Groceries and Food Waste

As we’re doing the GAPS Intro Challenge I’m getting frantic emails, presumably from people who just went to the grocery store and priced out organic free range meats and vegetables as they prepare to start the GAPS Intro.

Some common questions:

  • Is there a point to doing GAPS if I can’t afford all organic/pastured meats and eggs?
  • How important are organic veggies on the GAPS Diet?
  • How do I prioritize what to buy organic on GAPS?
  • How do I justify this expense? It’s 4 x what I usually spend on food!

You will still see an improvement even if using conventional (not organic) foods.

The Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet is based on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, which is a very easy to digest diet full of healthy fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.  Refined sugars are removed, along with gluten and grains, which often are causing hidden problems of inflammation in the body but go unnoticed because they are eaten so often.

Prioritize Organics with Animal foods, Ferments, and the ‘Dirty Dozen’

Animal foods are the most important to buy organic/grassfed.  When they are high quality food, they are even more nourishing.  The protein and fats in healthily raised animals are higher quality than conventionally raised meats, and will provide better fuel for the body to be nourished and heal.

The least expensive way that I’ve found to get meat is to get it directly from the farmers, in bulk. In Montana I found my farmer by visiting my local health food store, seeing what ‘local’ beef they were selling, and then contacting that farmer.  He sold it to me for about 60% of what the health food store was charging, and it was a win-win. He even delivered, but that was just a bonus!  In Arizona I found a butcher who did the whole thing- he raised cows, then owned the butcher shop that processed them too. I went in and asked him if he had cuts that were less expensive, or if he could put together a package of things that could cost less/pound. He happily did that, and I picked up one of his ‘packages’ once every 3 months or so.

Being an easy to please customer goes far with farmers.

If you can only choose some organic/grassfed foods, I would first choose to make my stock out of organic meat/bones. Then choose the rest of my meat to be organic.

For vegetables, because the ferments are so important in GAPS choose organics for ferments, juicing as well (organic juicing carrots aren’t expensive), and then either choose organic or avoid the dirty dozen- the list of foods with the most pesticide residue.


The expense of GAPS

The cost of food on the GAPS diet is often a shock- adding up the cost of meat alone is enough to make frugal grocery store shoppers twitch. There’s no doubt about it, grains are cheap fillers to round out meals and fill up bellies. I look at GAPS as being a medically necessary diet for my family. If a prescription medication could do all of what GAPS does, with no side effects, I know I would find a way to pay $200/month for this ‘medication’. In the same way, I see the money spent on food as an investment into my children’s health– money spent on the GAPS diet is money that isn’t spent on doctor’s visits, missed work due to health issues, tutors, adaptive equipment, and prescription medications.

Believe me, I know that sometimes the money just is not there to work with. In that case try to prioritize as I talked about above, or think about if there is any other way I can cut expenses or bring in a little extra income to pay for good quality food.  If it helps, when we started GAPS we had less money to spend per month than a family of our size would get on food stamps and we were still able to swing it.

Since we have a little more money to spend on groceries now, I don’t keep such a low budget because that just isn’t a huge priority for me right now- I’d rather cut in other areas and have a little more wiggle room with the groceries.


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