GAPS Diet Testimonial: Asperger’s, Allergies and Asthma

by Ann Marie Michaels on August 22, 2008

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I haven’t posted about the GAPS diet in a while.

We are still on it. It’s been over 3 months now.

GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome, a book by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD. She is a pediatrician in England who is reversing autism, allergies, and other disorders in children in her practice.

Three months on the diet and Seth is happier and more easygoing than I’ve ever known him to be. His anxiety is gone, his depression, his fatigue, his nightmares. His gut pain is gone, too — except for when he cheats and eats a piece of regular bread. It’s amazing how fast the gut pain and anxiety and nightmares come right back.

It’s funny because we felt so deprived when we first started the diet. No grains, no potatoes, no sugar, no starches. But we adjusted pretty quickly and honestly, we didn’t really miss any of it.

We have added dairy back into our diet. I added it after about 3 weeks — I had no issues with it. With Seth we added it back slowly over a couple of months.

Started with ghee then butter the first week (the second month on the diet) then kefir and yogurt the next week. He did fine with all of that. A week or two later we tried cheese. He did fine with it. Now he asks for milk in his coffee (he never did before — he never could digest it) and he even tolerates ice cream just fine.

That said, he still only does a small amount of dairy — he eats it pretty infrequently (just a little milk in his coffee, cheese maybe two or three time a week, and homemade ice cream once a week at most).

He has also had sprouted grains here and there and he seems to do fine with them. We limit them though. He only gets grains occasionally. Since his gut is still healing.

He’s also eaten French fries a few times.

We’re not perfect on the diet but it’s about progress, not perfection.

I wanted to share this testimonial written by a mother on the Yahoo GAPS Help group. I was so inspired and moved, I wanted to share it with my readers. Millie was kind enough to give me permission to post it.

Kevin lacked oxygen at birth, so in the first year of life, I already saw that he was not developing like my other kids (he is our 5th). His motor skills lagged and he cried a lot, didn’t sleep so well, etc.

At two, his behavior was just not right. He never responded right to correction, would throw things in anger or frustration, cried all the time, especially when waking up, basically never happy. He didn’t walk until two and then he would fall down constantly.

He also began to always be starving. When he was really hungry, his face would get distorted and frozen in a strange way. I now think he was having seizures of sorts.

We did not vaccinate at all and we figured out that if we fed him lots of protein type foods like meats, he would relax his body and face and be able to go play for a bit until it happened all over again in a short time.

I do think that because we didn’t vaccinate and figured out to keep feeding him this way, we were able to “coast along” like this for years. He had learning disabilities, lacked social skills and continued to have autistic traits like sensory issues, hiding under blankets, reacting to sounds, not liking people around, rigid in routines, and spinning and going on his head along with head banging.

Long story shorter, we did get a diagnosis of Aspergers at one point. We took him to doctor after doctor, specialist after specialist to no avail. He also strangely was NEVER once sick (we later learned that his immune system was not working a bit).

At 9 years old, he got pneumonia, followed by asthma and allergies. His eating had escalated to the point of feeding him every 20-30 minutes or he would have gigantic meltdowns. We eventually could not even have people over.

He was given an inhaler for the asthma and suddenly, without us making the connection, he began to not respond when called, became extremely hyperactive and began to run away at all hours of the day and night requiring police to find him and being very dangerous (we once lost him in the middle of downtown Chicago). He would also try to jump out of moving vehicles, out of windows and required constant restraining.

The seizures got bad, he would fall down the stairs and lose consciousness several times per day. They tried psych drugs and he almost died twice from his reaction to them (I am now grateful that we couldn’t go that route).

We became so desperate that we brought him home from hospital and got deadbolts to keep him from running, did all our own restraining and called alternative docs to help us.

We began kefir and diet from nutritionist (basically a BED/GAPS version)*, took him off inhaler. His allergies were totally out of control, he could barely open his eyes from swelling, and his chin was deformed and swollen, his belly too, his whole body. He would only eat junk food and fast foods and it was incredibly difficult to transition him to the diet.

The DAN (Defeat Autism Now) protocols we followed, made him worse in lots of ways b/c the chelation made him extremely violent, the B12 shots kept him awake for nights on end without any sleep, the antifungals and all those other interventions were nightmarish for him.

Eventually, I resolved to use only foods and do this without any kind of doctors. So for this past year, I researched and researched and was determined to bring him back from this state. We have done a combo of GAPS (and BED) very successfully along with lots of fermented foods and drinks.

The allergies and asthma are 100% gone, the seizures we have had only one in 65 days and very mild (compared to 5-10 per day). He sings every morning and has cried once in the last 2.5 months (he used to cry for 1-3 hours at a time each day) and he can go outside again without running away. He is in martial arts, acting appropriately at church, having eye contact, no autistic traits of late and learning academics after two years of not being able to open a book. He reads before bed at an 8th grade level.

