GAPS Diet Myths: What the GAPS Diet is and What It Isn’t

by Ann Marie Michaels on February 5, 2012

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GAPS Diet Myths

I have been noticing lately that a lot of people are confused about the GAPS Diet.

There seems to be a blending of the GAPS Diet, the Paleo diet and low carb. People think that if they do Paleo or a low carb diet, they’re doing GAPS. There seems to be a sentiment that Paleo is the “best” and most virtuous diet, and people are lumping GAPS in with Paleo.

I also hear people saying that they think they will have to stay on the GAPS Diet for life. They think they just have to avoid the foods they are allergic to, and that they will never heal.

There is also a lot of talk that grains are bad for you, and that we should never eat grains.

Did you know that Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome, recommends properly prepared whole grains once the gut is healed? She also says that the GAPS diet is NOT low carb.

Let’s take a look at some GAPS Diet Myths and see if we can clear them up.

GAPS Diet Myths

Myth #1: The GAPS Diet is Low Carb

Dr. Natasha has stated publicly that the GAPS Diet is not low carb.

I personally believe that if you do GAPS, you should not count carbs or restrict carbs in any way. Especially if you are pregnant or nursing, or if you want to get pregnant.

Paul Jaminet of the Perfect Health Diet writes:

I won’t enumerate studies here, but animal studies indicate that higher carb and protein intakes promote fertility and athleticism, while restriction of carbohydrate and protein promotes longevity.

He also says that low carb depresses thyroid function and eating a higher carb diet will help your thyroid function better:

This means that eating more carbs raises T3 levels, and eating fewer carbs lowers T3 levels.

For a hypothyroid person, then, eating more carbs is an alternative tactic for increasing thyroid hormone activity. It may provide symptomatic relief similar to that achieved by supplementing thyroid hormone directly.

Many (most?) GAPS patients have low adrenal and thyroid function. So in order to heal, we should not be restricting carbs.

The GAPS Diet allows fruit, honey, squash, nuts, and other high carbohyrdate foods. We should not avoid these foods while on the GAPS Diet. Particularly if we are pregnant, nursing, trying to get pregnant, or if we have hormone problems.

Myth #2: The GAPS Diet and the Paleo Diet are the Same Thing

The Paleo Diet is based on eating only paleolithic foods, or foods that hunter-gatherers would have had access to.

The Paleolithic diet consists of foods that can be hunted and fished, such as meat, offal and seafood, and can be gathered, such as eggs, insects, fruit, nuts, seeds, vegetables, mushrooms, herbs and spices. Some sources advise eating only lean cuts of meat, free of food additives, preferably wild game meats and grass-fed beef since they contain higher levels of omega-3 fats compared with grain-produced domestic meats. Food groups that advocates claim were rarely or never consumed by humans before the Neolithic (agricultural) revolution are excluded from the diet, mainly grains, legumes (e.g. beans and peanuts), dairy products, salt, refined sugar and processed oils, although some advocates consider the use of oils with low omega-6/omega-3 ratios, such as olive oil and canola oil, to be healthy and advisable. (Source: Wikipedia)

While I can see how people might confuse the two diets, as they seem similar at first glance, the GAPS Diet is very different from the Paleo Diet.

The Paleo Diet restricts foods based on the theory that humans were optimally healthy prior to neolithic (agricultural) foods such as grains and dairy products.

Like the Paleo Diet, the GAPS Diet prohibits grains. However, dairy foods are allowed on the GAPS Diet, even from the very beginning of the diet (in the beginning, it is recommended to start with ghee and then kefir/yogurt and then sour cream). It depends on whether or not the patient can tolerate dairy foods, and some dairy foods are easier to digest than others so there is a process as far as how to introduce them.

The creator of the GAPS Diet, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, only recommends that we avoid grains while the gut is healing. Some beans are also allowed — white beans and lentils — as they are easier to digest.

The reason that foods are prohibited on the GAPS Diet is not because they are bad, but rather because the GAPS patient cannot digest them. Once the gut is healthy and strong again, these foods can be reintroduced.

The GAPS Diet also strongly emphasizes fermented foods and bone broth; the Paleo Diet does not.

Myth #3: We Can Never Recover from Food Allergies

This is one of the biggest myths.

Dr. Natasha says that around 1% of people cannot recover from food allergies. Or in other words 99% of people CAN recover. She distinguishes between “true” allergies and allergies that can be reversed. This is why I called my GAPS Diet cooking class “Reversing Food Allergies”.

“A recent public survey in the UK has shown that almost half the population report that they have an “allergy” to some food or foods. However, the official figures for a “true allergy to food” are around 1% of the population in most developed countries.” (Source: Dr. Natasha’s website)

So, yes, there are some people who can never eat wheat again. But it’s a very small percentage of people. Most people can recover and go back to eating grains and even gluten with no problems.

Myth #4: We Should Stay on the GAPS Diet for Life

Dr. Natasha says that GAPS should generally be followed for a few years. It takes a while for the villi in the intestines to grow back. However, it DOES grow back and we CAN heal on the right diet.

The strict GAPS diet should be adhered to for at least 1.5 – 2 years. Depending on the severity of the condition, some people recover quicker, others take much longer. Your patient needs to have at least 6 months of normal digestion before you start introducing foods not allowed on the GAPS diet. Do not rush with this step. ((Source: Dr. Natasha’s website)

It took me 2 years to heal my gut in my 20s and overcome gluten intolerance. I was not following GAPS but I was following a similar diet (no gluten, no sugar — only honey and fruit, very limited starches, and strong probiotics).

GAPS is not a diet you need to follow for life. It is a short-term diet designed to help people heal.

Myth #5: We Are Better Off Without Grains

It seems like a lot of people have come to believe that because we avoid grains on the GAPS Diet, that grains are categorically bad.

If you read Dr. Natasha’s instructions for following the GAPS Diet on her website, she says that when we come off the GAPS Diet (because we are expected to come off of it — it’s not a lifelong diet), we can introduce potatoes and grains.

The first foods you will be able to introduce are new potatoes and fermented gluten-free grains (buckwheat, millet and quinoa). The recipe section will explain how to ferment grains.

Introduce one food at a time and always start from a small amount: give your patient a small portion of the new food and watch for any reaction for 2-3 days. If there are no digestive problems returning, or any other typical for your patient symptoms, then in a few days try another portion. If there are no reactions, gradually increase the amount of the food. These are starchy foods, so do not forget to serve them with good amounts of fat (butter, olive oil, any animal fat, coconut oil, etc.) to slow down the digestion of starch. Do not rush with the introduction of these new foods, it may take several months to do it properly.

Once new potatoes and fermented grains are introduced, try to make sourdough with good quality wheat or rye flour. You can make pancakes or bread with the sourdough. I would recommend a wonderful book by Sally Fallon “Nourishing Traditions” for a wealth of recipes. Once sourdough is well-tolerated you may be able to buy commercially available good quality sourdough breads.

At that stage you may find that your patient can digest buckwheat, millet and quinoa without fermenting them prior to cooking. Gradually you will find that you can introduce various starchy vegetables, grains and beans.

YOUR PATIENT WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO GO BACK TO THE TYPICAL MODERN DIET FULL OF SUGAR, ARTIFICIAL AND PROCESSED INGREDIENTS AND OTHER HARMFUL FOODS. USE THE YEARS OF FOLLOWING GAPS NUTRITIONAL PROTOCOL FOR DEVELOPING HEALTHY EATING HABITS FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE! (Source: Dr. Natasha’s website)

GAPS Diet Recipes and Resources

Click here for more: GAPS Diet recipes and resources.

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{ 212 comments… read them below or add one }

Cassie February 5, 2012 at 9:30 PM

Thanks for responding to my facebook post and also for creating a whole blog post that I feel is almost written to me ;) just kidding.
I guess what I sort of meant to ask is that if I have already been eating a relatively natural diet and haven’t had gluten in a while then how would my detox be compared to someone eating a standard american diet. That’s sort of what I was saying.
In a way I completely agree with you about Paleo vs Gaps. But on the other hand I feel that, at least for me anyway, Paleo is avoiding things that have the potential of hurting your digestive track. So I have been avoiding gluten, dairy, and a few other things that I’ve noticed make me feel weird. So in that sense, it is comparable (not the same). But I have also been adding things that I think I need- bone broth, more organ meats, more seafood, more pro biotic foods…. which everyone should do whether they consider themselves paleo or not.
I never consider that paleo=low carb etiher. Maybe some do, some who are trying to loose a bunch of weight, or some who just jump on. I consider paleo more as being more natural. I think someone who doesn’t experiment with what foods work for them is missing the point to any type of diet. It all depends on your goals.
Anyway, thanks for your blog. I’ve been reading it for some time now… even after being paleo for a while now I am excited to the day when I could possibly eat sourdough bread (and make those bagels :) ) I am not a GAPS patient per say, as in I don’t have any psychiatric problems, and I don’t think I have adrenal fatigue (I really didn’t answer yes to any of your adrenal fatigue questions). I was, however, formula fed as a baby, I’ve taken antibiotics a handful of times in my life and I’ve done enough stuff in my life that I know i’ve damaged my gut. I’m sure GAPS can help me (and my kids– my two year old will be thrilled to eat sourdough bagels).
Thanks again.

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cheeseslave February 5, 2012 at 9:43 PM

Hi, Cassie

Your question was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. I get so many questions about GAPS. Especially since I’ve been espousing the benefits of eating a high carb diet lately – I get lots of confused people asking me why I’m down on GAPS. So I wanted to write a post to comment about all of the questions I’m being asked lately. Not just you! :-)

“I guess what I sort of meant to ask is that if I have already been eating a relatively natural diet and haven’t had gluten in a while then how would my detox be compared to someone eating a standard american diet.”

It doesn’t make any difference whether you have been Paleo or not. Gut flora is gut flora and if it is abnormal (not enough good guys and too many bad guys) that is the real issue.

Start slow with the probiotics and fermented foods, and work up to more. Same advice for everyone.

“In a way I completely agree with you about Paleo vs Gaps. But on the other hand I feel that, at least for me anyway, Paleo is avoiding things that have the potential of hurting your digestive track. So I have been avoiding gluten, dairy, and a few other things that I’ve noticed make me feel weird. So in that sense, it is comparable (not the same). But I have also been adding things that I think I need- bone broth, more organ meats, more seafood, more pro biotic foods…. which everyone should do whether they consider themselves paleo or not.”

It’s good to avoid gluten and dairy if you are allergic. But it is not enough and it won’t heal you. We have to avoid those foods AND we have to eat bone broth and fermented foods/probiotics in order to heal.

“I never consider that paleo=low carb etiher. Maybe some do, some who are trying to loose a bunch of weight, or some who just jump on. I consider paleo more as being more natural. I think someone who doesn’t experiment with what foods work for them is missing the point to any type of diet. It all depends on your goals.”

Most paleo people I know are low carb by default. When you restrict your diet that much, it’s hard to eat a lot of carbs.

“I am not a GAPS patient per say, as in I don’t have any psychiatric problems, and I don’t think I have adrenal fatigue (I really didn’t answer yes to any of your adrenal fatigue questions). I was, however, formula fed as a baby, I’ve taken antibiotics a handful of times in my life and I’ve done enough stuff in my life that I know i’ve damaged my gut. I’m sure GAPS can help me (and my kids– my two year old will be thrilled to eat sourdough bagels).”

When I say “GAPS Patient” that’s just the terminology Dr. Natasha uses. She’s a doctor, after all. It doesn’t mean you have psychiatric problems. It just means you need to heal your gut.

And yes, you can! And so can your kids. :-)

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Mishelle@LoveandButter March 4, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Great Post! We are 2 months into GAPS. I just had a conversation with someone today and they cited you and said how dangerous GAPS was because it is low carb and low carb is bad for kids especially. I am an avid reader and knew you had never said this, so love this post!!!

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Nicole February 5, 2012 at 9:35 PM

I have been working on a similar post! I totally agree — there is so much confusion about the carb thing. My son has been on GAPS for almost a year and we’re beginning to transition him back into a “normal” healthy diet. He always had as many carbs as he could tolerate on the diet and I’m am glad that we are introducing some other sources of carbs for him coming up. My experience is that it IS challenging to keep your carb level up on GAPS because it’s just easy to forget. And even though I made sure to give my son plenty of squash, honey, fruit, etc — after a year I am noticing a bit of a drop in his energy. This was a signal to me (along with his digestive recovery) that it was time to introduce some healthy non-GAPS foods. He has been a trouper! He’ll be 4 in May!

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cheeseslave February 5, 2012 at 9:46 PM

@Nicole

Congratulations — that is wonderful!

I think it’s very wise of you to know when to move on from GAPS. I see so many people on GAPS who act like this is the End All Be All. It’s really not. We need to heal and move on.

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Joyce February 6, 2012 at 6:22 AM

Great blog post! I agree that it isn’t the End All Be All. We have had our 9 year old on GAPS since Oct., (after being dairy free for 3 months) along with some homeopathic drops, all under the care of her Dr. After 4 months we retested her yeast level and she is healed! I have shocked at some on GAPS that go to extream and I don’t see what they are doing going along with the principles in the book. We have enjoyed a wide variety of foods, while staying within the guidelines of the diet. It is time to move on and we will do it slowly, but we will move on. We are adding dairy back in and look forward to adding grains in the proper way.

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 7:19 AM

@Joyce Yes, babies and kids heal much faster than adults. Congratulations! I think it is so well worth it to do GAPS when we have food allergies. Especially when we can help our children.

I think it is very sad to send a child out into the world as an adult with food allergies. Not just because they will be forced into a very restrictive diet, but also because if you have a damaged gut, you are not digesting and absorbing nutrients properly.

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Michelle February 6, 2012 at 9:31 AM

For some, such as autistic and ADHD kids, it is a lifelong diet.

And I would love to know why Matt Stone says from his experience it does not work.

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Nicole February 6, 2012 at 1:22 PM

That’s true, Michelle. People with more serious health issues do need to stay on the diet (or some version of it) for longer or for life. I think the take home point in all of this is that every person is different and has different manifestations of imbalance. Some people I believe will never again be able to eat gluten or dairy. No one knows how many people can recover — not even Natasha Campbell-McBride. To imply that people “should” be healing from this diet is narrow-minded. It makes people think that they are “doing it wrong” and they end up blaming themselves (turning on ourselves), which is what autoimmune conditions literally do (turn on ourselves). Anyway, we can all debate what diet is good or bad or whatever, but we need to step back and pay attention to what works for us as individuals. There are many things we all agree on and maybe we should focus on that primarily. I’m personally not a fan of VLC, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for some people out there. How would I know? I don’t. All I can do is pay attention to myself and my family and share what works in case it helps someone else heal.

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Alison February 6, 2012 at 6:34 AM

Same for us, a year on GAPS and started to notice low energy levels, drop in basal temp, problems with constipation again….so we’re eating potatoes, rice, fruit, buckwheat with good results.

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Joy at The Liberated Kitchen February 5, 2012 at 10:08 PM

Thanks for this post! Our family has been on GAPS for over a year now (aside from my disastrous 2 month gluten challenge so I could get tested for celiac). It has been amazingly healing, and my partner has even started occasionally eating potatoes.

However, as someone with a celiac son, and with neurological reactions to gluten myself, I do not plan on EVER reintroducing gluten. I just don’t see the benefit, and it would be too difficult to continually retest to make sure subclinical damage was not occurring. I have met too many people who thought they were healed, then discovered that gluten caused problems for them after they’d reintroduced it for a while. It seems to be a primary source of problems for many people.

Another difference between GAPS and Paleo is that on GAPS is that on GAPS we eat more probiotic (fermented) foods and less starch. We also are not as concerned with eating in season. GAPS also includes a detoxification protocol which is not included with Paleo.

Finally, I want to mention that we have summarized a lot of how to do the GAPS diet intro stages and provided many GAPS legal recipes on our site. You can find the listing of our posts and other helpful resources at: http://theliberatedkitchenpdx.com/basics/gaps-resources/

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Mike F February 5, 2012 at 10:31 PM

I think you’re oversimplifying the paleo diet. First off, these days the paleo diet isn’t related to the original Paleo Diet by Dr. Cordain but rather the Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf and The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sission. The original Paleo Diet is deprecated, so to speak.

The thrust of the paleo diets are to follow the science and when the science isn’t clear then use paleolithic man as a guide. There are differences between ‘paleo’ and ‘primal’ in that the primal diet allows for dairy.

It should also be noted that a majority of the diet is the same as WAPF. And the parts where these philosophies agree are the important parts. Saturated fats are good, grass feed beef is good, vegetable oils are bad, excessive sugar and white flour are bad, avoid chemicals, etc.

Plus many of the doctors, scientists, and researchers are friendly to both. Dr. Jaminet’s Perfect Health Diet is a spin off of the Paleo Diet and he considers his diet a low carb diet. At least that is what Paul Jaminet told Jimmy Moore during a podcast interview.

The negative division that posts like these cause aren’t very helpful in my opinion. The similarities between WAPF, Paleo, and even the new Atkins are much more than their differences… at least compared to the SAD. We’re all on the same team, which is to say the team that is trying to help bring awareness to the awful state of affairs of our nutritional establishment.

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Sean Booth February 6, 2012 at 5:41 AM

I’m so glad this was written. It is much more eloquent than I could be this early in the morning. I’m also not sure where the idea that Paleo doesn’t promote probiotics came from. It is one of the basics in every book I have read and is listed as one of the most important things.

