The Truth About GAPS: A 6 Month Update

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It’s now been more than six months since I embarked on my GAPS journey. You can read about the beginning here, and some other interesting posts along the way here, here and here. For those learning about GAPS for the first time today, it is a two stage diet consisting entirely of natural foods. Stage one is the six step introduction diet (read about it in depth here) and the second stage is referred to as Full GAPS where you eat meat, fish, non-starchy veggies, fruit, natural probiotic rich foods and home fermented dairy. You are not allowed refined sugar, grains, starch or commercial dairy. The reason behind myself and my children doing GAPS is mainly down to food intolerance. GAPS has been known to cure all sorts of auto-immune disease and psychological problems though, for a full overview please visit the GAPS website.

I wanted to write a bit of a warts and all post to fit in with the theme of Sam’s truthful linky over at And Then The Fun Began. So let me start by saying that GAPS is not an easy diet, and anyone walking into it thinking they’ll get a quick fix is deluding themselves. It’s really hard work to begin with, but then it becomes every day life and much more simple to manage. You get into routines and good habits, and voila six months later it is just the way it is.

Here are my three no nonsense top tips for GAPS success:

Preparation
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, GAPS is all about the prep work. When you’re on the intro diet you will need to drink 1½-2 litres of home made stock (or bone broth to our friends in the States) per day. The stock will nourish you and help to heal and seal your gut lining, thus making leaky gut syndrome a thing of the past. Without drinking enough, or trying to cheat by buying it, you will not achieve the desired results.

When I was first on the intro diet I made my stock with whole chickens, which got very expensive very quickly. Then I had a chat with the lovely ladies who run the meat stall (and own the farm) at our local farmers market and started buying chicken carcasses from them. For the paltry (or poultry) sum of 50p per two! I use four at a time to make about 3L of stock, and buy ten bags per fortnight which means I’m only spending £2.50 per week on my stock now. I also pick all the chicken off the bones afterwards and use it for lunches. I didn’t start doing this until about two months into GAPS, and I wish I’d done it from the start. I’d advise anyone thinking about GAPS to work out a stock making solution beforehand. NOTE: it is imperative that you make your stock from quality meat.

I’d also suggest buying yourself a decent flask, that way you can keep it full and help yourself all day if you’re at home or take it out on your travels.

In addition to the stock making, you will need to seek out good quality supplements. Again it’s essential not to skrimp in this department so source the best ones that you can afford – search online for great deals. Just in case you’re wondering I take Bio-Kult’s 14-strain probiotic, along with Red Krill Oil for an omega boost and Betaine HCL which helps to promote digestive enzymes. The kids all take Bio-Kult as well as fermented cod liver oil, supposedly the very best omega boost on the planet. It also costs £34 for a month’s supply and is why I only give it to them and take the cheaper stuff myself. Red Krill is a mere £20 for three months supply.

Mindset

I’m not going to sugar coat it, you will need an iron will to get through you the early days, but after the first couple of weeks it all becomes second nature. Regular readers will know that I rushed through the intro diet in a month because I had friends in town and wanted to enjoy drinks and treats with them. The following week I felt physically ill, and it also put me in such a bad frame of mind I decided for my own sanity to go back to the very beginning and started again.

I’m glad my faux pas happened one month in and not three though because all my hard work went to waste. I had naively thought I could cut corners but there is no cheating on GAPS. Second time around something just clicked and rather than trying to race through it I vowed to take things slowly and enjoy the healing process. Which I’ve managed to do for the most part, but lets face it I’m not a saint and have had the odd bite of hubby’s brownie along the way.

Patience

If you are considering GAPS then it’s likely to be because you’re suffering from health problems. Chances are it took many years for those issues to build up and they aren’t going to disappear overnight. You must have full faith in GAPS, and the patience to stick it out even if it takes two years. As I said at the beginning of this post GAPS is not a quick fix, but there have been some pretty much instant benefits for me (see next heading). Seeing improvements in the kids has been the best thing though, and being able to introduce so many previously banished foods back into 5yo’s diet has been nothing short of amazing.

A lot of my own intolerance symptoms are gone, and I’ve indulged recently in a Food Festival and a trip to a Food Market where I ate things without questioning every single ingredient. I even had a small glass of wine at the festival, with no ill effects. I wouldn’t do this every week, but every now and then is fine, and I’ll definitely be having a few G&T’s over Xmas!

