Our Experience on the GAPS Intro Diet

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When I shared the differences between GAPS Intro and Full diets, I promised I would tell you about our experience with Intro. That’s what I’m sharing today.

This post is more anecdotal and journal-like. In fact, I’m pulling my thoughts from a GAPS thread going on in our eCourse forums. It just so happened that another member and I started Intro GAPS around the same time! Below you’ll find my (slightly edited) posts from that thread.

Before I share that “journal” of sorts, I want to share what led up to our trying out GAPS.

What Led Up to GAPS

Last summer, my husband and I followed a very loose GAPS diet that I called “the GAPS diet for the family with a milk cow.” ;) Basically, we eliminated grains and sweets (except honey). Our only dairy was fermented. We continued to eat meats, veggies (including starchy), broth, good fats, fermented foods, etc. I experienced a few months free of seasonal allergies. I’m not sure my husband noticed any improvements in his on-going issues of low energy, fatigue, joint pain, and more. In fact, I’m pretty sure he didn’t.

Then about November, we went back to a regular traditional food diet, with the properly prepared grains, etc. My allergies came back with a vengeance. Worse than ever. I got so sick of food (which never happens for me) and I put on weight. My son’s eczema came back for the first time in many years. My husband got to the point where he couldn’t eat anything without gas, bloating, digestive upset, and feeling just horrible. So… after enough months of that, we figured it was time to do GAPS for real, and in particular, the Intro diet. We began that on April 1, 2012 — my son, my husband, and me. (Not my daughters, though by default their diets became mostly GAPS.)

My Intro GAPS “Journal”

These are my (slightly edited) posts from the GAPS thread on our eCourse forums. This is by no means complete — it just is what it is. :)

April 2. We started intro GAPS yesterday… my husband, my son and I. They’re both really bored and kind of not liking it. I find the broth very delicious and I love the vegetables and cooked meats. In day or so, we’ll move on to stage 2. I am finding though that I crave my usual sweet fruit/honey after each meal. What I wouldn’t give for a sweet treat!

GAPS Intro ebook

April 2. I feel like we need to get out of stage 1 right quick so we can have a little more variety. Also, I’m running out of veggies! I usually shop each Wednesday but I don’t think I’ll last even for tomorrow (Tuesday). I like how if you feel you need the extra energy or nutrition you can add what you need. How long do you need to be on each stage? In the 30 Days On Intro eBook, Cara lays out meal plans for 5 days on each stage. I don’t know… that’s going to be hard! :)

April 5. I’m keeping perpetual stock going in the crockpot. I add water and new bones as needed. It is working great! Today I need to add more bones.

April 9. We’re all doing pretty well. My husband was the worst off in some ways. He was getting ill after every meal and we couldn’t pin it down to any food. Within a week of Intro, he’s no longer getting the bloating and nausea. He’s up to stage 3 or 4 intro, though I’m not really being strict with the stages. We’re more introducing some foods and skipping others. What was really causing problems (I think) were raw veggies, so having well cooked veggies has helped a lot. He’s eating kraut with every meal and back to fermented cod liver oil. So on the whole, I think we’re getting somewhere.

My son and I are on GAPS for seasonal allergies. And my son has eczema back in the cracks of his elbows, not really badly, but enough to concern me. He and I are pretty much done with intro, I think, and on full GAPS. We kind of went through it quickly. He is not having egg whites, though. The one day I tested them, his eczema flared up. I wasn’t sure if it was die-off or a reaction but I assumed reaction because egg whites were a trigger for him as a toddler.

I have lost 5 pounds. My son has lost weight as well. I don’t know if my husband has.

Easter (yesterday) at friends was really hard for my son. I told him he could eat vegetables and meat. That was good but he also wanted all the jello salads and everything else everyone brought. ;) I brought some of my Coconut-Honey Candy without cocoa powder so at least we could have a treat.

My husband is bored of the food. Before doing this he was hating eating anyway because he got sick every time. He doesn’t look forward to eating. I understand why, but I can’t relate because even on GAPS I think the food’s delish. :) My son misses the bread, potato, whole eggs (though he loves a fried yolk) — and sweets!

