It’s now the weekend and I am in struggle town! It’s easy enough to feign disinterest during the week but Friday to Sunday, temptations abound. Dinner invitations, coffee and cake, wine, beer and of course, dessert. GAPS is first and foremost a gut it healing diet but it is also a gluten-free, alcohol-free and sugar-free diet and I am an addict of all of the above!
I’m sitting here on a Saturday night sipping a bottle of San Pellegrino mineral water through a straw and this is my big treat? Wow, wild party. Gone are the days when I would down half a bottle of spirits a night and feel fine the next morning, but how I long for a glass of Barossa Valley shiraz viogner!
I have actually been surprised how much easier the GAPS diet has been so far compared to other diets I’ve tried in the past. For starters, every other diet was embarked upon with an intention to lose weight, so for the first time I am actually allowed to eat if I get hungry (important) but what I’m finding really interesting is that I actually don’t feel hungry as often as I used to. In fact, my perception of hunger seems to have changed. Previously, I would have breakfast as soon as I got up, buy a coffee on the way to work, nibble a piece of fruit at morning tea (and wish it was a doughnut), eat a filling lunch, then a piece of fruit, then a cup of tea, then afternoon tea, then a snack when I left work, then dinner, dessert, supper and more tea. I was always craving something and no matter how much I ate, that craving would always return soon thereafter.
I do know what hunger feels like, I did the 40 hour famine with my girlfriends as a teen and I remember the churning agonising dizziness that hunger brings (also may be brought on by watching too many East 17 videos) but usually we don’t let ourselves get to that stage. In the developed world where food and wealth abounds, we stave off hunger pains at the first chirp of the baby bird. The second we think “I could be hungry” (aka: I am not currently stuffed to the gills) we instinctively eat. It is human nature of course, we just happen to live in a place where food is unnaturally available.
What I’m discovering with GAPS however is that I eat breakfast and then 12 o’clock rolls around and I am suddenly starving! It’s almost as though my stomach has travelled through time, totally unconscious that the morning has just gone. Could this be the satiety that people say eating fat brings? I always thought it was nonsens (my attempts to eat a high fat lunch and not snack until dinnertime were always thwarted by my hunger returning soon afterwards, inevitably resulting in me eating a high carb snack and consequently more calories than if I’d just had a normal lunch) but now I’m starting to suspect there may just be some sense to these claims.
The pre-emptive hunger warnings may have switched off but it doesn’t mean I’m not still thinking about sugar and booze… and mostly sugar. I knew I was addicted, but I never knew what a junkie I was until now. In the past I had gone on “sugar free” diets but I always had fruit, fresh and dried, it was my snack of choice. Now without any sugar at all, I am twitchy and irritable, tired and frankly, struggling to finish this sentence!
GAPS Intro isn’t really a “snacky diet either. It’s basically meat, broth and vegetables. Between meals, you’re pretty limited. Some GAPS people can have yoghurt, which was another of my favourite snacks before this diet, but alas my symptoms do not allow it. I am allowed a teaspoon of home fermented crème fraiche and a little honey once or twice a day and am introducing carrot juice, a quarter of a cup a day, but apart from those extravagant indulgences, it’s more meat, veg and broth. Other than that, I’ve been fighting of the cravings with peppermint, chamomile and ginger tea. There’s a fair bit of willpower involved but if you want something badly enough, you make it happen. At the beginning of all this I said I’d get better or die trying. Well I sure hope all this effort pays off because resisting sugar sure is killing me!