When I was starting the GAPS introduction diet with my children, I spent a few months preparing. However, in the last minute stress of the situation, I forgot to wean myself off coffee!
Here are my tips to help you prepare effectively!
- It is essential to read the “Gut And Psychology Syndrome” book by Dr Natasha Campbell McBride. It would be unwise to start the GAPS diet without reading the book. It is not a light read however, so allow yourself some time to do this. Break it down in chunks and read a small bit at a time, to make sure you fully understand it.
- If you are on a standard Australian diet (a SAD diet), make the transition to a whole foods diet first. Move away from takeaways and processed food, and on to a diet with good quality meat and vegetables. This will make the transition to GAPS easier, and makes it easy for your body to deal with physically.
- Set a date to start. The date might be a year away or a month away, but you should plan towards it. Things you might want to achieve between now and starting might include: getting you partner involved, learning how to make fermented food, cleaning up your pantry and reducing takeaways. It is easier to start introduction with kids at the start of the school holidays. You don’t have to worry as much about packing soup in their lunch box, or peer pressure from their friends. It also makes it easy to win them over with rewards, like going horse riding, some surfing lessons or just a day at the beach.
- It can be really worthwhile getting a GAPS coach early on as you transition. They will help you understand your physical symptoms and guide you on foods and supplements. They also motivate and encourage you to keep going.
- Buy a few recipe books. My favourites are “The Heal your Gut cookbook” by Hilary Boynton and Mary G Bracket, and “Life Changing Food” by Jo Whitton and Fouad Kassab. These books explain how to make the ferments, soups and casseroles. The first book talks you through each stage in detail.
- Make some sauerkraut juice. You can buy sauerkraut if you don’t want to make it yourself, just buy an unpasteurised brand. It is hard to buy plain sauerkraut juice, and it gets extremely expensive to buy sauerkraut just for the juice. So about a month before you start, make some sauerkraut juice so you have it available to add to every bowl of soup. I made a video to explain how to make it http://holistichealthbylisamoane.com.au/sauerkraut-juice/.
- Work out your best source of grass fed or organic meat. It is cheaper to buy meat in bulk, and keep in the freezer. Do some research and find out who delivers in your area, and have a chat to them about their farming practices. Ask if they sell any packs which contain a lot of the joints of meat, like lamb shanks and lamb necks. If they supply offal too, that it good, as it can be hard to source organic offal.
- Detox your home. If you use a lot of cosmetics and cleaning products, it is time to evaluate if you really need them. Moving to more natural packaged alternatives can be expensive, so you might want to cut out a lot of things entirely. Most cleaning products can be replaced with vinegar, bicarb soda and some essential oils. Washing your child’s hair with a fragranced shampoo every day is also not necessary. A wash every week or so with a plain unfragranced shampoo is fine. Children don’t need any other products, unless they have eczema when they might need an emollient.
- Buy a water filter. The water filter you choose depends on budget and whether you rent. If you can plumb in a water filter, a carbon filter is sufficient. You don’t need to buy a reverse osmosis filter for GAPS. It is also a good idea to put filters on the bath and shower so you don’t rinse in chlorine. A whole house filter might seem like a good idea, but they are very expensive, and your water might be getting contaminated by the pipes inside your house.
- Meal planning. Familiarise yourself with what you can eat at each stage, and plan some meals you think your family will enjoy. Get your kids involved in the meal planning and recipes, to give them a sense of ownership of the process.
- Start to reduce coffee and alcohol intake. In introduction diet, there is no coffee or alcohol. It is wise to start to reduce well in advance, otherwise you will be dealing with coffee withdrawals at the same time as preparing lots of food and dealing with children.