Results of the GAPS Diet

While we undertook the GAPS Diet as a family experiment, to make sure everyone had healthy gut bacteria, the results have been encouraging. I have detailed my experience with the GAPS (relief from rheumatoid arthritis pain and ability to eat meat after a 30 year “allergy”) but the family has also benefited. I see results of the GAPS diet in several areas.

4 areas in which I see results of the GAPS diet:

1.  Attentiveness: The children (especially the younger boys) are more focused with tasks.

2.  Calmness: There is also a general sense of calmness rather than hyperactivity.

3.  Physical:

  • John has had an itchy spot on his back that is now gone. This very localized itch has been with him for over a year. We had decided it was either a nerve or perhaps a chemical used in the vineyard which spilled on his back.
  • I continue to have relief from my arthritis pain, am the biggest fan of beef in the house (having been a herbivore for 30 years, I have found myself to be a carnivore at heart!) and am even out pruning in the vineyard! I have not been able to help with pruning for the past 4 years because of the joint pain in my hands! When we ordered new pruning shears for everyone, we did not even order mine – because there was no way with my hands in the shape they were (pre-GAPS) that I would ever be able to use them. Poor John – I am now using his and he has an old pair!

4. Menus:

  • My style of cooking has changed considerably. No longer do I whip up a quick pasta meal or beans and rice – I must plan ahead. I know that menu planning saves money and gives a certain peace of mind, but it is also easier not to do it! I am also trying many new recipes. The children especially need the encouragement of “treats” made with honey. I have not baked much with honey and am enjoying the challenge of trying new recipes.
  • More variation in our diet is now a priority. In an effort to keep everyone full and satisfied, I have added nut mixes (with soaked and dehydrated nuts), dried fruit (no sugar added), avocados, as well as, other vegetables we have not eaten before.

This “experiment” has definitely been life changing and even on the Full GAPS Diet and afterwards, we will continue to have plenty of probiotics in out diet. These will be in the form of kefir, yogurtsauerkraut, fermented carrots, as well as, other fermented vegetables that I want to try when our garden produce begins to be harvested.

 

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Comments

  1. your website is very helpful.It is great that your husband supports you on this journey. I don’t know how my family will switch to the GAPS diet without my husband’s support.

    • I don’t think we would be so far along if he did not support it – even with it sometimes I can feel the unrest in the troops ;)
      Maybe if he reads the book or at least part of it, he would be more supportive. That is what caused my husband to want to do it as a family!

  2. Your comments are very encouraging . I just started the gaps diet. I have RA and many other things, allergies, etc. my husband is supportive . But I was wondering how long before you really started to see a difference in your arthritis ? I know this is very individual ,but would like to know
    Thanks

    • I am so glad you are trying GAPS! I had amazing relief from my pain in about 2 weeks – it was very dramatic. You are right, though, everyone is different and I hope you will have relief quickly!

      • Angela J. says:

        Dina-Marie,

        Thank you so much for posting your experience with GAPS! It is so helpful. I have started to follow your blog and I look forward to seeing your progress with the vineyard.

        I found your website because I (like Dawn) was searching for how long it took you to see relief from joint pain on GAPS. I have been on a very restricted diet for one month (only meats, vegetables, some fruit) based on a food sensitivity test. I believe food sensitivities may be causing some digestive issues and joint pain, which leads me to believe I have leaky gut syndrome. I hadn’t seen relief yet, even after a month of very strict adherence (no cheats whatsoever), so I started GAPS three days ago. I am still adhering to my food sensitivity list, but I also avoided a few more things that I was concerned might also be an issue (like nightshades, corn, dairy, and eggs). My digestive issues have already subsided substantially.

        So I guess my question for you is: Did you stay on Stage 1 until you saw the dramatic joint relief in about two weeks? Or did you progress through the stages quickly, and your joint relief came anyway?

        I am concerned that if my joint relief isn’t gone, how will I know if something I eat is causing my joint pain? (E.g. eggs, since that’s the first thing to add) I am tempted to stay on Stage 1 for a couple weeks to see if joint pain is relieved in that time, so I will know definitively if something I add causes it to come back. But then I see other posts saying to only stay on it for 3-5 days, and to progress when digestive issues have improved (which they already have). In your experience, did you gauge your progress on digestive issues or joint pain or something else? Or did you just progress through the Stages every few days, regardless of current symptoms?

        Thanks for any guidance you might be able to provide!
        Angela J.

        • Angela, I did go VERY slowly through the stages. I was not expecting the pain to be gone in 2 weeks but had decided to take it slow to allow for healing – 2 – 3 weeks per stage. As it worked out, when the pain was gone in 2 weeks, I waited a couple more days and then progressed to the next stage. I would do it the same way again – go slow. I know it is a limited diet but I can tell you on this side of it – well worth it! Please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing!

          • Angela J. says:

            Thank you so much for writing back! I was thinking I’d get an email notification if you wrote back, but I decided to check out more of your blog tonight so I returned this your post. I’m glad I did! I will have to keep this bookmarked for future reference. :)

            I was so excited to get your reply! I have read of a few other people experiencing joint pain relief via GAPS, but I just couldn’t decide/figure out how long to stay on Stage 1. I know joint pain is one of those symptoms that can take awhile to subside. After already being on the other restricted diet for a full month, I was starting to wonder if anything will work! I do have great confidence in the wisdom of the body to heal itself, given the right tools, so I will stay on this path. I think it’s a very promising sign that I’m already seeing some results with digestion.

