The GAPS Diet Heals Ulcerative Colitis

by Sarah Natural RemediesComments: 158

By Gina Rieg, CHC, AADP

Editor’s Note:  I met Gina Rieg at the Fourfold Path to Healing Conference in Baltimore last month.  Her story of healing from Ulcerative Colitis using the GAPS Diet was so compelling to me that I asked her to write her detailed story so that others in a similar situation might be inspired to heal through a change of diet.

Thank you, Gina, for sharing your long and difficult but ultimately triumphant journey with all of us.

The Webster dictionary defines the word “gap” as “a pass or way through a range of hills.” I am writing my story on March 1, 2012 after following the GAPS diet program for one full year. I decided to write on this day to share my story of healing – my path through the hills.

For those of you who are not familiar, GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome, a book written by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD.  It is a natural digestive healing program. It has been used to successfully treat many diseases/conditions including: Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis, IBS, Autism, ADHD/ADD, Allergies, Depression, Anxiety, Asthma, Eczema, Schizophrenia and more. The GAPS program rebuilds the gut by healing the damaged gut lining, which is the root cause of the mentioned diseases.I learned about the GAPS diet program from a friend while attending the Weston A Price Foundation Conference in 2010.

My Life: Managing Ulcerative Colitis With Drugs

At the time, I was receiving Remicade infusions for the managing of the Ulcerative Colitis condition that I had been dealing with for over 10 years. Ulcerative Colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease characterized by abdominal cramping and bloody diarrhea. Remicade is a not a “treatment; it only manages the symptoms; therefore, it does not address the root problem.

To give you some history, I had been dealing with digestive issues since 1999 when I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. To manage and “hide” symptoms throughout those years, I went through the typical pyramid of conventional medications, beginning with Asacol, Colazol and Prednisone. Finally, Remicade was prescribed in 2006 when a major flare-up landed me in the ER. In the hospital, I was first given the highest dosage of IV Prednisone possible in attempts to stop the bleeding and cramping. When that wasn’t successful, they told me the only other option besides surgery was Remicade, an intravenous drug that suppresses the immune system. It had just recently been approved for Ulcerative Colitis when previously it was only approved for Crohn’s Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

At the time, I had never heard of Remicade but I desperately wanted to stop the pain and bleeding so I started infusions in the hospital. I was soon released with directions for further Remicade infusions and a very high dosage of oral prednisone. In about three weeks surrounding my hospital stay, I lost about 15 pounds but I was encouraged by my doctors that the Remicade would get me better. In time, I slowly tapered off prednisone and per the advice of my gastro-intestinal (GI) doctor, I began taking Mercaptopurine/6MP (another immuno-suppressant drug). The Remicade indeed “managed” and hid my Ulcerative Colitis symptoms. I was able to wean off the Mercaptopurine/6MP (this medication is not safe for fetuses and I eventually planned to have a child) and I remained on the Remicade infusions (a 3- hour intravenous process administered in an outpatient hospital setting). I received these infusions every 8-9 weeks, continuing without any signs of symptoms.

According to the world of conventional medicine, it appeared that I was doing well with my health and Ulcerative Colitis. I had no signs whatsoever of my disease and I went through college and early adulthood “healthy”. Unfortunately, this is the typical approach by our conventional healthcare system today – give the drug that hides the symptoms to make you forget that your body is at war underneath. And so, I was only reminded of my disease when I went in for my infusions, the drug that disguised my body’s ill state.

Remicade managed my symptoms, the bleeding and abdominal pain. However, I soon realized that I wanted out of the “managing symptoms cycle”. You may be wondering why would I want to risk flaring, risk spending more time in a hospital, risk more pain and bleeding, and risk facing many health uncertainties.

There were several reasons that surfaced. First, I usually felt “uneasy” during infusions. It’s a difficult feeling to describe. I never had any allergic reactions to Remicade and so I never needed to prep the infusion by taking other medications which other patients required. Following infusions, I usually felt a little “out of it” and I usually didn’t plan much for the remainder of the day. So although I never had any direct reactions to the infusion, throughout the years, I became even more troubled at infusion times. I also had the “uneasy” feeling (it sort of felt like a string was being pulled within my stomach) when I thought about my hidden disease and what my body was going through underneath the Remicade mask. I guess that was my gut giving me a sign that something wasn’t right. This wasn’t the way to deal with my body’s ill state for the rest of my life.

I tried explaining my feelings when my Gastro-Intestinal (GI) doctor asked me “Why?” in June 2010 when I approached him regarding my desire to heal myself naturally and get off drugs. I had just begun the health coaching certification program through The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and I wanted to jump on the right track and embark on my own journey for true health. In addition to the “uneasy gut feeling,” the possible effects of Remicade are very serious. They can include a weakened immune system, infection, liver damage, tuberculosis, and lymphoma (cancer); not to mention the unknown long-term side effects since Remicade was only approved in 1998.

My answer to his question was that I wanted to address the core problem and heal the chaos that my body was experiencing while hidden under the meds. I also was extremely terrified of all the side effects and the unknown future ramifications of the medications. Remicade is classified as chemo-therapy when billed to an insurance company (each infusion costs about $5,000!) My GI doctor seriously recommended that I continue Remicade. He cautioned that if I were to stop infusions, I could build a resistance and it would not be effective the next time. He questioned why I would want to stop a “treatment” that was successful. He shared that as long as his patients don’t develop an immediate reaction, he keeps his patients on Remicade. Well, I don’t consider that successful. He also said that he didn’t know about any natural treatments. He then said that IF I chose to stop Remicade, he wanted me to transition to another oral anti-inflammatory medication.

Of course, that medication came along with another list of side effects. Obviously, we weren’t on the same page and not even in the same book! My objective was to heal my disease without the dangerous medications that are pushed upon patients too quickly every day. I wasn’t worrying about building resistance to Remicade because I knew I wanted to stop putting that poison in my body and never go back. I decided that I wasn’t going to receive the support that I needed from him. That was the last time that I saw a GI “specialist.”

My Search for Natural Healing

So, that brought me to my search for natural healing. The role of food, which passes through our digestive system several times a day, was NEVER discussed during the 10 plus years dealing with Ulcerative Colitis. I was told that I would have to manage the disease by taking medicines for the rest of my life. My former GI doctor mentioned that certain foods may trigger a flare-up but it is different for everyone. I was never questioned about my regular food intake. Gluten is a well-known digestive irritant but I was never tested for a gluten allergy until I requested the test in 2010. (The test came back negative but that didn’t matter to me. I suspected gluten sensitivity in my body. I removed gluten from my diet in December 2010, and the chronic knee pain that I experienced for years dramatically decreased).

I found it very hard to believe that all food didn’t play a major role in our gut health. But that is what we are told by most physicians. Through the program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I was introduced to the teachings of Weston A. Price and the true meaning of health with traditional, nutrient-dense and real foods. I immersed myself into that lifestyle and approach to life and health. It resonated very deeply with me and my body. Even though I did not return to my GI doctor, I decided to continue with infusions until I had a clear plan for healing. It was during the Weston A. Price Foundation Conference in November 2010 that a good friend talked to be about the GAPS program. She was about to begin it for her own personal healing.

