Over the past couple of years I have gone from eating a more conventional diet, to adopting a Paleo diet in the form of the GAPS diet, and more recently, switching to the Paleo AutoImmune Protocol (or Paleo AIP for short). In this post, I’ll discuss how I went from my conventional diet, albeit one that mainly had me eating organic food, to starting to eat Paleo via beginning the GAPS diet.
During 2014 I noticed I was gaining weight, and when I reached around the top of my healthy weight range, I decided to change how I ate. I had gone through a period of not eating as well, and was mainly living on bread and lentil soup. And, I gained about 3 kg in a few months. I probably had put about 8 or 9 kg on since I started living independently again. So, my initial motivation was about losing the weight, partly because I didn’t like myself that weight, but also I didn’t want to have any more health problems related to excess weight.
When I decided to change how I ate, I looked first at what I was eating, and decided to first to stop eating starchy carbs in the evening, and increase the amount of protein and fat. I made the decision in September, and by December, by tweaking my diet and exercise, I’d lost a few kilos. Unrelated to my quest to lose weight, I decided to go gluten-free at the start of 2015. I have a good friend whose own health has improved after doing so, so I decided to try it myself. I didn’t notice any major changes after doing so.
In about March 2015 I discovered the GAPS diet, through a webinar I had watched. So, I went and borrowed a copy of Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell-McBride. After reading it, I decided that it was worth trying, though I did wait a few months before doing so.
The GAPS diet is Paleo, in that it forbids processed foods, sugar, and grains. Moreover, it is designed to heal a leaky gut, or what is more correctly called increased intestinal permeability. It also emphasises eating healthy, animal fats; meat and fish; all vegetables except most starchy ones (e.g, potatoes, sweet potato, parsnip). It essentially is a type of elimination diet, especially if you start by undertaking the Introductory diet. There are 6 steps in that, and each one can be done in a couple of days, though in my case it took me a lot longer. At each stage certain foods introduced and tested for reactions. After you have been through the Introductory diet, you are meant to stay on the full GAPS diet for at least 2 years before thinking about introducing non-GAPS foods.
In the same webinar, I first heard of fermented vegetables. So, I borrowed books on the subject, then started to ferment vegetables. After I saw my library recommending a book on fermented and cultured beverages, I borrowed it. And, shortly after that I was fermenting both milk kefir and kombucha on a regular basis, and I also started fermenting water kefir, though my first lot of water grains weren’t a great success.
A couple of months later, I finally stated stage 1 of the GAPS diet. Within a week or two of starting stage 1, I noticed that I was losing weight. Yeah, I was told that was because I wasn’t eating anything other than soup, as that’s all you’re allowed during stage 1. But, I was never hungry. And, I found over the coming months, that I was so much more satisfied by food than I had been for a long time. After a few months, I had got back to the size I was for most of my 20s and 30s. I’ve essentially reversed any middle-age spread.
So, I discovered Paleo through adopting the GAPS diet. But, this is only the first part of the transformation of my diet, and my attitude to food. Please stay tuned for my follow-up blog post on how I transformed my diet.