We undertook the GAPS Diet as a family experiment to make sure everyone had healthy gut bacteria, and 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.
Our family started the GAPS diet to see if we could improve our health naturally. I was ready for a change to my diet, and I was so happy when my family agreed to do it with me.
As I wrote about in my original story post:
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. So, my pain and discomfort continued even into my teen and adult years.
At 17 years of age, I received a diagnosis 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.
Once I began to have children, my options narrowed. Steroids are not recommended for pregnancy and the prescription medications adversely affected my nursing babies.
At age 19, I 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 occurred after childbirth (all 10 of them), when the baby was anywhere from 6 – 10 mths old. 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 received a diagnosis of osteoporosis.
I took prescription medication for my low bone density. Now, besides everything else, the medicine prescribed for my osteoporosis made me feel like I had the flu almost all the time. It 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.
The rest is history! We’ve been working on the GAPS diet and tracking changes ever since. It’s been an interesting time! Even the children had detoxification symptoms, which I did not expect. But at this point in time, everyone seems to be so much healthier and happier since the change.
4 areas in which I see results of the GAPS diet:
The children (especially the younger boys) are more focused on tasks whenever they sit down to complete something.
There is also a general sense of calmness rather than hyperactivity. This is a big change from before, trust me.
3. Positive physical changes
- 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. More delicious 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, and now, it is even more important since many GAPS friendly recipes require a little more prep! 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. Even now that we’ve eased off of our strict protocol, we will continue to have plenty of probiotics in our diet. These will be in the form of kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, fermented carrots, as well as other fermented vegetables that I want to try when our garden produce begins to be harvested.
I’m so grateful for the positive health impact that the GAPS diet has had on my family. It’s so incredible to me how gut health plays a role in our overall health, and I hope to help my family maintain the benefits that we have found in this diet.
Even if you do not attempt the full GAPS diet from beginning to end, this way of eating has many transferrable elements that you could begin implementing right away. By simply adding probiotic-rich foods, you can start to improve your overall health. Many of the other principles can be incorporated with a few simple changes in the kitchen. It’s much easier than you think! But I’m warning you, you may want to just go all the way…
How about you? Has your family tried GAPS? How did it go? Share your story in the comments!