Is GAPS for Everyone? Jennie’s Story

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting GNOWFGLINS with your purchases.

The GAPS diet didn’t work for Jennie. This is important to share, and important for everyone to hear. And Jennie’s not the only one. You can read Kimi’s story (The Nourishing Gourmet) here, and Erin’s story (a comment) here. What I most want to see is that people heal. For some, the GAPS diet doesn’t do it. I’m okay with that — in fact, I embrace it. So, let’s listen with open hearts to Jennie’s story. And be sure to read to the very end for a recent update! –Wardee

I started GAPS Intro in June 2011 with the goal of healing my severely damaged digestive system. Multiple abdominal surgeries, foreign travel, salmonella poisoning, pre-nursing school vaccinations, exposure to antibacterial products during my nursing career, and years of antibiotic use (14 courses in one year alone) had all added up to the perfect storm, leaving me with a gastrointestinal system that seemed incapable of digesting anything without daily gut pain, severe bloating, alternating bouts of diarrhea/constipation, and mind-numbing fatigue.

At that point, my illness had forced me to quit my job and had left me housebound most days. I had been treated-unsuccessfully-by 2 different gastroenterologists and had already eliminated a long list of foods from my diet in my quest to feel better-all to no avail.

I began GAPS with high hopes of healing my gut lining, balancing my gut flora, and moving forward with better health. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen for me.

It’s something of a testimony to my commitment (or stubbornness) that I stuck with the diet as long as I did. I really wanted to believe that if I did the diet perfectly, it would work. And I did do it perfectly, without a single cheat, for 16 months. During that entire time, I was never able to move past the 4th stage of Intro and, even then, was unable to tolerate many of the foods allowed on the previous 3 stages.

This past July my husband and I took our annual summer vacation. Last year we were at a big family reunion with all of his relatives. This year, it was just the two of us in the Taos, New Mexico area with lots of time for me to relax and rest. Just like last year, I spent several weeks prepping for the trip and dutifully packed my coolers full of broth, ghee, sauerkraut, and other GAPS intro foods. I even made kefir on the road so that I would have plenty of probiotic-rich foods. We made sure that the places where we stayed had a kitchen so I could scramble my pastured eggs for breakfast or put a grass-fed roast in the crock pot for supper. Just like last year, every meal I ate on our trip was cooked by me and consisted only of foods allowed on my current stage of Intro.

Something was different about this year’s vacation, though. I noticed that I was a lot more tired than I had been the year before. And, while I knew that I had lost some weight since starting Intro (I went from 142 to 125 pounds during the first year), the clothes I had packed for this trip seemed to be getting bigger and something about me looked different in the mirrors in the condo where we were staying. By the end of the trip, I was declining all of my husband’s invitations to go anywhere, because I was just too exhausted.

Two things happened during that trip that I now realize were very significant. The first occurred while I was standing in the shower one morning and the words “six months to a year” popped into my head. I remember wondering what that meant: did I have six months to a year of healing left until I would feel well, or six months to a year until I would be gone? Then, a few days later as we were driving through the mountains outside of Eagle’s Nest, we stopped by the side of the road to enjoy the beauty of the Palisades. As I stood by the creek and looked up at those soaring walls of stone, a thought rose up to the surface and burst into my awareness: “This diet is not serving your body”.

Still, I didn’t know what else to do to get better, so was convinced that I had to stick with it. After all, every attempt to add a new food and progress through the rest of the Intro stages had only made me much worse. There really didn’t seem to be a way to get off of this diet. I was stuck.

When we got home and I stepped on the scale, I was shocked to discover that I had lost another 6 pounds during our ten-day trip. Even more alarmingly, I was unable to regain the lost weight once we were home.

Shortly after that I ran into an acquaintance at the grocery store that I hadn’t seen in several years. She asked how I was and on that day I varied from the usual “fine” and told her the truth: I was sick and had been for some time. The last time we had spoken, we had commiserated over how sick we were from IBS. That day in the store, though, she told me that she was well and hadn’t seen a doctor in 18 months. She strongly encouraged me to see a local naturopath (Dr C) and pronounced that our meeting was by Divine appointment.

A month or two passed but I still clung to the hope that GAPS would heal me. During that time I tried a FODMAPS elimination diet (with no improvement) and also started a new botanical antimicrobial. I had been on several, as well as antifungals and antiparasitics recommended by a GAPS-familiar integrative medicine practitioner. The only problem was that I felt worse after one year of this treatment than I did when I started.

Then last month my 22 year old nephew died unexpectedly. While the rest of my family planned to travel California for his memorial service, I resigned myself to remaining at home.  My health had declined so much since our July vacation that I knew that I was now unable to travel. On the morning of my nephew’s funeral, I weighed 117 pounds. I’m 5’10” tall. The clothes I had made and worn just a few weeks before were now too big on me. I was too tired to do much more than prepare my food each day. I spent most of my time on the couch and had begun to wonder if I had outlived my usefulness. I felt like I had no purpose any more.

