Does the GAPS diet work well long term for everyone?

I have been asked the last year by various people to share my experience on the GAPS diet, short though it was. I decided to do better then that. I am dedicating this week to the GAPS diet. I will be sharing my story and some thoughts here, and then I have a panel set up for others who have used the GAPS diet for a longer length of time. They will be sharing their stories with you too. Finally, I wanted to share some tips and recipes for the intro diet as well as a list of recipes that are GAPS friendly. We have a busy week ahead of us!

First, what is the GAPS diet? A short explanation is that it is a diet that uses the healing power of homemade bone broths and lacto-fermented foods to heal the digestive system. A very important part of the diet is completely eliminating foods that break down into disaccharides such as potatoes, yams and all grains. The combination of removing digestive stress and using homemade broth to heal, and probiotic foods and supplements is used to restore the digestive system and rebuild healthy flora. You can read more about the diet here.

I have read some of the most amazing stories of people healing through this diet. This includes autistic children dramatically improving. But that is a post for another day. All to say, this diet has had life changing effects for many, many people. I know that many of my readers here at The Nourishing Gourmet are on the GAPS diet, and that is one of the reasons I love to share GAPS friendly recipe.

The question I wanted to pose today is this, does the GAPS diet work well for everyone long term?

With that question in mind let me share my story in short.

When my daughter was younger, she went through a time period of having digestive issues. They got worse when I weaned Elena, and then continued to get worse as she got older. We finally felt we needed to take action and the GAPS diet was where we turned. However, since I had some digestive issues in the past, we thought it would be helpful for me to do the diet with her. I was also determined that I was not going to ask my little daughter to do a diet I myself was not willing to do.

So we went full throttle into the diet. The first week was great. Sure, we had some adjustments to do, but I felt good and it seemed to helping my daughter already. But after that first week passed, I started losing energy and getting more and more hungry. I felt like I could eat soups, and meat, and vegetables until they came out of my ears, but still not get my blood sugar up. I was constantly, and I mean constantly making food for the two of us. Another week went by and I got even more lethargic. In the end, my husband seeing me going downhill, started encouraging me that it was okay to stop the diet. I was determined to stick it through, so I made it another couple of weeks. Then finally one day I was trying to do our laundry.

I stood at the bottom of my flight of stairs and stared upwards. In the 4 weeks I had been on the diet, I had gained weight (although I felt like I was starving all of the time and had been at my perfect weight before the diet), lost energy, and it seemed like the diet was stressful on my adrenals and thyroid. Despite all of the protein I consumed, I often suffered from low blood sugar on the diet. But not all was negative. It felt like it was helping both my digestive system as well as my daughters. But as I stared up those stairs, I realized I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t walk up those stairs. I didn’t feel tired in the sense of wanting to go to sleep, but the type of tired that made you feel life was blah.

I made the only decision I could; I was going to break the diet. After starting to eat starches again, I improved, but my body was so tired by that point, I couldn’t keep the diet going for my daughter, who really was the one who needed the diet. I am forever grateful that the Lord brought healing to her most pressing digestive issues through other natural means. My adrenal function improved also as we continued working with a naturopath. I was puzzled about our GAPS experience, as I have many friends who experience the opposite! Their energy increases dramatically while on the GAPS diet.

However, I did noticed that stories of similar situations started cropping up, especially after being on the GAPS diet for a period of time. I noticed that the Wise Traditions journal started receiving letters from those on the GAPS diet who had experiences similar to me.

For example, in the last journal this letter was posted.

Regarding the article “Why We Crave” (Spring 2011), my experience has been that people can get cravings not only with a diet of too many carbs, but also too few of them. I don’t believe we are all the same metabolically, but rather that some of us need more protein and fat and some need more carbs.
I did the GAPS diet (very high fat, protein, lots of veggies and no rice, potatoes or grains of any kind) for six months last year and felt horrible for the first week. Then I had good energy and felt well for three or four months. But after that initial improvement, I started to get more tired, with lower energy and generally slid backwards.
I went off the diet and added back some healthy carbs like sprouted millet, quinoa, corn, brown rice, potatoes and yams. I notice that if my meal contains one of those along with my fat and protein, I don’t crave anything sweet. But, if I eat a meal that has none of those good carbohydrates, I will be starving soon after the meal and will be having cravings for sugar and other sweet stuff. I think we all really need to experiment to find what is right for our bodies.
Leslie Manookian Bradshaw
Ketchum, Idaho

And even more interesting, in a past journal the ND, Tom Cowan, who writes for Wise Traditions, shared that while he uses the diet for cancer patients, he feels that some need to add grains back into their diets after a while. At the end of a long article discussing why he generally didn’t think grains were good for health he shared,

I had a patient who had many health problems and the GAPS diet helped her recover from them. But after recovery she continued on the GAPS diet and she started to go downhill—not with the old symptoms, but she just got more and more tired. I advised her to add more grains to her diet—soaked oatmeal and sourdough bread—and she immediately snapped out of it. So there is a time to go off grains and a time to reintroduce them! A Holistic Approach to Cancer

Further information is found in this letter.

THE GRAIN CONUNDRUM
I have celiac disease and have been on a gluten-free and traditional diet for more than five years. Most of the terrible symptoms went away on the gluten-free diet but I still often suffered from bloating and gas. Last year I heard about the GAPS diet, which eliminates complex carbs like potatoes as well as grains, and went on it for almost a year. During that time, I began to feel more and more exhausted and my whole body began to be in pain. My muscles just hurt all the time.
I wrote Dr. Campbell-McBride about it and she said to go back to the intro diet again—I had already done the intro diet twice. She said I was just still toxic, which made me feel weak and exhausted. So I followed that advice, but I only seemed to get weaker. I had been a dance teacher and now I was having trouble just walking up the stairs.
I went to the doctor and got all kinds of tests. After many visits to different physicians and lots of money spent, they all said I was as healthy as I could be. Nothing was wrong, they said. I have always been relatively healthy, except for the gastrointestinal problems.
I then decided to call Dr. Thomas Cowan and do a phone consult. I knew he knew about the GAPS diet and could hopefully help me. After the first ten minutes on the phone with him, he told me I should start eating grains again and that my muscle pain and weakness were due to being on the GAPS diet. I was shocked. He said that many people have come to him with the same problem due to the diet and that he himself had felt this way after going on the diet for a short time. He agreed that it is, in theory, a perfect diet, but that for some reason many people cannot do it.
I have gone back on gluten-free grains such as millet, rice and quinoa, and am slowly starting to feel better. I have had such a hard year due to this and it has taken a toll on my whole family. I already feel much better having put grains back into my diet. I have lost considerable muscle mass but am hoping that I will be able to make a full recovery. By the way, I am still taking the recommended probiotics—I do not feel that this problem was caused by the probiotics.
I think the GAPS diet does heal the gut, but as Dr. Cowan told me, many people cannot live without some type of grain or starchy tuber like potatoes or sweet potatoes. Another WAPFsavvy physician has told me the same thing, and I have heard from two other WAPF members who have had similar symptoms until they put grains back into their diets. Living without these food can deprive us of any drive or happiness, which is not a good trade off, if you ask me.
Priscilla Smith, Chapter Leader
Annapolis, Maryland

It seems I am hardly alone in not feeling my best on the GAPS diet!

But why is that? Could it be lack of carbohydrates? The GAPS diet is not low in carbohydrates if you make sure you eat plenty of carrots and squash and later you can add fruits and honey. It just limits the type of carbohydrates. However, it would be easy to be very low carbohydrate accidentally and that could lead to low energy for some. It could be some unknown mineral or amino acid deficiency causing low energy that grains naturally contain. It could be that some of us are just not well suited physically for a grain free diet. It could help heal our digestive system, but not be an ideal diet for long term. All of these are some of the thoughts that have crossed my mind when I considered our common problems with the GAPS diet.

So, my conclusion is this. I feel that the GAPS diet is very important for people to know about as it offers an effective way to deal with digestive disorders. I really believe in the diet’s power to help heal, sometimes even dramatically as recounted by many. Some people may not want to stay on the diet forever, though as the diet may not be the ideal diet for them. I do believe that we are unique, and while the GAPS diet can offer digestive healing for all, it may not be the ideal diet for all long-term.

