The biggest question I’ve had to answer myself and others after trying a grain free diet for a month is – “Why did we quit?”
The fact was, we felt great, liked the food, and knew this was good for our bodies. Why did we go back to eating grain (and raw milk, some sweeteners, and other stuff we’d cut out)? Here’s the three reasons:
Cutting out grains means increasing your intake of more expensive foods like meat, veggies, and nuts. I did my best to be frugal by…
- choosing chicken over fish
- making my own yogurt, kefir, and even some butter
- buying things like nuts and coconut oil in bulk
…but the simple fact was, we could not afford the increased food costs beyond the 3-week mark, and had to go back to a diet that included the cheaper component of grains.
I have heard (but can’t for the life of google find the link) that GAPS can increase your grocery budget 30%. Can you afford the GAPS diet? I believe Cara puts this question into perspective…
“The cost of food on the GAPS diet is often a shock- adding up the cost of meat alone is enough to make frugal grocery store shoppers twitch. There’s no doubt about it, grains are cheap fillers to round out meals and fill up bellies. I look at GAPS as being a medically necessary diet for my family. If a prescription medication could do all of what GAPS does, with no side effects, I know I would find a way to pay $200/month for this ‘medication’. In the same way, I see the money spent on food as an investment into my children’s health– money spent on the GAPS diet is money that isn’t spent on doctor’s visits, missed work due to health issues, tutors, adaptive equipment, and prescription medications.” – Cara at Health, Home, and Happiness (the full post is excellent GAPS info!)
We see our food budget as an investment in our family’s present and future health. As we can afford it, I will continue to implement as much nutrient dense foods as possible. Currently, I’m resting in the fact that our children do not have allergies or illnesses that require us to eat a diet we can’t afford. Which brings me to my next point…
GAPS is specifically a diet to heal disease. As our family does not currently suffer from any allergies or on-going illnesses, I did not feel it was necessary to continue on the diet once we had accomplished our goals. The fact that we had very little die-off and no food sensitivities came to the surface indicated to me that our normal diet (based on the principles of the Weston A Price foundation) was working well for us.
In the New Testament, Jesus calls himself the Bread of Life. I have a hard time believing that Christ would compare himself to something He created that we weren’t supposed to partake of. I believe grains, when prepared properly, can be a regular part of our diet, just as it was in Biblical times. The key is making sure our gut is healthy enough to digest grains, and then to make sure they are soaked, fermented, sprouted, or otherwise prepared for ease of digestion.
To hear how we actually felt on a grain free diet, check out this post.
For a collection of our family’s all time favorite meals, from grain-free brownies to homemade BBQ marinades to thick and creamy yogurt, check out my book!
Great post! Love all the helpful GAPS tips and resources. I just wanted to comment on the Jesus/bread metaphor thing- that is a great point, but the wheat/bread of today has been so genetically modified that it would be unrecognizable to the wheat in biblical times. Wheat today cannot even survive without human intervention. So Jesus probably was comparing himself to something A LOT better back in the day. Just something to think about. 🙂
Rebecca, you have a valid point and I have given that a great deal of thought. It’s true, grain is really different now than it was 2000 years ago…but, it is still wheat, and I believe that Christ KNEW that hybridization and GMOs would happen, and He still chose to call Himself the bread of life, knowing what product we would compare it too in our day.
There is actually no GMO wheat on the market anywhere. It has never been approved and likely won’t be for a long time. Obviously, the wheat might be different today, but grains like spelt and kamut are ancient grains that can be used in the place of wheat fairly easily.
My family and I were on the Full Diet for about 5 months (after a few weeks on the Intro) and we totally couldn’t afford it! Every month was a struggle trusting that we would have enough money for food. We had felt that God wanted us to do the diet, since I struggled with severe food intolerances, so we waited until we felt peace before slowly weaning ourselves off. A couple months ago we started adding back in non-GAPS foods, starting with sweet potatoes, then soaked buckwheat, then soaked oats and traditional sourdough. This month we’re trying sprouted rice and white potatoes.
