Thursday, April 19, 2012

GAPS for Men

My First Guest Post: by Eric Johnson, Man of the house.

I was cheerfully minding my own business, drinking a nice cold beer when my wife said “So....are you ready to get all the processed foods out of our house and start the intro to GAPS”? I knew what it was, we’d been talking about it indirectly for months, I’d seen that little yellow book lurking on every horizontal surface in every room of my home. I’d kicked it under the covers as I’d slept. I didn’t know what this book had inside but whatever it was, had began developing a serious relationship with my wife and it was making me nervous. After seeing many problems in our children due to the results of eating the Standard American Diet. I committed, I said “ok......I’ll give it a shot”. As soon as my beer, ice cream, leftover pizza, fettuccine, and tortillas are gone, we’ll start, noooo problem........

Day one GAPS.....No problem?!?!?!? NO PROBLEM?!?!?!? Where’s my coffee? Where’s my bread to dip in my soup? Where’s my CHEESE?!?!?! I was getting angry, and I was getting angry very quickly. I was beginning to hate myself for being a moral man, a man who doesn’t back out on commitments even if it gets tough, I don’t want to be tough, I want cold beer, hot pizza, and buffalo wings!!!! I was depressed, angry, irritated and felt worse than I had in my entire life.....

And then. I got on our scale. “Hey honey!!! I lost three pounds”! And that became a motivator for me, every day I lost an average of one to two pounds until I had lost a total of 25 and could see the ripples in my stomach muscles I hadn’t seen in a decade. WOW, this is a cool benefit of eating food that makes me want to kill myself, maybe there are some positives. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Up until day 10 I was miserable, depressed, had major cravings for lasagna, enchiladas, cheese, and for some reason tiramasu was a common craving not to mention pizza and chicken wings and I wanted a peanut buster parfait from Dairy Queen so bad I literally dreamt about it and got mad when I woke up! I didn’t miss the beer much. Those cravings came and went for about 3 weeks before they slowed down and now they are ancient history because there are so many excellent replacements on GAPS that I just don’t miss it, there are no cravings I can’t fill with what’s available to me. Food begins to come alive after not eating processed or artificial sweeteners for a while, your body begins to recognize the REAL food and it becomes energized, strong, confident and I look in the mirror to see what I want to see of myself. I’m actually healthy.

THE coolest thing along the way was my wife running her hand across my stomach and smiling at me as she looked me up and down and said “You are hot!!!!”. Yeah, screw peanut buster parfaits, pizza, and wings laced with toxic chemicals and high fructose corn syrup Pshhhh, I’m HOT!! My wife said so!! Pass me another cup of chicken stock and a highly overcooked piece of broccoli please, mmmmm mmmmm!!

Another benefit was the allergy relief, mine cleared up almost completely for a couple weeks when I was doing all the things I was supposed to be doing and the whole season has gone pretty easy for me despite a few bad days of die off. I’m healing, I’m learning the crap I put up with didn’t have to exist, I thought I would never be able to camp due to allergies, that woodworking which is my passion could never be an option as a career, that I would be fat forever and there was nothing I could do about it outside of 2 hours exercise each day and a family man who loves his wife and kids doesn’t give that time with them up! But I was wrong, making the commitment to eat this food and stay on this diet for two years was difficult for about 10 days, I mean really difficult for 10 days, there have been other challenges but that first hump was monumental Mon-u-MENTAL because it is mostly mental, we want something, someone is trying to tell us to eat something we don’t want to eat. It’s a change, we don’t like that either. But if I’m the man of my house and my family is under my care and protection and I find a way to keep them healthier, stronger, happier, safer even, it’s my responsibility to step up and take one for the team. Dad, if you can’t do it, they can’t either, if you have sons (I have 5, one daughter) they will see your tenacity and strength. The one thing I want my boys to learn above all else is not to go with the grain, don’t be a sheep, don’t just follow the crowd or do what’s easy. The diet is hard work and you have to be tough to do it, you have to be a man of your word, you have to desire something better for your family enough to step up and make the change. It feels like the greatest sacrifice you’ll ever make until you step up and do it, and then it feels like success, it feels like courage, it feels like triumph because as men our greatest enemy is our own flesh. We like food and we like sex, those are pretty much the priorities (not necessarily in that order depending on how long we’ve gone without either) so giving those up for what’s better for our overall wellness, takes discipline and builds character, you know, real character, not the kind we like to pretend we have so we can feel good about ourselves.

