GAPS Success Stories!

by Sarah Healthy LivingComments: 27

Those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile know that back in March 2010, I went on the GAPS diet as described in Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MDs book Gut and Psychology Syndrome.     My husband went on GAPS about 6 weeks earlier than I did.

I even posted my personal food log for 4 days back in April.     I did not go on strict GAPS as the only issue I was attempting to resolve was some lower back pain that kept getting worse since having my third child.    I do not have any autoimmune issues that I know of, but I figured that the lower back pain must be from localized inflammation – most probably originating in the gut.  

Anything gut related or autoimmune in nature can be amazingly helped by GAPS, so I went on the more lenient version which allows butter and fermented dairy.

All foods containing disaccharides were out.   This includes all grains and sugars except raw honey, ripe fruit and date sugar (which is made from dehydrated dates only).

All starches were out too, which eliminated white and sweet potatoes, most beans, arrowroot, tapioca, and anything else starchy in nature.

I’ve recently been asked by a few friends about how all this is going.

Well, let me tell you …

I am very happy to report that both my husband and I are back on starches with no problem!   We are eating potatoes and starchy beans once again.    Arrowroot is thickening our sauces and we are not feeling any ill effects from it.

In addition, I have been back on grains on a limited basis for just a few weeks.    I started trying them in small amounts (properly prepared of course which is only sprouted, sour leavened or soaked) every 3 or 4 days and have not noticed any return of the back pain!

This turn of events is just in time for the end of summer as the only craving I had during my time on GAPS was for a bowl of soaked oatmeal!   I NEVER missed bread except during the first few weeks.     Thankfully, it looks like I will be able to enjoy soaked oatmeal once again when the cooler weather returns!

To tell you the truth, I don’t think I will go back to eating grains – even properly prepared – like I was before I went on GAPS.   I definitely wasn’t eating them too much before, but I will eat them even less now.   I was rather surprised at how much I didn’t miss carbs while on GAPS and felt great for doing so.

After a few months, though, I started to feel a bit tired.   Perhaps it was from the 8 lbs I lost while on GAPS despite eating a lot of food and never depriving myself if I was hungry and the food was ok per GAPS.    

Yes, your weight drops like a stone when you cut grains and starches out!  

Dr. Cowan describes this phenomenon in folks who are off grains and other starches for an extended period of time in an article from Wise Traditions Journal a few issues back called Holistic Approach to Cancer.    This article describes how some folks do better going back on grains and starches after a period of healing for the gut.

Realizing I must be one of those people, I reintroduced starches and grains a bit earlier than I had planned (I had originally planned to reintroduce these foods in the Fall 2010).   I am so excited that I am eating these foods again and my regular energy level quickly returned.    I’ve put 4 lbs back on and seem to have stabilized there for the time being.

My husband is also experiencing GAPS success.    He has been back on starches for a few weeks now with no ill effects and last night ate chicken breaded in wheat flour with no problems whatsoever.  He is also eating my soaked cold breakfast cereal and feeling fine with no severe bloating like before he went on GAPS.

He had been on GAPS almost exactly 6 months which is the minimum amount of time Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride suggests for healing the gut in her book Gut and Psychology Syndrome.

I am very glad we have both been able to heal much more quickly than we had thought.   I’m sure our many years of Traditional Diet helped tremendously in speeding up the process as our guts were probably in decent shape to begin with.

The biggest surprise I’ve had from this whole experience was the severe congestion and watery eyes I had for 3 weeks when I first went off all grains and starches.   Then, all of a sudden, one morning it was gone!


Obviously, there was a little pocket of gut pathogens hanging on for dear life in my gut that needed to get weeded out and the only way this was ever going to happen was to eliminate grains/starches for a time.

I hope you find this blog encouraging in your own personal wellness adventure if you are currently on GAPS or the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) or considering doing so.

The effort is worth it, so soldier on my friends!

If you have a GAPS or SCD success story, please tell us about it in the comments section!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

This post is shared at Real Food Wednesday.

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Comments (27)

  • Colette

    In very ill with fatigue. Its worse now im pregnant. I am Interested in gaps as im a recovering vegan but I have only got access to organic dairy. Nothing raw just standard organic plus I cant afford to buy the good quality probiotics. How can I do gaps?

    July 16th, 2013 8:07 am Reply
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  • Jackie

    day 4 on intro and I have lost 1 1/2 inches below my belly button and 1 inch above!!!! I started for bloating and indigestion and apparently I WAS VERY bloated! Digestion is back and forth but I can tell its better and no more heart burn!

