I knew I was headed in the right direction starting the GAPS diet. Everything in Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride just made plain sense. But to be honest, I was completely overwhelmed trying to understand where to start! Many excuses... very valid excuses... kept coming to mind.
How can we afford buying everything fresh and natural?
How can I make anything my picky eater will like?
and the most valid one of all...
How will I have time to do all this work?
We just traveled to North Carolina for vacation with my in-laws. My sister-in-law approached me one afternoon and simply stared at me with the most caring eyes and started crying telling me how I am such a wonderful mother. She told me how proud she was that I was doing this diet for me and my little LJ.
First let me say... YOU CAN DO IT! If you feel that this diet could be the one thing that will help you or your family... then YOU CAN DO IT! I am not some super Mom! I homeschool my kids. I get tired. I deal with chronic pain at times. I have a messy house on more occasions that I'd like to admit. With only one of us working, we naturally have a very tight budget! If I can do this... you can too. It just takes the guts to jump in and a willingness to learn. It just takes one change at a time.
Really the main obstacle to living GAPS is learning, learning and more learning. It truly is not a "diet". Diet to me means... restricting yourself from foods to drop some weight. This is a life change! You have to put the habits aside and relearn how to do things. This is a new way of thinking!
You can not do GAPS without 3 major changes in your eating habits.
(1) You must get antibiotic free, natural meats. The antibiotics kill the good gut flora.
(2) You must eliminate ALL processed foods and starches. This includes any sweeteners (with the exception of raw honey) and unhealthy additives. Sugar and starches feed the bad bacteria.
(3) You must heal your body with probiotics and probiotic foods. This includes drinking meat broth, eating unprocessed yogurt and kefir, and eating cabbage. I would also go as far to say that you need to eat more prebiotic foods (foods that feed the good gut flora) like bananas, garlic, onions, etc.
These are just the MAJOR changes in your pantry :/ There are plenty more changes Dr. McBride talks about in her book! I know it can sound overwhelming. I was there too! As I read the book, I honestly got tired just thinking about all the things I would have to learn to make and do on a daily basis!
How will I have time for all of this work?
So now that I have told you that I am not super woman, let me tell you that sometimes I think I am and over do it! As I was getting started I told myself... YOU CAN NOT DO IT ALL!!! If you are thinking of living GAPS... repeat this to yourself! YOU CAN NOT DO IT ALL from DAY 1. It takes time to learn and make it a part of every day life.
Start with researching. Read the GAPS book. Start figuring out where you can find things for the diet. Gotta love throwing it up on Facebook and getting all kinds of people to respond :)
I took about 45-60 days to slowly get to the point of going on the Full GAPS diet. Here was my process:
Read some inspirational GAPS stories online to get me motivated!
Dropped all sweets and pop
Found a farmer, butcher and prices on beef.
Decided to find 2 recipes a day to start building my recipe box.
Dropped chips, cereal and potatoes.
Bought unrefined extra virgin coconut oil on Amazon.
Dropped breads but kept some wheat in my diet (ie: wraps)
Substituted dried fruit for my LJ's favorite, fruit snacks.
Tried to find local raw honey to buy in bulk.
Started cooking with coconut oil in things when I could substitute it.
Went strictly to a gluten-free diet
Bought organic butter and started making ghee.
Ordered a nut bag to make my own nut milk.
Made homemade almond and coconut milk.
Made almond flour and coconut flour from the pulp from making the milks.
Dropped ALL grains. Rice was the last to go for me.
Started all natural grassfed beef and antibiotic free chickens.
Started eating breakfast at 10 AM.
Stopped eating fruits and meats together.
Started making broth and eating soup for lunch everyday.
Got together with a friend who buys more natural than me to find out where the best prices are for things.
Started researching probiotics and where to buy them.
Found a GAPS legal coconut milk in a can that has no additives at Trader Joe's.
Made homemade coconut milk yogurt.
Canned tomatoes and peaches
Started learning how to soak nuts and roast them.
Started making condiments: mayo, ketchup, peanut butter, dressings
Switched to organic bananas and apples.
Found GAPS legal sausage and ground pork.
I am still in a process now 8 weeks into the diet. I still haven't changed my eggs 100% of the time to antibiotic free. I still buy mostly non-organic fruits and vegetables.
I will tell you that it may not be easy every day, but it is WORTH IT! I feel great! I feel so different as a person. I have dropped 20 lbs. I feel more at peace. I have more energy. I don't have major fatigue spells, cramping, bloating or swelling. The way I feel motivates me to keep going with my family! It makes me realize just how much my food was affecting my body!
I still tell myself... YOU CAN NOT DO IT ALL!
I have to remember that I am learning and I'm learning a lot in a short period of time.
My friend Becky has really encouraged me that every change... every single choice... is making an impact. My family is more healthy than before I started. Just keep progressing!
As Dory would say...
You can find all of my victorious and failed recipes on my Pinterest boards.