It is a total absolute miracle to which I give God all the credit (there has been endless prayer at our house). I know He led us to this diet and this recovery.

I am still fearful of regression (it’s so hard to believe it’s for real, you know) and I also fully realize that it will be possibly two more years before he is fully detoxed. The rashes he has had have been monumental and scary and he would have terrible seizures when the detox and die off was going too quickly. I think we still have a lot to learn and a lot of work to do but there seems to be a light at the end of our tunnel.

I think this is a very powerful diet and detox protocol and it really does work. I feel that there is much hope and healing and we are giving our kids an opportunity at a life and future.

– Millie, Chicago, IL

Thank you so much, Millie, for sharing this testimonial. It is a total miracle.

Maybe someone out there will read this and find hope for their son or daughter who suffers from an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), allergies or food intolerances, ADD or ADHD, or other behavioral problems.

Or someone with bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety, or other psychological problems. Or digestive disorders.

It is truly miraculous what this diet can do.

Go to GAPS Diet or Gut and Psychology Syndrome for more information on GAPS.

* BED is an acronym for the Body Ecology Diet. It is very similar to the GAPS diet. For more information on the Body Ecology Diet, go here: Bedrok Community.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Erica August 22, 2008 at 11:19 AM

Your one line in there means the most to me, it is about progress, not perfection! So true for us.

The story is amazing. I’m always utterly amazed and in awe whenever I read something like that. I truly wish more people had the means and the will to go through with these diets. Eventually, over time, the word will spread and I hope it helps even more young children out.

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LeahS July 11, 2011 at 8:43 PM

I agree ,that is a very encouraging sentiment

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Anna August 22, 2008 at 11:36 AM

While I haven’t gone totally GAPS, I notice a difference if I limit grains to unprocessed, prepared NT style. I have been staying consistent with CLO (called “happy fish oil” in our house), now added cold-pressed FSO and a probiotic the past two weeks. My B vitamins are no longer being flushed out (you can tell by the color in the toilet) and are being absorbed.

There is enough of a healing process going on that I can say these changes are worth it!

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peacefulacres August 23, 2008 at 5:15 AM

I didn’t even finish reading…..OMIGOSH, Millie is my friend!!!! Yes, yes, Kevin is amazing….Kevin and I have been on our healing journey together. Making baby steps to total healing. Thanks for posting this. You made my day. :D

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Ann Marie August 23, 2008 at 5:53 AM

Hi, Diane,

It is such a small, small world.

Millie told me that she is going to the Deidre Currie festival in Ann Arbor MI next month (Sept 13).

I’m going too — so is Kelly the Kitchen Kop. And bunches of other folks. Kelly and I are going to host a little get-together for anyone who can make it.

It would be so fun if you could join us!

Ann Marie

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peacefulacres August 23, 2008 at 10:47 AM

That would be fun. Not sure how I could swing it at the last minute though….but it’s tempting. :)

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Amy August 23, 2008 at 10:50 AM

I was wondering if anyone could put me in contact with Millie. Kevins story sounds so much like my daughter Lucy. She is on GAPS, but it is a struggle right now. I would love to talk to her. If anyone could help I would deeply appreciate it.

Amy

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cheeseslave August 23, 2008 at 11:44 AM

Hi, Amy,

I emailed Millie your comment and your email address.

You might also want to join our Yahoo group:

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/GAPShelp/

Ann Marie

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peacefulacres August 23, 2008 at 11:55 AM

HaHa, I just got off the phone with Millie. She is the sweetest! She’s been a God send to me to.

OK Ann Marie, I’m coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just looked at flights and it is do-able! Which airport to fly into??? Sooooo, email me cause I’ll have to spend two nights and do not want to do that alone! Can we be roomies? Or does Kelly have others to room with? Please let me know ASAP so I can book the flight. Lots of love,
Diane
jim_bob_c@yahoo.com

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peacefulacres August 23, 2008 at 12:43 PM

Sorry to keep popping in AM, I have my post ready for Monday and of course you’re linked. Thanks again. Can’t wait to meet you!

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cheeseslave August 23, 2008 at 1:31 PM

I would love to be roomies! As long as you don’t mind being in the same room with little Katie. She’s really easy.

This is going to be fun!

I am emailing you….

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LB August 23, 2008 at 4:07 PM

Ann Marie,
I’m going too! It’s only a 30 minute drive from my house. I’d love to meet up with you!

Lauren

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cheeseslave August 23, 2008 at 6:39 PM

Yay! That’s fantastic, Lauren! This is going to be so fun!

