I got the question the other day, and I guess the answer would be, “It depends.”
My real food journey began back in high school, when I started experimenting with eliminating gluten, sugar, and dairy in an attempt to clear my body of eczema.
How I did a modified version of the GAPS diet by complete accident.
Lucky for me, my body responds dramatically to, well, everything! I used to feel like this was a curse, but now I consider it a blessing.
If I eat something my body doesn’t like, it will reject it, detox through my skin via rashes and hives, give me flu-like symptoms, swelling/inflammation, and a number of other uncomfortable things.
I began gradually switching what I ate based on how my body felt when I ate things. And when I started trying different foods (real food), I didn’t get the symptoms.
I realize that not everyone gets severe reactions like I do, but I definitely recommend analyzing the way your body feels after you consume certain foods.
I have a friend who tried maple syrup for the first time this year on her pancakes, and after eating, she exclaimed in surprise, “Hey! My stomach doesn’t hurt!” She had assumed that eating Aunt Jemima meant a stomach ache—that it was an unavoidable part of eating pancakes. But eating shouldn’t make your body hurt!
It also helps to identify things one-at-a-time.
For example, I would eat one thing, and if I had no reaction, then I would add something else to it next time. If I had a reaction, I knew it was the new thing and not the old thing. Make sense?
I wasn’t following any specific diet regimen, so there wasn’t anything to cheat at, but for best results, if you’re following GAPS, I wouldn’t cheat!
My modified version of GAPS looked something like this:
Grassfed beef & lamb
Pastured soy-free eggs
Raw grassfed dairy only, including milk, kefir, cheese, and butter
Raw organic almonds
Raw organic cashews
Bone broths ONLY (no store bought flavored water!)
Organic greens and vegetables
VERY limited organic fruit, when in season
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pastured organic ghee
Raw honey and Grade B Organic Maple Syrup (no sugar)
Lots of spices
A limited amount of organic rice
When I did eat grains, it was organic quinoa
Sweet potatoes only
Organic cocoa butter
I did not consume alternative milks (like coconut, soy, or almond), other gluten free grains, bread, anything packaged, anything with preservatives, alcohol, GMO oils, condiments like ketchup that were non-organic, or many starches.
It was only after I’d been doing this for a couple years-ish and seeing rapid improvement that I even heard the word “Paleo” or learned of the GAPS diet or WAPF, and when I discovered I was already doing parts of each of those, I was very excited to know there were other people like me out there. I started the blog a few months after that, and the rest is history. :)