Starting your family on GAPS
Something I get asked a lot is…..
How can I prepare or get started on GAPS?
So here are my tips.
Tip #1 Learn as much as you can about the diet.
Knowledge is power. Understand why you are doing the diet, how it works and listening to the experience of others keeps to keep you on track, for a little later in the journey that will have challenging times. Other than reading the GAPS book over and over, my favourite tool is YouTube. Whole foods and Melissa Washburn have put together 2 great courses that talk in-depth about Life on GAPS. They are very interesting and can help you learn heaps about GAPS.
GAPS Diet Course 1#
Tip #2 – Join a Group.
There are several groups out there, Yahoo groups, Forums, Facebook Groups. Here is a list of Facebook Groups that you might like to join if you’re on Facebook. It’s great to have other people to bounce off of, and ask questions, chat about the challenges, etc.
Tip #3 – Have plenty of food on hand.
Let me give you a tip! When you have children on GAPS they are hungry ALL the time. You literally go from one meal to the next. For many children that is a good sign because they have been under nourished because of their bodies inability to absorb food properly, or the gut bacteria is out of whack. Whatever it may be, prepare to have meals and snacks ready to eat all the time. For us, our children don’t have some of the big issues that need dealing with (severe allergies, etc), but they do need to deal with some of the smaller issues, so it isn’t as important for them to intro completely to the T- my husband and myself do of course, but for them I have chosen to do intro including fruit from the start. Now you may or may not have children that have big issues to deal with, so that is a choice that you might personally want to make on your own, However if you need to strictly do intro with your children, be prepared with snacks! In the first few stages there aren’t a many things you can eat as a snack, but having things like cooked meats and veggies, soup that just need reheating will be very helpful.
As you move through the stages there are other things you can make in advance ready for snacking.
- If you are able to do eggs, you can boil a heap up and have them in the fridge, or you can even ferment them in Beet Kvass, making “Pink Eggs”
- My children enjoy ferments as a snack, fermented carrot sticks is one of there favourites, and
- Raw Butter Fudge.
- Fruit and Cheese plater
- Coconut Cinnamon Custard (thermomix)
- Almond, Banana, Date Cake – GAPS, Grain Free
- Peanut Butter Waffles – GAPS legal, grain free
- Kefir smoothies (milk or coconut)
- Homemade Yoghurt.
Just to name a few.
Tip #4 – Kitchen Time
On GAPS there is a LOT of cooking. So here are my tips on reducing your time in the kitchen and increasing your productivity.
Batch cook – Instead of making enough soup for one meal, make it for four and then free in batches, ready for when you want to have that soup next.
Slow cookers or Large stock pots are your friend. – I practise continual broth making, which is where you fill up your stock pot or slow cooker with your bones for making bone broth, and as you take broth from it, you add more water and bones. I have two slow cookers going most days- one with chicken stock and one with meat stock (beef and lamb).
Get all your food prep done in the morning. – I normally like to get all my kitchen work out of the way while I’m making breakfast. So lets say we are having meatballs or eggs for breakfast, poached chicken with salad for lunch, and soup for dinner- While the breakfast is cooking, I’ll also put the chicken on, chop the salad (leaving the dressing off), and prepare what is needed for the soup, whether that be making from scratch or pulling it out of the freezer, washing up as I go, then when it’s time for those meals it’s only a matter of finished things off.
Start a group – Get together with like minded friends if you can and have a fermenting day, or a food swap day. It means you have a great day getting together with other women and you all come away with things that you can eat and enjoy. When I have a fermenting day, I like to make at least 4 ferments.
Meal Plan – Spending some time planning you meals at the beginning of the week or fortnight, will really help you limit your time in the kitchen and the amount of time you spend thinking about food.
Here are my Meal plans for GAPS Intro – please feel free to use them, and change them to suit your family and their tastes.
Here are two really useful tools from Cara at HealthHomeHappy.com
The 30 Day Guide to GAPS Intro, with recipes and meal plans for the getting through intro in 30 days.
And her GAPS Start Pack full of useful information and recipes.
Tip #5 – Don’t forget your Ferments
While at times the food on GAPS can get a little boring, as my family would tell you. One great way to spice it up is to use your ferments. The goal is to build up to at least one ferment per meal, there are so many out there.
Here are just a few of the ones that we love
This is only a small portion of the ferments you can have. The list of ferments are endless, and there are some great recipes out there that you can try. Here is one of my favourite books that I like for ideas of ferments.
Tip #6 – Buy in Bulk
Most things are cheaper if you buy them in bulk and if you can buy them from a local farmer in season. We buy our meat, which is grass-fed beef direct from the farmer that delivers to up free of charge, and the meat is often cheaper or of the same price as that of the supermarket, and the quality is so much better!
Nuts I will usually buy in bulk from the Health food store, its heaps cheaper if you buy a 2okg box of Almonds than if you buy smaller packets. The same with Honey, dates, fruit, vanilla beans, etc. This is where we save money. GAPS can be an expensive diet if you let it, as You don’t have nearly as many cheap fillers, but all the food you are eating is nutritionally dense.
Tip #7 – Not every meal has to be meat based.
For many when they first look at GAPS all they see is the meat, Oh you are eating so much meat. But that isn’t the truth, for some people it is, especially if they are really limited and have to hang out in stage 1 & 2 for ages. Instead of things meat base, think broth based. Not every meal has to include meat, broth has protein as well and you can use broth to make soup, gravy, add it to a quiche, use it in a salad dressing, add it to a smoothie (you only want to use plan chicken broth for that), etc. Chicken broth itself doesn’t have a strong flavour, so it can be disguised within a smoothie.
Tip #8 – Not get stuck.
Some people when they do the diet, or read about the diet get stuck in thinking that you have to do food in order. Yes there is some sort of order to the food that you include, but you don’t need to get stuck in it. For example, just because you react to avocado (what ever the food is) doesn’t mean you have to stay eating only the foods you have gotten back in until you can get Avo in. If you can’t get a food in, you’ve added it reacted, taken it out , recovered, and tried again and still couldn’t, leave that food, recovery and try a different food, then in time come back to that food.
Tip #9 – Intro is too Much
For some people intro is too much for them to start out with- there is so much going on in there lives, and they are struggling to get do it. Relax, take a breath and do reverse GAPS. You still get healing of full GAPS, So depending on what is going on in your life work out where you can start from. For some that will mean starting in advanced GAPS, and slowly take out non full GAPS foods, or for others it might be starting with including Meat Stock and Bone Broth in their diets. Eat step you take will bring you that much closer to healing. For some Families I recommend starting in Full GAPS and doing that for a while, to get used to it. Then when the time is right, do into. Don’t get lost in the idea that it has to be this way or no way. Remember when Dt Natasha wrote the book, she did so with a wide variety of people in mind, and the idea that they would work with a practitioner that would tell them these things and help them find a way for their family.
Tip #10 – Do things away from food.
Do things with your family that aren’t food related. Create memories with your children going for a walk, bike ride, play at the park. While being stuck in the kitchen at times makes not thinking about food challenging some times, make sure that you do.
If you haven’t got your copy of the book, why not get one today?
If you have found this helpful leave me a comment. Would you like more personalised help, a free 30 minute health assessment, contact me for a private or group coaching support.