April 17. I read a good tip in Cara Faus’ 30 Days On Intro eBook. She said if you’re running out of juice in your sauerkraut you can put a teaspoon of sea salt and some water in your kraut jar and let it re-ferment at room temp overnight, or for a day or so.

April 19. My husband is doing okay. He still gets a little upset stomach, but for the most part he is much improved. We’re pretty much done with Intro. Thank goodness! We may have pushed too fast, but honestly the food choices were wearing on us, so I challenged new foods quite often.

We started going through the Intro stages in a day or two. It was what we had to do because otherwise the lack of food (or boringness) was causing suffering of another sort. ;)

We’re going to continue on with full GAPS. I love the food, I’m quite satisfied, and now that we’re eating more things, the others are liking it, too. We added some almond meal muffins yesterday which is making everyone really happy!

May 11. Even on GAPS, C.’s eczema is recurring. I think it is die-off or maybe a reaction to egg whites, which he is eating now occasionally. I’m doing well on GAPS, with little to no seasonal allergies. I think we’ll be on it for a few months more at least.

May 27. Here’s a story about a friend. She was on Intro and had no energy to keep up with life, home and work. She had to introduce 24-hour yogurt early in Intro because she wouldn’t have made it otherwise. What I’m learning is that no one’s journey is the same!

May 30. Things are definitely improved for my husband. He doesn’t have an upset stomach after meals much. The other day he did, and we figured out it was the apples in his yogurt. Took that out and he’s doing fine on yogurt. He’s a man who’s had joint pain, fatigue, and other health issues all his life. He would love to feel better. I hope he does. Though his digestion isn’t a problem now, the other things haven’t improved much yet. I do keep wondering if adding the BioKult (probiotics) would help… right now we’re doing home fermented only. Yogurt is a life saver, actually — so tasty and rich with probiotics.

Coconut Honey Candy

What is really satisfying our (waning) sweet tooth is the Coconut-Honey Candy. You can omit the cocoa powder for a white candy. I don’t know what we’d do without it! A little square in the evening really helps my husband not feel too deprived. But, he doesn’t really have a huge sweet tooth. I do. The candy is probably for me. ;)

June 8. The other day my husband had to go out to lunch and ate some white rice. His stomach was rolling for two days. Obviously, he’s not ready to be off GAPS. I have had a few things I shouldn’t have had… like one day I couldn’t resist a cookie. I felt my seasonal allergies the next day. Another occasion I broke the diet and I didn’t notice anything bad.

Since Then

We’re still on Full GAPS. We’ve introduced Bio-Kult probiotics. My husband was able to increase his dose without any die-off symptoms, while my son and I have experienced more seasonal allergies with increased doses. That seems to have leveled out, so it is time for me to increase my dose. My son’s eczema is virtually gone. My husband says he feels less achy in his joints. I think we have a ways to go, but much is promising.

I never mentioned this in my “journal” but somewhere in there, we learned a very big lesson about carbs! One week, we ate less of the cooked vegetables (cabbage, squashes, etc.) and had raw salads instead. We all suffered with low energy that week. The next week, we went back to eating cooked vegetables and our energy returned. The difference wasn’t whether the veggies were cooked or not — it was that the cooked vegetables provided more carbohydrates for energy. GAPS done successfully is not low-carb.

Hopefully that wasn’t too disjointed for you. :) What did you think of my “journal”? What were your experiences with the Intro diet?

Want more from our GAPS series? Catch up with Why I’m On The GAPS Diet, Demystifying the GAPS Diet (what it is), Intro and Full GAPS Explained, NAET and GAPS: Complimentary Therapies, and GAPS Date Cookies (and Caroline’s Story).

Please subscribe to my blog to catch all the upcoming GAPS series posts!

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Comments

  1. Sarah Herr via Facebook says

    I had a similar experience to the one you mentioned about low energy and also added in the 24 hour homemade yogurt in stage 3 … it made a world of difference for me!

  2. Kirsten says

    I don’t know much at all about gaps, admittedly, but when you mention “die-off”, does that refer to yeast?

