Just a personal note here today to say that if you are struggling with sticking to the diet you need to keep for health reasons, you’re not alone. Some days it’s easy, some days it’s harder. Summer party season is on and I’ve been so tempted! Winter holidays are full of temptations with all the focus on cookies, cakes, pies, and breads. On the face of it, summer would be easier for a strictly gluten-free GAPSter like me… after all, most things that go on the grill are naturally gluten-free and GAPS legal!But that’s where the trouble comes in. At a birthday party there’s watermelon… safe treat for the kid who can’t have the cake, right? Go look at the cutting board. Yup… the bread knife was used to cut it on the same cutting board used for the bread. At a BBQ the steak and veggies smell and look amazing! But have gluten-containing marinades or spices been used? What about that grill? And the paella smells freakin’ increadible. But again, those seasonings from a glutened kitchen, and pre-made sausage is in it that could have gluten.
Sometimes it’s easy. I show up to the party and have a great time without giving it a second thought. Other times I realize I just can’t handle it, drive home in tears, and cook my own safe dinner in my messy kitchen, all alone.
I don’t notice symptoms from trace gluten immediately. But I know what happens to me in the long run. I lose my mind, in addition to all the physical problems that come back. My son gets sick within a couple hours and is knocked out for days.
People talk about the 80/20 rule… that you don’t have to stay on your diet all the time, that a bit of relaxation about it is healthy. I agree, for the most part. Sticking rigidly to a diet plan generally sets you up for failure. Giving yourself permission to choose any food you want can be a good strategy to stave off feelings of deprivation and get out of that success/failure mindset.
That’s how we treat GAPS now that we’re through the initial changes and feel mostly healed up. (Though it’s more of a 99.9/.1 rule for us in practice.) If I eat a few gluten-free corn chips at a party, have some (soy-sauce free!) sushi, or hey, bust into a pack of store bought gluten-free cookies, it’s not the end of the world. As long as it’s more of an every-couple-of-months thing rather than an every week or every day thing, I stay on track.
But I do have my hard line at the gluten – it’s just not worth the long term damage to my body and mind or the short term misery to take my chances. But the further away I am from how bad I felt, the harder it is to remember why I’m doing it. The longer it’s been since I was sick, physically and mentally, the more tempted I am by foods I used to love. The higher quality the food is, the easier it is to overlook potential cross-contamination issues.
Have you found it’s harder to stick to the plan now that you feel better? How do you remind yourself to stay on track?