Getting off the GAPS diet is a natural transition to healthy eating. After reversing leaky gut with the GAP diet steps must be taken to learn how to eat healthy and maintain healthy gut bacteria.
Getting off the GAPS diet after reversing my leaky gut and the chronic illnesses it caused (rheumatoid arthritis, meat allergies) was a bit scary.
As I began seeing significant physical improvement as a direct result of the GAPS diet, I began wondering what was next?
After all, it 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 healthy eating with 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.
- grew their own food or bought fresh produce locally from neighbors.
- had root cellars
- preserved food with lacto-fermentation
- knew how to bake with sourdough. (Sourdough Bread, Sourdough Bread Bowls, Sourdough Pancakes, Sourdough English Muffins
- had their own chickens (for meat and eggs)
- raised pastured or grass fed beef
- had a family milk cow
- drank raw milk
- used real homemade butter
No low-fat/no-fat diets for them!
A traditional diet makes perfect sense and is healthy eating at its best.
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.
Getting Off the GAPS Diet
Since I was on the GAPS diet for almost 2 years, I wanted to make sure that came off of it in a way that did not jeopordize the time of healing I had been through. Here are the steps that I took in getting off the GAPS diet.
Introducing New Foods
When getting off the GAPS diet, foods should be introduced slowly and any reaction noted. However, be sure to continue with probiotic foods and good fats. To introduce new foods:
- Introduce only one food at a time and a small portion only.
- If no reaction is noted, wait a 2 -3 days and give another portion.
- If no symptoms, then the portion may be increased in size.
- Continue this process with all new food.
Order of Introduction
Just like during the GAPS Intro diet, foods are introduced according to how eaily they are digested when getting off the GAPS diet.
- If you have only been having fermented dairy products, begin adding cream. It is lower in lactose than milk because of its high fat content.
- Raw milk if you have not been having it.
- Potatoes – While starchy, they are easier to digest than grains.
- Non gluten grains
- Sourdough Bread – See above for recipe links
- Whole Grains – Be sure to soak it overnight to help break down the phytic acid and make it more easily digestible. See Grain Preparation.
What If Symptoms Are Noticed?
If Symptoms are noticed after any food, stop eating it and continue as you were eating before it was introduced. Allow at least a week before trying a small amount again. However, you may continue on to another food.
Make Changes That Last
Sir Francis Bacon said, “knowledge is power.” Knowing why things work and are important help you stick with it. So, for anyone wanting to make changes that last I recommend the following:
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 – locally produced, raw milk, raw milk products, and pasture fed meats will not only porvide you quality nutrient dense foods but will also supoort local farmers. If local is not possible, my favorite option is Butcher Box.
- 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. You can read my Gut and Psychology Syndrome Book Review.
- Nutritional benefits of raw dairy products.
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. See Make Recipes Healthier in 5 Easy Steps for more information.
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 and healthy eating 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, grass fed 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 toward healthy living through healthy eating.
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 solutions 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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