    Are you able to replace yogurt with kefir?

    Fascinating! My son has battled a skin rash that doesn’t itch, isn’t red, and just feels dry since he was an infant. Comes & goes. Ww just tried a month of no grains and I still can’t pinpoint the problem. He eats incredibly well. He actually eats the scoby & the kefir grains, any and all foods I serve him.

    I hope you all have continued healing!

    • says

      Kirsten —

      Yes, kefir or yogurt (24 hour cultured) are both fine. :)

      Here is die-off (I’m quoting from gapsdiet.com FAQs). And it happens not just when introducing a probiotic supplement. It can happen from eating fermented foods or just in general on the GAPS diet or other detoxification programs.

      What are “die-off” symptoms?

      As you introduce a probiotic into the digestive system, the pathogenic bacteria, viruses and fungi there will be dying, which releases more toxins. This increase in toxicity may produce a so-called “die-off” reaction, when you may feel more tired or generally “off color”. It is a temporary reaction and usually lasts from a few days to a few weeks in different people. To make this reaction as mild as possible, build the dose of Bio-Kult slowly. The quickest you can go is adding 1 capsule to the daily dose every 4-7 days. You can build the dose much slower, depending on your reaction. If you get a severe reaction, cut the daily dose down to the previous level and settle on it. Then carry on increasing the dose.

  3. says

    Oh, intro was HARD — but I’m so glad I did it. I fully believe it provides a level of detoxing that promotes faster healing on the full diet. (Also, an aside that nobody wants to talk about: I think for many people, doing the suggested enemas is also a way to promote much faster detoxing and healing.)

    That being said, I still can’t wrap my head around putting my kids on it. I keep putting it off — right now I’m saying we’ll do it in January ; )

    Detoxing is so different for everyone. One of the things I found (even after moving on to full GAPS) was that I would feel really great for a week or so, then plummet. Symptoms would return with what seemed like a vengeance. Our naturopath called these “healing episodes” — she said that as the body uncovers new toxins, the body has to deal with them, and it can make all the symptoms come back. It can be very confusing and frustrating — the episodes can last 7-10 days — especially when the diet alone is already hard. But after my 30-day intro and now 7 months on the diet, my “healing episodes” are much less frequent. I’ve felt steadily good now for over a month.

    Thanks for sharing your journal!

    • says

      Also meant to mention: I had very low-energy, but couldn’t add yogurt because milk was a big problem for me. So I started juicing late in stage 1, and it helped a ton with my blood-sugar balance.

      • says

        Thanks for sharing your experience, Katy. I liked hearing your naturopath’s description of the “healing episodes”. And I’m really glad you’re doing so well. :)

  4. says

    Thanks for this, it always helps to see how different people do on intro. We haven’t gotten into it yet but I know carbs would be an issue for me as I has declined health from a 2 year low carb stint. Wouldn’t want to repeat that damage!

  5. jan says

    Wardee,

    I thought one had to do the diet for a few yrs., but you mention about possibly stopping in a few months. Is this because you have been eating a healthy diet already for a long time?

    I don’t know very much about GAPS, but I know I haven’t much will power. I do pray about it, but… The intro sounds very hard. Is it necessary?

    • Danielle says

      The intro is hard, and we stopped after 2 days and went straight to full GAPS. However, intro now seems much more doable, and I am ready to start it again once some stressful life circumstances even out. Doing full GAPS first gives you some practice time. My son has severe eczema, which seems to be responding to the diet; but he has such terrible flares (which could be reaction or die-off) that I am convinced that the intro really IS going to be necessary to heal his leaky gut. I’ts been several months on the full diet, and not enough healing has occurred. The book says that, while some people do fine going straight to full GAPS, some will have lingering symptoms if they do not do intro first. I think my son is one of those people.

    • says

      Jan — It has to do with the severity of the issues. My son and I won’t be on it as long as my husband. At least that’s what I think now. His issues are more severe than ours are.