It’s also worthwhile for me to point out that the point of the GAPS diet is to heal the digestive system so that you don’t have to stay on the diet forever! Being able to eat normal food without it bothering you is the goal. The point of the GAPS diet is not to issue instructions on how everyone should eat for the rest of their life, but rather how to heal their digestive system so that they overcome limitations.

I think it’s important, as we go into this week of GAPS, that you have this information about possible long-term effects. Out of my friends who have stayed on the GAPS long term, some have felt so wonderful, they have stayed on it much longer then required to heal their digestive system. With them feeling so well on the diet, why change? Others experiences, as recounted above, are quite different. Perhaps one day someone will figure out the missing piece for those who need to use the diet to heal digestively, but don’t have energy while on it.

Meanwhile, despite my experience, I feel that GAPS is a wonderful tool to use to heal the digestive system. So much in fact, that we have recently started a trial run of it for my daughter, who had a few issues crop up again.

I would love to hear your experiences using the GAPS diet!

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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Comments

  1. angie says

    I have been on gaps approx four months now and have not had a natural bowel since beginning (i use enemas). I have also had only one period. My skin has dramatically cleared up but I wonder if it is simply from giving the nightly enemas. I always feel better after relieving myself but through the day all my muscle pains joint clicking stomach pains return. I am also losing a lot of weight which worries friends. I will try the enzymes.. Which I have tried for a couple days before buquit them after no relief…. On another note ive read a lot about fibre and prebiotics importance. My current diet includes lots of veggies fats and broths….. I intend to try hulda clark’s parasite, kidney, and liver program. Not sure whether to continue gaps though……. Any advice?

    • Maid Jean says

      I have studied diets for 12 years now and have read too many books to count. I had ovarian cancer in 2000 (my impetus), when my doctor admitted I could not be cured here in America, I headed for Mexico. At the clinic in Mexico a priest gave us lectures three times a week on diet and lifestyle, and their effect on cancer. We learned that our digestive tracts was where it all began. We ate a 75% raw diet, which was 80% veggies and 20% fruits (the rest was non-allergenic grains, and meat, if we wanted it). We were given herbs and herbal extracts, and electrical treatments of all kinds, as well as many ways of cleansing the body. The cancer was gone in two months and I looked 20 years younger by Christmas.
      I continued to study when I arrived home. After doing Hulda Clark’s parasite cleanse and her program of removing toxins out of my environment, and an intensive 3 mo. Candida cleanse, I began the Hallelujah diet. In three weeks I was amazingly healthy. So, I thought I had found the answer for everyone and couldn’t wait to share it. I even went to Hallelujah Acres to become a health minister. That is when God began to put people in my life to caution me. People who had tried the Hallelujah diet and became weak and sicker. Eventually I was given a book called Eat Right 4 Your Type by Dr. Peter D’Adamo. He suggested that different blood types did well on different diets. This began to explain why some people did poorly and some really well on the different diets that were out.
      The Hallelujah diet, and Body Ecology diet are for blood type A. Being a blood type A, I do really well on these diets. The Gaps diet is best for blood type O. Blood type B and AB might do well also. However their best diet might be the Zone type diet, balanced between meats and grains. B’s handle dairy better.
      Blood type A’s have a weak digestive tract and often a slow metabolism, often lacking enough acid in our stomachs to digest meat efficiently. We do well on grains, fruits, and veggies, but poorly on meat, and even dairy products, unless it is raw and fermented. Allergies to dairy are common for both blood type A’s and O’s.
      O’s on the other hand have a lot of acid in their stomachs and do well on meat, and poorly on a lot of grain. Bread makes them gain weight. They find their ideal weight and feel strong on a meat and veggie diet.
      You all might want to read the Eat Right 4 Your Diet book yourselves.

      My experience on the Gaps diet was a disaster. I began it hopeful but cautious realizing that it sounded like a diet good for O’s. I lost 30 lbs. in 3 month, which I needed to loose. But the amount of acid in the diet quickly put me and the family that was doing it with me (also A’s) into acidosis and ketosis. Immediately, we did not have a bowel movement unless we did an enema, meanwhile toxins are building up. Every week we developed new problems. I was on it for 2 months. By then my digestive tract was inflamed, I was pooping little round rocks if at all, and I was an emotional basket case, too exhausted to do anything but lay on the couch and think about everything I needed to get done.
      A friend encouraged me to do what had worked for me in the past. I started adding non-allergy grains back to my diet and cut out most of the acid food (meat, fermented food, dairy). Eating a lot of alkaline foods, especially veggies. Within 2 days I began to have bowel movements although they were not normal for a while. The colonics doctor (not colonoscopy) said that I was so impacted that he could only get a little stool out. As I returned to the Hallelujah or Body Ecology type diet, I improved steadily until within a month I was back to normal.
      My friend was newer to the healthy diet scene and had trouble convincing herself to let go off the Gaps diet. She is still struggling with depression, anxiety, and weakness, has developed numerous nutritional deficiencies and her adrenals are exhausted.
      Hope this has been helpful to some of you. May God bless all of you and help you find the diet that is right for you. All of you A’s might try the Body Ecology diet or the Hallelujah diet. B’s might try the Zone or Jordan Rubin’s, The Maker’s Diet. Lots of choices, they all work for some. None work for all. Isn’t God good!

      • Maria says

        I hear you! I also read all of those diets and did really well on The Blood Type Diet for Os, which I am. Once I read the GAPS book I realized that it coincides with The Blood Type Diet for blood type O. I went on GAPS because it takes it way further than the Blood Type Diet in its focus on healing the gut and restoring the gut flora. I’ve been on GAPS for 9 months with miracle results. This far, it’s been a life saver for me!

        Oh, also, I recommend The Edge Effect, a book which discusses personality types based on which dominant neurotransmitter a person has and then goes over what foods strengthens what neurotransmitters. I am, according to the book, acetylcholine dominant, which makes perfect sense. The book, written by a professor in neuroscience at Princeton, has a test so you can test which neurotransmitter is your dominant one. Acetylcholine dominant people are adviced to eat the same diet as The Blood Type Diet for Os, and also the GAPS. Amazing really!

      • Billie says

        I am sooooo glad I saw this post and your comment Maid Jean…I have been on a paleo sort of diet for months now and have been deciding wether to do gaps, body ecology or just an elimination diet to heal my gut..I have been eating lots of meat and bone stocks lately and I have just felt the worse ever these past few months!! My body is also very acidic atm but I thought I was doing the right thing to heal…I will definatley be giving the BED a go now and try to re alkalise my body.. I am a type A..
        Billie :)

      • Jonny Last says

        Thank you for such a wonderful post.

        Praise Jesus for his Goodness. I’m from England and currently doing an internship at a Church in my home town Oxford.

        I was just wondering if you could e-mail me the name of the clinic you went to in Mexico?

        Thank you so much for your time!

        Every blessing,

        Jonny.owen_last@yahoo.com

        Jonny

      • Jonny Last says

        Thank you for such a wonderful post.

        Praise Jesus for his Goodness. I’m from England and currently doing an internship at a Church in my home town Oxford.

        I was just wondering if you could e-mail me the name of the clinic you went to in Mexico?

        Thank you so much for your time!

        Jonny.owen_last@yahoo.com

        Every blessing,

        Jonny

      • amy k says

        Thank you for sharing! I just saw a young boy today at church who was having a melt down tell me that he was on a new diet and that he was “weary” poor little buddy. It is the GAPS diet.

  2. says

    I cannot tell you how HAPPY I AM TO COME ACROSS YOUR BLOG, I am a professional Chef who has been forced lol hahah against her will to try the gaps intro diet! I have 4 little children to take care of and Im went down a pants size in a week!! may i mention I CANNOT AFFORD TO LOOSE WEIGHT! I am so week and so lost on it i hate it so much lol I do. My metablism is very fast it runs well on GLUTEN FREE , I am on day 10 and i dont know if I can go on and take care of 4 kids run a business from home . I agree with you I belive it may be the IDEAL diet but we are all difrrent each of us and i do beleive some of us cannot live without some sort of sweet potato or so forth xoxoox i will contineu to follow u . I am logging all my gaps intro experiences on my blog and i have a support page on facebook as well :) thank u for writting THIS U HAVE GIVEN ME HOPE!