Probably the greatest motivator for my starting this diet was listening to my son screaming and crying when he had to go to the bathroom, I went in to comfort him, he was shaking, arms stiff, tears rolling down his face, I looked in the toilet to see if there was any progress but all I saw was blood dripping into the toilet because he was so constipated he was being torn open. So screw this “eating whatever I feel like because it tastes good, am I really that weak? Do I have so little self control that I can’t do what I know is healthy for myself and encourage my sons to do the same? Nothing is worth your health. NOTHING. A man that can look me in the eyes and say he doesn’t care if he only lives 50 years if he can eat whatever he enjoys most isn’t a man at all, he’s ungrateful for the life he’s been given and he’s selfish, especially if he has a family to care for. I’m not one of those, I’ll do what I want, because I’m a man, men, I have responsibilities, I have a wife and children and no matter what society tries to create as truth, they are being molded after my actions. Lots of men say they want what’s best for their families, but not many will step up and follow through with the sacrifices required to benefit them the most. And really, after those first two weeks, it’s a breeze, I learned about so many cool recipes, tricks and new foods which was cool for me because second to woodworking, cooking is a passion.

My personal results are:

Weight loss, 25 pounds.

VERY high energy level, fast recovery and almost zero fatigue, I am more productive at work and have energy for my personal hobbies after the kids are in bed.

Allergy relief.

Asthma relief.

Soreness and stiffness gone and when I do hurt the recovery is FAST

Increased flexibility, BIG change here.

Body odor lessened by about 50%.

Better complexion.

I don’t drag for 30 minutes when I wake up, I just wake up in about 5 minutes.

Better concentration.

Not as easily irritated (this took more time, I am feeling a lot more patient lately).

No indigestion which I got several times per week.

No headaches which I also experienced several times per week.

No cravings for really unhealthy foods.

My wife thinks I’m hot.

My kids know how to eat healthy and are enjoying it, they ask for the healthy stuff now.

Bottom line is I feel better than I have in a decade and I just got started, I’m into this maybe 50 days and it’s not hard, and when you think you’ll be jealous and left out when the other guys are drinking beer, eating wings or sausage rolls, there couldn’t be a bigger lie, I celebrated my 35th birthday yesterday and my supervisor brought in donuts for the team to celebrate, he knows my diet, he brought me a banana and an apple, I didn’t feel left out, I felt energized, and if you lined all of us up, and picked the guy you would want to look like and share the energy level of, you wouldn’t pick the ones with the donuts in their hands. I made two repairs while they were still trying to get the energy to get up from their desks. This diet works, you have to be tough to start it but the benefits are INCREDIBLE, it’s like making the transition from Al Bundy to Leonidas, the Greek hero king of Sparta from 300. I feel great and won’t trade it for anything!! Especially a weak mindset that only cares about my next meal.


  1. YAY!!! it pulled up to your most popular post spot so quickly! wohoo!! love, love, love it!
    - tanya

  2. Wow, that is a powerful post and testimony!!! Thank you!!

  3. Very Powerful Post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good writing ripple man!

  4. Yay, thanks so much for your writing, I plan to share it with all my friends, clients, and anyone interested in Gaps. We are on day 7.

  5. Awesome post. Your leadership and dedication is absolutely fantastic!

    I had to laugh about the "hardest part about committing to GAPS was the first 10 days..." As the mother doing all the cooking I would say the hardest part is every day and particularly after about 15 or 16 months. The drudgery of extensive kitchen time (although I hate cooking so perhaps it's going differently in your home) - the cooking has worn me DOWN. The first 7-10 days was really hard and now it is the stamina and endurance required to get to the end of the diet that is really hard. Although the results are well worth it, as usual in this lifetime it is easy to take things for granted after you don't remember how bad it used to be.

    So, you may have to step up and carry the team in the kitchen somewhere around that mark. Just a warning to you! ;-)

    1. OH he cooks too and does at least 50% of the cooking! :) Yesterday he made an amazing GAPS legal barbecue sauce, then prepared dinner (grilled chicken, celeriac and onions and a salad.

  6. That is one the best post I've ever read... very encouraging!

  7. " it’s like making the transition from Al Bundy to Leonidas, the Greek hero king of Sparta from 300"

    Best GAPS quote ever!