Now that we have been doing GAPS for almost 3 months I thought I should update those who are following our journey. First, it still surprises me to say out loud we have been on GAPS almost 3 months. It feels like a huge accomplishment knowing what all this healing diet entails. But on the other hand, I think we have so long to go and that’s hard to imagine. I never want to paint an unrealistic picture, but I also don’t want to focus on the negatives because ultimately I want to be an encouraging resource for anyone considering GAPS or anyone considering changing their diet for the better.
The truth is that GAPS is the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. It’s challenging physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s physically challenging because I am constantly cooking or cleaning up dishes and working as hard as I can to juggle our regular life with an immense amount of prep for our GAPS meals. Also, since I’m doing GAPS my body is changing and adapting which causes energy swings as it’s going through the process. And quite honestly, I am just going 90 miles an hour with zero down time and it’s just exhausting. I’m always thinking or preparing for the next step, which doesn’t leave much time to relax.
It’s mentally challenging because I naturally question whether this is going to work. I wonder if it’s worth it to do all this work and sacrifice all that we are giving up right now. We spend a good bit of money on buying pastured meats and eggs, organic veggies and supplements specific to this diet. On the flip side we aren’t going out to eat, so some of that is an offset. And I’m thankful we have the resources, it is a huge blessing that I am fully aware of, but we are also abstaining from some activities and buying some things we’d like so we can keep our budget in check. There is also a huge commitment to the sacrifice of partaking in social events. Mainly because I have to mentally prepare myself if I am going to do something with friends that I will have to bring my own food or just go and not eat or partake. It doesn’t sound like that big of deal until you have to sit there and watch everyone eat your favorite food while you abstain. It’s like being on a weight loss diet but you never get any treat meals because they aren’t approved. There are just some American Standard Food items that just can’t be recreated on GAPS. So that is tough, to just have so much discipline over doing things outside of your home. And that means there is no emotional eating, I have had my bouts with that in the past, but now that is another obstacle I am learning to overcome.
Lastly, it’s emotionally challenging because to be quite honest there are times I feel sorry for our family, specifically my kids. I question how did this happen and why are we going through this. But what I think about when my thoughts go down that road is that we know families who are dealing with much harder things. We know families who have recently lost a child, whose child is battling cancer and whose child has a debilitating disease or disability. That keeps me having perspective that those struggles are hard, what we are going through is merely an inconvenience to what we knew as a fairly typical normal life. Now that doesn’t mean I am minimizing the challenge, because there is no doubt this is tougher then imagined. But mainly I am noting that we have a lot to be thankful for in the fact that we have the option to fight. And that is why I chose to do this because I couldn’t imagine Parker (at 5 years old) living the rest of his life always having to bring a replacement food everywhere because he was allergic to so much. He wouldn’t have the opportunity to be a typical kid or be spontaneous because we’d always have to prepare what he’d be eating. He wouldn’t know life without pain from the inflammation of his flare ups, the cracked and bleeding toes, the tummy aches he often complained about. I don’t want that life for him, in fact, I am worried that if we don’t do something now, he will be really sick the older he gets. As in whatever is causing this inflammation will keep getting worse to the point of manifesting into a severe autoimmune disease. It’s hard to watch your child be in pain, but yet that pain is what gives Parker the desire, willingness and discipline to do the GAPS diet. We have talked about this many times, how food affects his body and that we are doing things to heal his skin. He just has this amazing trust in me and believes in everything we are doing. I try not to put too much information on him for it really isn’t for him to understand at this age, but I do want him to be aware that self-care is important. That what we eat affects our health and we have the opportunity to make choices regarding that. I think he gets it to a degree because naturally he will ask when he can have this or that again. In a sad little voice he’ll say will I ever be able to eat that again Mommy? And that is what breaks my heart, when he sees his friends doing things he can’t. But again, we talk about it and have perspective on our situation. I know he is eating to fuel and heal his body, not eating for the fun of the experience. I do work so incredibly hard to give him similar experiences though. And that’s what I’m passionate about sharing, is the how you can do this.
I want to share that this is doable and change is real. It starts small and slow, but it will happen with persistent dedication. It’s hard so hard not to give in when the fight starts, but each bite is a small victory. I think its a process of progression of small victories that ultimately makes change real. The changing of your palate to really taste, appreciate, desire and craving real whole unprocessed foods.
I don’t know the outcome of our journey at this time. I often question the what if it doesn’t work for us. What if we get through the year and the success we are hoping for doesn’t happen. Will this all be in vain? And the answer is no, no it won’t. It won’t be in vain because first, I have seen a strength in my children that in undeniable. It won’t be in vain because my kids have developed an incredible palate for real food that I don’t ever want to let go of. It won’t be in vain because I’ve had to trust God through this process which has drawn me closer. Through my prayers and the days I feel like giving up, I keep hearing over and over to trust. Trust the road ahead. I’d never know that if we hadn’t started this journey. I have no one else to give credit to but my God for getting us this far. Throwing everything I’ve ever measured myself against out the door, throwing all my expectations for a Pinterest looking life, throwing all my expectations for having a Brady bunch family….. Trusting in the plan God has for our family is what keeps us going. So at the end of the day I have no idea where the road leads but I do know that “Now all the glory to God, who is able, through his might power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think” – Ephesians 3:20.
Here are some pictures of our meals we have been enjoying while on GAPS.