On the day before my family left for California, my dad anointed me with oil and my family laid their hands on me while he prayed for my healing. The next morning, I called the office of a specialist who treats patients that other gastroenterologists have given up on. There was a six month wait to see him, but I took the earliest appointment for the end of February.

In the meantime, I decided to follow up on the suggestion from the friend at the grocery store, so I made an appointment with Dr C.

At my first appointment with her, Dr C took one look at me and told me I had a lack of joy and was experiencing acute grief (this was before I told her about my nephew). She also said that I had used up all of my fat stores and was now burning muscle for energy and couldn’t live much longer on that either. She said it was time to stop all of the antimicrobial treatments and to focus instead on rebuilding my strength. The session covered much more than my physical issues. We spent a lot of time talking about the Lord and finding joy in Him and believing with every cell of my body that He is good and that He is my healer.

She sent me home with a quart of fresh raw milk and instructions to drink one swallow with each meal and in between meals as I wanted. I was also to start using a specific essential oil, applying it topically to my feet. I admit that I was worried about drinking milk. I have a history of lactose intolerance and suspected a casein allergy as well. I had been dairy free (except for ghee) for nearly 1-1/2 years.

I’ve been drinking the milk for about 3 weeks now.  I was taking activated charcoal several times a day for severe bloating prior to this, but since beginning the milk, I have taken it just two times. As I have adjusted to the milk and gradually increased the amount I’m drinking, I’ve begun to have periods where I have an increase in energy (and a decrease in GI pain), for as much as 3 days in a row. And I’ve broken the 120 pound mark on the scale for the first time in months (this morning I weighed 121).

So, am I still on GAPS? Yes and no.

Yes in that I still haven’t added any new foods (other than milk) or tried to advance my diet. Gut healing needs to happen first, and that can take some time. But I think that I am finally beginning to heal, rather than just surviving the symptoms day after day. I suspect that I will eventually advance through the remaining stages of Intro, then onto the full diet before transitioning to a Nourishing Traditions diet.

No in that I’m willing to add any food to my diet if it will help me feel better — whether it’s GAPS friendly or not, hence the raw milk (which is not GAPS friendly because it’s not fermented into kefir).

I’m not well yet, not by any means. Dr C told me that I’m tenacious and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a Type A overachiever (Hello? Stage 4 of Intro for 16 months with no cheating?). I know that I have to let go of the reins on this, trust that I am in God’s hands, and just take each step as it is laid out before me. But I do think I’m finally heading in the right direction.

I really, truly wanted GAPS to heal me. I know that there are a lot of people who have gotten well from following the GAPS protocol; I’m just not one of them. I don’t think it was a matter of doing it right; I think it just didn’t meet my body’s needs and I’ll probably never know the reason why. I’m okay with that.

I’m okay with that, too, Jennie. Thank you so much for sharing your story here. You are already often in my prayers and I will continue to pray that you find the healing you need. God bless you! –Wardee

Are you someone for whom GAPS has not worked? Do you know why? Or can you speculate why? We’d love to hear your experience, too.

New to our GAPS series? Get up to speed by browsing past posts in this series or reading what the GAPS diet is.

Update from Jennie 3/18/14

“First I need to clarify that my illness is not autoimmune. I was initially under the impression that it is, but have since done a lot of reading and have found that it is not. It is, however, immune regulated. Basically, my immune system behaves as if everything I come into contact with is dangerous. (and by everything, I mean everything: food, water, heat, cold, scents, hormonal changes, seasonal changes, etc). As a result, certain immune cells (in my case, mast cells and eosinophils) activate and do what they are made to do, but at a heightened level of response that isn’t necessary. We all have these cells in our bodies and when they are functioning normally we don’t notice anything. Mine are over-reactive all the time.

One of the results of this heightened immune response is an excess of histamine throughout my body. This is why GAPS didn’t work for me. It relies heavily on foods that are high in histamine like broths, fermented veggies, and kefir/yogurt. The GAPS diet is also high in salicylates, which are not a problem for most people but are major mast cell triggers for me: honey, coconut, avocado, nuts, olive oil, most vegetables and fruits, etc. Sadly, I also learned that the essential oils I began to use after stopping GAPS contain salicylates as well. I kept getting sicker because I was adding more and more histamine to my already high levels. And, because salicylates build up in the body, I grew even more sensitive to them over time.

One of the things that has continued to be beneficial to me, however, was the addition of raw A2 milk to my diet. Though I started with cow milk, I eventually switched to goat milk and have found it to be even easier to digest. Because raw milk was my primary source of nutrition for over year (and continues to be a major part of my diet), I consider the fact that I was introduced to its benefits to be a major blessing.

Although I have not seen a dramatic improvement in my physical symptoms, I have experienced a major increase in cognitive ability. The brain fog that kept me on the couch or online all day every day (because I lacked the mental energy for anything deeper) has improved dramatically. Just over a year ago I was unable to even read a short magazine article. Now I am reading several books a week, memorizing Scripture (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 is a current favorite), knitting socks, quilting, and taking some online classes.