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Sarah February 6, 2012 at 6:12 AM

Mike–my feelings exactly.

Dr. McBride has written a wonderful tool for healing, but it should, like all diet advice, be tailored to the individual circumstances. Quoting her on her own diet really isn’t a balanced view of the situation.

I started my healing process with WAPF and then with GAPS, and both helped a lot to move me toward better health. But, I was battling a lifelong candida problem. Going low carb was the only thing that ultimately helped me start to heal! It was only after I lost the carbs that I also I lost weight easily. My fertility returned. My yeast went away. My skin cleared up. My mood was elevated. I had a hard time being depressed even when really bad things happened in my life–when always before I was fixated on the negative for way too long. I had energy to get tons of stuff done.

Every decent paleo/primal/low carb book, article, or blog I’ve read promotes real food (a la WAPF), bone broth (like GAPS) AND some even contain sections on how to heal your gut. There is no reason these things can’t be compatible. Maybe some people DO need more carbs than others. I’m glad that it’s helping you with your particular health issues. But, I know that I have found I need to keep mine very low (around 20 grams a day–certainly no more than 50) for optimum health. (And actually, our differences make sense–because the GAPS diet and other similar healing diets are meant to help people with a wide variety of problems–too wide in fact for a blanket solution!)

There is a ton of research about the negative effects of modern grains and their high levels of gluten, whether Dr. McBride says we can reintroduce them or not. I don’t think anyone is saying everyone has to give them up, but for many people I know, giving them up for good has been highly beneficial. Not to mention that if you replace those wheat and potato calories with vegetables, 100% grass fed beef, lamb, and chicken, pastured pork, pastured raw butter, and the other wonderful traditional foods, you get a lot more nutrition for your caloric buck.

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 6:52 AM

@Sarah I think Paleo, WAPF and GAPS certainly are compatible. They are just not the same thing. And I see a lot of folks lumping them together into one Uber Perfect Diet.

I think if you want to do low carb, it’s fine, but not if you have hormone problems or want to have children. Again, see the quote from Jaminet:

“For most people, I believe a slightly carb-restricted intake of 20-30% of calories is optimal. Most people are not currently seeking to have children or engaging in athletic competition.”

Regarding gluten: There is nothing wrong with gluten. It is just protein, like casein in milk. Casein is not bad, and neither is gluten. If one can’t digest gluten or casein, it means his or her gut is damaged and he or she most likely has abnormal gut flora. The solution is to heal the gut and balance the gut flora. Then one should be able to eat gluten and casein again with no problems.

So avoiding gluten is not necessary for people who have a healthy gut, for the same reason that we don’t need to avoid casein.

And replacing wheat and potatoes with all meat and fat is not necessarily a good thing to do. There was great wisdom in the overall diet of traditional people. To remove whole categories of foods because we deem them as “bad” is unwise.

The Swiss Dr. Price studied ate about half of their diet as rye bread. The Scots ate a lot of oats. These people were optimally healthy. I know that in the case of the Swiss, it’s actually very wise to eat cheese with bread.

Rami Nagel said that wheat and rye are high-phosphorous foods and for this reason it is important to eat them with calcium-rich foods. Also, wheat is a good source of magnesium whereas dairy is a good source of calcium. It is important to have the right ratio of calcium and magnesium for good health.

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Mema February 23, 2012 at 8:56 PM

…”I think if you want to do low carb, it’s fine, but not if you have hormone problems or want to have children.”

I just have to say that I disagree with this at least for my experience…again as you have mentioned, every person’s dietary needs are different. But like Sarah I as well have much better health without grains wheat/rice etc or high starch foods like potatoes but I do ok with sweet potatoes/yams and most other vegetables. I just don’t believe grains are necessary or beneficial for all people, especially for hormones or pregnancy.

In my experience; I was off b/c and TTC for over a year until I did south beach diet and lost over 35 lbs and my hormones and weight got back to normal. THEN I got pregnant almost instantly after I took a break for some dental surgery, the next month my cycle was finally perfect and I got pg the first try. This though was before I knew about gut healing and nutrient density in foods etc…but as soon as I allow more carbs back in ie (grains (wheat, rice), sugar, white potatoes, corn etc I get FAT…and ALL in my belly and I am NOT a huge person, I am 5’4″ and at my heaviest was 156lbs around a size 10 and was down to a 4 when I got pregnant the first time but I’m down to a 2 right now and I eat plenty of grassfed beef, healthy fats, veggies etc. But again, when I eat refined carbs or high carb foods I get fat. I always test high for protein type on the metabolic typing tests. But now I am dealing with some gut damage and candida issues because of the grains. Which I intend to heal but I definitely know that my body does not do well with grains and refined or starchy carbohydrate foods and I get pregnant and have healthy babies better without them. There are many ways to get the amount of necessary carbohydrates to fuel your body by eating plenty of veggies especially greens and also fruits and berries etc but I just do not think everyone does well with grains especially. Just like a high carb person, could say the same about meat. They may not process meat well and do better with a higher portion of carbs than meat, so why would I convince them that they need to eat more meat when clearly their body doesn’t process meat or high protein well? Individual metabolic type is really important and something to consider when making blanket statements like all women need “grains” to get pregnant. Also if this were the case then so many vegans and vegetarians who aren’t getting pregnant and eat a typical high grain vegan/veg diet would be fine with pregnancy and hormones, but in my experience when they eat less grains/carbs and add in more fats and proteins is when their hormones balance and they can get pregnant and have better cycles and lose weight.

Also there is research out that shows that much of the grain today is nothing like the grain of long ago.

There is just still so much to learn/discover about individual nutrition.

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 6:31 AM

@Mike F

I think it really depends who you talk to. I am much more comfortable with Mark Sisson’s Primal diet. I like that he includes dairy. That said, I think he is too regimented about how many carbs people can eat.

I just met someone last weekend at the FitExpo, Nell Stephenson. She calls herself Paleo. http://paleoista.com/ If I remember correctly, she eats pretty much meats, fats and veggies. No dairy whatsoever. She said something about eating cheese at a cocktail party and acted like it was the equivalent of eating Lay’s potato chips.I think there are a lot of folks like her.

It should also be noted that a majority of the diet is the same as WAPF. And the parts where these philosophies agree are the important parts. Saturated fats are good, grass feed beef is good, vegetable oils are bad, excessive sugar and white flour are bad, avoid chemicals, etc.

True! I just think Paleo is too restrictive for most people. WAPF is already restrictive enough and causes a lot of folks to get crazy with their foods. Paleo is a lot worse. I remember when the Paleo folks came to the first WAPF conference the year before last. There was a lot of judging going on about our bread and French toast.

Plus many of the doctors, scientists, and researchers are friendly to both. Dr. Jaminet’s Perfect Health Diet is a spin off of the Paleo Diet and he considers his diet a low carb diet. At least that is what Paul Jaminet told Jimmy Moore during a podcast interview.

This is what Jaminet says about the Perfect Health Diet and carbs:

“In our book, we recommend a slightly low-carb diet of 20-30% of calories. If we were re-writing the book now, we would probably be a bit less specific about what carb intake is best. Rather, we would say that a carb intake around 30-40% is neutral and fully meets the body’s actual glucose needs; and discuss the pros and cons of deviating from this neutral carb intake in either direction.

For most people, I believe a slightly carb-restricted intake of 20-30% of calories is optimal. Most people are not currently seeking to have children or engaging in athletic competition. There is good reason to believe that mild carb restriction maximizes lifespan, and most people desire long life. As we’ve noted, supercentenarians generally eat low-carb, high-fat diets.

But the spirit of our book is to educate, and let everyone design the diet that is best for them. And there is room for difference of opinion about the optimal carb intake.”

http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=5528

The negative division that posts like these cause aren’t very helpful in my opinion. The similarities between WAPF, Paleo, and even the new Atkins are much more than their differences… at least compared to the SAD. We’re all on the same team, which is to say the team that is trying to help bring awareness to the awful state of affairs of our nutritional establishment.

The purpose of this post is to help clear up the myths around the GAPS Diet. THe GAPS Diet is not the Paleo Diet.

I also wrote it for those people who think they are bad for wanting to eat grains or carbs. Grains and carbs are NOT bad in the WAPF world. They are also not bad according to GAPS. But they are bad according to Paleo. I wanted to make that distinction.

I see a lot of posts lately where people write, “Hey, it’s all good, we’re all in this together.” While I appreciate the sentiment and I’m all for creating community and getting us all on the same page so we can make this food revolution happen, I am also seeing a lot of folks getting very confused about what they should eat. There’s a real Holier Than Thou thing happening with the Paleo and Low Carb set. I just wanted to make it clear that GAPS is not either of those diets.

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 6:34 AM

Oh and just to strongly underscore this point made by Jaminet:

“For most people, I believe a slightly carb-restricted intake of 20-30% of calories is optimal. Most people are not currently seeking to have children or engaging in athletic competition.”

Most people who read my blog ARE having children. The majority of my readers are women and are aged 20-50. Most of them are either trying to get pregnant, having babies or are trying to recover their hormones after pregnancy.

According to Jaminet, we should NOT be eating low carb.

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Julie Leonardo February 26, 2012 at 8:17 PM

Sorry, still don’t buy this. I have cut down on my carbs (and when I say carbs, I mean next to no grains) and my body is working better than it has in years. You don’t have to have grains to have carbs. If our early ancestors didn’t have access to many grains and starches yet they managed to procreate? And to be honest, I am feeling the “holier than thou” thing here as well. I am not getting the sense that you feel that some people may do well one way and some another way. We are all different, and people like the commentor above who cut out carbs and immediately got pregnant, well you just completely ignored her comment. She doesn’t fit Mr. Jaminet’s theory. Maybe he’s wrong? Did that ever occur to you?

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Lori February 6, 2012 at 1:40 PM

Aren’t grains carbs? I’m confused by this point because in your Q&A you seemed to make a difference, and I’m not sure what the difference is. I asked a similar question there, so I’m hoping you’ll answer it here or there.

I have Candida, so I don’t know what I should be eating now! *insert confused faced*

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KarenL February 6, 2012 at 2:07 PM

@ Lori – yes, grains are carbs. Anything not protein or fat is considered carbs, whether it is grains, starches, vegetables or fruit.

If you have Candida, may I suggest you visit a site by Bee Wilder entitled “Healing Naturally by Bee”.

I believe if you click my name, it should take you to her site. As a moderator on her Yahoo Groups forum, I can tell you we have many people come to Bee’s program after trying GAPS for a season.

Karen

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Lori February 6, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Thanks Karen. I do know of her site. I was working with a chiropractor who had me off all grains and allowed me a few pieces of fruit. I couldn’t do it without a little fruit. My other cheat with potatoes–usually red. I did great and he pronounced my Candida to be in check. I know I sort of blew it a bit after that (not bad, but enough) and the Candida came back, but I also gained about 12 pounds. I changed my diet again, but I haven’t lost weight, so I’m thinking there is something else going on. Maybe she will know. But, now I’m just so confused with all of this talk about helping your hormones by eating grains or carbs or both but if you have a yeast overgrowth then that’s not good, so really I just think this is a good excuse to get a box of oreos!

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KarenL February 6, 2012 at 5:54 PM

Lori – being a moderator on Bee’s site, I know many people do the program ‘for a while’ then go back to ‘normal’ eating, thinking their candida is gone only to find out it was not. And it is not easy to eat this restrictive for such a long time. And it would be easy to just grab a bag of oreos and go to town.

What we have to remember is the damage that is being done. I see talk of weight on here and very often we do gain weight (Bee has taken a couple of surveys and it is women who have had some form of hormone treatment -ie. birth control- so she suggests it will take longer for our bodies to heal from that). The truth is the damage being done on the inside is way worse than the weight we see on the outside.

Just read Bee Wilder’s “How to Get Started” article (it IS long; like 54 printed pages…) to see what happens when we do not give our bodies the nutrients that it needs.

I wish you well. There is a lot of conflicting information out there. I suppose, depending on our level of un-healthiness, some programs work better for others than another program so it can be hard to sort the truth out…

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Chris Masterjohn February 6, 2012 at 6:34 AM

I thought Boyd Eaton had the original Paleo diet, which recommended whole wheat and low-fat milk?

Chris

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Chris Masterjohn February 6, 2012 at 6:49 AM

I realized my comment could have sounded sarcastic and I didn’t mean it to be. I was just pointing out that the paleo concept didn’t originate with Cordain. Eaton is generally credited with introducing it from a dietary perspective into the nutritional literature, and in his original formulation I believe he recommended low-fat milk and whole wheat. So this supports your point, Mike, that the concept is always evolving.

Chris

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 6:56 AM

I think the point is that nobody really knows what the ideal diet is for everyone. It really depends on your goals. If you want to have babies or you are an athlete, you will want to eat differently than someone who is not doing those things.

As Paul Jaminet wisely said, “…let everyone design the diet that is best for them. And there is room for difference of opinion about the optimal carb intake.”

http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=5528

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Chris Masterjohn February 9, 2012 at 9:10 AM

Agreed.

Chris

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Mike F February 6, 2012 at 9:03 AM

Chris,

I have a man crush on you! Thanks for all you’ve been doing with getting a lot of this info out and doing all of your research. I also have a high level of respect for the Jaminet’s.

I think a lot of people are staunch supporters of the Paleo Diet because it was the first thing that made sense to them that saved their health. However if you follow some of the paleo blogs, like Balanced Bites, they talk a lot about both Paleo and WAPF in a positive light. While I currently am eating low carb I don’t think it is the right thing for everyone, but it is what is working for me right now.

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Don Wiss February 6, 2012 at 12:38 PM

The person that first popularized the paleo diet in the US (as opposed to publishing in journals) was Ray Audette with his Neanderthin book in 1999. This is a must read if you are a commentator on the paleo diet.

Audette puts no limits to saturated fat and he asserts that foods must not be processed. He writes “My definition of nature is the absence of technology. Technology-dependent foods would never be ingested by a human being in Nature. I determined, therefore, to eat only those foods that would be available to me if I were naked of all technology save that of a convenient sharp stick or stone.” Despite this he does allow for cooking.

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Heather February 6, 2012 at 2:24 PM

Well, for cooking you need a pile of sticks, and two particular kinds of stone–flint and steel. And the pot can be made of dirt (clay). So cooking falls into the “stone and stick” classification. :-)

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Pam February 5, 2012 at 11:00 PM

This is such a timely post, thank you!! I am starting GAPS for the second time, tomorrow, and I too was confused on this issue. I knew that GAPS and low-carb were different but I hadn’t really taken the time to search out the differences. In looking at my menu for the month I see that I actually made it quite carb-heavy!! Woohoo!

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Nicole February 6, 2012 at 2:02 AM

This is hard for me because I have been doing gaps for a few years but cannot seem to have ANY fruit, honey, starchy veg like carrot or even butter or I STACK on the weight. Also they trigger my compulsive over-eating (which Dr. Natasha actually verifies as a real eating disorder – and it certainly is in my experience). I feel like I am caught in limbo. The only way I can maintain or lose weight is to remain very, very low carb. After reading your blog post on Matt Stone I introduced half a cup of home-made muesli twice a week and one potato and half an avocado in a week and gained half a kilo. This is a problem because I am already overweight. ARE THERE ANY OTHER WAYS TO TREAT HYPOTHYROIDISM APART FROM FOOD?? I don’t even know if I have hypothyroidism as I tested my BBT and it is normal!! What to do what to do??? I feel so much better eating stage 4 gaps but can I do this forever??? Starch and high-carb gives me brain-fog and as I said triggers my addictive nature, namely bingeing. Feel like I am caught in weird diet nah-nah land!!!!!!!! Can anyone out there relate to this???

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Heather February 6, 2012 at 2:42 AM

I’m with you. If I add in grains, properly prepared or not, I’m in trouble. I gain weight instantly. I also have digestive hell.

I’m just better off when I have no grains or legumes altogether, as I found out again this weekend. Even GF isn’t enough. So I’ve been doing Primal Blueprint, which allows me to have dairy (with raw and/or fermented explicitly preferred), and when I’m good, it’s very good back to me. My system feels great! No grains, no legumes. Just good quality meats and veggies with great fats.

Could I do GAPS? Yes, I probably should. but I work quite a bit so I don’t have as much time to prep foods, much less be able to cope if I have die-off symptoms. Basically, I don’t want to feel worse to feel better, which is often what I see when I read GAPS healing stories. I’ve been scared off by them.

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Cecilia Long February 6, 2012 at 4:05 AM

@Nicole Are you on a thyroid replacement? Is it a synthetic or the dessicated. I have low thryoid and even though the blood was okay, I still had a lot of problems. The dessicated is straight from the thyroid. The blogger will probably recommend eating the glands themselves, but I cant do that. Ugh. So I did the next best thing and it has helped a lot.

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Erin February 6, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Hi Nicole,

I can relate, believe me. I feel for your frustration. I went through what sounds like the exact same thing. I did not eat any grain, dairy, or fruit – not even the fruits that are considered vegetables: tomato, pepper, cucumber – for over 2 years – or I would instantly get bloated and put on water weight. It’s not true weight when it’s immediate, but just as frustrating, perhaps even more so as you’re eating healthy. Mind blowing! Anyway, restricting my carb intake did help as I was eventually able to eat the veggie fruits after a while, and some root veggies and low sugar fruits became tolerable but I could not eat sweet fruit or grain or dairy with any regularity to make them a staple part of my diet. While the immediate bloating went away eventually, if I ate any of them (fruit, grain, dairy) more than 2x week, and could not eat them all in the same week, I would gain weight.

