“So, what can you eat? How are you getting enough calories?” The two questions I hear most often when I tell others I’ve got my family on the GAPS diet and that means they can’t eat any grains, starch, sugar, most dairy, most beans, and limited fruit (for now). Well I am cooking like a mad woman, and I’m quite sure with this much cooking everyday, I’m not starving anyone. So what are we eating then? Here’s a quick run down from this week:
-Cauliflower and mixed veggie stir fry with curried chicken sausage
-curry lentil and veggie soup
-taco salad with a side of pumpkin nut bread
-chicken and veggie soup
-spaghetti squash “pasta” with veggies, sausage, marinara
And let me just tell you how amazing the desserts I have made are. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to baking with sugar and grains again actually. I made a key lime pie that battles with anything “real” and Eliah will clean the whole house for one bite of a peanut butter/coconut bar.
I’d say the biggest challenge is breakfast, mostly because to make it a “breakfast” type of food, the options are limited to eggs, “pancakes”, sausage. I need to make some nut/seed granola, but for now it’s the same 3 things, especially because I am not giving Eliah fruit yet. However one of the best parts of this diet is that we eat a plate of steamed veggies with every meal, including breakfast, and I can’t tell you how amazing it makes my brain and body feel the whole day.
We are almost 6 weeks into this diet and the changes in Eliah have been dramatic and amazing. She still has some meltdowns, but it’s ALWAYS right before a bowel movement and so we can see the relationship to her digestive system more clearly than ever. We are still doing a candida detox which causes some “die off” reactions that are difficult (night waking, periods of disconnect, brainfog, headaches). Most of all it has been the feedback from friends and family that has been so validating to us as to the reasons to continue the diet. We just traveled to visit family and Eliah behaved better than ever. She handled all the transitions well and was more social than she’s ever been, and her potty training is finally going really well again. She is connecting to her inner vibrant nature in a positive way that is allowing her to experience happiness and joy in a manner that I’ve not seen before.
The other thing I love about this diet is that Eliah will eat ANYTHING I give her. Her palate has completely changed. She wakes up and asks for her kale/beet/celery/carrot juice and guzzles it. She drinks bone broth without issue. She knows that she has to eat a whole plate of steamed veggies before she can have her precious “pancakes” made of squash and nut butter. She is eating more now than ever. I have no fear that I’m starving her whatsoever. The only downside is the amount of cooking I am doing to make up for not just filling her up with rice and grains. My grocery bill is ridiculous, and we go through bags full of veggies in just a few days. I think I am going to have to plant a garden this year.
Another good thing is that my ability to meal plan has really improved and this diet is no longer overwhelming. I know to keep broth made, yogurt made, veggies stocked to steam, squash roasted and ready to be pureed for pancakes and breads, and to make sure I always have a sweet something on hand to reward myself for all the hard work.
The other side effect is the healing I’m experiencing. My health was really down a couple months ago and my blood work showed a chronic viral issue, probably mono coupled with just postpartum exhaustion. I’ve felt so much relief on this diet even though I’m not resting, and my brain feels more capable of handling my little spirited kiddos. I am feeling a completeness inside me that I haven’t felt before as a mother, and that feeling is that I’m providing nourishment and giving my kids a fighting chance in this world to manage themselves, feel more grounded, and to be in mental and physical space where they can learn and grow. I know longer see myself as only the “caregiver” that only had enough energy to keep my kids alive and safe, but am discovering there is so much more to motherhood, and I am loving it!
resources for GAPS recipes:
Nourishing Eats cookbook: http://nourishedandnurtured.blogspot.com/2012/02/my-5-grain-free-e-cookbook.html
Internal Bliss cookbook: http://www.amazon.com/Internal-Bliss-Cookbook-following-Psychology/dp/0615409318
Update- please note I didn’t know Eliah had Lyme disease at the time of writing this post. I now feel that a lot of her improvement on this diet was due to detoxing and eradicating some of the Lyme bacteria in her body.