A lot of people resist beginning the GAPS Diet™ in the summer with the belief that it’s too hard to follow when it’s hot out, and I admit that summer isn’t the most pleasant time to eat hot soup, pot roast, and cooked vegetables all day long. Before you put off starting GAPS until another season, try these GAPS Diet tips for summer success.
In my previous article I talked about Why Summer May Be the Best Time to Begin GAPS, and today I’d like to offer practical suggestions to make GAPS easier when it’s hot out.
Tip #1: Follow the Full GAPS Diet.
The Full GAPS Diet is filled with fresh raw vegetables and fruits, and meat can always be cooked ahead and added cold to summer meals. Think grilled chicken, baked salmon, taco meat, or pulled pork on salads. Slice zucchini, onions, and peppers for the BBQ or let the kids build their own veggie kebabs.
Tip #2: Have soup for breakfast.
The easiest time to eat a hot meal during the summer is first thing in the morning before the temperature rises. You’ll start your day with a great feeling belly and know that you got a critical component of the GAPS Diet in early.
Tip #3: Have a hearty GAPS Smoothie or Milkshake during the hottest part of the day.
If the heat lessens your appetite these make great nutrient-dense meal replacements. You get in your daily juice along with some wonderful fat and protein for a balanced meal. Start with your favorite GAPS juice, then whisk in a couple of raw eggs. For the GAPS Smoothie blend ½ of a medium avocado with your juice. For the GAPS Milkshake add a big dollop of sour cream instead of the avocado (or if it sounds good add both!). Pour it into a Thermos for a meal on the go.
Tip #4: Turn your juice into ice pops.
Juicing is refreshing in the summer all by itself, but sometimes you just really want a frozen treat when it’s hot. Make up a big batch of juice and freeze it as ice pops for when that craving hits. It’s a treat with nutritional benefits.
Tip #5: Spend time in the sun every day.
Dr. Natasha emphasizes how important sunbathing is for GAPS people. Not only is it nature’s way of helping you make Vitamin D, but it may come as a surprise that sunlight is also wonderful for your gut flora. Certain parts of the sun’s spectrum penetrate into our organs and tissues, which reduces the overgrowth of pathogens.
Make sure you begin your sun exposure gradually, spending no more than 15 minutes per side, front and back, when you first begin. Dr. Natasha advises us to work up to 2 hours a day if possible. I know that seems really luxurious for those of us who work during the day, but even sitting outside on your lunch break, eating dinner on your deck, and spending time at the beach on the weekend adds up.
Tip #6: Go swimming in natural bodies of water.
This is another area of emphasis for Dr. Natasha that’s often overlooked on the GAPS Diet. The sea has many healing influences on the body, such as harmonising our body’s magnetic field, detoxification, and oxygenation. The worst-case scenario is that you’ll feel more relaxed.
Tip #7: Have your kids paint themselves with detoxifying clay and then run through the sprinkler.
Daily detox baths can be hard to stick with during the summer. After being hot all day it’s not very appealing to soak in a hot bath. One way that I like to make up for this is to turn a detoxifying clay into body paint. You know those clay beauty masks for better skin? Same idea. Clay can be strongly detoxifying, so don’t have your kids completely slather themselves with it at first. Instead have them paint a design or a funny picture on themselves or each other. Let them play in the yard until the clay is dry, and then turn on the sprinkler for them to rinse off.
Tip #8: Try some cold soup recipes.
You may be familiar with a few staple cold soups recipes, like gazpacho, but many other varieties of chilled soup are out there. Homemade broth can be used in cold soup recipes if you use an immersion (or other) blender to blend the broth, fat, and soft tissues together. This emulsifies the fat, so when it’s used in a cold soup it adds a thick and creamy texture and doesn’t separate so quickly. If that doesn’t create a texture that works for you, you can (-gasp!) remove the fat from your broth. You’ll just have to save it for later and add other fat to this meal, like olive oil. Chilled soup is very refreshing for an evening meal on the side of a hearty salad.
If you’re already comfortable with GAPS cooking, check out the website, Great Cold Soups, which will give you lots of inspiration. The recipes aren’t specifically GAPS, but they are based on whole food ingredients, so you can adapt them easily.
Some people feel that it’s hard to stick with GAPS during the summer, but I actually think it can be pretty easy because there tends to be less baked goods and more BBQ-type meals. We GAPS-sters might skip the hamburger buns and potato salad, but we’ll gladly bring our own grass-fed burgers for the grill and munch on the green salad and fresh fruit.
Do you GAPS Diet tips for summer that I’ve missed? Share them with us in the comments!