As I began seeing significant physical improvement as a direct result of the GAPS diet, I began wondering what was next? The GAPS diet is not intended to be a lifelong way of eating but only for a period of time necessary to heal the gut. If a change in diet had such a dramatic impact on my health, should I return to my former way of eating? What about the rest of the my family?
We were not junk food junkies by any means, but … as I began to ponder just exactly what we had been eating, I realized that although I made most of our meals from scratch, I also had many sources of hidden sugar, improperly prepared grains, bad fats and processed foods with unnecessary ingredients.
Enter the “Traditional” diet. Traditional in this sense does not refer to the way “we” have traditionally eaten and prepared foods, but rather, it goes back farther. It refers to the way our great-grandmothers ate and prepared foods – before the convenience of refrigeration, freezing, processed foods and mass produced foods with an unlimited shelf-life. Often they grew their own food or bought fresh produce locally from neighbors. They had root cellars, preserved food with lacto-fermentation and knew how to bake with sourdough. Many times they had their own chickens, pasture raised beef and a family milk cow. They drank raw milk and used real homemade butter. No low-fat/no-fat diets for them!
A traditional diet makes perfect sense. We definitely live in a fallen world tainted by sin and the affects are evidenced in our bodies. But, we are responsible for the maintenance of our bodies and that is best done by making sure our bodies are fed what they need – nutrient dense foods.
So, how do we transition to a traditional diet? Here are 4 ways to do just that:
1. Research – Read and educate yourself about:
- Healthy fats – read, “Oiling of America” and “The Skinny on Fats”.
- Phytic acid – Present in the bran of all whole grains, phytic acid inhibits absorption of calcium and other minerals. This does not mean that whole grains are bad, but grain preparation must be done properly. Soaking, sprouting and using sourdough activates enzymes which break down the phytic acid.
- The benefits of buying locally – local produce, raw milk, raw milk products, and pasture fed meats may be found at the Weston A. Price Foundation.
- The importance of probiotic foods and the role bacteria (beneficial and harmful) play in your gut and overall health – read Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.
- Nutritional benefits of raw dairy products.
2. Planning – As with any new adventure, preparing traditional wholesome foods requires planning.
- Recipes – Cookbooks, such as, Nourishing Traditions, Internal Bliss, Wild Fermentation will give a great start.
- Adapting Recipes – many recipes can easily be made more wholesome by substituting “real” ingredients for their “fake” counterparts. An example would be substituting butter for margarine or olive oil for vegetable oil.
3. Commit – Anything worthwhile takes time, effort and commitment.
- Time – Be realistic about the time required. Planning helps tremendously with knowing what needs to be done and when. Whether or not you see a traditional diet as requiring a lot of time is dependant upon your previous habits. If you use processed and prepackaged foods, your time investment will be greater. If you cook and make your own meals from scratch, your time required will be similar.
- Effort – While all food preparation requires effort, I find that traditional cooking methods may add a step or two, but are not difficult. Normally, you decide on a dish and assemble it according to the recipe. Now, with planning, you may prepare parts of a recipe the night before – soaking the flour the night before in the Whole Wheat Pancake/Waffle Recipe is a good example.
- Commitment – While time and effort are demonstrations of commitment, it can also be seen in your finances. There are many ways to eat traditionally prepared foods on a budget. Especially if you have your own garden, have your own chickens and even a family milk cow. For others, however, these options are not viable. So, extra funds must be budgeted to obtain quality produce, raw dairy products, pastured meat and farm fresh eggs.
4. Take Action! – Now that you have done your homework and are prepared – get started. Whether you jump in with both feet or take small steps, get started to a healthier life.
We all want what is best for our families. Our ancestors lived much simpler lives than we do today without many of our modern conveniences. Unfortunately, much of their wisdom in food preparation, farming practices and natural remedies has fallen by the wayside and been forgotten. Looking at the statistics, we are not a healthy nation. The incidence of obesity, cancer, degenerative diseases, autoimmune disorders and many other health problems are at an all time high. I think, for us, it is time to learn more about the way things used to be done. To be politically incorrect and to put it bluntly, go for the butter, raw milk, cheese, bacon and …
This post is part of: Fat Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Healthy 2Day Wednesdays, Real Food Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Fill Those Jars Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Whole Food Fridays, Weekend Gourmet