Early on with my blogs I was talking about the GAPS Diet, how we were doing it as a family and the ups and downs that went with that. It’s been over a year and we’re still doing it, although now it’s a much more relaxed version of the diet, we’ve reintroduced some foods and we’re making it more of a lifestyle choice in how we eat day to day.
Now generally as GAPS Practitioners we recommend NOT cheating on the diet and sticking with the Full GAPS Diet for at least 18 months to 2 years. When you have young children that you’ve kept on a strict diet regime for quite a period of time, however, you need to make a choice about how you’re going to tackle the end game.
It’s that double edged sword I find where I’m concerned that by being so strict about what they eat that they grow up with hang ups around food. You know what I mean, the kid that never got to eat any junk food then they’re the one at the party inhaling every brightly coloured food in sight because they know they may never get that opportunity again.
Girls, in particular are ones it’s important to be careful around when it comes to food restrictions as there’s enough pressure on them in regards to how they look and what they eat without us parents contributing to their food issues so you do need to find your happy medium.
So what do you do….
I often get asked how I handle these situations, the parties, the sleepovers, the canteen at school, the birthday party at McDonalds.. so here’s where I sit with it all now.
Over the past 12 months we have been doing the GAPS Diet. We started in July 2015 and we were STRICT!!! There was NO cheating or deviating from the plan during this stage. We started with the Introduction Diet which was tough because you are stripping back the diet and breaking habits and for some kids with high carbohydrate and sugar “addictions” plus general food aversions this can be tough going.
Once we moved to Full GAPS we were still strict and there was no cheating; we stayed this way until Christmas then there were a few slip ups during this time especially Christmas Day.. I mean really.. my mum makes a mean Chocolate Profiterole so it was tough to say no… we had the cheat day, wore the consequences like we deserved to and went back to the Full GAPS Diet…
As we’ve moved through 2016 I’ve noticed we have had so many positive gains from doing the GAPS Diet that I have absolutely no doubt this has been the difference between good days and great days.
Zac’s therapy sessions are productive, focussed and we get so much out of each session, much more than we did pre GAPS Diet. Our health is much better and Zac is really in tune with his body, so much so that he is recognising and accepting there are foods that just don’t work for him and this is what I really wanted to achieve more than anything. I wanted him to start really knowing his body and understanding what was good for him and what wasn’t so I’m very proud of that break through.
Day to day looks like this…
We’ve reintroduced brown rice to the diet as well as buckwheat, potatoes and recently sweet potatoes. All have caused no reactions, changes in behaviour or digestion issues so I’m happy that this has all gone well.
Processed foods are now and forever off the menu but if we are at a party the kids are able to eat what they want (often we give Zac a gluten enzyme to help digestion if required) but because his body is working so efficiently we find as long as these are an occasional one off we don’t tend to have any long term issues.
At home we eat a relaxed version of the Full GAPS Diet with no processed foods and all baked goods are home made to Full GAPS standards.
There’s one lunch order allowed each term from the canteen and one random visit to the canteen allowed once per term. If we’re out for dinner they are able to order what they want as it’s a rare occasion this happens and the next day we go straight back to our normal way of eating.
I monitor what they’re eating each day so we don’t fall into the trap of finding out we’ve cheated three times in a week because that just won’t work.
Overall we live a lifestyle around the Full GAPS Diet that works for us. What I tell my patients is there’s a time you absolutely CAN NOT CHEAT and you need to accept this is part of the healing process but once things are improving it’s about the end game as we need to make sure this becomes something you can maintain for the rest of your lives.
Restrictive diets and lifestyle choices are difficult to maintain and many people ultimately fail and return to their old habits so to make sure you don’t fall into that trap find the balance that works for you and go for it.
Until next time, stay calm and stay healthy.
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