Wednesday, March 7, 2012

This diet of ours: Part 2

The GAPS diet can be broken into two parts: the Intro Diet and the Full Diet.  The Intro Diet is basically an elimination diet where you take out everything but the most digestible foods and then slowly introduce items one at a time and monitor your response.  On the Full Diet, you can eat everything except the items I mentioned in my previous post.  You stay on the Full Diet until you have no symptoms for about 6 months and then start introducing foods that are not allowed on the diet at all: grains, beans, etc.  Two years is about the average for this process.

Mr. F. and I decided that we would start with the Full Diet and then at some point conquer the Intro Diet.  The Intro Diet seemed to be too overwhelming to start with.  We wanted to ease into the process.  I think this was a really smart move on our part.  Transitioning from our regular diet to the Full Diet was a challenge in and of itself, and this is from a couple who was already canning home-made broths, storing a 1/4 of a cow in their freezer, and culturing dairy products on a regular basis (all basic activities of being on GAPS).  Cutting out sugar except for that found in honey and fruit was a huge challenge for me initially, and we did not eat a high sugar diet before.  This simple act created the first noticeable change.  No longer did we have huge energy slumps in the mid-afternoon which required a pick-me-up.  Also, everyone's mood evened out so that we were less prone to quick temper, etc.  I am really happy with the side effects of not eating a lot of sugar.

It was also difficult to adjust to eating more meat.  We previously were eating meat only a couple of times a week.  Sometimes, we would go the whole week without eating meat.  Now we were eating it every day, sometimes multiple times a day.  It takes a bit for your body to adjust to eating a grain filled diet to eating a meat filled one.  Initially, I felt hungry all the time, but over time my hunger adjusted.  Unlike Paleo or Primal diets, I don't think that a high meat/no grain diet is the way people should eat for the long term.  I don't think it is sustainable for one thing.  It will be interesting to see how we adjust to grains after the diet, and how it will effect our mood and overall health. 

Menu planning was the pits for the first month and a half.  Maybe even longer.  So many of our normal recipes were just not adaptable.  Every weekend brought me browsing the internet looking for ideas and complaining to Mr. F. all the while.  Checking out the Paleo/Primal blogs and cookbooks helped as the "allowed" foods are similar, but the quality of recipe wasn't what I was used to. Of course, it is like any dietary change.  It is more difficult at first and then you start collecting recipes and ideas for your arsenal so that it is less and less of a mental challenge to figure out what you are going to eat for the week.

Of course, just as I was finally getting into the groove of what we could eat and what we couldn't......we decided to start the Intro Diet.  And that, my friends, was a whole other ballgame. 

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