  6. says

    As you already know, I’ve been on Intro since June 2011. Yes, that makes 13 months so far and I’m not through with it yet. I’ve been on Stage 4 since this past Fall and there are times when I doubt that it’s doing me any good, but then I look at the journal I kept when I began Intro and realize that the digestive episodes (cramping, diarrhea, extreme bloating, constant heartburn, and abdominal pain that lasted for weeks afterwards) have decreased significantly in both frequency and severity. I still have abdominal discomfort almost every day and bloating after most meals, but it’s usually bearable now and sometimes barely noticed.

    I should point out that my case was pretty severe to start with: severe damage of the gut lining to the point of multiple ulcerations, parasitic infection, chronic aeromonas infection, and most likely chronic candida overgrowth have kept my digestive tract inflamed for decades. I still can’t tolerate nut butter (or flours), dairy, honey, spices (other than a few mild ones like garlic and thyme), or fruit of any kind, but my food list has grown so much since I started and I eat huge plates of food and feel satisfied.

    I’d just like for others who are considering this to know that healing a very damaged gut can take a very long time. I knew when I started this that it could be 2 or 3 years before I could transition from GAPS back to a NT diet (though I had no idea that Intro would take so long) and that keeps me motivated when I just want to give up.

    • says

      Jennie — {hugs} I think of you so often! Just the phrase “I eat huge plates of food and feel satisfied” makes me happy for you!

  7. Deborah says

    I have three different forms of arthritis, two of which are autoimmune, Hashimoto’s, allergies, and hypertension. I began GAPS Intro and followed through it to full GAPS in about 3 weeks.

    My health improved within days of starting it. I’ve been on full GAPS since April and on my last rheumatologist visit, all the markers in my blood were NORMAL. That means zero inflammation, normal red and white blood counts, etc. I was riding my bike again after two years of not being able to ride.

    I’ve been having some problems in the past few weeks because I’ve slipped. Got cocky, I guess! My big temptation is wine and having it more than once or twice a week causes me problems. I also got laid low by a virus and it really took the wind out of my sails. I’m back on a modified intro for a week to get myself better.

  8. cirelo says

    I feel rather disgruntled when people I know talk about GAPS, I have several friends who are on this diet and there are several things that always bring up questions for me regarding it. Maybe someone here can address these concerns because I’d like to stay open minded but I’m having a lot of trouble here.

    1. GAPS as religion. The people I know who have tried this diet regard it with a cult like devotion that seems odd for something like a diet. I almost feel like they feel that they have to have “faith” in this diet. Which seems weird for something that should be evidence based, but it seems you can’t question this diet and remain in the religion.I have the impression from some too that GAPS will not only fully heal them bodily but spiritually as well. It also seems that GAPS promises to heal whatever ails them regardless of whether their health issues are digestive.

    2. The diet cannot fail. The diet never fails you, it’s always the person who “just didn’t do it right.”

    3. GAPS seems arbitrary in it’s selection of foods. And only selectively evidenced based. I have some concerns too for people with thyroid problems who try this diet as some research has indicated that very low carb diets hinder thyroid function.

    4. Offensively extravagant. This diet is very expensive to do with a family and seems like a poor diet to be broadly advertising for any long term solution since it does so heavily rely on meats. Not that meats are unhealthy but perhaps diets heavily reliant on meat aren’t the best use of our resources.

    5. My perception from the com boxes on the topic is that people feel like GAPS is a measure of character. Like you somehow become a better person persevering on a diet that is both difficult, expensive, and lacking in results. People who don’t do GAPS always sound apologetic (even in some of the comments above) like they aren’t good people for not trying it.

    6. Peoples goals on the diets seem unclear. They want perfect health? Does that mean you can deprive yourself of sleep, overwork yourself, and otherwise abuse yourself and still be full of energy? Also, is there no acceptable natural ebb and flow of our energy levels?

    I know this comes off sounding harsh, and perhaps it is slightly a rant but also an honest critique that I hope someone can answer.

    • says

      Cirelo — I’m sorry you feel these things, and hope I have not done anything to cause this. I think probably some people do treat GAPS like a religion, but I don’t think I do. GAPS is a tool that makes great sense to me; it offers solutions for the gut damage caused by modern diets (or lack thereof). GAPS cannot always be followed and that’s okay with me (like at church potlucks). I suppose this depends on the severity of the condition. For us, it works to be loose on occasion for the sake of fellowship, friendship, etc.

