months this may flare up again, but it may not be as severe or may take less time to recover.
A detox or die-off reaction can present itself as an increase in a symptom that you experienced prior to starting the diet. For example it may be an exacerbation in your digestive symptoms or it can be a new symptom like headache, skin rash, overwhelming fatigue, bedwetting and tantrums in children, or an increase in behavioral issues.
I originally began the GAPS diet for my digestive issues and malabsorption. When I would have a die-off reaction, it would most often present itself as a flare in my old symptoms.
Detox is something that can happen in waves. You can also expect that a detox reaction won’t happen only one time. It may occur early in the diet, or it can occur weeks or months or even late in the program. You will see great gains in health over this time. Rest assured that your body’s natural processes are cleansing themselves and allowing the body to heal. Do not get discouraged! This is normal and expected. Healing comes in waves and different sections. Think of it as peeling back the layers of an onion in order to get to more areas of healing.