The GAPS Diet

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This week I came across fellow blogger Kate, and am finding her blogs The Recipe Resource & Musings of a 21st Century SAHM fascinating to read. She speaks in depth about non-typical food allergies, EGID, Auto-immune diseases and a whole host of other topics. I’m truly grateful to her for passing on her knowledge, her words have made me feel a lot less like an overly paranoid mother.

I’ve written before about my almost 5yo daughter’s food sensitivities. In a nutshell, I have been fobbed off by doctors since she was 6wks old and her face was covered in eczema. I was convinced allergies were to blame, all they did was prescribe topical steroids. Two years ago (and at my wits end) I went through a private allergy nurse, who diagnosed a lengthy food intolerance list. We have been following an exclusion diet ever since. Apart from a three month period last year, when we took her off it to see how she would fare up. The answer was awful!

According to our allergy nurse – in most cases of food intolerance – a three month full exclusion of the problem food(s) is enough for the body to repair itself, then you can slowly reintroduce it/them. From then on as long as you don’t overload your system, you should have the intolerance ‘under control’. For my girl excluding the foods keeps the symptoms at bay, but we have never successfully reintroduced anything. Any attempts to have lead to her initial symptoms flaring up: eczema, bloating, diarrhoea. I’m convinced that her poor sleep and challenging behaviour are linked to food, as it gets about hundred times worse when she eats anything on the banned list.

I have always suspected her issues were more than ‘just intolerances’, but haven’t had much support investigating what else they could be. While reading some of Kate’s posts, it felt as if a light bulb was going off in my head! I had severe reflux as a child, and had stomach surgery performed at five years old. My mother used to say it was due to a hole in my stomach lining – now known as leaky gut syndrome. This causes you to have abnormal gut flora, which can then lead to food intolerance among a whole host of other ills. During pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding I will have passed on my digestive problems to my children.

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I have been reading up on GAPS – Gut and Psychology Syndrome (the photos above are from the front and back cover of the book). It claims that most health issues are caused by the abnormality in the gut flora, and can be fixed mainly by diet. In essence you go on a six week detox to seal the gut lining, then follow a strict diet for around a year to get you to optimum health. All refined sugars, complex carbs and grains are completely eliminated. I won’t go into the details as this post is already much longer than my usual 350 words. Click here for the official low-down if you are interested. Sealing the gut lining first, then eating this way, should basically get the gut flora back on track. Food intolerance should become a thing of the past.

It’s a drastic measure, and one I would have to test out on myself before putting the children through it. I really like the idea of being cured, rather than just masking the symptoms waiting for the next flare up. The idea of my kids spending their entire childhood being told no depresses me too much for words. I managed to read the intro of the book (over a hundred pages) explaining the theory in less than a day, and have barely thought of anything else all week! Right now it feels like the only thing to make complete sense to me in a long time.

I am fittingly making my #WotW GAPS. This post also ties in nicely with the theme for this week’s #ThePrompt, because it’s going to take a lot more than a holiday (or vacation) to heal my little family.

What are your views? Do you have first hand experience of GAPS? Do you think it’s too drastic? I would really love to hear from you in the comments section.

I’ll be adding this post to various linkys. Please click on the images below for more info 🙂

The Prompt WotW  20131210-164605.jpg

Brilliant Blog Posts linky

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70 thoughts on “The GAPS Diet

  1. Amazing that you have discovered this great blog and that Kate’s views are so connected to your own. My Sofia (2.5yo) has had silent reflux issues plague all of us. After a spell on omeprizole she became a different child, but I am always on the look out worrying that her symptoms could have returned – she is cross so much of the time. The thought that she could have leaky guts is something the consultant mentioned. It is of great interest to me, that you could cure this through diet alone. Thank you once again for your great writing! x

    • Thanks Emma for your kind words. So sorry to hear about your little one, silent reflux is awful 😦 I’d really recommend getting this book, if nothing else just to learn the science behind the theory. As I said in the post, it’s fascinating stuff xx

  2. I haven’t heard of Gaps before but the theory you have described makes a lot of sense to me. It must be so hard to bring children up who have serious allergies so I can understand you wanting to find solutions instead of waiting for the next flare up. I think trying Gaps yourself first is worthwhile because as you say, it’s somewhat drastic. Keep us posted xx

  3. With eosinophilic disease, histamine is released as part of the local allergic response and histamine makes the gut wall (and the blood brain barrier) more permeable. But non IgE allergies are different from intolerances as the immune system is involved. Wish there was a cure 😦 Thanks for the mention, glad to have been of some help!