My focus and purpose have changed dramatically over the past year. I’m spending a lot less energy on getting well and a lot more on enjoying each day as it comes; whether easy or difficult, each day is exactly as it was meant to be. I’m happier now than I have ever been and am at peace with the life I have been given. I would love to be well, but if I never am, God is still good and can be trusted to know and give me what I need the most. –Jennie”

Jennie also shared these links, 3/18/14:

Mast Cell Activation Disorder:
http://www.mastocytosis.ca/MSC%20Patient%20Experience%20April2012.pdf

Histamine Intolerance:
http://chriskresser.com/headaches-hives-and-heartburn-could-histamine-be-the-cause

Salicylate Sensitivity:
http://salicylatesensitivity.com/about/about-salicylate-sensitivity/

Failsafe Diet:
http://failsafediet.wordpress.com/

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting GNOWFGLINS with your purchases.

Do you love GNOWFGLINS?

Help us keep this site going by becoming a member! As a member, you get:

  • access to 8 online classes (and counting!)
  • 100s of videos and print tutorials
  • eBook discounts
  • monthly learning bonus
  • access to exclusive forums
  • and more!

Comments

  1. Christin Snel says

    Thank you for your story, Jennie!! I would really love to hear regular updates on how you are doing and what is helping you! I think it helps the rest of us stubborn Type A’s to hear your perspective. :-) Praying for healing for you!!

  2. says

    Jennie, what a story! I’m happy you’re working things out. All the best for a speedy recovery and also in finding a way to fit food and nutrition into your diet and your body that works for you. I hope you give us a follow up in a few months.

  3. says

    Jennie! I have been thinking of you often lately and just told my husband a couple days ago that I was going to contact you, knowing you had been on GAPS longer than myself. I sure understand your Type A personality. I certainly have that issue myself – perfect or nothing! Like, what good does it do to be on GAPS unless you do it perfectly? LOL But I am so encouraged that you have been able to find freedom in trying something that was not on the diet and that you were open when given the opportunity to listen to the Lord on what He was saying to you! I will pray for your healing and know you will be lead into those changes your body needs as you go. I, too, have had to let go of the idea that GAPS will be the all-in-all for me but I am still plugging along. I sometimes feel I need to add something different into my diet (just a hunch) but I am currently praying for answers on that. Unlike your story, however, I have thrived in many ways on GAPS since starting 8 months ago. I am on Full GAPS now, minus a few trouble foods. I want to add dairy sooner than later and plan on doing that also although my GAPS consultant wants me to do it specifically in the order Dr. McBride suggests. I haven’t determined if I will do that or not yet. But I still have much variety in food choices. My stomach bloating is gone unless I accidentally ingest gluten – can you believe I got sick from kissing my husband last week? He had just eaten some cookies and didn’t tell me (he’s also gluten intolerant so he was afraid to tell me he cheated). Two days later and after I blamed everything from a bad egg to honey and said I was going to just cut out all food except a couple safe ones, he admitted he thought I was affected by gluten! This does happen (I looked it up) and I am THAT sensitive. So I must be diligent about not having a crumb of gluten anywhere near my lips which seems to mostly eliminate the most serious symptoms I used to fight on a regular basis. But this is a journey, and one I am happy to share with my internet friends who also share theirs. Thank you so much for sharing your story and I can’t WAIT to hear of much more success as the weeks go by as you add the foods your body needs, GAPS friendly or not! God’s blessings to you! Maureen

    • says

      Maureen, I am so glad to hear that you have moved to the full diet and are doing better! I am so excited for you and look forward to hearing more about your healing.

      GAPS is definitely healing a lot of people and I’m genuinely happy for anyone who gets well on it.

    • says

      I wanted to comment on something you said – that the gluten made all the difference. Our family is gluten free and on GAPS and I have realized that the reason why so many of our past attempts at figuring out what our food-related problems were directly related to not having gotten ALL the gluten cross contamination out of our lives.

      One of the reasons some people don’t heal on GAPS is because Dr. Natasha does not emphasize the importance of being 100% gluten-free (even from cross contamination). They may eat all the right foods and no grains but still be getting contaminated because others are bringing gluten into the home, or raw foods like nuts are coming from contaminated sources.

      In my case, I believe GAPS is not the answer to all my problems, but I also know that gluten-free alone didn’t cut it at all. I think for some of us we need to make sure we’re doing both GAPS and living a gluten-free life.

  4. says

    My family too has found that GAPS alone is not enough for us. We are at 3 years on GAPS next week. Our experience is complicated by the fact that we all have chronic Lyme disease. That has lots of implications and we have had to take medications and supplements that are not strictly GAPS legal in order to progress. The good news is that we do continue to progress although more slowly than I would like.
    Having wise health practitioners has made a huge difference as well. Most are not knowledgeable about GAPS and at times that has been a blessing since they bring a new perspective to the issues we are dealing with.
    I hope and pray that you will continue to heal and show progress.

    • says

      Thank you, Patty.

      I agree that having someone else’s perspective is important. My recent rapid decline served as my wake-up call: it definitely was time to get another set (or two) of eyes to look at my situation.

