Saturday, August 22, 2009

GAPS in knowledge

Farmers' MarketImage by NatalieMaynor via Flickr

My children and I are starting the GAPS Diet soon. We are already starting to get everything together that we will need. I am anxiously awaiting the book that I ordered and I will order the supplements (probiotics, cod liver oil, butter oil) tomorrow. If you haven't heard of the GAPS diet then you most likely don't have serious digestive problems. We do.

I've read many articles and books and expert opinions about nutrition and digestive health. So many people are so sure that they know what constitutes the best diet for everyone. I have learned a lot in the last two years but I still have so many questions. I have decided to do this: Use the ideas that seem the most logical to me and trust what our bodies tell us as we proceed. We have already eliminated all foods that we seem to have trouble tolerating. I feel that we are no longer harming our bodies (by eating foods we can't tolerate), but we aren't actively healing either. The GAPS diet is designed to help us heal us do that.

I have assimilated a lot of information in a short period and have formed the following opinions:
  • Americans are killing ourselves with food additives and we don't even understand the depth of the problem yet.
  • Traditional foods and healthy fats are very important for longterm health.
  • I'm not even sure we should be eating wheat at all, much less in the worthless refined and enriched form that we gulp down in America.
  • GMO corn, soy, and canola are dangerous and should have been studied over generations before being allowed into our food supply.
  • We shouldn't be eating vegetables that insects are too smart to eat. (example: GMOs that produce their own insecticide.)
  • Meat is only bad for the environment when it is raised on feed lots in huge numbers. There are smaller farms all over this country that manage to raise pastured beef without harm to the environment.
  • If you cook everything from scratch there is no need to restrict calories from sugar. Dessert is so labor intensive that there is no way you are going to "have something sweet" at every meal.
  • Purified Water Enhanced with Minerals for Taste is the next big scheme by those gems that run the food industry. The "minerals" in this case just happen to be a desiccant, baking soda and a laxative. Can you conceive of a reason to add those three things to bottled water if you sell bottled water?
  • The same family and friends that rant about how the government is screwing the "little guy" in this country won't even entertain the idea that food companies are putting harmful additives in our food for profit while the FDA sits by and does nothing.
  • The new food safety "crackdown" is only going to make it harder for small farms to compete with the huge agribusinesses. When have you ever heard of pastured beef, eggs, or organic vegetables causing food-borne illness? Is it a coincidence that Tom Vilsack is the Secretary of Agriculture?
Remember, I said these are my opinions, not documented facts. Most of these ideas will never be proven simply because it would profit no big company to have them proven. I have been accused of being extreme in my views on diet and nutrition but I just use logic to try to regain health. By cutting out all prepared foods, I am hoping to "first do no harm". By taking in nutrients in the form of bone broth and cod liver oil I aim to increase the amount of nutrition I am able to absorb from my food. And finally, by ingesting high quality probiotics I hope to heal my gut flora so that I can properly digest food. It makes perfect sense to me.
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  1. >> Traditional foods and healthy fats are very important for longterm health. <<

    Both of which, it's become my impression, my mother is afraid of. She trusts processed foods more because (so far, for the most part) you don't get e coli from, say, a fiber bar. (Ick.) And since organic fruits and veggies are more likely to have grown in manure, then non-organic are naturally (or is that "naturally") safer. Let's not even bring up homemade mayo with raw eggs in it, as opposed to the heart-deadly linoleic-acid-laden crap at the store. Better to feel like crap and ruin your health ~slowly~ than risk a food-borne illness. (I have no idea what her thoughts are on fat, but I think it's a fair guess that she'd pick canola oil over lard or coconut oil, and SmartBalance over butter.) Parents. You can't tell them anything. ;)

    I like your blog. :)

  2. My mom is starting to come around since I wrote this post (she's the only one), thank goodness. She has dealt with health issues for a long time that are starting to get better by avoiding corn. Apparently my mom will listen to me, but there is lag time of about 6 months. :)

  3. My family have been on GAPS for nearly 6 weeks. We have seen significant improvement in my ASD son, in my CFS (ME) and I've lost nearly 2 stone, taking me from overweight into the normal range for my BMI.

    It was really tough for about two weeks, since then it's been easy. The only difficulty is you have to be really organised because you can't really eat out anywhere.

  4. Katie-jo, It's wonderful to hear a positive story about GAPS. I hope you and your family continue to heal on the diet. In America, we can't really eat out anywhere with a corn allergy, either, so the GAPS diet is no more difficult in that respect for us. This is an old post, but we are about to start the GAPS diet all over again. I think I have figured a way to do it much cheaper this time and I know enough to do it completely corn-free, too. I feel that will make it much more effective for us. Budget concerns and lack of knowledge about hidden corn kept us from getting the full benefit last time and led to us going off the diet early.

    I just made a fish broth with red snapper heads and bones from a local butcher shop. The heads and bones were free (one of the guys saves them in the freezer for me) so it's a big boost to our budget to get another source of bone broth. I wish I had thought to take pictures so I could write a post. I'll do it next time.