The GAPS Diet (And Why It’s Personal)

My wife is on the GAPS diet.

I know. Boooooooring.

Just kiddin’.

It’s not easy. Let that be clear. Especially in a city like Portland where it is one’s civil duty to eat good food and drink beer.

The GAPS diet is an anti-inflammatory gut-healing diet. It’s usually meant to help people who have intestinal damage, stomach issues and allergies. Its list of benefits are unmatched with any other diet.

The foods you can eat are pretty limited. Especially at first. Mostly home made bone broth and/or veggies and meat cooked in bone broth. Then you can start adding other real foods in slowly. Eggs. Avocado. Almond butter. Coconut oil. Eventually working your way up to eating the basic Paleo diet. Or “normal Gaps” or whatever people want it to be called.

But for Hannah, it’s more about the allergies. A restoration of the body.


Eating bone broth for lunch and dinner every day isn’t easy, even for the hard core soup lovers out there.

The thing is, I’m not on the diet with her. At first, I had my fist in the air shouting “Solidarity!”, but as soon as I woke up to the smell of chicken stock, I was suddenly aware that unless I had to, I couldn’t swing it this time.

It’s not easy if your out and about all the time. Some people take off a week to start the diet. It drains you. It makes you crave all the crap that made you sick in the first place. You have to cook at home consistently. It makes your irritable. For those of us who take a great joy in eating with one another, the journey can be a testament to one’s relationship.

And I know I’m making this sound dramatic. I should explain.

I don’t think I would have gotten as deep into cooking if I wasn’t living with another person who also enjoyed good food. Cooking for Hannah has opened up everything for me. It has given me the space to create and nourish.

It’s given me an imagination and fulfills my need to be hospitable.

I love being able to feed her.

So when all I can do is a put a big pot on the stove, throw in a chicken and some veggies and let it go — it’s just slightly unsatisfying. Especially when I’m eating a killer pork chop and she’s eating a cooked to death chicken leg in a bowl of murky broth. Mmmm.

But it’s important to me that she feel better. Hands down. All this goopey love stuff draws out some really interesting things.

Food eaten and shared with others tastes better. I know I can make a pork chop taste great, but that’s not enough for me. I want others to share in that. I want to wash their dishes and see where they ate up everything.

It’s interesting when you share meals with the same people every day. It’s that ritual of the communal table. Whether that table be the couch watching The Walking Dead or an actual table, with flowers and stuff.

I’m so, so proud of her.

How she turns down the opportunity to cheat and how she hasn’t had coffee in weeks. These are hard, hard things. It takes a strong will and deep ferocious belly to keep going.

I’m doing what I can, but can only go so long without cooking bacon and cornbread. Both of which I cooked on the same day. Both of which happen to be the best smells coming from a kitchen.

I know.

I’m terrible.

But I have to stay on my toes. I can’t go gettin’ all soggy on broth.

Because this diet is personal. Right down to the murky brown where all that goodness resides.

Healing. Restoration. Balance. Control.

I’ll take that over a pork chop any day.



5 responses to “The GAPS Diet (And Why It’s Personal)”

  1. Must be so difficult. I just dined last night at Andina it was wonderful. Some times I head out of Beaverton to hit up the food carts. Must be very hard with the wonderful smells lurking on every corner in PDX.

  2. Inspiring! I am in need of a cleanse and keep giving in to cravings. Gotta get my head on straight and heal! GAPS is a bit too strict for me at the moment, but I am a big fan of Paleo.

  3. As all therapies, diet too is a family thing – support is as important as other ingredients. You must give support!
    And you make an interesting point with ‘ great joy in eating with one another’ – in my language there is a saying ‘until you’ve shared bread and bed with someone, you do not know that person’ ( I think its’ even synonym for marriage in the old texts and laws ).

  4. For me, the Master Cleanser is the only cleansing diet I am able to do. There’s something in my brain that says if I’m eating food I may as well EAT! But fasting is a much easier discipline for me. I actually did my best cooking (for my family) while fasting. It’s weird, I know (so am I).

    Anyway, to thebergermeister: you might find a liquid cleanse easier to do. Just be careful how long or how often … it can mess with your thyroid (as I learned). But it is an amazing healer!

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