If we were to do it all over again, would we still do the GAPS Diet? The answer may surprise you.
What is the GAPS Diet?
The GAPS Diet is recommended for curing all sorts of auto-immune problems, and in our family we wanted to cure problems such as eczema, allergies, joint pain, and poor immune system. The GAPS Diet is supposed to cure these conditions by healing the gut through a nourishing diet based on healthy fats (such as butter and coconut oil), meats, fruits, veggies, broth, and fermented foods. The GAPS Diet does not allow any grains or starches, and allows no sweeteners except honey.
My family started the GAPS Diet back in the late summer of 2010. We followed the GAPS Diet very strictly for over 16 months, and completed two rounds of the Intro Diet. Initially, we had amazing results, but over time on the diet some of our problems came back, and new problems developed. A rundown on the positive results and set-backs for each of us is as follows:
Why Did We Have Such Mixed Results?
Through many hours of research, I learned that others had similar problems on the GAPS Diet (as well as other grain-free diets such as Paleo and Primal). The lack of carbs on our GAPS diet was the likely cause of the adrenal problems that developed. Even knowing that and trying to increase my carb intake while on GAPS, I was not able to start recovering from these adrenal problems until I was willing to leap off the GAPS Diet and start restoring my metabolism. I detailed my leap off the GAPS Diet here and here, and wrote an article about avoiding adrenal problems on GAPS here.
Knowing This, Would We Still Do GAPS?
If we could do it all over again, we would not start with the GAPS Diet. That diet is a LOT of work, as almost everything we consumed had to be homemade. To go through so much and then find out that GAPS was actually making us develop new problems was frustrating and disheartening.
Where Would We Start?
While I know that the GAPS Diet works well for some people, I have mixed feelings about it for my family. If I could go back in time a few years, I would try the following steps to recover our health:
Start with Matt Stone's program for restoring metabolism. Unlike GAPS, following this program is actually a joy, and will change the way you look at food, exercise, and stress. A healthy metabolism is key to being healthy, and has the potential to solve all of the autoimmune problems we were facing (joint pain, eczema, immune problems). To learn much more, read Diet Recovery 2. Through this program, I was able to jump-start my path back to adrenal health.
If that doesn't work, try classical homeopathy. Through our experiences, I have become convinced that diet and stress reduction are not enough for us to fully regain health. Using homeopathy in conjunction with our diets/stress reduction has brought us closer to full health than any dietary/lifestyle changes alone. Homeopathy works differently than conventional medicine, because it actually triggers the body to heal itself and the underlying causes of disease. This leads to lasting health, rather than temporary improvements. Homeopathy is giving us huge improvements in areas that were unchanged by diet (such as our sleep problems, my son's eczema, and my irritability). And we are seeing improvements in all aspects of our health, including our immune systems, weight gain (for my daughter), behavior issues in both kids, and even my menstrual cycle.
Have you had any negative results from the GAPS Diet, or similar diets such as Primal or Paleo? Or have these diets worked well for you? I am particularly interested to hear your long-term results (more than a year or two), rather than short term results (less than a year).
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