      I’m not sure enough about anything (except God) much less GAPS to assume it is the right solution for everyone. I know some people for whom it hasn’t worked and that’s that. Who am I to judge? If anyone else does judge them, that’s unfortunate. We all know people who are judgmental, and it’s not just about what diet you follow. It is for all kinds of things. We are sinners in a fallen world and often think too highly of ourselves, unfortunately.

      You mention GAPS being expensive because of meats. For our family, it is not more expensive with meats. Granted, we probably eat more meats than most people because of how my husband has always been sensitive to starchy carb meals. Now, without *any* of the starchy carbs for energy, we are spending more money on vegetables — especially during the off-season — and that’s what adds up. No matter what the cost, though, whether large or small, if this change in diet can help with healing, then I would have to say it is a good use of *our* resources. I will leave others to make that decision for themselves.

      I know of a little baby who was born with a severe condition called FPIES. She is life-threateningly allergic to almost every food and substance. She is alive today, without a shadow of a doubt, because of the GAPS diet (and of course, ultimately, God’s use of the GAPS diet to protect her life). Her parents spend lots of money on the few foods she can eat, and excessive amounts of food preparation time and energy, to heal her bit by bit. If they hadn’t, the little girl would have died long ago. I am pretty sure they would say it is a good use of their resources, no matter the cost to them in money or time or energy. This doesn’t mean their choice is right for everyone, but it is right for them.

      Arbitrary food selection? I don’t agree. The choice of foods makes a great deal of sense to me. Eat the most nourishing foods our planet offers, and avoid the ones that feed the undesirable organisms in the gut. The ones we eat and the ones we don’t serve to restore gut balance. It isn’t meant for long-term. It is meant for a period of healing. (Though as you’ve seen in other comments, this amount of time varies for each person.)

      You mentioned measure of character related to following GAPS. I’m sorry if you’ve run into this here or with me. I don’t believe following or not following GAPS determines our character. I guess I can see that you might have seen it here or there because people are people and don’t always say or do the right thing. I hope you can look past the failings of people and not dismiss the potential gains some people can make from following the diet (if you choose to do it and/or it works for you).

      Now goals of doing the GAPS diet… I would agree that goals are as varied as any list we could possibly make. In my family, they are varied! And you’re right that sleep deprivation, overwork, and other things like stress can do harm, too. For myself, I’m not just following the GAPS diet for healing. I’ve added exercise to my daily routine (3-4 times per week) and more rest. I’m even wearing a night guard on my teeth so I can sleep and not wake myself with clenching! And it is about personal exploration, learning more about myself and how I handle stress, and learning understanding for the different kinds of people in my life (especially the ones with whom I live). Prayer and reliance on God instead of worrying about things or stressing about things. It is the whole package — not just GAPS.

      I wish I could assure you that every GAPster feels the same as me, but I can’t. I think though that people get excited about it and probably unwittingly overstep or offend others with their excitement. Probably if they saw the impression they were giving, they would act differently. At least I hope so.

      I thank you for your comment and hope to see you again. :)

      • cirelo says

        Wardee, I think you sound very reasonable in your approach and I wish you the best in your families healing. I do think perhaps that I find it odd that so many food bloggers are promoting GAPS recently, these fads do have a tendency to sweep the internet but the GAPS diet is one I haven’t been happy to see so casually promoted. The young children I’ve seen on this diet are very sickly looking and I worry about the extremely negative consequences of this diet such as accidental ketosis. Also, it seems like this diet can be extremely stressful on the adrenals and thyroid. A recent study that measured metabolism and diet showed that in the low carb group there were elevated levels of cortisol and lowered levels of thyroid hormone which each come with their own set of complications.

        jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1199154
        http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2012/06/new-study-is-calorie-calorie.html
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20739384

        Basically I would be concerned of anyone doing this diet without supervision from a medical professional, especially if that person had already had thyroid issues!

