How to do the GAPS Diet and Feed Your Family
Have you been considering doing the GAPS diet but you are afraid you can’t feed your family and do the diet at the same time? You’re not alone. The concern you have is very valid. With my personal experience doing the GAPS diet for 7 months while feeding my family, I will help you navigate your way to implementing it and ensuring your family doesn’t starve.
When I was about to go to the grave with my autoimmunity, I started the GAPS diet cold turkey. The way I started it wasn’t optimal but it was my last resort to help restore my body and allow it to function again so I could get my life back. Doing the GAPS diet was a pivotal point in my health journey and was the catalyst for regaining my health.
I know personally how daunting the GAPS diet can be but I also know how beneficial and healing it can be. It is extremely worthwhile for gaining back your energy, sealing your gut lining and repairing your cells.
There are 5 Steps You Will Need to Take to do the GAPS Diet and Feed Your Family
Before I dive into the steps necessary to make possible participating in the GAPS diet, I wanted to note something very important and encouraging. According to Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride who is the author of the GAPS Diet book the GAPS diet is not meant to be a lifetime diet. At the most, following this diet will be 2-3 years. Some people are able to find healing in a shorter time though. I personally, spent 7 months doing GAPS and then moved to a modified Paleo diet to sustain my healing. The encouragement is that it GAPS will not be forever. Trust me, on the hard days during GAPS, you will need this light at the end of the tunnel to mentally help you get through.
Now that I’m sure we are on the same page let’s get into the steps you’ll need to take to achieve success starting and finishing the GAPS diet while continuing to feed your family.
Step 1 | Make a Plan
- It’s really important to start by reading the entire GAPS diet book so you know the all important, “WHY.” Knowing why the diet works and how it works is crucial to you being able to stick with it. It will also help you understand what foods you can eat and what foods you can’t eat along with when to introduce them. The book is key!
- After you’ve read the book, take all tempting foods out of your sight for a time. That means, if you have a snack cabinet, move it or only fill it with foods you can eat. That will be your go-to. Your family’s snack foods or tempting foods for you should be out of sight. Remember that you are endeavoring on this healing journey and there will be times, in the face of temptation you will have to be strong and say no. Commitment and determination are vital to your success.
- Gather recipes that will be appealing to you and fit within the stage you are starting at. There are some in the book and I have hundreds on my GAPS/AIP/Paleo Pinterest board. You will need at least two recipes per day and will be eating similar foods throughout each day. Leftovers will be key. One thing that got me through and gave me optimal nutrition were soups. They were easy to make and chock full of nutrients.
- Decide what day you will start and be sure to tell all of your supporters (we will talk about support below). Be sure to stick to that day.
- Don’t set an end date. Everyone’s timeline for healing is different. You will know by your lack of symptoms when the time is for you to stop GAPS and move on to a different type of whole food, nutrient rich lifestyle.
Step 2 | Gather Support, It’s Vitally Important
- Sit down with your kids (including ages 7 and up) and let them know what will be happening and how you will be eating differently for a time. Solicit their support and understanding.
- Talk to your kids about ways they can help. For those ages 10 and up, enlist them in helping prep food, washing dishes putting them away, etc. You will need all the help you can get.
- If your husband is supportive, enlist him to help with family meals both on your diet and not on your diet.
- Tell your closest friends, who you know will support you, what you are doing and ask them to help and encourage accountability. Ask them to be a shoulder to lean on during the hard days.
- Talk with friends about setting up a meal train for a month while you get into your groove. The people bringing meals would be bringing them for your family, not for you. You would be created your own GAPS meals but at the same time not worrying about feeding the rest of your family for the most part.
- Enlist shoppers. There may be days that you don’t feel good enough to go shopping and get groceries. It’s during these times that your enlisted shoppers will come in handy. They can be your husband, your friends or even willing extended family.