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Carrie Thienes August 23, 2008 at 10:08 PM

AM,

This couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. Just as I finished posting this on my blog at

http://oreganicthrifty.blogspot.com/2008/08/back-in-business.html

I jumped right over to your blog, and what’s the first thing I see?!?!?!!? It’s like God’s pointing me to Gaps! I just need support and inspiration (everyone already thinks I’m a nut for feeding her gluten-free).

Millie’s experience is so inspiring. It really shows why GF is not enough….because if you don’t cut out those starches they are probably going to be just as harmful as the gluten! Or right up there, especially if the yeast are involved.

Would you mind reading the post I linked to above and giving your comments?

Hugs, and wishing I could join you at the Deidre Currie Fest!!!

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LB August 24, 2008 at 11:58 AM

Ladies,
This is so very interesting that this is all coming up for me as well. I have a one year old son who has very itchy eczema on the backs of his knees and tops of his feet and ankles. I took him to see my chiropractor who said it was yeast and asked if I fed him alot of fruit, which I realized I did. He said it is probably due to the fact that I had antibiotics in labor for Group B Strep and that my son was getting so much fruit. He has never been pricked by a needle, no vaccines, no vitamin K injection, nothing! So I was not happy to think that we had a yeast problem. He’s been on a homeopathic anti yeast and probiotics for one month and not showing much improvement. I’ve been rotating foods in and out to see if he is allergic but I have been giving him grains all along. I know it’s not good, I had already started with rice cereal, then Gerber puffs before I got hooked on Ann Marie’s blog and learned about Weston A. Price and not giving your child grains. Once I learned this, I didn’t think I could take grains away from him since it kept him happy on my morning power walks and when we were at the store. I did take him off of wheat and only gave him rice cakes and rice pasta after the diagnosis from my chiro. But last night I decided I had to do it, that the rice cakes that he loves so much could very well be the cause of this bad itchy eczema, it’s probably just rotting in his stomach and feeding all of the bad bacteria and yeast. So I woke up this morning and tried to think of what I could possibly make him to substitute as a stroller snack. I do give him cooked organic peas. So I took butternut squash and I sliced it thin using the side of a grater and tossed it in coconut oil and baked them until they were crispy. He LOVES them! YEAH! I need more ideas though, I am wondering about freeze dried veggies, I know they make freeze dried fruit, or what about dehydrating veggies? Ann Marie I know you have a dehydrator, what do you think and what do you give Kate to snack on? Oh and my other idea is that he loves spaghetti so what about using spaghetti squash as the “pasta” and making a GAPS friendly sauce? Those are my ideas so far, I would love to hear of other on the go snacks that do not involve grains of any kind!

Thanks!
Lauren

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cheeseslave August 24, 2008 at 4:06 PM

Lauren,

Which probiotic are you using? I ask because some of them simply do not work. Actually many of them don’t work.

I love your squash ideas. I will have to try those!

Here are some portable snacks I usually feed Kate when we are walking or at the farmer’s market or what-have-you:

Eggs scrambled in butter or duck fat (often cooked with onions)
Nitrate-free salami or bacon (cut into small pieces)
Ground grass-fed beef cooked in butter, duck fat or coconut oil (usually cooked with onions)
Leftover roast duck or chicken (if eating at home, I give it to her with reduction sauce — too messy for on the road though)
Raw cheese (you can don’t this in the early stages of the GAPS diet of course)
Frittata (Italian crustless quiche; I’m going to post a recipe for this soon)

Occasionally I will give her:

Coconut macaroons
Liverwurst (you can buy this from US Wellness Meats; I need to order more — it’s yummy)

I’ve tried making Kate the almond bread but she reacted to it — a little rash on her face. She doesn’t seem to do well with nuts. So I’m going to wait longer to introduce them.

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LB August 24, 2008 at 4:24 PM

Hi Ann Marie,
Thank you so much for your ideas, they are all great. I wonder if he would eat liverwurst if I ordered some for him. I tried to get him to drink homemade chicken broth out of a sippy cup tonight but not much luck, he did take a few sips though :) I have been giving him BioDophilos-FOS made by Biotics. Do you think I should switch to BioKult? I just want his itchiness to go away, I feel so bad for him. I have suffered eczema myself most of my life but I’ve noticed mine has been completely healed all summer and I think it could be due to my taking Cataplex F perles this summer. I’ve been giving him 3 of those a day as well. I’m open to anything that will cure his rash!

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cheeseslave August 24, 2008 at 4:33 PM

Yes I think you should switch to Biokult. In my experience there are only a few brands of probiotics out there that actually work.

Dr. C-McB says most brands are simply “prophylactic”. Meaning they don’t actually work to create a colonization of good bacteria.

You might want to take the Biokult yourself and do GAPS with him — chronic eczema is a sign of abnormal gut flora.

Keep trying with the chicken broth! With Kate it takes several tries for her to get used to a new food.

