Thursday, February 28, 2013

Our Food Journey - Part 2

Taking the GAPS Plunge

I had done a lot of research about a traditional diet, and we had seen some improvement in our health after we started eating that way. However, as I continued reading about a truly healthy lifestyle (and anyone who is my friend on Facebook knows that I read A LOT about how to be healthy) I began learning about the GAPS diet (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) and how it can benefit children on the Autism spectrum. I learned about gut dysbiosis and realized that all five of us probably have it to some extent and realized that GAPS is not just an Autism diet. I also realized that even though we had seen some improvement with a traditional diet, if we wanted full healing we would need to go further. I began researching the GAPS diet more and more and felt it could help us (this video convinced me), but I have to admit that I was very intimidated. Even with all the changes we had made there were still lots more we would need to make, and I would have to make almost all of our food from scratch.  I already had a lot on my hands with homeschool and housework, but the more I read and prayed the more I knew that God was leading us to take the GAPS plunge. I left it on the back burner for awhile until a local friend told me that she wanted to try the GAPS diet, too, for her son who is Aspergers. This was the thing I needed to spur me into action. I ordered Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia, by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride* and Gaps Guide, by Baden Lashkov* and read them cover to cover. What I read in the books made total sense and confirmed we were on the right track. Even so it was last summer before we actually got started. My friend also added me to a Facebook group devoted to the GAPS diet. That has been one of the most helpful resources for me of all. The people in the group are very knowledgable and I have learned so much from them I could write a book. (If you'd like to join the group, let me know. It's a closed group, so I would need to add you.) Right now we are doing what is considered the "full" version of the diet, which is the least restrictive. (We've been trying to figure out when to do the Intro and decided we'd wait till after we move and get settled for various reasons.)

Even though we haven't done Intro yet, we have already seen a good amount of healing. My son's temper tantrums have almost completely gone away. It used to be that when he got upset I'd have to have him go in the bedroom to cool off. He'd still be yelling and acting out 30 minutes or so later, so I would go in and hold him, wrestle him, tickle him, etc., to get him to calm down. Sometimes it took well over an hour before he would settle. Now he still gets stubborn at times, but it's much easier to reason with him and he almost never tantrums. My youngest daughter would have whole days of cranky and irritable behavior and she would tantrum at the drop of a hat. She can still be quit dramatic, but she never has whole days of difficult behavior anymore. We're still hoping to see improvements in their speech. I'm thinking we'll have to do Intro to see changes there. My oldest daughter would complain every day that her stomach was hurting and she would get carsick very easily--almost every time we got in the car. Since we've been on GAPS she has very rarely complained of a stomach ache and her carsickness has almost completely abated. I think this is because if you already have a stomach ache before you get in the car, riding in the car will make it much worse. Since she doesn't have stomach aches anymore she doesn't get carsick as often. My husband and I have both lost weight. I was the heaviest I'd ever been (even compared to when I was pregnant) before we started the diet last June. I have lost almost 30 pounds as my body has healed, and I don't even go to the gym. My husband has also had comparatively fewer migraines since we started doing GAPS. The diet isn't easy, and we still have a long way to go, but I'm encouraged by the healing we've had so far, and I can't wait to see what happens as the result of doing Intro.

One of the nice things about this diet is, unlike the GF/CF diet, GAPS is not a life sentence. As your body heals, you can potentially add things back into your diet that caused problems before. We will never go back to SAD eating. If we eat grains they will be soaked or sprouted first. Pretty much all of our seed-based foods will be scratch made so that I can control how they are processed. We won't return to processed sugars. We'll continue eating pastured meat and eggs. We'll drink raw milk. We'll eat almost no processed food, and we'll be very selective about the processed food we do allow. And we'll consume lots of bone broth. There's a lot of reasons behind maintaining these changes. One of the most important things I've come to realize is that many of the outward symptoms we see, like being overweight, behavior issues, acne, allergies, and the list goes on, are merely symptoms of a deeper problem. In our society we want to take shortcuts and treat the symptoms without dealing with the source of the problem. Through GAPS we have begun dealing with the source of the problem and have seen true healing as a result. Because of that we don't want to consume foods that could compromise all the hard work we've done so far. So I've learned to be selective and make wise food choices. (I'll talk some more about what I've learned in a later post.) Are there some things I miss eating? Of course, but I the long-term benefits have become more important to me than the momentary pleasure. I want to see my children healthy and I want them to succeed, and I will do whatever I can to make that a reality.

So that brings us to where we are today. There's lots of great information out there about how and why to eat healthy food, and most of what we have been told about what is healthy is wrong. If you decide to go on your journey of healthy eating, do so with prayer and an open mind. You just may be amazed at what you learn and the vibrant health you gain as a result!

Check out the links I've posted here to help you get started.

*These are affiliate links.

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