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/JoAnnaGlutenFree-Chef-and-Health-Enthusiast-BLOG/171990112886497?ref=hl#!/pages/JoAnnaGlutenFree-Chef-and-Health-Enthusiast-BLOG/171990112886497

    • says

      I was also underweight. 128 lbs at 5’7″. I started GAPS in January 2012. Today, 11 months on GAPS, I weigh a lean 152 lbs (and still gaining muscle).

      I’m also prone to constipation. I find as long as I include a LOT of fat in the GAPS diet I gain weight and have perfect bowels movements.

      I suspect a lot of people just aren’t including enough fat. I literally have 1/3 cup of ghee (clarified butter) with each meal plus sour cream and coconut or olive oil.

      I only eat two meals of vegetables, fat and meat a day. In the morning I have 2 cups of kefir + 1 cup of sour cream. I used to eat twice as much food when I was eating gluten free gains and could barely maintain 130lbs.

      My ancestors were mainly Irish who — some say — didn’t have a lot of exposure to grains until after the potato famine. So maybe grain-free is just better for my DNA. My 7-year old son has been on the diet since January also and has only got stronger and healthier (stopped peeing the bed,too).

      I strongly suspect most people who are not thriving on GAPS are not including enough fat in the diet. Either that or they need to supplement their diet with HCL (acid) and lipase (fat digesting enzyme) until they can produce their own acid and lipase. Adding HCL helped me a lot — though I did okay without it.

      Still, if my ancestors were from South India — maybe GAPS wouldn’t work for me. I certainly tried the South Indian diet (Ayurveda) for years and while I could have done worse it certainly didn’t click like GAPS did.

  3. Sean Carson, MS, L.Ac. says

    http://naturalbias.com/your-nutritional-individuality-and-unhealthy-emotions/

    To be brief: I love GAPS in theory but one-size-fits-all diets don’t work for everyone.

    1) biochemical individuality amongst populations is significant. See Roger Williams “Biochemical Individuality.” George Watson accidentally discovered that people vary widely in the way they oxidize glucose and fat, and that this had profound effects on their physical and mental health when they were using an inappropriate fuel mixture. He documented this discovery in Nutrition and Your Mind. Sometimes adaptation is not possible beyond a certain point: these are the people who fail to thrive on certain diets, no matter how convincing they might seem intellectually.

    2) some people due to genetic/cultural background, naturally favor glycolytic/acetyl CoA fat-burning pathways over Krebs cycle burning of carbohydrates. This is why – which should be obvious – some people clearly feel fantastic on a high fat, protein diet, while others feel fantastic or do great on a low-fat, high carb diet. It’s not the food – it’s your metabolism. One person’s food is another’s poison. Tibetans, who lived in a severe, cold weather environment, where carb opportunities were scarce, naturally thrived on things like high fat butter tea. It is an evolutionary adaptation to both the cold weather and a low carb opportunities.

    These people will be exquisitely insulin sensitive and will gain weight by simply looking at a bagel, as this was evolutionarily advantageous in the proper environment. Essentially this was what George Ohsawa originally met with the theory of Macrobiotics, before it was codified into a high-carb, low fat diet: You eat according to your constitution (metabolism) and environment (and season). When, after the communist Chinese takeover of Tibet, many had to flee to South India and live in a warmer environment and eat a higher carb diet, they became apathetic, overweight, fatigued and suffered greatly. Sound familiar? It would be like taking a South Indian high-carb vegetarian and moving them to Tibet and making them live on butter tea. They’d feel crappy like a lot of folks on GAPS or low-carb diets.

    Given that my family is from southern Italy and my mom’s maiden name is “Mangiapane” – literally “eat bread (!)” can one really assume that I am wired to thrive on a high fat, low carb diet, like someone from Norway, Tibet, or Alaska?

    3) Proponents of a dietary system (diet gurus) always champion that which works great for them, and then extrapolate to say that it’s good for everyone, ignoring the fact that this is obviously absurd. This hit home for me when I saw Robb Wolf’s Paleo Solution sitting right next to Dr. McDougall’s The Starch Solution!! They both have plenty of case studies of people reversing diabetes and losing tons of weight by…drum roll please… eating totally opposite diets!

    4)It’s sad when a person stays with a diet that makes them feel like crap because of a) an intellectual belief or commitment to a diet that ignores evidence that the diet is making you sick, e.g. fat/protein types who become vegans for “spiritual” reasons. If Paleo or GAPS has not worked for you after trying it strictly for a few months, then you either have other serious metabolic problems OR the diet is the WRONG FUEL FOR YOU, regardless of your beliefs, or how many cherry picked science studies or scary lectin stories some one is trying to sell you.

    5) Is there a food without a lectin in it? Fish have lectins. Any non-grass fed AND FINISHED animal meat will have lectins. Vegetables – all of them – have lectins and some kind of anti nutrients. The problem is the degeneration of the human gut terrain in our post-antibiotic world. Given that every great work of art, science, athleticism, or philosophy has been done under the influence of grains, it would be hard to ignore that while some people get fat and miserable on them, others seem to do quite fine, if not outright thrive. Again, i would humbly suggest this has to do with metabolic tendencies and overall gut terrain health.

    6) It’s my hypothesis that the most difficult circumstances are suffered by those who don’t naturally thrive on a higher fat/protein diet BUT have legitimate gut issues, SIBO, IBS, Leaky Gut, that are exacerbated by carb and starch intake. I think these are the people who come to GAPS, Paleo, etc with so much hope and need, but who never take to the diet. There’s a tendency to stick with it anyway, because of the obvious intellectual appeal, and yet regardless, the transition to thriving on a fat burners diet never actually arrives. Since this describes me pretty well, i am still trying to surf this challenge and find a way out, mainly by trying to alter gut flora more favorably via herbal “antibiotic” modulators and attempting to vitalize and repair the gut through specific nutrients. It’s a real modern dilemma. I wish it were as easy as “give up neolithic foods and feel great” — that just doesn’t seem to be the case for a lot of people!

    I also don’t think that you can get away with eating lots of fruit and honey to make up for it, as fructose is at best, a sketchy sugar to be basing your entire carbohydrate intake on!

    Cheers,
    Sean

    • Robin M says

      Sean, are there any other resources you can provide that explain your ideas? I have been considering the GAPS diet b/c I am desperate to feel better. I have many food sensitivities which leads me to believe I suffer from leaky gut. Seems like more and more things cause symptoms to the point I feel like I can’t eat anything…either that or just live with the joint pain, fatigue, muscle weakness, brain fog etc… that I deal with daily. I have reduced my grain consumption considerably in the past 2 to 3 weeks (gluten, corn and soy free for 2 years) and I feel rather lethargic, craving grains. It seems as though I can’t eat enough to make my body feel satisfied. On top of that, I’m nursing an infant. I feel like my hands are tied and it’s discouraging….I am ready and willing to be even more disciplined with my diet but I also know I must be careful since I am nursing…I’ve read about the dangers of detoxing your body too quickly and the baby getting the toxins in my milk…. so, what do I do? I worry my baby may develop sensitivities…. My two older children have corn sensitivity and my chiropractor said it ‘passed’ from me.

      Any information would be helpful! I know I NEED to heal my gut, just not sure of how to go about it…

      Thanks for your time,

      Robin

      • Madison M says

        Robin -
        Have you considered systemic/invasive candida? It’s not a very popular idea among most doctors, but it is definitely a condition. In fact, it’s the 4th most common blood infection found in hospital patients. The thing is, up until now, it’s mostly been seen in very ill people, such as those with cancer or AIDS. Many forward thinking doctors realize that, in our steroid/antibiotic/sugar driven culture, candida overgrowth IS becoming more of a problem.