Anyway, do you want to know what I found the real key to be? It had nothing to do with diet. It was coming to terms with the fact that I hated myself to a degree, not on purpose and not consciously, and also that I had unresolved self-rejection, guilt, bitterness, anxiety, fear and trauma. It was like my body turned on itself b/c of all these negative emotions that were literally causing my cells to malfunction and would no longer accept being nourished. These emotions prevented my body from being able to heal completely.

Eating uber healthy kept symptoms in check and I believe prevented things from going out of control and turning into diabetes or whatever, but I didn’t get totally well until I addressed and resolved these emotional issues. Perhaps you have them too. I have been looking into this and think many people do. I read somewhere recently, sorry I can’t quote the source, that deep emotional trauma is THE common denominator to all folks experiencing chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), which I find very telling. One nutrition consultant I know personally and have spoken with who has been in practice for over 10 years has found this to be true and investigates this area of a person’s life if they present with CFS or display its symptoms.

Lots of these deep-rooted emotional issues stem from rejection and neglect by parents (usually not on purpose), insufficient love or love that was conditional, abandonment, etc. There’s a huge connection here and why people aren’t getting totally well.

I am now clear of all food allergies, can eat grain, dairy, fruit, you name it. I of course eat only whole foods. Just for the record, I’m not saying that the SAD doesn’t instigate health issues, just that there’s more to it sometimes. I am right now doing research on the ties b/t self-rejection and Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism. It’s fascinating stuff. I have some lingering issues with low thyroid and am looking into that to round out my approach to healing it once and for all.

All the best to you. I hope this is helpful in some way.

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Nicole February 6, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Erin,
I am so glad you brought this to the table. I know that for myself a lot of my health issues stem from a deeper place emotionally. I see needing to rebalance my family’s gut flora as a way to change the direction of my ancestral lineage, which has not healthy: physically or emotionally. There is so much more to health (and life) than diet and I had to really pay attention to that while my son has been on GAPS. We all struggle with Candida, but if I restricted the carbs too much I could see the diet started to take an emotional toll on him that I wasn’t willing to impart. The stress would become counterproductive, in my opinion. The diet is restrictive enough as it is. So I’ve taken a less strict approach and am trusting that in the long-term we are building up his immune system so that he can maintain healthy flora. That’s the goal. I think there is a link between having a strong mind, heart and spirit with having a strong physical immune system. To some that may seem woo-woo, but I’ve experienced in my own life this whole picture to be true.
Nicole

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Amy February 6, 2012 at 2:18 PM

This is a really great post. I believe it, having come from an emotionally traumatic childhood. It led to my past eating disorder and other issues. I am pretty sure the root base of some of my lingering health issues is ongoing stress and fears which I have had since childhood. When you have truly deep levels of stress, I think it’s a lot harder to deal with the world’s stresses and toxins.

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Lori February 6, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Erin,
I so relate to what you wrote above and I am struggling with my own self rejection. I’ve gained weight and my Candida is back, and I know that it’s tied to more than just food. Of course gaining weight doesn’t help with the self rejection. I do think I have a slight thyroid issue, but I wonder how much of that is tied to emotion/stress.

Anyway, your post is timely.
Lori

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Kendahl @ Our Nourishing Roots February 6, 2012 at 3:11 PM

I lost weight on GAPS to the tune of 30 pounds, but then I gained 15 of it back because it was time to reintroduce grains and I ignored the signs (like the fact that I really wanted to have them for the first time about 8 months into GAPS but I kept going on GAPS for another 2 months). I should have listened to my body.

I have now reintroduced potatoes, buckwheat, quinoa, and sourdough breads and have seen my temperature go up. Steady 98.3s or so in the mornings instead of 97.5 and lower. Yay!

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Kendahl @ Our Nourishing Roots February 6, 2012 at 3:15 PM

Oh, and I forgot to say that it’s okay if you gain weight. Chances are you’ll gain it, your body will stop freaking out after a while, and as long as your temperatures stay high, then you’ll start to lose. You might need to embrace the chub (even though it’s hard). I’m 70 pounds overweight right now, but I don’t want to starve it off and have to fight that for the rest of my life. I’d rather raise my temp, do sprints a few times a week, and eat carbs that are tasty and I can digest. You can do it.

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Dutchie February 8, 2012 at 12:09 PM

Wow! I really like to compliment you on your entire view on this in relation to your weight gain:)

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Joy at The Liberated Kitchen February 8, 2012 at 12:17 PM

That’s nice to read, Kendahl! ITA that it’s not about size, it’s about feeling good and getting healthy.

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Dutchie February 9, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Totally agree!….wish I could implement it on myself though,that would make this A LOT easier,apart from my practical issues concerning this way of eating.

However,I also heard a theory about foodtoxins being stored as fat in the body. Any truth in that?…also there are positive&debunking comments in regards to Bloodtype diet,Metabolic Type etc. What do you all think of that….is it true?

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cheeseslave February 8, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Wow Kendahl

Are you SURE we are not twins separated at birth?

That is my story exactly. Only I wasn’t doing GAPS – I was doing low carb. And since I hugely upped the carbs and grains, I’m at about 98.2 pretty steady and was at low 97s.

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KarenL February 7, 2012 at 7:44 AM

Nicole – when you talk about fruits, honey, etc., triggering your ‘compulsive over-eating’, it honestly can be caused by candida. When I learned I had candida, I had to recognize the fact that I was addicted to carbs. I am not able to eat ‘just a little’ as it, too, sends me in to an eating binge. Candida thrive on carbohydrates, aka sugar (fruit, honey). When you ‘dare’ to limit the amount of food for them, they start screaming and throwing a fit. It is that feeling that we give in to. Once we realize it is the candida speaking and not some weakness within us, it gives us (at least it does me) the power and strength to continue on another day, realizing our nutritional eating is bringing our body healing.

Brain fog is another healing symptom. I encourage you to find “Healing Naturally by Bee” and read. and read. and read. It is all fr.ee. She also addresses thyroid issues as she lost her thyroid when she followed the medicals treatment for candida, so she knows what she’s talking about.

Blessings…

Karen

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Dutchie February 8, 2012 at 12:15 PM

@KarenL How does one know if bingeing on some stuff is feeding the bad guys or bc you need it?:s
I’ve gotten such food (vs. exercise issues) over the years that I’m just totally lost.

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Lester May 10, 2012 at 7:51 AM

Karen,
I would like to ask you some questions about Bee’s Diet. Gaps didn’t seem to be working for us, no real progress. Do you know of kids that have healed enough to eliminate food allergies? I have read so much and maybe too much it seems there is good and bad for all diets I just want to actually speak with a PARENT of a child who has completely recovered.
Thanks,
Lester

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KarenL May 11, 2012 at 7:36 AM

Hi Lester – I missed your first question and am just seeing it now…
I went to Bee Wilder’s website and navigated to her success stories to look for stories of successful kids; I’m not finding what I think it is you are seeking, but there are stories of kids who have improved their health by following Bee’s pgm.

On the forum, what we find is that it is a very difficult row for most kids to hoe; I have an 11-yo who finds it very difficult. We have the blessing of home schooling so she is not surrounded by off-plan foods on a daily basis but she is exposed to it twice/week through church functions and she chooses to eat those foods.

She is getting to be old enough, however, that she can start putting the two puzzle pieces together and sees that the quality of her health is dependent upon the quality of her diet.

Interestingly enough, last night, our local WAPF (Weston A Price Foundation) chapter viewed “Farmaggedon”, a movie addressing the government’s attack on small farms, trying to sell things such as raw milk. And many times, it was touted that raw milk “cures” allergies. Even raw milk is not approved on Bee’s program; it has too many carbs, which is what feeds the candida (overgrowth of yeast) and keeps us in an unhealthy state.

Good luck to you as you research and discover the plan best suited for your family.

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christina February 6, 2012 at 3:03 AM

I love Myth #1 but it is very frustrating and hard to believe when you’re becoming a chubber on GAPS eating nuts, squashes, etc.

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Mary @ Homemade Dutch Apple Pie February 6, 2012 at 3:11 AM

I’ve been dealing with all of this lately too. I just went off GAPS b/c I was eating too low carb…I had no energy, my thyroid and adrenals are off…plus I’m nursing a big 9 month old! I’ve been thoroughly enjoying eating some properly prepared grains and starches again. I wish I had been warned earlier about the potential to eat too low carb on GAPS.

I just did a post about this 2 days ago :)

http://voogtrecipes.blogspot.com/2012/02/mood-brain-diet-my-current-status.html

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Lauren February 6, 2012 at 3:23 AM

I think that this is the borderzone where two of the very valid, helpful and healthful dietary “camps” come in contact. Unfortunately there seems to be a lot more lines being drawn than similarities. The two diets are very complementary, and one often refers to the other.
I would argue that GAPS is indeed low carb *in comparison to the SAD*. It is not nearly as low carb as Whole30 paleo, and yes, it is known that ketosis is not suitable for the endocrine-suppressed.
One of the primary differences between GAPS and paleo is the source: on the one hand, one woman and her research, and on the other, a whole host of researchers, each with their own flavour of a main theme. Part of what was so troubling about the Healthy Home Economist’s attack on paleo was that she was quoting a single, very outdated source as gospel, when in fact the paleo community is united primarily around four beliefs: gluten is bad; low and steady blood sugar is good; inflammation is a root cause of disease; and N=1 is the final arbiter of personal nutrition.
I don’t believe that any of these are incompatible with GAPS. In fact, Mark Sisson has gone on record to say that, if you’re going to “do” grains, the WAP people do them right, which is essentially what NCM is saying too.
You are quite correct that many people interpret paleo to be all muscle meat, but the scientific minds that are the most respected voices of the movement repeatedly remind people to eat organ meats. Kresser and Jaminet both include white rice and probiotics/ferments. GAPS can fix your insides, paleo can get your outsides performing well, and WAP/ancestral diets will keep you healthy for years. We need less text setting these up as antagonistic and more finding the core principles that will benefit us all.

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 7:11 AM

One of the primary differences between GAPS and paleo is the source: on the one hand, one woman and her research, and on the other, a whole host of researchers, each with their own flavour of a main theme. Part of what was so troubling about the Healthy Home Economist’s attack on paleo was that she was quoting a single, very outdated source as gospel,

I agree that Sarah’s attack on Cordain doesn’t really hold water. That said, I thought this part was very interesting:

“For example, during Dr. Price’s travels in Africa, he examined several five cattle keeping groups: The Masai of Tanganyika, the Muhima of Uganda, the Chewya of Kenya, the Watusi of Ruanda, and the Neurs tribes on the western side of the Nile near the country of Sudan.

These groups were largely carnivores with their diet consisting primarily of blood, meat and milk. Fish was also eaten by some. The liver was highly priced and was consumed both raw and cooked.

Grains, fruits, and vegetables were consumed in small amounts.

These largely carnivorous tribes were very tall with even the women averaging over 6 feet in height in some tribes. All these tribes had marvelous physiques and perfectly straight, uncrowded teeth. Six tribes had no dental decay whatsoever.

On the other extreme, Dr. Price also examined largely vegetarian tribes such as the Bantu. This agricultural group’s diet consisted primarily of sweet potatoes, corn, beans, bananas, millet and sorghum. A few cattle or goats were kept for meat and milk and frogs, insects, and other small animals were also consumed.

These tribes were dominated by their carnivorous neighbors and they did suffer from low levels of dental decay – about 5-6% of all teeth.

The final African group Dr. Price researched were the Dinkas. The Dinkas followed a truly mixed diet of whole foods without the tendency toward the extremes of the carnivorous Masai or the agricultural Bantu.

While not as tall as the primarily carnivorous, cattle herding groups, they were physically better proportioned and had greater strength.

The Dinka diet primarily consisted of nutrient dense, properly prepared whole grains and fish.”

http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/why-i-dont-eat-paleo-or-primal/

when in fact the paleo community is united primarily around four beliefs: gluten is bad; low and steady blood sugar is good; inflammation is a root cause of disease; and N=1 is the final arbiter of personal nutrition.

1. “Gluten is bad.” There is no evidence that gluten is bad for people who have healthy guts and can digest gluten. If gluten is categorically BAD, then how were the Swiss people Dr. Price studied optimally healthy living on a diet of 50% rye bread?

2.”low and steady blood sugar is good;” As someone who suffers from hypoglycemia, I’d have to disagree. Low blood sugar is not good.

3. “inflammation is a root cause of disease;” – agreed

4. “and N=1 is the final arbiter of personal nutrition” If you are saying that everyone should decide what diet is best for them, I wholeheartedly agree.

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Amy Love@Real Food Whole Health February 6, 2012 at 11:09 AM

I think perhaps we could say that MODERN interpretations of gluten are generally bad. Most wheat products are not good for us, and even when properly prepared can still be less than ideal. Sure, it can be organic, fresh-ground and properly prepared, but the wheat itself is still fundamentally different than it was just a few short decades ago.

Rye, spelt and other more ancient grains are a different story. I don’t think we can categorically say that the gluten in these grains are the same as modern wheat, or that they are bad when properly prepared for those who can eat grains without issue.

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 12:24 PM

“Most wheat products are not good for us, and even when properly prepared can still be less than ideal.”

“Different” doesn’t mean bad.

Yukon Gold potatoes were hybridized in 1966. Does this make them bad?

I don’t think there is enough data to prove that modern hybridized wheat is harmful to us. I haven’t read Wheat Belly yet but saying that modern wheat causes gluten intolerance seems very far-fetched to me.

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Justine Raphael February 9, 2012 at 9:34 PM

Wouldn’t it be a good thing to read the book and then comment from the new knowledge? Do a review so we can all know…. It seems that the science is indeed saying that modern hybridized wheat is different AND toxic. Why should that be so hard to believe?

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Pam February 6, 2012 at 5:32 AM

I wish I could have referred some of my friends and extended family to this post before we started GAPS! The first oversimplification was that GAPS is low carb simply because it as grain free. At no point did any of us on GAPS experience ketosis nor any of the low-carb-traits that my husband said his mom had when she did Atkins. Also, our die-off experiences were very mild, though we were eating closer to the GAPS diet before we actually started it.

When I talk about GAPS or am asked about it, I start off saying that it’s temporary. That was the biggest sell for us! We still have a ways to go on it, but I am already starting my Christmas list with wheat berries and sourdough starter.

I do think that GAPS can be tricky in a way since it is so personal. When others ask me about specific foods or the length of time before being able to eat or do whatever, they usually end up annoyed with me when I respond with a “that depends” since every body is different!

Thanks for this post!

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Beth February 6, 2012 at 6:10 AM

Do you think different people have different needs as far as carbs and/or grains? I’ve been doing GAPS for a couple years and would like to come off, but when I do have grains…even properly prepared grains, I feel lethargic and lose my patience very easily. I am much happier when I just avoid them.

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 7:14 AM

@Beth Read above in the post where Dr. Natasha explains how to come off the GAPS Diet. She recommends starting with fermented buckwheat and quinoa. She says to start slowly as you introduce grains back in.

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Marie February 6, 2012 at 6:33 AM

Hi, I have a few questions :) My daughter started getting huge ulcer’s on her tongue basically at birth, at 18 months we finally decided to cut out gluten and they healed. I assume she was getting gluten through my breast milk. My mother and sister also have gluten intolerance, though none of us have been able to afford diagnostic testing. So we eat gluten free, I went so far as to go basically grain free as “properly preparing” grains just seems like too much work when there’s plenty of yummy food that doesn’t include grains. We get our carbs thru carrots, sweet potatoes, vegetables, greens, etc. And we do eat plenty of raw dairy as I have two Jersey cows. So my question is, do you think GAPS would heal my daughter? I guess it’s hard to know or not, I don’t know how much damage is done to her gut every time she get’s “glutened” by accident as her only symptom is the tongue ulcers. And, have you read “Wheat Belly” by Dr William Davies? Very good read if you haven’t, that’s enough to make anyone stay far far away from wheat for the rest of their life. Let me know what you think :) Marie

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 7:17 AM

@Marie

According to Dr. Natasha, 99% of all people CAN heal their food allergies. So, most likely, yes.

I used to feel HORRIBLE every time I ate gluten when I was in my 20s. A little bit of bread and I had terrible fatigue, mucus, arthritis pain, etc. It took me about 2 years to heal.

I haven’t read Wheat Belly yet but it is on my list. I highly, highly doubt that his book will convince me to stay away from wheat. I think properly prepared whole wheat is a very nutritious food and part of a healthy diet.

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Joy at The Liberated Kitchen February 6, 2012 at 8:43 AM

99% of people being able to eat gluten is far from 100%. For one thing, I have not seen how she has verified this claim, and for another, that 99% actually exceeds the very high number of 1 in 133 (97% of those undiagnosed!) now believed to have celiac disease…. an autoimmune condition triggered by ingesting gluten, which causes damage to the villi in the small intestine.

Since in celiac the autoimmune system is triggered by gluten, and sometimes the damage being done is not something people can feel, it is very risky indeed to reintroduce it. In order to be sure further damage was not continuing to be done, people would need to routinely get blood work and regular endoscopies and biopsies to confirm that the body was no longer reacting.

