I've decided that it's time to move us to the full GAPS diet now. I really haven't had problems with introducing anything in Stage 6, so I said to myself, 'Self, it's time to move on!' I'm hoping that this diet becomes less labor-intensive now. I simply can't keep up this pace of constant food prep, storing, and freezing. We have had no life on the weekends, as I've been stuck in the kitchen making food and stocks to prepare for the upcoming workweek. I have come to the conclusion that once my intolerances are gone, I will start adding foods in that aren't GAPS-legal, and move away from the diet somewhat. However, I believe that the diet is healthy for us, so I don't want to completely abandon it--I just need a break, and I miss regular things like potatoes. Hubby and I are happy with our results to this point, although my results are far less measurable than his. We also decided that this is a great way to cleanse/purge the body of things that are bad for us, so we've decided to do this every January, to restore our bodies after the binges of the holiday season.
My summary of Stage 6, and the Intro Diet as a whole:
What I've Learned:
I've learned that willpower plays a huge role in this diet. Having determination and a goal helps greatly with the willpower (my goal was to heal my food intolerances). It's really hard to not go out to eat, and to know that I can't have things I like, but to me, the probable end result makes everything I've had to give up seem worth it. I have realized just how much we socialize over food, and I've missed that, because it's just been easier to navigate this diet by staying home and not even being tempted. My husband has gone out for lunch at work a few times, and just ate salad (which was ahead of where he was in the Intro, but necessary to do). I continue to hope and wait for the day that I can eat an egg and cheese omelet or join others for an ice cream cone again. I'll continue to give occasional updates on our progress, and will rejoice in the day when I can say that dairy and eggs are no longer my enemies!
Tips for the Intro Diet:
If you plan to start this diet, prep for it well ahead of time. Give yourself a month to start stocking up the freezer with broth and soup veggies. Mentally prepare yourself for a lot of work in the kitchen, and enlist help as needed from the family. Build a support system, because it will be hard, and if you're a Christian, remember this: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13)! Be very committed to sticking to a strict diet and not allowing cheating, especially with kids (get rid of tempting food if you think it'll be a problem). Eating something that is GAPS-legal but only allowed on a stage ahead of where you currently are is one thing; eating something GAPS-illegal is very different, and could cause significant setbacks, depending on your situation. Be sure to read through the GAPS diet book by Natasha Campbell-McBride, and consider signing up for the GAPS support group on Yahoo, as well as the group on Facebook. A really good site for frequently asked questions and advice is badenlashkov.com. You can look up so many topics on that site! I also purchased an e-book that I had printed at Staples called What Can I Eat Now? 30 Days of recipes and tips for the GAPS™ Intro Diet, by Health, Home and Happiness. Finally, look over the GAPS faq page located at GAPS.me.
All that being said, it does get easier as you get farther into the Intro. In fact, by Stage 6, you will begin to introduce more comforting foods, like increasing your honey amounts and sweet fruits. By then, you'll be so glad to have this variety! Every food introduced tastes really good. You'll have developed a new-found respect for foods that you probably didn't give much thought to before the diet. :) And with that, I give you a cookie recipe for you to enjoy! I don't know why, but these cookies really lifted my spirits once I was able to figure out the recipe. The ingredients aren't anything that we hadn't already been eating, but just knowing that these are cookies makes all of the difference!
GAPS-Legal Peanut Butter Cookies!! (DF, CF, GF, Egg-Free, Vegetarian, Tasty!)
1 C all-natural peanut butter (make your own, or buy from the store--nothing but peanuts and salt)
1/2 C raw honey
2 TBSP homemade vanilla
2 TBSP flax meal dissolved in 6 TBSP water, allowed to sit and gel for 10 minutes (or two eggs)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth. Drop by rounded teaspoon onto a parchment-paper lined cookie pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, watching carefully to prevent burning. Allow to sit on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack. They will be slightly gooey in the middle. Best eaten warm! Makes about 20 cookies. GAPS Stage 6 legal.