When our son was six years old, our doctor determined through a course of lab work that he was deficient in all minerals and was showing food sensitivities. Which led us to believe that he had some absorption issues in his digestive tract and possibly gut dysbiosis or leaky gut syndrome.
I had heard of the GAPS diet previously from a colleague and I knew that it could heal leaky gut.
About that time, a client (who had experienced digestive issues) had given me the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) book as a gift. We had discussed GAPS and she was considering trying the diet and knew that I was considering it for our son.
The whole idea of changing our diet felt overwhelming. I thought that there was no way I could do that diet, it was too big a change and besides, I love food too much!
However, I started reading the book. A couple of chapters in, I told my husband he had to read it, that this book was either describing our son or I was just grasping at straws. He read the first 70 or so pages and said, “We have to do this diet!”
I was lucky to have a colleague, who had experience with GAPS, to help me get started and to support me through the process. I was saying things like, “What’s almond flour, and where do I get it?” She was very helpful, as only someone who has lived GAPS can be. She even talked me down, the time I was ready to quit!
I was also very lucky to have been trained as a chef. This knowledge proved invaluable as I learned new techniques and created new recipes. I became excited about cooking this way and was able to recreate most of our favorite dishes. I learned how to make baked goods and even great desserts which I continue to make.
As a family, we noticed our son’s improvement. My husband lost weight and his blood pressure normalized. My allergies completely cleared up and my IBS was healed.
Soon, (as often seems to happen) I started having more clients with digest issues come to me. I was able to share my knowledge and recipes.
When Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride started training practitioners, I decided I wanted to become a Certified GAPS Practitioner. I attended her training in New York and became certified.
In 2015, I was traveling in England and had the opportunity visit Dr. Campbell-McBride’s farm and meet her family. It was wonderful to see their property and to get to know Natasha and her husband Peter. We met her son, Nicholas, whom she recovered from autism and who was attending the university in Cambridge. In fact, he showed my son all around the farm and then they played video games together!
What is the GAPS diet?
It stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome. It deals with the connection between gut bacteria and brain function. The bacteria naturally living in the gut effects much more than just our digestive system. It affects our moods, our brain chemicals and can have far reaching effects when it is out of balance. For example, approximately 70% of serotonin is manufactured in the gut. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is integral in mood regulation and sleep.
Scientists are discovering how important our gut bacteria is to our overall health. Autism, auto immune disease, mental illness can all be affected by bad bacteria. Doctors now believe that weight regulation is also connected to the type of bacteria living in our gut!
We should have approximately 85% good bacteria and 15% bad bacteria living in our digestive tract. That is a normal ratio, however, for most people today that relationship is reversed. We have 15% good bacteria and 85% bad bacteria in our system. That is bad news for our health and explains a lot of the chronic disease we are seeing today.
This can cause all kinds of problems, from digestive complains, to skin rashes, headaches, brain fog, learning disabilities, behavior and mood issues, to name a few. Children with autism have been found to consistently have overgrowth of bad bacteria in their gut.
Bad bacteria live on sugar and foods that convert quickly to sugar, like grains. If we remove those foods from the diet for a time, the bad bacteria will die-off and we can start to replenish the good bacteria. This is the basic premise of the GAPS diet, reworking the bacteria ratio.
The truth is, there are very few people that would not benefit from eating a GAPS diet for a time. It is a way of eating that cleans up the digestive system and rebalances the body.
Thousands of people around the world have healed themselves from digestive complains, spectrum disorders, autoimmune issues and mood disorders using the GAPS diet.