After having spent at least a month moving carefully through the introduction diet it can come as a wonderful relief to have reached Stage 6 and be ready to move onto the Full GAPs diet. But let me share with you some things we have learnt by experience.
Firstly, do not think the healing is all over by the end of the intro. You may have seen big improvements and hopefully you will have done, but more is yet to come! Your stomach at this stage is extremely sensitive to anything it doesn't like or can't digest well. It just isn't the same stomach you had before you started. It is all too easy to be tempted to jump into full GAPS with both feet and find your stomach reeling, or symptoms returning.
It really is a case of continuing the intro diet mentality, of one small change at a time, and introduce just a little, watch and see, then increase the amount. It's just that now you have more freedom over what you introduce!
Do continue to keep a diary. Record every ingredient that is new, not just the general food. E.g. it's easy to write 'banana muffin', but does that have nuts or coconut flour, or eggs, honey/dates. Be specific.
Also record what you did that day and how well you slept, so you can gauge what might be making you tired. Any stomach discomfort should be recorded and when it occurred, along with bowel movement type using the Bristol Stool scale. Armed with this sort of detailed information it will make it easier to try and identify which food is causing problems. I say easier, as it is not always easy and it's sometimes only after a few weeks you begin to see a pattern emerging. It took us about two months of occasionally having avocado chocolate pudding to work out that avocados gave Son 1 an upset stomach. We made more progress once we removed it from his diet and his bowels have become more regular, he has less stomach discomfort and his skin and eczema have improved dramatically. Similarly I had been consuming fruit for weeks, and wondering why sometimes my stomach was as a calm as anything and at other times it was bloated and uncomfortable. I eventually twigged that is was too much fruit that caused it. Before I reached that stage I had taken out nuts and fruit to calm my stomach down completely and keep it like that for a few days. Then I tried nuts and they didn't produce a reaction, so I brought fruit back in, but being who I am, I am not good at regulating things. I suddenly decide I'd fancy some raisins, so gobble a handful while I'm cooking tea (not a good habit!). I have now reduced all fruit to only a small amount per day and I seem to tolerate that well, but I have yet to try banana as when I started joining Son 2 with banana pancake every day I felt bloated. Whether that was because it took me over my daily fruit threshold, or whether banana per se is the problem I am working towards discovering. One remembers that Dr. NCB says that any discomfort after a meal is caused by foods previously eaten, not the meal you have just had.
Similarly Husband hasn't had any major noticeable problems until I hit on the fact that he often has a lot of wind especially after red meat meals, which indicated that he probably isn't digesting them well. So now we are taking steps to increase his stomach acid before the main meal - taking sauerkraut and bone broth and keeping non-acidic fruits away from the meal, as Dr. NCB advised. We have sauerkraut with each meal but had gone to not having bone-broth with the main meal, only with the other two meals. This is working so far!
So you see, this takes patience and determination and lots of observation. You have to remember that it is not just a diet that you eat these foods for two years and come out the other end. It's a healing process and healing takes time after years of abuse. Learn to listen to your body and work with it.
Hopefully this will give you insight as to what the diet involves, how carefully you need to introduce new foods, the sort of records you need to keep and why and how you are really watching, watching watching all the time.