        To give you a bit of my history:

        I have always had mild digestive problems, but when I went to college years ago, they became much worse. It took me until this last spring to realize I have Celiac. At first, cutting out gluten made me feel GREAT…until dairy became a problem. Then corn. Then soy. Then things like potatoes and allergen-free soups. I didn’t know at the time that all of these things feed and exacerbate a candida overgrowth.

        This summer, things came to a head. I could hardly tolerate anything, and could never predict when I’d be sick. All my stool was pale, indicating liver problems. And, I was sleeping 9-11 hours a night, and would still crash a few hours after waking and be fairly incapacitated for the rest of the day. The brain fog was also terrible, like I was constantly in a dream; I dreaded social situations, because I could somehow no longer think of anything to say. I also noticed weird things – like unbearably bad PMS for the first time in my life, and that I would get very drunk off of one or two alcoholic drinks (I’m only an occasional social drinker, but it didn’t even affect me that much when I first started drinking and had zero tolerance).

        After a couple of doctors, I had no solution. Neither of them could figure out the problem, so they tried to give me steroids and antibiotics. I had bloodwork, an x ray, and a full panel of allergy testing, all revealing I am perfectly healthy and have no food allergies. I found a doctor near me who had been a “normal” dr for many years, until his apparently “healthy” wife developed a mysterious and debilitating condition. Her bloodwork was all normal, and yet she couldn’t even get out of bed! He eventually discovered she had invasive candida, and treated her for it. Now, he’s been a natural doctor for 17 years, employing many of the same methods as Gerson therapy. I’m currently being treated by him for candida overgrowth with nystatin, weekly IVs of things like hydrogen peroxide and diflucan, taking many supplements such as probiotics and fish oil, as well as following a strict no sugar/low carb diet for a limited period of time (since the candida thrives on sugars). While I still have 5 weeks left of my diet, I’m feeling a lot better overall! I have far more energy, and my gut and liver seem to be healing rapidly.

        I’m not 100% better yet, so I can’t vouch for this problem & solution 100%. But I know that a wounded gut and depressed immune system (via problems such as gluten intolerance, etc) can be a gateway to a candida overgrowth, and I do know that I’m seeing improvements. I’d encourage you to research it, and find blogs/personal accounts. If it sounds like you, find a dr who won’t sardonically laugh in your face, and see what he/she thinks. Candida overgrowth can be dangerous (shutting down organs, etc) if it goes unchecked for years.

        - Madison

        • Vanessa says

          I’d love a doctor who doesn’t laugh in my face. I’ve been chronically sick, malnourished, allergic to everything, with gallbladder, pancreas, and kidney issues. Who is your doctor? Do you mind sharing?

        • Vanessa says

          I’d love a doctor who doesn’t laugh in my face. I’ve been chronically sick for the past 5 years, malnourished, allergic to everything, with gallbladder, pancreas, and kidney issues. Who is your doctor? Do you mind sharing?

        • says

          I would also love to have the name of your doctor bc I have a strong feeling that I am battling systemic candida as well. I’ve been in a rapid decline and I’m at a seriously scary weight. I’ve taken lots of antibiotics for years for Lyme when i think the real issue was candida all along. Your story sounds very familiar to mine and I don’t know what to do. A doctor who would listen would be great!

          Thanks,
          Stacy

    • Mallory says

      Sean,
      Well said about our ancestry and foods, I never thought of it that way. Very interesting!
      You must be a writer from reading your perfectly structured post and writing style-BRAVO!!

    • Maria says

      “These people will be exquisitely insulin sensitive and will gain weight by simply looking at a bagel… ”

      That was so funny it made me laugh out loud. Yep, that’s me! I can simply look at a bagel and gain weight. I can eat however much fat I want and even loose weight, as long as I don’t touch starch.

  4. Lisa says

    I have struggled with neurological and constipation issues my entire life. But my back has gotten so bad that I was told without surgery I would lose control from the waist down
    Clearly, nerves from the spine to the gut matters. I was concerned about this high fat high trash meat diet as it is opposite everything I ve been taught. However when I learned that 35% of breast milk is saturated fat,, I relented. The rhing that bothers me is that I dont eat carbs and sugar and i work out but stii gained a lot if weight quickly. I know my metabolism is shot but this is eorting. Also people in Greece and Seattle have been shown to live longer eating fatty fish and olive oil. Confused and desperate. Can anyone help?

    • Candra says

      I would not get surgery, except as a very last resort. I would find a great acupuncturist/Chinese Dr. (an actual Chinese Dr. who does acupuncture) and see what he/she says. This has helped me a lot. I’d also go to a Naturopath and have your hormones, thyroid, etc. checked.

    • Amanda says

      Lisa – I also want to encourage you to research NUCCA chiropractic. It is a highly scientific and result oriented chiropractic technique which has been shown to have amazing results with many neurological issues. There are not a lot of certified Doctors, but hopefully there is one near you: http://www.nucca.org/find_doctor.php I would definitely recommend it as an alternative to, or at least worth trying, before surgery, as it has helped me immensely!

  5. Paz says

    I had the same experience with the GAPS Diet, but the symptomps were so bad that I gave up the diet a week after starting it. While on the GAPS Diet I felt hungry all the time, I craved sweets (which I normally don’t even like), I felt exhausted, I even started to have mood swings, and I felt sad most of the time. I stopped the diet, and inmediately I felt better

    • Karen says

      Paz, those symptoms are normal when you start GAPS, especially in the first week! Your body was likely detoxing and your overgrown harmful gut bacteria was screaming out to be fed the things it used to flourish on (sweets. Even if you didn’t eat/crave sweets before, you were getting them in various forms and once those sources were removed with GAPS, your body craved them more directly). Most people feel constantly hungry and eat a TON once their body finally starts to get the nutrients it’s been missing for so long. It is normal for people on GAPS to eat whole chickens in one sitting, and/or to eat full meals every 1-2 hours for a while. This levels out after a few weeks. All of the symptoms you mention show that GAPS was working for you just the way it should have–you just didn’t stick with it long enough. One week is just barely scraping the tip of the iceberg. Your body was coping with the drastic change and your “yeasty bugs” were angry. I’m so sad that you stopped…all those symptoms indicate that you were actually on the right track and that your body was responding as it should. GAPS is insanely hard, especially on the first several weeks; you should EXPECT to feel worse (much worse) before feeling better. But you WILL feel better. I would try again if I were you–sounds like you really needed it and it would work for you if you could get past the initial healing crisis. :(

  6. Reggie says

    This is all so wonderful to discover and confounding since we are all on the search for the perfect balance. One thing that I discovered when warming up to the GAPS diet by initiating bone broths was if I cooked my bone broth over 8 hours it was not edible/palatable to me anymore and became “acidic”. And since I’ve been eating a regular of bone broth stew of late I too have become very constipated. These posts confirm my suspicions…
    This was VERY helpful on the path to understanding: gapsdiet.com/uploads/GAPS_-_One_Mans_Meat.doc

  7. Sam says

    I have suffered with severe multiple food allergies for many years and also multiple food intolerances. I also suffer from chronic eczema, asthma and esophinilic esophagitis an inflammatory allergic condition of the throat which causes discomfort while swallowing and also the symptoms of GERD although it’s not the same condition. Apart from these conditions I also suffer from allergic sinusitis, erectle dysfunction, penil and testicle shrinkage. I find that I lose weight very fast and can’t gain weight at all unless I eat fried fatty foods such as fried chicken and chips on a daily basis but even after gaining weight this way I wont feel healthy I’ll just look a bit healthier. I can only do this during periods my eczema has cleared up which is not often so most of the time this method is out of the question any way. I look like a skinny mal nourished boy and not a man of my age. The doctors have done tests and found that I’m not deficient in protein or any vitamins which came as a surprise. They’ve also found my blood work is normal and everything is fine apart from the conditions mentioned above. They have found no abnormalities in my gut just the inflamation in the esophagus.

