so... maybe you've noticed a trend in my recipes lately. what's with the grain free food? and squash? why are some labeled "gaps friendly"? allow me to explain! i am currently eating a certain way to heal my gut (gut = the intestinal tract), and i am using GAPS as my guide. you heard right! i am willingly giving up grains and sugar. (don't worry, it's temporary!) i am making yogurt and sauerkraut and bone broth. i spend my day dreaming of fermented foods to try. do i sound like a weirdo yet? ok. just wait. it gets even better! but first, i better explain some stuff.
GAPS stands for "Gut and Psychology Syndrome" and is a healing protocol that you can follow anywhere from a few months to 2 years in order to heal chronic disease, severe allergies, or mental illness. (paraphrased from Kendahl of our nourishing roots) it was created by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a neurologist and neurosurgeon who sought an answer for her son who was diagnosed as severely autistic. thanks to her research, he is now cured.
basically, the idea behind the GAPS diet is that gut health = whole health. i was completely floored when i encountered this concept. our digestion affects our whole system, even our brain chemistry! duh! it makes sense that what we put in our bodies would affect how they run. those little bacteria (flora) in your intestine? they are hugely, so hugely important! they make sure we digest our food, absorb nutrients, and eliminate toxins. if the good bacteria aren't healthy and thriving and outweighing the bad, we have trouble, my friends. poor digestion. toxic build up. a compromised immune system. a perfect setting for health problems. i like to think of it this way: "All diseases begin in the gut" (Hippocrates said that. i just quoted Hippocrates! who am i?!) once i understood the concept of the gut being the "second brain" of the body, everything made so much sense!
why do GAPS? people might choose to do the GAPS diet for things as big as autism and depression, or as small as body odor, acne, and feeling bloated! here are some of the symptoms and disorders it addresses:
ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, learning/behavior/social problems, substance abuse, depression, OCD, manic-depressive, schizophrenia, allergies, asthma, eczema, chronic cystitis, yeast overgrowth/candida, thrush, colic, bloating/gas, indigestion and heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, picky eaters, Crohn's disease, leaky gut (gut dysbiosis). in the GAPS protocol, Dr. Campbell-McBride "teaches how to help conditions that have stumped doctors for years... Until now, the only treatment was aimed at the symptoms, and there weren't whole body evaluations or any lasting help. The answers only involved more medications and side effects." (from kelly the kitchen kop) but now we have GAPS! a "medicine" that gets to the heart of the problem, or rather, the gut. yay!
how did i get started with GAPS? oh wow. after so many hours and hours of research on a thousand subjects! once you start pouring your life -and food- into a tiny baby, you really think differently (extra carefully) about your health. you pay attention to stuff. i had to take an antibiotic this summer, and for me, it only took that one antibiotic to realize how important gut flora is. i just knew something was off inside me. looking back, i now know that i have not had a healthy gut (a proper bacterial balance) for years. (here's a list of symptoms involved with yeast imbalance.) i had heard of GAPS through some of my favorite blogs, but i believe it was this post on the nourishing gourmet that gave me the push to do it.
so, what do you guys think? do you think i am completely mad? i don't even know how weird i sound anymore. i am so into all this stuff. i just talk about it like it's normal. you know, guts and stuff. i could talk about it all day! it is absolutely fascinating to me. are you bored? are you still here?! are you sick of me talking about health nut stuff? who wants to come over to my house and make kefir?!
but seriously, i think i will come back later and tell you some of my thoughts on how GAPS is going and what i actually eat. if that's okay. (i know it's okay, because it's my little blog and you guys are so nice!)
**if you want to read more... awesome posts with better explanations than i can give on the subject: