Monday, 25 July 2016

There's Gaps in Our Diet

I hate diets.

I don't particularly like being told that I can't have certain things... it tends to make me want them more.

I don't really care for cutting out whole food groups either, it just feels kind of... not unhealthy, but unbalanced.

But things here had to change.

Lion is diagnosed Aspergers. Monkey is undiagnosed something... I feel like it's Aspergers but with different traits to Lion (since we homeschool I'm not pursuing a diagnosis, it won't get extra funding or extra help or extra anything so we'll just plod along). Dragon has an unhealthy gut, without too many details, lets just call it "Mother's intuition". Butterfly is an unknown as yet. She shows a lot of the same "quirks" as Lion and Monkey, but is much more of a mimicker than any of the others were so I'm not sure how many are naturally her and how many are learnt behaviours. Wolf has his own gut issues which I'm sure he'd rather I didn't broadcast. Then there's me... My body is currently not absorbing iron like it should which as you an imagine presents issues when I lose a lot of iron on a monthly basis. I also have nerve damage that we suspect is from B12 deficiency related to the low iron (they are buddies and do everything together, apparently) or possibly Raynauds. I have mood swings that frustrate me and I know are better when my iron/B12 is where it should be, but I'm also so incredibly forgetful that remembering to take my supplements is not happening (and they make me feel sick).

So I researched. I looked into how our diet could help at least some of our issues. I was leaning towards a paleo-ish style menu but would probably still eat those treats that I like because the occasional treat wouldn't be that bad, right?  So I researched and looked and I knew that heaps of people had successfully eased many Aspergers symptoms/traits (I have no idea what to call them) on a wheat free diet so I assumed that would be a large part of what we did, but I'd just replace those things with wheat free replacements... how hard would that be... But I kept looking and coming back to this "Gaps" diet. I researched it some more and it seemed to offer the potential relief of so many of each persons issues. But I wanted something that wasn't just some quack offering to heal everything if you spend a million dollars on all their products. I wanted something backed by science, that still contained good food and wasn't going to leave my family lacking vital nutrition. The further I looked the better it looked. Then I started to see it mentioned on one of my favourite blogs/facebook groups, Quirky Cooking.  Except I realised that I was only just really noticing something she had been talking about for a long time. Jo had even written a program that is similar to what she implemented for her family to take on the Gaps diet. And the best part yet... it wasn't a forever diet! You heal your gut and get it functioning properly, at the same time you are figuring out what foods your body doesn't like, what doesn't work well for you and then you start to add back in foods that you can tolerate and slowly increase the variety you are eating. I LOVE VARIETY!!!

"But I don't need to spend any money, I can do this." I say as I keep researching and researching and slowly become more and more overwhelmed with what I would have to do. Okay, so I spent the money.

Lamb Tagine
One of the Stage 6 recipes Jo has produced

I am so glad I did. There is so much support and help and it's step by step... seriously, how good is that!!! There's a Facebook group for those on the program to chat and help each other and to reassure each other that whatever stage you are struggling on, it will get better.

Even better than all of that... it's not a 6 month membership. It's not a 12 month membership. It's a forever membership! That means that you can take your time to wrap your head around it, go through all of Jo's helpful videos and cheat sheets and read up on what helped other people and THEN start. You can slowly build the recipes into your family's menu plan before kicking off so that it's not such a shock (both to them and their gut) and if you fall off the wagon you don't have to worry about not completing the program, you can go back as far as you need or start again from the beginning and you won't run out of time, you won't get out of sync with the others on the program, you just do it at your own speed.

So here is Clan McTavish, at the starting line of Gaps. We have introduced a few meals from the menu plans that have been met with varied responses (lets just say we have discovered a mutual dislike for a few items which are now off all menus). We haven't bought a loaf of bread for over a week (that's a long time to go without bread for these kids). We have had our last meal of pasta. We finished our last bottle of milk this morning. We are ready to start... but when.

The kids are not keen. They aren't outright rebelling... mostly. But they aren't all for it. I kind of had this fairy land idea that when I explained to them the things that might get better with a diet change they would give up sugar and wheat and potatoes and every comfort food they've ever had on the promise of potential health benefits. Yeah, sounds stupid to me too now that I say it out loud.

So just a word of warning... I'm likely to blog our journey, maybe... that requires remembering to blog it... but it also will mean that I can go back and see how far we've come.  The blog is pretty quiet now, not many visitors still stumble past even when I do post, so it'll likely go rather unnoticed for the most part.

Another word of warning. I'm tired. Chronically tired. Posts are likely to be longish and boringish because I can barely string together two sentences, let alone a blog with cohesive thoughts. Though I'm hoping that's something that might improve. There's been many women reporting that their brain fog has lifted as they improved their diet... so lets see how we go.

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