If you are anything like me, you were shocked to see how many toxins you and your family are exposing yourselves to in the home. It is just so easy to got to the store and buy an easy solution to use.
So what can we do to reduce the toxic overload, that doesn't cost the earth and actually works.
You will find plenty of websites giving fancy home-made cleaning products, but I have to say that I don't have time to make them, so we use the bare minimum. Here is my basic cleaning kit and what I use it for.
Spray bottle of cheap white vinegar, diluted 50/50 with water.
This is my 'go to' for all kitchen purposes. Vinegar cuts through grease and has disinfecting properties. It is my kitchen work surface top spray, and my quick bathroom cleaner. Yes I even spray the toilets with it.
Many would like to claim that vinegar 'doesn't work', but our family has been using it for several years now effectively. We have never had food poisoning and only Husband has contracted Tummy bug from work.
We try to use 'green' cleaning liquids when we have to, like Ecover or Bio D, but the best place to compare green credentials of products is to look on the Environmental Working Group web-site (although they don't seem to do all UK based companies so not exhaustive):
For Personal products in the bathroom, we use:
Most of our baths now are detox baths with 1/2 cup bicarbonate of soda, cider vinegar or rarely Epsom Salts. So we are not using bottles of bubble bath/shower gel.
Natural ways to heal
These boxes by 'Clic-tite' are compact enough, and have one large compartment which I use for the meat, and two smaller compartments, one which I use for salad and the other for a snack. Conveniently I can fit two of them in a small cool bag with an ice block. This meant that before lunch the strongest two people carried a small cool bag each either inside their rucksack or in addition to it, but after lunch everyone took their own box in their own bag to help lighten the load.
We also had a little pot of sour cream, strawberries (or other preferred fruit) and honey, or chocolate gelatine each, which again was carried in a smaller cool bag by a third person.
These pots come in packs of two.
Each person carried their own drink. For our trips with rucksacks only, these started us off, but we needed to buy more water. but they were nice big bottles with 700 ml capacity. You can get smaller ones for younger family members. I have bought many drinks bottles over the years, some are very difficult to clean, most leak! I have to say these are the best I've found yet. We do put them in a plastic bag in case of leakage, but they haven't so far!
So we had meat, cheese, eggs, salad (including soaked nuts and raisins for those who like), sauerkraut, snack and a pot of dessert. We also bought a Nak'd bar for the journey home on a long day.
The weekend before our sailing week, when we took the car, I planned the menu and roasted 2 meals worth of chicken quarters, and froze them Husband and son 1 can manage a whole one each, son 2 and myself need less meat.
I also bought turkey and beef slices from the butchers (with no additives). I made enough soup for the week ahead and froze it in 1 litre quantities. I baked enough treats for the week. We had chocolate muffins! (see recipe here - just make the batter and put it in individual muffin cases instead of cake tins, makes about 18 - bake for 25 mins). I also boiled a weeks worth of eggs. It helped to keep the menu fairly similar each day so that I wasn't spending time I hadn't got thinking up new things.
This meant that Sons could help put the boxes together as I just told them what each box needed and it was simply an assembly job. I pulled the frozen chicken out of the freezer the same morning and didn't put it in a cool bag and it was defrosted by lunchtime. I could have defrosted it the night before. Chicken made a handy finger food. Sometimes we marinate it for extra flavour but we didn't have time for that this time.
Don't forget enough spoons and serviettes for sticky fingers and to avoid wipes and all their chemicals we always pack a damp flannel in a re-sealable bag.
Plan ahead as well for your evening meal. It's not much fun to go out all day and come back to a meal to prepare, so while the children pack the picnic, prepare the veg for tea, and put it in the slow cooker all day with the meat then you can walk back in the door to a delicious aroma!
Firstly, do not think the healing is all over by the end of the intro. You may have seen big improvements and hopefully you will have done, but more is yet to come! Your stomach at this stage is extremely sensitive to anything it doesn't like or can't digest well. It just isn't the same stomach you had before you started. It is all too easy to be tempted to jump into full GAPS with both feet and find your stomach reeling, or symptoms returning.
It really is a case of continuing the intro diet mentality, of one small change at a time, and introduce just a little, watch and see, then increase the amount. It's just that now you have more freedom over what you introduce!
Do continue to keep a diary. Record every ingredient that is new, not just the general food. E.g. it's easy to write 'banana muffin', but does that have nuts or coconut flour, or eggs, honey/dates. Be specific.
Also record what you did that day and how well you slept, so you can gauge what might be making you tired. Any stomach discomfort should be recorded and when it occurred, along with bowel movement type using the Bristol Stool scale. Armed with this sort of detailed information it will make it easier to try and identify which food is causing problems. I say easier, as it is not always easy and it's sometimes only after a few weeks you begin to see a pattern emerging. It took us about two months of occasionally having avocado chocolate pudding to work out that avocados gave Son 1 an upset stomach. We made more progress once we removed it from his diet and his bowels have become more regular, he has less stomach discomfort and his skin and eczema have improved dramatically. Similarly I had been consuming fruit for weeks, and wondering why sometimes my stomach was as a calm as anything and at other times it was bloated and uncomfortable. I eventually twigged that is was too much fruit that caused it. Before I reached that stage I had taken out nuts and fruit to calm my stomach down completely and keep it like that for a few days. Then I tried nuts and they didn't produce a reaction, so I brought fruit back in, but being who I am, I am not good at regulating things. I suddenly decide I'd fancy some raisins, so gobble a handful while I'm cooking tea (not a good habit!). I have now reduced all fruit to only a small amount per day and I seem to tolerate that well, but I have yet to try banana as when I started joining Son 2 with banana pancake every day I felt bloated. Whether that was because it took me over my daily fruit threshold, or whether banana per se is the problem I am working towards discovering. One remembers that Dr. NCB says that any discomfort after a meal is caused by foods previously eaten, not the meal you have just had.
Similarly Husband hasn't had any major noticeable problems until I hit on the fact that he often has a lot of wind especially after red meat meals, which indicated that he probably isn't digesting them well. So now we are taking steps to increase his stomach acid before the main meal - taking sauerkraut and bone broth and keeping non-acidic fruits away from the meal, as Dr. NCB advised. We have sauerkraut with each meal but had gone to not having bone-broth with the main meal, only with the other two meals. This is working so far!
So you see, this takes patience and determination and lots of observation. You have to remember that it is not just a diet that you eat these foods for two years and come out the other end. It's a healing process and healing takes time after years of abuse. Learn to listen to your body and work with it.
Hopefully this will give you insight as to what the diet involves, how carefully you need to introduce new foods, the sort of records you need to keep and why and how you are really watching, watching watching all the time.
Full GAPS Diet
GAPS Intro Diet
GAPS Intro Stage 3
GAPS Intro Stage 4
GAPS Intro Stage 5
GAPS Intro Stage 6
GAPS Intro Stages 1 And 2
Preparing For The GAPs Intro Diet
Snacks And Treats