  4. I have a friend who changed our lives for the better by mentioning this diet to us a few years back. Emma had silent reflux too and was left with a very weak immune system which led to constant chest and ear infections. My friend explained about the elimination diet, which we did for a while and encouraged me to treat Emma’s infections with health supplements rather than antibiotics. After a winter on them Emma stopped having colds, came off her inhaler and is generally a very healthy child!

  5. wow to be fobbed off is a nightmare. It seems drastic but if it helps, it might be worth it. I just finished a 1 week detox and that was bad enough. Good luck and keep us posted. I will look out for updates with interest
    xx

  6. I need to read up about the recommendations. I completely believe that foods affect us inside and outside the body. I remember my baby son getting terrible rashes. I finally realised he was being affected by chocolate biscuits I was eating when I was breastfeeding.(my father in law was visiting and kept buying them). As soon as I changed my diet his skin changed overnight. I’ve also been fanatical about Udo’s Oil for more than 10 years.

  7. I’m glad you posted this. I am having the same troubles with my 21 month old, she is covered in eczema especially on her face and I am continually being fobbed off by the doctors, they keep promising me referalls that never come, I’m going armed with this info next time!! #PoCoLo

  8. I’ve never really had to think about any of this – I’m always in awe of anyone who manages to live by any kind of diet, let alone an elimination diet which involves monitoring changes in wellbeing.. Good luck with it – I hope you are able to get to that place where you are both healed and things can return to normal. X #wotw

  9. This is such an interesting post – my hubby has been suffering with eczema for a few years and, like your daughter, just gets prescribed creams all the time – I’m going to suggest this to him!

  10. Firstly great new look on the blog! Also, I don’t have direct experience, but know people who have and have heard of GAPS. I think your right and have really hit on something here. We are not designed to eat the levels of wheat and processed food that are in the western diet and there is bound to be a backlash. My husband is suffering, but won’t go through with the test! Great post #PoCoLo

  11. That sounds brilliant and well worth a try. I really hope it works for you – and your daughter too if you feel brave enough. I’ve suffered from terrible IBS since having my kids and I found cutting out wheat, dairy, sunflower oil and various other things relieved it (although it’s never gone away). I still eat minimal amounts of those things, but don’t live entirely without them. It can feel miserable avoiding food sometimes, but not as miserable as IBS.

  12. I know how you feel I have to say NO to EVERYTHING in public for Buba. He is deadly allergic to all NUTS and there are a lot of differnt types and eggs. Which are in everything or everything has traces of both in it. It’s so hard to go to parties he can’t have ice cream or chocolate or cakes etc. Cafes all have nuts on the goodies so that means the kitchen is infected and I have to bring his own special food everywhere. I have tried the none of it for a year and giving him grain like pieces of egg to build tolerance with no luck. Nuts he goes into antiphlatic so I can’t even try with that. It’s so scary and frustrating and I haven’t blogged much about it yet as it kills me to talk about it. Its a scary thing. It keeps him from having a normal childhood and time like everyone else especially around other children. because if they ate it they can’t touch him. He is the one that you get on a plane and they can’t sell any of the goodies because it will go into the air. Its very hard. I hope you find answers for your little one. I am not sure about the GAP but all I can say is follow your gut. Literally. 😉 #pocolo

  13. Sometimes ive felt like i was hitting my head against a brick wall when it comes to doctors… They wouldnt listen to me regarding my son, he would at time suffer with diarrhea… i just got “hes lazy!”… but he wasnt it turned out that certain foods were the culprit.. we cut them out for a while and introduced them slowly and *touch wood* hes been great since!!! So welldone hunnie #PoCoLo

    • It’s a nightmare isn’t it! We’ve just been referred to specialists after almost five years!!! Really hoping to get to the bottom of it. GAPS looks like the diet for us too, fingers crossed xx

  14. Gosh it sounds like you’ve been having a really tough time! I think if this thing works then it will be worth it and although it sounds drastic it may solve all your problems. I hope it works out for you. xx #WotW

  15. This sounds very interesting! And although it wouldn’t be much fun to do, it would be absolutely worth it if it worked! My husband is allergic to wheat and sticks to a gluten free diet… I wonder if it would work for him? I think he’d do pretty much anything to be able to eat proper pizza again!

