If you do a search for the GAPS diet, you will come up with many informative websites and blogs, so I am not going to go into great detail about it right now, but I think it is important for our family and friends to understand the basics of the diet in order to better understand and support our decision, should we go ahead with it. At this time, I am gathering information and praying for wisdom and guidance. We want to do what is best for Jonas, and it seems like GAPS might be it, but, like I said, we are still in the process of determining that.
GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome, a term coined by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, who specializes in nutrition for those with digestive and immune system disorders and behavioral and learning disabilities. In her book, she explains in great detail how the state of the gut affects the rest of the body and mind. If a person’s gut flora is not healthy, it has negative consequences for the rest of the body. Depending on the degree of toxicity created by abnormal flora, an individual will experience symptoms ranging from digestive issues (IBS, Crohns, Celiacs, reflux, Etc.) to the most severe psychological problems like autism and schizophrenia and many other issues in between. She points out many times that these conditions are not isolated, but overlapping. She also goes into great detail about how the gut works and what happens when it doesn’t work well. It is absolutely fascinating and most convincing.
Campbell-McBride’s prescription for healing the damaged gut is a very regimented diet, void of all grains and starches, full of nutrient dense foods like bone broths, eggs, meat, nuts and vegetables. It is a nourishing, high fat, easily digestible diet that seals the leaky gut wall that has been allowing partially digested food to seep through and gets the bad gut flora under control.
This diet is a huge commitment, as it can take anywhere from one to three years to complete and it cannot be cheated on. It’s not a decision to make lightly. But, if it can heal Jonas now before his problems get worse, it is worth the difficulties and inconveniences we will face.
We are considering the diet because of Jonas’ stomach issues. As an infant he had a serious dairy intolerance and reflux. Nights consisted of him waking 6-10 times and crying hard for 20-45 minutes each time as we held and rocked him. Nights like that lasted until about 9 months and then it slowly started getting better. In hindsight, I think there may have been something else in my diet causing him distress that I didn’t realize. He was three before he started eating any dairy. A little yogurt and raw milk. The last couple years, he has seemed okay with dairy and we haven’t limited him. He has always had incontinence issues to some degree. I usually thought he was just getting too caught up in what he was doing, and I’m sure that was probably true at times, but I would try to give the benefit of the doubt when he would say he didn’t know he needed to go. This happened less as he got older, but still on occasion. Lately he has been having really loose stools with food not entirely digested (I notice seeds from bread in particular) and he often has accidents and says he couldn’t feel he needed to go. BM accidents used to happen occasionally, but in the last 6 weeks or so, he will sometimes have 3 in a day, and other days he is fine. He has a couple bad days a week. I took him off almost all dairy a few weeks back and now am weaning him off bread (he gravitates toward grains). It seems his body has gotten to a point where it can no longer handle some of the food in his diet, and the last several weeks is a clear sign to me that we have a problem to solve.
So, that’s the very basics of what is happening and what we’re thinking. I will go into more detail about what I am reading in upcoming posts.