GAPS Diet For Healing

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Hi there friends!  There were a lot of requests for me to write about my experience with the GAPS diet on this post, so even though it’s a bit delayed I’m really happy to finally do so!  First and foremost, as you may know, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in January 2011 (you can read more about that history here if you’d like).  I’ve been on a determined path of healing since that moment.  I’ve managed to avoid hospitalizations and medications while also enjoying improved health for the better part of 5 years since my diagnosis through various lifestyle/dietary changes.  I’ve had some bumps in the road, but when I think back to the day I found out my diagnosis and the doctor who told me I would most likely need to have portions of my intestines removed I feel grateful that all that I’ve tried to do with alternative treatments has kept me out of the hospital and my intestines in tact!  Crohn’s Disease can be debilitating, and my heart is with anyone who is suffering.

As I mentioned before, pregnancy triggered my digestive issues and so I started trying to troubleshoot with dietary adjustments once more.  This brought me back to the GAPS diet which was developed by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride and based loosely on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD).   Dr. McBride cured her son of Autism utilizing the GAPS diet and has helped 1000’s of children and adults heal since that time.  Her story is pretty incredible, and if you’d like to learn more I highly recommend her book for an in depth explanation of what she discovered in her quest to heal her son.  Her research led me to Weston A. Price and his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.  All that I’ve learned from their extensive research and knowledge has been LIFE CHANGING!  One more book I can’t recommend enough is Nourishing Traditions, the first chapters give a very clear and simple breakdown of nutrition and the rest of the book is full of such important information alongside delicious recipes!

I’ve seen firsthand how the GAPS diet can create unimaginable health improvements and although I never want to say there is one definite way that will work for everyone regarding healing, I do believe this diet is an incredible option for a huge amount of health issues!  There is so much I want to share about what I’ve learned that I almost don’t know where to begin, so I’ll promise you that this post is just the beginning, I hope to share so much more of what I’ve discovered about nutrition going forward!

The GAPS diet is essentially a healing elimination diet with a protocol designed to walk you through the steps of reintroducing foods.  Dr. McBride believes that the root of illness lies in the intestines, the home of our immune system (she is not alone in this conclusion, it’s a widely held belief).  She also believes that the brain and gut are linked, which is why she has seen so much success in curing mental health issues with the diet (hello fellow anxiety sufferers, this may helpful for you too!!)  Her belief is that gut dysbiosis (also known as “leaky gut”) is the cause of a wide variety modern illness.  To learn more, check out this a simple breakdown of leaky gut that I think is helpful.

In my experience since incorporating many of the basic principles of GAPS (specifically lots of meat stocks, raw cultured dairy, elimination of most grains, and an increase in probiotic food consumption) I’ve noticed dramatic improvements in my health and vitality.  When I’m no longer pregnant/breastfeeding I will start with the introduction phase of GAPS and see if I can heal my digestive issues once and for all.  But during pregnancy and breast feeding I’ll be loosely following a modified GAPS diet.  What this means for me is lots of high quality (organic, pasture raised and well-sourced) animal proteins/fats, a diet rich in vegetables and whole foods.  I’ll continue to avoid most sugar, opting for honey as my preferred sweetener, and will continue to avoid processed foods.  I now incorporate organ meats, bone marrow- and really all parts of the animals we’re eating, into my every day diet.  It’s quite the dramatic change from being a macrobiotic vegan!!!  I sometimes don’t recognize myself when I’m buying chicken feet at the farmer’s market for a stock I’m making.  HA! * If you’re interested in trying the healing protocol, this cookbook is a good starting place!

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comment section and I’ll happily answer!  If you have your own experience with GAPS that you’d be open to sharing I’d LOVE to hear!  And lastly,would you be interested in hearing more about this?  I’m thinking of sharing some of the basics- how to make meat stocks, fermenting foods, culturing dairy, etc as well as some recipes I’ve developed for getting the most nutrition into this growing belly as I can!  Is this of interest?!   Tell me what you think!  xx- Sarah

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Reader Comments

  1. Morgan|

    I incorporated something similar into my life. I can’t have dairy and gluten anyway but knowing meat and lots of veggies are welcome makes me happy. I did it to heal my adrenal fatigue. Within the first week of changing my diet I noticed changes, big changes after a month. Couldn’t recommend it enough!

    Reply
    • Sarah Yates|

      I love this!! Yes, I’ve found this diet incredible healing to the adrenal issues I was experiencing too!

      Reply
  2. Marissa|

    I’d LOVE to hear more on this topic, especially a stock recipe. I’ve tried stock twice now and can’t get it right!
    Also, just wanted to mention the book, Eat Dirt, by Dr. Josh Axe. I just read it and it sounds similar to what you are talking about in terms of leaky gut and all/most disease starting in the gut. It’s a great read if you’re interested.

    Reply
    • Sarah Yates|

      Marissa, I’ll post a stock recipe soon! I have mastered a chicken stock that is basically jello after sitting in the fridge- so much gelatin and healing nutrients! :)
      And I love that book! I’m a little distrustful because he’s selling supplements (and this is always a flag for me) BUT all of the principles are right in line with what I’ve come to understand!

      Reply
  3. Maritza|

    Thank you for sharing this post! Congrats on your little one, I am now 25 weeks pregnant with our second and recently purchased Nourishing Traditions and I am loving it as is my husband which is a huge win for me! I hope you continue to have a healthy pregnancy followed by a beautiful healthy baby!

    Reply
    • Sarah Yates|

      Congratulations Maritza!!! We’ll be having beautiful healthy babies right around the same time- I’m 24 weeks! How fun!
      Nourishing Traditions is SO good! Happy you’re loving it. <3

      Reply
  4. Charlotte|

    I have Hashimoto’s and had adrenal issues. Changing my diet to real food modeled diet inspired by nourishing traditions has been life-changing. I adore gorgeous stocks, fermented veggies, fermented dairy and all parts of the animal. It has encouraged me to become a more conscious consumer and has helped to evolve my palate. I think their is always a silver lining. It sounds liek you do as well :) Hugs! And cheers to healing! xoxo

    Reply
    • Sarah Yates|

      YES Charlotte I’m so happy to read this, you have no idea!!!! I’ll be sharing lots of recipes to come that will be right up your alley. :) Cheers to healing and good health to all of us!!!! <3

      Reply
  5. Dori|

    Sarah,
    As always, very interested in the things you have to share. Would like to hear about your broth recipes and more of your experiences with this diet. Chicken broth is a staple in my family, but always looking for new ideas.
    And looking forward to your new little one. Very happy for you.

    Reply
    • Sarah Yates|

      Thank you so much Dori! And that’s fantastic that chicken broth is a staple! Hopefully you’ll pick up an idea of two when I post about how I make mine! :)
      And we’re looking forward to him too!!!! Thank you for the kindness. <3

      Reply
  6. Anne|

    I could definitely be interested in hearing more about all of this — especially how to make meat stocks, etc. Thanks for all this great info, Sarah. So happy you are feeling so great! You are already such a great mama!!

    Reply
  7. Chris|

    Hey Sarah! I am happy to hear about your progress. I am curious what your thoughts are on brown rice. Do you still eat it? Would you still recommend eating it for healing colitis like you did in one of your earlier posts? Thanks.

    Reply