  16. This just reminds me how fantastic the internet is! Such a brilliant way to find helpful information and in this case, blogs, to support and guide you through something as difficult and unknown as this. Good luck and I hope it works for you. #POCOLO

  17. This sounds very interesting and while a little drastic could be just the thing you need. Trying it out yourself first seems the sensible way to go. I am *touch wood* so lucky that none of us have any food issues. I had trouble with wheat and dairy for awhile in my twenties, but cutting them out and then slowly reintroducing them seemed to work, I now stick to moderate amounts of each. The kids thankfully have no problems at all. Good luck, I look forward to seeing how it goes and I hope that, although more than a holiday is needed, you find a solution x Thanks so much for linking to #ThePrompt

  18. This sounds truly fascinating, i think there is a lot that we really don’t understand about the effects certain foods can have on the body. I really hope this method helps and works for you and your family! xx #wotw

  19. You are so right to share this with as many people as you possibly can. People need to know so that if they have similar issues, they will not be left in the dark. Keep sharing the info you are getting, hun! x Mel #PoCoLo

  20. This is interesting, and hopefully you will get some good answers (and solutions!) from it… But I have to admit I’m a little sceptical about all the health / cure claims. Will keep an open mind tho and wish you all the luck in the world, to help your daughter. X
    #PoCoLo

  21. I’ve not heard of this before, but you’re absolutely right to share it and be looking into if for your family. If it takes one year of their young lives to make for a more comfortable rest of their lives, it sounds worth it to me. Best of luck with it, and thanks so much for sharing with #WotW

  22. Reading this post has really made me put things into perspective. We don’t have allergies – although we do have asthma – so have never had to deal with any of these issues, which must be such a challenge. Your strength and perseverance is remarkable & inspiring. It’s clear you’re doing everything you can for your little one. Good luck on the journey ahead xx
    #theprompt

  23. I couldn’t recommend the GAPS diet more! I have been following it for nearly 2 years now, most of that time self-implementing it, the last few months under the guidance of a GAPS Practitioner. I’ve still got a little way to go but have come SO far from where I was. This diet has turned my life upside down! Not only did I learn about the importance of bacteria, but my hubby and I learnt about what ‘organic’ meant and all the misinformation about health including saturated fat, etc. It’s been an eye-opening couple of years! The GAPS diet is certainly not an easy diet to implement but the benefits you receive out-way the inconvenience about a million to one! You should definitely read the rest of the book and give the diet a go (with a GAPS Practitioner is much easier). Good luck! 🙂

  24. I hadn’t heard of this before either and I have to say that it is so fantastic that you made some discoveries because of another blog – blogging is such a great thing for so many reasons and this is certainly one of them. Hope you make more discoveries as a result. Thank you for linking to PoCoLo as always lovely 🙂 xx

  25. 6-week detox sounds quite a thing. Would your kids be doing it? I suppose it is like any therapy really, will take a bit of doing. But fantastic if it offers a cure and they have an improved digestive system after #theprompt

  26. My daughter has hideous eczema but intensive moisturising seems to have got it back under control but it increasing wondering if it’s a food intolerance. Food for thought! #wotw

  27. Good luck with the testing process, eldest is allergic to penicillin and Dad started with a nut allergy out of nowhere. My throat itches with nuts so haven’t been able to eat them for years. Good luck with it all. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts

    • Thanks hon. We’ve finally been referred to a paediatrician and also OT! Fingers crossed we’ll get to the bottom of it all, and combined with the GAPS diet health will be restored long term.

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