My New “Diet”

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have gone off the GAPS diet. I had more or less intended it to be sort of a trial, to see if it was really going to be better for me to eat starches, but now that I’ve gotten off of GAPS, I don’t even have the heart to try going back on. It’s way too liberating.

Let me rewind just a sec. I feel like I have to make this disclaimer because every time I tell someone I’ve gone of my “special diet,” I am told they think it’s healthier to eat in a more balanced way, anyway. Well, I totally agree you need to eat a balanced diet, but balanced isn’t necessarily going to mean the same thing for one person as it does for another. And while I generally agree it’s not a good idea to restrict entire food groups from your diet, in some cases it actually can be therapeutic, if done in such a way that the diet is still balanced. For about ten months, I feel like I had more or less done that on GAPS. At least, I was doing better on GAPS than I had pre-GAPS. The problem came, I think, when I got sick with a stomach bug, and things seemed to roll downhill as I lost my energy from being sick and then never got back on the ball with preparing balanced meals. At that point, I needed something easier than GAPS. But instead of doing something easier, I stuck with it for two more months. By the end of those two months, I was pretty hungry. I was no longer interested in GAPS food, I didn’t feel like spending so much time preparing food, and so I had trouble eating enough food. But boy, did bread sound good. My body was telling me it was time to move on.

So that’s why, instead of gradually adding new foods into my diet like you are supposed to when weaning off GAPS, I completely jumped off the GAPS wagon. I immediately felt drawn to Matt Stone’s Eat for Heat concept, as other ex-GAPSters before me have done. It can be like a diet recovery for people who have gone too extreme on special diets, or for someone like me, who was unhealthy to begin with, got notably better on GAPS, but then started slipping backwards toward the end of it because I lost my motivation to prepare food.

If there is anything I’ve learned in the past three years since I’ve started this blog, it’s that I need LOTS of nutrients, and the only way to do that is to eat PLENTY OF FOOD and a variety of types of food. So it came as no surprise to me that my lack of motivation to prepare meals came at an expense to my health. Luckily, I knew just what to do–find an easier way to eat more food. The easy way to do that was to cut out all the restrictions.

So I immediately started eating starches and even some sugar. But, since I was still not back into a great cooking routine, I was now neglecting to eat enough vegetables, and my body started feeling acidic. One of my readers on Facebook concurred with what I suspected I needed–more alkalizing foods. And soon after that, a friend of mine at church got all super excited when I mentioned food combining to her and recommended The Body Ecology Diet (which, strangely, I had been thinking of reading anyway) and lent me her copy. This book talks about food combining (for better digestion) as well as acid and alkaline foods. Long story short, I now have some simple tools to help me eat better.

#1 I’m not going to stress over what I eat. Stress is so bad for our bodies and can even cause indigestion and food sensitivities.

#2 I’m going to be mindful of eating enough warming foods when I feel I need them (I will probably talk more about this later). If I keep my body warm with warming foods, my metabolism should be better, and metabolism is really important to good health, having energy, and can even help with digestion.

#3 I’m going to be mindful of getting enough alkaline foods in my diet. As soon as I started doing this, the feelings of acidity went away.

#4 When I’m ready for it, I will work on the food combining concept. This should allow me better digestion. I still don’t digest beans and grains super well, but this may help.

I am in this weird state of mind right now where I feel like I can suddenly eat anything I want, especially because of #1 and #2. But I’ve gotten a little crazy and gone and eaten some processed foods lately. I don’t mean obviously processed foods, but foods that look like real foods but have disgusting vegetable oils in them (which make me feel sick) and some artificial ingredients and preservatives. Like the brownie I ate at choir practice yesterday, and the frozen yogurt I had last week at a frozen yogurt shop. I actually sort of forgot how bad everything out there is while I’ve been in my GAPS bubble and making literally everything I eat from scratch. It seems I will still have to make most of my food myself, unless I am diligent about reading labels and making sure the convenience foods I buy have nothing gross in them. In other words, I really do need to still be on a traditional foods diet.