            The other diet I was on was very similar to this one… The biggest change was the cooking method (boiling) and the broth consumption. I’m not experiencing any terrible cravings, and I’m finding the diet pretty easy to follow. So I’m really fine staying on it for another week or two, to see if it will help my joint pain. My digestion issues are a bother and a concern for future issues (but not really a huge nuisance at this stage), but my joint pain affects me every day. I’m sure you can relate! I’ve not been officially diagnosed with RA, but my doc hinted at it and tested a few things, and wanted to test more. This is really terrible, but I backed away from visits once he started to go down that path… Mainly because I knew I wouldn’t try the meds (I’d try diet and other interventions first), and I didn’t want it to be on my chart (for future insurance issues). Terrible! But I have used nutrition to heal another issue (neurocardiogenic syncope) and I just KNOW that I can beat this with nutrition too!

            A couple of questions for you:

            1) Did you eat yogurt or any other dairy in Stage 1? So far, I have stayed away from it. I make my own raw goat yogurt and ferment it for 24-29 hours… It is delicious and almost lactose-free. I’ve been off of all dairy for five weeks now, so I could really “challenge” it effectively and make sure I’m okay with consuming it. But I’m wondering when to add it back. It seems Stage 1 has it listed as okay. Also, any thoughts on honey? I’m pretty much avoiding it, but had to add a little in today. (I was feeling EXTREMELY thirsty, and I couldn’t satiate it with water. So I crushed some fresh mint in some water and added a 1/2 tsp honey. That seemed to do it.)

            2) Here’s what I’m eating right now: Meat stock (bone broth upsets my stomach a little bit), boiled meats, boiled vegetables (carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, leeks, onions, winter squash), lacto-fermented cabbage juice, sea salt. I also had some ginger tea on Day 1 (may have reacted with itchy, hot skin?). And of course the bit of mint and honey today. I also should mention that in my food reactivity test, zucchini tested positive for me, so I am avoiding all summer squash. I even question having winter squash, but I don’t want to cut that many carbs, so I tried it for the first time today (I think it went okay, so far anyway).

            Any thoughts? Did you remember if you ate anything that’s not on my list? Or did you eliminate anything that I am eating? Although the book is amazing, I find it confusing at times and sometimes it seems it may be even contradictory. Admittedly, I have not read it cover to cover yet. I’m trying, but I seem to always have to jump to what’s applicable and never get a chance to just sit down and read.

            3) On that note, I’m considering purchasing The Gaps Guide by Baden Lashkov. Are you familiar with the book and would you recommend it? It seems like it may be laid out in a bit more “direction”-like format for people who are new to the diet.

            Wow – I’m so sorry for the long post and a ton of questions. I completely understand if you’re too busy to get to it! Thanks again for your response – it’s great to hear from someone else who’s been through it!

            Angela J.

          • Angela, I did start kefir and yogurt in stage 1 since I had never had an issue with dairy. I would think it would be alright especially since you have been off it now for a month – you should be able to tell a difference if there is a problem. And you will be getting not only the probiotics but also good enzymes since it is raw. Have you tried kefir – it has way more probiotic bacteria than yogurt. When I first started GAPS I did not have honey but then I read that honey is a monosaccharide which means it is absorbed with almost no digestion necessary. Sugar is a disaccharide which means it need the enterocytes in your gut to break them down. Since the enterocytes are sick in GAPS patient and unable to do the final break down of foods (gluten, proteins…), you should avoid it. 2. I ate all you are eating plus the squash. In the book on page 159 is listed the recommended foods and a bit further foods to avoid once you get through the intro stages. 3.I did look at the guide – a friend at church had it and it was a detailed plan. I used the Internal Bliss cookbook which has GAPS recipes and that helped tremendously.
            I hope this helps and feel free to contact me with any other questions.

  3. Angela J. says:

    Oh, and I thought of one more question. (Sorry!) What probiotic did you use? I am using Garden of Life Primal Defense, because it didn’t have any of my food sensitivities in the ingredients. But I’m wondering if I should switch to BioKult, as is recommended.

  4. Angela J. says:

    Thank you so much! I really really appreciate being able to chat with someone else who had severe joint pain and was able to recover with GAPS. It gives me hope, and motivation to keep going! I will take it slow on the stages, and I appreciate that advice. Although I was hesitant, I was considering moving ahead, based on my digestion systems, not on my joint pain… Now I think I will have the patience to wait it out and I’m sure my GAPS experience will be better because of it. Thank you.

    And I’m so glad to hear you had yogurt and kefir on Stage 1! I have tried and like kefir, so I will definitely add that in once I get yogurt settled. It will take me a few days to get the milk and then make it into the long-fermented yogurt, so I think that will put me at Day 7. Maybe I can sweeten it with a little bit of honey! :)

    I think when my bottle of Primal Defense (I just started a bottle) is done, I’ll switch over to BioKult to see if that makes a difference.

    Update: So far I’ve noticed significant improvement in my digestion. My joints are still painful, but the last two mornings I’ve *wondered* if they are getting just a little bit better. I’m trying not to think about it – I feel like when it happens, I’ll definitely know! When I get out of bed in the morning, I walk stiff-legged like a zombie, because my ankles are so stiff and sore. I’m looking forward to the day when that goes away! :)

    Again, thank you so much for your thoughtful responses… It really makes me happy!!! I will try to remember to keep you updated on my progress.

    Angela J.

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