  5. Henderina says

    Hi Jennie,

    I’m sorry to hear that it takes this long for you to heal. A few points though. The GAPS recommended foods are not set in stone. Dr. NCM emphasizes to listen to your body. If something doesn’t work for, try other things. If your body is craving a certain food, as long as it is real food, by all means try it in small amounts. Work with what works for your body, she says.

    Raw milk is perfect GAPS food. It has the lactase that you need to convert the lactose. (p.127 of the book in the section about Dairy Introduction Structure)

    Many people try to do GAPS without the (coffee)enema’s an the recommended baths for detox. And they can be essential in a break through!

    Beside the book there is a lot of extra information on the FAQ page on the website of Dr. NCM http://www.gaps.me. Please read also the article ‘One Man’s meat is Another Man’s Poison’ on the same website. It’s in the news section.

    Wish you all the best!

    • says

      Thank you, Henderina!

      Yes, I did the coffee enemas for quite some time and still take detox baths every day. The article you referenced is one that I’ve read several times; it helped me to convince myself that trying the milk was okay.

      Up until now, any other food that I tried to add made me worse. I don’t know why I’m tolerating the milk but am thankful that it seems to be working.

      • Henderina says

        Hi Jennie,

        That’s great! For me, you are still on GAPS, because the raw milk is ‘legal’ as long as your body is ready for it. And I think that all the hard work you did is not for nothing. If you can see it as the foundation you have build, but you were stuck which building block you needed next. And that’s where Dr. C came in. GAPS is not always straightforward. It can be a real challenge to find the way that suits your body.

        Can you tolerate raw egg yolk? Especially combined with the raw milk as a shake it’s an ultimate power food.

        It seems to me that you have developed a slight fear of food. That can be one of the things that keeps you stuck. The (unconscious)mind body connection can be very strong. Like with people that try to become pregnant that get pregnant as soon as they stop trying. So maybe a little less focus on getting better and a little more enjoying life and the food you can eat, would do part of the trick.

        For everybody who is thinking of doing GAPS or already on it, please find a GAPS practitioner in your area and join a GAPS group if possible. They really can be very helpful when you get stuck or run into specific problems. Dr. NCM is training a lot of new practitioners in your country this month. So in the next months a lot of new practitioners will be added to the list on the GAPS website.

  6. says

    Hi Jennie,
    I just want to say thank you for sharing your personal story, even amidst such recent grief.
    It can be easy to latch onto an idea that sounds good and really believe that it will be the answer, but the truth is, no one diet is the perfect answer for every person.
    I’m glad you have found a doctor who is able to really listen to you and work with you through your faith. I’m glad you have something you can do which is helping at the moment. Whether it falls perfectly into the “GAPS” label or not doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have something to try and the hope of healing.
    Best wishes!
    Joy

    • says

      I have one more thought for you that I woke up with this morning I imagine you’ve already looked into but I thought I’d ask. Have you been tested for SIBO? (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth). I ask, because while a GAPS/SCD type diet is one of the recommended long term treatments, people with SIBO often find that it is not enough to jump start their healing.

      In SIBO, the bacterial overgrowths are in the wrong place, due to the fact that the peristalsis which flushes bacteria out of the small intestine has stopped. It is often treated with very heavy doses of a specifically targeted antibiotic (usually Rifaxamin) and sometimes drugs which stimulate the peristalsis. They can’t turn the peristalsis back on permanently, and that’s where the diet comes in, because it doesn’t feed the colonies in the way a regular diet would.

      Dr. Allison Siebecker is writing a book on the subject. You can find more info on her website, here: http://www.siboinfo.com/

      • says

        Thank you for your comment, Joy.

        I was treated for SIBO four times during the one year period prior to starting GAPS: twice with Rifaxamin, once with flagyl, and once with flagyl and doxycyclene combined. I never had great results-maybe a slight decrease in symptoms, but they always came back within a few days after completing the treatment.

        The GI specialist was able to move my appointment up from Feb 2013; I was seen earlier this week. He suspects there may be an autoimmune component rather than SIBO (or in addition to it) and tests have been ordered to determine if this is the case. Perhaps this is another piece of the puzzle. I’m leaving no stone unturned.

        • says

          It sounds like you are certainly covering all of the possibilities. I’m sorry the SIBO treatment wasn’t your complete answer. I’m glad to hear that you were able to get into the GI specialist early!

          Autoimmunity does sound like a likely culprit. Do you mind sharing what autoimmune possibilities the GI is looking into?

          • says

            Joy, the mental fog was pretty severe on the day that I saw him, but he did say something about looking for eosinophils in the small bowel.

  7. Ruth says

    I wonder if being on GAPS and specifically being free of dairy so long helped you heal enough in that area to be able to have raw milk again in order to be nourished by it again? It might be “working” in that way. I agree that it is good to feel free to add back an item that is truly nourishing (not junk) in order to help with a specific need, and you certainly seemed to need this. May the Lord continue to show you what you need and bring healing.

    • says

      I’ve wondered the same thing, Ruth. On the other hand, I had never tried raw milk previous to this and may have been able to tolerate it even before starting GAPS.

