Why GAPS Diet?
|April 22, 2012||Posted by carmen under GAPS|
The long anticipated day of starting the GAPS diet is upon us. It’s been probably close to a year that I’ve been mulling it over in my head if I could pull this off. I don’t want to do it…at all. I’m tired of food restrictions. I’m so over all the label scouring and ingredient scrutinizing. It’s been a long 7 years of dealing with food allergies/sensitivities/intolerances…whatever you want to call it, and the list of off limits foods has grown longer over the years.
So why, you might be asking, are we about to start on such a restrictive diet when I already feel like my limit of dealing with food restrictions has been reached?? Because GAPS has the potential to end all the food restrictions for good.
Right now, between my daughter and I, these are the foods avoided by either one of us or both of us: gluten, diary, soy, corn, peanuts, almonds, strawberries, apricots, apples, cherries, cloves, coffee, cucumbers, grapes/raisins, nectarines, peaches, plums, oil of wintergreen, rosehips and oranges. I’m pretty sure that covers it.
(We also avoid artificial colors, artificial flavors, all artificial sweeteners and the preservatives BHT, BHA, and TBHQ. We do not plan to ever re-introduce these things, but hope to heal enough to avoid a reaction (typically a full week of misery) if my daughter has an accidental exposure, which does happen every so often.)
Don’t get me wrong, these food restrictions have literally changed our lives. I am so thankful for the Feingold Diet that has helped my daughter immensely and prevented us from going down the road of medication. I am thankful for the anti-inflammatory diet that has given me back my energy and reversed some of the negative effects that Hashimotos Thyroiditis was having on my body.
But the fact is that both the Feingold diet and the anti-inflammatory diet are not true “fixes”. They are avoidance measures that work really well. We have successfully avoided symptoms by avoiding foods that trigger the symptoms. Avoidance has worked wonderfully for us….except when we have the occasional mishap. Then we have to suffer all the terrible symptoms again for days or even weeks until our systems recover.
I was content with avoidance for a long time. It was a lot of work at first, but once I learned to navigate the world of food intolerance it became much easier. But more and more I’m becoming dissatisfied with simply avoiding symptoms. I want what is broken to be fixed. Having autoimmune responses to food is not normal. It means that something is not working properly. I want to target that thing (or those things) that are not working properly and FIX IT.
This is where GAPS comes in. Developed by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) focuses on healing the damage to the gut which is the root cause of many ailments that are so common in this day and age. In her book, Dr. Campbell-McBride establishes the connection of gut health with the overall health of a person. A damaged gut can be a root cause of so many seemingly unrelated things such as ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, depression, OCD, learning disabilities and other neurological issues. In addition, damage to the gut can be implicated in many autoimmune disorders and allergies. By healing and sealing the gut, Dr. Campbell-McBride has found that many of these problems can be reduced or even reversed and many food allergies/intolerances can be eliminated.
So here we go…on our way to gut healing which I’m praying will have the positive effect on our food issues that we’re hoping for. We’re starting off by easing our way into it on the Full GAPS diet. Once we get used to it (I’m thinking about a month), we’ll take the plunge into the super intensive Introduction diet and then make our way back to the Full GAPS diet.
I don’t know how long our treatment will take. Dr. Campbell-McBride suggest 2 years for more severe cases. I’m going to play it by ear and see how it goes. I’m hoping to be done with it in less than a year. If not, that’s okay. The exciting thing with GAPS is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is an end point, a finish, a place where one says “I’m done with this diet.” It’s temporary, whereas the avoidance diets are permanent. It’s healing, whereas the other diets are just avoidance of symptoms. It’s going to be hard, but I’m ready. I’m armed with recipes, meal plans and a fridge full of lacto-fermented veggies. My pantry is cleared of all off limits foods so there is no temptation in the kitchen. I’m even kind of looking forward to this long dreaded adventure with the anticipation of getting through it and seeing results.
If you’re joining us, let’s keep in touch. I’m sure we’ll benefit from working through it together.