Many celiacs go through “honeymoon periods” in their teen years or after many years gluten free, during which they have no noticeable symptoms. This resulted in doctors thinking that celiac could be “outgrown,” and that it was fine for people who had a celiac diagnosis to eat gluten if symptoms didn’t show themselves. Untreated celiac disease is correlated with higher risks for some cancers as well as the development of other autoimmune diseases. That is not a risk I’d like to take!

The GAPS diet has been great for our family, and we may eventually try quinoa, buckwheat, rice, and potatoes someday. But we won’t be going back to gluten. The risks of continued damage are just too great.

Celiac isn’t something that people predisposed to it necessarily develop. Whether it is triggered by other damage to the gut or not is something that is being researched. There are many commonly recognized triggers for the disease. The idea that something that was triggered can be untriggered is out there, and I don’t completely discount it. However, with the potential of continuing to create damage and no way to know it, I don’t think eating gluten is worth the risk for many, many people.

Of course there are other ways to react to gluten and wheat as well. I do believe that IgG reactions especially can be overcome by healing a leaky gut. What I don’t believe is that if gluten is the primary cause of the damage, that it should be reintroduced.

I do think it’s very important to remember that each person is an individual, complex system. Even within our family, each of us has had different symptoms and a different response to our dietary changes. This is one thing I like about GAPS – Dr. Natasha does suggest that each person pay attention to their own body’s individual responses to foods and make choices accordingly.

While some may feel great with reintroducing grains, others never will. We are not in ketosis, are not low carb, and feel much, much better without grains. We eat a greater variety of foods, absorb more nutrition, and feel a thousand percent better. I’d like for us to stay that way :)

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 8:49 AM

@Joy

an autoimmune condition triggered by ingesting gluten, which causes damage to the villi in the small intestine.

It is Dr. Natasha’s theory that the villi is already damaged due mainly to antibiotics, the birth control pill, other drugs, and chlorinated water, and a lack of fermented foods. Because the villi is damaged (the enterocytes are bald instead of being covered with grass-like villi) the person with a leaky gut cannot digest foods that require enzymes to be digested.

This is because it is the villi that secrete these enzymes. No villi (bald enterocytes) = no enzymes. No enzymes = you can’t digest disaccharides and polysaccharides (milk, sugar, grains, starches).

Ingesting ANY grains, starches, refined sugar (other than honey), or dairy products will cause the gut lining to continue to be damaged.

So this is why Dr. Natasha recommends that we avoid all these foods (disaccharides and polysaccharides) and take strong probiotics and fermented foods and bone broth to help the gut heal. When the gut is healed, most people can go back to eating these foods because the villi grows back and it does secrete the enzymes again. It just takes a while for it to grow back.

Not everyone can go back to gluten but most people can. You may be one of those 1%ers.

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Joy at The Liberated Kitchen February 6, 2012 at 9:06 AM

Yes, I’ve read the book, several times over in fact. My personal suspicion upon undertaking GAPS was that sugars in most forms were actually my personal chief problem. It is conceivable that gluten would be tolerable to my body someday.

I underwent a 2 month gluten challenge after a year gluten-free and 9 months on GAPS. It was horrible. Again, it may have been due to the undigestible starches that were taking the place of more nutritious food. My testing was negative for celiac disease, (though my challenge ended prematurely and so may not yielded accurate results) so there is a chance that my chief problem has primary causes other than gluten and someday it may be ok.

Since my son is homozygous for celiac genetics, it means I have one copy of the genetics for celiac. He is extremely sensitive to cross-contamination, after more than a year on GAPS. Could be there is more healing to do, but he seems very healthy aside from when he gets the slightest cross-contamination.

I just don’t think what we get from gluten-containing grains is worth the risk of the return of these symptoms OR undetected damage. I’ve known many people with various health problems who believed they had healed and were able to reintroduce gluten. They felt fine with it at first, but slowly, almost imperceptibly, returned to the poor health that originally set them on their healing path and had to cut it out again.

I’m not saying that gluten is terrible for everyone. Rather that I think it’s important to caution that there is more than one mechanism at play in the body, and more than one potential cause of gut damage. 1% is a very large number, when it comes right down to it, and I haven’t seen the scientific evidence of that number, or the evidence of how one would know they were in the 99% or not. I’d rather play it safe. That’s a personal choice that people need to make for themselves.

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Justine Raphael February 9, 2012 at 9:43 PM

Thank you for this analysis. It is basically what Dr. Natasha says.

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Lore February 11, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Have you seen the book “How we heal?” by Douglas Morrison. Based on your comments here I think you would really like it. CAlling getting well “the Mind-Body-Spirit connection” Of course, we know those are connected, they are the “same”! It’s funny how we want to make a distinction of those 3…actually that practise originated with the an early church. http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/medicine_in_the_middle_ages.htm

Best.

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Joy at The Liberated Kitchen February 6, 2012 at 8:51 AM

No one can tell you whether GAPS will heal your daughter or not. You may want to consult with your health care practitioner, and then give it a try.

I do want to let you know that oral ulcers can be caused by celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. My son had canker sores as one of his symptoms. They only return when he gets “glutened.” He also has other symptoms that come back when glutened: joint pain, bone pain, brain fog, fatigue, dyslexia, sensory seeking, anxiety, canker sores, stomach aches, nausea. He doesn’t always get all of these symptoms, but even the slightest exposure gives him the joint pain and anxiety.

It is possible your daughter has additional symptoms that you have not recognized. My son lived with these symptoms for 10 years… we didn’t fully recognize them as symptoms until he’d been gluten-free and then on GAPS for several months.

He has been on GAPS for over a year, and we did the intro carefully over the course of nearly 6 months. We still don’t eat many of the full diet foods. In general he feels amazing. GAPS has turned him into a much happier, healthier person, but his reaction to gluten remains. I don’t see the point in ever reintroducing it.

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Marie February 6, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Those are my thoughts as well, I don’t like the idea of messing around with an autoimmune disease. And recently I read that study’s show that celiac’s rate of cancer is more than double that of non-celiacs. But when you quit gluten it goes back down to normal but it takes a while. And as long as it takes for your body to heal after being damaged by gluten I just don’t see the point. As I’ve learned to not need or even want to eat wheat or feed it to my family, I think I’ll continue on this way :) But you have to read “Wheat Belly”, I’d love to know what you think.

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Joy at The Liberated Kitchen February 7, 2012 at 6:09 PM

I’ve had Wheat Belly on hold at the library for ages! One of these days I’ll get to read it :)

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Kari February 6, 2012 at 7:24 AM

I just want to say thank you SO much for your recent posts on carbs and your blog in general!!!! I am having a lot of the same issues you are (red dots on skin, low temp ect) and after you posted about Matt Stone I started looking at my carb intake…my entire family had changed our diet drastically when my 9 month old was born (pretty sure her birth stressed out my already depleted system) and our diet went low carb. Not on purpose! We were trying to help my son’s allergy/behavior issues, and my daughter was reacting to everything I ate. Anyways, my candida issues only got WORSE, and my hands and feet started getting super cold, and my hair was falling out! I couldn’t figure out what was going on!!!! I am pretty sure my diet was only stressing out my poor body even more!! I recently started upping my carbs and I am already feeling more energetic! My stubborn candida is actually improving!! I believe this is because my metabolism is improving, so my body is fighting things better. Thank you so much!!

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 7:35 AM

I’m so glad! I hear about so many people like you, which is why I am writing these posts.

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Charlene February 6, 2012 at 7:40 AM

Thanks for this informative post. With regards to wheat Intolerance, have you seen this post by Lucas Tafur (Immunometabolism) on the bacteria genus Rothia which allows for the breakdown of glutin and gliadin molecules? I wonder if it is what is lacking in the gluten sensitive population and, if so, what is the best way to repopulate the gut/saliva with these organisms.
http://www.lucastafur.com/search/label/wheat

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 7:53 AM

Very interesting, Charlene!

“This relationship might offer a way in which we are evolving and adapting to foods introduced in the neolithic: not only by changes in genes and gene expression (ie. AMY1), but also by establishing new symbiotic relationships with microorganisms.”

I think this is so true. I think it is absurdly simplistic to assume that we have to go back to the stone age in order to eat healthy.

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 7:54 AM

Oh and as far as how to repopulate the gut with these organisms…

I don’t know but I would say that for me personally, healing my gut with lots and lots of good probiotics over a period of about 2 years was what allowed me to eat gluten again.

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Deborah February 6, 2012 at 8:13 AM

Joy at The Liberated Kitchen,

I am also a celiac with neurological side effects from eating gluten and never plan to reintroduce it to my diet. As you said it just isn’t worth the risk. I feel one can get plenty of nutrition from veggies and fruit so that grains aren’t necessary. You can certainly get enough carbs from veggies and fruit, I think. Also, being hypoglycemic makes eating grains and high carb diets impossible. I get literally physically sick if I eat properly prepared oatmeal or pancakes, etc. they just contain too many carbs for my system to handle and I don’t care to become diabetic just so I can eat grains or more carbs.

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 8:43 AM

@Deborah

Also, being hypoglycemic makes eating grains and high carb diets impossible.

I don’t agree with this. I am hypoglycemic and I am doing MUCH better on a moderate to high carb diet.

I wonder if it is not the carbs that are making you sick, but rather the fact that you simply cannot digest grains of any kind because your gut is damaged.

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Deborah February 6, 2012 at 8:58 AM

Cheeseslave,

I am sure my gut is damaged from being Celiac, hypoglycemic and having Hashimoto’s thyroditis. And years of eat SAD. I think now what I can do is eliminate from my diet what causes me upset and try to rebuild my gut with probiotics and good food. If I can add certain foods back in then great but if not then I am willing to live with that to not feel so bad.

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Joy at The Liberated Kitchen February 7, 2012 at 6:17 PM

Those neurological symtoms are the scariest, imo. Definitely not something to play around with. I’m recovering from my gluten challenge now. My digestion feels much better already, but my face tingling isn’t totally gone yet and my mental issues continue.

As for blood sugar regulation, I think I get lots of carbs on GAPS. But it’s in a totally different way than when I was eating grain. The hardest part of my gluten challenge was that I’d get full on grain (and have digestive trouble which did not make me want to eat other food). Then my blood sugar would spike and crash. Hypoglycemia then had me passing out and gave me parasthesia. Even on GAPS I have to be aware not to eat a lot of sugar (ie fruit) at the end of the day or on it’s own. Being back off grains makes me so much steadier.

I’m not going to knock other people deciding eating grains is right for them. But I’m not going to stop telling people how quitting grains has made such a positive impact in my life, either!

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Linnae February 8, 2012 at 9:51 AM

My system cannot handle complex carbs like grains. I am also hypoglycemic and amd currently 8 months into GAPS diet. I don’t eat everything that is listed as GAPS legal, I only choose foods that make me feel good and I feel there is a wide enough range of foods allowed that I get enough variety. Also, I feel I get enough carbs from veggies and some fruits in small quantities. I would love to be able to someday introduce grains in small quanities, but I doubt it will ever be a large protion of my diet and Im sure we will never eat gluten as well. This discussion is perfect proof that we are all biodynamically different and not everything works for everyone. And, our family is proof that the GAPS diet can heal and cure autism. But I also agree that GAPS diet is not for everyone.

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Jenna February 6, 2012 at 8:15 AM

There is another GAPS myth that I would add to this list. Myth: the GAPS diet works as it is written for everyone. I have found this to be completely untrue for myself and many others. Especially for GAPS people with severely impaired digestion for one reason or another, the GAPS diet can make things worse rather than better. For example, by only including monosaccharides, GAPS patients are supposed to be able to digest everything easily. However, I have fructose malabsorption, which means I can’t digest fructose even though it is a monosaccharide. So if I follow GAPS as written, I get really sick and make all of my gut issues worse because I am giving all of my bad bacteria a lot of food in the form of fructose. Other people have very serious problems with the oxalates in GAPS or the sulphur or whatever else. Anyway, now I use a lot of the ideas from GAPS without following it religiously, and I am healing. For example, I eat potatoes, which I digest really well but not fruit or honey or nuts. I am completely convinced that I could follow GAPS to the letter and just get sicker and sicker forever.

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 8:41 AM

@Jenna

It is so absolutely true that we are all unique and we must all find our own path to healing. I’m so glad you are getting better!

When I was healing from gluten intolerance, I did eat non-gluten grains (corn, rice, oats) and I still healed.

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Deborah February 6, 2012 at 8:48 AM

Jenna,

I was somewhat surprised to see honey the only sweetner allowed on GAPS due to the fructose levels and it being one of the hardest sugars to digest. I don’t know if I have fructose malabsorption but I try to stay away from it too. I too think everyone must find their own path to healing. I could properly prepare grains all day and still they would make me sick and fat.

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 8:52 AM

I believe honey is a monosaccharide which is why it is allowed on the GAPS Diet. See my response to Joy at the Liberated Kitchen above as to why monosaccharides are OK on the GAPS Diet.

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Charisse February 6, 2012 at 8:44 AM

Thanks for this interesting post. It’s interesting that you quote Jaminet because there was a bit of an issue at the Wise Traditions conference because he said that GAPS was a ketogenic diet. On his blog, he has been saying that many folks have struggled on GAPS because it is too low carb. And those folks only felt better when they added back what he calls “safe starches” (white rice, sweet potatoes, potatoes, taro).

I was on a low carb adaptation of GAPS as recommended by Dr. Cowan to deal with candida yeast overgrowth/h.plyroi (no sweeteners, no carrots, winter squash, unfermented dairy, no cheese, no fruit except green apples, berries and white grapefruit). I felt like it did help.

However, at the conference, Jaminet said that GAPS is not good for fungal issues and if you develop a further fungal problem that means the diet is not helpful and you are not feeding the good bacteria which allow the bad bacteria to overrun your gut. And in fact, last summer I did develop a toe fungal infection. I had not thought much about it until I heard him speak at the conference. He also warns that low carb diets can lead to glucose deficiency which can manifest itself in dry eyes. I had horribly dry eyes when I was on GAPS (again I did not think about it until I heard him say this). Before hearing all this I have gone back to eating grains and legumes but it really isn’t working for me (struggling with weight gain and flatulence) so I am struggling to figure out if I should go back on GAPS (but not low carb) or do the Perfect Health Diet.

Jaminet says “Dietary carbs can feed Candida in the gut, but they also feed competing probiotic bacteria and promote intestinal barrier integrity and immune function, and thus their effect on the gut flora is complex. More importantly, ketosis promotes systemic invasion by Candida and glucose is needed for the immune defense to Candida, so a moderate carb intake is helpful to the defense against systemic Candida. As Candida is an effective intracellular pathogen that can flourish systemically…”

Jaminet further says “Natasha Campbell-McBride’s GAPS diet is a great approach, generally speaking, for bacterial dysbiosis of the gut, but isn’t necessarily optimal for infections with eukaryotic pathogens like fungi, protozoa, and parasitic worms.”
Do you have any thoughts on this? Would you recommend going back to GAPS?

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 9:03 AM

Hi, Charisse,

It’s interesting that you quote Jaminet because there was a bit of an issue at the Wise Traditions conference because he said that GAPS was a ketogenic diet.

Yes I remember hearing about this and I know that Dr. Natasha says that it is not true. GAPS is not a ketogenic diet and it is not low carb.

On his blog, he has been saying that many folks have struggled on GAPS because it is too low carb. And those folks only felt better when they added back what he calls “safe starches” (white rice, sweet potatoes, potatoes, taro).

This is precisely why I wrote this post. I feel that so many people are getting confused between the different camps of Paleo, GAPS and Low Carb and they are melding them together. I remember hearing Dr. Natasha speak and someone asked if GAPS was low carb and she said “No.” I remember many people were surprised by that.

I think GAPS is so amazing at helping people heal from digestive problems (and all kinds of health problems). But trying to combine it with low carb/paleo is a mistake and it’s dangerous in my opinion, especially for childbearing women and growing children.

I was on a low carb adaptation of GAPS as recommended by Dr. Cowan to deal with candida yeast overgrowth/h.plyroi (no sweeteners, no carrots, winter squash, unfermented dairy, no cheese, no fruit except green apples, berries and white grapefruit). I felt like it did help.

Yes I can see how that would help. Dr. Natasha says to limit the sweets and fruits in the initial stages of the diet. The starches and sugars feed the pathogenic bacteria so it makes sense.

However it is important to recognize that this is a TEMPORARY part of the diet. It is not meant to be a lifelong way of eating.

However, at the conference, Jaminet said that GAPS is not good for fungal issues and if you develop a further fungal problem that means the diet is not helpful and you are not feeding the good bacteria which allow the bad bacteria to overrun your gut. And in fact, last summer I did develop a toe fungal infection. I had not thought much about it until I heard him speak at the conference. He also warns that low carb diets can lead to glucose deficiency which can manifest itself in dry eyes. I had horribly dry eyes when I was on GAPS (again I did not think about it until I heard him say this). Before hearing all this I have gone back to eating grains and legumes but it really isn’t working for me (struggling with weight gain and flatulence) so I am struggling to figure out if I should go back on GAPS (but not low carb) or do the Perfect Health Diet.

Very interesting! Yes, I think it makes a lot of sense.

When I was low carb, I ended up with red dots (see my Q & A post from yesterday) and super heavy periods and painful breasts and cramping. Eating a lot more carbs is relieving these symptoms.

Jaminet says “Dietary carbs can feed Candida in the gut, but they also feed competing probiotic bacteria and promote intestinal barrier integrity and immune function, and thus their effect on the gut flora is complex. More importantly, ketosis promotes systemic invasion by Candida and glucose is needed for the immune defense to Candida, so a moderate carb intake is helpful to the defense against systemic Candida. As Candida is an effective intracellular pathogen that can flourish systemically…”

Interesting!

