GAPS – My Experience

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GAPS – Gut and Psychology Syndrome – written by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, has been life changing for me. I am talking about dramatic changes in my physical health since beginning the GAPS Introduction Diet! If you have not already, please take time to read the GAPS Review which will explain a bit more about the link between poor digestion, health problems and the diet to target healing of the gut. So that you might know me a little better and appreciate the changes, let me give you a brief medical history.

Growing up, it seemed that I always had stomach problems. By problems, I mean pain, nausea, diarrhea, and/or constipation. By the sixth grade, my pain was so severe that an exploratory laparotomy was performed. Unfortunately, only swollen glands were found.

At 17 years of age, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis which is an autoimmune disease. With rheumatoid arthritis the body overreacts to an irritant and begins an inflammatory process which normally attacks the joints but may also cause inflammation in the lungs and around the heart. I was put on prescription medication which provided some relief but also exacerbated my stomach pain.

At age 19, I was tested allergic to beef, fowl and pork. In addition to allergy shots, I became a vegetarian – eating only eggs, dairy and fish along with veggies and grains.

I would continue with arthritic flair-ups and periods of remission throughout my adult life. Extremely difficult periods occured after childbirth (all 10), when the baby was anywhere from 6 – 10 mths old. These periods thankfully were always followed by a period of remission. In 2011, however, after some female surgery, the arthritis pain was so severe that my husband had to cut my pancakes every morning! There seemed to be no relief in sight!

As if I did not have enough wrong, at age 47, I was diagnosed with osteoporosis. Prescription medication was prescribed for my low bone density. I felt as though I was falling apart!

My daughter-in-law, Jessica, introduced me to GAPS. She was able to attend a conference at which Dr. Campbell-McBride was a speaker. After talking with Dr. Campbell-McBride personally about me and my history, she came home excited that I would have relief from my pain and once again eat meat.

Her enthusiasm was contagious and I began the GAPS Introduction Diet the week before Thanksgiving. The Introduction Diet is the most restrictive part of the diet and includes six stages. I am now in the fourth stage and slowly continuing to add more foods to my diet.

As of this writing, I have had complete relief from my arthritis symptoms and (drum roll please!) I am eating meat again after 30 years! This is really great since we just butchered our first steer! I will not have another bone density test done for about 6 months. It will be interesting to see if there is any change.

Hopefully, my enthusiasm over the wonderful changes that have occurred will be contagious also. I would encourage any of you interested to purchase the GAPS book. It is a detailed book with a lot of information that for some, like me has been life-changing. You might also visit Dr. Campbell – McBride’s website Gut and Psychology Syndrome.

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  1. says

    You give me hope!

    With both my spouse and 14yo son dealing with Crohn’s AND my undiagnosed issues with swelling and such. I’m beginning to see food as medicine over sustenance with tasty options. =)
    Thank you for the links and information! I will be ordering the book.

    You are proof God loves us and sends us what we need.

  2. Casey says

    Recently, someone told me about the GAPS diet. I haven’t looked into it much yet, but once I am off a round of antibiotics I will seriously consider it. It seemed overwhelming and I stopped reading about it. I stumbled upon your blog and do not think it was by coincidence. I just turned 30 last week. I have had medical problems for about 10 years now. I was bounced from doctor to doctor for a while. I have had many “gut” problems and I am becoming desperate. We have an eleven month old who is a little miracle and I want to be healthy so I can enjoy her to the fullest.

  3. says

    My dad has RA and started GAPS this week. He has noticed some slight improvement in his hands but is still having a lot of joint pain. He has stayed on Stage 1 so far.

    I’m curious whether you moved forward with the stages before your symptoms cleared up or if you waited until the pain was gone before proceeding.

    I’m really hoping GAPS will help him. The immunosuppressive drugs he’s been on for 10+ years have stopped working and he’s experiencing so much pain! :(

    • says

      Mary Jo, I hope it helps too! I did progress through the introduction diet very slowly. I did not wait until all symptoms were gone though. My pain was gone in 2 weeks but it did take longer for the swelling to go down. Please keep me posted and I will be praying!

  4. VERENA Adrian says

    Hi Dina-Marie,
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. Could I ask if the symptoms of arthritis (swelling of hands etc) leave soon after you started on GAPS or how long did it take? Warmly, Verena


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