GAPS: A Deviation in the Journey & How I Got Here

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I have a lot of health issues. I have syndromes and allergies and asthma and… stuff. In 2011 I discovered a healing protocol known as GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome). It is a 1-2 (on average) year diet plan developed by a British doctor who used to heal her son’s autism. I don’t have autism, and neither do many other people who have benefited from following the GAPS protocol. The diet’s purpose is to provide healing and resealing of the gut through foods that will starve bad bacteria but promote the health of good bacteria. No sugar, no starchy foods, and no grains are few of the big things on the banned list. Lacto-Fermented veggies, cultured dairy, juicing, and lots of bone broth are big players on the approved list. Fermented/cultured foods are full of probiotics, which will help boost good gut bacteria. Bone broth is full of gelatin and other nutrients that will aid in healing and sealing the gut. Juicing helps the body cleanse and heal itself (and is tasty!). There is an introductory period that will probably take a month to work through. It is quite restrictive and will try my patience like crazy, I’m sure. It consists of fairly bland things like boiled meats and veggies to start with, and then slowly works its way up to more variety. Thankfully I love soup, because I see us eating a lot of soup during that period. Once we’ve reached the full GAPS diet, things will be much tastier and less restrictive! Once we’ve all seen 6 months of normal digestion and good health, we can wean ourselves off of GAPS by adding in things like sourdough bread and new potatoes. From then on we’ll need to stick to a real foods diet to maintain healthy guts and optimal health. Since eating real foods is already our goal and is mostly our current practice, that shouldn’t be too difficult.

Why am I bringing this up now? What has changed suddenly and why didn’t I start this in 2011 when I first discovered it? Let me explain (might take a few words).

When I discovered GAPS in 2011, I was involved in a toxic friendship with a couple I had met at college. They had strong opinions about food and health, and had no qualms about imposing those opinions on me. I was consistently berated for not following what they recommended, the most extreme recommendation being a raw vegan diet called the Hallelujah diet. Any research I did on my own was criticized and considered proof of my spiritual decline (WTF, right!?). When I told them about GAPS and how badly I wanted to do it, they slammed me and in a few days had issued me an ultimatum. They broke up with me over food. With that set of friendships removed, my health actually improved. Then I became involved with my ex and he said he was interested in the concept of GAPS and would do what he could to help me find healing and health. Ha! What lies. The time we spent together was not full of healing food and loving support. He talked me out of/made it impossible for me to eat the way I knew I should be eating, GAPS or no GAPS. When we finally separated, my health was once again shot due to stress, verbal abuse, and a poor diet.

Now, almost a year later, I have found the love and support I need from Honey. He has patiently listened to me as I’ve explained GAPS to him, reading him excerpts from the book, discussing why I believe it will bring healing for me (and for him and the 2 year old), and how we could make it work. He realizes how serious my problems are and agrees that a long-term solution is better than a short-term avoidance of ever-increasing problems. Let me elaborate on that. I am already eating gluten free, sometimes grain free, but now I’ve had to start eating dairy free as well. My body has begun reacting to all things dairy, even lactose free milk and kefir. A mozzarella cheese stick cut my breathing in half the other day, as did sour cream and a glass of high-quality milk. I’ve had intermittent problems with dairy for the past few years (ranging from GI to respiratory), but they’ve always improved while I was on allergy medications. If I go off those medications, the allergy builds up and causes problems. I never realized the connection before! Honey is the one who connected the dots, actually. So until we start GAPS I’m avoiding dairy and taking allergy meds again on a daily basis, as well as using my inhaler. My asthma and allergies get very bad if I go awhile without allergy meds (Singulair being the only one that has ever worked for me, but I’ll take loratadine if I can’t get Singulair). Clearly, my immune system is shot, because my histamine receptors (I think I’m using the right terminology here) work overtime and keep me smothered. GAPS addresses this. I can’t imagine what it feels like to be free of the allergies and asthma that have impacted me for so long!

I will be writing more about GAPS as we plan for it and make progress in it. Here are some links to help you familiarize yourself with it:

GAPS site

GAPS book, explanation, and resources from Kelly the Kitchen Kop

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Can’t Sleep, So I Blog… About Birth Control | An Open-Minded Journey

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