Jaminet further says “Natasha Campbell-McBride’s GAPS diet is a great approach, generally speaking, for bacterial dysbiosis of the gut, but isn’t necessarily optimal for infections with eukaryotic pathogens like fungi, protozoa, and parasitic worms.”
Do you have any thoughts on this? Would you recommend going back to GAPS?

I don’t know about that. I’m not an expert on parasites. I’d love to hear how Dr. Natasha would respond. From what I have read, the GAPS Diet does help with parasites. This is because parasites cannot thrive in a gut that has healthy gut flora.

I would recommend going back to GAPS if you are having symptoms when you eat grains. I would just make sure you eat plenty of carbs.

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Alicia February 6, 2012 at 11:52 PM

No citation but I recall my mom reading that NCM wrote somewhere that fungal issues *could* persist after GAPS and that your gut could be healed but you still have fungus. So you need to attack it from a different angle.

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Amy February 6, 2012 at 9:36 AM

Charissee, you may want to check out some of Matt Stone’s posts. He healed his gut using a high carb diet with a lot of fruit, particularly resistant starch (like bananas) – I don’t remember all the details, though

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Erica February 6, 2012 at 9:00 AM

So, should everyone comming off processed foods start out on the gaps diet? How can I tell if I have abnormal gut function? Is gaps safe for pregnant/nursing mothers?

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 9:06 AM

Absolutely not! Not everyone needs GAPS and Dr. Natasha is quick to point that out.

You can tell that you have abnormal gut function if you have symptoms such as: gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, eczema and other skin disorders, excess mucus when you eat certain foods, and the list goes on and on. Read the Gut & Psychology Syndrome book.

Yes GAPS is safe for pregnant and nursing mothers. Just make sure you eat enough carbs and if you are pregnant or nursing, do the FULL diet, not the intro diet.

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Heather@Mommypotamus February 6, 2012 at 9:02 AM

GREAT post, Ann Marie! I wish I had read this on day one of starting GAPS! We are not low carb but sometimes we have slipped into it by default. Not a good thing for us at all!

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 9:04 AM

It is easy to slip into low carb on GAPS. I think this is another reason that GAPS is not something we should do for life. It is a temporary healing protocol.

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Beth Stowers February 6, 2012 at 9:12 AM

Thank you for your post! The thing I want to try more than ever is to eat more carbs.

3 1/2 years ago, my kids’ nurse practitioner told me that my kids looked like they had allergies to something. Shiners, behavior, etc. She recommended to me to read Dorris Rapp. We did and I started me and my son (my daughter was exclusively breastfed at the time). One thing to note is that I got pneumonia and pleurisy right after my daughter was born and was exposed to lots of antibiotics, which might have been a factor for my kids (my son still breastfed a little bit at the time).

We started the food elimination diet and I couldn’t find anything wrong, except that my son reacted to fruits, which I read more about with Specific Carb Diet (I think it’s a bit similar to GAPS).

Later, I was having problems and went on a strict, very low carb “Candida Diet.” I lost weight (probably water weight) and felt great. But the diet is hard to stick to. And I gained back the weight, plus some.

I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance at this point and started struggling more with fatigue and lethargy.

Then I came across Paleo and liked it because of the low carb aspect.

Then, I just stopped (still avoiding wheat and eating relatively healthy) with all the dieting. I haven’t gained weight, but haven’t lost it either. I still have a low appetite and tend to eat low carb, partly because I have a belief that carbs are bad.

Eating low carb hasn’t done so much for me, except make me feel good in the beginning, so I will swing the other way and eat more carbs and see what happens with it. I’ll still be getting probiotics and fermented food and I might make some sprouted bread to see how I feel afterward. I’ve been off of gluten for awhile.

I started a 16-week (or so) health challenge and I am determined to feel healthier and have more energy. I’ve got to be able to keep up with my kids, ha!

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nicole February 6, 2012 at 9:57 AM

I think one of the reasons people tend to focus on the low carb with GAPS is because most people doing GAPS have candida and the carb choices are all high sugar so there is that fear there. Personally I don’t think its an issue bc your boosting the immune system to be able to deal with candida on its own.

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 10:12 AM

Agreed

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Rebecca February 6, 2012 at 10:35 AM

Ok, I have been on this “healing your gut through diet” journey just long enough to be totally confused. :( My teen daughter was diagnosed with IBD a bit over a year ago after the typical frustrating journey to get that diagnosis. We got standard med advice: “doesn’t matter what you eat but take steriods (etc) for life or you will get worse (and maybe even if you do take the meds). She had already been gluten free (negative testing but obviously gluten intolerant by her experience) and then found SCD. She has had some improvement, but largely the same. I have spent SO MUCH time and $$$ researching and seeking alternative med input. Seems the majority of alt med practioners have a conflict of interest…a supplement line or something to sell…hard to wade through it all. My daughter now has new symptoms of acne (previously great skin), thinning hair, cold extremities, and menstrual issues in addition to her digestive issues. This idea of low carb influencing thyroid function…do we go for more extensive thyroid testing (standard panel was normal) or what next? We are both weary. Mainstream med advises for invasive testing but can’t see the point of that. But if there is real autoimmune response going on and her very diligent adherence to this complete change in diet (no sugar, no dairy, no gluten, no grain, no rice, no potatoes, no…) for over a year hasn’t worked….what now? Any and all input is welcomed.

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 12:27 PM

Cold hands and feet, thinning hair and menstrual issues are all signs of hypothyroidism. Most tests will tell you you’re fine. Take her temperature. If she is consistently lower than 98.6 she is most likely low thyroid.

Is she taking therapeutic grade probiotics, bone broth and fermented foods?

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Rebecca February 6, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Thanks for the reply and the advice re temperature. Will tell her to do that. I know that she shows classic signs of hypothyroid but with normal testing, where do you go next with it? She does take therapeutic grade probiotic (Ther-Biotic Complete Powder), eats a good bit of bone broth in my homemade soups, not so much on the fermented foods (challenge to find something she likes…and she lives in a college dorm long way from home with no kitchen access). Thanks for any help!

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 1:22 PM

I have never heard of Ther-Biotic so I have no idea if it works. Many probiotics do not work at all in my experience.

Is she eating enough? What is she eating?

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Rebecca February 6, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Ther-Biotic Complete http://www.klaire.com/prod/proddetail.asp?id=V775-06 was recommended by Chris Kresser, a Bay area naturopath that I paid a bunch of money for a consult. He is a Paleo advocate but basically recommended an elimination diet and supplement change for my daughter. No change so far but she really didn’t do the elimination diet as her diet is already so restricted and, as I said, she lives in a dorm on a college campus. She eats enough calories. She actually weighs 17# more this year than last…but that was initial weight loss from IBD procedures and trying to figure out how to eat SCD… She has a good body weight for her size and regained a bit of her curves that she lost. Her typical diet is almond flour or coconut flour muffins, homemade sausages, fruit, meat, veggies, soups usually 3-4 x’s week. Lots of eggs in the baked goods. No dairy. Never tolerated cow or goat yogurt but I do make coconut yogurt sometimes. Thanks for any input!

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 6:01 PM

I have no experience with that probiotic so I can’t say. I will say that I’ve tried various probiotics with ZERO results and others work great.

It sounds like she is eating well. I’d make sure she eats enough carbs — fruit, honey, nuts, etc. Maybe make coconut flour blueberry muffins and such. Peanut or almond butter sweetened with honey.

And I’d try a different probiotic and see if her skin clears up. Start slow and gradually increase it.

I’d also get her to take her temperature every morning before she gets out of bed. She should have a basal body temp of 97.8 or higher. Try increasing the carbs and see if it goes up. It did for me.

Keep in mind I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice.

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Rebecca February 6, 2012 at 6:10 PM

She’s only been on this probiotic for a couple months now and he (naturopath) says it is well researched so will try it for a bit longer. She eats 2 almond flour or coconut flour muffins made with honey and fruit each morning. She says she could not do this way of eating without those muffins! The naturopath recommended less nut flour and less fruit to reduce her GI symptoms. In addition to the elimination diet (eliminate eggs, all dairy (she eats butter), nightshades, honey, etc).
Anyway, thank you for your input. Will try taking her temp and see what she gets!

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 7:27 PM

OK sounds good — wait a few months and see how she does!

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Mali Korsten (The Korsten Chronicle) February 9, 2012 at 8:45 AM

I have all of those symptoms (and other hypothyroid symptoms), yet was told that my thyroid was normal when I had it tested. Do you think there’s a chance the results were incorrect, or that the medical standard for hypothyroid is actually higher than the necessary degree of impaired thyroid function to produce symptoms?

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Mali Korsten (The Korsten Chronicle) February 9, 2012 at 8:48 AM

…and what would you recommend for someone with hypothyroid who is still on GAPS intro and thus unable to eat grains? Thanks!

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Chris Masterjohn February 9, 2012 at 9:09 AM

Mali,

It goes deeper than that. Most doctors only measure TSH. The issue isn’t simply that the range for healthy TSH might not be perfectly delineated, but that you can be hypothyroid with no change in TSH. You can even have goiter and have normal TSH! Sometimes T3 or reverse T3 or other markers might be out of range, but these also can be normal and you can still be hypothyroid, because thyroid hormone doesn’t carry out its action by being in the blood. It carries out its action by binding to its receptor and altering gene expression or carrying out other direct effects in the cell. There are no blood tests for impaired transport into the cell or impaired binding to the receptor and so on. Thus, you have to judge it by the entirety of the clinical picture and not by a simple blood test.

Chris

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Mali Korsten (The Korsten Chronicle) February 9, 2012 at 9:16 AM

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the info! I was convinced I was hypothyroid, and was so confused when my test results came back fine. Now it makes much more sense. Guess I’d better start researching how to heal the problem!

Thanks again.

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Allison February 6, 2012 at 11:06 AM

I’ve been on the GAPS diet for over a year now. Thanks for this post! I have lived this diet and struggled through it (currently back on the GAPS Intro diet, day 50, and have worked up to Stage 2). That said, I’d like to add my comments to each myth:

1. “The GAPS Diet allows fruit, honey, squash, nuts, and other high carbohyrdate foods”. The reason I went on GAPS was to cure my Candida overgrowth. I am an athlete, so I did eat the foods above, plus lentils and peas every day for lunch for almost a year. I wasn’t healing enough while I continued to eat these high-carbohydrate foods, and I gained a lot of weight and cellulite. The problem was that all these GAPS-allowed high carb food allowed my Candida to continue to thrive and give me problems. For me, back now on Stage 1 and 2 of the GAPS intro diet, I’m eating maybe 40% of my diet as fat, 40% protein, and 20% carbs from veggies. This has reversed the weight gain, cellulite, allergies, and I turned into a “fat burner” instead of a “carb burner”. My energy is back, even though my T3 thyroid is on the low side of normal.

2. I agree with this myth. GAPS and Paleo are not the same thing, but I see it mostly that Paleo does not emphasize any traditional ways of preparing foods (yes, including grains) like lacto-fermentation, which is a must on GAPS for its probiotic content.

3. There is a problem with the word “allergy” that is being used in this post. I emailed Dr. Natasha, and she cleared it up for me: there are two types of food reactions: an “allergy” (IgE response) and a food “sensitivity” (IgG response). Food allergies are usually not reversable, but affect a very small portion of the population. Food sensitivities are reversable, and affect those of us, like me, who have reactions to things like dairy and eggs. I react strongly with extreme lethargy to eggs, beef, all dairy, even raw, gluten, and caesin, among other foods because of my leaky gut. I intend to recover from these food “sensitivities” by going through the GAPS Intro diet very slowly.

4. I have been feeling MUCH better without any grains, legumes, or starchy foods whatsoever these past 50 days, but I do not intend to eliminate all of them forever. What I found was that eating GAPS legal legumes every day for lunch was filling me up with low-quality protein that was still more difficult to digest. In other words, grains, legumes, and starches aren’t bad on principle, but I think we over-eat them with a result that we limit the really good stuff: protein and fat. If we can afford to eat meat and fat to sustain us; I think that’s what the body prefers. Mine does for sure.

Thanks again for the opportunity to dialogue on this!
Allison

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Erin February 6, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Hi there! I’m preparing to go on GAPS. I appreciate this blog and all the info. It is all a bit confusing. I’m doing the best I can to be prepared so that once I go on the intro it is not so stressful dealing with all the hiccups..although I’m sure there will still be some.

Anyways..I have a unique situation. I’ve had 2 emergency surgeries..one at 8 months old for intussusseption and one 2 years ago to relieve obstruction from adhesions and malformed intestine. I have many health issues and digestive dysfuction due to these surgeries as well as long history of autoimmune symptoms, gluten intollerence along with intollerence to many other foods..especially grains, starchy foods, spicy foods, nightshades and high fiber foods. I do tend to struggle with vegetables in cabbage family(sulfite containing foods) and citrus as well.

After my last surgery..my immune system has become the most sensitive it’s been in my life…having reactions to just about everything and inability to properly digest a lot of foods. Having little help from doctors..I have done lots of research on my own. I came across GAPS and am really optimistic that this will help tremedously.

I have been gluten free for a long time and eat very little grain at all for the past 2 years. I find when I eat mostly vegetables and meat..even with the fermentation and stocks..I get constipated and have severe spasms..I struggle with all the fiber. Too little fiber and I get really constipated as well. It’s a constant balancing act and seems to only get better when I add small amounts of white basmati rice or ..hate to say it…but gf white bread or baked goods.

Low fiber, processed white flour products, and high protein are what doctors recommend due to bowl motility issues and fiber causing spasms and possible obstruction. I don’t agree with this though. I have built up ability to eat fiber..just have to be careful. Of course I have not gone through the whole GAPS intro process, so I’m not sure if building up slowly from there will eliminate some of my issues with fiber.

My concern about going on GAPS is that in order to get enough carbs I will have to eat such a high amount of vegetables in order to get them and my intestines are going to freak out..spasm..shut down..get stuck. This is my experience when i don’t eat any processed foods. I also stay away from nightshades, dairy, legumes, most nuts and seeds as they create problems at this point as well.

Due to intensity of symptoms..I end up feeling frustrated and just not eating much at all..of course symptoms get better because my system is not as taxed and I’m in less distress..however I feel weak, lethargic and malnutritioned obviously.

I’m feeling apprehensive..and would appreciate some advice if anyone has any input before I begin the Intro diet for GAPS.

Also missing the ileum..part of intestine responsible for vitamin B12 absorption..wondering if anyone knows the best way to supplement this in a way that I will be able to digest and absorb. I don’t tollerated supplements well as my digestion is not strong enough to break it down..and without that part of my intestine..even more challenging.

Thanks for taking the time to read…and for all the helpful info.
Enjoy a beautiful day!
Erin :)

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Allison February 6, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Hi Erin,
I’d love to talk to you more and share my ideas on how to approach the GAPS intro; at least to help eachother out! We have a lot of the same symptoms. Email me through my blog at allisonsbigtoe at gmail dot com and maybe we can chat a bit.

Allison

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Justine Raphael February 9, 2012 at 10:04 PM

Erin,
Dr. Natasha says that constipation is a reflection reduced or absent beneficial gut flora, not a (lack of) fiber issue. She addresses many aspects of constipation in her book, with several approaches to shifting it (juicing, sour cream, enemas, etc).

It sounds like you will need a lot of fat for calories.

I hope that helps some,
Justine

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Joe February 6, 2012 at 1:17 PM

The problem I find with the GAPS is that high carb GAPS is damn near impossible with the amount of food restrictions that it calls for, at least, if you still believe simple sugars are bad for you. After a while, eating winter squash gets pretty old and adding in a few pots of beans adds novelty for only so long. If I were to try to do the GAPS diet again, I would do it with a huge load of fruit as the main calorie source with more moderate amounts of the GAPS approved starches (squash, lentils, navy beans…) and everything else, otherwise, I think most people will just end up depressing their thyroid and becoming constipated.

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 1:23 PM

I agree, you need to eat enough carbs. However, you don’t need to do “high” carbs but you just don’t want to do low carb.

As I said, GAPS is not meant to be a long-term diet. It is a short-term healing protocol.

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Keturah February 6, 2012 at 3:20 PM

Your blog here has been a nice summary of what I have had a hunch was true, but was too lazy to do my own research. I have certainly been much healthier (and thinner) since I stopped eating flour. I still eat grains, but no commercial grain products. Thanks for clarifying all this!

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Meridian February 6, 2012 at 3:32 PM

Hi – I was wondering if anyone had given you feedback on results with the GAPS diet for children on the autistic spectrum? I have a dually-disabled son whose diet is atrocious, and people have often recommended GAPS for him. He has frequent stomach problems, and I think it would help him. But he only eats about 7-8 foods due to texture issues (I’ve been blessed enough to get him to drink kefir smoothies with me, but that’s as healthy as he gets!). I feel like it would be impossible to get him to follow a protocol. Have any of your readers reported good results with GAPS and autistic tendencies?

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Don Wiss February 6, 2012 at 3:42 PM

I do not understand why this diet is being recommended for the autistic spectrum. It includes dairy. There has been plenty of research showing results from a gluten-free and casein-free diet. And it is not new. See: http://gluten-free.org/reichelt.html

As for the frequent stomach problems, there is a high correlation between celiac disease and autism. Your son should be tested.