        I meant global resources as opposed to personal ones. A debatable issue.

        My point that the foods chosen are arbitrary is that I’ve found the evidence for protocols like these (leaky gut diets) to be spotty at best. I’m not going to argue that it isn’t good and healing to eat nutrient dense foods, but is there actual change in the gut happening form anything other than eliminating whatever a persons unique allergies/sensitivities are? I remain unconvinced. Especially since there are similar diets promoted by similarly educated people that have contradictory reasons for why certain carbohydrates should or should not be avoided.

  9. says

    That was very interesting and informative. This kind of eating (and other ‘diets’) is very interesting to me, although we don’t follow the GAPS diet ourselves. We eat a lot of foods we produce on our little farm, though. Thanks for sharing your journal.

  10. says

    Wardee,
    I can’t help but wonder if some of these conditions are triggered by something besides food. As I have traveled my journey from Crohn’s disease and back I have also tried many different “diets.” Right now my health is better than it has ever been. I am not 100% strict with my diet. I still don’t eat sugar and have recently cut out most wheat and lowered my carb intake from grains, but we eat out as a family probably once per month, and I occasionally eat junk. However I feel that a lot of my healing has come from dealing with my emotions in a more positive way. A book that has really helped me is “The Secret Language of Your Body” by: Inna Segal. In this book and others, like “Feelings Buried Alive Never Die,” they link emotions to certain conditions or body parts or problems. Becoming aware of this has helped me to “let go” of certain feelings or emotions which has helped me to heal. Meditation has also helped my body and my mind to heal. As has getting different kinds of energy work such as: Jin Shin Jyutsu, Reiki, Cranial Sacral, Acutherapy and others. I look at it this way–as I am able to “digest” life better, I am able to “digest” food better. I hope this may help you in your journey and you are able to find what works best for you and your family!

  11. Cherie says

    I have a question about Bio-Kult. I was thinking that I was getting trillions of probiotics from the influx of fermented and cultured items that I am consuming, Is it not enough and should I look into taking a supplement in addition?

    Thanks:)

    • Carol J. says

      The healthy stomach is highly acid. This protects our body from invaders (things like e-coli, salmonella, all kinds of parasites and other bad stuff) besides digesting our food. The acid does not differentiate between good and bad bacteria, Therefore most good bugs from the probiotic foods are destroyed. The gut, on the other-hand, is alkaline, and this is where the probiotics are needed. This is why, in my work as an herb specialist, I recommend a high quality probiotic that is enteric coated. The enteric coating is made to dissolve in an alkaline environment, and not in acid. This means it will not dissolve in the stomach acid, but will in the gut. I tried many probiotics before I tried these, and I got so much more die off with these quality probiotic capsules (as in they were working!) than with the others I used! Traditional food are great. I have been making lacto-pickles for four years now. If we had been raised with these foods, and never used antibiotics, or eaten tons of sweets and refined carbs, etc., enough of these foods would slip through to maintain the gut. As it is, one of my probiotic capsules equates to 1,000 servings of yogurt.

      I am not clear about what the guidelines here are about mentioning specific product names, so I will not unless asked. Also I could refer you to an excellent free webinar about what the probiotics do in the gut.

  12. Bess says

    I am currently on Gaps intro and am looking forward to having other foods like yogurt. I am wondering what kind of yogurt you use… do you use starter (from somewhere like cultures for health) or do you use commercial yogurt as your starter? You mention that the yogurt you eat is tasty, but I am not sure if I can say that about the 24 hour yogurt I make (villi starter from cultures for health). It’s not really creamy (like commercial yogurt) and although they say it is mild tasting I find it to be very sour. Wondering what your thoughts are :-)

    • Carol J. says

      Lots of times that “creamy” is the starches they add. Read labels. Also it becomes more sour as it ferments longer and the texture changes some.