      • Cheerful says

        Moreover, I wonder why the writer states that the GAPS diet did not work for her rather than considering that perhaps it was the very strict and rigid way she implemented the GAPS diet … as raw milk from healthy cows can certainly have a place in GAPS too … the dairy-free period does not have to be so long as dairy has benefits too … also in the form of butter, ghee, kefir … See also:

        http://gapsguide.com/2011/03/01/taking-it-down-a-notch/

        In any case, I believe the principles of GAPS are beneficial … and each individual should and must listen to his/her body, how it reacts to each stage of the diet, moving on, adding/removing foods as need be, … towards good health. All the very best!

        • Cheerful says

          http://www.gapsdiet.com/Dairy.html

          Perhaps the author eliminated dairy for too long and would have found more benefit by moving on a little quicker in some areas and by expermenting with more foods? Just a thought, as each of us reacts differently, and a stressed gut/organism can certainly react in an unfathomable and unpredictable way. Still, we have to consider how to nourish our bodies once we have cleansed/detoxed/rested them. To good health!

          • says

            Thank you for your input, Cheerful.

            I did try-may times-to move forward on the diet. I managed to reach the 4th stage about 2 months after starting Intro. After that, I found that every food that I tried to add made my abdominal pain unbearable and the boating and nausea so severe that I couldn’t eat anything. On some days, even the few foods I was still eating made me sick.

            As for dairy, I was not aware that raw milk was allowed on GAPS, only kefired milk. Since I have a history of dairy intolerance, I thought it best to avoid it. I do wonder now if starting dairy kefir earlier would have helped me to advance the diet? I’ll never know.

            I believe that the principals of GAPS are beneficial too and I realize that my case is quite unusual. I’m still waiting for lab results that might confirm the involvement of an immune response. We still haven’t solved the puzzle, but I think we’re getting closer.

  8. Malenksha says

    Jennie – We’ll be praying for healing for you! We just did a year of GAPS and saw some healing for my boys but not all by any means. We added raw milk a bit after six months on the diet and it was wonderful… our youngest who had only gained 6 lbs in 6 years and took all our effort to maintain his weight suddenly held still and even gained a pound. Our oldest started packing on the weight and felt so much better. BUT, our biggest change was eliminating oxalates. I saw people on the various GAPS forums talking about LOD and oxalates and finally looked into it. What an eye opener! The list of foods that are high in oxalates matched the list of foods that often caused major problems for our youngest (tomatoes, oranges, beans, spinach, etc.). We eliminated them which at the time on GAPS was mostly navy beans and lentils which we ate every day for lunch. Oy! But our youngest put on six pounds in six weeks and stopped taking 3-4 hour naps every afternoon. We aren’t healed yet and we’re working towards more testing and such but it is astonishing to see he isn’t skin and bones after all these years. You probably already heard of these and/or found it didn’t make a difference for you, but if only somebody had mentioned them to me years ago before thousands of dollars in testing and a variety of diet trials that never helped. His energy levels aren’t great yet but they are soooo much better. I mention it with hopes that maybe you’ve not heard of it yet and it’s another piece of the puzzle towards your healing!

  9. Charlotte says

    This was very interesting. It sounds as if you are now doing a bit of a ‘milk cure’ and ‘The Makers Diet’ combo. Have you read either of those books? I do hope you continue to heal.

  10. Vanessa says

    Hi Jennie, Thank you so much for sharing your story, especially since you are still very much in the middle of your journey! I wanted to throw this idea out there for you if you want to check something else out that is not too different from GAPS in terms of the diet, but you might learn quite a bit of info about your body in particular, in terms of your mineral levels – Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium and Sodium, and what their ratios are with each other, and how might influence what your dealing with and also any toxicities that stand out; it is hair mineral testing done specifically through the lab that is recommended by Dr. L Wilson http://drlwilson.com/ We are still at the beginning stages of his program, so I can’t say too much in terms of testimonials yet, but it is a very comprehensive program. – nutrition, near infrared sauna, coffee enemas, supplementation with the goal of getting the minerals balanced. Might be worth looking into. I pray healing and perseverance for you!!

  11. Sharon says

    Dr. Mercola says there are some body types that need more carbs in their diet (up to 30%-50%, I believe). I am one of those. If I go low-carb, I feel like someone has unplugged me. You are probably one of those too. Going too low on carbs on the GAPS diet can cause some to go into adrenal burnout and hypothyroidism. It stresses their body too much. It happened to Ann Marie at CHEESESLAVE. I’ve read of several people who had to add additional carbs, raw milk or potatoes, to their GAPS diet because of this. You can read about one story here http://www.cheeseslave.com/how-i-went-too-low-carb-on-the-gaps-diet-guest-post/ . It’s not that GAPS didn’t work, your body just requires some modifications due to your body type and also your state of health going into the diet.

    • says

      Thank you for the info Sharon. I read something (somewhere) on the dangers of going low carb on GAPS and had made an effort to not do so.

