Over the years I’ve talked about The GAPS™ Diet extensively, how we were doing it as a family and the ups and downs that went with that. It’s been a number of years since we did The GAPS™ Diet and I find that a lot of my patients are very curious as to what we’re doing now so I thought I’d share that with you and perhaps give you a strategy for the long term lifestyle approach we’ve adopted.
My decision for the family was to find a happy medium whereby we were still monitoring our gut health and eating based on The GAPS™ Diet but it was a much more relaxed version.
As a GAPS™ Practitioner, when I’m working with patients, the general rule of thumb is that after you’ve finished the Introduction Diet you move to The Full GAPS™ Diet and follow that for 18 months to 2 years before transitioning off The GAPS™ Diet.
When you have young children you’ve kept on a strict diet regime for quite a period of time, however, you need to make a choice about how you’re going to tackle the end game.
It’s a double edged sword, by being so strict about what they eat they grow up with hang ups around food. You know what I mean, the kid that never got to eat any junk food then they’re the one at the party inhaling everything in sight because they know they may never get that opportunity again.
We also need to be careful with our girls (although now boys also in some cases), when it comes to food restrictions as there’s enough pressure in regards to body image without us parents contributing to their issues so you need to find your happy medium.
So what do you do when it comes to the parties, the sleepovers, the canteen at school, the birthday party at Mcdonalds and when they’re old enough to start going out with their friends and making their own food decisions.
Here’s where I sit with it all now.
Years ago we did The GAPS™ Diet, we started it in July 2015 and we were STRICT!!! There was NO cheating or deviating from the plan during this stage.
We started with the Introduction Diet which was tough because you are stripping back the diet and breaking habits and for some kids with high carbohydrate and sugar “addictions” plus general food aversions this can be tough going.
Once we moved to The Full GAPS™ Diet we were still strict, there was no cheating and we stayed this way until Christmas 2015 then there were a few slip ups during this time, especially Christmas Day. I mean really, my mum makes a mean Chocolate Profiterole so it was tough to say no… we had the cheat day, wore the consequences like we deserved and went back to The Full GAPS™ Diet the next day.
As we moved through 2016, I continued to notice all the positive gains we had made from doing The GAPS™ Diet, I had and still have no doubt in my mind this was the difference between having good days and having great days, more often.
Zac’s therapy sessions proved to be way more productive, focussed and we got so much out of each session, much more than we had pre The GAPS™ Diet. Our health was and is much better, which is now proving paramount.
We also noticed how much more in tune the kids, in particular Zac became with their body, recognising what foods were going to work for him and what foods were going to make him sick so that was definitely a positive.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are now still many days he knows something is going to make him sick and he’ll eat it anyway and as he gets older and spends more time with friends I have to trust him to either make the right decision or suffer the consequences.
Given we’ve been doing this for so long now his body handles it in a much better way so the fall out from eating something he shouldn’t isn’t half what it used to be.
So for us our day to day looks like this, years on from the GAPS™ Diet….
We’ve become gluten and dairy free as we found the family can’t really cope with much of these foods.
We still avoid processed foods as much as possible, for me they’re off the menu in our home ongoing as the sugar, colours, preservatives and other additives are bound to cause negative reactions. If we’re out at a friends or at a party the kids are teenagers now so really, they need to make their own choice when it comes to these kinds of food and then if they suffer the consequences they’re old enough to understand and deal with it.
At home we eat a gluten and dairy free diet with all the trimmings of the Full GAPS™ Diet, we continue to incorporate stocks, broths and fermented foods into each day, there’s lots of vegetables, good quality protein and I still use all the good fats.
There are no lunch orders anymore (the kids can’t be bothered with the canteen line now that they’re in high school) so they take their lunch every day. When they were in primary school I allowed one lunch order per term which Zac would look forward to.
If we’re out for a meal we do try to choose restaurants that offer gluten and dairy free options and generally Zac’s favourite is a pizza so as long as we can get a gluten free base I’m happy (even if there is cheese on the pizza – but of course there’s always vegan cheese now).
The main thing is I monitor what we eat day to day, we keep the gut healthy with the fundamentals of The GAPS™ Diet which then allows for those lifestyle cheats.
I make sure we don’t cheat regularly and if I know we’re going out for meals or to a party I watch our diet leading up to that as I do find one cheat is fine, two cheats ok, three cheats and we have meltdowns.
Overall we live a lifestyle around The Full GAPS™ Diet that works for us. I tell my patients there’s a time you absolutely CANNOT CHEAT and you need to accept that is part of the healing process. Once things are better you can start focussing on the end game as my goal is always to support you in making long term lifestyle changes
Restrictive diets and lifestyle choices are difficult to maintain and many people ultimately fail and return to their old habits so to make sure you don’t fall into that trap find the balance that works for you and go for it.
From the team at Mumma’s Own