    • sandy dolan says

      If your homemade yogurt is a little too watery, use a cheesecloth and sieve to drip out some of the whey. Line the sieve with the towel, pour the yogurt in, and set it all over a larger bowl. Wait an hour (or so), and you’ll have thicker yogurt (wait 4-6 hours, and you have *yogurt cheese*–spreads like cream cheese). :)

  13. says

    Hi Wardee!
    We are Oregonians living and working in Central Africa. We went through GAPS Intro. July 2011 and I went through it a second time in May 2012. Like you, we did it very quickly and had to remember lots of squash! The first time through it healed my egg allergy entirely!

  14. rebecca says

    We have been on GAPS Intro. for about a month. I am still having respiratory issues–not sure if the eggs or nuts are bothering me, so I haven’t even tried introducing dairy. The problem is that I’m losing too much weight and have very little energy. I’ve tried upping good fats like avocado and butter, but still losing about a pound every other day. Has anyone had any problem like that and what did you do about it?

  15. Randa says

    Hi Wardee! I’m just catching up on your GAPS posts, and enjoying them.

    One thought that crossed my mind when you wrote about your husband’s joint pain is, “I wonder if it could be Lyme’s Disease”? I’ve been hearing from numerous friends and acquaintances that they have been diagnosed with Lyme’s, sometimes years after the fact. One friend said she didn’t remember getting bitten, and had no “bulls-eye” rash, but developed strange joint pain and that’s why her doc eventually tested her. I guess her blood test came back showing Lyme’s spirochetes. It’s a tricky illness because it can masquerade as so many other things (rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue, etc.).

    I asked a naturally-minded friend who is a nurse about it. She’s not someone who normally jumps to medicine, much less antibiotics, so it surprised me when she said the following: “After an easy test which will be ordered by a mainstream doctor, if it is negative, you should be tested with a western blot test, one that is sent far and may be expensive. It tests for new antibodies and old antibodies (IgM and IgG) in all the Lymes bands, not just the usual few. Even with a negative test, informed patients may sometimes seek treatment anyway because it is believed Lymes changes form and attaches to cells and becomes unrecognizable. The CDC standard is old and outdated (in my opinion) of 21 days of doxycycline. The life cycle of lymes spirochetes is more than 21 days, and since the antibiotics kill them in only one phase of life, 3 weeks wouldn’t kill all of them. If you decide to get treatment, get several cycles of antibiotics.”

    I’m hoping that’s NOT what it is for your husband, but wanted to mention it just in case it helps your family or anybody else.

  16. kelsey says

    I recently found out I have Leaky Gut, H. Pylori and hormonal issues (I’ve known about this for a while). I think the GAPS diet would really help but I’m breastfeeding and don’t know if it would be safe or not. What would you suggest?

    • says

      Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends doing only the full GAPS diet when pregnant or breast feeding. It will still help you heal your gut without the heavy detox which could be harmful to the baby. When you finish breast feeding, you could then implement the intro diet. – Lehte (Certified GAPS Practitioner)

  17. says

    Hello – we just started the GAPS Intro diet today. I found blogs and posts like this so helpful that I decided to do my own. If you would like to look at it, please do so. I am open to help (!!!), comments, other resources, etc. I only have the first post up as well as an ‘about’ page and a few resource links.

    I also want to say that I appreciate some of the concerns shared here. We must be careful!! From what I understand, GAPS is a temporary diet to regain gut health. Sometimes we get worse before we get better. Also, it seems many people starting GAPS are already in a very compromised state of health … desperate for anything that might heal them.

    We are cautiously pressing forward but also aware that we might have to alter if things start going crazy :)

    Thank you Wardeh for sharing all you have shared.

    Love, j

  18. Hmmmm says

    I’m suspicious of “detox”, “healing episodes” and “die-off” where apparently it’s OK for your diet to make you feel worse. I mean, we all know that a dietary change eg. giving up coffee or sugar, is going to make you feel worse for a couple of days, and I suppose you could call that “detox” if you wanted to. But that awful feeling will be gone quickly and will not recurr over and over again. It seems like people are using the word “detox” to explain away awful recurring symptoms, because they don’t want to believe the diet isn’t helping. It’s like believing in magic or something.

