My first journey on the GAPS introduction diet was right before the big holidays. You’ve guessed it, I dove right in to stage 1 right before Thanksgiving and Christmas. Holidays are a special time to gather around the table and to visit with loved ones near and far. For someone on GAPS or any special diet, looking forward to these occasions can bring a sense of emotional distraught and stress. I know this feeling all too well and it can be overwhelming. I want to provide you with encouragement and hope that this will get easier and it is possible to still enjoy the holidays!
Depending on where you are on your GAPS diet journey will definitely impact how you can proceed with celebratory food gatherings. If you are on the introduction diet, you will obviously be more limited than if you are on the Full GAPS diet when it comes to the holidays. No matter where you are in this season, please know you are not alone. Healing is never a straight and narrow path, black & white, clear as day road. There will be ups and downs, there will be set-backs, but there is deep healing taking place and this is what is most important. Always remind yourself of where you started and how far you have already come.
I want you to be able to feel confident going into this holiday season so you can avoid having to compromise or feeling left out.
The best way to ease stress on GAPS this holiday season is to prepare.
Ask ahead to see what is going to be served at the dinner table. There may be things you can safely eat if prepared properly, such as a juicy organic turkey! Although this may be unlikely, it may still be worthwhile to ask!
Plan out a dish or two that is GAPS approved to bring with you to a family gathering. This way you know you will safely have something you can eat and participate in. I share a lot of great recipes on my blog and IG page if you are ever looking for a new GAPS treat! (@HealthyGAPSMama). If you are feeling really ambitious, prepare an entire feast to bring along so everyone can participate in the full festivities!
Bring a special GAPS approved treat/dessert such as a GAPS pumpkin pie, pecan pie, or even something as simple as Russian Custard to enjoy.
Bring a distraction, such as a game, toy, etc to bring to your event so you are not focused on what everyone is eating. This can especially be helpful if your kids are also on the GAPS diet as it can often be more difficult for younger ones to resist the temptation of other foods if they are not yet able to fully understand why they are on the diet.
Talk to your family and friends. Let them know that you are on a special diet. Some people are more understanding than we think they will be. Others are often forgetful and will still offer you a non-approved dish, but just gently remind them of your restrictions. Make sure they are aware to not offer anyone on the diet any food items without checking with you prior to make sure these are approved.
Mistakes happen. Rest assured, it will happen, if not now, at some point in time it may. At your child’s school, at a friend’s house, at a gathering. As much as we want to protect our little ones, it is almost impossible for us to protect them 100% of the time. If your child gets ahold of something they shouldn’t, just breathe. It will be okay. Minor setbacks will surprise us in life, but we cannot over-stress this. It is helpful to have a homeopathic remedy on hand or some activated charcoal in cases where there is a reaction or issue.
At the end of the day, remind yourself why you are doing this for yourself, your family, your kids. Remaining compliant on the GAPS diet during the holiday season can be tricky and trying at times. Focus on the reasons you are on the diet, the healing that is taking place, and how much it is needed. When you sit back and reflect on this, the sacrifice of giving up traditional food items becomes beyond worth it. It will get easier, I can tell you this in my own experiences on my GAPS journey.
Don’t let the stress and worry about enjoying the holidays steal you of your ability to truly enjoy the day. Prepare ahead of time, sit back and relax and enjoy your family. This holiday season may look a little bit different for everyone, but we will get through this together. Enjoy each moment with your family even if it may be your immediate family, a close friend, whomever. Enjoy the little moments and leave out the stress and overthinking. Time passes way too quickly! We can expect that different challenges like this will arise as life continues, but we can control how we react and respond to these situations. I hope your upcoming GAPS holiday is enjoyable and as stress-free as possible! I will list a few Thanksgiving GAPS recipes below for you to check out!
Take care for now! Jillian
GAPS Cranberry Sauce
· 12 oz Fresh Cranberries
· ¾ Cup Fresh Pressed Orange Juice
· ½ Cup Honey
1. Combine cranberries, orange juice, and honey in a saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until berries pop and sauce thicken about 10-15 minutes.
2. Cool completely and refrigerate.
Recipe from Here.
GAPS Butternut Squash Casserole
· 8 Cups of Cooked Butternut Squash, cubed
· 1 Can Coconut Milk (or 1 ¾ Cup grass-fed heavy cream)
· 4 Eggs
· ½ Cup Honey
· 2/3 Cup Coconut Oil or Butter, melted
· 1 tsp Vanilla
· 1 tsp Sea Salt
· 1 tsp Cinnamon
· 2 ¼ Cups of Pecans
· 3 Tbsp Coconut Flour
· 3 Egg Yolks
· 2 Tbsp of Honey
· 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
· ¾ tsp Cinnamon
· 1/8 tsp & pinch of Salt
1. Grease 9x13 dish with animal fat & set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Place all ingredients into food processor and blend until smooth.
3. Pour puree into the casserole dish and smooth. Make your crumb Topping.
4. To make crumb topping, in clean food processer, blend walnuts.
5. Add remaining ingredients and blend until clumping together.
6. Sprinkle on top of casserole. Bake for 45 minutes, if browning too quickly cover it loosely. Cook for about another 15-20 minutes until center is slightly jiggly but not fully set. You can also make this dish ahead of time and freeze.
Recipe from Here.
GAPS Pecan Pie
· 2/3 Cup Raw Cashew Butter
· 1 ½ Cup Chopped Pecans
· 3 Cardamom Pods, Seeds Removed & Ground (Optional- I left this out for mine and still tasted great!)
· 5-7 Fresh Dates, Seeded & Chopped
· Pinch of Salt
· ¼ Cup Almond Flour
· 2 Tbsp Butter or Coconut Oil
· 2/3 Cup Honey
· 2 Eggs
· 1 ½- 2 Cups Broken Pecan Pieces
· Dash of Salt
1. To make the crust: Mix all ingredients together and press into bottom of greased pie pan. Bake in oven at 300 degrees for 6-10 minutes until very lightly brown.
2. For the filling: Mix all ingredients and pour into pie crust. Place whole pecan halves around the outsides and more around the middle if you like. Bake at 300 degrees for 35-50 minutes.
Recipe from Here.
GAPS Bread Stuffing
· 1 lb of sausage or other meat
· 2 Tbsp butter or Ghee
· 1 Large Onion, chopped
· 2 Celery stalks, chopped
· ¼ Cup Parsley, Chopped
· 10 Sage Leaves, Chopped
· ½ tsp Sea Salt
· ¼ tsp black pepper
· 1 Grain-Free Bread or Cornbread Recipe (Here). Cubed and left out uncovered over night.
· 1 Cup Chicken Stock
· 3 Eggs
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook meat over medium heat in fat. Remove meat from pan. Melt butter in the skillet, add onions and celery to cook.
2. Stir in sage, parsley, salt and pepper.
3. Pour mixture into 9x13 or two 8x8 baking dishes. Whisk chicken stock and eggs in medium bowl & pour over top of mixture.
4. Bake 30-35 minutes until top is golden brown.
Recipe from Here.
GAPS Dinner Muffins