After the conference, I read and learned more and more about it and decided that it would be my path for healing. In January 2011, I consulted with Dr. Thomas Cowan, a doctor who utilizes the GAPS healing program in his practice. We determined how I would taper off Remicade meanwhile implementing the GAPS diet program.

The GAPS Diet to The Rescue

So, I prepared for GAPS. Fortunately, I was living the traditional food lifestyle already, so the transition wasn’t as shocking as I can imagine it could be. However, there were still many procedures, routines and foods which the GAPS diet highly stresses and I needed time to consistently incorporate them into my life. After a few months of preparing, I started the GAPS Introduction phase on March 1st, 2011. There, my GAPS journey began.

As I look back at this year on GAPS, the food aspect was of course challenging. Obstacles, trials and of days of utter frustrations with food were always present. It wasn’t easy. I remember staring often into my refrigerator thinking “I have nothing to eat!” even though I just spent HOURS preparing food ahead for several days. Sometimes, especially in the beginning, I just got tired of stock and ferments. I specifically remember a time when I had a minor breakdown over acorn squash! I couldn’t find jars full of acorn squash that I had roasted over the weekend. I prepared them ahead of time so that I would have some ready for meals during my busy work week. Oh, that was a fun morning, when I realized that I would just need to cook and prepare even MORE food that I already had in the previous days.

I remember bawling to my cat, Lewis, saying “I just don’t want to MAKE any MORE food!” That happened often in the beginning. Also, a GAPS girl always has to be prepared! Traveling with lunch bags/coolers, thermoses full of homemade stocks and soups, and my trusty mini-crockpot to reheat homemade meals in hotels were (and still are) a must! There were many times when I just wanted to have sprouted gluten free bread (being grain bread, it’s a big GAPS no-no). I often thought, what would happen if I just had one piece? Or what if I just had some roasted sweet potatoes? Those thoughts definitely flew around in my mind. It was in those times, I had to dig even deeper, envision my life healed and free of medications. I refocused kept on.

I have to say the most challenging aspect of GAPS, especially during the first 8 months, was my body’s unknown reaction in reference to my previous symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis. I had NO clue what to expect while tapering off Remicade in addition to introducing a limited food regimen. Questions such as “Will my symptoms return?”, “What will I do if they return?”, “Am I ready to possibly go through those severe symptoms again?”, “Will I be able to work?” Since I had not experienced any symptoms since being on Remicade in the summer of 2006, this was scary, very scary for me. I had read several successful testimonials about healing digestive disease with the GAPS program.

I even found a new friend, a former patient of Dr. Cowan, who healed her Crohn’s disease with GAPS. She was and still is a great support throughout my GAPS journey. However, I was unable to find someone that decided to completely forgo “successful conventional treatment” (which was managing the symptoms of digestive disease) and choose natural healing when symptoms weren’t at all present. All of the testimonies and stories that I encountered thus far were about taking on the GAPS program while symptoms were present and conventional medications were not managing symptoms. It was scary and I was in the dark.

While I began to taper off Remicade and starting the GAPS program, I was also finishing up my health coaching program from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I was working on building my health coaching business. I had a lot on my plate, literally! At the same time, I knew I needed to rest and let my body figure out how to heal. I remember countless days on end (I called them “healing weekends”) when I experienced set-backs. I stayed in the house, wore my pajamas for days, looked a wreck, slept, drank stock, sat in the sun and didn’t do much at all. My energy was greatly affected and I lost about 14 pounds; definitely not weight I needed to loose! However, I kept on with my journey, one day at a time, keeping my heart on true healing. I continued on and I began to see improvement.

While I once managed symptoms with the icy cold Remicade infusions, I was now finding true health through the warmth of the deeply nourishing homemade stocks.

Drug Free And Healed At Last

It has been quite a year on GAPS. With any natural healing process, there are ups and downs, plateaus and hills. It’s a long road. So far, through it all, I can say today that I am doing very well and I trust in my heart and gut, that this is the path for me. I have regained most of my lost weight — a sign of healing.

From the extra nourishing GAPS diet, my triglycerides are a record low! By the way, I am consuming a ton of fats! My energy has also increased. I remain on GAPS and I plan to do so in order to heal completely. I know that I have come a long way but I have more healing to go. In addition to more gut healing, the loads of pharmaceutical drugs throughout the years took a toll on other aspects of my health and GAPS will help in regaining balance with those aspects as well.

As I look forward, I am positive and full of thankfulness. I am so appreciative of all the support from my friends and family this past year. Their continued love and support has been a tremendous reason for my success so far. In addition, Dr. Cowan’s continuous guidance has been nothing short of supportive and genuine care.

I hope that my story has inspired you to take a step towards natural healing. I truly believe that anyone can take back their health. If you or anyone you know is dealing with any of the conditions I mentioned in the beginning of my story, I encourage you to read the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha McBride. It has changed my life and I can feel my body healing. It is slow progress but it is REAL progress and TRUE healing. It is extremely worthwhile. I wake up and I know that pharmaceuticals aren’t masking my body’s signs and feelings. We all deserve to be well and to experience optimal health. We CAN get to that place naturally, without pharmaceuticals, with the strength of our bodies and heart, and with REAL, nourishing foods Let your healing journey begin!

For an update on this inspiring story, click here!

More Information on the GAPS Diet

GAPS Diet: Heal Your Autoimmune Disease Now

Overwhelmed by the GAPS Diet?  Help Has Arrived

FPIES: Resolving the “Other” Food Allergy

How to Speed Healing and Shorten Time on the GAPS Diet

The Five Most Common GAPS Diet Mistakes

Hannah’s Story: 2 Years on GAPS Diet Heals Autism

Chronic Stomach Pain and Bloating Gone!

About the Author

Gina is a Health & Nutrition Coach and the owner of Simplistic Wholistic LLC. She provides in-person and telephone coaching. She is passionate about guiding her clients towards optimal health through real, nutrient-dense, natural and traditional foods. Specialties include digestive issues, weight management, energy and cravings. From her own personal experience, she is able to provide support with GAPS, SCD and the Paleo/Primal diets. Additional services include talks/workshops/seminars, group programs and tours of Health Food Stores.

You can connect with her through her website or by email


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Comments (158)

  • Holly

    my daughter was just diagnosed and they want to put her on steriods to get it under control. i want to avoid that at all costs. do you think it’s possible? she has had flare up for 10 weeks.

    June 28th, 2015 9:58 pm Reply
  • Nancy

    Been on GAPS for over 2 years and my UC just keeps getting worse. I also wound up with an anal fissure along the way, which is excruciatingly painful almost all of the time, and the area never gets time to heal with using the bathroom 6+ times per day. I was in such a bad flare up last week that I had to have my husband come home from work to take care of our kid.