    I have no confidence find it difficult getting out of bed and just feel very depressed. I’ve been tempted to try the gaps diet but some of the foods it recommends as staple such as dairy nuts and eggs I’m severely allergic to. I doubt very much that after a week of cuting out millet grain, potatoes and introducing bone broth I’m going to magically tolerate dairy, eggs and nuts so on this diet I will probably lose weight even faster than most which I can’t afford to do. It also assumes that lactose free dairy will not cause any reaction which is not true cases of severe dairy allergy only in cases of dairy intolerance.

    My allergy to wheat and soy was diagnosed more recently and I was told to substitute this with rice products and that would magically make all my symptoms go away. Instead the rice caused a massive flare up of my eczema and caused me to become even more senstive than before to the point where my skin was always weeping and my lips were always inflamed and itchy. Things calmed down a bit when I realised for myself that rice was casuing the issue but since then I seem to be even more sensititive than before. The eczema has caused a lot of problems in my eyes which has ruined my vision.

    I agree with others people seem to assume what works for them will work for others and that’s simply not the case. I don’t know what will work for me I have tried many things although I haven’t lasted more than a few days on any diet because I become so weak and even more depressed that it’s not worth it. Anyone got any suggestions?

    • Deb says

      Hi Sam,

      You have really had a struggle. My son had severe multiple chemical sensitivities and also the problems with inflamed, cracked lips. Homeopathic Sulphur in 30c for 2 doses and then 200c for one dose completely cleared up the lip problem in about 3 days, which had been a severe problem for years. For the MCS, we detoxed our environment as completely as possible (threw out carpets, cleaners, etc), and then we have had tremendous success with NAET treatments. You can find a practitioner at http://www.NAET.com. With these treatments, my son barely has any chemical sensitivities left. He just has to avoid Febreze and a few other things like that.

      As for flare ups when eating rice, my friend’s son has had all of the eczema and rashes that you described, and was eating a lot of rice/potatoes daily, although he was already GF/CF. She put him on GAPS diet with no carbs, and he is doing miraculously well.

      Previously a lot of the skin rashes went away when the child was on an alkaline diet including raw juicing , and also removed all fried foods. All of the urinary issues, appetite, and skin improved with this measure, but with behaviors the child got much worse. With GAPS, the very thin child has put on weight, the skin is clear, his eyes sparkle with health, all health issues have reduced or resolved, and he is the best ever. His ancestry is Eastern European, so GAPS is the same kind of food his ancestors ate – bone broth, sauerkraut, meats – it seems to be the perfect fuel for his system. It sounds to me like you do well with fats (but could do better with healthier ones than fried foods) and not so well with starches, so GAPS could be great for “healing and sealing” your gut.

      If you have NAET treatments, then you will be able to eat whatever foods you have been cleared for, so your list of “safe” foods will grow, treatment by treatment. This is a great thing to do concurrently with GAPS or any diet (even no special diet). This is how we returned my son to a normal life. Six years ago, he could only tolerate eating about five things; now he can safely eat all organic, unprocessed foods, and a lot of the processed things, also. He has not had to stay on any special diet. This recovery has lasted 5 1/2 years so far. Occasionally, we need to repeat an old treatment by NAET, if a sensitivity arises. Sort of like “maintenance.” I am looking into GAPS as a possibility for even further healing for my son, since it has been so miraculous for my friend’s son, but I wanted to know more about it first. I should add that we also used homeopathy for detoxification for my son.

      Lastly, please consider whether you are carrying a high total toxic load. Maybe you have hidden heavy metals or other accumulated toxins in your system – for example, metals could cause the symptoms you describe. This will affect your healing capabilities, or “block cure,” and perhaps you have got to do some detoxing in order to heal. I like the book “Detoxify or Die,” by Dr. Sherry Rogers, as well as her pamphlet on Chemical Sensitivity. She really explains what’s happening behind the symptoms, and what to do about it. Hope this helps!

    • Jody says

      SAM!! I wish I could email you!! I too have Eosiniphillic Esophagitis! I too am gradually becoming allergic to EVERYTHING! I have weight gain though…Can we chat?? It is SO rare, and I don’ tknow any other adults with this!!
      Jody

      • starr says

        I also tried the GAPS diet. For me it was a very bad idea. I was allergic to EVERYTHING cooked, so I was raw for years. I thought maybe GAPS would somehow be different. Boy was wrong! I was sicker than a dog. When I ear something I’m allergic to my glands puff up, my heart races, and I become too tired to do anything but literally lay on the floor.
        My situation only got worse. This is not because if the GAPS diet either. It’s because allergies only get worse over time. I fermented almost everything I ate and it didn’t help. Instead I also became allergic to raw foods, so much so that all I could eat without not getting sick was some sauerkraut I made and raw chicken.
        So laying on the floor one day crying because at 25 with a little one I thought my life was over, I started looking for other options.
        I found NAET. It’s short for Nambutripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique. I’m going to try to explain this as best I can…. So everything around us has an electromagnetic field because we are all made up of atoms which also have their own electrical field. If atoms have their own electrical field then molecules have their own electrical field and do on and so forth. This is the best way I know how to put it. Well supposedly that’s what begins an allergy from the start. Your brain, because of stress, toxicity, or physical trauma, now perceives the substance as a problem. If you think this sounds crazy, please be respectful and not condemn this treatment before you try it. It has given me my life back. I am eating almost everything now and have more than enough energy.
        How did I get so sick? When I was 18 I was in a bad horse riding accident that bruised my kidneys, split my liver open, and pummeled my intestines so badly I needed help to sit up because my belly was too big. After this I was badly allergic to dairy and became tired all the time, but not enough to notice too much. When I was 20 I got hsv2 from a lying boyfriend. I was so distressed and felt so betrayed I would randomly breakdown. This is when I became so tired I just stopped functioning as a person. I was too weak to do anything. After two miserable years I went raw and had so much energy I could bounce off the walls! I discovered my cooked food problem, but the problem was that I didn’t do organic, I think, because as I said, I eventually became allergic to virtually everything except raw chicken and sauerkraut. So that’s my NAET idea of why I became so so sick: stress+ trauma+ toxicity= hell on earth aka allergies.
        I know this thread is old but I know somebody looking for something, anything will read this thread to the very end. Because that’s what I did time and again. I hope this helps!
        If you do give NAET a go, be sure to find a practitioner off the NAET website because I have read there are some frauds out there.

    • Karen says

      Sam, my son also has multiple food allergies, including one to egg. Raw egg on his skin produced an anaphylactic reaction of hives, itching, redness, and even a spaciness in his demeanor…all within seconds of contact. We also did NAET treatments for him, as well as the GAPS diet. I don’t know which one it was that provided the healing, or if it was a combination of both; all I know is that about 2-3 weeks into GAPS Intro, he was eating raw egg yolks in his broth with no problem (!). He’s been on GAPS for over a year now, and has been eating fried eggs for months with no problem (digestively OR anaphylactically). Many people do GAPS precisely to clear allergies. It works.

        • Erin says

          Lisa,
          I gave the GAPS diet my all for 6 months with my 2 y o daughter. It was so much work and it did NOT cure her peanut and tree nut allergy. Both are still severe. It did, however, give me a clearer picture of what her other food sensitivities are. So the elimination diet part was good for us. We saw that her asthma is almost gone when she is off cow dairy (even cultured), soy, gluten, and sugar. Her eczema went away too for awhile. She still has to stay off of those food mentioned although I’ve tried to add them back in. We still follow a Weston Price/Nourishing Traditions diet, but with those restrictions I mentioned.
          Something that helped my daughter was doing Total Body Analysis with a practitioner here in NC, where we live. We are also looking into doing allergy shots called Low Dose Allergy Treatment with a holistic allergist in Durham, NC. This treatment is not FDA approved, but has had a lot of success in Europe. Also, essential oils have been great in helping her with asthmatic reactions.
          Hope this info helps!

