Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why Gaps?

Ok, so why am I doing GAPS and not one of the hundreds of other diets out there? I’m not dealing with autism or psychotic issues. Well, but I have all the signs of malnourishment, despite eating a fairly nutritious diet, I have bad reactions to a wide variety of foods and airborne items, and I still struggle with chronic troubles that no one can explain. Why not go to the source of most issues - the gut?

 Here is my own summary and a few online resources that I found helpful and explanatory.

Gut and Psychology Syndrome is authored by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The basic theory behind GAPS is that chronic diseases and ailments start in the gut - I came to it in searching for healing of my long time allergies, skin problems, headaches, and chronic feelings of lousy-ness and mal-nutrtion despite a fairly healthy diet. Many people have sought the author’s help in healing Autism, ADD/ADHD, schizophrenia, etc. Her own son was diagnosed with autism, and that is what began her own study and subsequent writing of this book and treating patients with this diet. She builds on the research by people who authored the “The Yeast Connection,” “Selective Carbohydrate Diet,” and “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” as well as looking at what has traditionally healed people for hundreds of years. She addresses the complex issues created by vaccines, frequent use of anti-biotics, anti-fungal treatments, and poor diets and explains how they alter the gut flora and then lead to psychiatric disorders, asthma, allergies, hormone problems, etc. She then lays out how to heal the body by repairing the gut lining and reestablishing good gut flora. This is done by use of diet, supplementation with probiotics, fermented foods, and other supplements, and reducing the toxic load in the environment.

The diet itself is not easy, as it clears out all starches, including starchy vegetables and most beans, complex carbs, sugars, and dairy initially. She emphasizes good homemade meat and fish stocks, vit. A, fermented foods, yogurt, cooked and raw vegetables, eggs (especially raw yolks), seeds and nuts, and lots of good fats. It flows very well into Nourishing Traditions. And she recognizes that people who most need this, are usually the pickiest eaters, and usually like to eat only sugars, breads, and carbs that feed the very bacteria and yeasts that are making them sick. She assures you that after a little while of persistence, the cravings will go away, and the taste buds will normalize, and all this nutrient dense food will taste good. So I have hope that I’ll learn to like all things sour (which I currently despise.)

I think what really got to me and convinced me that I should look at something so challenging (aside from the fact that my daughter now has numerous allergies and I’ve spent half my life sick) is the number of blogs I read where the family was already eating really well - raw milk, fresh organic foods, properly prepared grains - and they benefited from doing GAPS, even if for a month or two. One mom saw her long held dairy allergy go away after only a couple months of following GAPS - and not even superbly strictly either. It makes a lot of sense in comparison to the various research and theories I’ve read over the years, and especially in comparison to what I’ve been gradually limiting for myself over the years anyway. Even in our short time of restricting the starches and sugars over the course of lent, Jim and I have noticed some improvement in ourselves, and we can recognize now how that big piece of chocolate cake we had for the Feast of Annunciation affects us. (Ehh...)

I really like that she explains the science in an understandable way -  how the enzyme factories in our gut become sick, how yeast converts starch into acetaldehyde and alcohol (yummy! X( ), the various types of microorganisms and how drugs affect them, and how things like casein and gluten can become dopamine like substances that alter brain function. Complete with cute little pictures of enterocytes.

This is an australian site, but I feel it is easier to look through than some of the others, and contains a lot of the information found in the book.

Official Gaps websites   &

Guide to GAPS

Oh, and there is a guide book as well - the last site listed is related to it - that goes into more detail with tips and recipes for implementing the diet. I have not ordered it, and hope I can manage without it and save myself another $25... but if someone decides to order it I would love to peruse it!

And just FYI - I am not solidly on it yet - I am in prep mode. Learning recipes that are yummy (like salmon “cous cous” {cauliflower} salad) and continuing to discern what baby doesn’t tolerate. But I’m trying to introduce a lot of what she recommends.

This Mom also has an excellent summary and how her family is approaching GAPS.

Think you could benefit but there is "no way" you could ever go completely without grains and starchy foods? Check out this blogger's description or why this family is on GAPS.


  1. Thanks for commenting on my blog with the bean tortilla recipe. I also hope to love "sour" one day. When I found GAPS, it was for my husband, but after reading the book I realized that my fatigue and depression might be helped. I am so pleased that I took a chance on GAPS as it has helped tremendously. I've been on GAPS eight months and convinced to stay on it for at least two years. Nice to meet you!

  2. Thank you for these posts! I came online just now searching for the Yahoo group since I'm struggling with the Intro diet. Very grateful for your guidance!

  3. Great post. We have been on the GAPS diet for a year now, we didn't have autism either, but my partners allergies and asthma is already gone! We still have a few issues, but nothing like we did have. It is a good idea to do the prep stage first, and get used to cooking differently. It is really a huge learning curve and lots of time in the kitchen. I spent a lot of time in the bath my first couple months as well to help with detoxing! I am eager to hear more. I would also like to invite you to my Grain-Free Tuesdays bloghop. It is mostly geared for GAPS folk in order to try to get a collection of recipes, resources and experiences so that we can all help each other as it is a real journey going on the GAPS diet.


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