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Any long-term GAPS diet followers?

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I keep hearing about how there are so many success stories with families using the GAPS diet for various health problems. But I've been looking at the blogs and discussion group postings for a few years, and all the people I've seen seem to follow a pretty typical pattern of:


- starting out convinced of the theory

- major enthusiasm and promotion of the diet, lasting several weeks to months

- gradually falling off the wagon, and going back to eating pretty much the way they were before

- concluding that GAPS either didn't work or wasn't necessary for them, but they're very grateful for the experience, and they're sure it's just the ticket for other people.


[ETA: I shouldn't say "all." There are also some who've stayed with it for years, but haven't been able to transition off the diet because they're still having a lot of health problems -- sometimes including ones they didn't have before starting the diet -- which they attribute to other causes, or just still needing to "detox."]


Honestly, it starts to sound a bit like an MLM, minus the pyramid scheme part. ;)


Is there anyone who has followed GAPS for a year or more, through all the stages, and then been able to return to a normal, varied, mostly-whole-foods diet, with resolution of the affected person's original symptoms (allergies, intolerances, behavior issues, skin trouble, or whatever)? Because in my experience, this is a claim that attracts people to GAPS -- the idea that unlike, say, GF or Feingold, it's only supposed to be temporary.


Personal experiences, or links to other people's detailed stories (not just two-line anecdotes), would be much appreciated.

Edited by Eleanor
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GAPS is meant to be temporary. Some people need it for a year, some only need it for three months.


I did it for about 7 months. I'd meant to do 6, but forgot about it ha!

That's interesting. This site says it should be followed for a minimum of 1.5 - 2 years altogether, including at least 6 months after symptoms resolve. There seems to be a lot of conflicting information going around.


I transitioned into a WAP-approved sort of diet//lifestyle.


I started GAPS because I have a disorder in which I am "slightly allergic to everything" according to my old doctors. I broke out in hives all over my body every day for nine months. NOTHING was helping. Fastforward to now and I know that I am allergic to soy....so the drs werehalf right since soy is in just about everything....and sensitive to wheat.

So when you say that you have these allergies and sensitivities, I take it that this is still an issue after doing GAPS? Or are you able to eat "WAP-approved" soy and wheat products (tamari, tempeh, sourdough bread...)?


I ask because the whole GAPS paradigm seems to be that gut disturbance is at the root of the allergies and intolerances, and by "healing and sealing the gut lining" (through an extreme, albeit temporary diet), these problems will resolve. But I have yet to find anyone who has actually experienced this.

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Thanks for clarifying. :) This is what interests me most... from the FAQ at the site linked above, which seems to be the official GAPS site:




"GAPS diet can cure celiac disease and other inflammatory bowel condition, not only manage them. Of course, everybody is different and would take different time to heal. When your digestive symptoms are gone completely and have not been present for six months at least try to make some homemade sourdough pancakes (...). When those are well tolerated, you can try to eat a small piece of commercial sourdough bread."


This is a very controversial claim, but if true, it would be excellent news for our family. None of us are diagnosed celiac, but some of us do react very badly to gluten, even in tiny amounts. It makes traveling, etc., very difficult, and also stands to limit my children's career options. Though I think the latter would be true even with the level of improvement you've experienced. Unless the military turns to soaking and sprouting their MRE's. ;)


Sue Dengate (an Australian writer who's knowledgeable about food sensitivities) is supposed to have completely cured her gluten intolerance by eating large amounts of the local fermented dairy products while trekking for months in Nepal. But even a couple of years of major, socially restrictive diet change seems as if it might be easier than dragging my five young children up to the Himalayas and trying to sell them on the merits of tea with yak butter. :lol:


Anyway, thanks again, and I'll be keeping an eye/ear out for other stories.

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The thing with GAPS is, it can't hurt right?

Having done various restrictive diets in the past, I think it could hurt in some ways. For one thing, we're social beings, and any diet where you can't eat anything on the buffet table (even carrot sticks, in the early stages) is going to do some harm to one's social and emotional well-being. So there's a trade-off there. Digestion affects psychology, but I believe strongly that psychology also affects digestion.


I would also be concerned about possible nutrient or calorie deficiencies for children, and excessive amounts of natural food chemicals. And then there are the stories about skin rashes, joint pains, teeth turning grey, etc.


This is not meant to be alarmist, but basically, everything has its pluses and minuses. There is no free lunch.


Have you read the Cheeseslave and KitchenKop blogs?
Cheeseslave was one of the ones who stopped doing GAPS after ~ six months (and never really did the intro stages as written, IIRC). Given that she didn't seem to have serious health problems to start with, it's hard to draw any conclusions from her experience. Her husband seemed to have a lot of allergies, but she stopped writing about his experiences on the diet after a few months, so I have no idea how it worked out for him. It doesn't help that there don't seem to be dates on any of her blog posts. :confused:


And it's not clear whether KitchenKop ever tried it herself at all, even though she sells the books and supplements.


