As a GAPS Diet Practitioner, I’m completely passionate about seeing people succeed on the GAPS Diet™ and that’s why I want to share what I see as 5 common mistakes on the GAPS Diet.
The first two mistakes are made before you even begin GAPS, so if you haven’t started the GAPS Diet yet, pay close attention to these! Mistakes 3-5 happen when you’re already on GAPS and are complacent with the short term gains you’ve made, or you’re struggling and don’t feel like you can take on anything else. Don’t overlook these long-term lifestyle changes that can still be made for better results.
GAPS Diet Mistake #1: Not reading the Gut & Psychology Syndrome book. Time and time again I come across people who are following the GAPS Diet strictly based on information that they read on the Internet. While I’m all about providing helpful information on my blog, it’s no substitute for actually reading the Gut & Psychology Syndrome book.
It’s important to read the book so that you know not only how to follow the GAPS Diet, but why. Gaining a real understanding of how you became a GAPS person, and how the GAPS Diet will work to heal your gut, repopulate you with good microbes, and detoxify your body, is crucial to getting through tough times on GAPS. You’re probably aware that it doesn’t feel awesome to be on the GAPS Diet every single day. You’ll get through it by knowing why you’re doing it, the results you’re expecting to get, and what’s happening inside your body which might cause fluctuations in how you feel on a day-to-day basis with things like die off and detoxification reactions.
GAPS Diet Mistake #2: Not getting prepared to begin GAPS in advance. The two most important factors that I’ve seen for success on following the GAPS Diet are being prepared to begin in advance and having support and encouragement to stick with it. The biggest reason that I see people quitting GAPS early on is that they weren’t ever really prepared to begin in the first place. When you prepare to begin the GAPS Diet in advance, there’s so much less to think about when you actually start. You’ve made your plan and now you’re just putting it into action. This frees up time and allows you to focus on resting more during those first couple of low-energy weeks while you’re adjusting to the diet.
If you’re already following GAPS there are three big mistakes that I see over and over that will either prevent you from seeing the results you want or leave you stuck on a plateau in your healing.
GAPS Diet Mistake #3: You quit juicing (or never even started). Juicing can seem like it’s not that big of a deal when you tolerate eating a full variety of foods and it can be tricky to fit into a full work and social schedule. People overlook that juicing provides not only a concentrated source of nutrition in an easy to consume and digest way (think of it like a multivitamin), but all these nutrients and enzymes are crucial for your detoxification too. I always say the detoxification is where the long-term benefits come from on the GAPS Diet. Healing our gut can happen quite quickly, but everything that’s accumulated in our body up until now takes time to come out. As this is released you’ll find that you’ll feel better and better and see continued improvements in your health, some of which may really be unexpected. Commit to juicing for at least the next 10 days to see what difference it will make for you, whether you make it at home or purchase it from a local organic juice bar.
GAPS Diet Mistake #4: Keeping toxic beauty and household products in your home. Cleaning out toxic body products and household cleaners, candles, etc. reduces the day-to-day level of exposure you have to toxins. This makes it so much easier for your body to actually work on your toxic backlog.
It takes a little bit of effort and often people don’t know what they should replace these things with, so I‘ve got a little tip for you here. Use the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to look up all of your body and beauty products. They’re a nonprofit that purchases products off the shelf and sends them to an independent laboratory to be tested, and then rates them for safety based on the ingredients. They even have a color-coded rating system of green, yellow, and red.
Back when I went through my products I vowed to only use things that were rated 0 to 2, which is in the green. Now I aim to see every ingredient in my products in the green – not just the overall rating. If you don’t find the exact product you’re using, you can still look up any of the ingredients by just typing them into the search bar, and you’ll be able to open the report, plus a numeric rating for that specific ingredient. This will give you a good way to gauge if this is really something safe to be putting on your body or your kids.
When it comes to household cleaners, you’ve really got a go back to basics by using things like white vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, and essential oils. You can replace your air fresheners and artificially scented candles with essential oils. Once you make the shift you’ll be amazed at how ubiquitous all these toxic things are. Whenever you go to a hotel, or stay with friends and family, or even in your workplace, you’ll realize that we’re just bombarded with chemical scents 24 hours a day! Not to mention the toxins we can’t smell. It’s crucial to make your own home an oasis from this type of toxicity.
GAPS Diet Mistake #5: Your version of the GAPS Diet is just a slightly healthier version of the junk you used to eat. There are GAPS breads, pancakes, cookies, cakes, and other kinds of sweet treats. But these are not the primary foods you eat on the GAPS Diet! They’re part of it, but not the focus. Sometimes after people get started on GAPS they fall back in to their old habit of convenience foods. Rather than eating a lot of veggies and plenty of fats they end up relying on the breads and the pancakes, and eating those as meals, rather than as accompaniments to meals.
Eating pancakes for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, a muffin as a snack, and several biscuits for dinner is not the intention of the GAPS Diet. The majority of your food the entire time that you’re on the GAPS Diet should be broths and soups, cooked meats, all kinds of veggies, and added fats – with a condiment sized amount of a fermented or cultured food at each meal, of course. Then about 15% of your daily diet can come from nut flour products, fruits, and honey. These are the sides, not the staples! By volume, most of your plate is going to be covered with vegetables, but by calories most of what you’re going to eat is fat.
I’m not sharing these 5 common mistakes on the GAPS Diet to criticize you. I really want to help you recognize the errors that are holding you back from your best results. Avoid these mistakes and you’ll see greater and quicker success in recovering your health.