.GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology diet and was created by Dr Natasha McBride MD MMedSci (Neurology), MMedSci (Human Nutrition) in 2004 after she had worked with hundreds of children and adults with neurological and psychiatric conditions, such as autism spectrum disorders, ADD/ ADHD, schizophrenia, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other neurological and psychiatric problems more can be found on this here.
We started our GAPS diet journey in December 2012. It seems like a lifetime ago now and 2 years on we are still following full gaps. I will be honest we have only ever done Full Gaps and never done Intro this is because we are a family of Pyrroles but basically we can not deal with stress well and so it was deemed to do intro would be too stressful.
Benefits Of A Gaps Diet
Since we started full GAPS we have seen great healing in all the family. Basically we are gluten, grain, dairy and sugar free we are also advised to limit if not remove all fruit from our diet as it feeds the candida and also the strep that as a family we have fought and succeeded but if we drop the ball both do come back and rear their ugly heads. Again I will do another post on our fight with Candida and Strep. We also make and use bone broth and various ferments.
There are plenty of places online where you can find more information relating to GAPS. I would recommend starting by buying the book and reading it from cover to cover. I did this three times before I finally took the plunge. I kept thinking this is in the too hard basket. I mean I was a vegetarian for 34 yrs before we embarked on GAPS and I was told as I healed by taking my supplements for Pyrroles that my taste buds would change and I would embrace meat. I doubted this in the beginning but now 7 yrs down the track I am a recovered vegetarian that eats meat.
At first I spent what felt like all day and all night in the kitchen cooking the kids were starving all the time and constantly wanted food. This has eased off now and they tend to only eat at meal times and do not snack too much between meals as they are full. My fussy then 4 yr old now eats a wide variety of foods that he would not have eaten pre gaps. He eats green vegetables and drinks green juices something I would only have dreamed of in the past.
If you do decide to embark on GAPS then I would highly recommend seeking a GAPS practitioner a list can be found here to assist you on your journey. I needed this to ensure that my ferments were being done correctly. It wasn’t and I was soon pointed in the right direction. My practitioner has a great FB page called The Pantry Practitioner and a group called The GAPS Pantry were you can get an abundance of help if you are unsure. The internet is full of recipes and stories of how GAPS changed people’s lives.
How did GAPS assist my family?
Erykah who is now 9 and suffers with Dyspraxia has much less visible symptoms. She now writes joined up, she is keeping up with her work at school and getting grades on her school report (2yrs ago she got an ungraded report in Grade 2!) She loves school and no longer cries everyday saying she hates school and hates life something that was so hard to take as a parent especially from a 6 yr old. Her anxiety has gone she is no longer clingy. She accepts love and affection something that was refused prior to GAPS and this just melts my heart to be able to hug and touch my daughter without her pushing me away. She now comes in search of a hug when she has hurt herself and I can not give her enough hugs and cuddles. (Note this was written originally 5yrs ago and Erykah is now Grade 9 and homeschooled more on that in another blog)
Her bloated tummy has gone it is flat and the curve in her spine a lordosis of the spine has gone. She is still anaphylactic to walnuts however is no longer anaphylactic to Pecans and Almonds. Her eye tracking has improved we no longer see an OT. The OT could not believe the difference in her after only a month into the diet. She can run without falling over her feet, she can climb, she takes more risks and she can now ride her bike.
Her brother who is now 6 is no longer hyperactive, he can concentrate and sit and complete a task. You can reason with him and he is no longer biting or scratching me or his sister. The biting and scratching is linked to the Candida so when this flares up these symptoms do reoccur but I am now aware of the signs and can treat as soon as it rears its ugly head.
I no longer suffer from Brain Fog which I attribute to grain and gluten. Once these were removed from my diet I got my memory back. I also find that if I do come across either but especially gluten I get a hangover type feeling for a couple of days as my body detoxes. I have a few coping strategies to assist with the detox and I will share those in another post.
Since removing dairy from my diet I no longer suffer with hayfever and my sinuses are much clearer. We were advised by our kinesiologist that dairy was carcinogenic and that is the prime reason we avoid it. These foods cause inflammation in the body with in turn creates stress on the body and as previously mentioned as a Pyrrole we need to avoid stress wherever possible.
Living With Gaps
The diet is now a way of life. I know that we can never go back to eating the way we used to and that I will always have to cook everything from scratch and I mean everything. I make my own condiments, sauces, gravy, biscuits, cakes, ice cream, yoghurt (from coconuts) and I now find it a total pleasure to be in the kitchen cooking with the finest produce around. I buy everything organic and it was expensive in the beginning but I started to search the internet for local coops to try and reduce our spend and eventually I started to run my own coop for dried produce and also now for fruit and veg. I loved that I was able to assist other families access organic produce at wholesale prices. I no longer run the coop as I just got too busy with my doTERRA Essential Oil Business but I now buy from one of my former members coops instead.
Are you thinking about starting GAPS? Are you unsure what to look at first? Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org as I am only too happy to provide you with guidance or answers to your questions. I was very daunted when I started the journey and I remember only too well how it felt there are times when I felt like giving up but and its a HUGE BUT it was worth all the heartache and hard work and I won’t kid myself the stress at the outset as the rewards from healing the kids far outweigh any of these. When people say I don’t know how you do it my response is I have no choice. Look at the difference it has made to my kids lives. No longer labelled disruptive, badly behaved, difficult, it would be cruel of me to feed them foods that make them ill just for the convenience of being able to feed them crap off a supermarket shelf full of additives and preservatives and god knows what else, I could no longer do that to my children now I know how ill it was actually making them as a Mother I know they deserve better than that. I will leave the labelling of foods to another post but have a look at the labels do you know what half the ingredients are? Probably not so it is not real food!