    October 30th, 2014 12:50 pm Reply
    • claire

      Have a read of Paul Jaminet’s blog. He has a lot of information on bowel disease. His diet is similar to GAPS in many ways but a bit different in some ways:
      There might be some useful info. You might want to do a stool test to check for gut infection eg Doctor’s data or Metamtrix or BioHealth.

      October 31st, 2014 7:05 am Reply
    • Gina

      Hi Nancy,

      I’m sorry to hear that you aren’t doing well. There is a lot to GAPS and I often find that many have missing pieces. That’s always something to look at in addition to the food. There is often digestion support warranted, for example, with HCl or fat digestion support. It is individualized but incorporating additional support to the actual diet is extremely helpful! I have seen that with myself and also with my clients.

      October 31st, 2014 10:57 pm Reply
      • Reming

        My son has UC / CROHN since 2006. In the beginning his Doctor said he has UC but now he thinks he has Crohn. His doctor think they are the same. Do you think it is ok for him to take PROTANDIM while taking LIALDA? His doctor suggested for him to have colonoscopy every year which I am against with. What do you think of this? Can you suggest a doctor that he can see for a second opinion? Please e mail me . I need to personally get a email from you since I seldom have a chance to go online.
        Thank you./

        May 28th, 2015 7:21 pm Reply
    • Lisa

      I’ve been doing some research and I heard the auto-immune paleo diet might be a better option. I know I have to do something about my UC soon but i’m scared. I don’t want to give up the luxuries of food and life. I’m also a busy working mother of three!

      May 1st, 2015 9:25 am Reply
  • Pingback: Paleo Diet Ulcerative Colitis Robb Wolf Podcast | Paleo Recipes

  • Seth Budrew via Facebook

    Check out moringa has both water soluble and fat soluble nutrients in one plant and 36 anti inflammatories. I have a friend who has seen healing by the body with this “miracle tree”

    July 13th, 2014 6:30 pm Reply
  • Lisa Vaught via Facebook

    Naturopath Dr. Garrett Smith has a great post about colitis on his FB page. He stated something to the effect that hair mineral analysis often shows overly high levels of calcium. He recommends vitamin A, C, E and K2 to resolve this. He quoted a study that showed the colitis patients with the greatest damage to their intestines were those supplementing with vitamin D. I suggest following his FB page. He is from Arizona.

    July 13th, 2014 4:41 pm Reply
  • Joan Bishop via Facebook

    My mom has UC, state of mind is also crucial. You have to keep your stress way down, stress causes flare ups. For my mother, prayer and meditation does wonders.

    July 13th, 2014 3:00 pm Reply
  • Shelley Farra-West via Facebook

    My UC was induced by mercury toxicity…having 3 amalgams removed unsafely. The SCD diet, probiotics, vitamin D, protandim, and N-acetyl glucosamine (NAG) have helped immensely.

    July 13th, 2014 12:59 pm Reply
  • Mien Elsha via Facebook

    Someone close to me has also been suffering from colitis for about 8 years. The GAPS diet has helped him tremendously. High fat and fermented foods do not irritate the wounds and are especially important when digesting hurts so much you want to stop eating all together. He has also been using fenugreek powder and nigella seeds/oil and noticed it speeds the healing process. Thanks Sarah for posting this.

    July 13th, 2014 4:59 am Reply
  • Kateland

    So great to hear someone else is managing colitis without the side effect ridden medication. I completely manage my ulcerative colitis with diet too after suffering with horrible side effects and hating putting all that medication in me each day. I’ve started a site that has a whole load of the recipes I cook with now that don’t aggravate or upset my gut. Including all sorts of things I didn’t think I’d be able to eat when I switched to a vegan diet. Take a look, I hope there’s some recipes that can help you too :)

    April 17th, 2014 10:12 am Reply
  • Gina

    Hello Dan – thank you for sharing your journey thus far. To answer your questions, the GAPS diet is not meant to be a “forever” program. It’s a temporary 1-2 years intense gut-healing protocol. That being said, from my journey, I now will never choose to eat certain things that I used to, ever again. I don’t enjoy the thought of certain foods whatsoever any more. Those are foods that I believe, greatly contributed to the poor health of my gut. Also through this transition and healing, I LOVE my food lifestyle now. My husband does too. Every meal we eat is so darn tasty and nourishing. We don’t feel deprived at all. The other thing to think about (which I needed to wrap my brain around) is that the food lifestyle that I had before was not supportive in disease prevention or healing. My food lifestyle was a huge component, I believe, in disease coming to the surface. When I altered my food lifestyle, my health DRASTICALLY improved in so many ways. I know with that food lifestyle, it not only addressed my UC symptoms, it also helped me recover from other health issues. I feel if I would have been eating as I am now, all throughout my life, that I wouldn’t have developed such intense disease. It’s the same things that heal that also prevent. So, I even work with people that don’t have IBD, because again, the same components that help a body heal/recover also are components in prevention. I work with families in implementing more healthy/healing.prevention pieces in their diet and help to crowd out the harmful foods and ingredients. Therefore, when I’m working with my clients privately, I really help them see and understand this big picture. It’s so important to encourage this transition with family and friends too. Yes, it is a lifestyle transition but one in which I don’t regret in any shape or form, and everyone that I know that has transitioned (even those without IBD) are excited and thrilled about it. When you know why you are doing what you are doing, it sticks, it’s sustainable and it’s a positive experience. Sorry for the long answer but I hope this helps!

    January 29th, 2014 7:08 pm Reply
  • Dan

    Great accomplishment, Gina!! It’s amazing how the GI “Specialists” say that food has nothing to do with UC. I was diagnosed with UC back in 2001. I smoked back then and my very first flare up was huge. It took me out of work for almost a month. I lost probably around 20 lbs during that time and was thrown on steroids to stop the flare and then immediately put on Asacol when my 5 day steroid doses were done. Since i smoked, i found out that i would flare only when i tried quitting smoking. As soon as 3 weeks would hit after I quit smoking, my flare up would start again. So, i kept smoking. I was in my 20’s and didn’t really care at that time. I stopped Asacol because the UC was gone for now. Every once in a while my UC would flare and go away. Fast forward to 2012. My daughter was born and i quit smoking permanently. Of course, my UC came back and have been back to the specialist. I got the ol “food has nothing to do with it” line and I just glared back at him. So, i’ve been on Apriso for amost 2 years now. I still have had blood in my stools, diarrhea and frequent running to the bathroom. I went back to the GI and he said, “Well, we may have to up your medication”. I told him no and I decided to start taking things into my own hands last year. I stopped dairy and stopped eating gluten. I’m still on Apriso but immediately i found that i could manage my symptoms a whole lot better then i did before. I’ve been eating Paleo like but never strictly because it’s very difficult when you are the only one in the house with the issue and your wife loves mac n cheese. What are you gonna do? I’ve read the SCD book and once again, the diet is so strict that it’s hard for me to do. So, i haven’t really had the time to go strict with anything. I’ve heard of cleansing from different sites which has ingredients that alot of UC folks use daily. Then you have the FODMAPS diet. My UC isn’t bad at all. It’s i guess they say, left sided or whatever. But it’s a mild case and easily controlled. So maybe i don’t have to be so strict with the preparation? My goal is to get rid of this completely without wasting thousands of dollars on Holistic doctors and your fast talking sales person at the local herb store. Do you have to stick with the GAPS diet after you healed yourself? I know to not stuff my face with cake, potato chips and cheesy garlic bread sticks, but have you gone back to any of the foods from before UC or have you made this diet an actual lifestyle. I’m also curious what other trials you’ve done or did you just get lucky with being introduced to the GAPS diet? Congrats to everyone else on their path to healing!

