Leola from The Urban Hearth is our guest today, and she’s a breath of fresh air! Why? Because she’s talking baby steps. Baby steps are gooooood. They make changes doable without overwhelm. If you’re new to traditional foods, new to whole foods, or starting GAPS, you’ll be inspired by Leola’s story.
I remember feeling overwhelmed when I finished reading the GAPS book. How would I be able to implement this healing protocol in my condition? I was working part-time at a very busy medical clinic and part-time as a homemaker, dealing with chronic Epstein-Barr Virus, a low functioning immune system, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. In order to keep up, I had to take lots of breaks at home and get lots of sleep.
Before I go on to tell you how I started GAPS slowly, please let me give you a brief peek into our family life and how we were eating at the time of the transition.
Since we all have very different schedules during the week, we each make our own breakfast and lunch, but usually get together for dinner. I felt we were eating fairly well, but there were many improvements to make. Dinners almost always consisted of protein, steamed vegetable, green salad and a starch which was usually brown rice, but occasionally potatoes and rarely pasta.
We almost never ate sweets besides fruit because I gave up sugar and baking years ago due to my health issues and almost never have snack foods around except for crackers, especially Triscuits! Our fridge, though, contained the normal condiments, full of corn syrup and additives.
We always kept frozen foods from Costco in the freezer in case someone was hungry and didn’t feel like making anything, or for if my husband and I were too tired to make anything after work. This is an area I hope to change down the road because we still keep frozen food in the freezer for my husband’s lunches.
When GAPS entered the picture, we continued eating as we were, but as we ran out of each item, it was replaced with a GAPS-legal or clean food. This helped keep our costs down.
Baby Steps to Full GAPS
I really didn’t know how I was going to do the Intro GAPS diet and keep up with all my other responsibilities, so I decided to start with the Full GAPS diet and tackle the Intro diet at a later date, if necessary.
My first step was to find a local, organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). I had determined it was important to eat organically and support my local community. After asking around online, I was directed to the website Eatwild.com and found a local farmer about 15 minutes from my home. I contacted him, and we made an appointment to meet in a few days.
My whole family went to meet him. He showed us around the farm and answered all of our questions to our satisfaction. We were all very pleased with his operation and signed up right away.
The CSA didn’t start right away, so I spent lots of time driving all over my area comparing prices, reading labels and asking lots of questions. I was finally able to find local grass-fed beef and bones at a local butcher and my local grocery store had an organic section, but finding pastured, soy-free chickens was almost impossible. I had to settle for free-range, organic chickens while I waited for the chickens from my CSA to be ready.
I had the same problem with eggs. It took several months to find local, pastured, soy-free eggs, and they were very spendy!
My next step was to change my cookware and purchase a few appliances. We were cooking on Teflon, which is a big no-no due to a possible cancer link. Within a few weeks I was able to transition over to stainless steel and cast iron by purchasing one pan at a time.
My husband and I discussed making room in the budget for getting an Excalibur dehydrator. I chose to purchase a dehydrator to make my yogurt instead of purchasing both a yogurt maker and a dehydrator. The Excalibur has a temperature control and can be kept at the required 110 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours to make GAPS yogurt. It would also be used to dry soaked nuts and seeds, so I could kill two birds with one stone with only one appliance.
I also needed a new crock pot for broth. After doing some research, I chose a Hamilton Beach slow cooker because the company claimed they did not use any lead or cadmium in the glaze. I also liked the oval shape because a whole chicken would fit it very nicely.
Let’s Get Cooking
During this time I was only shopping for GAPS-allowed foods and avoiding all the other foods. I added the routine of making broth so I always had it available whenever I wanted. Once or twice a week, I added another GAPS food to my routine like ghee, sauerkraut, or yogurt so they were always readily available. Eventually, I learned how to make beet kvass, kefir, and kombucha, too!
My breakfasts and lunches were completely GAPS meals and our dinners, too, began to look like GAPS meals with some kind of starch for my husband. Our daughter was on SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet), so she ate more like me.
The entire transition took about three months, and I have been on the Full GAPS diet for over a year. Even though I have experienced some really good healing, I know there is more to come. I plan to start the Intro GAPS diet in a couple weeks and have been preparing for it for the last few months. If you would like to follow my progress, I will be writing about it on my blog.
Thank you, again, Wardee for allowing me to write to your readers about my experience. I hope this post is encouraging and demonstrates that the GAPS diet does not have to be overwhelming. God bless you all! [Thank you, Leola! --Wardee]
Leola lives with her husband and adult daughter on a small urban homestead in the Seattle area. Having grown up on a family farm in Oregon, she is returning to her roots. This year she and her husband purchased some chickens and planted a small garden in their backyard flowerbed. The GAPS diet is helping her heal from several health issues she’s had all her adult life. Because Leola has been a gardener since she was young, she has a strong desire to teach others that they can garden no matter where they live. She blogs about her adventures on the homestead and in the kitchen at TheUrbanHearth.com.