    April 6th, 2012 11:43 am Reply
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  • Alicia

    I’m glad to see this post. I know there are countless success stories of increased health by going on GAPS….but before we start, I need to know that people can come OFF GAPS. Not to a Standard American Diet, but being able to add back starches in grains, in moderation. To not have any labels of intolerances or reactions, etc to foods. So, I’m glad to hear you and your husband are an example.

    November 26th, 2011 4:26 am Reply
  • Tracey Stirling

    Is Rejuvelac allowed on GAPS?

    November 8th, 2011 1:17 am Reply
  • veronica cardozo

    hi!, im veronica and ive started the gaps diet. i ve had a blurring of the eyes – is this normal? i also take steroids – but im also having a lot of kombucha , kefir, water and milk, beet kvass and i also have yakult. i have yakult twice daily. is this okay or do i need to make some changes? please advise.

    September 17th, 2011 2:18 am Reply
  • Dorothy

    I’d like to know what’s the next best thing to GAPS. When you don’t have easy access to good meats and they aren’t affordable for you, you eat lots of eggs. At least they’re pastured and can be prepared in a variety of ways. And vegetables are plentiful now. But when weight loss is not what you wish, rather weight gain is desired, you have to add a few things back in. I’m thinking maybe red potatos aren’t so high in starch, sweet potatos might be okay some days, and a few of the grains which are low in phytates, such as buckwheat, amaranth, and quinoa. I soak just about everything and have already been avoiding a lot of the bad guys. Have been wheat free for about a month and mostly grain-free. I also wonder how you do this when the rest of the family isn’t and they’re counting on you to cook. I’ve decided probably to keep cooking grains like rice and oatmeal for them, but not to try to make bread, which would be too tempting. Also, are small beans like adzuki low in starch? Thanks for your guidance.

    July 5th, 2011 5:25 pm Reply
  • IR

    Is this diet appropriate for a pregnant/breastfeeding mom? Someone recommended I try it (4 out of my 6 kids have food allergies, plus some environmental allergies), but I have a hard time believing it is ok while pregnant and nursing.
    I also wonder how people deal with food that kids get from other places — like a friend’s house, at school, a goody bag etc.

    April 5th, 2011 12:39 am Reply
    • Alyssa

      IR, this diet is basically meat and vegetables, it isn’t anything weird and it isn’t calorie controlled so you and your nursing baby will only benefit from it. Your baby will get the good bacteria you are getting from your fermented foods and when bubs is ready to go onto solids, they can have what you’re eating too as it’s cooked vegies and meats and soups etc. – perfect baby foods! That being said, the intro diet does produce die-off symptoms, which is a detox, so while pregnant/breastfeeding, I would just go on the full GAPS menu until bubs is weaned. If you feel you need deeper healing after that, then you can always do the Intro diet then.

      June 29th, 2011 9:47 am Reply
  • Bess

    I was just wondering if you still used whey to ferment foods while you were on GAPS.
    I know it’s not on the approved list, but I know you mentioned that you were more lenient.

    April 2nd, 2011 10:18 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Yes, I used biokult and fermented cod liver oil. I never did the intro diet .. just started GAPS from the get go.

    September 14th, 2010 10:56 pm Reply
  • matt4melis

    Did you use biokult (or any other supplements)? Did you start with the intro diet? If so, how long were you on it?

    matt4melis at hotmail dot com

    September 14th, 2010 4:43 pm Reply
  • Sarah

    Great, thanks for the info!

    August 23rd, 2010 9:19 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Sarah, be as strict as you can but perfection is not necessary to achieve awesome results. My husband was totally strict and never went off even once, but I had a few off the wagon moments.

    August 23rd, 2010 4:55 pm Reply
  • Sarah

    My family is planning to try the GAPS diet for about 6 months. I was wondering: were you absolutely strict with the diet? Obviously the more strict we can be the better, but I am wondering if we will be derailed by the occasional meal at grandma's house (which almost always includes potatoes). Also, do you know why the SCD allows baking soda but GAPS does not? Thanks for any info you can provide.

    I think the most difficult part for us will be coming up with easy meals for my husband. Typically I make a huge batch of soaked waffles to freeze, and he just heats them up for breakfast. Then for lunch, he takes one of our homemade frozen meals to work. Unfortunately he's not big on cooked vegetables, so it will be an adjustment for me to learn things to cook for dinner that can freeze well that don't have any brown rice or brown rice noodles. But it sounds like it is all well worth the effort!

