All diseases begin in the gut.
~Hippocrates 460-370 BC
Heal Your Gut with GAPS Diet
Leaky gut might sound like a strange way to describe a condition but how many times have you heard, “It was a gut wrenching experience.” or had “butterflies” in your stomach before a nerve wracking event? There is a strong connection between the gut and our health and I bet, you didn’t even know it was real.
But someone realized the connection. And that person is Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a medical doctor with Masters degree in Nutrition and Neurology and the writer of the book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome, (Amazon link) and coined the term, GAPS™ as “a condition, which establishes a connection between the functions of the digestive system and the brain“. After working with hundreds of children and adults with neurological and psychiatric conditions, she literally wrote the book on the subject. Here are just some of the conditions that have been also helped by GAPS™.
- Digestive Disorders such as IBS, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s, Chronic Constipation, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or SIBO
- Learning or Social Problems
- Chronic Fatigue
- Food Allergies, including Gluten-Sensitivity
- Autoimmune Disorders
- Hormone Imbalances
- Eczema or Acne
- Neurological Issues
My Journey with GAPS™ Protocol
There is a strong connection between food allergies and Eczema. But eliminating those foods that cause or cause flareups is not the solution. Elimination diet sometimes does not work and in fact, it may cause worse flare ups when your re-introduce them into your diet.
Furthermore, multiple food allergies, as are the cases with my children, are in fact, not real allergies but sensitivities caused by dysfunctional gut health, a.k.a. dysbiosis or leaky gut. There are many gut healing protocols but I heard so much about the extreme diet called GAPS™ diet that I decided to study Dr. McBride’s protocol. After reading the book cover to cover a few times, I am determined that my children’s multiple food allergies and Eczema can be cured with GAPS. And it makes sense that their diet may have contributed to their food allergies because while they ate ‘clean’ foods when they were home before Middle School, they started eating out more during puberty, around the same time when their Eczema got uncontrollably worse.
Their Eczema started when they were babies but it disappeared in Elementary school. Then, it came back with vengeance in Middle School. I tried to cook from scratch but like most families, I didn’t always cook with organic or whole ingredients when I was working full time. I took short cuts with store bought condiments, spices and probably GMO ingredients. Plus, I had no control over what they ate outside the home, like school lunches. I also didn’t know that certain foods were damaging their gut lining. Their symptoms started getting worse once they hit puberty and they still suffer from it. And their Eczema is just a symptom of their multiple food allergies and THAT’s what I needed to address. If their outward appearance of their skin look dry, scaly, inflamed, and sometimes, cracked, imagine what the membranes of the various organs look like.
So, while they are home from college, I wanted to start them on GAPS™ diet. I wanted to educate them so they understand what they need to avoid and what they need to eat when they go off on their own.
What is GAPS™ Diet?
To put it simply, Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS™) (aff link) diet is about re-establishing homeostasis of the gut lining thru Intro and Full Diets. The goal is to avoid foods that damage your gut and add foods that help rebuild the lining with the help of good bacteria with probiotics. The numerous foods that are allowed at certain “stages” have to be prepared in certain ways and there is a list of foods that you are never allowed to eat (i.e no carbs or grains) during the diet. The foods have to be prepared by mainly boiling or roasting to retain the flavor and nutrients and never grilling to char the meat or the fat. Fermented foods (which we love!) are always welcome and adding good fats, pastured meats, grass fed beef, eggs and dairy is a must. The diet involves a lot more but the promising hope of it being a proven protocol for improving many health issues is worth taking a closer look if you suffer from any of those ailments listed above.
Since starting this protocol, a surprising bonus was losing 5 lbs. even though I’ve been eating fatty foods at every meal! I have more energy and I never feel bloated or sluggish. I stopped taking vitamins and I’m never tired! My children have been going through some detoxing issues but they are slowly seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in some aspects. More on that at a later post. I admit; I had a close to a melt-down with all the prep and cooking and cleaning I had to do. I also had to research so much in order to avoid mistakes. And even with all the research, I’m sure I made a few already.
To make your GAPS journey easier, refer to these food lists.
Full GAPS Diet APPROVED Foods List (Printable)
Foods to AVOID on Full GAPS Diet List (Printable)
How can you get started on GAPS™ protocol without having a meltdown?
Like I mentioned in the past, there are many online classes and programs that I’d recommend for gut health. But GAPS Protocol is a very specific diet of healing your gut while using certain foods. As you can imagine, it’s not easy to be on GAPS™ if you are not committed. You need guidance to help you with questions and pull you thru rough times. If you have any questions about how to start GAPS, email me. I can help you get started.