If you’ve never heard of the GAPS diet, you will want to know that it is a diet designed to heal the gut. Why heal the gut? It happens to be where fully half of our nerve cells are located and 60-80% of our lymphatic system (the body’s first defense against infection and desease) is in the small intestine. More than 80% of anything harmful in our bloodstream is from our own digestive system. It is an amazing system that God created and what we allow into it is incredibly important for the health and wellness of our bodies.
Our family has been on a modified GAPS diet for almost three months now. I say modified because we flew through the intro. part of the diet in less than a week and never gave up eating cultured dairy products. We have also allowed small amounts of homemade sourdough baked goods and tiny bits of a few other little non-GAPS items (ie. baking soda, arrowroot powder, cocoa powder, and homemade whey).
A LITTLE HISTORY
To give you some history, our family has been on a journey of eating more and more healthy for over five years now. By eating healthy, I mean consuming beyond organic (grass-fed/pastured), home processed, traditionally prepared foods and beverages as much as possible. And yet, we have still struggled with lingering health problems, somewhat due to invironmental/situational issues, but also largely due to the poor diet of the years before the past five and the affects that had on ours and our children’s guts. After doing a lot of research and being convinced that our guts needed healing, I prayerfully settled on the GAPS diet.
THE PLAN . . . CHANGED . . .
My original plan back in April of this year was to only do the GAPS diet for a month or two. Having not read the book (I’m waiting for Gut and Physiology Syndrome to be completed), I just had all the great information I found on various blogs and websites to get me going. I didn’t know that 6 months to 2 years would be more realistic for a good GAPS diet time frame. I also didn’t know that my husband was going to be more determined than myself to stay on the GAPS diet for longer than planned. So, with his encouragement and with the blessing of great results so far, we are sticking to it until at least the 6 month mark, possibly longer.
The challenge has been that you really have to prepare for being on the GAPS diet this long (or at all for that matter). My pantry is fully stocked with buckets of GAPS diet ”illegal” foods (I do bulk buying every 6 months) and we were not prepared for the added expence of all the meat, eggs, and nuts needed for this diet. So, we have had to modify things to fit our current situation, making the results slower and less dramatic, but amazing none the less.
THE RESULTS SO FAR . . .
The result of this diet that I am the most excited about is the healing my husband has experienced with his sinuses. From the time he was a young teenager (over 20 years, not to make him sound old), he has suffered from chronic sinus infections. More resently, he got to the point of having to do a nasal rince twice a day, homemade nasal spray multiple times a day, as well as take daily herbs and medicines to help decongest his sinuses . . . all just to keep the infection away. By the end of the first week on the GAPS diet, he no longer needed to do the nasal rince. By the end of the second week, he had stopped taking the herbs and decongestants. Now, he just uses the nasal spray every once in a while. He feels like his sinuses are 90% healed.
Other encouraging changes we’ve seen so far (besides all the not so fun “die-off” symptoms) are:
My husband: lost over 15 pounds.
Caleb: has a much better appetite (he is very skinny, so the more he eats the better).
Joshua: can focus on a task and complete it now.
Nathan: his bald spots on his head have grown back and he is sleeping much better.
Esther: her eczema has cleared up almost completely (though the baby probiotic may be the reason for this).
Myself: more strength and energy, less fatique, and also lost 15 pounds, but this is normal for me after having a baby.
There are two books that I highly recommend that helped our family in being ready for the GAPS diet before we ever knew what it was. They are The Maker’s Diet, by Jordan S. Rubin and Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig. Then of course, Gut and Psychology Syndrome, by Natasha Campbell McBride, would be the best resource.
Here are a list of blog posts and websites that have also been very helpful in preparing for and sticking with the GAPS diet:
Do you have any experience with the GAPS diet? I would love to hear about your experience if you do or your thoughts on the idea if you don’t.