    January 29th, 2014 1:19 pm Reply
  • Leigh

    Hi Gina,

    I feel your story is my story. I was diagnosed with uc in 2011 after having my third child. I have tried the asacol and prednisone off and on up to this point. I had been doing okay from 2012 until now and landed in the hospital on January 14, 2014 with a severe flare up to the mid transverse colon. I too was on the high dose solumedrol for 6 days. At first I thought it was helping. Then in day 2 they did a sigmoid and after that the bleeding was continuing. I felt they were rushing the process in general and they too told me I should start the Remicade. I struggled so much with the decision, like you did. I am most afraid of the fact that the drug is so new and there are no long term studies. I am home after 9 days and struggling. I have started the scd and do feel it is helping at times. I have a follow up on Wednesday in Boston with my doctor as well as my second infusion scheduled. I know this is my decision and with three little ones to take care a I am so unsure if what to do. I have a feeling my Doctor will have the similar approach as yours and not be open minded. Just like you my doctor never tested for anything to find the root cause. I currently have thrush which I feel may have led to this flair and before going to the ER I had seen the NP in the office and her comment was, “why would you have thrush?” When she looked at my throat. The medical field just band-aids the symptoms. Any advice would be greatly appreciated at this crossroads in my life.


    January 29th, 2014 7:41 am Reply
    • Gina

      Hello Leigh – I am sorry that you aren’t doing well. I know how it is and I can completely relate. I encourage you to look at the GAPS program. I work with clients privately via phone on an individual basis to guide them to get ready for GAPS and through it. There is a lot that could help even if you aren’t doing 100% GAPS. I’d be glad to help you if you would like, with individual coaching. Feel free to reach out if and when you are ready. Best wishes to you!

      January 29th, 2014 6:54 pm Reply
      • Leigh

        Thanks Gina. Could you give me contact info and I will be in touch. I really appreciate you getting back so fast.


        January 30th, 2014 6:39 am Reply
  • nush

    hi hi

    thanks for your post , i was wondering if you have ever tried juicing to heal ulcerative colitis ? i am kinda vegan so feel chicken broth may be too much , what would you suggest

    January 27th, 2014 7:02 am Reply
    • Gina

      Hello Nush – For me, I did some juicing in the past during a flare but it didn’t seem to help much. There are some that find success with juicing so perhaps it may help you too.

      January 29th, 2014 6:50 pm Reply
  • Osman Khalid

    Nice story, I am also trying to find solution of my UC through Diet, and recently i started SCD. Here, I have put some of my experiences with SCD:

    January 21st, 2014 1:36 pm Reply
    • Gina

      Osman – best wishes on your healing journey!

      January 22nd, 2014 7:19 pm Reply
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    December 22nd, 2013 1:38 pm Reply
  • Ray

    Hi Gina,
    Are you still on the GAPS diet or have you returned to normal eating? How is your UC health? I am debating starting the GAPS diet but wanted to know long term how its been working for you. Do you take any medications or supplements at this point?

    October 1st, 2013 4:51 pm Reply
    • Gina

      Hello Ray,

      No, I am on longer strictly following the GAPS diet, however I do maintain many of the food lifestyle concepts that are so important for all of us. My normal eating is much different than my “normal eating” before I embarked on my healing journey, My normal eating now is so great and I love it! I am doing extremely well. I actually wrote my updated story here on Sarah’s blog and I encourage you to read it as it speaks to the long-term success that I have had with GAPS.

      October 1st, 2013 10:49 pm Reply
  • Mary Stormont

    Anna- please contact me- I am sure I can help. I am a Registered Nurse. At least let’s “talk”!

    July 1st, 2013 11:24 am Reply
  • Anna

    Hi Gina,
    I read your post a few days ago and it gave me the hope I needed as I started the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD) after starting Remicade, so thank you very much. I saw my GI yesterday and talked about quitting Remicade because of my fears for the side effects. I have been having infusions for 2 years now, I’m 21. He reminded me of how sick I had been before Remicade and that my Crohn’s was a very aggressive type (I had not forgotten this though – I had four strictures and was not able to eat or drink, lost weight like there was no tomorrow so was put on total parenteral nutrition. I was eager to start Remicade because I was so sick, and I had been told by my doctor a few months earlier that the SCD that I had come across online would not work and therefore had not tried it yet).
    I wonder, how can I know that the diet (GAPS or SCD) is strong enough to cure my very aggressive Crohn’s? (SCD has cured my bloating so far, so that’s improvement but naturally no guarantee). What (tests for example, time, or ‘gut feeling’?) gave you enough confidence to quit the infusions? I am looking for some clues, and I wonder if you have any ideas to share about this. Also on GAPS as opposed to SCD? Thanks a lot!

    June 25th, 2013 2:19 pm Reply
    • Gina

      Hi Anna – Good questions. All things that I wondered about for some time. First, it’s a great sign that following the SCD diet has help with bloating so far. I say “so far” because healing takes time and not all showings of dis-ease (symptoms) will improve at the same time. For me (and this is always individual for my clients as well), Remicade did the job of hiding my symptoms so when I weened off my infusions, I had been on GAPS for about a month. Prior to all that I had a feeling that it was time, but again things may have panned out differently for me if I was symptomatic. However, some people (some of my clients included) decide to stay on medications and then ween once they’ve seen bigger improvement. It’s all so individualized and there is no tell-tale sign of when someone is ready but it is ultimately their decision. I would encourage you to make sure you are confident on your decision, whichever it may be. I find that I spend a good amount of time talking with my clients on topics such as this and helping them navigate through their decisions, in an objective manner. Regarding GAPS vs SCD, I have found so many more people feel better long-term (ie healing) with GAPS vs SCD, although SCD is a great place to start. There are also some aspects of SCD (such as certain foods allowed such as yogurt and dairy) that I think deserve an elimination period before properly introducing any dairy again. I also like how GAPS gradually introduces foods in the introduction portion. Again, SCD is a great start and I’m glad that you have felt some improvement. I’d be glad to guide you to/through GAPS as well. Sending gut-healing wishes your way!

