Since going on the Gaps diet, I have had so many questions, emails, messages and even been stopped in the street by people wanting to know more about it. So, I wanted to share our experience with you and also tell you about a new program, created by my friend Jo Whitton, that is making the lives of Gaps mums so much EASIER.
Our Gaps Experience
Our story begins several years ago when we discovered my daughter had several food allergies and later, was diagnosed with a condition called Pyroluria which I have discussed in detail on our group Facebook page. After managing her condition and working on all of our gut health for many years, we still weren’t really seeing the improvement we hoped to see.
After long discussions and many appointments with our Holistic GP, we decided to test my daughter and all of the members of our family for parasites. It turned out that we were all infected with a parasite called Dientamoeba fragilis, a nasty little bugger that has been known to cause symptoms and hold back efforts to improve health. For more information on this bug, you can listen to a great podcast here.
Because we had been working on improving our gut health and overall well being for many years, we decided, after serious thought and consultation to treat the parasites with antibiotics. Parasites can be treated naturally but it takes time and a concerted effort with diet and natural remedies. I really struggled with the decision but decided to put my faith in my doctor and naturopath. For us, this was the right decision.
Project Gut Healing
So, what could we do to support this treatment plan I sheepishly asked my naturopath because I knew the answer was going to be Gaps! I knew all about the eating plan and had done my research – and successfully avoided actually doing it for years!
I think deep down, I knew it was inevitable if I really wanted to seriously improve our gut health and the symptoms we and especially Frankie, were experiencing from Pyroluia and parasites (fatigue, bloating, diarrhoea, irritable bowel, food intolerances, dry and rashy skin, anxiety, phobias, poor sleep and more).
So, I left the naturopath feeling confident and ready. My plan was to start at Full Gaps (not the introduction stage) with the exclusion of cheese, legumes and any starchy vegetables such as potato and sweet potato. Basically, a strict Paleo diet for the month leading up to treatment and a few months after treatment. It wasn’t forever.
How hard could it be?
I decided to take it slowly over a few weeks and began by taking my family gluten free, then dairy free, then grain and sugar free. I was kind to myself, allowed room for mistakes and declared Gaps my job for the next few months.
It was so freaking hard!
Now, I’m an experienced whole food cook, I have wonderful resources and food suppliers in my local area, I have a well equipped and stocked kitchen and still, I struggled with Gaps. It was A LOT of cooking. Preparing everything your entire family eats from scratch takes a tremendous amount of planing, preparation and work and it is constant.
Losing my MOJO
At one point, I completely lost my kitchen mojo and just burnt out. There were tears, self doubt, even some resentment. I went through a fairly dark few weeks but I kept going. Somewhere inside me, I truly believed in what I was doing and found the strength to go on.
On reflection, I believe this emotional detox was as important as the physical one we were going through. I believe it was part of the process and I can say I came out of it a better mum and a better person.
One of the problems I found with Gaps was the lack of resources available. The book Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell McBride is the bible on Gaps but in my opinion, just doesn’t offer enough practical information.
Support on Gaps
It is recommended that Gaps is undertaken with the help and support of a qualified health care professional and I do agree, however, you can not simply ring up your naturopath every time you have a question about what to eat or how to prepare certain foods or what stage of the eating plan they are safe to introduce.
Being a part of Jo’s Quirky Cooking Gaps Support Group on Facebook was a life saver for me. Her practical advice, delicious Gaps approved recipes and the open and honest way in which she so generously shares her experience is absolutely essential support for those on Gaps. Also having the support, ideas and inspiration from others on a similar journey was incredibly beneficial.
Cooking for Gaps
Gaps is a journey and one many of us are considering at some point for either ourselves or our family. I am very grateful for my experience on Gaps. It was the most wonderful learning experience. I learnt how to properly nourish myself and my family, I learnt so much about how our bodies work and the importance of real food. I learnt what is important in my life and how to prioritise. I learnt how well being is about so much more than food and how nature, spirituality and natural health can add such wonderful richness to our lives.
I am so proud to share with you that I have decided to become an affiliate for the Quirky Cooking for Gut Health Online Program.
I can not recommend this resource highly enough to anyone considering Gaps or indeed anyone who wants to simply learn more about real food, how to plan, prepare and cook it for your family.
The program contains 6 modules with simple how-to lessons on all the basics, beautifully created eBooks filled with meal plans, recipes and inspiration, lively videos and helpful resources.
I hope my story has in some way demonstrated that we are not alone in this. Family health, gut health, well being – it’s not easy! But it is just so important and so worth our effort and struggle, no matter where we are on our individual journeys.
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