Janine was one of my clients who gathered a wonderful support system before she started the GAPS™ Intro Diet. She was used to having a different diet because of all her food allergies and since GAPS was an even more dramatic change she wanted to ensure that she followed it right from the beginning so she’d heal as quickly as possible.
Her husband had seen her try elimination diets and supplements that hadn’t helped and he desperately wanted to see her overcome her severe food allergies. While he didn’t think he needed GAPS, he agreed to eat all GAPS food at home so there wouldn’t be extra cooking or non-GAPS foods to tempt her. Janine had heard about GAPS from a woman at church who’d done it with her family. She was willing to be a source of meal ideas, a shoulder to cry on, and she invited Janine over for dinner a couple of times since she already knew just what to make. Janine was my client, so we talked every week in the beginning. I guided her through the Intro Diet Stages, tweaking everything for her specific needs, so she didn’t have to worry over what was ‘right’ for her situation.
The GAPS Diet is different than how most people are eating, and you won’t always feel totally awesome. In the beginning you’ll go through periods of fatigue, a combination of hungry and angry that I call “hangry,” and you’ll gripe that it’s unfair that you have to do something like this when other people can go around eating total crap and feel just fine! On days like this you might need a shoulder to cry on, reminders about the ‘big picture,’ and encouragement to keep going. On the positive side, you need someone to celebrate the small wins with. Things like a normal bowel movement, waking up without a headache, or having the energy to go for a walk around the neighborhood and smell the lilacs.
As I see it, there are 4 types of people you can have on your side and the more support the better!
Family – GAPS is so much easier to follow when they’re on board.
Family can support you in different ways – helping out around the house so you can get enough rest, happily sharing GAPS meals with you, or reminding you of your progress when the going gets tough.
Steer clear of family members that want to sabotage you by telling you you’re torturing your kids, lay on guilt trips about you not eating all the traditional holiday foods, or telling you to give up at the first sign of unpleasantness.
Friends – A supportive friend will be aware of your diet changes.
They might not know what restaurant you can eat at or what to cook for you, but they’ll ask. For our friends, homemade chicken soup is a rare treat. You might consider it the same old meal, but they’ll be thrilled when you invite them over for dinner. A great friend will remind you that many amazing achievements in life aren’t easy. Often it’s the effort and short-term sacrifice that make us feel so proud when we reach our goal!
Be aware of friends that may sabotage you by insisting you come to Happy Hour, but be ready to suggest restaurants that serve what you can eat or outings that don’t revolve around food.
Other People on GAPS – There are growing numbers of online support groups on Facebook and Yahoo that are devoted to GAPS.
These are great because they’re accessible from anywhere and you can get a lot of new ideas there. You’ll likely find others who are struggling with, or recovering from, a health problem like yours. The inspiration is so encouraging and the cheer leading can get you through tough times that your family and friends don’t understand.
Be cautious about all the ideas that circulate online. They’re not always going to be safe or helpful for your unique health issues. Take things here with a grain of salt and do more research.
Healthcare Practitioners – Of course, being a Certified GAPS Diet Practitioner, I’m partial to you getting the support of an expert.
An experienced GAPS Practitioner will have ways to help you explain GAPS to your family, suggestions for making it easier to socialize and travel while on GAPS, and can help you sift through all those Facebook rumors to figure out what can really work for you. They may have you take tests and their specialized training can help make GAPS much simpler by customizing food, supplements, and detoxification recommendations to your test results and history. Beyond GAPS Practitioners, having your doctor understand GAPS and agree that it’s a helpful thing to try can really ease your nerves.
Consider switching to another healthcare practitioner if yours says that GAPS is too hard, you should follow XYZ other plan that they can make money from, or who don’t understand basic nutrition like how natural fats are healing for your body.
People who have great support also report greater success with GAPS and find it a lot easier to adapt to and stick with.