      June 27th, 2013 10:08 am Reply
      • Anna

        Hi Gina,
        Thanks for your reply! I am considering starting GAPS, though I am having major difficulties keeping up the motivation to do SCD (actually I am doing it only for 60% since a long time ago because I could not control my carb cravings). Maybe I will buy the GAPS book to get a clear overview of how to do it. I live in Europe, so I will try to find a good nutritionist who’d be able to help me here.
        Thanks again! Kind regards,

        July 1st, 2013 5:30 am Reply
        • Gina

          Anna – I definitely see carb cravings greatly diminish on the GAPS program. Carb cravings are many times the bad bacteria/yeasts talking. I do work with clients via skype too so that’s always an option. Best wishes on your healing journey and I’m here if you need.

          July 1st, 2013 4:38 pm Reply
  • lana

    THank you Gina for your kind words, i know i want things too quick too soon, and the diet does help with pain, bloating, general feeling, it just i am not much of a “meat” person so eating that much of it makes me depressed. and i probably expected the diet to work on its own without meds, pretty foolish i know. i just need to be more realistic and stick with the plan for longer.
    thank you for offering the coaching i will deff get in touch with you

    June 17th, 2013 5:42 am Reply
    • Gina

      Well it’s perfectly human to want to feel better as soon as possible. Just remember you are healing from the inside out and peeling back the layers of the onion. Since you are seeing improvement with regards to less pain, less bloating, that’s the start of healing my friend! That’s your body saying “Thank you”!:) I would say the expectation of the diet to heal without bumps and hurdles is unrealistic, but I wouldn’t say that one definitely needs rx medications to get through it either. Everyone chooses their path, sometimes rx medications are in the picture, sometimes not. I know plenty of people who chose to forgo rx medications and use the dietary modality without rx medications. Everyone is different and has their way. I work with my clients in on-going and consistent sessions to help people stay on track, hopeful, motivated, reflective on their progress, etc. So, I’m here if you need me. Best wishes for healing Iana!

      June 18th, 2013 9:58 am Reply
  • lana

    hi everyone, I don’t want to sound too dramatic but i am 4th week into Gaps intro, doing everything by the book and feeling generally good. so 2 days ago decided to take myself off salofalk (canasa) suppositories since didn’t have any blood for a week and guess what only 2 days off and already i’m getting blood even without BM. i feel deflated and like I’ve done all that work for nothing. does it mean the diet is not for me or am doing something wrong or should i find another way to deal with my UC. I know it is such a negative post but i feel really down right now

    June 14th, 2013 5:30 am Reply
    • Gina

      Hi Iana – You don’t sound too dramatic, this is a tough journey. Try not to beat yourself up about the blood returning. It doesn’t mean that you’ve “done all that work for nothing”. There are always bumps in road, and it’s rarely a steady uphill climb. It’s not to say that GAPS isn’t a part of your healing journey, and it’s also not to say that other things can’t be a part as well. I know that sounds very general but as a health coach, I don’t feel comfortable providing recommendations through this post, since everyone is different and there are many pieces to look at when one is going through this. I’d be glad to help you on an individualized, personal basis off this post. It’s hard to say if it was perhaps too soon to go off the canasa. Also, even with doing GAPS “by the book”, everyone is different, so there can be some areas in which need more focus for different people. Hang in there! Again, I’d be glad to coach you along more personally if you’d like.

      June 15th, 2013 3:01 pm Reply
    • Marykate

      Lana- I suffered with ulcerative colitis for many years-massive doses of prednisone, etc. Please contact me- I am sure I can help! (I am not trying to sell you anything- won’t cost you a penny.) Do not despair-it WILL get better.
      M Stormont, BS, RN

      June 16th, 2013 5:54 pm Reply
  • Claire

    Hi Gina, Thanks for sharing your encouraging story. I wanted to ask what you think about the amount of carbohydrates on GAPS for a child healing from UC or Crohn’s? We’ve been given advice that it is too low carb for children but only OK for adults to do the diet. A dietician told us OK to do the diet but to add bread or potatoes.
    What do you think about this low carb aspect on GAPS for children?

    June 2nd, 2013 2:49 pm Reply
    • Gina

      Hi Claire – You are most welcome. Also, that is a very good question. The GAPS diet is not intended to be low carb. That’s one of the many mis-interpretpations about the protocol. If one really knows the GAPS diet, they know it’s not low carb. It DOES however take out certain carbohydrates, the complex ones that are offenders to the gut in distress. GAPS is NOT GAPS if there are breads/grains and potatoes involved – those are offenders to a distressed gut! The way I coach is to make sure that is understood (along with other mis-understandings) and applied as it can be very confusing. So, again, GAPS is not supposed to be low carb – any practitioner/dietician that thinks that and gives advice like that does not understand GAPS and in my opinion, shouldn’t be providing guidance about the diet. I hope that helps! .

      June 3rd, 2013 1:47 pm Reply
      • Claire

        Thanks Gina for your clear reply. I think the problem is most people out there iew carbs as mainly potatoes/grains. I understand fruit/veg and honey have carbs but do the equal as much carbs as potatoes/grains?
        How many GAPS carbs do you think should be eaten to not be low carb?
        Also is it true that children need a higher percentage of carbs than adults? (as was implied by the dietician).
        Many thanks. I really appreciate your reply.

        June 3rd, 2013 4:55 pm Reply
        • Gina

          That’s absolutely a problem – that most people see carbs solely as potatoes/grains, they don’t know nutrition. If particular carbohydrate rich foods are hard on the gut (which they are when they contain multiple sugars that the gut usually has a hard time digesting, especially in those showing GAPS symptoms), then it does not serve the body at all to force those carbohydrates to the’s like trying to put a square peg in a round hole…it’s not serving the body any benefit. The body can’t digest it, it’s taxing on the gut, therefore not serving the purpose of healing the gut! The amount of carbohydrates “needed” depends on the person. GAPS needs to be tailored and individualized for the person. One can move through it accordingly depending on how their body is speaking to them…I hope this helps more. Again too, the GAPS diet is generally 1-2 years commitment, but sometimes younger ones respond sooner….Still need to heal the gut but sometimes it’s quicker than an adult who has suffered for 10+ years!

          June 4th, 2013 9:45 am Reply
  • Gina

    Hi Lakshmi – I can understand your feelings. It is tough to understand the deeper meaning but it comes along with the transitions. I’d be glad to help you individually in personalized sessions. If you connect with me off this blog post we can talk about working together. I help my clients with GAPS, both in working up to GAPS and through it. It’s a challenge, but completely doable and I would be glad to guide you in your recovery and start your life fresh. Best wishes for health Lakshmi.

