Everybody does weird diets sometimes, right?
I’ve chronicled past fascinations with them, and most of the time, if it’s totally out-there, un-sustainable (i.e., you live off avocados & chia seeds until the day you die, hopefully soon), it’s easy for me to turn away.
But over the past six or so months, I’ve become more and more convinced that there is a connection between what I’m eating and how I’m feeling. Which is overall, fine, as in, if I went to a doctor and had a physical she would likely tell me I am “the picture of health” or something equally encouraging. And if I complained to her about the little things that bother me (brain fog, minor anxiety, minor aches & pains) she would likely tell me that I’m just a mother to three young children, or that I’m nearing 40, or that she can write me a script that will make it all go away.
For a few years now, following various “real-food” blogs, I had heard about people doing the GAPS (Gut & Psychology Syndrome) diet. I connected it mainly with parents using it to alleviate symptoms of autism in their children, and it seemed extreme, so I saw no reason to investigate further. But a couple months ago my naturopath convinced me to read the book. And when I did, it was so logical in its description of how the health of your gut is directly related to everything from depression to chronic pain — I decided it was worth giving a try.
But aren’t those decisions always so much easier said than done?
I didn’t really mean to start it last week. I meant to have a plan. The diet is designed to be temporary (2 months to 2 or more years), but during that time you eat no grains whatsoever. Also, no starchy fruits and vegetables (i.e., potatoes, yams, etc.). No refined sugar. In some cases (ahem… mine), no dairy.
Lots of eggs, bone broths, soups, ferments, and fats from coconuts and animals. And nuts. As long as they are soaked overnight, you can eat just about any nut or seed.
So last week, I had all this bone broth in my freezer. I had gotten to a point where I wasn’t eating much grain anyway, it just didn’t taste good to me. Dairy was also something I had been avoiding. I figured, why not go ahead and do this?
It began innocently enough, by having a hot cup of chicken broth one morning for breakfast. At lunch, a plate of leafy greens with leftover chicken. For dinner, coconut lamb curry. By bedtime, the diet was on.
But then the next day, mid-morning, after my brothy breakfast, I was hungry. And couldn’t find a single thing to eat. I wanted cheese & crackers, but those are both off-limits. I scrounged through my GAPS cookbook and found a recipe for grain-free “flatbreads:” eggs, almond flour, almond milk, salt. I cooked them up, and gnawed unsatisfactorily — a spongy, eggy pancake topped with almond butter wasn’t what my brain had in mind.
So I washed it all down with more bone broth.
Really, now. Don’t all of you jump on this bandwagon with me at once, it might get tippy.
The thing is, it’s not bad to have to re-think what I eat, how I snack, what I rely on that might not be the best thing for my body. And it is usually interesting to me, having to cook with ingredient restrictions (i.e., gluten or grain-free, dairy-free, vegan, etc.) But right now my options feel suffocatingly limited. It’s been less than a week, but if I never saw another nut-based food item again I’d die a happy woman.
I had a dream the other night, that I was sitting in the kitchen of one of my favorite real-food bloggers, surrounded by all these other like-minded bloggers, and I was asking them, over and over: But did any of you see any improvement in your health after being on the GAPS diet? Over and over I asked, all night long, and never got an answer (darned sub-conscious, with its inability to work through problems to which I don’t already have a solution).
As of this morning I’m still on it, trying to find new ways to make snack foods, easy dinner modifications, and the like. But I’ll be honest — right about now, January is seeming like a much better time to start a wacky diet. What else will there be to do? Everyone else will be doing there detoxes and cleanses, I could at least have some company in the land of the deprived.
Stick with it? Postpone until the New Year? You’ll know the answer in coming weeks, as you notice whether all my posts become variations of things containing almonds.
* This is not my photo, stunning as it may be. When I went to shoot something this morning, I found I was ironically out of almonds.
This post is linked up to Simple Lives Thursday, via GNOWFGLINS.