If you have ever tried a restrictive diet before, I’m sure you have fought exhaustion, cravings, hunger, and–inevitably– guilt, as few of us can hold out long when denying our bodies food in an effort to cleanse or lose weight.
But the GAPS diet was different, and this is what I loved most about it: there were no cravings.
This diet has a strong focus on highly nourishing, easily digestible foods, giving our bodies a chance to rest and heal while still receiving the fuel we needs most. There is no starving yourself or extreme amounts of self discipline necessary to pull this off. Your body is being nourished, and it knows it and is able to quit making demands and appeals.
Now, I realize our experience was different than what many would experience on GAPS because we already eat a very healthy diet. We did not have yeast overgrowth or allergies or intestinal issues that needed to be addressed. I know that the die-off symptoms on GAPS can be pretty significant in an unhealthy individual. But in our experience, and that of some others I’ve read who already eat a whole food diet, our appetites did not suffer and our bodies genuinely appreciated the food we were eating.
We did have our ups and downs emotionally, but it would be hard to lay all the blame on the diet, in a house of 3 small children and a mommy who can be hormonal at times. In my journal of the 3 weeks we were completely grain-free and in which I tried the GAPS intro, I kept track of our spirits as well as the food we ate. In looking back, I can see that we definitely had a bit of detox going on the first week, but once the kid’s adjusted to our new menu, they seemed to do well:
Day 3 – Everyone seemed on edge. The kids were very touchy, and I was struggling, too, but part of that was lack of sleep and serving lunch late.
Day 6 – I think we turned a corner. Claire seemed like a different girl today – she was much less touchy, despite being tire!
Day 8 – I began GAPS Intro today. Felt fine all day, but went to bed with doubts as to whether I could really pull this off.
Day 9 – Rose refreshed and full of resolve. I feel only a little tired, no brain fog or eczema or cravings or headache or blood sugar issues.
Day 12 – Very low energy today. Realized I’d been forgetting my daily detox bath.
Day 13 – got up early to get a bath in before kids woke. Definitely gave me energy.
Day 16 – A bit weary of the kid’s constant requests for snacks. My friend tells me this is a sign of good digestions – what they’re eating is going straight through them! We have plenty of food for snacks, it’s just all the dishes and bibs and mess of each added meal time. I’m tired of it and feeling ready to quit.
I held out just a few days longer till we had been off grain for 3 full weeks. (It helped that I had planned my menu through the end of the month!) Then I began adding different grains back into our diet one at a time so I could watch for sensitivities.
But through the whole thing, as long as I had planned food and snacks, there was no temptation to go off the diet – not even when I mixed up a batch of cookie dough for Jeremy!
The strongest emotion I felt during GAPS was an overwhelming sense of well being. I knew I was treating my body just about the best I ever had, and it was thanking me. My confidence and attitude were boosted because I was making such a positive choice for my family.
So, why did we quit? Find out here…