    May 28th, 2013 8:22 pm Reply
  • Lakshmi


    I am 28, and diagnosed with UC in Mar 2013. I had no symptoms and started having bloody stools on a Monday morning and that has taken a toll over my life. I have a 14 month old daugher and I feel sad that I am not able to enjoy or spend time with her because of my illness. I feel very tired and some days sick due to excessive gas and bleeding. I love being a mom, wife and a daughter! I love to cook and now I cry that I am not able to eat anything. I am a vegetarian and have already taken away dairy products out of my diet. I really need help so I can heal with this illness. GI specialist prescribed 3 800mg Asacol initially and when that didnt help he increased from 3 to 5. Even taking 5 tablets didnt change a bit and hence started on Uceris. The symptoms go down for a few days/weeks and come back up even if there is no change in diet. I am frustrated, scared and feel helpless. I want to look into GAPS diet and start my life fresh! Please advice.

    May 27th, 2013 8:00 pm Reply
  • lana

    Hi Gina, i started the GAPS today with chicken broth and chicken and i am already in trouble – i developed pretty bad diarrhea with a lot of mucus and a little blood. i just want to ask is it normal for the first day? is my body just getting used to fats? do i still proceed for a few days with just broth and meat or do i add some vegies?
    thank you so much for answering my questions as i am pretty new to the whole thing i feel lost most of the time.

    May 25th, 2013 5:47 am Reply
    • Gina

      Hi Iana – I would need to know much more to be able to guide you here. I totally understand the lost feeling as that’s why I do what I do! As you can imagine, it’s quite individualized so I work with my clients in individual private coaching sessions to be able to fully know what’s going on (detailed history, detailed symptoms, detailed application of the diet with methods/procedures etc, preparation steps, etc), which goes far beyond this blog and that isn’t on the website or online. The online outlines are just that – a general outline. I’d be happy to help you through it but to be able to help the best I encourage you to message me directly off this blog so we can communicate more effectively and efficiently. Very generally speaking, there is usually some adjustment period that looks differently for different people but there may be some things to tweak specifically for you depending on other things. Again, I would need to know more in order to guide you the best. I can also share the detailed experiences that myself and other clients have had too to help even more with relatedness. Thanks for your understanding and again, I’d be glad to help you further.

      May 25th, 2013 11:05 am Reply
  • lana

    Thank you Gina, i am going to try the diet just need to find where i can get the book or a complete plan. i am going to see naturopath but it’s going to be next saturday. currently i am day 2 on water fasting, just trying to give gut a rest.

    May 23rd, 2013 8:53 pm Reply
    • Gina

      Best of luck of course. has an outline online too. If you need any guidance through it, you can reach out to me. I often guide clients through it:)

      May 23rd, 2013 10:07 pm Reply
  • lana

    Hi everyone, i am so glad that i found this site. i feel like i am drowning in all information that is completely different from each other, some say go on this diet, others say it doesn’t work try another one. i’ve been diagnozed with UC a month ago, have prescription for steroids but never used them, had solofalk supposeties prescribed but only used it for 5 days – it did stop the bleeding, but as soon i stopped it the bleeding came back along with urgency and mucus. today i was informed that i have helicobacter in my stomach. i have pretty bad pain in the upper stomach when i eat therefore i was on the diet of eggs, chicken, kefir and veg juice for the whole month. i am sick of inability to eat, pain and blood and willing to try anything. my question is will the GAPS diet help with helicobacter as well or do i still need to take antibiotics?
    thank you for all the information you posted it really helps to know that i am not alone

    May 23rd, 2013 7:46 am Reply
    • Gina

      Hi Iana. I feel your frustrations! The GAPS diet aims to re-balance gut flora. The fact that helicobacter has been able to thrive in your gut is indicative of the need of building up of the good guys. If I were you, I probably would see if the GAPS diet helps, before resorting to the antibiotics. Another additional thought – Perhaps a naturopath in your area has a natural herbal option too for the helicobacter?

      May 23rd, 2013 7:47 pm Reply
  • mel

    I just read this whole page and all the comments- approaching my fourth infusion of remicade, on the 21st, im thinking there has to be something to “fix” me. Im home early from work today because for some reason my stomach went hay-wire. My manager doesn’t understand it, and i just wish there was something more i could do. I was diagnosed my senior year of high school, been to 5 GI docs and finally found a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic to alleviate some of my issues. Im miles from where i was a year ago, but still have issues traveling…making long trips and dealing with dietary inconsistancies…suggestions? How does this at that “willing to try anything” point just to feel decent again.

    May 9th, 2013 4:10 pm Reply
    • Susan

      Mel, it’s awesome that you are at this point. It was when I got to the point of saying “I’m going to do whatever it takes to get well”, that things started to turn around for me.

      Try the GAPS diet. It involves some commitment, but you have the motivation, it certainly won’t hurt you and will probably help.

      May 9th, 2013 11:28 pm Reply
    • Gina

      Hi Mel, I completely hear and feel your frustration and pain. It’s hard for people to understand digestive disease unless they’ve been through it. I am so blessed to have been down that road and then healed so that I can help others in their own journey towards recovery. I see so many great things from people making the decision to go through GAPs. I can help and guide you if you’d like – feel free to email me. I completely believe that GAPS is a well-deserved shot. Like Susan said, it certainly won’t hurt and as you can see from so many comments that it helps and has the capability of changing your life, as it did with me. Best wishes, hang in there and most of all, know that there is another way for you.

      May 10th, 2013 10:17 am Reply
  • Susan

    Donna, it’s terrific that you have found this information so early in your diagnosis. I have Crohn’s too, am in Australia and am doing GAPS with a family. I’ve already been through surgery and I wish I had found GAPS before then.

    Send me an email (you can contact me through the site linked to my name) and I would be happy to share more details with you about how to implement the diet and how it has helped me.

    Chin up! It’s going to get better from here. :-)

    April 21st, 2013 8:38 pm Reply
    • Gina

      Thanks for your support Donna!

      April 22nd, 2013 10:38 am Reply
  • Donna

    I have just reading this entire page and comment thread and am crying my eyes out with a combination of fear, relief and recognition. I was diagnosed with Crohns in December and in the short time since have been on mezalazine (salofalk) prednisone, and mercaptapurine (I’m in Australia but I think they are the same names) with limited success. My specialist is now talking about the iv drug which I think is the same as remicide and surgery as the only options remaining to me. This terrifies me! I’m 26 by the way. I have been researching diet and lifestyle changes for a few weeks now and stumbled across GAPS online. My concern is if I make the change (which at this point I’m fairly sure I will) how do I integrate it with my husband and two year old? I am going to buy the book tomorrow to read but from what I have read online I will need to do the introduction diet to heal my gut. Do I wait until I’m on the full diet and then slowly introduce GAPS friendly food for the rest of the family? Thanks for taking the time to read this, I’m slightly terrified of the magnitude of this all but no where near ad much as I am of major abdominal surgery before I’m 30 :)

    April 20th, 2013 1:41 pm Reply
    • Gina

      Hi Donna – Deep breath. I understand where you are right now. The good thing is that you know of another way. When I was presented with stronger meds as the only options, I didn’t know anything about dietary approaches. Many of my clients come to me with the fear of this situation but also the uncertainty on how to truly make it a lifestyle transition for themselves and their family. It’s definitely challenging but start introducing GAPS friendly food to the family as you embark on your transition. It may not mean that they are doing exactly the same meals/foods as you are but that they are incorporating them in. OR, you could just cook GAPS foods/meals for everyone. I do want to say that the GAPS food lifestyle is very beneficial for many people, not just those with digestive disease. The principles and main pieces of GAPS (ferments, homemade stocks/broths, fats) will be wonderful for your family also. I coach people through this, so if you need more individualized support, be sure to reach out to me. Wishing you the best of health, recovery and healing!

