GAPS Diet & Nutrition,  The GAPS Diet

GAPS works for Farm Boy 1, says his doctor! :)

I’ve shared about our struggles with Farm Boy 1 quite a bit on this blog. I know that GAPS works for him. But GAPS (and the idea of Leaky Gut in children) is not accepted among most medical doctors. If blood work doesn’t show Celiac, a child is deemed “Failure to Thrive,” and that’s it. There’s no hope. Maybe a feeding tube with soy and corn and sugar based formula, but if that doesn’t work for your kid, there are no answers.

That’s where we are. The feeding tube helped our son grow a bit. But not like it should have, considering the fact that he was on the highest calorie formula available (it was expensive stuff!), with Duocal added in, and he was taking in the highest calorie foods, orally (Lorna Doone cookies, Chicken Nuggets, tons of cheese).

He still had severe constipation and constant vomiting. His weight went up a little, down a lot, up a little, down a lot. That’s how his life went.

Until GAPS.

Over the 2+ years we did Full GAPS, Farm Boy 1 steadily grew. Still slowly, but he didn’t go backwards. He didn’t vomit. His constipation was better. YAY!

In April, as I mentioned, we went off of GAPS and ate gluten free. Farm Boy 1 even had a couple of gluten-filled things.

He’s been seeing an endocrinologist regularly, who was concerned about his potential future height. This endocrinologist saw him in January, and then March. He saw the growth. Then he saw him again yesterday, and he saw, since that appointment in March (without GAPS), Farm Boy 1 went backwards on his growth chart (weight). He lost weight. Over 4 1/2 months he did not gain 1 pound, he lost weight instead.

The good news is that his weight does not appear to be impacting his height. YAY! He is short, but he is growing much faster than kids his age. He has slow bone age growth (which means, his bone age is 8, his chronological age is 10), and kids with slower bone growth are usually behind their peers as far as height growth. Not Farm Boy 1! At this rate, depending when he starts puberty, he will be between 5’6″ and 5’8″ or maybe a little taller (if he starts puberty with his bone age). That height, genetically speaking, makes sense for our son (The Farmer is 5’8″, I am 5’2″). YAY!!!

But back to the weight gain, and his nourishment. The doctor saw the chart–that he grew, and then he didn’t grow. He said that he thinks Farm Boy 1 has Celiac Disease. (This is what the medical community calls gut dysbiosis because it’s the only disease they have an easy blood test for. Unfortunately, if your blood test shows up normal for Celiac, you’re out of luck, as far as any medical help. 🙁 ).

The endocrinologist told us that he’s not going to refer us to a GI doctor, though. He said:

1. Our hospital system is hiring new GI docs and has a backlog, so that wouldn’t help us.

2. All they’re going to do is tell us to put him on a gluten diet so that they can get an accurate test for Celiac. While he’s on the gluten diet, he won’t gain any weight (the doctor acknowledged) and then, they’d simply tell us to feed him gluten free (which we already know).

3. He said to just keep on doing what we’re doing for Farm Boy 1, and that a GI doctor isn’t going to tell us (nutritionally speaking) anything we don’t already know. He said, whatever we’re doing is working, so just keep doing it, and he’ll see Farm Boy 1 back in a YEAR!


GAPS works for my kid! Now, he’s on the Intro, Stage 1 (our whole family is) and I’m figuring out how long he needs to be at this stage. I’m meeting moms who have had their kids on Stage 1 for a year+ because of severe digestive problems. Farm Boy 1, after eating non-GAPS for 4 1/2 months, is severely constipated again (we used to use Mirilax, mineral oil, suppositories, etc.!). The book is clear about moving on in the stages when diarrhea is gone. I am wondering if a kid with severe constipation and compacted stools and slow weight gain needs to stay on Stage 1 for a while, too. Anyone have experience with this?

Anyways, I just wanted to share our success with GAPS! I am excited to see how the Intro heals my sweet boy! 🙂



  • Amanda

    My GAPS kid had severe constipation on intro (was on daily Miralax for years). She is healing slowly. We did lots of gravity hung, water enemas with BioKult in them during intro. It took her a couple months to start going on her within an acceptable time-frame. She does best when we stick to intro foods but I am still hoping for regularity for her on full.

  • Mary

    Thank you for this blog. It is wonderful! I recommend it to my clients.

    The Intro diet is very healing, but it tends to be constipating. It might work better to put him on Full GAPS until his constipation is relieved.

  • Emily P in DC

    My son (2.5 years old) has always struggled with constipation. We worked with a GAPS-trained doctor after he broke out in horrible eczema suddenly when he started to wean himself at 2 years old. She told me that since he struggles with constipation, that we shouldn’t do Intro with him at all, and instead focus on full GAPS with lots of fat (lard and tallow for cooking, olive oil drizzled on his plate). She said that Intro is essentially a cure for chronic diarrhea and people with constipation issues can get worse on it. This was around March of this year and I’m happy to say that his eczema is completely gone and constipation is no longer an issue. 🙂 He’s still on full GAPS with no dairy, we’re going to start reintroducing dairy for him (and maybe me too, I’ve been on GAPS for a full year) in the next couple of months. GAPS heals! And little people heal faster than adults.

  • Amanda

    I have so many questions. This sounds identical to my son except he’s only 3. He has a feeding tube too but won’t eat at all. I am sure the GAPS diet would help him but struggling with how to come up with a blenderized version.

  • Marti

    Congratulations! I know what a victory that is for a mom who is always up against a medical community that thinks the only answer is their synthetic approach! We are doing GAPS to keep my daughter with Type 1 diabetes off of insulin for as long as possible (It’s working!) and for my 4 year old daughter who has spectrum-type behaviors and severe gut dysbiosis (her language bloomed within days of starting intro!) I have used many of your recipes throughout our journey, and I am so encouraged to hear your story- the good and the bad- because no one can do this diet perfectly!! Many blessing to you as you continue with intro and work to heal your sweet family!!

  • Jessfar

    Hi Brenda,
    I’m wondering if this is the best way to reach you. I don’t know if you received my email about the complications I had with downloading the holidays recipes:
    I was happy to come across your ebook on grain free holiday cooking and I purchased it. However, after I downloaded it and went to view it and print it, I couldn’t view past the third page. “Expert PDF Reader” pops up and says there is an “Access Violation”. I’ve never encountered this before. I’m hoping you can help me with this. If we can’t get it fixed then I would like a refund.

    Thank you so much. I’ve signed up for your newsletter and look forward to reading more on your website.


    I know we moms get very busy so I understand. Hope to hear from you…

  • Esther

    My 4 1/2 year old child has a feeding tube and has been diagnosed with failure to thrive, GERD and pseudo obstruction neuropathy. We’ve been in and out of the hospital for years (around 20x total). We finally tried GAPS after the GI dr recommended a diversion ileostomy (a poop bag outside the body) and/or fundoplication (a knot in the esophagus) to prevent vomiting. I told her I wanted to exhaust every natural option first and she gave me three months before we would discuss surgery again. We started GAPS right away and it’s been a lifesaver for our family. My child eats by mouth a ton now, loves food and we use the G-tube to maximize calories by blending whatever she eats. The GI dr is amazed my child has avoided the hospital during flu season and is now reading the book for herself! The cooking and food prep isn’t nearly as difficult as you think…you get used to it and with the time saved from cleaning up vomit and consoling your child you will have more energy for creating nourishing habits for your whole family.

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