Have you heard of The GAPS Diet?
I’ve written before about my almost 5yo daughter’s food sensitivities. In a nutshell, I have been fobbed off by doctors since she was 6wks old and her face was covered in eczema. I was convinced allergies were to blame, all they did was prescribe topical steroids.
Two years ago (and at my wits end) I went through a private allergy nurse, who diagnosed a lengthy food intolerance list. We have been following an exclusion diet ever since. Apart from a three month period last year, when we took her off it to see how she would fare up. The answer was awful!
According to our allergy nurse – in most cases of food intolerance – a three month full exclusion of the problem food(s) is enough for the body to repair itself, then you can slowly reintroduce it/them. From then on as long as you don’t overload your system, you should have the intolerance ‘under control’.
For my girl excluding the foods keeps the symptoms at bay, but we have never successfully reintroduced anything. Any attempts to have lead to her initial symptoms flaring up: eczema, bloating, diarrhoea. I’m convinced that her poor sleep and challenging behaviour are linked to food, as it gets about hundred times worse when she eats anything on the banned list.
I have always suspected her issues were more than ‘just intolerances’, but haven’t had much support investigating what else they could be. I had severe reflux as a child, and had stomach surgery performed at five years old. My mother used to say it was due to a hole in my stomach lining – now known as leaky gut syndrome. This causes you to have abnormal gut flora, which can then lead to food intolerance among a whole host of other ills. During pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding I will have passed on my digestive problems to my children.
I have been reading up on GAPS – Gut and Psychology Syndrome (the photos above are from the front and back cover of the book). It claims that most health issues are caused by the abnormality in the gut flora, and can be fixed mainly by diet. In essence you go on a six week detox to seal the gut lining, then follow a strict diet for around a year to get you to optimum health. All refined sugars, complex carbs and grains are completely eliminated. I won’t go into the details as this post is already much longer than my usual 350 words. Click here for the official low-down if you are interested. Sealing the gut lining first, then eating this way, should basically get the gut flora back on track. Food intolerance should become a thing of the past.
It’s a drastic measure, and one I would have to test out on myself before putting the children through it. I really like the idea of being cured, rather than just masking the symptoms waiting for the next flare up. The idea of my kids spending their entire childhood being told no depresses me too much for words. I managed to read the intro of the book (over a hundred pages) explaining the theory in less than a day, and have barely thought of anything else all week! Right now it feels like the only thing to make complete sense to me in a long time.
What are your views? Do you have first hand experience of The GAPS Diet? Do you think it’s too drastic? I would really love to hear from you in the comments section.