      April 22nd, 2013 10:37 am Reply
  • Sunnye

    As I was reading this I literally felt like I was reading my own story & the struggles that I have gone through with UC. I also just stopped my remicade treatments. I have also recently become uneasy with the drug & what it is doing to my body. Iam curious if there are any updates on how she is doing today & if she is still in remission. Thanks Sunnye

    February 19th, 2013 12:38 am Reply
    • Gina

      Hi Sunnye – Glad to hear from you! Yes, I am doing very well and still in remission. I plan on writing an update soon. It’s good that you are listening to your body and your gut feelings. That is step #1. How are you doing without Remicade? If you need any guidance or support, be sure to reach out. Sending healing thoughts your way! Hang in there.

      February 19th, 2013 10:03 am Reply
  • Mikel

    Meghan- if the GAPS is too rigorous try the SCD first. Especially if he is a bigger franed person like I am. Also, Slippery Elm Bark, Aloe Vera Juice, and Vitamin E Oil helped me out a LOT. I wasnt able to keep energy levels high enough for me to function daily on the GAPS diet. I find te Aloe at walmart in the laxatives section, the E oil at CVS in the E vitamins section and slippery elm bark at the natural foods/supplements store. These are ALL natural supplements that soothe the colon and helped me out tremendously. The aloe is a laxative so it a little rough if u dont drink it with food.

    February 15th, 2013 8:20 pm Reply
  • meghan

    my husband was diagnosed with U.C. almost a year ago (well first they diagnosed him with Croan’s (this concerned me because they couldnt fully identify which one it was and thus lessend my faith in their diagnosis)) needless to say he has been having flaire ups here and there and more frequently… they put him on Pentasa… nothing seems to be working so I am really trying to find a more holistic may to treat if not cure him… does the Gaps book list full diet recipes etc… Not to say I am lazy but I am the one managing his daily food along with myself and a toddler and often dont have much time to search and search for recipes etc. thank you in advance!

    February 15th, 2013 6:16 pm Reply
    • Susan

      The book does have some recipes Meghan. There are also other cookbooks that you can get and lots and lots of free recipes easily accessible on the internet. (Just type in GAPS recipes.)
      The time you put into this is more than worth in in terms of increased health and the ability to do more. I really encourage you to give it a go

      February 15th, 2013 7:07 pm Reply
    • Gina Rieg

      Hi Meghan – I would really encourage your husband to do GAPS. It has grand ability to calm things down and move towards healing. I work with many people on this and I can’t tell you what great things we see from GAPS. It may seem daunting, but just start one piece at a time and reach out to a health coach, if you need support. I coach people up to GAPS and through it also, because it is tough and intense! Also, I just want to point out that GAPS foods aren’t just for those needing to rebound from a serious dis-ease. GAPS foods are how we all should be eating anyways. So, this could really apply to the entire family, It is relatively easy (once you learn the tools, techniques and methods) to make basic GAPS meals (which could be for entire family) and then other non-GAPS components could be added in if needed/applicable. I hope that helps. You can do it! And reach out to me if you need some support!

      February 16th, 2013 3:14 pm Reply
  • Mikel

    Thank you all SO much for responding today, right now i am extremely emotional, literally an emotional roller coaster due to the taper of steroids I’m sure. I cried for the first time in over a year the other day on the phone with my amazing girlfriend who has been by my side throughout this whole debacle. What are some good support groups, I’m having trouble locating them, and I would deeply appreciate ANY more advice, feel free to email me ANYTIME, since I’m not sleeping well now. I have started taking slippery elm, boswellia, cinnamon, along with Lialda twice daily. Also any tips on joint pain and fighting fatigue while coming off these steroids would be awesome!! I’m SO grateful for your experienced input, it has given me hope again :). Please feel free to email me I would appreciate it greatly.

    January 15th, 2013 11:11 pm Reply
    • Gina

      Oh I have been in your shoes Mikel. It’s such a tough road but I do strongly believe that GAPS is a great foundation. It’s great that your girlfriend is by your side. My now husband was by my side through my previous suffering and now through healing. The support groups are on yahoo. One is GAPSdiet and the other is GAPShelp. Search for yahoo groups. They are loaded with info but I had to be careful not to get too overwhelmed because everyone’s journey is different. Joint pain is indicative of internal inflammation, very very common with an unhealthy gut. My chronic knee pain is DRASTICALLY less since I’ve healed my gut. About fatigue – LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. IF YOU ARE FATIGUED, rest and sleep more. Healing is an energy sucking process. You need to rest rest and rest more. Please stay hopeful. I never thought I would be where I am today without meds. I am optimistic for you too. Hugs to you!

      January 16th, 2013 1:42 pm Reply
  • Mikel

    Hi, I’m a 26 yr old former collegiate athlete that was diagnosed with severe UC in the March of 2011, I’ve never really achieved remission, and have gone down a similar path to yours, I haven’t tried Ramicade or anything that drastic yet, but am currently on prednizone. I was hospitalized for the 3rd time over new years due to UC complications and am at my wits end. I cant take immunosuppressants because i react to them. I seem to go into remission when hospitalized due to IV roids but it doesnt last, seems like as soon as i go on oral roids i flare back up. I am planning on purchasing this book today off Amazon in hopes that it helps, if their are any tips you can give me or any advice on what to eat to get started in between now and the time I receive the book I would appreciate it deeply. I want to save my colon so badly!! And I’ve tried everything it seems and am on a pretty strict diet. I discovered my potassium levels are pretty low, probably due to being on roids for the last 5 months. Please any help will be greatly appreciated.!!

    January 15th, 2013 3:44 pm Reply
    • Gina

      Hi Mikel – I’m sorry to hear that you aren’t doing very well. Trust, me I feel your suffering and frustrations. Not knowing what you are currently eating, it’s a little hard to say exactly but I would suggest starting with making meat stock, adding lots of sea salt and adding coconut oil to it. Here’s a recipe for meat stock from this post:

      I work with IBD clients on this all the time, so if you need additional support and guidance in all this, please reach out. I am here to help my fellow gut-healers find healing and be free of this suffering.