I think, overall, the diet was a huge exercise in trusting God. Not only did He provide for us, He also allowed me to heal of the majority of my food intolerances! I think your January-GAPS plan is wonderful idea – we might be trying that. 🙂
Raia, thank you for sharing your story! It is so exciting to hear GAPS success stories, and I am especially inspired by your testimony of God’s provision for you while you healed. Don’t miss my instructions for making sprouted wheat flour when you’re ready to add wheat back in! 😉
This is the first time I’ve read a balanced blog post about this topic! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. People too quickly forget the many references to bread in the Bible. I’m definitely interested in learning more traditional ways to prepare grains. But I think a HUGE part of it is using freshly ground flour when baking.
Loved these posts, Trina. I’ve thought about doing GAPS but wasn’t sure if it was necessary or not. We do have plenty of our own meat, dairy, eggs, produce, etc… so the financial part isn’t too much of a burden. However, I know my husband would cringe. 🙂 I wonder about trying it for a week or two in the middle of harvest time… just to see how my body responds.
Either way. Thank you for the information!
For those who do do better on a vegetable, fruit, and meat diet long term, I just wanted to drop a line of encouragement–you can do with it with out breaking the bank–it does take planning and most importantly an extra freezer. I watch sales for meat and fish and buy in large qualities when it is on sale. I am fortunate to be in a situation where I can grow most of my own vegetables (still working on the fruit part!) and have my own free range chickens for eggs. If you are in place where you can garden, make the most of that and freeze as much as you can for the winter months. If you can’t garden, buy fruit and vegetables in bulk in season when they are cheaper and freeze. For me a similar diet (paleo) has actually ended up being cheaper because I am able to grow my vegetables and it forces me to eat many more vegetables than I was eating prior to starting the diet (I didn’t realize how much grain and dairy and I had been eating until I cut it out of my diet). I also buy nuts on sale in bulk. The only thing I really ended up paying top dollar for this winter was fresh fruit–though I do look for sales on that too–and alternative milk products (coconut and almond).
Being on a diet like this long term really is a life style. You find ways to adjust so that you can make it work and still be afordable. I decided early on that for me the specialitly flours just weren’t worth the extra cost, for an example.
You last point was proabably the hardest one for me to overcome when I was contemplating making the switch to a paleo diet–in the creation story we were designed to eat fruits and vegetables and I have always leaned toward being a vegetarian (though I did eat meat somewhat sparingly). And Jesus calls himself the bread of life…
Kateri, I so appreciate your advice coming from one who is way better at eating her veggies than I am!
Have to say I love me my bread… but we definitely need to work on a better whole foods diet! I am encouraged by your example :). Oh, and I love Wegman’s produce. They are amazing :).
Jessica T. says
The last point is one that Aaron and I have talked about some too…especially since he really loves his bread! 🙂 And I’m with you on the second one too…I’m so thankful that we’re healthy enough and are able to eat well enough to not currently “need” an expensive GAPS diet. 🙂
These GAPS posts were so interesting! Thank you for doing them! I know you were only on it 3 weeks, but did you find you had lost any weight? I am currently going through the “Making Babies” series by Shoshanna Easling (Bulk Herb Store) and she said that after her first baby it took her about a year to lose all her weight. After her second she followed the GAPS diet and had lost all the weight – plus some – after only 4 months. Wow. (BTW – Trina I am pregnant. Surprise baby – I say that Lilly talked to God about this one!) I too completely agree that bread is not bad, as it is Biblical! Apparently the modern way of preparing it is the problem. I just got a new book that I am looking forward to reading called “The Vintage Remedies Guide to Bread: Unlocking the Mysteries of Grains, Gluten & Yeast.” The author shows how bread prepared the old ways is nourishing, etc. Thank you again Trina for your posts! I really enjoy your blog. 🙂
Lisa – congrats!!
Sounds like you are learning some great stuff – thanks for sharing these titles.
Sadly, I do not have a scale, so I don’t know if I lost weight on GAPS. I am once again fitting into my smallest jeans, though, so I suspect I may have lost a few Lbs. Weight loss was not my goal, but GAPS can be a gentle, nourishing weight loss diet for those trying to achieve their ideal weight. I usually lose my baby weight within a year – not interested in losing it faster as I feel I need it when I’m nursing. I go underweight too easily, though, so my experience may not be helpful 😛