So I feel like I’ve stepped backwards in time to before I had gone on the GAPS diet but had not yet fully transitioned to a traditional diet. I have to work on my sourdough skills and get in the habit of soaking beans, for example. I need to figure out how to make this all as easy as possible without breaking the bank. Which means my diet isn’t going to be perfect for a while, because above everything else, I really just need to make sure I eat ENOUGH.

My favorite thing about my new diet is that it’s a lot less “diet,” if you know what I mean. There’s nothing really strict about it–just being mindful, you know? I like eating more like a regular person–kind of like I’m actually healthy, haha.

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10 Comments Add yours

  1. Carrie W says:

    I struggle with legumes but not grains. I have discovered that I can digest black and pinto beans and black eyed peas with no issues but white/navy, garbanzo and lentils leave me with serious gastric distress. I am not sure why, especially with lentils since they are supposed to be so digestible. Obviously I soak and cook my beans to make them more digestible. Even sprouting doesn’t help with digestibility. I thought I would throw it out there to see if you have any similar issues.

    1. Lisa C says:

      I think I’m okay with lentils as long as I sprout them, but I’ve only done that a couple times and can’t remember how well I did with them. I know it’s bad if I don’t sprout them and really bad if I don’t soak them. I think I’m okay with sprouted navy beans, too, but only did that once, so we’ll see. I posted an article from another blog on my Facebook page about making beans more digestible, including using the herbs/spices ajwain and epazote. I’m going to try those.

      I seem to digest grains better than beans also. I do get a slight bloating with them but nothing uncomfortable. I hope the food combing thing will help with that, and I really ought to be eating more ferments which would probably also help.

  2. Brenda says:

    I’ve been trying to avoid processed oil, soybean in particular, like the plague because of my PCOS. However, because of my master’s program I’ve eaten some products with soybean oil lately. I really notice now how acidic it makes my stomach and how bad I feel afterwards. Which is good, but also bad, because I still haven’t found a homemade balsamic vinaigrette I like yet.

    1. Lisa C says:

      Is soy really bad for PCOS?

      A while back I bought Bionature olive oil and balsamic vinegar and they made really good balsamic vinaigrette. Great sustainable brand, too. The downside is the cost 😦

  3. Five Seed says:

    I’ve been trying really hard to get more alkalizing foods in my diet, too, lately. But I still struggle with my sweet tooth and more than anything – SALT! I eat so much salt, Lisa. Honestly, I wonder what it would be like if I just cut it by half. But darnit, I love it soooo much!

    1. Lisa C says:

      Don’t cut out salt!!! It’s actually really good for you (at least unrefined salt is). It’s good for metabolism and even associated with longevity.

      As for sweets…what about making some with almond flour, since almonds are alkalizing? Also, I am stoked that quinoa is alkalizing, that seriously helps me so much. Oh, and ferments like kefir and kombucha. Because if I just had to rely on fruits and vegetables, seriously, I would die of inflammation.

  4. This is a super post. I’ve linked this on my post on how I have fared on the GAPS Diet. Thanks for sharing Lisa. – Victoria

  5. Thanks for what you write in this post about you experience with GAPS, eating and more.

    I know that if my GI tract is not healed, and one has to believe it can be, health will not be attained. That means there will always be price to pay for what I eat, and that eating will not be a relaxed experience. Also, as years have gone by it gets harder and dietary choices get more and more restricted. Taking medications or eating a “special” diet may be the only way to deal with feeling “okay”. Feeling vibrant is not on the table.

    I currently am on the Unique Healing Program – Donna Pessin. It is not for everyone. I do believe after decades of experimenting that The UHP does have the capability of healing my digestion and entire body. It is a strong statement, but one I do stand behind. I have been on The Unique Healing Program for 15 months.

    I found your blog by researching GAPS. I did do the Body Ecology Diet for 3 years prior to The UHP. I do respect Donna Gates. I have watched Dr. Natasha’s videos on GAPS and really like her presentation. There are elements missing in both these programs that do not lead to complete healing for many.

    Mary

    1. Lisa C says:

      Hi Mary, thanks for sharing about the Unique Healing Program! I will have to look into it.

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