Although neither of us are chronically ill, my husband and I both have some niggling health issues that we’d like to eliminate altogether rather than just continue to manage.
Shawn has had bouts of eczema in the past which he is currently managing to stay on top of through diet and lifestyle, and he also had learning difficulties as a child so was given the label ‘dyslexic’ (which after researching this, I believe was not quite right).
Where I’m concerned, I can see that a series of bad choices about 10 years ago has undoubtedly left me with gut damage: I had a number of vaccinations before going to India (I wish I’d known better!), and shortly afterwards we spent some time in the US where I ate the Standard American Diet for a time. American ‘cuisine’ (such as, some concoction called cool whip and fake blueberries muffins with a shelf life of years) left me feeling ill, exhausted, and intolerant to gluten. The gluten intolerance wasn’t picked up for a number of years, but in hindsight I can see that my health never really picked back up completely after that time in the US. Gluten usually gives me a stomach ache almost immediately, followed by a foggy head. I also have to watch what food combinations I put into my stomach.
So, although Shawn can stay on top of his eczema by keeping away from triggers such as sugar and coffee, and I can simply avoid gluten, we both desire a greater measure of health and vitality that we’re hoping this Diet will help us achieve. When we read Dr Campbell-McBride’s description of how unhealthy gut flora is passed to children and grandchildren, we see the scenario having taken place in both our extended families and are aware that we can change things for ourselves and our children.
Where our kids are concerned, we want to restore full health to their little guts and set them up for life. It’s part of our desire to steward well what we’ve been given – including the precious time we have with our precious ones.
How we’re doing it
We’ve been mostly following a traditional diet for some time (eg. fermented foods, no processed food, plenty of fresh organic produce, grass-fed meat and dairy), so the change isn’t too severe so far. The Intro Diet has been challenging (more on that in another post), but the transition into Full GAPS, which we’re currently doing, is becoming much more enjoyable. I’ll post about our progress in the future.
Our time on the early stages of the Intro Diet has been short, mostly due to the fact that I’m still nursing a one-year old and my husband works in the trade industry. Our energy needs are more than what the Intro Diet foods can adequately provide. So we’re currently sitting about Stage 4 of the Intro Diet and will continue to add in foods according to our individual needs.
I’m not doing the Intro Diet with the kids, but they are on the Full GAPS Diet. In all honesty, I think they haven’t noticed the difference to their diet– they haven’t whined for toast and crackers yet. I’m trying to keep things yummy and varied so they don’t learn to resent missing out on things they enjoy.
They don’t have any severe behavioural or development issues, or else they’d be on the Intro Diet along with us. But after reading the GAPS Diet book, I have noticed minor behavioural issues in my 3 year old that become more pronounced when she’s eaten too much starchy foods like potatoes or too much bread. It will be interesting to see how her behaviour continues to settle down in the coming weeks and months. Gladly, she totally loves sauerkraut.
A Couple of Thoughts
The main tip I would have about changes to your diet and your family’s, is that your focus be about adding in foods, rather than taking out foods. Eventually, the undesirable foods should just get pushed out. This way, you will hopefully not grieve the changes if you were just to cut things out of your diet.
You might consider easing into the GAPS Diet over a period, so the change isn’t too dramatic and the die-off symptoms also are not too aggressive. Personally, I would consider this approach if I was coming off the standard western diet that is high in processed foods. If you’ve been eating a traditional diet for a while, you might consider beginning with the Full GAPS Diet and then transitioning to the Intro Diet.
My health disclaimer here.