In general, I'm skeptical about health and nutrition blogs that are so rah-rah about so many things, and also have a lot of commercial sponsorships and affiliate deals going on.

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Thanks! BTW, I noticed that the Cheeseslave blogger has just started homeschooling. Apparently one reason why she set up her online "real food" marketing ventures was to earn enough money to stay home & do this. She has a previous background in digital advertising. I had no idea... I thought she was just a woman who liked cheese, LOL.


And she has expressed a liking for Sandra Dodd's radical unschooling approach. So maybe her next big thing will be monkey platter recipes. ;)

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Personally, I think their claims are extremely overblown. It seems from what I've seen on-line results are generally as you have said. People do the diet but then can never go entirely back to eating regularly(whole foods). To me to be cured would be to be able to eat all of those things like gluten, milk, etc as another person would without a recurrence of symptoms. However, anyone I've seen to add them back, even in a TF fashion starts to have a recurrence. That to me seems to indicate that the immune response is still there it just takes a while to build up, GAPs only serves to bring the body out of that response which means there is a longer build up until symptoms occur. I think it can help in situations where the body is responding to everything but to permanently rid symptoms of all intolerance and Celiac's I don't believe it does that and imo I wouldn't try it unless things were pretty bad.


I know someone who has done it religiously for nearly 2 years now. Without going into too many details it seems to have helped one kids but not the others and the social consequences aren't something I'd enter lightly. When issues pop up it seems they are always dismissed as detox, which really harms credibility to me.


I think their claims of curing Celiac and such are dangerous myself. Personally I'm not willing to be the guinea pig to see if long term it really works.

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Guest Tara @ Crohn's Babe

Hi, there. Yes, I was on the GAPS diet for 1 year completely strict and beyond that with a little more leniency. It completely healed me of debilitating and severe Crohn's disease (said to be incurable), and I'm now leading a normal life drug-free, symptom-free since November 2010. I can now eat normally as well. You can read about my whole experience with the GAPS diet here:




Hope that helps! :)

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Guest Tara @ Crohn's Babe

I wanted to add that I believe the intro diet is key (also taking the suggestion to eliminate dairy for 6 weeks) and following the diet as accurately as possible for maximum results. I was meticulous and methodical and it completely paid off. It wasn't easy but sooooooo worth it.

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Guest Tara @ Crohn's Babe

You're welcome, Eleanor. GAPS is actually based on the SCD as you may know; it just takes it further and in my opinion, has a MUCH better effect because of it.


I got most of my probiotics from food- sauerkraut and homemade kefir. I did take an additional probiotic daily called, Gut Pro, as recommended by the doctor who put me on GAPS and also supplemented with Vitamin D3 and fish oil (which I was on much prior to GAPS.) Finally, I was on LDN (low dose naltrexone) during this time but I can't really say whether that really helped or not. I felt the same whether I took it or not. I never took digestive enzymes. This was the entirety of my supplementation. Oh! I also had a course of Mutaflor (good e.coli) early on but the FDA has now taken it off the market.

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  • 8 months later...

Yes. DD (8yo) was on GAPS from spring of 2011 for at least a year very strict. We've transitioned off to GF/WAP at home and eat out and treat more than I'd like. Honestly, I am the one who needs GAPS now (I only truly stayed on it for a month with DD. It was too hard for me with adrenal fatigue to cook for both my kids to eat GAPS and not yet healed of fatigue to keep up with it and school. I'm at the point now where I just have to. The month I was on it, the high fat and fat metabolism helped immensely with my hypoglycemia. I started sleeping through the night and was more emotionally stable (probably because I slept! duh!). I NEVER had a hypolgycemia headache during the 7 weeks I was on the diet (and I used to have one at least once a week), although the transition from carb burning to fat burnin was difficult.


But yes, DD's epilepsy which we went on the diet for is healed. We have incorporated rice and potatoes and sugars. If you research the epilepsy issues, you'll find that those who follow a Ketogenic or a GAPS (high fat, not necessarily keto) diet for 1.5-2 years are able to transition off without incident. It's something about switching the body over to burning fats and not carbs that has a lifelong impact. Sally Fallon writes about it in her new NT baby/child food book. We will not go back on gluten (other than maybe a treat here and there) for DD because so many of her extended family have gluten issues. I suspect I should be more careful with the little ones as well.


It's the toughest diet in the world, but I'm so grateful we knew about it. Only wish I could love cooking more and had more hours in my day as I'd adhere more closely to it for all of us if I did. Honestly, I think people just get sick and tired of the cooking and the inconvenience of the diet, since the rest of life keeps going on, too, in spite of your broth, kraut, kvass, main entrees, avocados, more broth, CO snacks, 4-days-to-make cookies, ad infinitum. We live in a very fast, convenience-based world, even those of us without a lot of kid activities going on, and GAPS just does not fit into that well.

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