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 5:54 PM

@Don

This diet goes beyond gluten- and casein-free.

It is actually casein-free in the beginning. Most people find that as they progress on the diet, they can add dairy items one at a time.

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Kitsa February 6, 2012 at 6:13 PM

Just to clarify – GAPS only recommends cultured dairy from raw sources – this is very different to the pasteurized and homogenized milk readily available which has been denatured by processing. Most people tolerate raw cultured dairy very well. Dairy is only recommended for kids on the autism spectrum by Dr Natasha after at least 6 months of being on the diet and after having first completed the dairy free version of the Intro Diet with sufficient gut healing in place.
GAPS is a healing diet whereas the GF/CF diet is NOT – it is merely avoiding trigger foods without getting to the core of the symptoms. Additionally most who follow GF/CF fall into the trap of consuming lots of overly processed gluten free products which further damage the gut lining. That is why most parents of kids put on GF/CF give up on the diet or look further to GAPS/SCD, Body Ecology or Low Oxalate because they reach a plateau after the initial honeymoon period of removing gluten and dairy.

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Don Wiss February 6, 2012 at 6:21 PM

Casein, like gluten, creates opioids in the gut. “Most” people may be able to tolerate raw cultured dairy, but it still has casein and is NOT recommended for autism.

Yes, the gluten-free community pushes carbs. Very sad. Going to a celiac event is going to a carb-fest. Celiac blogs spew forth advice on out how to bake GF foods. Very sad.

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Kitsa February 6, 2012 at 7:08 PM

There is a specific protocol for introducing dairy with autism starting with ghee (clarified butter) – this is the milk fat which contains virtually no milk proteins or lactose. Dr Natasha’s experience from 1000′s of patient at her clinic has been that this is tolerated by most of her patients including those with autism. When milk is properly fermented at home ” a large percentage of proteins get predigested, immunoglobins get broken down and lactose consumed by the fermenting microbes….As the gut flora gets established and the digestive system heals, many GAPS patients are able to digest milk protein WITHOUT absorbing it into the opiate-like form of casomorphin.” How long it takes to get to this stage is an individual thing. Just because it is not recommended by some does not mean we should discount it. No one has all the answers.

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 7:26 PM

Thank you, Kitsa!

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Lore February 11, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Thanks for this post. When I first started drinking the kefir I make (from raw milk) I could not tolerate (I felt ill) more than one tablespoon and now I can drink as much as I want. I am not autistic so I can’t say what the effects for them would be but I am EXTREMELY sensitive to just about everything (not necessarily in a bad way, it is what it is) and kefir works great for me now. Not to be forgotten is the resulting detox that can look like the kefir is not “working” but that is just not true.

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 5:53 PM

@Meridian

Please watch these videos and read the interview:

http://www.cheeseslave.com/autism-recovery-with-the-gaps-diet-one-mothers-story/

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Meridian February 7, 2012 at 11:19 AM

Wow, that article was encouraging. And what an amazing difference in her son – the videos were compelling. I may need to invest in the GAPS book. I still don’t know how I’d implement. My son is 16 and weighs as much as I do. If he’s hungry and can’t get the foods he wants, he can be extremely aggressive. Right now I do what I can – good beef and poultry, free-range eggs, etc. But I stay at home with my son (he can’t be in school), so we’re 5 people on one salary. And the rest of my family loves junk food, so there’s no support here for me. But it’s something to consider…thanks so much for sharing! :-)

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KarenL February 7, 2012 at 11:41 AM

While I’m sure the GAPS program is helpful, may I suggest you invest some time (for both you and your son and your whole family) in reading [for fr.e.e] online Bee Wilder’s Healing Naturally web site? It is loaded with information and can give you guidance. She also has a Yahoo Group forum in which she answers questions daily plus there is support for ‘this way’ of eating.

I am not trying to down grade GAPS nor Cheeseslave; Bee’s info is free, which, it sounds to me, is a good price for you. She has helped many, me included.

I have much empathy for you with your 16-yo; I home school my two youngest (11 & 15); my 18-yo goes to public school and his eating is constant conversation (as his very unhealthy body continually begs medical attention)…

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Diana February 7, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Just wanted to mention that GAPS addresses more than Candida. Also, all the info to start the GAPS diet is available online for free as well. It helps to read the book to understand why and how it works to help you keep going. I looked into Bee’s diet but it did not look right for me though I have heard quite a few people say it has helped them. For me, after about 6 weeks on GAPS (did intro), I overcame 90% of my issues with candida. It would probably come back now if I stopped because I am not healed but I have relief from it.

Please see gapsdiet.com and gaps.me for info on the diet. It’s all there.

@Meridian

I know of people with a similar situation. A suggestion would be to move towards GAPS as slowly as you can. I read a testimonial that some people doing 85% GAPS with an autistic adult saw a lot of improvement. Maybe a year from now you could be at full GAPS. You can go super slowly with the die off. Start adding more fats, they help with the cravings. (I was able to mostly kick my sugar habit by upping the fats.) Also, while the WAPF concepts of grass fed, organic, etc are ideal, plenty of people have healed on SCD (basis of GAPS diet) using supermarket everything. It is still way better than SAD. NCM herself said do the best you can but if you can’t do the ideal, just use the grocery store. The one thing she says is to do organic dairy esp butter to avoid all the concentrated toxins. I just want to mention that because I know that not everyone can afford some of the pricier things but you can still heal.

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KarenL February 7, 2012 at 12:31 PM

“Healing Naturally by Bee” addresses way more than “Candida”, as well…since Candida can manifest itself in many different ways including (the link on my name will take you to a much more ‘complete’ list…): Athletes’ foot.
Babies – colic, diaper rash and cradle cap.
Bruising easily.
Cheekbone or forehead tenderness, pain.
Cold hands or feet, low body temperature.
Cold-like symptoms – excessive mucus in the sinuses, nose, throat, bronchial tubes and lungs.
Cravings or addictions for sugar, bread or alcohol.
Cysts, abnormal formation of – in different parts of the body, especially around the neck, throat, and ovaries, and in the bladder.
Digestive problems – diarrhea, constipation, abdominal distention, bloating or pain, gas, mucus in the stools, hiatal hernia, ulcers, suffering from food-borne bacteria, i.e. salmonella, E. coli, h. pylori, etc.
Ears – ringing in the ears (tinnitus), sounds in the ears, ear infections, dryness, itchiness, ear pain, ear aches, ear discharges, fluid in ears, deafness, abnormal wax build-up.
Eyes – erratic vision, spots in front of eyes (eye floaters) and flashing lights; redness, dryness, itching, excessive tearing, inability to tear, etc.
Fatigue (chronic fatigue syndrome, Epstein Barr) or a feeling of being drained of energy, lethargy, drowsiness.
Flu-like symptoms.
Glands — swollen, too little saliva (dryness in the mouth), blocked salivary glands, swollen lymph nodes.
Hair loss, scum on the scalp, itchy scalp, scalp sores and dryness.
Heart palpitations and irregular heart beat.

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Amy February 7, 2012 at 1:33 PM

A lot of people have had their health totally destroyed by following Bee’s advice. I would proceed with caution. Candida is much bigger than just a carb issue. It has emotional roots as well as a lot to do with gut health. Plus, you do not need to eat low-carb to fix candida. I’ve been working on candida myself this year, eating a high-carb diet.

That is another place where low-carb is a short-term fix, but has the long-term effect of making you more and more candida-sensitive whenever you do eat carbs.

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Lori February 7, 2012 at 1:45 PM

@Amy,
I’ve looked at her site too and it’s very restrictive. Plus, she’s very “one-size-fits-all.” I do admire her and think she has helped people, though. I haven’t ran into anyone who has had issues, but I don’t really know anyone who uses her site.

That said, I think what you wrote is interesting. I too was on a Candida diet and fell off the wagon. When I had sweets, I REALLY had sweets, and I think part of that has to do with the fact that my diet was too restrictive. Although I ate fruit and potatoes, I wanted bread every once in a while. Unfortunately, I don’t do well on grains, but at some point I’ll re try them.

I am very interested in this idea that Candida has emotional roots attached. It’s something I’m just starting to think about in more depth. If you have any sources, I’d love to see them.
Thanks.

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KarenL February 8, 2012 at 12:24 PM

We have members all the time telling us of their successes following Bee’s protocol. People who have been able to get totally off (or at least drastically reduce) their insulin meds; thyroid meds, high blood pressure meds, for instance. People whose eye sight has improved. People who had digestion issues (IBS, Crohns, etc) heal. All of these things are connected to poor nutrition, which causes candida. Once healed (which, according to Bee, takes one month of ‘good’ eating for every year of ‘poor eating’ -which, for most of us, is since conception), fruits (2 servings/day) and dairy and even grains (if properly prepared) are allowed. The reminder is, however, that we got ‘unhealthy’ because we ate those things out of balance.

to Lori – if you continually consume 80% of your calories as fat, you will not get those cravings to cave to sweets. The key is not just eating low-carbs but also eating high fat…

Karen

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Lori February 8, 2012 at 12:46 PM

@Karen,
Yes, I know that fats help sweet cravings. My point is that when I cheat, or at least in the past, I can’t control myself. Now, I’m much better at controlling myself.

I looked at Bee’s website and followed her forums for a while. I think she is WAY to restrictive for me. I know I got my Candida in check by still eating fruit and potatoes. I think I agree with others here that we don’t always need to be so drastic. That said, I have no doubt that she has helped many. I’m not so sure that I buy this it’s okay to eat lots of carbs, although it seems like people eat different amounts. I also think I have something else going on because I have been gaining weight. It could be that I do need to go back and be restrictive. Who knows!

Diana February 7, 2012 at 1:46 PM

From my understanding, Candida can even eat the lining of the gut as it is a carbohydrate! Even some anti-fungal medications too. Also, the body uses the fungus as a sponge to deal with toxins. The way to combat an overgrowth is to build up the immune system for it to overtake the candida. Detoxifying helps as well. This is all per NCM.

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Nicole February 7, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Amy,

I’d love to hear more about your healing journey with Candida if you are willing to share.

Nicole

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Amy February 8, 2012 at 10:27 AM

It’s still ongoing so I don’t feel I can give a 100% success story. I have found olive leaf extract, accupuncture, TCM, sleep and relaxation very helpful. Olive leaf extract more than anything, definitely. But what I have found is that it’s a total mind-body-spirit thing.

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KarenL February 8, 2012 at 12:19 PM

@ Amy – will you direct me to the “lot of people’ who ‘have had their health totally destroyed by following Bee’s advice’ please?

I, too, would be interested to hear how you are curing yourself of candida by following a high-carb diet.

Thank you

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Nicole February 6, 2012 at 4:08 PM

@ Erin – Thankyou so much for your reply!!! I relate to everything you said especially about parental neglect though certainly not deliberate. I would love to ask a little more about what type of therapy you used to heal as I have tried many counsellors. My faith and meditation has helped a lot and just typing this I think I need to pray more to find god’s will re; my diet crisis! I truly feel utterly confused about diet now after all this discussion (though I know that wasn’t the intended point of the discussion)! I was sooo focused on gaps and now I’m unsure. Is there any way I can contact you personally???

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 6:02 PM

I am so glad that people are connecting on this blog! :-)

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Erin February 7, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Yeah, sure. I don’t want to publish my e-mail but I’d be happy to have Ann Marie, our blogger host, pass it on to you since she has access to it, if I’m not mistaken.

So Ann Marie, would you mind doing that?

Nicole, if she doesn’t see this in a few days I’ll try contacting her another way to get my info. to you, ok. Or if you’re comfortable posting your e-mail feel free and I’ll e-mail you back. Either way, we’ll connect!

Take care.

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Erin February 7, 2012 at 12:01 PM

PS I think GAPS is great. I didn’t do it exactly, but a version of it through working with a holistic nutritionist. My point was that while necessary to my healing, the diet only helped me heal to a point, at which time I needed to address other aspects of health in order to heal fully. Hope that clarifies where I was coming from. And still would be happy to get in touch with you to discuss details.

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KarenL February 8, 2012 at 12:28 PM

This is my reason for suggesting Bee Wilder’s program: it does not just address ONE issue; it deals with many. This is why we have people come to her program from GAPS who were not happy with the extent of their healing.

Yes, Bee’s pgm is ‘restricting’. But it does the job.

Blessings…Karen

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Jessica @ Crunchy-Chewy Mama February 6, 2012 at 7:28 PM

Wow, I meant to comment earlier in the day but was too busy getting broth into a feverish son and keeping his spunky toddler sister from bugging him while he gets through a virus! And now there are so many comments!

Today is my one-year anniversary on GAPS. I went GFCF in 2004 when trying to heal from Graves Disease, and I saw a lot of GI and mood benefits. But last year, 6 mos postpartum, I really had to go mostly with the intro diet even though I was exclusive nursing. It was a must in order to function — that is, not have terrible cramping times in the bathroom that left me exhausted.

Now a full year later (still nursing), I still can’t eat raw veggies, and I’m still too sensitive to even eat any sugar (much less honey!) Whenever I try, even with in-season produce and the best of intentions/open heart, I pay for it. I am wondering if I will ever get past this. I recently did a Diagnos-Techs test that showed I still have essentially no Secretory IgA. I also have low pancreatic enzyme activity (probably why so sensitive to sugar). The skin issues I’ve had on & off throughout my life are terrible — psoriasis on knees/elbows. I’m thinking I may just have stop nursing when the baby turns two. That’s when my skin cleared up after the first child (he still nursed but finally started sleeping through the night). My gut was challenged postpartum and I reduced grains but it never got as painfully bad as it did a year ago.

I feel like if I weren’t on GAPS, I’d be in the hospital on an IV. I’ve clearly improved in many ways. But I also would have liked to see the skin get better, not worse, and I really hope I haven’t done my daughter a terrible disservice. I eat a ton of calories including lots of nuts, eggs, meat, cooked veggies, fermented veggies. Once I went off fruit I felt much more even-keel in some ways and my digestion is certainly better. But now there is nothing much to snack on, so I eat huge, huge meals to avoid getting hungry and I am indeed gaining weight in my belly! I have both Graves and Hashimoto’s antibodies and know my thyroid dipped this summer but got much better on Standard Process Thyrophin. Clearly there is autoimmune activity going on, but I don’t think I’d show to be hypothyroid if I got blood taken today.

After hearing Tom Cowan speak this weekend at the Fourfold Path conference, I’m about to want to try to get a fever myself and see if that helps boost my immune system or consider his low-does naltrexone therapy or something. I want to believe this won’t be a forever diet, but sheesh, I really wanted to be further along after a year!

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cheeseslave February 6, 2012 at 8:43 PM

Hi, Jessica,

I really think it depends on where you are when you start. I don’t think it’s helpful to compare ourselves to others. You are where you are at a year and it sounds like you are making a lot of progress. Are you on a good probiotic? Have you taken your temperature? (I know, I sound like a broken record)

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Jessica @ Crunchy-Chewy Mama February 7, 2012 at 6:18 AM

Thanks, Ann Marie! I seemed to get bloated and gassy on Bio-Kult, and I’ve had a couple people muscle-test me at different times that a probiotic is not what my body wants. My candida level was just at trace, so yeast isn’t the primary thing. I had some bacteria we’re addressing with goldenseal and garlic and something else.

I haven’t been taking my temp. Back when I had Graves in 2003-04, it should have been raised b/c of being hyperthyroid but it was actually low b/c of being adrenally depleted. So it never much changed even though I got a lot better over the course of the year from when I stopped being vegetarian and started meds to when I went off meds after also regaining my fertility (before I conceived my first child). It took 29 mos after my son was born for my period to come back and I haven’t seen it yet this time at 18 mos. He was a c-section, she was a homebirth. I think I need to buy a working oral thermometer but could give it a try and see where I am. Thanks again! I know comparisons aren’t really helpful, but when I hear about someone else’s recovery, it’s enviable! I know this is 3 decades in the making for me though (and probably long before that considering my mom’s health).

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cheeseslave February 7, 2012 at 8:43 AM

Bloated and gassy are signs of die off so that means it is working. Try taking less of it and work up to more. Many people start with 1/2 a capsule or as little as 1/8 of a capsule.

If your recovery is slow on GAPS, I would guess (and this is just a guess since I don’t know you) that it is most likely that you are not taking strong enough probiotics and/or eating enough fermented foods. I would try Biokult or Threelac — I know those work. And I would start very slow and slowly slowly increase.

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Gabi February 10, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Hey Jessica, you’re probably right where you need to be/can be on your healing journey. GAPS is a great healing protocol and it can take time. Probiotic foods are key, as are saturated fats…be sure you’re getting lots every day… and detoxing with the juicing is really helpful, too. I agree with AnnMarie, it sounds like you’re having die off…you could be one of the very sensitive people with lots of pathogenic overgrowth who needs to take your time healing on GAPS…you’re not alone. Myself, my kids, and others I know and have been consulting for are seriously dysbiotic and needing to take this journey slowly. Some of us cannot tolerate fruit/honey and it needs to be avoided until gut healing is improved. The older you are…the longer you’ve been dysbiotic, the longer it will take you to heal. Kids heal faster…but even seriously dysbiotic kids need maybe more than 2 years on GAPS. We all heal at a different rate…GAPS is not one size fits all. Not to sound like a broken record, LOL, but the fats are really key…eat as much good fat as you can tolerate every day. Keep up the good healing! Cheers!