      Fortunately, winter squash is one of the four vegetables that I currently tolerate and I have it more than once a day. Carrots is another that I eat almost daily, so I don’t think that II was low carb, though I guess that there are varying degrees of it.

      I’m not in ketosis and haven’t been for most of the time that I’ve been on GAPS. Would that be a good indicator of sufficient carb intake? My thyroid function is also normal; I’ve had it checked and rechecked two or three times in the past year.

      I did try 1/4 of a baked potato one day recently (no skin) and a spoonful of white rice on a couple of days (not consecutively and weeks apart), but had intense bloating and abdominal pain for days afterward each time. I’m hoping that I can try those again and tolerate them sooner than later.

      So far, the only new foods that I’m tolerating are raw milk and raw cream I just added the latter this week and so far, I’ve gained another pound with no worsening of digestive symptoms.

      • Malenksha says

        Just wanted to mention that potatoes are one of our son’s trigger foods: he gets quite sick from even a small dose. It’s very high in oxalates. Rice *can* be depending on the particular type. And carrots, which he *loves*, makes him sooooo fatigued. If you haven’t checked into and eliminated the idea of oxalates, I would definitely look into it! http://www.lowoxalate.info/ Other people we know with stomach issues (Crohn’s, allergies, immune deficiency) had no problems with oxalates, including the rest of our family. But for our youngest son… wow, it’s like feeding him straight poison even though you think you’re giving him something good (carrots and spinach!).

  12. jaydee says

    I would like to know if taking antibiotic for one day might jump start the healing process for us when we want to heal through the proper diet? I am borderline since starting the diet. I am taking colloidal silver but not sure how much that should be. anyone tried either of these ideas? ty, jd

    • says

      Sorry, I could see no way to edit my previous comment, so I am adding this. I should have filled in w. one or two details, such as I am dealing with SIBO and started the SCD Diet vs GAPS. I may find that the latter is more appropriate. It has only been a few days. I have been dealing with this affliction for about a year….I did not realize it had been that long till I read back in my ongoing medical “journal”, which is nothing more than a memo/pocket size spiral notebk. Then I realized it had been over a year and that the episodes had just kind of been sporadic but then got more frequent. I had thought of parasites and took clindamycin and instantly felt well….for 3-4 wks. then back. (what a downer, huh?)

      I took another round and this lasted a week or so longer but then back to usual symptoms. Sure makes a limited social life unless u take imodium or something but must not do that often. I have xifaxan but after much consideration and reading what patients have to say I decided I would be taking these antib’s ad infinitum, and I do not thing that is the abundant life that God has for me. :)

      I do think I will get a colonoscopy just to be sure there is no obstruction or polyps.
      Well, thanks once more. jd

      • says

        Jaydee, I had mixed results with antibiotics for SIBO and the symptoms always came back. I wish I had more helpful information for you, but will be praying that you find something that works for you.

    • says

      Hi Lauri-

      Thank you for your question!

      I underwent endoscopy in December and this time cells were collected for biopsy. During the procedure, the physician saw multiple areas of erosion and even hemorrhage-and this was after I had been on GAPS intro for 18 months. This told us that there was something still damaging my gut lining that diet alone could not address.

      I was ultimately diagnosed with a rare immune disorder involving a proliferation of excessive and/or abnormal mast cells throughout my digestive tract.These cells release inflammatory chemicals each time my immune system is activated, keeping it in a constant state of inflammation, which causes leaky gut and all of the symptoms that go along with it.

      There are a multitude of things that activate the immune system. Pretty much anything that is not part of our own bodies that we encounter throughout the day can trigger it. I have multiple triggers, including cold, heat, foods (that one was pretty obvious), exertion/exercise, stress, exposure to infectious microbes, exposure to many chemicals (including scented products and household items), and medications (including natural ones). I could never understand why my gut hurt so much on cold days, or when I had been out of the house for more than a day or two in a row. I find that I feel much better if I don’t go anywhere, stay warm, and rest as much as I can. Not much of a life right now, but I hope to improve over time and get back to the active life (and full, healthy diet) that I once lived.

      After a lot of prayer and thought, I chose to begin medical treatment with a gastroenterologist who specializes in this disorder. My digestive issues are slowly becoming more stable-though I’m not yet able to advance my diet and most of my symptoms are still present (though not as severe).

      Researchers (there are not a lot of people researching this-so it’s considered an orphan disease) do not know why the bone marrow starts to make too many of these cells, but some suspect genetic damage-which leads me to think that an exposure to toxins played a major part in my developing this disorder.

      I am still pursuing a natural cure for this. I do not see myself taking mast cell stabilizing medications for the rest of my life. I had already removed all potential toxins from my life when I began GAPS. Now I’m focusing on toxins that I’ve been carrying around in my body-primarily the 20-plus amalgam fillings in my mouth. This will be addressed next week when I will see a mercury-safe, Huggins-trained dentist to have them removed.

      I hope to be able to give another update on my progress very soon and appreciate all of the support and prayers that have been offered to me-both here and privately.

