Why My Family is doing the GAPS diet

by brenda on November 1, 2010

The 6 of us have been on this diet for 10 months now. It all started with going gluten free for a year. We had attempted gluten free twice before that, but never whole-heartedly. One night our son, Farm Boy 1, (7 at the time) cried at the dinner table and asked why he didn’t grow, even though he ate so much. And why the other kids on his soccer team were so much taller than him…This prompted our whole-hearted effort towards gluten free eating.

 

Farm Boy 1 was born at 26 weeks gestation, and since he started at only 1 lb 12 oz, he’s always been “catching up.” We had multiple tests done on him for lots of different things, and we never got any answers. He had a tube in his nose (an NG Tube) for several months, and he had a G-Tube in his belly for a few years. He still didn’t grow well. The 2 years before we went gluten free, he stayed at 39 lbs–for 2 years straight…The year we went gluten free, he went up to 41 lbs. Not much, but a significant jump considering the lack of growth the year before.

 

Farm Boy 2 was a sugar addict. We’d often find him in the pantry stealing chocolate chips, or we’d find a bunch of Hershey Kiss wrappers hiding behind the canned foods. He would fuss about not getting dessert. He was a moody, up and down kid.

 

Farm Boy 3 has been Lactose Intolerant since we adopted him when he was 14 months old. He has also been little for his age (short plus underweight). He has also struggled with the moodiness–more severely than any of the other kids. He also had severe constipation and would often cry when he had to go to the bathroom.

 

Farm Princess has only ever been able to tolerate raw milk, pasteurized milk products made her vomit as a baby. She was a sugar addict, especially when it came to chocolate. 🙂 She’s a big eater and big for her age (she’s 3 and wears the same size clothes as Farm boy 3, who is 7). She didn’t really NEED a new diet, but we thought it wouldn’t hurt her.

 

The Farmer was pretty healthy except that he had some weight to lose, had back issues every now and then, had low energy often, and had psoriasis.

 

Then there was my health. Our bodies are so complex, and my body was reminding me daily how complex it really is! Here were my issues:

  • Often weak, even as a little kid. Tested for hypoglycemia and showed up “borderline” multiple times.
  • Often felt blood sugar “lows” in between breakfast and lunch and in between lunch and dinner. I had a secret stash of chocolate in the pantry to get me through those lows.
  • Anemic
  • Felt like a “rag doll” many times–like it just took too much strength to lift up my own body
  • Acid reflux just about every night
  • Chest pains, heart palpitations, numb left arm (11 hours one time–spent some time in the ER with no answers for that one)
  • Tummy aches often
  • Diarrhea often
  • Constipation often
  • Numbness in my chin/jaw for a couple of months
  • Strange muscle issues. Sometimes when I would grip something, the grip wouldn’t stop–my hand stayed stuck in that position.
  • Muscle cramps in my legs at night. Ouch.
  • Random itchiness. All over.
  • Arthritis in my hands and feet
  • Weak immune system. I caught everything I was around. Everything.
  • High Serotonin. My dad has Carcinoid Syndrome, a familial cancer that involves tiny tumors that produce lots of Serotonin. I was sensitive to all of the high Serotonin foods, especially tomatoes, berries, peppers, and avocados.
  • Canker sores. Or whatever you call them. Little tiny bumps all over inside my mouth.
  • The “Butterfly Rash” at times (Lupus?) and “Flushing” in my face whenever I’d eat something spicy or I’d get stressed out.
  • Ear aches. It felt like food was going up inside my right ear and it hurt.
  • High ANA (Auto Nuclear Antibodies), which meant I had some kind of autoimmune disease.
  • High Thyroid antibodies but normal thyroid hormone levels. So my own body was attacking my thyroid. My dad also has thyroid cancer & has had surgery + radiation.
  • Gum disease. I brushed my teeth well, at least twice a day, but I still had receding and very red gums.
  • Pain in the back of my mouth from a screw (previous jaw surgery) sticking into the gums. It hurt especially bad when I ate sugar.
  • Had some weight to lose.

Gluten free helped, but it wasn’t enough… My arthritis and acid reflux went away, but I still felt weak and shaky. Farm Boy 1 gained a little weight, but not enough. I was still catching everyone’s colds and sore throats. I started looking into what our next options were, since Gluten Free obviously wasn’t enough for us…. I first read Breaking the Vicious Cycle about the SCD diet. When I began googling SCD, I found out about GAPS. It was just what we needed. It was what I believed was “healthy eating” anyways…..So began our journey…

 

After 10 months on the diet, I am happy to report:

 

Farm Boy 1 is now 45 lbs and growing

 

Farm Boy 2 is no longer a sugar addict and his moodiness has subsided

 

Farm Boy 3 is up to 40 lbs and growing. He does not struggle with constipation any more at all! We’re still working on his moodiness. 🙂

 

Farm Princess continues to grow but is no longer addicted to chocolate

 

The Farmer has lost about 40 lbs, hasn’t had back issues at all anymore, has more energy than he remembers *ever* having, and feels GREAT.

 

And me…Every single symptom on that list is GONE when I stick to the GAPS diet. There have been a couple of times that we have “cheated” and my symptoms come back with a vengeance. But when we stick to GAPS, I am able to live symptom free, full of energy, and I feel healthy!!!  I have not had my blood tests re-drawn lately (ANA, thyroid and Serotonin), but I wouldn’t be surprised if they are lower as well, since all of the symptoms they caused me are *GONE*. I can now eat tomatoes and peppers with no problem. I haven’t tried avocados again because of the severity of my previous reaction, but someday I’d love to try them again…I have lost 36 lbs–from a size 10 or 12 to a 4…or less (my 4’s are needing a belt!!). I am small-framed, so I finally feel like ME!

 

I’m going to keep blogging about GAPS right here–how we implement it–and why I think it’s a healthy diet for everyone. It isn’t as hard as it seems to some people. I’ll share how we make the diet work for our family on a daily basis. =)

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Tori Wilson November 2, 2010 at 9:10 am

Hi! I’m curious about how you are eating and making it work into meals 🙂 Soo glad your family is doing better!

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brenda November 2, 2010 at 10:18 pm

I’ll post tomorrow about how we started out with this diet, and then after that I’ll post more about daily meals! Thanks for the comment! 🙂

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Christie Schwary November 7, 2010 at 11:29 am

I love food and how it heals!!!!

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Fonda LaShay June 9, 2011 at 3:26 am

wow! so inspiring to hear. I am planning to go on GAPS in August (I am traveling till then, and want to really commit when I start).

I have hypothyroidism, plus around 40 pounds gain over the last 3 years since I started struggling with it. I dont feel energetic anymore, I am alway itchy, light sensitive at times, ect ect.

My only concern is that my boyfriend is not totally on board to join me. He is rather healthy himself, but his is Norwegian and says he is not giving up his potatoes. haha.

Thanks for the inspiration. I just found this article, I will have a look/read around to see all you have on your blog 🙂

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brenda June 15, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Hi Fonda, I am so glad you learned about GAPS & you’re planning to do it! YAY! You will feel so much better! 🙂 Maybe when your boyfriend sees how healthy you are, he’ll want to join you. 🙂

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Vanessa January 17, 2012 at 3:06 pm

that is awesome! Did your hubby overcome psoriasis? My 7 year old has it bad and we are really hoping it will help. Interesting a lot of my symptoms are the same as yours were- I do have autoimmune thyroid, sjogrns and joint pain in hands and feet. Have weight to lose. Used to be effortlessly thin. We are on day 2 of the intro! the days seem rather long in the beginning!

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