If you looked at our family, you would probably say that we were pretty healthy and ate a healthy diet. And you would be somewhat right. So why are we doing the GAPS diet if we are healthy? There are several reasons we are choosing (ok I’m choosing and my family is having to cooperate 🙂 ) to do the GAPS diet. If you aren’t even sure what the GAPS diet it, you can read all about it here.
The main reasons we are doing the GAPS diet.
- It works
- Boost our immune system
- Improve our skin issues
- Lose a few pounds-sort of
The first reason we are doing the GAPS diet is because it works.
We actually have done it before. I had digestive problems throughout high school and college but after getting married they actually got better. (My hubby says he cured me-insert eye roll here.) After the stresses of three pregnancies and not eating very healthy, my digestive issues started reoccurring. And they got to a point that I knew something had to change.
But it wasn’t just me. My middle daughter constantly complained about her tummy hurting. At this point, she was very young and I didn’t want to put her through a bunch of invasive testing and scare her when we had not even tried eliminating foods or changing our diet.
It was about this same time, that a friend had decided the GAPS diet would help some other health concerns their family was facing, so I borrowed her book to see what this GAPS diet thing was all about and if it would help us. I was blown away at the ways our gut was connected to our overall health. I knew food was key in health, but I just didn’t realized how many health concerns could be improved by healing the gut.
We decided to do the GAPS diet for only one month, even though it is recommended for at least six months and usually takes one to two years or longer. But since we only had gut issues so far, I was hoping that we would see enough improvements in that time frame to make an impact. If we did have food allergies or intolerance, hopefully they would be revealed and if we had not improved like I hoped, we could always continue the diet longer.
What was amazing was that after just a month on the diet, my issues almost completely went away. I realized my triggers and as long as we didn’t eat out or eat junk for several meals in a row (which I don’t recommend for anyone anyway), I no longer had problems. As for my daughter, she stopped complaining of tummy pain. But some other pretty cool things happened as well. Although she’s still the one with a sweet tooth, she knows her limits and will often say, “I just want to eat healthy food at home.” To see her realize how much better she felt when she eats well was a total win for this mama.
I also noticed that before the diet, she had some hyper sensitivities that completely went away. She didn’t always exhibit them, but when she did, it was not fun. And she would often get so upset because things bothered her and she really couldn’t help it. But then one day about three weeks into the diet, I realized she had not complained during her usual times. Those sensitivity triggers weren’t bothering her like before. She was able to just ignore them and function. And that was a benefit I wasn’t even looking for, but was so thankful for her sake.
The second reason we are doing the GAPS diet is to improve our immune system.
Did you know that at least seventy percent of our immune system is in our gut. If we have leaky gut or any kind of gut dysbiosis, our immune system is compromised. After we did the GAPS diet several years back and continued to have a good supply of fermented foods and drinks in our diet, our health greatly improved. We occasionally got sick, but it was usually just a light cold which didn’t slow us down much if at all.
That pretty much continued until last fall. We had gotten lax on our ferments and would eat out more than we should because of a busy schedule. And our health suffered. I realized that heading into winter, we weren’t up to par, but boy did I misjudge just how off we were. After several years of barely a sniffle and definitely nothing like the flu, three of us got the flu. We also had several sinus infections and colds that lasted weeks and a few other random viruses. It’s been bad! Needless to say, our immune system needs a good boost.
The third reason we are doing the GAPS diet is to help our skin.
For the most part, we do not have a lot of skin issues. Or at least, we did not have issues until recently. But this past fall as our immune systems began showing it’s lack of TLC, my son showed the first of several skin issues. It seemed innocent enough. A few days after a trip, he broke out on his arms and legs with an itchy rash. The diagnosis-contact dermatitis. Who knows what he came into contact with, probably as we traveled, but soothe the itch and after a week his body would calm down and it would go away. So after lots of salve, soothing herbal baths and detoxes he got better.
But then three months later, we had an athletic event at the beach and he had a big competition. We got home and two days later, he had a reoccurrence of a fever blister. But this time it covered half his face, caused swelling up to his eye and sent us to two doctors and the ER. After much prayer, herbal salve, essential oils and some breastmilk (more about that on another post) it cleared up with no scars or damage.
I thought we were over all the skin issues when out of the blue, he had a rash appear just a month after the fever blister episode. That cleared up within a week, but the next time he had another big sports competition, it flared up again. This was the final straw for me. I knew that there was an underlying issue for him to all of a sudden begin having these issues. And even though it seems that stress was triggering it, he should be healthy enough to handle these occasional stresses. And while the GAPS diet may not reveal exactly what is going on, it should help.
The fourth reason we are doing the GAPS diet is to lose a few pounds
Now I must warn you that the GAPS diet is not a weight loss diet. It was never intended for that purpose and should not be started with that as the main goal. But, with that in mind, there is the potential of weight loss. And it would be a healthy weight loss. How and why? You are cutting out processed foods including refined sugars and carbs and you are also cutting out some starchy vegetables like potatoes-at least until the very end.
In cutting out all of the processed so-called foods and only eating real foods, you will be feeding your body things that truly nourish it, encouraging detoxification and reducing inflammation. Excess toxins, inflammation, and malnutrition (or lack of nutrition) can lead to weight gain, and cleansing the body can eliminate or reduce these which can also lead to some weight loss.
Much of our excess weight and bloating comes from poor food choices and lack of nutrition. Ever wonder why you get hungry so soon after you eat or maybe you don’t get even get full? The processed foods we eat have little to no nutrition so even though we eat a full meal our bodies aren’t nourished and are still craving the essential nutrients missing from our food. So we continue eating, but aren’t actually feeding our bodies.
Then there is toxins, excess pathogens, and even compacted fecal matter found in the colon of those with gut disbyosis. All of this adds to our health concerns as it sits and rots in our digestive system. Gross-right!? This and our poor eating choices contribute to inflammation, all of which can also lead to weight gain.
All that to say yes, you could lose weight on the GAPS diet, but that is not a guarantee. There is no counting calories and if you are underweight or don’t need to lose weight you will not be starved. You are allowed to consume as much broth, fermented vegetables, and soups or stews full of vegetables and meats as will fill you. The goal is to build up your body.
And our family is a great example of this. None of us are “overweight”, and I especially do not want my children to lose any weight. My goal is to nourish them. But over the past year or so, I have gained about five pounds or so. While this isn’t a significant increase, I can see it and this was despite exercising and being active. This is from poor food choices and inflammation which has led to less than desirable gut health. While I intend for us to all do the GAPS diet, I hope to nourish my husband and children while encouraging my body to burn excess fat, become more lean, and also be nourished.
What is your reason for considering doing the GAPS diet?
Now that you’ve heard the specific reasons we are doing the GAPS diet and how we hope to benefit from it, what is your reason? This is just a tiny slice of the things that GAPS can benefit. You can read my post and all the details on what GAPS is and the numerous health conditions it has benefited here. So what health concerns do you have that GAPS could benefit? Or maybe what health conditions have you seen improved by following the GAPS diet protocol? I’d love to hear your stories.
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