Last night, my husband asked me what I wished I could change about the GAPS diet. If I could add in any restricted food, what would it be? Surprisingly, for myself I would add back in eggs. Although encouraged on the GAPS diet, I cannot consume them (right now) due to their implication in my near-anaphlaxis episode. It would make life so much easier to eat them for breakfast, add them to smoothies and ice cream, and use them to make baked goods. However, for now, that’s how it needs to be. BUT, the fact that I wish I could have eggs is a really big deal for a former Little Debbie Swiss Cake addict. Even while on all of the other weight-loss diets I’ve been on—eating wholesome foods and avoiding junk—I still constantly craved processed foods. I could never understand why. Now I know those cravings were because I still had bad bacteria living in my gut, and those bad bacteria were, in a way, speaking to my body and affecting my desire for unhealthy food.
Another big challenge which eating well is the expense. Our budget is stretched to the max. Perhaps if I were in tip-top condition, I could consider working from home to help finance our grocery bill, but that’s not possible with my ongoing health issues. My husband works really, really hard to provide for us, and I’m thankful for that. It’s just that our family has multiplied faster than his paycheck over the years, and then, add in inflation, and now, this diet consisting of top-of-the-line wholesome, local, and organic foods. We’ve found it necessary to move some of our health-care budget over into the food budget! So, if any of you are so inclined to purchase books or wares from the links on this website, we’d appreciate it! The proceeds will add a little cushion to our grocery budget!
Perhaps the most temporary challenge, but a burden nonetheless, is the social isolation of eating a GAPS diet. We have to say “no” to pretty much any food or drink offered us in public (including water from public fountains: the chlorine in public water could kill the good bacteria we’ve worked so hard to establish in our guts). Even dear people, whose love-language is cooking, just aren’t sure what to do with us! We can’t fully join in a pot-luck, eat out, or eat at another family’s home without explanation ad nauseam. We used to invite other families over to dinner a few times a month and have very much enjoyed this kind of fellowship. We could do it again in the future, but I haven’t at all in the last 3 months because of the expense of feeding our family alone, which is already over budget. I don’t want to be a miser about sharing food with others, but at this point, it seems to be poor stewardship to feed another family. I pray that God will make a way to change this for us. This past Thanksgiving, we stayed home with just our family so we had food that we could eat. We anticipate this will be the same for Christmas and Easter, though perhaps by then, we can invite other families to join us. On the up-side, though, this isolation principle has eliminated some stress in our lives, and so I hope my adrenals are relaxing and soaking up the rest and quiet.
Why should these challenges matter to you?
Even if you don’t think you have any gut issues, you might be surprised to know that Dr. Natasha has cataloged research linking the syndrome to more than just digestive symptoms. Some possible problems associated with pathogenic gut flora may include dyspraxia, dyslexia, autism, ADD/ADHD, depression/anxiety, eating disorders, autoimmune disorders, epilepsy, skin problems, failure to thrive, and more obviously, any gastrointestinal problems. (Boy, I wish I would have known this when I got diagnosed with IBS and sent home with a stool-softener half a decade ago...!)
It seems that leaky-gut syndrome and the gut-brain connection are being recognized more and more in the mainstream medical community, not just in the world of alternative medicine. I predict that in the next decade, many many more people will be turning to the GAPS diet and natural and organic foods as treatment to many diseases that currently have no cure. I’m excited to see what’s in store!