30 Day GAPS Challenge

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Have you heard a lot about the GAPS diet, but you aren’t sure what it’s all about?  Do you have food allergies?  Do you have a mental illness, or a chronic disease?  Do you find that you cannot focus like you used to, like you have “brain fog”?  Have you gained weight either from hormonal fluctuations or pregnancy?  Do you think that there should be a way to nourish your body to get things “right” again?  Do you just want to feel better?!

For 30 days, why not give GAPS a try?  You can do anything for 30 days, and committing to it for that length of time should give you a decent idea of what to expect from GAPS.  And should you choose to continue with GAPS for a longer amount of time, you will already know that you can do the most difficult part: the beginning!

The icing on the cake is that Cara over at Health, Home, and Happiness has written an ebook called “What Can I Eat Now? 30 Days on the GAPS Introduction Diet”.  The ebook takes you through the GAPS intro diet day by day, complete with recipes, detox baths, juices, and more.  You can even print it out and have it bound.

What is GAPS?  Isn’t this just another “fad diet”?  I know it is a bit mainstream for me to promote a “diet” for the first of the year.  We’re real foodies!  We buck the trends!  But keep an open mind: this isn’t a diet in the conventional sense.  The GAPS diet isn’t a diet so much as a three part protocol: diet, detoxification, and supplementation.  You can hear more about that here.  GAPS is based on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), but covers more ailments and has slightly different food lists.

We are not going to be worried about what we can’t have, or how much weight we are going to lose, or how hard it is.  Being on GAPS is a pleasure and a gift.  I get myself back.  We also aren’t going to be talking about lack and deprivation while we commit to the 30 days.  Instead, we will focus on healing and truly nourishing foods for those who need to recover from food allergies, chronic illness and disease, and mental illness.

The hypothesis behind Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) is that all disease starts in the gut: if we have compromised flora in our digestive tract, then we are more susceptible to getting our immune system constantly tripped.  And then what can happen?  We get auto-immune diseases, or food allergies, or mental illness.  If we do not have a properly balanced gut lining, then the lining cannot keep out all the foods, allergens, and toxins that we are exposed to.  Hence the idea that the GAPS diet protocol “heals and seals” the gut, providing the basis for vibrant health to return.

The only caution I would give is to make sure you need to do GAPS, and don’t go too low carb.  Make sure you have sufficient food allergies or mental illness to make GAPS worth your while.  And if you have mild forms, make sure you give yourself a few weeks or a couple of months to go on GAPS.  You do not need to be on GAPS for years if your case is mild.  And of course, make sure your carb count is high enough while on GAPS.

So what do I eat every day?  What do I do every day?  I drink bone broth three times a day.  I take a therapeutic-grade probiotic morning and night.  I make fresh juice in the morning from carrots, celery, lettuce, beets, and cucumber.  I take detox baths at night with apple cider vinegar, sea salt, epsom salt, seaweed powder, and baking soda, alternated.  I eat anything that I please, as long as it is easy to digest.  I eat eggs, nuts, yogurt, honey, meats, vegetables, fruits, beans, and plenty of good fats like coconut oil, ghee, grass-fed butter, sour cream, pastured lard, duck fat, and grass-fed tallow.

This 30-day Challenge is meant to be a springboard.  You may need to commit to the GAPS diet for anywhere between 6 months to 3 years+, depending on the amount of healing you need to do.  That being said, anything that you can do is beneficial to your health.  If you try this 30-day GAPS Challenge and find you have no more to give, feel good about yourself!  You just did 30 days of intense healing, and your body will thank you.

You will notice that I didn’t say that I eat grains, whole sugars (besides raw honey–it’s allowed), starchy foods (potatoes, arrowroot), or fresh, raw dairy.  This is because those foods are difficult to digest and I need to nourish my body by providing foods that are easily assimilated.  So I put them on the shelf for now, to return to in the future.

I admit that I look forward to the day when I have healed so well on GAPS that I can have a glass of milk, a baked potato with cheddar, and piece of sprouted toast with butter.  But for now I know from experience that I tend to find the same satiation with GAPS foods.  A bowl of yogurt with honey, nuts, and fruit.  Fauxtatoes with salt, pepper, and grass-fed butter.  Coconut flour bread with various GAPS-friendly spreads or cheese.  I’ll tell you a secret: I don’t feel deprived on GAPS.

Other resources:  If you look on the sidebar of my blog, you will see a button called “Avoiding Grains?” which takes you to Cara’s Health, Home, and Happiness blog where she blogs about her grain-free family who embraced GAPS for her child’s autism.  They have been at it for over 2 years, and she provides Grain Free Meal Plans to take some of the guess work and stress out of embracing a grain-free diet.

I had been doing GAPS for about 6 months when I finally gave her Grain-Free Meal Plans a try, and they truly helped!  I had even been getting along okay on my own, but the planning that Cara does for you is still easier than any method I had worked out in my own kitchen.  If you are ready to take the plunge into GAPS beyond the 30-day Challenge, then the meal plans will really help.

I love that there is a growing community of people who are grain-free, GAPS, SCD, paleo or primal followers, or simply aware of our compromised immune systems.  Come heal along with me!  Please leave a comment stating your intent to participate!

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