For me, there were benefits evident right from the start

Gorgeous Skin: As a sufferer of PCOS I’ve battled with acne since I was a teenager, but almost as soon as I started GAPS I’ve enjoyed clear, glowing beautiful skin. I get complimented on it all the time.

Energy: I started GAPS when baby boy was 8 weeks old. I don’t think I’ve slept for longer than three hours since he was born, and at the mo he is often up every hour through the night. I can honestly say though that I have never had so much energy.

Clear head: as well as having more energy than most people I know who get adequate sleep and don’t have three kids, I can’t remember the last time I felt this clear headed. I’ve managed to write a book and am gearing up to self-publish it very soon. I know without doubt that I owe it to GAPS.

So there you have it, the truth about GAPS. It is not for the feint hearted or weak willed, but I know it will all be worth it in the long term!  

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22 thoughts on “The Truth About GAPS: A 6 Month Update

  1. hello, were you breastffeding? I don’t think I’d survive as breastfeeding makes me so hungry! and you said your children eat the same way too- did they do the intro diet as well or would they find it too difficult? thanks xxx so interesting by the way!! xx

    • Hiya, thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment. I did and still am breastfeeding, baby boy is 9m this week. First six months were insane as he was permanently on the boob, and I got super hungry. I drank 2l of stock each day and ate tons of chicken (I used to get through a med sized bird every other day!)

      The hunger has eased up now thankfully, but if I’m 100% honest I’d suggest GAPS post breastfeeding, especially the early days. He’s my third baby and only a 2 year gap between him and his sister, but I forgot how hungry it makes you xxx

  2. I think I missed the bit about you buying carcasses from the market – what a good idea. I’m glad it’s going to well, such a testament to good food and nutrition that you have had such benefits and are still with it 6 months on.

    • Thanks Claudia! I’m really happy with the progress and seeing the results, but as I said it’s not a quick fix so I think I’ll be on GAPS for at least another year, maybe longer. All good though 🙂

  3. You really have had such a sense of purpose with this Reneé, as always I’m so impressed. I think you prove to others that it is imminently doable – if you can do it with a 6 month old baby still breastfeeding then what excuse is there for anyone else? I love the idea of the energy and the lovely clear skin (now if it could give me a lovely hair-cut & colour too I’d be really up for it 😉 ) but at the moment (touch wood and all that) I don’t think I’ve got the health problems to warrant it. I’ve had about 3 days off sick in the last 7 years at work so I know I’m lucky. Thanks so much for linking up again to The Truth about… I really appreciate it 🙂 Xx #thetruthabout

  4. This sounds like tough journey to get going on but one that is obviously well worth it in the end – well done to you for going the distance and I’m really glad to hear about the positive effects! #thetruthabout

    • Thanks so much Michelle! It really is worth it, I honestly don’t know if I’d be able to get myself out of bed on the mornings where I’ve only had three hours sleep if my diet wasn’t as clean as this. I’d definitely be struggling…

  5. Hun, the results sound amazing, but I have said it before and I will say it again: I have no idea how you do that. The sheer idea of drinking stock makes me want to gag! I want your glowing skin and energy though! Not likely to happen with my diet. xx

  6. Wow, I have said it many times…you are incredible and inspiring! I looked at the GAPS diet recently thinking that I should probably do it since I think most of my troubles are leaky gut related. I just couldn’t bear the idea of doing it though!!! Like Mel said…drinking stock. Gag!!!

    • You ladies make me chuckle! The stock is delicious – have you never heard the expression chicken soup for the soul? That’s basically what I drink it’s really nourishing and healing.

      If you ever want to talk GAPS offline just drop me an email hon. It’s definitely worth looking into if you think you have leaky gut xx

    • Added now sorry my lovely! Cutting out refined sugar on the back of my own PCOS diagnosis was the start of my journey. I can’t imagine eating a diet containing it now… funny what you becomes normal isn’t it xx

  7. Pingback: My top tips for staying healthy this winter |

  8. Wow this does not sound for the feint-hearted but it’s fantastic how it’s helped you all. Definitely so much better to have all natural produce. Well done you. I’m starting 1200 calorie days as advised by the GP, I have a LOT of weight to lose. So I’m sure my weight loss tactics will change over time and as I can do physical things again. You must be so proud of you. What a wonderful thing to do for you family

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