Step 3 | Unless They Need It, Don’t Try to Feed Your Family the GAPS Diet Too
- Personally, I think this is the number one mistake that those who set out to do the GAPS diet make. They take on too much at once. It’s important to realize that when you implement the GAPS diet you are literally most likely doing a one-hundred-and-eighty-degree turnaround from the way you are used to eating. When you try to include your family in the diet too, you will also be trying to navigate their needs, likes and dislikes through it all. You would also need to purchase and prep enough food for everyone which is no small feat. All of the above can be overwhelming and daunting for you – the one who is sick and trying to feel better. It is not selfish to get yourself better FIRST before you help the rest of your family.
- From personal experience, I know that it is much easier to concentrate on healing through the GAPS diet by yourself and then, as you start feeling better, bring others along who could benefit from the healing as well.
- While you’re doing the GAPS diet, try to keep the staple meals that the rest of your family is eating simple, tasty and quick. In other words, this isn’t the time to be trying new extravagant recipes on a day you feel good.
- One other word of encouragement – When you feed your family the food they are used to eating, you will be sitting down to meals with them, eating your GAPS meals while they eat your family’s staple meals. This can be hard because you may crave what they are having. As hard as it is, you’ll really need to break out the willpower muscles and not give-in. Your healing will take place a lot quicker if you don’t cheat here and there and allow yourself to deviate from your GAPS plan. I did not cheat one time in 7 months and it made healing progress faster.
Step 4 | Buy Your Food
- Since you have already found recipes and created a menu plan, you’ll want to create a grocery list from that.
- It’s vitally important that you have all the necessary food on hand when beginning, for the Intro stage. This will keep you from making poor decisions and veering off the GAPS path because you don’t have any food you can eat in the house. Going forward into different stages, the same is true. If you don’t keep food on hand that you can eat, you will most likely slip up. It’s not worth it to go backward after all the hard work you’ve put in!
- Since the foods on the first few stages of GAPS are pretty simple, you’ll find it’s not hard to keep stock of what you need.
- For sourcing bones for bone broth, you’ll need to locate a local butcher or ranch who sells organic beef bones to make your broth with. You can also use chicken bones from your organic chicken carcasses. The Instant Pot makes THE best chicken broth ever! From my own experience, I really loved having a variety of broth, not just beef all the time.
Step 5 | Prep Your Food
- It is critical that after you’ve bought your food and brought it home that you take the time to prep your food.
- Prepping your food ensures that during your busy week, when you are trying to stay on track with eating the GAPS way, that you won’t be spending excess time in the kitchen or make bad decisions because you don’t have the right food to eat.
- When I went through my GAPS journey, with the help of my supporters, and on days I was feeling good, I literally came home and chopped veggies, got bone broth going, prepared meat patties and more. If I would have waited to prep right before every single meal I needed to eat I would have failed and not stuck with GAPS for 7 months.
- In this step, your supporters are seriously important to your success. It is through them and the time you take together with them prepping food that you will ensure your victory in accomplishing the GAPS diet and most importantly, feeling better.
Are You Fully Committed to Carry Out the GAPS Diet?
If in your mind you are not fully committed to carry out the GAPS diet in your life, then I suggest you put it off until you are. It is not an easy temporary way of life and truly, mentally you have to be all in to be victorious.
If you are fully committed then:
- Jump in with all your effort.
- Have a plan and know what recipes you will be making.
- Remove temptation as much as possible
- Make a simple, duplicatable menu plan of foods that your family will be eating for at least the first month of doing GAPS. Also, if needed, create a meal train where friends can bring meals to help you out.
- Enlist support from family and friends
- Decide and stick to the fact that you are not feeding everyone in your family the GAPS Diet while you are healing.
- Buy and prep your food
- Begin with courage and determination to overcome and heal!
My name is Jennifer and I am thrilled you stopped by. Grab a cup of tea and stay awhile with me. You are valuable. You are worth it. You can heal. You are powerful. You can have the life you always dreamed of. My pain has become my purpose. It's my biggest joy to help you move from merely surviving your life and just "getting through it", to thriving and loving every part of your life!
Are you with me?