Thursday, April 26, 2012

A day in the life of... GAPS

Before I can even talk about what my family is currently doing, I have to first say that I strongly dislike the word "diet" and all of its connotations.  To me, the word "diet" is so overused in our culture, and carries with it such negativity.  It typically implies superficiality, and the desire to lose weight without attention to health.  Especially given my years of studying eating disorders and working with individuals suffering from them, I cringe when I hear someone "on a diet," especially children.  To take it one step further, I've never believed in any of the faddish low-carb diets, as I've always known that the best path to improving one's health is through long-term, sustained lifestyle changes, and not a quick fad diet to be followed for a brief time.  So when I use the word "diet," I really mean "meal plan" or "lifestyle."

That said... my family is currently on the GAPS "diet."  It's a structured plan designed to heal  medical conditions (in our case, leaky gut) and its origin is medicinal in nature.  It's drastic, and the idea of it took some getting used to.  The concept is to remove anything harmful or inflammatory from your diet, and allow your insides to heal.  Basically, GAPS is a grain-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, whole-foods-only diet.  Lots of cooked veggies, fruits, chicken, nuts, seeds, and eggs.  And if that doesn't sound restrictive enough, we're doing a modified intro, which means you begin following the diet by eating meals consisting of only of a homemade bone broth filled with cooked meats and vegetables.  While we are not eating anything unpleasant, at all (I actually love veggies, fruits, eggs, and chicken) it's more of what we can't eat that's the adjustment.  Anything you can buy from the store that is pre-made, packaged, or comes in a sealed container of any sort is off-limits.  Shopping for GAPS means leaving the store with raw meats or poultry, a carton of eggs, and fruits and vegetables.  It's lots of cooking, making broths, and adjusting.  We've been gluten-free and quasi-dairy-free for seven months now, and that lifestyle is a walk in the park compared to this one!

The reason I share our current journey is that I could not have gotten to where we are now without the help and guidance of others who have been down this path before us.  I have one close friend w ho is my gluten-free, grain-free guru, and beyond her I have spent countless hours reading articles, books, and blogs to find our way.  The more I talk to others, the more I have find so many people who are affected by gastrointestinal upset, headaches, arthritis/inflammation, asthma, allergies, Autism/Asperger's, and so many other complaints.  Shockingly, so many of those ailments can be addressed through purposeful detox and diet (well, lifestyle change, but you know what I mean).  I've made many friends in cyberspace who have been where we are, and give a glimpse of what is to come.  It builds hope.  I welcome anyone who is not feeling quite right, or who knows someone who isn't feeling quite right, to look into the possibility that there is a bigger picture, and a possibility that changes in lifestyle could bring surprising relief.   I'd love to talk to anyone who's been down this road before, or considering it now.

All the best.

1 comment:

  1. I still couldn't find a way to message you privately but I was able to get to your blog. I have been going back and forth about going on GAPs for almost a year now. I get so close and chicken out. But I know I need to do something as my health continues to deteriorate despite a strict gluten free diet. I'm hoping that hearing your story will give me the encouragement that I need to finally do this. One of my biggest concerns is that we travel a few times throughout the year and we also plan on mOving this summer. I keep coming up with reasons to put it off but I'm realizing there will ALWAYS be something and I'm never going to fond the perfect time. I just have to do it! Love to hear any tips you have for staring this program. Best of luck!