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