I've been following the GAPS diet for going on five months now. It was a huge decision because it requires a lot of animal products and I had been vegetarian/vegan on and off for years, but I am happy to report that I couldn't be happier. At first glance, it's a pretty restrictive diet- no gluten, no processed foods, no sugar or sweeteners (apart from raw honey), but when I started looking at the diet in terms of what I could eat, rather than what I couldn't eat, I began to get a little creative and make things like mini pumpkin pies and riced cauliflower stir fry.
Today I'm sharing what a typical day of GAPS meals look like.
7:30am - I start every morning with either a veggies juice or a fruit juice. I make them using this juicer, which I love for its easy-to-use design and easy cleanup. Pictured here is a carrot, ginger and lemon juice.
8:30am - Breakfast is usually 3 scrambled eggs with a piece of cheese and avocado and yogurt, or pancakes with yogurt. These pancakes are seriously so good, and I don't even miss the typical maple syrup when I add my homemade yogurt on top (you can get the recipe in my free eBook when you sign up for my weekly newsletter).
11:30am - I usually have my first lunch around 11:30am (the lack of grains in this diet means that you get hungry and need to eat every few hours). This lunch is really quick - homemade fermented veggies, zucchini cooked in coconut oil (for a quality oil choose cold pressed, organic, extra virgin like Nutiva), and organic tuna with a slice of melted organic gouda on top.
1:00pm - Snack. Snacks can range from homemade apple sauce to coconut energy bites. For this day, I kept it simple with dried apricots and some almonds that I had soaked overnight (easier on the digestive system).
3:00pm - Lunch #2 was a homemade soup. Soups seems like they take a lot of time, but the real time consuming part is the broth. We came up with an easy way to always have a broth on hand by using our crockpot. We put the chicken carcass in with some star anise, onions, garlic and water, and leave it overnight. Then the next day, all I have to do is add frozen or fresh veggies (frozen is obviously easier since they're all cut up), some meat (frozen organic shrimp is super easy, or I just add leftover cooked meat from the night before) and it's ready in 25 minutes.
7:00pm- Dinner is usually something simple - either a salad with soft lettuce (easier to digest), or like pictured here, chicken from the crockpot and leftover zucchini with homemade sauerkraut.
On this particular day I didn't, but I usually have some sort of dessert. Something like coconut chips (recipe in my eBook), or a lemon bar.
And before I go to bed, I take my probiotics and oils (more on that below).
Overall, I feel really good. I don't feel deprived of anything, and I don't really miss anything (I've never been much of a bread person anyway- I always had more of a sweet tooth, which I can still sort of have provided I use coconut or almond flour in baked goods). It's definitely not a walk in the park, though, as it's a diet that requires a lot of cooking and prep work, but I'd rather put in the time and reap the benefits.
Speaking of benefits from the GAPS diet, here is what I have noticed so far:
-100% improved digestion (I was having bloating and discomfort after eating basically anything)
-clearer skin (I was breaking out especially on my forehead and cheeks, and the diet has seriously improved my skin. I do notice that I still break out (almost immediately) if I eat something off the diet. For example, that baklava I had in Greece really came back to haunt me, but it was totally worth it!)
-smooth fingernails and toenails (weird, I know - to be clear, my nails weren't a hot mess or anything, but they are very smooth and even colored now)
-improved joint pain (if you've been following my blog for a while you know I had major joint pain in the aftermath of a longterm battle with lyme disease. Last winter was particularly difficult for me- at times I was struggling to even walk. This winter, since starting the diet, the only time I feel joint pain is in the early morning when I first wake up and late at night before I go to bed. Instead of pain throughout my entire body, I only really have stiffness in a few joints in my hands and sometimes my feet. It is a huge improvement.)
-less hair fall out (I was losing clumps of hair in the shower, and now it's just a few strands)
-no seasonal depression this year (The diet calls for fish oil, fermented cod liver oil and omega 3 - 6 oils, and they are reportedly responsible for a high amount of vitamin D which can help with mild depression. This is the first time in years that I do not feel any sort of seasonal depression.)
So, I feel like the diet is working, and I'm happy to stick with it. I feel good, I have a lot of energy, and I do not feel deprived of anything - truly, I feel so grateful I found something that works for me. If you're interested in learning more, I'd definitely suggest reading the GAPS book, as it explains how the stomach works, and all the reasons behind what foods are allowed/not allowed on the diet. It also includes a bunch of recipes, which I've found helpful as well.