GAPS or “Gut And Psychology Syndrome” by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride is a book that discusses the link between gut health and mental health with conditions like ADD, ADHD, depression, autism, dyslexia, and schizophrenia as well as a variety of other health issues like: gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, leaky gut, etc.
It is a very interesting and detailed and well referenced book with a plan to help you heal.
I have been reading a lot of different blogs, especially since becoming gluten-free 7 months ago. The blogs I read focus on traditional whole foods, gluten-free foods, and paleo foods (since I am paleo). A lot of these blogs discuss GAPS as a healing protocol to heal and seal leaky gut. I have had gut problems for at least seven years and have been on meds for seven years to help prevent acid reflux. No doctor ever gave me an answer as to why it was so bad except that I need to lose weight. But while you are loosing weight take these drugs. It is very hard for me to lose weight.
So I tried to lose weight and kept taking the stomach meds. Did you know that stomach medications actually slow down your digestion and make it hard for your body to obtain the nutrients you need for optimal health? I have been listening to the Real Food Summit this week by The Underground Wellness Show (If you have not been listening in you really should! The podcasts are up for free for 1 day, each day there are 3 new presentations, at the end the whole series is for sale!) and it really struck a cord that although I am eating a very highly nutritious diet, I am not absorbing the nutriends I need for health, and that is making it hard for me to lose weight.
I have been putting off doing GAPS for a while because it sounds like a lot of work, and I am afraid of going through a “healing crisis” and dealing with a lot of
“die off”, especially since I am breast feeding N.
I have been gluten free for seven months. This reduced my depression and anxiety issues and helped a lot with my mental health. My gut still hurt enough to stay on the meds. I have been paleo (grain/legume/soy free) for almost 3 months and I have been off of my stomach meds for over a month. I have more energy, better mental health, good hormone regulation, my skin and my hair are nice and healthy and I am showing signs that I am getting more nutrients.
So why, if paleo makes me feel better, am I going to do GAPS?
I still have indigestion occasionally and have to drink about 32oz of herbal tea a day to control it. I am not loosing any weight even though I am well below my recommended calorie allowance and am not eating the “weight gain” foods the paleo people discuss. After listening to the presentations on the Real Food Summit I am finally convinced that my gut health will be much improved if I do GAPS, heal and seal my gut, then go back to paleo eating.
GAPS really isn’t much of a far throw from paleo. It is more strict on the herbs you can use, no yams, sweet potatoes, or regular potatoes. I did paleo with milk products like yogurt, milk keifer, and cheese. GAPS only allows a few specific kinds of cheese after the intro if you can handle it well as well as home made plain yogurt and home made sour cream. Chocolate is also on the GAPS avoid list (I will be having it in moderation after the intro, you can’t take that away from me!) For the full GAPS legal food list go here.
The GAPS intro is designed to accelerate healing and “heal and seal” the gut. There are six stages to go through, starting with very basic vegetables, meat and broth, and slowly introducing more and more foods until you get to the full GAPS diet. For more information on the intro you can read this.
Now that I put all that information out there here is how I started:
I have been hemming and hawing about going GAPS for months. Yesterday (day 1/2) in the morning I had my normal cup of coffee with some coconut milk, cocoa powder and cinnamon and a pastured egg omlette with pastured bacon and some purslane and red clover leaves. I had a pot of chicken stock simmering in the crock pot so for lunch I decided to feed my daughter left overs and have some GAPS intro stage 1 soup, just to see if I could stomach it.
About an hour after eating the soup I had bad gut cramps. I was experiencing die off after 1 bowl of boiled chicken, onion, and garlic with bone broth. I could not believe it. So I figured, since I already was dealing with die off, maybe it was a good idea to continue with the GAPS intro stage 1 eating. I took a nice long nap yesterday with the co operation of the kids (thank goodness for growth spurts!) and felt tired last night.
This is a very in-opportune time to try eating like this since the in-laws are coming to visit for a month starting this weekend, and we have a lot of weekend out with friends planned for the summer, BUT I am one of those people who sets her mind on something and does it, otherwise it will never get done so what better time to start than now? Plus, the more challenges I face, the more I can share with you.
I will try to update you daily as I go through this journey, at least through the intro. If you are interested in using GAPS as a gut healing technique I recommend getting the book (not available on e-book sadly) and reading up on it. You can get some general guidelines on the GAPS main website here including information on the foods you can eat , intro stages, and the full GAPS diet.
Have you done GAPS? How has it worked for you? What are some of your favorite GAPS resources?
Other posts in this series:
- 15 Natural Life Hacks Using Tea - August 12, 2014
- Gut Soothing Herbal Tea Blend - August 7, 2014
- Heath Benefits of Tea – Camellia sinensis Materia Medica - August 5, 2014
- Honey and Hemp Shampoo Bar Recipe and Cold Process Soap Making Book Review - July 17, 2014
- Watermelon Rosemary Lime Infused Water - July 10, 2014
- How to Teach Your Toddler About Money - July 1, 2014
- How To Eat Gluten Free On Vacation - June 26, 2014
- Crockpot Chicharon and Black Bean Tacos Recipe - June 25, 2014
- Natural Living Monday - June 22, 2014
- Natural Herbal Living Magazine – Print Edition - June 20, 2014