I wanted to post some questions about GAPS that I get, as well as links to my GAPS posts and recipes all together, so here it goes. I’ll be still going grain free every once in a while and trying new GAPS friendly recipes, so more will be added in the future as well. I was glad that I was both able to re-create bread like recipes (the coconut flour bread) and venture into other food that I hadn’t tried before GAPS (like more fish!)
I think I’m done with GAPS for right now. I seem to be completely rid of my milk allergy, and my breastfed son (who eats solids too- he’s 15 months) doesn’t seem to react to it any more either, which is awesome. He used to get eczema from it and I used to get sinus infections. I feel a little less scattered, a little more organized, but my handwriting didn’t improve much (if at all). I’m glad we did the trial of the GAPS diet. Don’t let the name fool you; Gut and Psychology Syndrome isn’t just for psychological issues, but it clears up allergies and general chronic conditions too, like eczema.
FAQ down below
An overview, and what I got together to Start GAPS
How we modified the intro because I felt it was too low carb
My guest post at Cheeseslave’s blog; How GAPS is helping our Family
Stephanie of Keeper of the Home talks about Starting GAPS and why she decided to do GAPS in her family
What do you eat on GAPS? (A shopping trip)
Bulk cooking on GAPS saved me lots of time
Kitchen Tools Having some help in the kitchen by way of appliances and other tools makes work so much easier both on GAPS and whole foods cooking. These are some of my favorites.
Menus– Just outlines of meals for a week. These are more winter menus, since I did this during winter time. Lots of links to recipes or descriptions of how I cook things in here.
Fish patties (my favorite!)
Hamburgers on Portabella Mushrooms with Squash Fries
Spouted Lentil Soup
Fresh Wild Trout
Liver and Onions (and why you should consider eating liver)
Homemade Almond Flour
Easy Homemade ketchup
Strawberry Almond Bars
A big part of GAPS is reducing the toxin load in the home, here is what I use for soap and hair/body/tooth care. I use soapnuts as a 100% natural laundry detergent now. Oil pulling is something else that some GAPS-type people find useful. And Epsom Salt Baths are another part of the GAPS protocol.
Do you have enough energy?
I felt like I had more energy on GAPS. I felt great the whole time I was on it, though I never really had a huge die off. I feel better on GAPS.
Is it safe for pregnancy or breastfeeding?
I personally will make a point to be on GAPS for at least part of my next pregnancy, should we be blessed again. It is a very healthy ‘clean’ diet and I feel like it would be a great pregnancy diet! I would just do what’s called ‘full gaps’ and take it really slow introducing probiotics. The intro (as opposed to full gaps) is a little to restrictive for what I’m comfortable doing while pregnant or breastfeeding, but that’s a decision you have to make for yourself. By delaying things that trigger die offs (coconut oil, probiotic, fermented foods, limiting carbs) you can lessen the impact it would have on your baby in utero or nursling.
Is it expensive?
Yes. Not to scare you off, but because you’re eliminating potatoes and grains from the diet, and I really think the meat you eat needs to be organic, it is more expensive than not being on GAPS. We are a single-income family, and my husband is in construction so the income we do have right now isn’t huge (being honest…) and we still made it work, but it takes some planning. You can see some things that have worked for us in Paying Cash for Groceries and 10 ways to Find More Grocery Money
Is it time consuming?
No. It takes some planning, but it’s not too bad. Mostly, you can’t just grab something quickly when you’re out- I don’t think there is any prepared food even at our health food store that is GAPS friendly. I quickly learned that before doing errands I needed to hack a squash in half and stick it in the oven (at 250 degrees) so something was ready when we came home. I bulk cooked meat balls, apples, and dehydrated lots of fruit at one time. It requires organization, but I didn’t find it took really any more time than regular cooking from scratch.
Do you miss grains?
I’m not going to lie… I like bread. I didn’t find that I had overwhelming cravings for starches, though. There are lots of good foods you can eat on GAPS. So, I found that I was easily able to adapt to the diet but I don’t think I’d choose to be on it for the rest of my life without a good reason.
Can you cheat?
Cheating is complicated and it involves knowing your body and understanding your reactions. You do need to be strict- fanatical adherence is I believe how it’s said in Breaking The Vicious Cycle, on a day-to-day basis, or you won’t have any healing. Cheating needs to be thought through and deliberate (I know this sounds bizarre… just go with me on this). We had ‘good luck’ cheating with SCD-legal foods, as I described in the post on Cheeseslave’s blog. SCD legal foods don’t contain the carbohydrates that are going to feed the bad bacteria.
I tried cheating with *just a bite* of soaked whole wheat bread about a week into the diet, and reacted to it immediately; raised pulse, nausea, other tummy troubles. I was surprised that would make so much of a difference. I tried again after about 3 weeks onto the diet, and enough healing had taken place that I could cheat and feel not great, but not awful. At this point I decided to just do GAPS 5 days a week, and be ‘off’ on the weekends. After a couple months of this on for 5 days, off for 2, I did another full 3 weeks on, and then was done.
More about cheating: I found that it did no good if I ate even a tiny bit of ‘illegal’ on the days that I was supposed to be doing GAPS. It took me a full 24 hours of only eating GAPS foods to feel like I was actually on GAPS (feeling scattered, bloated with the illegal foods). For this reason, I’d encourage you to not bother with doing ‘mostly GAPS’ and then write off the diet as ‘not working’- it’s not going to work unless you’re not letting any trace of illegal carbohydrate into your diet. I’m sure there are plenty of people who can’t handle cheating at all. I didn’t consider myself to be in dire need of GAPS, but was doing it more as a cleanse, so it wasn’t going to affect me as much.
What about going to other people’s houses?
See the ‘Cheating’ section, above. I elected to keep the kids on GAPS food, since I couldn’t really tell how they handled non-GAPS food on occasion, so I just brought food along for them, plus some to share. They were stuck on the only-cooked-fruit stage for quite a while, and I’ll admit that I did occasionally microwave fruit to ‘cook’ it easily at other people’s houses. Because food allergies, special diets, and picky kids are so common now, it wasn’t a big deal at all to bring different food. I’d usually just bring some sort of fruit and some sort of meat so it wasn’t too messy. If a former-favorite (pizza) was being served, I’d be sure to bring something they really liked, like fruit leathers and not stress if that’s all they ate that meal.
What supplements do you take?
We started out taking Biokult. My prenatal (which I otherwise LOVE) isn’t GAPS friendly so I stopped taking that (I’m breastfeeding). We did juicing, which I consider to be a supplement of sorts. We eventually got Salty Cod Liver Oil from Green Pasture. I switched over to SCDophilous for our probiotic once Bio-Kult ran out. There is some controversy about BioKult; some of the bacteria in it are not legal on SCD, and there is some sort of corn derivative in it. I think after reading about this I’m more comfortable with the SCDophilous, but there is no doubt that BioKult has helped many people. That’s it. I’m not a big supplement person.
What Did You Do for Intro?
We modified the intro (added carbs (squash), coconut oil (for satiety since we were used to it), and ahem coffee for me. Other than that we rushed through the intro described in the Gaps Guide and were through it in a week. Started with chicken broth + veggies+boiled meat, added in eggs the next day, cooked peeled fruit the day after that, then slowly added other GAPS food one at a time. We didn’t add nuts, dairy, or juice for a couple weeks.
Feel free to ask me any questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them or point you in a direction of someone who may know the answer. There’s a GAPS Yahoo group too, and they know much more than I do.
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