      • lauri says

        WOW WHat a story. SO sorry that you are going through this. Just so sorry.
        Life gets tough. WOW.
        Thank you for sharing. I have very small issues compared to your health concerns. But we are learning.

      • says

        I’m glad that Lauri asked. My kids and I have been praying nightly for you, particularly knowing that the time for removing the fillings was coming soon. We’ll continue to lift up “Miss Jennie”, as the girls call you.

      • says

        Jennie,

        Thank you for sharing so much useful information. I have been researching GAPS and eating more GAPS like (veggies, meat, no diary, gluten free, little to no fruit) and already I am losing weight too quickly and I don’t need to. I’m concerned that GAPS may not be right for me. It’s no fun being rail-thin, having no energy, losing your hair, and looking like a scare-crow. Have you continued to gain weight? Do you mind my asking the full name of Dr. C?

        Thanks,
        Jen

  13. says

    Wow, that is some story. Jennie, I’m so glad you found an answer in the end!

    I have had “IBS” for 2 years now and am no closer to finding the solution. I’ve tried almost every diet and test imaginable, including GAPS, which only made me worse. :-(

    I’m not sure why GAPS failed for me, perhaps it was because I didn’t do the enemas? (People don’t really do enemas in Australia… you can’t buy enema kits anywhere and it’s just not deemed socially acceptable. Even the pharmacist looked shocked when I asked!).

    Could you perhaps share the name of your autoimmune disorder? It sounds interesting (although unpleasant, obviously).

    • JD says

      I just popped in and saw your comment. I imagine you are familiar with the SCDiet or the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle? I got no help with my issues either until I started this diet. At first it seems daunting but we are habituated to foods and it is not a big thing as long as we understand that we will acclimate to this diet (as we would most any diet in time). I tried to be strict but was not able to buy organic for meats. Even so, I found a considerable improvement within a few months and no symptoms at all at about 5-6 mos. I am Gluten free and tried some of the commercially pkg’d GF items and initially was ok, but then reverted somewhat to old symptoms. So they are not good for me except on rare occasions. …maybe once a week. Blessings! JD

  14. Lisa Troy says

    I am so happy you are making progress–I hope it has continued! I’m very interested in the fact that you were drinking kefir and that wasn’t helping but raw milk did. Do you know why this is? Or do you think the other things you incorporated at the same time might be helping more?

  15. Lisa in TX says

    Jennie, since your diagnosis with an autoimmune condition, I wonder if anyone has mentioned glyconutrients to you. We have given them to my special needs son since he was 7 months old. He is now 9. They are not a cure all, but we can see a difference in him when he does not get them. The only company I trust for glyconutrients is Mannatech, Inc. They are honest and devoted to making a high quality product. The part that tends to turn people off is they that are an MLM type of company. However, you are NOT required to sell anything. There are no quotas. Just buy what you want. We haven’t even done that in about 7 years because our son gets all of his products through their non-profit program for children with special health needs. I personally know several people with autoimmune issues that have seen very positive results. But again, it is NOT a cure all. I pray that you will consider looking into it. But don’t worry about contacting me to sign up, because that is not why I am sharing this information. I will also be praying for your continued healing.

    As an additional note, our previously casein intolerant son, started raw milk last October. Once we realized that he was doing well with it, we decided to do The Milk Diet for six weeks. At 8 years old, almost 9, he went from 37 to 41 pounds! And he has gained another five pounds in the six weeks since going back to a regular diet (including meat) with LOTS of raw milk in it. That is huge considering he had gained barely a pound in each of the three previous years on a 2800 calorie diet with commercial tube feeding formulas. :-)

    May God bless you with continued healing in whatever route you take!

  16. Barbara Smith says

    Check out my daughter in law, Sarah, who has a blog and tried the GAPS diet for 16 months along with her family. It is http://nourishedandnurtured.blogspot.com/. She ended up with adrenal failure, her kids developed problems and so did her husband, my son. At first they felt better but that lasted a short time. As for raw milk, I have 4 in my family that are lactose intolerant. All but 1 can drink raw milk and can eat dairy in small amounts as long as they drink the raw milk. The one that can’t even do raw milk was unable to take the lactaid pills either or drink lactaid milk. She is also studying homeopathic medicine and loves to hear from people who have tried the GAPS diet and other things. She is now following someone else’s plan and the entire family is doing very well. Check it out.

  17. luv says

    did u do biokult? it gives me lots of energy, try it out, i did 10 pills on the 3rd day, i started the gaps because of constant diahrrea,after biok no more diahrrea, well less, its also hormonal for me, I have ptsd and when I get scared i get diahrrea, biokult has help me so much in healing my nerves, grew up in very abusive patriarchal environment, like most girls, its important for healing to also acknowledge that and not minimize it

  18. says

    I just got an update from Jennie:

    “First I need to clarify that my illness is not autoimmune. I was initially under the impression that it is, but have since done a lot of reading and have found that it is not. It is, however, immune regulated. Basically, my immune system behaves as if everything I come into contact with is dangerous. (and by everything, I mean everything: food, water, heat, cold, scents, hormonal changes, seasonal changes, etc). As a result, certain immune cells (in my case, mast cells and eosinophils) activate and do what they are made to do, but at a heightened level of response that isn’t necessary. We all have these cells in our bodies and when they are functioning normally we don’t notice anything. Mine are over-reactive all the time.