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Lore February 11, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Jessica, I am almost 50 (this fall) and I have been working hard at this for the last 1 1/2 years and though not particularly fun it is really worth it. I’ve had the CFS/emotional issues (which you must deal with) eating disorders and the resulting poor guts. I have had a truck load of detox even feeling like I had CFS again. When you are having “bad” symptoms (bloating etc) and you have done “nothing wrong” i.e following the diet, you ARE getting well, slowly. DON’T give up! I saw a picture of myself from 5 years ago and I looked slender and “Pretty” but I could see the dull tiredness in my own eyes. 2 months ago I Had a friend who I had not seen in 4 years, tell me that I looked 5 years younger than the last time she saw me. Stick with it and heal yourself, you can do it.

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Brenda Scott February 6, 2012 at 11:14 PM

Great post, Ann Marie! I had a post idea in my head today while I was driving, something about how the GAPS diet isn’t a low carb diet. Then I came home and read this! :) I’ll probably still write it. That was the biggest criticism we got from people in our life when we were putting our kids on GAPS (that it was “low carb”). It’s not. It’s not supposed to be. It’s just a different kind of carbs! And, in the beginning, if someone has low blood sugar episodes, Dr. Natasha says to have a mixture of butter + honey to munch on. Yum! Honey has a lot of carbs! I have honey in my tea daily, and make a treat at least once per week (fudge, brownies, something) that we munch on for several days…I include coconut flour and nut flour baked goods (muffins, breads) with my meal plans (another criticism I’ve heard–that maybe the baked goods aren’t a good idea for GAPS–my family eats them and has been super healthy though! We’re not bingeing on Ben & Jerry’s (anymore ;), we’re talking about honey, butter, coconut flour–good stuff!). My family, though we’re on “full GAPS,” is getting carbs, for sure! :)

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cheeseslave February 7, 2012 at 7:39 AM

I never heard Dr. Natasha say that about butter and honey but that’s great!

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Lore February 11, 2012 at 10:57 AM

I can only find low-fat coconut flour, is that what you have or do you get something else? I don’t want it low-fat

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Diana February 7, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Hi Ann Marie,

I cannot begin to tell you how much I soooo appreciate this post! I started GAPS (read the book) then went online to get more info/support. Bad idea! All I found was the people pushing the low sugar or “anti-Candida” GAPS (redundant). I got sucked in bc I heard so many people saying that is the only way to heal! For us, it was a REALLY bad idea. When we started intro we had major progress and then it stalled. Ok, this is normal we figured. Then I really started moving backwards eventually most of the symptoms I was doing GAPS to fix came back and worse: anxiety, depression, insomnia, digestive issues and hormonal issues worse than ever, even my hair started falling out!

These were the same issues we had during a low carb diet! Mine waaaay more pronounced than my husbands. But I have found that this is common that women need more carbs. I imagine that is why some Chinese people say that women and children tend to like fruit and sweets more. We added more carbs and symptoms have improved and we are now going through more waves of die-off. Even my husbands bloating went down after adding fruit! Totally the opposite the low-sugar crowd said would happen!

I can’t tell you how many people I have read are doing poorly on GAPS and restricting carbs even more. I know everyone is different and maybe some people need to stay lower sugar. But I wonder how many people it is hurting. I would go one step further and say that some people may be using the “low carb” to push their adrenals the same way caffeine and sugar do and they feel better. I felt better in many ways when pushing the coffee and sugar, short term anyway, but long term you crash. I wonder if they are having the same effect with low carb? Eventually they collapse and wonder why. I would sooo recommend people to try to add more carbs and if they are clearly reacting to them, then cut back not vice versa.

As far as hypoglycemia goes, the old Hypoglycemia Association says that many symptoms return when people go below 60 grams a day. Their recommendation was that most people do 60-100 g plus add for physical activity. I know I go loopy anywhere near 60 g.

Now my focus is on trying to keep the carbs up!!! But am worried, how much should someone eat nuts or baked nut flour items?

It seems like the GAPS diet has taken on a life of it’s own online. While that would be a good thing, it just seems like people are perpetuating myths rather truths. I have heard so many things from you don’t need a probiotic to juicing is bad for GAPS etc. I have seen soo many people run scared bc of info out there! I sooo wish that NCM had some sort of moderated board!!! But thanks again, your post is a bit of sanity out there and I hope a lot of people listen!!!

D

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Nicole February 7, 2012 at 7:52 AM

I totally agree, Diana. I decided to stop following the yahoo groups because (although there is some great info on these boards) the advice I kept getting over and over was to cut out even more carbs/sweets for my son and I knew this wasn’t the answer. It wasn’t until I took him off intro and introduced goat yogurt that his digestion stabilized almost immediately. I think I said above that I totally respect that restricting sugars/carbs works for some, but for us it caused a lot of stress. I think it’s all about trial and error with this stuff.

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Diana February 7, 2012 at 8:28 AM

Nicole, I think it is so sad what is happening with those boards. We have improved tremendously with adding carbs. I wish there more people willing to speak up on there! Glad to hear your son is doing well!

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cheeseslave February 7, 2012 at 8:32 AM

@Nicole Yeah I find that a lot of people are staying on Intro WAY TOO LONG.

Dr. Natasha says to move through it.

Intro is really tough and super low carb and it’s not good to stay on it too long.

Yogurt is a wonderful thing!

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cheeseslave February 7, 2012 at 8:37 AM

I also wanted to say that I think this is largely due to the American puritanical ethos. We tend to believe that if we just work harder, restrict more, then we will be successful.

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Nicole February 7, 2012 at 5:58 PM

amen to that!

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Diana February 7, 2012 at 8:40 AM

Now that you mention this: NCM Food Allergies article has a lady with food allergies on intro for 7 months. She also says that you have complete nutrition on Stage 2. I just think some people take those “worst case” or more difficult scenarios as the norm and apply to everyone.

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Justine Raphael February 9, 2012 at 10:20 PM

Dr. NCM says stage 4 has complete nutrition, not stage 2. And for some that may be stage 5. If you look carefully, you will see that is just shy of full GAPS–and pretty doable, even with moderate carbs.

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cheeseslave February 7, 2012 at 8:19 AM

@Diana

That is very interesting!

Now my focus is on trying to keep the carbs up!!! But am worried, how much should someone eat nuts or baked nut flour items?

The majority of the GAPS Diet should be meat, broth and vegetables. But soaked nuts are good and so is fruit. Squash is good, too, but it is lower in carbs than fruit. Yogurt is a good addition as well. Coconut water is a great thing to help boost your carbs.

The highest carb foods on the GAPS diet are fruit and honey.

Here’s a list of foods with the amount of carbs per 8 ounces:

Dates 170
Raisins 114.8
Banana 27
Orange, raw 21.1
Blueberries 21
Coconut water 20.3
Grapefruit 18.6
Honey 17.3
Apple, raw 17.3
Coconut milk 13.3
Avocado 12.5
Carrots 12.1
Yogurt 11.4
Melon, cassaba 11.2
Squash, spaghetti 10.1
Squash, summer 7.8

I guess it is technically true that you don’t need a probiotic however you would have to eat a LOT of fermented foods. Obviously it is best to do the probiotic in addition to the fermented foods.

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Diana February 7, 2012 at 8:36 AM

Thanks Ann Marie! We are upping fruit for sure. Just wondering though about the baked goods as my husband has been having 1-2 muffins for breakfast along with a cup of kefir and feeling better. Is it ok for people to have something like 1-2 muffins a day or should it be sparser you think?

I agree that technically you don’t need a probiotic but I have been hearing is that it would be better without it. I think adding the probiotic will improve quicker, it did for me!

Just soo miffed at the “advice” you hear on the boards even though like Nicole says, there is some great info.

Thanks again for being the voice of reason!!!!! This post did more for me than you know!

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cheeseslave February 7, 2012 at 8:40 AM

I would think that would be OK. Not sure what Dr. Natasha would say but if you ask me it sounds OK. Just make sure he’s getting plenty of broth each day.

Why would anyone be better without a probiotic? That doesn’t make any sense.

The only people I know who have been successful without a probiotic were people who were actually eating the kefir grains. I would definitely do a probiotic, and I would use Biokult or ThreeLac or another one that really works. Not all of them work and I think a lot of times people end up not getting any benefit.

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Diana February 7, 2012 at 8:43 AM

Sorry for another reply but another big thing I have seen is people using a different probiotic with the dosing guidelines of Biokult when the manufacturers recommend dose for it is like 10x biokults. People think they are saving money when they are really just wasting it and time too. But I’m no expert on probiotics….

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Aimee February 7, 2012 at 11:37 AM

I am so thankful for this post. I’ve been doing GAPS now for five months and have been doing great! But for the past two months I have noticed that I seem to be eating more and more, it’s like what I used to eat when I stopped intro isn’t good enough anymore! I eat a varied diet and keep my carbs high, I’m doing all that I’m supposed to do, but I’m still low energy sometimes. But I’m starting to wonder if perhaps my body is transitioning to needing something more. Any advice on this? I’ve never had issues with grains but went off of them for GAPS but I was having problems with dairy, and almonds. I believe my allergies started due to three rounds of antibiotics in a six month period (this was when I didn’t know how horrible they were). I’m fine with almonds now and can handle yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, butter, ghee, little cheese but not raw milk or raw cream, but can have them if they are cultured.

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Amy B. February 8, 2012 at 1:05 PM

I think there might be a typo here…

There’s no way there are only 17.3g of carbohydrate in 8 *ounces* of honey, as specified above. Maybe the decimal point should go?

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Lore February 11, 2012 at 11:24 AM

I don’t think my gut is where yours is yet but I know I cannot tolerate too much almond flour. I do make and eat ice cream EVERY night (and usually around 11:00) and it agrees with me SO well, who would have ever guessed? That is never advice that you would normally hear from healthy foodies. I muscle test for it fearing it will be a “no this time” but I can still have it. (Organic ingredients: raw milk, whipping cream, fresh lemon, sea salt, pwdrd ginger, mint extract, peanut butter, maple syrup, manuka honey, cocoa powdr and an instant coffee substitute with rye, roasted chickory and beets) CARB City! The rest of my diet is meat n veggies, CLO, Supersilica, broth & homemade kefir. That said, I am in a constant state of some sort of detox and I hate it but I know i’m getting better, I can see it in my body. Little skin tags are nearly gone, hair is growing back etc.
Your own body will tell you and even with all of the functions that the human body has going on at one time, I would imagine that you know your body pretty well and it will tell you when you’ve had enough of anything just keep listening. The thing that is hard to wrap one’s mind around and get used to (per your comment on “if we are good enough”) is that the body is not static and never will be. We are in a constant state of flux with lots of factors that we can’t control and we will be feeling good some days and downright lousy on others. It’s a mistake that some believe that healthy people feel great 24/7. I really appreciate that you are challenging beliefs and idea’s of all these different health programs and open to change and new idea’s because none of them are the gold standard all the time for anyone. Of course a person can go nuts trying to figure it all out but only if they are rigid in thier approach. When we “go with the flow” and chil-lax we can move more slowly and calmly towards real, total health. I know because I have finally accomplished that to an appreciable degree.
p.s. Is wheat evil? Sprouted grains on a healthy gut are good. Those who have a healthy gut make up about %1 of the population (probably higher among cheeseslave readers). I’m looking forward to the day when I can have them again.

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Deborah February 7, 2012 at 3:59 PM

I must be really missing something here with all the accolades for eating grains. I looked up a complete nutrition profile on wheat and aside from having fiber and some magnesium, potassium, folate, and phosphorous it is pretty lacking in nutrients. Yet there are people who seem to think we can’t have a complete nutritious diet without grains. To me veggies are a much better source of nutrients and you don’t have the problems with sensitivities to gluten. As a matter of fact the nutrients from meat, eggs, dairy and even fat are far superior to grains.

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cheeseslave February 8, 2012 at 8:03 AM

@Deborah

That may be true however there is wisdom in eating a traditional diet as a complete diet. For example, magnesium in whole grains balances the calcium in dairy (and you need the right ratio), which is why traditional people traditionally ate cereal with milk or bread with cheese.

Also we underestimate the importance of carbohydrates in our diet. Going too low carb can really hurt you — it did me.

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KarenL February 8, 2012 at 10:44 AM

@ Cheeseslave – have you shared your story about how going low carb affected your health? Do you go in to details? I’d be interested to read it. Thank you. Karen

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cheeseslave February 8, 2012 at 12:16 PM

I wrote about it in this past Sunday’s Q & A

I am working on a post called Why I Ditched Low Carb — look for it soon!

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Diana February 8, 2012 at 1:13 PM

@cheeseslave
Really looking forward to your low carb post! You have made me think. I have been, at times not intentionally, low carb (low carb diet, WAPF, GAPS) for 3 years now and this whole time my hormones issues have actually gotten worse. I really hadn’t put those 2 together!!!

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KarenL February 9, 2012 at 9:43 AM

In my LTD time, I’m trying to explore this as it really interests me.

Ann Marie – it seems from reading thru your “My Fertility Diet”, which I assume was when you were following a ‘low carb’ lifestyle, that your fat intake was low.

And what I’m gleaning here is that GAPS is also low fat (not necessarily NO fat but low).

Perhaps that is the differences we are seeing: Bee’s program is high fat (80% of calories) as well as being low carb. So going “low carb” in and of itself may not be damaging as is being touted here: perhaps the difference is the lack of high fat to go along with the low carb way of eating.

I just don’t like seeing “low carb” get a bad rap when that might not have been the problem at all.

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Mali Korsten (The Korsten Chronicle) February 9, 2012 at 9:50 AM

GAPS is very high fat. Dr Natasha Campbell McBride (author of the GAPS diet) stresses the importance of fat intake for healing, even going so far as to say that the more fresh animal fats one consumes, the quicker he or she will recover. I am currently doing GAPS and I would estimate that I am getting somewhere between 50-70% of my calories from fat (my overall caloric intake has probably tripled, but I haven’t gained a pound).

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KarenL February 9, 2012 at 10:20 AM

@ Mali – thank you for sharing that. Someone shared that much of the GAPS pgm is available online; do you (or another) have a link where I might find what percent of fat she recommends? Even 50% is not ‘high’ enough; yes, higher than the avg bear but not high enough to replace what is ‘lost’ by eating low carb (which is my beliefs on healing).

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Mali Korsten (The Korsten Chronicle) February 9, 2012 at 11:53 AM

@KarenL – most information on GAPS is available at http://gaps.me
She doesn’t give specific percentages as it’s very much an intuitive diet and each case should be approached individually, but she definitely advocates eating as much good quality animal fat as possible, with the majority of nutrition coming from fatty, gelatinous meats, egg yolks, sour cream, etc. GAPS is also not really a low carb diet unless you skip the squash, honey, fruit and vegetables. It is starch-free (di- and poly-saccharides), but not carb-free (still includes mono-saccharides). Most of my meals are predominantly based around fat on GAPS – I eat high-fat cuts of meat (usually with extra fat added), drink soups and stock with all the fat (plus extra putter, ghee or tallow), add olive oil to my sauerkraut, eat plenty of egg yolks, about a cup of sour cream per day (sometimes more) and add butter to as many things as possible! GAPS is definitely a high fat diet, and can also be reasonably high-carb if you tailor it that way. It really depends on your individual situation and nutritional requirements at the time. I think perhaps I eat more fat than many people who do GAPS, because I feel a real need for it. Equally, there are probably others on the diet who eat even more fat than I do (if that’s possible!). That’s where listening to your body comes in :)

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Dutchie February 9, 2012 at 2:02 PM

GAPS low in fat?!…..the high rate of fat usage is what still scares the hell out of me and I haven’t even started. (I’m already struggling for more than a year with paleo and it looks like that one is way lower in fat.)

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Gabi February 10, 2012 at 4:57 PM

No, GAPS is not low fat at all…it is the opposite. The fats are what heal the gut lining…crucial, crucial to the protocol. And fat is the most crucial human nutrient, in my studied opinion. We need it to make hormones…our brains need it, our hearts need it, etc, etc.

Natasha has written a book about how much we need fat (especially for heart health)…it is called “Put Your Heart In Your Mouth” and it further debunks the ridiculous “low fat/lipid hypothesis” that has destined Americans to destroyed health in the last 5 decades. I’ll have a post upcoming about how wonderful fat it on my blog.

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Diana February 8, 2012 at 1:11 PM

@KarenL Not Ann Marie but the last couple of months all my issues were getting worse on GAPS including some fungal skin issues which as you pointed out are candida related. About a month ago I started upping the carbs and it vanished. Other symptoms improved as well. My husband fungal eczema has also improved tons! We were trying to “be good” and keep the carbs low but it was just not helping *us*.

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KarenL February 9, 2012 at 9:47 AM

VERY interesting! Thank you for sharing! I wish I were smarter to be able to explain the why and how of all of this! I must say that I’ve got a dear friend who suffers terribly from eczema. Being a single guy, he does not eat well (perhaps that was a stereotypical comment!). I tried to convince him to go low carb (high fat) and to cut out sugars and processed foods. I also had a tub of honey sugaring as we were not eating it fast enough that i gave him. My surprise when the next time i see him, he tells me he has been chugging on this jug of honey daily (about the only “dietary change” he’d made) and he felt his eczema was improved! I want to learn. I want to know. I want to understand. I appreciate Ann Marie’s blog and all the participants!