    The fact is, if the diet doesn’t make you feel better, then it’s either making you worse, or not helping. If you eat a food and you feel worse, then your body is giving you a clear message. If your diet makes you feel better, then that’s a clear message too. All this nonsense about going through some mysterious, totally unscientific “detox” or “natural healing”, just sounds like a bunch of old wives’ tales to me. It’s astonishing what people will believe!!!!

    • Betsy says

      My son experienced a very serious reaction to bone broth during his first few days on the intro diet. I’m convinced I almost killed him. We know he had large amounts of bad bacteria in his poop from testing. The gaps nutritionist kept saying stay the course and he became so sick and weak he couldn’t talk, walk, or eat. He said his feet hurt with pins and needles. His pupils dilated and remained dilated for a week after. He didn’t poop for over a week. The toxicity was so severe we gave in and gave him a banana and glass of natural calm which helped. I fired the nutritionist but fear what would have happened if we only allowed broth for another day. We are now giving him soup, meat, almond butter, and eggs. He’s much improved and his autistic symptoms are lessening. I am so unsure of what do do next. I’m thinking maybe go gluten free casein free like I planned before the gaps religion was pitched. I know sugar free is helpful too. I know probiotics are good but there is something about the broth that is dangerous. Going from poor health to only broth can be deadly. Taking it slow is the way to go.

  19. Nancy says

    I did full GAPS for 2.5 months and GAPS Intro for 5.5 months. I’m still on Intro, but now have had to add in colitis medication. I got the colitis diagnosis at the same time I started on Intro Diet. I spent 1 month eating broth, fats, boiled meats, well cooked veggies, ghee, fermented dairy, fermented veggies, eggs. My colitis was getting worse and worse. I eliminated cooked veggies, still getting worse. Eliminated ghee and fermented dairy. Still worse. I wound up eliminating every single thing from my diet other than broth, fats, meat. I started having worse and worse symptoms. At this point, I went on the colitis meds last week and feel so much better. I added back in the cooked veggies, limited raw veggies, fermented veggies. But at this point I’m so confused about what to eat and what not to eat, I don’t even know which way to turn. I spent a total of 21 weeks in Intro, much of that time only eating meat, broth, fats. I know I have serious yeast overgrowth. I know I still probably need to stay away from grains and starches due to the yeast and colitis. But in terms of healing, the diet did absolutely nothing. And perhaps hurt. After the colonoscopy, I was so sure the diet was going to heal me, that I refused meds for 5 months just thinking ok, I’m going to get better, I’m going to get better. Just hold off a bit longer. However, I steadily became more and more nonfunctional. I had been doing stretch/strengthening based exercises at least 5x a week, but the pain had become unbearable the last 2 months and I had to give that up. I was constantly telling my daughter that I couldn’t play with her because my tummy hurt so much. I haven’t completely quit GAPS yet because I don’t know what eating method to follow at this point with colitis and yeast and whatever other issues I have going on simultaneously. But the diet failed me.

    • says

      Nancy, I’m sorry to hear this. I know it is hard. Are you working with a GAPS or natural practitioner? It seems like working with a professional might help give some perspective and solutions for your issues. I’m so sorry!

      • Nancy says

        Yes. I’m working with a certified GAPS practitioner who is also a Nurse Practitioner. So has medical knowledge and we’ve been able to do some additional testing as well. Some of the things we’ve tried have made symptoms even worse. The only thing that has helped is going on the colitis medication as of about 10 days ago. I’m considering a phone appointment with Dr. Thomas Cowan in CA. I think the issue with the RN we are going to is that she is not admitting lack of medical knowledge base with colitis. I think she is potentially more familiar with the autism related issues. Dr. Cowan doesn’t appear to be GAPS certified, but from what I understand, he is an MD who is knowledgeable about GAPS and then has the medical piece as well, if necessary. His website seems to indicate the potential for a better working knowledge of issues such as colitis. And then if GAPS is not the best diet for me at this point, he can maybe point me in the right direction. I actually felt better with the colitis when I was eating starches and grains!

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  1. […] family and I know all too well that if you go too low, your energy suffers. During one week on the GAPS Intro Diet, when salad greens came in season, we ate more salads than higher carbohydrate vegetables. And, […]

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