Please welcome Mindy from Too Many Jars In My Kitchen! She’s here to help us understand the importance of not going low-carb on GAPS. My family and I know all too well that if you go too low, your energy suffers. During one week on the GAPS Intro Diet, when salad greens came in season, we ate more salads than higher carbohydrate vegetables. And, boy, did we drag that week! Lesson learned. –Wardee
Is the GAPS diet a low carbohydrate diet? At first glance, it may seem like it is. With the removal of grains, potatoes, and sugar, it can be similar to other popular low-carb diets. But does it have to be? Let’s take a closer look.
Should GAPS be Low Carb?
Is GAPS even supposed to be low carb? According to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, it “does not have to be low-carb.” She also mentions that the “GAPS diet generally is not a ketogenic diet. Every person needs to find the right individual balance between meats and vegetables.” (Source, see page 14 and pages 22-23.)
While GAPS is not designed to be a low-carb diet, it can end up that way if you’re not careful about the types and amounts of food that you’re consuming.
Are You Too Low Carb?
How do you define low carb, anyway? After doing a little digging, I found that the amount of grams of carbohydrates on various low carbohydrate diets varies quite a bit, anywhere from 40 to 200 grams per day. Anything less than 50 grams per day would typically put someone into a state of ketosis, and wouldn’t provide enough nutrients from the food you’re eating.
How can you tell if you’re getting enough carbs? Is it necessary to track them? While I’ve been on the GAPS diet, I haven’t actually tracked the amount of carbs that I’ve been eating. Instead, I’ve looked to physical signs to help indicate whether I’m getting a little too low or not. When I feel extremely tired and lack energy, I know that I’m not eating enough carbohydrate foods. [Wardee: same for us!]
Eating Enough Carbs on GAPS
It can be easy for those on the GAPS Diet to accidentally end up eating too few carbs. Here are some great choices for keeping your carb level up to sustain your energy.
Winter squash. Butternut squash, acorn squash, and spaghetti squash are just a few of the great options available. They can be roasted, stuffed, made into “fries,” cooked in the crock pot, or turned into a variety of soups. Since starting GAPS, I’ve really come to love a wide variety of squash. [Wardee: We do, too, plus we love veggies like carrots or green beans.]
Beans. While most beans are not allowed on GAPS, there are a few available and you’ll want to be sure to regularly include them. Lentils, navy beans, and lima beans make wonderful additions as side dishes or added to soups. [Wardee: I made refried beans out of navy beans last night and they were delish. ]
Cooked onions. I find a large side of cooked onions to be especially satisfying. I often add cooked onions, along with mushrooms or greens, as a side at breakfast or served on top of pastured meats.
Dairy. If you can tolerate it, homemade yogurt and kefir can provide a wonderful and delicious source of carbohydrates. GAPS-legal cheese is another great addition to meals.
Fruit. This can be an excellent way to add in carbohydrates between meals. You can just have a piece of fruit, or even better, dip it into some whipped coconut cream or yogurt cheese. Or what about a smoothie?
Honey. While you don’t want to go crazy with the amount of honey you’re consuming, it’s another great way to increase carbohydrates. I love to add a little touch of it to nut butter pancakes as a part of my breakfast.
So, is GAPS just a low-carb diet? No! By paying attention to the carbs you’re including in your diet, you can avoid going too low. All it takes is a little awareness. And onions.
Whether or not you’re on GAPS, what do you eat to keep your carbs up? Please share your favorite tips or recipes in the comments. And be sure to say hi to Mindy!