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Marissa February 8, 2012 at 7:45 AM

Best post of 2012! Thanks you! I started GAPS in May 2011 and it started looking less like gut healing and more like restricting certain foods, like paleo without the evolution. (I need to get back to broths and ferments.) Here’s my grain concern: I eat between 150-200 grams of carbs a day which is mostly all vegetables – very little fruit. If I go over my quota, I gain weight. I don’t see a future of grains for myself because of the weight issue. I’ve started a gland healing protocol and put exercise back in the regimen, in hopes to have more control over my foods. Thoughts?

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cheeseslave February 8, 2012 at 8:07 AM

Hi, Marissa,

I hear this so often from so many people.

Do you have food allergies? Do you still have a leaky gut? If so, then you may need more healing before you can tolerate grains and not gain weight.

In which case, yes, it’s all about the broth and probiotics/fermented foods.

If you have a healthy gut and normal gut flora and no food allergies, then it’s probably hormones that are giving you trouble with carbs. If your thyroid is not working properly (hypo) then you can eat anything and gain weight. Since Oct, I’ve DOUBLED my caloric intake and doubled or tripled my carbs and I’m not gaining weight. Yet my body temp is coming up and other signs of low thyroid are going away.

I’ll write a whole post on this soon.

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Dutchie February 9, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Today I’ve trie,your friend, Matt’s Fukitol advice (’cause part of me just wants to ‘believe’ and also out of hurt towards myself,the universe etc.eat like this,feel like a ‘normal’ person),but I really think he should be more nuanced/healthily balanced advice giving.

“So today I tried Fukitol…..my bodytemp indeed was/is higher however it’s not good for me and I feel really sad/frustrated/angry etc. bc of the ‘non-stimulating food’ remark….it feels like I’m sentenced/being punished by the universe.

However I’ve tried to incorporate something ‘nutritious’ to control damage. I started the day with 2herrings with Himalayan salt&pepper & a ham/cheese croissant, I lunched at Ikea…had smoked salmon with Him.salt&pepper and a piece of apple pie&whipped cream…..that did not go well at all!!!!my vision became so blurry that I almost got the feeling I’d pass out…it lasted several hours and lots of fresh air&walking to go back to normal. Diner,pizza taco with lots of Him.salt&pepper and no tomato sauce…..however I threw away half of the last slice bc I was beginning to feel qeasy and thought to myself “I really need to stop now,or else it’s gonna end up bad”. (As childish as it sounds,but I am a bit proud of myself that I didn’t eat all of it and was able to stop…..’cause I always ‘finish up my plate’ or in my head I just want to finish,in the past I probably wouldn’t have noticed that sign)

I can’t keep sabotaging myself like this…..Is there someone who could maybe give me some more sound advice?:’( “

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cheeseslave February 9, 2012 at 9:44 PM

@Dutchie

It really sounds like you are punishing yourself when it comes to food. I think if we get too stressed about food then it can make us sick.

Sally Fallon Morell says, “Don’t make food your religion.” Relax and have fun with it. It is meant to be enjoyable!

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Dutchie February 10, 2012 at 9:21 AM

@Cheeseslave I keep punishing myself bc I’m hurt,bc I never loved myself,bc I feel frustrated&angry towards the universe about the statement in my life’s horoscope that I should eat ‘non-stimulating food for my health’(…and still don’t know what that all entails.One thing I know for sure and that’s MSG!). All the foods,which I used to love to eat&make me ‘feel good’ turned out to be major intolerances in my food-allergy test.

As a child I’ve always been chubby,but not in a really female like curvacious form.More male-like,with most fat on belly,very little boobs,flat ass etc.
And now comes the joke of it all…….I was born a the daughter of a baker! I grew up on fresh warm croissants&bread! (till my fifth I was lean,after that I slowly started gaining,was I so young starting to get hypothyroid,adrenal problems?….at my heaviest about 9years ago when also my first symptoms of Lyme started,though I didn’t know it back then.Both my parents,especially my father were obese so I also wonder if that’s who I’m meant to be. I feel more&more that the theory about food that gives you a ‘good feeling’/makes you want to eat it/crave is indeed the thing that is causing you to get fat.)
Luckily,in a weird way,for him my father died when I was 10…..’cause if he’d read some of the (Paleo) cases against grain….

I’ve seen you’ve been to The Netherlands already:)……If I had a big bag of money,I’d pay you to fly over here and help me along this path.:)

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alex February 10, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Hi Dutchie,

Check out Dr Jack Kruse’s site on resetting leptin. He was, I think, 190 lbs overweight, and lost that weight in 18 months. It’s an extremely encouraging website, from my perspective. I’ve been doing it for 6 weeks and my blood sugar readings are dropping. My weight hasn’t budged too much, but i know that it will follow. He does want you to start out low carb if you’re overweight and increase as you reset your leptin. He does recommend Paul Jaminet’s book for what to eat, and Paul has a good write up in the book of his book for mineral and vitamin recommendations. http://jackkruse.com/

Best to you,
Alex

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Dutchie February 10, 2012 at 1:42 PM

Thanx 4 the recommendation Alex….however the big proteine Breakfast stresses my adrenals even more. Regarding the ‘safe starches’,I never cared much for potatoes,rice,lentils etc. and if there’s one thing I’m fed up with through all my dietary extremes,it’s eating stuff that I don’t care for!

I’m just fed up with life, my ‘prescribed’ destiny,all the dietary dogma’s I fell into,my issues…just all that sh*t!…while I know I’m sabotaging myself by eating that stuff,it’s bc of all the hatred&hurt I feel deep inside…..and yes I’ve seen various therapists,but they don’t seem to really help me.

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Diana February 10, 2012 at 8:26 AM

@cheeseslave

Ann Marie, could you elaborate on the gaining from grains when you don’t tolerate them/leaky gut?

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cheeseslave February 10, 2012 at 2:00 PM

@Diana

Here is how I understand it: When you eat foods that you are allergic/sensitive to, it causes inflammation. Inflammation stresses the adrenals and raises cortisol and causes weight gain.

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Gabi February 10, 2012 at 4:52 PM

Good post, AnnMarie…this is a good way to clear up some obvious misconceptions people seem to have about GAPS. I just want to add a couple important points. GAPS is more than an “allergy-healing” program…it is a total health protocol…when we have leaky gut and overgrowth of malevolent flora–ie, gut dysbiosis, we are not absorbing nutrients, our immune systems are compromised, we suffer from toxicity thru various means (heavy metals, pathogens, etc), and our brain function can be seriously compromised. GAPS is the answer for all these issues.

Low carb is not the only reason our hormones get mucked up…I believe veganism is TERRIBLE for hormones…to produce hormones, we NEED saturated fats…I ate vegan for two years, with high, high carb consumption, and I destroyed my hormones…including my thyroid and adrenals. The consumption of soy was one of the problems, as was the LACK of FAT, which we need to make hormones…period.

Some people are so compromised (so dysbiotic) that they need to stay on the GAPS protocol for a longer time…some of us need Intro for an extended time…these concepts are addressed in the GAPS book. Also, by healing our guts (and our entire bodies) and detoxifying thru the GAPS protocol, we will improve our endocrine system.

I think GAPS is an excellently balanced diet and healing protocol…it includes the saturated fats that we desperately need, it emphasizes healing foods and detoxifying (juicing is great for this), and it balances protein with healthy carbs. The end goal is to be healed so that our bodies can digest and process properly prepared grains, which I hope to be able to consume happily someday.

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Gabi February 10, 2012 at 5:33 PM

After reading thru the majority of the comments above, I felt compelled to add more to my thoughts above….

Clearing up confusion is so important…and AnnMarie did a good job of explaining that GAPS is a temporary (that term means different timeframes depending on your level of dysbiosis) healing protocol, grains are not evil, and GAPS isn’t paleo.

It seems that there is still other confusion in many minds, as evidenced from questions here…mostly about grains and hormones. If anyone has problem digesting properly prepared grains, they need to heal their guts…which is the point of GAPS.

After that, the questions regarding hormonal imbalances need to be understood in light of how hormones are created in our body and how they work. I understand the newfound excitement here about how good carbs can help hormones, but the really important element in hormone development is fat. Saturated fats…clean source fats…real, pastured fats…and coconut, palm, pastured butter, olive oil…. THESE are the most healing foods we can eat. Fat makes hormones. So before despairing about hormone issues (adrenal, thyroid, sex hormones, etc), study the hormone cascade and fats.

Doing GAPS properly (in balance as much as your sensitivities will allow) can help heal your hormone problems as well as allow your future (healed) gut to process grains. Good stuff all around. And it can take time, so just be patient.

The entire spectrum of real foods is beneficial for us, once our bodies can tolerate them…the only “evil” food is the franken-food, fake food, industrial food….

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Lore February 11, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Well said, thank you

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Gabi February 11, 2012 at 4:06 PM

You inspired me, AnnMarie, so I wanted to share with you and the Cheeseslave gang the newest post on my blog, further emphasizing the “GAPS is not NO carb” message:

http://www.radicallynatural.com/2012/02/gaps-is-not-no-carb-lifestyle.html

I hope we GAPS family members are able to help dispel confusion among the group. :)

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lilly February 12, 2012 at 11:26 PM

Hello:
I decided to put my family on GAPS. We have 2 autistic children and finding this way of healing was like finding the missing link. Somehow I always knew my autistic twins had a problem digesting foods as early as they were new-born. I spent many years trying different alternative therapies, nutrition, supplements, etc., but I always seemed to be missing something. I found a nutritional practitioner last summer and I decided to take advantage of the holidays to start my kids on GAPS. My twins are 12 yrs. old and in this short time I have seen very positive changes in them. I am very glad to have found you on the web and very thankful for all the information you put out. I am fairly new to GAPS and your explanations make things easier for me. I must admit that GAPS is still somewhat confusing but I take it one day at a time. It seems like we’ve been eating the same thing all these few months but little by little we are introducing new foods and it makes my children happy when we do. It is challenging though as I have very little knowledge ho how to prepare food the right way. So far I have purchased 4 different books and at times it seems overwhelming, however with all of the information you share it has made it a lot easier for me. It has been very stressful trying to find the right food and then figuring out how to prepare it and before I know it it’s time to eat again. I don’t want to put my hopes high up and risk disappointment. I am doing all I possibly can to help my children heal their autism as I want them to be able to live independently, but if it doesn’t happen, I hope that the few positive changes I’ve seen in them will remain with them for lifetime. Once again thank you for sharing all of your knowledge as I learn a lot with you. Blessing. Lilly

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Brittney February 16, 2012 at 9:27 AM

Thank you so much for such a wonderful post. I have been following your blog since I started the diet a few months ago. We are doing the diet for my son with Autism, but it has been very helpful to me too. I think a lot of people are too “to the letter” on the diets. Do your best and do what makes you feel good. When things start to make you feel bad stop. I think that is the best for anyone.

Thanks again for your wonderful blog. I love it.

Brittney

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Cassiel February 17, 2012 at 10:02 PM

hello!
Wonderful blog, been following it for a bit!
I have a 4 year old..GAPS all the way..severe gut dysbiosis due to yeast and antibiotics.
When we started on Gaps, after 2 months she was doing terrible. WE had her blood work done again, nd found her T3 was very low…she was losing weight fast.
After an appointment with Kresser, he mentioned increasing her carbs..only problem is she is highly fructose intolerant.
And as you know having rice, potatoes..just bloats here and feeds the yeast and bacteria.
UGG!! So I am confused as to have her have adeuate carb intake(she is soooo sick of suash)and it not be honey or fruit. Do you know of anyone or have a possible solution for this?
Thank you so much! I would appreciate any insight.
All the best
Cassiel

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Claudia April 28, 2012 at 3:25 AM

Have just read your article after googling “GAPS”. After nearly a year of escalating digestive issues I have been looking at both the Elaine Gotschall’s protocol and GAPS.
Am unsure of which would be correct for me. Wondering if anyone has any experience with both?? Also wondering about healing time for older people, as I am nearing 60.

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Susan April 28, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Hi Thanks for the great post. Our family have decided to give GAP diet a try for my son (18 months) who has a lot of food allergies, little speech delay (says only handful of words), acid reflux, picky eating and overall feeding issues. He had eczema for the first 1 year but he out grew it. He was born through c-section and I wasn’t able to breast feed him well at the beginning of his life (for the first 6 months).

My question is, would doing a partial GAP diet be even worth the trouble? Or would we be going through all the trouble for nothing if we don’t do it in a strict manner? I don’t think our family will be able to NOT eat rice, and for my son, I don’t think I will be able to eliminate milk from his diet. Having these two while abiding by all others will make our life so much easier. Do we have to do a really strict diet of eliminating all starch from our diet, or can we do all the rest, except have some exception of eating rice and milk… and still be able to obtain some results from it? Please help.

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KarenL April 28, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Hello Claudia – you might be interested to check out Bee Wilder’s “Healing Naturally” program. She has quite a few people who try GAPS and come to her program because they found GAPS not thorough enough…

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olivia May 7, 2012 at 4:44 PM

I just saw this question answered by Dr Natasha (GAPS) and thought it would be relevant here. Any thoughts?

There is a lot of talk on-line about low carb diets affecting thyroid function and
fertility. I would appreciate your comments on this as some people are concerned about doing the GAPS diet for these reasons.
GAPS Diet does not have to be low-carb, it is up to you what proportions of meat to
vegetables to consume. People with thyroid problems recover well on GAPS programme.
Restoring fertility in women and men requires less carbohydrates and more animal
products, particularly animal fats.

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cheeseslave May 7, 2012 at 6:51 PM

That’s what I said above. She said GAPS is not low-carb.

That said, I think there is evidence that fertility can be negatively affected by a low-carb diet. I know for myself that I had to eat a lot more carbs to balance my cycle.

See the part of this post where Chris Masterjohn talks about Weston Price’s story about the people in the Arctic Circle (eating a low carb diet by default) who had to eat thyroid gland to reproduce:

http://www.cheeseslave.com/why-i-ditched-low-carb

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Shannon @ Enjoying Gluten-Free Life October 25, 2012 at 2:23 PM

Excellent post. I agree that these are misconceptions. I’m on the SCD and am considering GAPS.

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Becky March 4, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Thanks so much for posting this. After he completes a yeast treatment, and after my sister leaves from her visit :) my hubby and are are starting on GAPS. I have been concerned about how to incorporate enough carbs. I still would love ideas in that direction. I am insulin resistant and so don’t usually have any honey so will probably add that with caution to my diet. The list of allowed carbs does seem short!

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jeanine buchanan March 4, 2013 at 6:04 PM

Nice article – great information.

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Julia March 31, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Actually my Hypothyroidism is doing much better on low-carb diet and I managed to get pregnant and to give birth to two wonderful kids! I started with GAPS and then added low-carb to it. My idea was to heal the thyroid and it worked.

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Nicole April 23, 2013 at 5:46 PM

Just thinking out loud, and am new to GAPS and WAPF but fascinated by it and gearing up to try GAPS. Anyway though, all this debate about grains made me think of th blood type diet. I’m not trying to promote it because I know virtually nothing about it but it just seems to me that if there issuch athing as ablood type diet maybe there really is a difference in what foods or ood ratios are optimal for health? Again not supporting blood type diet just adding my thoughts that perhaps ones own physical chemistry may determine which kinds of carbs are most beneficial. Also really really trying to get up the gumption to start GAPS. Have a ebf 4 month old and not syre how to start it yet…

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Nicole April 23, 2013 at 5:48 PM

Sorry for all the typos! typing while holding a baby… Bad idea!

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Celine May 21, 2013 at 6:03 AM

Thank you very much for this post, which I stumbled upon by chance. I have Hashimoto and I have been on a low-carb diet for several weeks. Since then I’ve been feeling extremely tired and this week my blood test showed that my TSH has gone up ‘dramatically’ even though it had been stable for a year.
Maybe your post is part of the answer…maybe I should up my carbs!
Thank you for explaining all this.
Kind regards
Celine

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Sean June 19, 2013 at 3:52 PM

Hi

I have read a lot about many diets and have been gluten free for over 20 years.

I may have agreed with you a few years ago but now have reconciled my own health and healing against the recent research.

WHEAT (gliadin) cause the body to release a protein called zonulin – this protein causes the intestines to become leaky and allow bacteria and food proteins to be exposed to the immune system. Google “University of Maryland, Dr. Allesio Fasano” and you will soon see the issue.

So no wheat ever – I think gaps diet is good but it’s what you do afterwards that will prolong he healing!

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carly morgan July 24, 2013 at 8:09 PM

Hi there. Love your site! I was wondering if you could possibly do a post on who could use the GAPS diet, how to know when to enter the next “stage” of the diet. ie broth to egg yolks etc. I am super healthy, I’m doing bone broth, kefirs, colostrum, fermented veggies, etc- but my stomach doesn’t feel PERFECT! I always wonder if I should try GAPS from the beginning.. what are your thoughts since it’s not so severe?

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Tara July 30, 2013 at 11:18 PM

Hi,
I was wondering what strong probiotics you used in your 20′s along with your diet that helped you? Are you talking about kefir and fermented foods, or a specific brand that was helpful for you? Thanks, I’d love to know.

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John September 3, 2013 at 1:02 PM

I have been doing the Paleo diet for about 4 months now, am losing weight, feel better and have had a lifelong problem with my sinuses clear up… I am a videographer and had the very good fortune to be asked to tape a young man aged 10 talk about his Pre-GAPS experiences with autism. He is free of the symptoms now but remembers clearly what he saw and felt during his earlier childhood. It is touching and revealing:

http://youtu.be/5bbhidA255g

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