Transitioning to a Traditional Diet – 4 Steps

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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 from my affiliate partners, 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 …


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This post is part of: Fat TuesdaySlightly Indulgent TuesdayAllergy Free WednesdayHealthy 2Day WednesdaysReal Food WednesdaySimple Lives ThursdayFill Those Jars FridayFresh Bites FridayWhole Food Fridays, Weekend Gourmet






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  1. says

    I have just found your blog and am busy searching and reading. I agree about the research and was wondering about what you thought about the lectin in grains. How this causes not only gut and health problems, but also can cause many autoimmune diseases, infertility etc. I’ve seen so many people talk about the GAPS diet and how it healed them and then they go back to the same foods that caused the problem after they are healed. With of course less sugar, processed foods etc. But was just curious about what you thought. I’ll continue to enjoy and read your blog.

    • says

      Leslie, you are right about the lectin (sugar binding proteins) in grain, beans, nightshades and virtually everywhere. But traditional methods of preparation like soaking, sprouting and fermentation are effective in eliminating the lectin, as well as, the phytic acid. The two are both capable of producing autoimmune problems and specifically rheumatoid arthritis and are antinutrients. I hope to eventually be able to transition to a traditional diet once my gut is healed meaning that I soak, sprout or ferments many foods including grains and beans. At this point I can tell a huge difference in my rhuematoid arthrits especially in my hands when I have anything with sugar in it. Being a disaccharide, sugar requires the enterocytes for the final breakdown otherwise it passes into the blood stream unchanged and can cause problems. Honey on the other hand is a monosaccharide meaning it requires almost no digestion and can easily absorbed. Hope this helps!

  2. says

    Thanks for your reply. I never knew about the nightshades very interesting. Where did you reference your info I would love to read more on it and if there is a resolution for those? I have yet to find any fermented food besides keifer and yogurt that I like. I just did lacto fermented pickles and didn’t like them. I will have to try your mayo.

  3. says

    Just stumbled upon your blog today through the real food blogger site, Harkke Is Online. Your posts kept my interest since I am originally from TX. In addition, I have a family member with Crohn’s disease, soon to go on the GAPS diet. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    • says

      Jane, I appreciate your encouragment. I hope your family will read the GAPS book – it explains why the diet works and that helps you understand why you are doing what you are on the diet – it helps you stick to it!
      Where in TX are you from?


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