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cheeseslave August 24, 2008 at 4:38 PM

Oh and if you can’t afford the Biokult, you can use kefir.

Millie (whose testimonial is above) never used Biokult with her son. However she has been strict with GAPS and she does give him copious amounts of kefir.

She says she feeds him about “8 oz per day” of kefir, homemade with raw milk. She also adds a bit of cream to the kefir, for extra fat (and she thinks it might help the grains proliferate faster).

In addition to that, she gives him the actual grains.

She writes:

“I also give him the actual grains as our “probiotic”. I got this idea from a post Dom had to the mother of an autistic child. I copied his post and tried to follow it as best I understood it. It has been huge in getting Kevin well. I give about 1 Tbsp of grains per meal with the 2 oz of kefir. I also try to get a couple of small bowls of cultured veggies throughout the day into him.”

Brilliant, eh? I am going to start feeding Seth and Kate our excess grains (and eat them myself!).

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LB August 24, 2008 at 5:04 PM

I just ordered two bottles of Bio Kult. I do have Three Lac in the house, I had ordered it for my husband but he didn’t take all of it, maybe I should give him that until my Bio Kult comes in lieu of the the Biotics one, what do you think? I’d love to make my own Kefir but I am hoping to figure out where I can get raw milk when I go to the Farmers Market at the Deidre Currie festival. What do you think of store bought plain Kefir in the meantime? Beneficial or not even worth it?

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Millie August 24, 2008 at 6:01 PM

Anne Marie and everyone,

Thanks for posting our story, or should I say, our work in progress. I am so excited for everyone doing so much for your children and family’s health. We are all in this together and it’s truly a previlege to share and learn and heal together.

Just a reminder, though, that this is such a slow recovery… so if you don’t see instant or quick results after doing the diet strictly and cutting out grains, do give it time. So many give up too soon and never see the benefits. We wanted to throw in the towel so many times b/c it looked like it just wasn’t working. So glad we have not. Hang in there and thanks for all the support and dedication.

Millie

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cheeseslave August 24, 2008 at 7:46 PM

I would use the ThreeLac until the Biokult comes. I have had good results with ThreeLac. It is the only other probiotic I can personally recommend.

I am not sure about storebought kefir. I think you will be able to find a source for raw milk at the festival. You can use kefir grains to culture organic pastuerized milk in the meantime. Do you have a source for kefir grains?

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cheeseslave August 24, 2008 at 7:51 PM

Thank you for your comment, Millie. You are so right!

It does take time and there are a lot of ups and downs on the journey. But healing does happen if you hang in there.

Hugs,
Ann Marie

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Carrie Thienes August 24, 2008 at 9:13 PM

Thanks for you snack tips. What would you do about milk for your toddler? I know Milk isn’t gaps-legal, b ut my two love their goat milk! Any thoughts? TIA!!!

Hugs,
Carrie

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cheeseslave August 24, 2008 at 9:30 PM

For a drink that tastes like milk, I would use Kaayla Daniel’s coconut milk tonic:

Coconut Milk Tonic

1 can whole coconut milk
3/4 cup filtered water
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon KAL brand dolomite powder

Mix all ingredients and heat gently. Serve in a mug. Note: Coconut Milk Tonic contains the same calories, fat and calcium as whole milk. However, this recipe should not be used as a substitute for raw milk in our recipes for baby formula. The tonic is still missing many compounds and nutrients found in raw milk. However, Coconut Milk Tonic can be used as a substitute for milk in a diet containing a variety of whole foods.

Instead of maple syrup, use raw honey.

Bone broth supplies a lot of the nutrients that milk provides. So give plenty of that.

And pretty soon you can introduce kefir (in a matter of weeks or months). Follow the instructions on Gaps HELP for introducing dairy.

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cheeseslave August 24, 2008 at 9:30 PM
Amy August 26, 2008 at 5:30 PM

Ann Marie , I just wanted to thank you for getting me in touch with Millie. What a blessing to have someone to talk to about our daughter.
Amy

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acnetreatmentgal September 8, 2009 at 4:08 AM

i have a mild Asthma which comes and go. my doctor just prescribes me with Corticosteroids to alleviate the symptoms of Asthma. i am still looking for a natural and alternative way to control asthma.

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Theresa November 7, 2010 at 3:43 PM

Hi Anne Marie,
Are you familiar with a product called Symbion Probiotics? When doing a search for ThreeLac, one of the bloggers I came across said he had good results with ThreeLac, but his results with Symbion were GREAT!
Thanks for your time,
Theresa :)

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cheeseslave November 7, 2010 at 4:20 PM

@ Theresa

No I’ve never tried it – never heard of it.

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cheeseslave March 3, 2012 at 7:13 PM

Wonderful story. How old is the child now, do you know?

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