Today my husband and I started the Intro diet for the GAPS program. I have been planning for over a month to start this today.
The GAPS diet is a very therapeutic, short-tem, whole foods diet that restores gut function, re-populates the gut with beneficial bacteria (as the harmful bacteria gets put back in check), and aids the body in powerful detox from the toxins that contributed to the problems in the first place.
The program involves diet, supplementation, and detox. People can do this diet anywhere from a couple of months (very minimum) to 2+ years. You continue until (and even past) symptoms have subsided, which is an indication that healing has/is taking place.
This diet benefits and heals multiple processes in the body. People have addressed and recovered from:
Food/seasonal allergies, asthma, eczema, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, intestinal problems (Cronhs, IBS, diverticulitis, celiac disease, colic, chronic diarrhea, gas, bloating, reflux, abdominal pain and stool abnormalities.) As well as behavioral and mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, ADHD/ADD, learning disabilities, OCD…
There are many related disorders/issues that people also find resolve while on the GAPS diet.
My family is doing the diet for MANY reasons. Without being too personal I will try to capture why we are so compelled to implement such drastic measures in the hopes of further healing.
My husband and I both have stomach issues after almost every meal. We never really knew what bothered us because the abdominal pain/discomfort/reflux was so often. We knew dairy definitely caused some problems, but until recently we weren’t sure what else was the problem. We now have put the pieces together and have realized the grains, both processed and properly prepared, can cause our typical stomach symptoms. GAPS removes both of these temporarily to allow the stomach to heal without having to break down grains or lactose (which can cause A LOT of problems for people with abnormal gut flora). Viola for us.
I have an autoimmune disorder, and simply put, 80% of the immune system resides in the gut. When you address your abnormal gut flora you in essence change the state of your immune system. This can actually reverse the autoimmune disorder and prevent future autoimmune diseases that many be triggered. Having experience with many patients with devastating autoimmune diseases, we feel it is too risky to not rebalance our gut bacteria, especially mine. We feel GAPS is the most thorough and effective way to do that.
I also have clear symptoms of yeast overgrowth, which goes right along with abnormal bowel flora. Yeast is an opportunistic infection, and so presence of yeast overgrowth, is a sign of pathogenic (bad) bacteria/parasites. YUCK.
We eat mostly whole foods, with as much organic & local as we can afford, but we feel like we are too dependent on some staple processed items we use like tortilla chips, crackers, bread (hubby only ;o) and snacky-treat foods. We buy the natural/organic, non-GMO varieties of those items, BUT they are still not GIVING to our bodies, but rather taking away every time they are consumed.
We definitely have some level of sugar addiction, as it is very hard to go through the day and not have something sweet. Not to say we won’t eat them here and there once we have completed GAPS, but we are not comfortable with how often we eat them now. Going on GAPS will surely make us very aware of what we eat/crave, and once we are done our palates will have been realigned to want REAL FOOD. Just trying to limit those things has done nothing for those cravings. Getting them OUT seems like it will.
We are young, active, and trying to eat a whole foods diet…..and YET we often feel very dragged down, fatigued, get sick way too frequently and simply don’t have the energy that people our age, in our “healthy state” should!! I have seasonal allergies (ahh! Make me a crazy woman at times!), chronic headaches for 5 years (have been MUCH better since acupuncture 6 months ago, but still very prone to getting them), random dizziness, and low lying infections that come and go. Not to mention the constant discomfort with my stomach. I’m pretty much a mess. My family is gracious with me and all my symptoms (writing them down makes me almost feel like a hypochondriac, but I’ve seen a lot of those in the ER and yeah…I don’t think I fit the picture). My husband’s main issues are his gut—he often does not feel well….at least every day after some meal. Right now it’s just his gut, but letting abnormal gut flora flourish will indeed spiral into many other health problems eventually.
So far our kids have not shown any clear signs of chronic problems (soooo grateful for that!) They will also do the GAPS diet, but not until we get into the Full GAPS diet which has a large variety of foods allowed (we should be there in a couple of weeks). There are some things that we have noted in relation to their health that we will continue to monitor to see if they clear up while on GAPS. We are excited as we have a very intentional, concentrated block of time to try and get our kids less geared towards wanting junk, and expand their palate to liking even more real foods!
So here we go a little bit (okay, a lot bit!) deeper on our journey in and towards health. Completely unsure what the results and conclusions will be. Hoping for the best, but totally aware that the results will probably be different than we expect. We are grateful that we have the time (sort of) and then money (sort of) to make this investment in our health at this point in our lives.