November 28, 2011

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:


The Soul Anchor said...

YEAH!!!! A close friend of mine, whom I really respect, is currently doing the GAPS diet because her son started to show autistic tendencies and she KNEW that wasn't her true son. I haven't done it yet because I'm focusing on a more fertility/reproductive health diet, but I REALLY respect the concept of the GAPS diet and may even try it out soon.

Hows it workin for you? Notice any differences?

donya said...

Okay, it does sound a little crazy, but now I'm interested! I'm not sure I could pull it off though. Eliminating grains and sugars would probably lead to me just never eating. I'd love to hear more about the foods you're eating and how long you'll be doing it for.

Learning to Simply Live said...

Summer, you truly are a kindred spirit. Every time you write a post I feel like it speaks to me. I recently heard about this diet and have been thinking, come January, I am going to start it (I want to take the month of December to do more research and prepare).

No, you aren't crazy. Why is eliminating food from your diet crazy? All of what you are saying just makes so much sense. God designed this earth a certain way and I believe we have taken food (veggies, fruit, meat, etc) to a level it isn't intended for. There is a reason that people in the Bible lived to be 500 years old.

God bless Summer and please, keep posting about this topic! I know I appreciate your thoughts and I am sure others do as well :)

Cecilia said...

this is NOT crazy :)

we eliminated gluten a few months ago to help our daughter with her eczema. It has made such an impact! My husband and I have noticed changes in our health too. We are not super duper strict about it, but I did make my daughter a gluten free chocolate birthday cake and it was awesome. Everyone loved it.

I can't see what else you share on this topic.

Anonymous said...

thank you summer for all the great ideas/recipes/inspiration you introduce me too! i am very interested....PLEASE share more!

Learning to Simply Live said...

Question, what do you do when you go out to dinner or to another person's house? :)

laura @FoodSnobSTL said...

I'm really interested to learn more about this. My husband has Crohn's and follows the Maker's Diet. I'm interested to see how they are similar/different.

summer said...

@the soul anchor. awesome!! :) yes, i have noticed differences and have been really pleased with it- i will share more in my next post!

summer said...

@donya. i know! i felt the same way! but once you start, it really (very quickly) feels normal and super uncomplicated :)

summer said...

@learning to simply live. hi liz! we aren't really eating out right now, which isn't that sad because Subway is the only option in our teeny town:) when we were in the city, we did eat at Chipotle and it sat okay with me. i still only ordered things that would be gaps-friendly, if not exactly "legal" :) you just have to do the best you can, when you can! basically, we eat at home almost always (this is normal, not a big adjustment) and if we ARE eating somewhere else i will eat beforehand or bring along some things to munch on. it hasn't been a big deal, so i am super thankful!! most of the time if we are eating elsewhere it's at my in-laws' house, where there are always gluten free options and those can work great!

Tawnya S said...

You're far from crazy Summer:) I had wondered since you're recipes were sounding so close to what I've heard of the GAPS diet. I had heard lots about it too, and totally believe the whole "gut health" thing, but feel a bit overwhelmed with the thought of implementing it full on for our family. Although it's good to know it's an option and the answer to healing the gut. We actually had some friends stay with us a while back. Their entire family....three young kiddos included...were on the GAPS diet, (and the kids were AMAZING at eating what most would consider "-non-kids" food...mental note!'s all in the training:). While cooking for them was a much bigger understaking for me, it was also awesome to have so much organic goodness from our garden that they could eat. That alone was a little more motivation to keep our garden in full force next summer!

Sheri said...

This makes so much sense. My husband and I followed the maker's diet a couple of years ago, and it made a world of difference for my husband, who has stomach problems. I find it interesting that they think that it can make a difference in mental illnesses...hmm.. what a whole body approach. Looking forward to learning more!

Amanda Greer said...

You don't sound crazy! I definitely want to hear more about it! My first thoughts when I read this: "You go, girl!" "I don't think I could do this," and "What about eating out or at another person's house?"

I find that a lot of socializing is based around food nowadays..

Carrie said...

Oh, Summer, I love this! I eat gluten free, mostly dairy free (save for some artisan cheese splurges), and fully organic. When I am being really good I don't eat anything processed or with added sugar either. It makes such a difference in health and I think it is awesome you are trying this. Will you move back to a mostly gluten free diet at some point, as opposed to grain free?

My husband's family is racked with health issues: thyroids, heart issues, depression, IBS, etc, but none of them are interested or willing to experiment with diet. It is so frustrating. As Plato said, "let food be thy medicine!"

I'm curious - are you planning on doing GF/CF/DF with your sweet girl? Have you moved to having natural beauty products? No More Dirty Looks is a great site for skincare (a lot is $$ but they have great info).


Jessica said...

Hi Summer,
Thank you so much for this post....I agree with everyone so far--I want to hear more! I researched this diet a year ago and even though it appealed to me, I thought " forget it" at the time. It seemed too daunting and I didn't quite understand how I could do the diet and keep living life! :) however you have given me hope and inspiration! If you can do it while keeping busy with a new baby....I think I could manage it too. I'd love to know more about what you eat on a typical day, and what recipes you've been using. For me, the hardest part is always making diet meal plans and shopping lists. You are a blessing!

Amanda said...

It's so true that once you have a baby (or in my case, once you start thinking about having a baby) you start thinking about what is in your diet and (no pun intended) the amount of crap you have put in there. That can't be healthy, so it's nice to hear about some new options. I have never heard about GAPS before, but I'm eager to hear more. Good luck, Summer -- it sounds like you are already enjoying it. Is Grant doing it too?

P.S. I'm curious to know if you have any information about the creator's son's autism -- how did she know he was "cured"?

hal said...

The GAPS diet sounds so paleo, and seems very good by the same token for all of us.

Joanna said...

You're so not crazy! Because of my husband's lyme disease, we eat a modified GAPS-style diet (we still eat some starches, but never any processed sugars, eat loads of vegetables, ferment everything in sight, etc.). I will TOTALLY come make kefir with you if we lived close by. And then we can swap tips on how to get our sourdough to flourish. When you're back to eating starches--help us figure that out? :)

So love your posts, Summer. Thanks for sharing!

Dianna said...

very interesting. this definitely makes sense from a holistic perspective of psychology.
I would like to see some real research on it, though. one thing especially caught my attention: the claim of cured autism. technically speaking, a person *does not* ever "recover" from autism. now, I just finished reading the book, "There's a Boy in Here," which is from the premise of cured autism, so the establishment could very possibly (granted, easily) have something more to learn about this. I would just be cautious around such sweeping claims, if only to avoid the opposite extremes possible (i.e., diet is the cause/cure for every disorder, etc). but, for the good it does do, more power to it - and you! looking forward to continuing to hear about your experience with it



about this blog

Hello, I'm Summer. A people-loving introvert whose hope and life is in Jesus. His promises are my passion and my ministry is homelife. This blog is a place for me to write about everyday things. Especially food. My favorite thing to do is sit around a table, lingering over a long meal with good conversation. I live with my husband and our 2 littles. We like blizzards, thrifting, grammar, guacamole, cheerful hearts, nice manners, good movies, and making simple, real, nutrient-dense food.

"If Christ be anything, He must be everything."
-C.H. Spurgeon

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