  8. Sean says

    I’ve been reading all these posts and see that I’m not alone in my struggles by any means.Because modern medicine has failed to discover my problem I’m left to figure it out solo,which has brought me here.I came to the conclusion (after extreme amounts of testing/money) that I have a damaged gut.Its now a trial and error test to see what and why? I’m leaning towards candida,but after reading about GAPs diet ,this may become my new test.Candida is tricky and I don’t want to spend the next 10 yrs going on and off diets.I hope this diet does what it says and heals my gut so even after a couple years of suffering I can return to normal.Ive always had acid reflux and stomach issues like constipation/ over reactive bowel,hemrroids and itchy anus for as long as I can remember.Ive been gluten free for 3months now and besides extreme weight loss ,I’ve developed new symptoms.So now I’m even more confused and suspect candida.Presently I have body wide muscle tension that comes and goes.Sinus drainage,post nasal drip,random fatigue,dry skin, dark circles around my eyes.The worst is the pain of the perineum muscle (although now issues urinating, it’s just pain.I read this can be caused by candida among other things.Ive had my liver checked constantly by blood tests and muscle enzyme tests in specific always negative.So as you all can read ,I got to fix myself and at 36 male ,I certainly don’t want to live my life in pain.

  9. Marina says

    I was on the diet for 2.5 years and for the duration of the last 6 or so months my emotional health and physical begin to decline. I was very strict, tried to introduce all the food, etc but at some point got extremely exhasted and ended up having symptoms that were different from my original symptoms and some of my original symptoms still not resolved (the later is the reason I kept pushing the diet for long time). Sometime I think that diet “made” me emotionally exhausted. Of course, it is not 100 % true – there are many variable to it and one has to be strong. And yes, Dr. Natasha says you are still toxic…probably I am. But is it ever possible to be absolutely nontoxic and keep it this way? I created so many issues that now have to take care of my psychology as much as about physiology – and I am not sure staying on full gaps is the way togo good for me now, forget about intro. I strongly think that since this is a medicinal protocol it must be monitored by a very knowledgable doctor closely. I was consulting with Dr. TC over the phone – but being on the phone is not the same as in person. The diet has too many variables, rather the patient has. It is virtually impossible to figure out what is going on.

    Nonetheless, the diet has been a huge and great experience. BUT – I personally needed more advice and monotoring. Lots of changes happening in the body for sure and also sticking to dogma may not be healthy. I can go on and on.
    While I have mixed results, I have no regred I went through this – but the price is huge.

    I now have to go through anti-fungul/anti-bacterial treatment…Whether it is due to stress my immune system decided to activate in a negative way or being for too long on that cleansing regimen or i could not do that anymore – probably all of the above.

    I developed phobia to all food as at some point was reacting to anything i was eating with flare-ups every third or day. I was loosing weight, my thyroid became underactive (i was never too little carbs), i was drained emotionally, – you name it…

    Sorry, for such a long random notes. Hope some could get a bit more prepared. Not sure if that is possible, though. Once lesson is not the others…But

  10. Carolyn says

    It is very interesting reading all your stories of how the Gaps diet has not been successful for many of you. It makes me feel very grateful that it is working so well for me. I have been on it for nearly 18 months now and am absolutely delighted with the health benefits.
    Initially I went onto it because of rising cholesterol which I did not wish to take statin medicine to control. I also had a lot of other issues such as food intolerances, dizzy spells when standing up, chronic mild anxiety, diarrhea, throat clearing, some joint pain, trouble getting to sleep, and a lot of abdominal discomfort along with gastric reflux.
    After starting the GAPS diet my joint pain disappeared the first week, I lost a few kilos, which has brought me to my ideal weight for height, the anxiety went within a few months, diarrhea went after 9 months, throat clearing greatly reduced, sleep vastly improved and best of all… a digestive system that works so much better with no indigestion.
    I have not eaten a cookie since I began the diet or had a slice of bread. After eating birthday cake a few times, my body reminds me that I still need to be on the diet and not to have any grains yet. My energy levels are great and I feel so well that it really makes me feel dismayed that the diet doesn’t work so well for everyone. I hope you find your solutions.

  11. Shannon says

    It is really interesting to read all of these comments. I’m curious if anyone out there is using GAPS to treat ulcerative colitis. My 10 year old son was diagnosed with severe UC last August. After researching the pharmaceutical options that were being proposed by the GI specialists we were referred to Dr. Cowan and Sam started the GAPS stages and diet. He was doing really well on the diet as far as the UC was concerned but he is a carb loving kid and lack of them made him feel crappy. I am curious if there are any non-disaccharide grains or which grains other people with UC are able to easily tolerate. Talking to Dr. Cowan about this too….will put up another post.

    • Mmom says

      Can he tolerate nuts? My son loves crackers, cupcakes and cookies too. I use nut flour or coconut for baking. My son also did not feel good at first. He is on GAPS for a year now. I helped, but it did not result his problem. He had c. diff and we still had to give him antibiotics. The problem we had that I could not give him much of probiotics without him going in to heavy detox. I could not increase them almost at all. He started getting bad stool again and started autistic behaviors. It looks like he has magnesium deficiency.

      I think magnesium deficiency is the biggest problem for most us on this diet. We are already having problem absorbing it and our diet gets more restricted. I had the same problem as other people. I started taking magnesium salt bath everyday or spray my skin with it. I stared eating oysters every week and sea vegetables along with fish heads broth. You know, that helped with feeling tired, low energy, stiffness, cramps, digestive problems, and all the above. You can’t just remove grains from you diet which were you staple food and do not add food rich in magnesium instead. Also, you need more magnesium on high fat diet. Nuts are good for magnesium, but you can’t eat them in big quantities. Try seafood almost everyday. Also, I use homeopathic remedy cell salt #8 to help absorption of magnesium.

  12. Cristy says

    Angie,
    My entire family has been on the GAPS diet for 5 months now. My husband has lost a belt size and he couldn’t afford it. My kids and I have gained weight around our middle and in our faces. I am still nursing my youngest. She is a big healthy girl. I am reacting to more foods than ever before. I think I am experiencing adrenal fatique. My dr. said that I had yeasts, molds and fungus coming up on my muscle testing. Now I am having bloating and stomach discomfort too. My skin is a mess. My face is red, inflamed and severely broken out all of the time. I am a slave to the kitchen. I think we are going to gently add in healthy starches again and see how we do. I was so sure this diet was the answer that I wasn’t able to see the negative effects until I happened upon your blog. Thank you!

  13. Lorraine says

    I looked at the GAPS diet but there were a number of aspects to it that didn’t seem right. When I read Natasha Campbell-McBride’s FAQ page on the website I found many of her statements questionable. To slavishly follow a diet that is making you feel worse can be very dangerous and can do a lot of damage. It is far safer to work with a naturopath who can advise and test to ensure that the dietary changes you make and the supplements you take are in fact healing and not detrimental to your body. We are all different so there is no ‘one size fits all’ diet or therapy. It is also misleading for Dr Campbell-McBride to imply that the GAPS diet will completely heal the gut and therefore all of the person’s ailments as no-one can make this claim about any therapy.

  14. Nancy says

    Thank you all for your posts! I have been on GAPS for 8 months, and on Intro for 5 months. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis about 2.5 months into starting GAPS. I had actually planned on starting Intro at about that time, which I did, right after the colonoscopy. I wound up going against the mainstream doctor’s advice of the medication I needed, so sure GAPS would heal me. Instead, I was stuck in stage 3 of Intro for over 3 months. I also had eliminate all of the cooked veggies from my diet due to diarrhea. The diarrhea would go away, I’d start the cooked veggies again and within a week, I’d be back to diarrhea. Yet still have constipation. My stomach was hurting constantly. I was having terrible muscle cramping also, which was magnesium deficiency. I started taking a lot of magnesium. Still was having issues with stomach hurting and constipation. I went to a GAPS practitioner who suggested a product to do a “cleanse”. Well, it cleansed me all right. To the point that the very acidy stool coming out of me wound up giving me an anal fissure. It was waking me up all night long, but I didn’t know that’s what the problem was. I waited almost 3 weeks in terrible pain thinking it was hemroids that would heal. I finally went to the doctor and learned I had an anal fissure. I have to take a heavy duty prescription cream that I have to insert into the anus 3x a day. And it took another 2 weeks for it to start working. So I went all those weeks getting 2 to 3 hours of sleep a night. And in very bad pain before starting to see any improvement. And to top it off, it will take months to heal this fissure, if it every heals. And now that I’ve had a fissure, the likelihood of getting one in the future has increased. In the mean time, I also tried Traditional Chinese Medicine. Which still didn’t help my stomach hurting. All this time I thought I was “merely” constipated, and I realized that yes, that HAD been some of the problem, but the bigger issue was actually inflammation that was getting worse and worse. So here I was eating all these supposedly healing foods and minimal food for 5 months and my stomach was getting worse and worse. I would start out with a slightly puffed out stomach in the morning, and as the day would wear on, it got increasingly painful and to the point it looked like I had swallowed a basketball. I was becoming less and less capable of taking care of my child on GAPS (who seems to be doing well on it and not having the same issues I’m having), making all the food, etc. I was going to bed each night crying and worn out and dreading the little bit of sleep I would get either due to the fissure or my stomach, waking up all night long sitting in the bathroom for 3 hours straight feeling like I had to go, nothing happening, or small amounts of stool and/or diarrhea coming out. Finally going back to bed only to have to wake up an hour later to start the day. I finally went back to the Gastroenterologist, with my tail between my legs and today have started the medication. He said it would be 1 to 3 weeks before I start feeling better. However, I am already feeling better TODAY. My stomach didn’t get as bad as a basketball, and it only became somewhat painful starting around 11pm rather than pain building up all day and increasing as the day wears on. I am making a guess that maybe the medicine is kicking in relatively quickly for me because my diet is so clean and basic.

    The medication for me is to get things back under control so I can be functional again. I don’t plan on eating grains yet. And will move back into full GAPS over the next few weeks, with the exception of also being anti-yeast. Long term, I hope to get off the medication. I hope to bring the colitis into “remission” for a few months and then finding out about Dr. Cowan, I may try a phone appointment with him. From his website, it sounds like he has a lot of Gastro experience. The practitioner here that I utilized is a nurse practitioner, so also can attack things from a medical perspective. But it seems like she is more knowledgeable about the autism issues (my daughter) than the colitis problems. I’m thinking that GAPS might not be the right diet for me, even though it seems to be helping my daughter. She has had no miraculous recovery from autism issues. However, this is the first year that she has not missed at single day of school (yet) for being sick, and there are only 3 more weeks left to the school year. In the mean time, we’ve had testing done for her and know it’s possible that she may need to be wheat free for life (possibly has celiac) and there is a potential that both of us may need to be 100% dairy free (not even butter oil or ghee) for life as well (waiting on the lab that does that testing to reopen, as they are going through an expansion).

    • Nancy says

      Oh, and PS to everybody that posted, I was so glad to see that other people have not had success on GAPS as well. I have been feeling like a complete failure and like I must be doing something wrong that I was on Intro Diet very strictly for 5 months and just getting worse and worse.

  15. Dar says

    My daughter and I have been on the GAPS diet for a little over 2 years now and we have done very well on it. My sister, on the other hand, could not go grain free. The difference between us is that her blood type is A+ and my daughter and I are O+. The more I read and think about this, the more I am convinced if your blood type is A you need grains in your diet and following GAPS strictly may not work for you and you may feel worse. However, if you are O type, GAPS can do wonders for you. Although my sister could not eliminate grains completely, she has eliminated gluten and that has worked wonders for her. I would love to know what blood type each person is who has found they cannot do GAPS and those who do well on GAPS. Best of luck to all of you in finding what works best for you!

  16. Dawn says

    My family and I have done the intro diet for about a week. Though we saw many positive results in that week (my kids were less fussy, we all felt less bloated), I quickly lost over 5 pounds in that week and was so hungry every night (I do not to to lose any weight!). And it is exhausting keeping up with food preparation. I have had adrenal issues and low blood sugar issues for years and was hoping this would help. I have done gluten free dairy free and every other eating plan there is. I am someone who needs lots of protein throughout the day. Clearly I need more calories- I should probably skip the intro and go into full gaps?? Or just take certain principles of the diet and adjust it to what I need? I am so confused with all the info out there, and I am so tired of being tired. Anyone experience this or have advice?

    • Susan says

      Please read all the excellent comments above. (What a wealth of valuable experience! Thank you to all for taking time to share!)
      It appears that people with Type O Blood do best on GAPS. If that is you, then do consider going straight to Full GAPS. If you are another blood type, you may need to look further.
      Ensure you get enough magnesium, too.
      Don’t give up! Find an experienced practitioner to help guide you through this maze.
      Pray for wisdom and healing.

      • Elizabeth says

        I am type O, and it looks like the Gaps diet suits me well. I just started adding gaps food and dropping carbs + sugar. What is interesting it that a lot of the Gaps foods are stuff I really liked as a kid! Maybe looking at what you eat and really liked when you where healthy could help sorting out your diet.
        My problem is chronic constipation and insomnia which are still there. Any interesting insights on this matter.
        I have one for the constipation crowd. The coffee enemas work very well to solve the going to the toilet problem when you have hemorrhoids. Strangely enough even when you expel the coffee, water and all your bowl shit your hemorrhoids don’t feel worse, even slightly better! – Gerson therapy

        Dus anybody have joint pain, I started getting it now that I am on a serious protein diet?

  17. Peta says

    I’m glad I came across this page. I have been looking into various diets after being diagnosed with a thyroid autoimmune disorder and pernicious anaemia, I also have some lesions on my MRI and birthed a child with a congential neurological condition. Needless to say it was time to learn more about diet and the impact on health. Im in the process of transitioning to a paleo (more so primal) diet but was directed to GAPS. Reading about it I was starting to wonder if it would be the cure all diet, it certainly suggests that. However this page has reminded me thst I need to keep doing reading and remember that one diet does not fit all! Especially interesting to hear as my blood type is A-.

  18. Peta says

    I’m glad I came across this page. I have been looking into various diets after being diagnosed with a thyroid autoimmune disorder and pernicious anaemia, I also have some lesions on my MRI and birthed a child with a congential neurological condition. Needless to say it was time to learn more about diet and the impact on health. Im in the process of transitioning to a paleo (more so primal) diet but was directed to GAPS. Reading about it I was starting to wonder if it would be the cure all diet, it certainly suggests that. However this page has reminded me thst I need to keep doing reading and remember that one diet does not fit all! Especially interesting to hear as my blood type is A-.

  19. says

    I was just reading over this and after being gluten free since March (with about 3-4 small gluten over that period), I am convinced it’s the best route for me. HOWEVER, I am reading Lyn Gynet’s, The Plan. I strongly recommend those of you still struggling with various food issues to read it. I will most likely do The Plan when school starts back for my kids. It addresses how each person’s body has a different chemistry and this helps you find/ solve/ heal what seems to be one person’s “ailments”. Anyway, for what it’s worth and knowing if you read this blog that health and quality of life is your focus, it is well worth your time!

  20. elizabeth says

    I am type O, and it looks like the Gaps diet suits me well. I just started adding gaps food and dropping carbs + sugar. What is interesting it that a lot of the Gaps foods are stuff I really liked as a kid! Maybe looking at what you eat and really liked when you where healthy could help sorting out your diet.
    My problem is chronic constipation and insomnia which are still there. Any interesting insights on this matter.
    I have one for the constipation crowd. The coffee enemas work very well to solve the going to the toilet problem when you have hemorrhoids. Strangely enough even when you expel the coffee, water and all your bowl shit your hemorrhoids don’t feel worse, even slightly better! – Gerson therapy

    Dus anybody have joint pain, I started getting it now that I am on a serious protein diet?

  21. Emily says

    I also have eosinophilic esophagus!!! I am slowly becoming allergic to everything I eat! Someone please email me if GAPS worked for you. Sam? I saw you post that you have similar issues. I really need to find out what is the underlying problem with my immune system to cause my issues, I’m thinking leaky gut but maybe candida??

  22. Cara says

    So glad I found this. My husband and I require different diets according to our blood types so I’ve been searching for one that is highly nourishing yet not too intimidating to undertake while still being suitable for us both. Am I asking for too much? Ha, likely.