    One of the results of this heightened immune response is an excess of histamine throughout my body. This is why GAPS didn’t work for me. It relies heavily on foods that are high in histamine like broths, fermented veggies, and kefir/yogurt. The GAPS diet is also high in salicylates, which are not a problem for most people but are major mast cell triggers for me: honey, coconut, avocado, nuts, olive oil, most vegetables and fruits, etc. Sadly, I also learned that the essential oils I began to use after stopping GAPS contain salicylates as well. I kept getting sicker because I was adding more and more histamine to my already high levels. And, because salicylates build up in the body, I grew even more sensitive to them over time.

    One of the things that has continued to be beneficial to me, however, was the addition of raw A2 milk to my diet. Though I started with cow milk, I eventually switched to goat milk and have found it to be even easier to digest. Because raw milk was my primary source of nutrition for over year (and continues to be a major part of my diet), I consider the fact that I was introduced to its benefits to be a major blessing.

    Although I have not seen a dramatic improvement in my physical symptoms, I have experienced a major increase in cognitive ability. The brain fog that kept me on the couch or online all day every day (because I lacked the mental energy for anything deeper) has improved dramatically. Just over a year ago I was unable to even read a short magazine article. Now I am reading several books a week, memorizing Scripture (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 is a current favorite), knitting socks, quilting, and taking some online classes.

    My focus and purpose have changed dramatically over the past year. I’m spending a lot less energy on getting well and a lot more on enjoying each day as it comes; whether easy or difficult, each day is exactly as it was meant to be. I’m happier now than I have ever been and am at peace with the life I have been given. I would love to be well, but if I never am, God is still good and can be trusted to know and give me what I need the most. –Jennie”

    Jennie also shared these links for more information:

    Mast Cell Activation Disorder:
    http://www.mastocytosis.ca/MSC%20Patient%20Experience%20April2012.pdf

    Histamine Intolerance:
    http://chriskresser.com/headaches-hives-and-heartburn-could-histamine-be-the-cause

    Salicylate Sensitivity:
    http://salicylatesensitivity.com/about/about-salicylate-sensitivity/

    Failsafe Diet:
    http://failsafediet.wordpress.com/

  19. says

    Wow, I am fascinated by your story. Two of my sons have autism (and I have Rheumatoid Arthritis). One of my sons has multiple food and environmental allergies that requires we carry an epi-pen at all times for him. Besides all the foods he CANT eat, he WONT eat a ton of others. He has limited his diet to crackers, cereal and Whole Milk. Nothing else. He does have atopic dermatitis, asthma, etc. and we suspect other factors we are unaware of could be contributing to his problems. I wonder, if he has something similar to you–but it would be so hard to find out because he isn’t that good at communicating and refuses to try new things. Is there a specific test (or ten, lol) that they can do to test for histamine intolerance, salycilates or mast cell activation? I would love to help him feel comfortable in his own body for the first time in his life. He is on a TON of antihistamines.

    • Jennie says

      Merri, I don’t know of tests for histamine intolerance or salicylate sensitivity. It’s more a matter of trial and error. The link for the Failsafe diet would be a good place to start figuring those out. You would start with an amine and salicylate elimination diet and then do challenges to determine sensitivities. The Failsafe diet was started by a mom who

      There are tests for Mast Cell Activation Disorder (MCAD) and Mastocytosis, but most doctors don’t know to do them or which tests to order. Bloodwork can be done anywhere, but biopsies need special staining for mast cells and there are only a few places in the country that do them. However. Specimens can be sent in the mail for the staining if your doctor knows what to ask for and where to send it.

      Check out TMSforacure.org and mastokids.org. There is also a TMS group on Facebook that is very active. Sue Dengate’s website (http://fedup.com.au/) and book is also Failsafe based and focuses on kids with behavioral and developmental issues due to multiple chemical intolerances.

      I hope you find some answers for your boy.

  20. Brooklyn says

    I would really like to speak to someone about her story. What tests do I ask my doctor or naturopath to do for my daughter to find out if she is in a similar situation? Thanks

    • Jennie says

      Brooklyn, if you think your daughter has mast cell issues, you’ll want to find someone who is knowledgeable about them. The TMS website ( http://www.tmsforacure.org/) is a good place to start. Their website includes a list of mast cell specialists, though I will warn you that there aren’t many of them and most people have to travel to see them. Some people have found local practitioners who will work with them and order the necessary testing to get them started toward a diafnosis. Check the facebook groups listed below to find out if someone is in your area:

      The Mastocytosis Society Facebook group:
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/155824303735/

      Mastocytosis and Mast Cell Disorders-Integrative and Holistic Approach Facebook group:
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/486532874778463/

      There is also an organization for parents of children with mast cell disorders. Their website includes a forum where you can talk to other parents who are dealing with these issues:

      http://www.mastokids.org/index.html

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.