Some people who have Hashimotos Disease and also know they have a Leaky Gut decide to take on the GAPS Diet. But before you make that decision too quickly, please consider the check list I feel is most important when approaching this diet ahead of time so you are prepared emotionally, physically, and financially, for such a decision.
Make sure you are ready for a serious detox diet.
Looking back, I know I thought I was ready, but I found out quickly I wasn’t. For me, as many of you already know, I was headed for a serious mercury poisoning episode. My best guess after speaking with 3 professionals during this time, is that I began to detox the mercury so quickly that my body was overburdened by the large amount released. Add to that a LOT of HOT food (which is known to release mercury into the body through chewing with 8 amalgam fillings in my mouth) and healing foods that are known to pull heavy metals from tissues in the body, and I was in trouble. The reason I bring this up is that I did not consider this seriously enough before starting the GAPS Diet. I had already been juicing before beginning the diet, so I thought I was “set”.
If you are aware of an issue you have not dealt with that has the potential to accelerate during Intro, you might want to consider easing into the GAPS Diet by starting with the addition of GAPS type foods a little at a time over a few months. Another approach is to begin with the Full GAPS Diet first, and then once some healing has occurred, the Intro may be done at a later time, when you feel more comfortable with a serious detox. If you feel you are a candidate for needing professional help, please find a trained GAPS consultant before starting so you have direction in case you hit some “bumps in the road” like I did.
Are you sure you understand the GAPS Diet well enough to begin?
This is a BIG one! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard and read that someone is jumping on the GAPS Diet only to be very surprised that they can’t just do it for a month or two! Or as in my case, I just thought I would be able to adjust real quickly. This diet is designed to be a 2-4 year healing diet (some longer, some shorter), and I find that many people are not really comprehending what they are taking on before they jump in! My best advice on this one is to get the GAPS Diet book by Dr. Natasha McBride and the GAPS Guide before you start. Contemplate your expectations and be sure you are ready for a long term healing diet. It’s always easier to sprint, but the long haul takes a lot more endurance.
Be prepared in the kitchen!
There’s a LOT to say on this one but I will keep it to the basics! I was caught totally off guard. I thought it would be enough to have 2-3 chickens and some veggies cut up and prepared in my fridge. I didn’t take into account the long haul I was headed for, both in food prep and detox symptoms! But let’s talk about the food prep first. There needs to be an understanding that this diet can’t be done “half-way.” The Intro steps are very specific and must be followed for the best results. In my opinion, there is no reason to put the effort out on something that will ultimately give you poor results. So, make sure the Intro is understood before attempting. There are some GREAT videos taking you through the Intro step-by-step here:
Are you going to be able to keep up with the detox symptoms that can occur on Intro?
I guess I thought I had already experienced enough detox to move forward but as you can see, I was wrong. However, what I think would have helped me the most would have been to look for the signs that I was detoxing too quickly before things got out of hand. We tell ourselves “it’s just food, how can it hurt us?” But what we don’t consider often enough is that the food itself is not hurting us but the healing reaction they can produce can be too quick for a body whose detoxification system is already overburdened. So look for the signs of it going too fast and be prepared to slow down as described in the GAPS Diet book by Dr. Natasha McBride. When you couple this with having to make a lot of food from scratch, it behooves you to think through how to approach this logically.
Have you planned ahead? (like for at least 30 days?)
Now that I can see better in hindsight, I would have done things differently. In fact, I will do them differently next time because I am scheduled to go through Intro again soon hopefully without the complications I put myself through a few months ago! So, now what I will do is to be sure I have a lot of broth made ahead of time. I will freeze it in ice cube trays so I can make one cup of stock if I need to without having to start a whole new pot all the time. This can give me a whole day off if my symptoms flare and I just need to rest. I will also chop up veggies and have them in portions to throw into a pot of broth at any time. Since the beginning of Intro is based on mostly boiled food, there will be no harm in freezing the veggies before using them. I will make sure I have a source for my free range chicken eggs and have a plan for each stage before I get there. Hopefully, I will have a much better situation next time!
Don’t think this diet is filled with boring foods!
This diet is awesome! It is filled with powerhouse foods that nourish your body and taste great! As seen below as a sample, there are some wonderful “break-the-monotony” sweet foods to help you through a sweet tooth or just make you feel more normal once in a while. Here’s a picture of the awesome gluten free and grain free brownies I made courtesy of this site. They are wonderful! I omitted the baking soda as it is not GAPS friendly.
These are cupcakes made from the same recipe as the brownies. Very light and yummy!
- If you are not ready for a diet as intense as the GAPS Diet, I strongly encourage you to move towards a healthier diet by using the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon for the best ways to prepare foods the traditional way. And if you are having trouble with getting started like I was, you will find step-by-step help in all different forms, including video, through very inexpensive online classes by GNOWFLINS! I wholeheartedly support her wonderful classes and still take them weekly today and have been for over two years! Yes, there are that many lessons to go through and everything from beginning to advance classes! You can take any class whenever you want so it is on your schedule and so convenient! There is so much to learn in cooking the traditional way and I consider these the most helpful tutorials I have ever taken when moving towards a healthy diet. I hope you will join me there!
So before going on GAPS long term, please consider the above points so you are ready to get on board for the long haul. Your body will thank you for it and you will be blessed by the journey! Do you have any other points to add? Any comments? I would love to hear from you!