We were on the GAPS Diet (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) for over 2 years, and then we started coming off of GAPS too quickly last Spring. Life got stressful over the Summer, and we stuck to gluten free foods. Now, we’re Day 2 back on the GAPS Intro. Why? Because life is better when we’re on GAPS. Let me tell you why I think this!
10 Reasons GAPS is better than Gluten Free:
- Grocery shopping is simpler. On GAPS, you shop down the outside aisles of the grocery store, and you get very few items that are located in the middle of the store (salt, seasonings, and oils). No shopping for gluten free flours, breads, pastas, cookies, crackers, etc. You could actually get the majority of your food from local farmers (buy 1/2 a cow, a CSA share, etc.), purchase oils, salt and herbs online, and never go grocery shopping, on GAPS! Hooray for no grocery shopping!
- It’s easier to organize a GAPS pantry than a gluten free pantry. Trust me on this one! When we were hard-core gluten free people (pre-GAPS), we lived in a house with a huge pantry. I had glass jars with lids for every type of gluten free flour imaginable. I made my own mixes and had it all organized. This time, we’ve been eating gluten free for only a few months, and I wasn’t willing to invest the time or money into storing everything in special containers. Not only that, we don’t have the space anymore! Instead, my cupboards have random plastic (bulk-bin style) bags filled with various flours, piled on top of each other, falling over. If the twist tie comes undone, there’s a powdery mess to clean up (fun!). Not to mention, cooking with these flours is a lot of work–I have to dig through everything to find the one missing flour. On GAPS, our pantry contained very few canned goods (glass jars of tomatoes, artichokes and olives), oils, and herbs. It looked nice and it was easy to find what we needed.
- Meal planning is easier. This one is debatable. If you’re comfortable with gluten free-cooking, meal planning might be a breeze for you! But the thing that makes it easier for me is this: there are less GAPS friendly, grain-free recipes available out in the world (internet searches, cookbooks, etc.). Having less recipes makes decision-making SO MUCH easier. Have you ever printed a stack of awesome looking recipes & then been overwhelmed by the decision of what to cook this week? On GAPS, this anxiety is relieved.
- It’s easier to set boundaries with other people. Imagine Christmas with your great aunt who thinks that whole wheat equals gluten free. You don’t want to hurt her feelings, but if you eat her dinner rolls, you’re going to get sick. If you said “I don’t eat grains, or sugar, or ___” or, better yet, “I’ll bring my own food” ahead of time, wa la! No problem. There are so many well-meaning people in this world who really want to make something yummy and gluten free for you, but who have no clue how to do it. Setting up the “GAPS” boundary keeps you from hurting their feelings (and then feeling guilty!).
- No package reading involved! On GAPS, you pretty much know that all packaged foods are out! You don’t need to spend time reading the package, wondering “is ____ gluten?” or performing internet searches on your iphone or calling customer service to ask if a product contains gluten. No more! Your time is valuable! Eat GAPS, and avoid this struggle!
- Setting “real food” boundaries for yourself is so much easier. When you’re gluten free, you’ve got boundaries, for sure. The problem is, when you go to the Farmer’s Market (like I did, on my Birthday in September) and find 10 different “gluten free” pie, cookie and chocolate booths, you’re tempted to stop at every single one of them and buy something because they are gluten free. Am I right? Ok, at least, for me, I’m right! When you’re GAPS, you set up the boundaries like this: I don’t eat sugar, I don’t eat grains, I don’t eat packaged goods, I don’t eat artificial colors, I don’t eat artificial flavorings,” ETC. And you just know what you eat, and you don’t veer from that path.
- No wondering “was I glutenized??” If you get sick while you’re on GAPS, one of the following is true: A. you’re in the early stages and you’re detoxing from all of the sugar and chemical containing “gluten-free” stuff that you ate or B. you’ve got the flu or C. you’ve just figured out a food that your body doesn’t like. Yay for you! Leave it to GAPS to help you find these foods–remember when you were gluten free and you felt like this? You just thought you’d accidentally eaten gluten! Since you’re eating so simply on GAPS, it’s easy to figure out what the real culprit is!
- Less (or no!) baking involved, on GAPS. You might not like this. You might LOVE baking fancy cupcakes for every holiday (ahem. That used to be me.). No problem–if you LIKE baking, you CAN bake on GAPS (see the recipes on this very site!). But if you don’t like baking, no problem–a GAPS meal is totally complete without bread, muffins, cupcakes, scones, cookies, etc. Make some soup, and you’re set. On GAPS, I’ve found it much easier to make totally filling 1-dish meals. (This morning we had a soup with ground beef, peas, onions, garlic, a really rich chicken feet stock, and some bacon grease. It was super filling and we only ate half the pot–so we had the rest for lunch! Everyone liked it and it was easy–and it didn’t involve ANY baking!).
- You will feel better on GAPS. If you’re eating gluten free, and you’re still not feeling well–or if you just kind of feel “ok,” please try GAPS! When I eat gluten free, so many of my symptoms come back. My muscles stick together. I gain weight. I have acid reflux. I have tummy aches (and all of the digestive loveliness that goes with that). I’m tired and I have to take more naps. I feel weak. I get less done around the house and then I feel like a failure. Just TWO DAYS back on GAPS has me feeling awesome again! TRY IT and see!
- Your gut will actually heal on GAPS. Before the 1950′s, Celiac Disease was a “starch intolerance.” There was a doctor who did a study on 10 patients, and he decided that gluten was the culprit. Ever since then, that is what our medical community has clung to–gluten, not starch. The truth of the matter is, if you were to check biopsies of many “Celiac” patients who have been eating gluten free, religiously, their gut will still not be healed. This is because gluten isn’t their only issue…Try GAPS and see what it does for your gut!