    Thanks for providing such great info in your blog.

    August 23rd, 2010 2:11 pm Reply
  • Jen

    I just did a post on my blog about the progress I've seen. I skipped the into and didn't follow it totally strictly, but I've seen great changes nonetheless. I shared this with so many people – there are many who really need it!

    August 20th, 2010 9:59 pm Reply
  • Anonymous

    I have been on the SDC/GAPS diet for over three years. After about two years I would try small amounts of restricted foods. I have tried many times without success re-introducing grains. I will get congested and start having "allergy-like" symptoms. I tried potatoes last winter and thought I was okay but after a month had to remove the food due to the return of joint pain. I have been able to reintroduce raw milk into my diet but I cannot consume industrial milk. I can eat properly prepared beans once in a while.

    Nevertheless, I was very sick before starting the diet and all my health conditions are now resolved. (This took about two years.) Never eating Industrial Food or grains again is an easy price to pay for being healthy. Here is my full story for those that are interested:

    August 12th, 2010 3:50 pm Reply
  • Christie

    We did the SCD a few years ago, but were a bit lenient (we didn't do the introductory part). We stayed grain-free, but have been using other starches. I'm considering trying the GAPS diet, and following it more strictly, since in 4.5 years of being gluten-free, and being grain-free most of that time, we have not seen as much healing as we would like.

    I'm happy for you both that you are doing so well. I just wanted to point out that a person wanting to incorporate starches back into their diet could do so without using grains.

    I haven't used Bob's Red Mill coconut flour, but it's good to know that it's an option. I use the Tropical Traditions coconut flour and like it a lot. It's a very good price, especially when on sale, and it's a very good quality, too (I tried another once that was just way too coarse, and didn't bake up nicely). Just another option that's out there.

    August 11th, 2010 7:45 pm Reply
  • matt4melis

    Did you use biokult (or any other supplements)? Did you start with the intro diet? If so, how long were you on it?

    You're so thin! I don't know where the 8 lbs came from! :)

    August 11th, 2010 5:33 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Great story, Christy. Thanks for sharing!
    Lydia, you are right, GAPS isn't forever but getting your gut in shape definitely is.

    August 11th, 2010 5:03 pm Reply
  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist

    Hi Ali Naomi, I use Bob's Red Mill Coconut Flour. If you look below in the Amazon section and click on "coconut products", you will see the coconut flour brand I use selected.

    August 11th, 2010 5:02 pm Reply
  • Ali Naomi

    Thanks for introducing this book. I'm going to check it out at the library as soon as possible. I want to put Tim on the GAPS diet as soon as possible. He gets awful hives almost every summer for seemingly no reason. If he has any autoimmune issues going on I know this will help heal them. Question: what brand coconut flour do you use? Should I be careful about which I purchase off of amazon? Thanks again, Sarah!

    August 11th, 2010 4:31 pm Reply
  • Debbi Does Dinner Healthy

    I don't know much about this but it certainly is interesting! Thanks!!

    August 11th, 2010 3:40 pm Reply
  • lydia

    This is awesome!! I am not on GAPS, but am considering it as my diet is already SO close to it anyway. I went gluten free in March and quickly after that went grain free. It makes so much sense for me. I lost that last bit of gut I had and had no more digestion issues, and I honestly don't miss them at all. My only trouble with diving into GAPS is giving up a few conveniences like arrowroot and even sweet potatoes. I know it would't be forever, so I am mustering up the mindset to go for it soon!! Thanks for sharing this!!

    August 11th, 2010 1:32 pm Reply
  • Christy

    My 2 year old son was diagnosed with Apraxia in February '09 and I had already learned a lot about the diet/brain connection and wanted to do what I could to help him talk. Up to this point he had never uttered a single word. He made lots of noise but never actually said a word. So, that same month I removed gluten and dairy from his diet. Within the same week of doing that he started saying words. One day I thought I heard him say "shoe" but wasn't sure, but as the days continued it was clear that he was saying words. About a month later I put him and his sister on the Gaps intro and they were on the Gaps diet for about a year. My son just turned 4 years old and talks non-stop! He still has issues with articulation and he's definitely got some catching up to do but he can say words and speak in sentences. It was such a relief to finally have him be able to tell me what he wanted instead of having to point and grunt. I think going GF/CF helped get the ball rolling but I have no doubt that Gaps (and lots of prayer!) is what got him to where he is today.

    August 11th, 2010 12:28 pm Reply

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