    The theory behind GAPS is intriguing though my instincts have been saying it won’t fit me. After reading the comments here I realize being A+ accounts for my hesitation. I’m thinking that eating along the lines of the more inclusive Nourishing Traditions is the better way to go. So much conflicting info out there…..any suggestions? We are currently using a hodgepodge of previous eating plans like The Perricone/The Zone/The Blood Type/you name it. Just pulled out what made sense, seemed to work, and fit with our lifestyle. Things like soaking oatmeal in a sour medium (with spelt or rye for phytase) before cooking weren’t a part of them so it seems time to move on.

    Sincere thanks for all the info on your blog.

  23. Dee says

    I know this is an old post but I have to add my 2 cents.

    The GAPS diet is by far the absolute worse thing I have ever done to my body.

    I felt great at first but then very slowly went down hill to the point where I couldn’t even stand bc of the vertigo. All my hair fell out and my hormones where almost non existent + many many many other symptoms. I lost weight too but had to go up 2 pant sizes.

    I got off after 18 months and most of those symptoms are gone. BUT now I have the worst digestive issues I have ever had. I have never been so sick. Also, it made my original issue worse in the end.

    I understand a lot of people say that they feel a lot better on it and I did at first too.. spectacular really. But wow, you very slowly degrade as you use up you body’s resources, until you are left scrambling and told to restrict more and more foods by your practitioner. Seems to me the more you restrict the more you bring back the body’s stress response which makes you feel great until you deplete that too.

    I would tell people to really exhaust all other options before doing GAPS. It’s really a last resort. It’s like getting into a car accident to get a new car. *Maybe* you’ll get one but it sure is going to hurt.

    I cannot believe that NCM hasn’t seen this in her clinical practice. She must. I believe she intended to do good with her program but if she continues to push it as a cure all (for everybody) with no downside, I think she is being deliberately deceitful.

    As for blood type, we are A and O and both on the diet. The O is just as bad as the A.

  24. Summer says

    I’m very glad to be reading this comment thread BEFORE starting my family on the Gaps diet. Basically, it has confirmed my suspicions. I have been aware of the blood type diet for several years now, and being type A, I become constipated and acidic very easily on a high-animal protein diet. I’m still planning to use the Gaps intro diet to help heal/seal the gut for me and all three of my children (types A, B, and AB), but I will be formulating their diets specifically according to the blood type diet as well. For instance, both me and my type A son will only be drinking chicken and turkey broth (and the actual meat consumption will be kept to a minimum). I know that I will become acidic and constipated when I remove grains, etc., from my diet–but this I plan to remedy by increasing my intake of Osteomegacare (cal/mag) and Body Balance supplements.

    As soon as I see that healing has taken place, I’m planning to introduce the other foods permitted in the blood type diet, grains, legumes, etc., in order to balance our diets out–while preventing any re-occurring damage from taking place.

    The following links might be of interest to those curious about the blood type diet. The first link provides a basic chart of foods for each blood type. The second link takes you to a page where you can look up each individual food item and discover WHY a certain food is or is not good for you. Very informative.

    http://www.soulcraft.co/info/food_chart.htm

    http://www.dadamo.com/typebase4/typeindexer.htm

  25. Summer says

    I’m very glad to be reading this comment thread before starting my family on the Gaps diet. Basically, it has confirmed my suspicions. I have been aware of the blood type diet for several years now, and being type A, I become constipated and acidic very easily on a high-animal protein diet. I’m still planning to use the Gaps intro diet to help heal/seal the gut for me and all three of my children (types A, B, and AB), but I will be formulating their diets specifically according to the blood type diet as well. For instance, both me and my type A son will only be drinking chicken and turkey broth (and the actual meat consumption will be kept to a minimum). I know that I will become acidic and constipated when I remove grains, etc., from my diet–but this I plan to remedy by increasing my intake of Osteomegacare (cal/mag) and Body Balance supplements. My type B son will have to refrain entirely from eating chicken, and will have to eat beef, venison, etc, instead.

    As soon as I see that healing has taken place, I’m planning to introduce the other foods permitted in the blood type diet, grains, legumes, etc., in order to balance our diets out–while preventing any re-occurring damage from taking place.

    The following links might be of interest to those curious about the blood type diet. The first link provides a basic chart of foods for each blood type. The second link takes you to a page where you can look up each individual food item and discover WHY a certain food is or is not good for you. Very informative.

    http://www.soulcraft.co/info/food_chart.htm

    http://www.dadamo.com/typebase4/typeindexer.htm

  26. Summer says

    As an addendum to my post above: If your health challenges are severe, and you wish to hone in to the proper diet for your blood type (to the extreme), the test mentioned in this link may be helpful. It can even help you to better determine which herbs, supplements, etc. will work best for your body, versus others.

    http://www.dadamo.com/knowbase/newbie/a.htm

  27. Jeanette says

    I have been most interested to read all of theses posts. I am following the SCD diet which I believe the GAPS diet is based on. It has worked very well (I am type O so perhaps that explains it). However it encourages taking vitamins (if you can find them without starches etc) and it seems that this in not encouraged on GAPS. Seems strange since people with damaged digestive systems would be very prone to malabsorption of minerals etc.
    Perhaps this would alleviate some of the problems that some people have had.
    I mention this purely as a possibility.

  28. Aiyama says

    I was on GAPS for 5 months last year and it dramatically improved the CFS and Fibromyalgia symptoms that had kept me out of work for over 2 years. I ate 80% GAPS for another 8 months. GAPS gave me my life back, and the energy to begin a new career, less stressful than my former corporate life and more fulfilling.

    One of the unanticipated benefits of the diet was that it considerably diminished my decade of gluten intolerance. Ooh the bliss of being able to eat the occasional slice of frosted chocolate cake and starchy-potato Indian feast without insomnia and excruciating joint and muscle pain. I’m not completely healed. I still have to live life at a slower pace than I used to, but I have a life now. I still experience emotional symptoms almost immediately when ingesting grains & starches, and my dairy intolerance that triggers feelings of panic and a weird out of body feeling hasn’t improved. Overall though the diet has been a huge success.

    I’m starting another few months now to see if I can improve on brain fog, moodiness, bloating and general energy. Am optimistic. :)

  29. Joyce says

    I realize this is a fairly old post, but I just found it, and it is quite fascinating! Kimi, I think you have hit on something rather important. I have been on a good, WAPF-type diet for nearly 15 years, and it has saved my life and health in so many ways. One thing I love about it is that it is very “coherent”: if you really study it, all the pieces fit together and make sense; it isn’t just about one thing, or one type of food, or one type of diet or style of eating, rather it is an over-arching philosophy base on the real experience of millions of people for hundred/thousands of years. For myself, I have not tried the GAPS diet, and although I respect enormously what Natasha Campbell-McBride has done, I probably won’t be trying it. For one thing, I think I’m fairly healthy. I do generally stay relatively low-carb. My husband doesn’t do well on most grains, where I am more tolerant of them. However, because of the preference for low-carb, and my husband’s need, sometimes my diet veers more toward the meat/broth/veggies direction (like GAPS). Generally, after a period of time like this, I don’t feel as well, lose energy, don’t sleep as well, and realize that something is missing, and I go back to including small to moderate amounts of grain in my diet, which feels better to me. But, **the one thing I think most people miss in this discussion is one of the pillars of WAPF: How the Grains are Prepared!! It is not always that grains are evil :), but that we don’t take care of them by preparing them properly. For an example from my own experience: for a while my husband was cooking lots of rice (it’s the one grain he can tolerate). He’d usually use a rice cooker, and just cook it up. If I ate his rice, I always had a lot of gas, which on my own diet I almost never do. But if I’m the one to cook the rice, I use the recipe from Nourishing Traditions for the rice cooked in broth, with cardamom added, and slow simmered for a long time: when I eat that, voila! no gas at all. So I think this aspect of preparation, soaking and cooking is very important. I’ve heard Sally in her lectures stress that it’s one of the most important steps in properly prepared foods, especially important when it come to grains.

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