      Chicken, Pheasant or Turkey Meat Stock


      1 whole chicken, pheasant or turkey
      2‐4 chicken, pheasant or turkey feet, optional
      1‐2 chicken, pheasant or turkey heads, optional
      4 or more quarts of purified water
      2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
      Assortment of vegetables, as desired

      1‐2 medium yellow onions
      2‐4 carrots
      3‐4 celery stalks

      Bouquet garni (tie together using cooking twine)

      Fresh bay leaf
      Fresh thyme, rosemary, sage

      Celtic sea salt, 1‐2 teaspoons, to be added in the last 10 minutes of cooking
      Parsley, to be added in the last 10 minutes of cooking


      Rinse chicken, feet and heads in purified water. Cut whole chicken in half down the middle lengthwise. Place these in the pot. Add remaining ingredients. Fill pot with purified water. Allow the pot and its contents to stand for 30 minutes, giving the raw apple cider vinegar time to draw minerals out of the bones. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours.

      Add parsley and salt during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove the chicken and other large parts. Debone and reserve the meat for eating. It will be delicious. Strain the stock. Set aside remaining ingredients for preparing chicken bone broth (chicken bone stock).

      January 15th, 2013 5:55 pm Reply
    • Susan J

      Hi Mikel,
      I strongly encourage you to give the GAPS diet a go. I have Crohns and have been on it for a year now. Mid way through last year my gastro told me I was in clinical remission :-) – this was after being on Remicade and in danger of further surgery 6 months previously. So it works.

      You can have a look at how to start the diet here: Definitely do the intro diet but if this seems a bit much at first, start with the full diet (which is also detailed on the site.) The book is really good to give you further information and an understanding of the science behind it. You have to be prepared to stick to it closely and not cheat to give it a chance to work, but it sounds like you are prepared to do that. You may also find that you need to make a few tweaks to adapt it to you personally. There are a lot of support groups online that can help you when you have questions.

      Best wishes. I’m sure GAPS will help you.

      January 15th, 2013 8:38 pm Reply
  • Gina

    Hi Melissa – I’m not sure if this question is directed to me but I have heard a lot more recently on fecal transplants. I’d need to know more before forming my opinion but I think the base purpose makes sense – to repopulate the digestive tract with healthy bacteria from healthy feces…

    January 15th, 2013 9:14 am Reply
  • Melissa

    What are your thoughts on FMT or fecal transplants?

    January 14th, 2013 6:52 pm Reply
  • Philip

    Interesting that people think a diet alone will help a autoimmune disease. I take 6mp for my UC and it has never failed me. If I were the people on this website I would take any diet/new age treatment with a grain of salt. Gina will soon find out that you can only prolong UC for about a year before the symptoms come back as bad as they were before. Not taking a doctor’s advice either is an indication of distrust of society in general. The fact that people take this seriously is actually quite scary. A few things you should know about UC , one it has no known cure/ silver bullet yet. Two dieting can help but doesn’t do anything different than the medicine can’t “covers the symptoms”. Three just because your UC doesn’t come back within a year doesn’t mean that the diet made any difference. In fact since Remicade, the most powerful drug for treating UC, is taken every 8 to 9 weeks its pretty safe to say that its effects can last up to a year. Predisone is that same way. If your UC doesn’t come back in 4 years perhaps there is something to this but until extensive studies have been done with the diet you can’t prove that the diet did anything. TL;DR This diet most likely does nothing and your all being convinced it does. Please for the good of humanity see a doctor and do not trust anything on this website.

    December 29th, 2012 11:55 pm Reply
    • Gina

      I actually feel sad that you feel that way Philip. Your response is quite scary, to be honest. I truly feel for you and hope that one day, you experience a life free from UC and 6MP. Trust me, it’s an amazing feeling. I know it’s scary to visualize it (I never thought it would be possible), but it is attainable. (Also, the half-life of Remicade is 21 days and can vary slightly from how each body metabolizes it. So, I’m not sure where you are getting your information about Remicade effects lasting up to a year).

      I am not claiming that diet alone is healing me – but it’s the main part. Pharmaceuticals are not a part. GAPS is a program and one will only heal from disease with a lifestyle change which will naturally differ from the conditions that enabled the disease to brew and show itself. Diet lies at the root of lifestyle. Eating traditional food is by far not a “new age treatment”. It’s how people ate for centuries and didn’t see the myriad of diseases, including autoimmune, that we see today. It’s also interesting how you feel you can predict when my UC will “come back”. As of today, it’s been one year + 8 months since receiving my last Remicade infusion.

      I, and everyone else on the GAPS program, are healing, not prolonging. We are taking our health back and rejecting the side effects and long term negative effects of pharmaceuticals, which are thrown in our faces constantly especially with chronic disease. Eating healing and nourishing foods and avoiding unhealthy food is not covering up symptoms and they are, in NO way, similar to pharmaceuticals. In response to “until extensive studies have been done with the diet..”, I wonder if you realize that “extensive studies” won’t ever be done on healing diets? I encourage you to ask yourself, who performs these extensive studies on medications? The pharmaceutical companies have the money for this AND the interest to keep people in the cycle of the current conventional “health care system” – not those who help people truly get well.

      I fully encourage people to see a doctor that supports true healing – I do see a medical doctor who does that and sees amazing things from the GAPS program. I see the same, along with many people I know and coach. In addition, everyone SHOULD definitely decide for themselves what to trust. I know I don’t trust those people/companies, such as pharmaceuticals, who are in the business of keeping people ill and diseased. I trust those with other tools in their toolbox.

      I debated whether to respond at this length to your response but I felt so strongly, that I decided to do so. I really do have hope for you. I think everyone deserves a chance at true healing – perhaps you will be ready at some point to open your eyes and step out of your comfort zone into true healing opportunities. Best wishes.

      December 30th, 2012 8:10 pm Reply
      • Jeanette

        Gina, thank you so much for your response. I would like to add something here about faith in healing. I see Dr. Thomas Cowan who is an MD and supports me in GAPS. He has stated in his book and to me to my face that more than anything else, faith is so critical to your healing. He told me he has seen cancer patients completely heal because they changed their attitude towards life in general. There are many approaches to healing and to unanimously state that one is right over another I think is folly. What heals is faith in what you are doing. Many people have healed horrible diseases using allopathic medicine, eastern medicine, praying, meditating, or even a combination of all things. In my belief system, the body gets sick because the soul is out of balance. Blessings to all of us on our healing journey.

        December 31st, 2012 1:05 am Reply
        • Gina Rieg

          Hi Jeanette – very good addition! I agree 100% that faith and confidence is vital to healing. I work with Dr. Cowan as well:) Blessings too and Happy New Year!

          January 1st, 2013 2:10 pm Reply
  • Jeanette

    I’d like to caution folks about the use of probiotics on this diet. I have been on this diet as prescribed to me by a doctor associated with Weston A Price. Probiotics are not something to be trifled with or go “willy nilly’ into. They can actually seriously disrupt immune balance if not added slowly and properly. My UC actually got way worse because I did not go slowly. This is not die off folks either. My doctor informed me this does not exist and what is perceived as “die off” is the immune system going into overdrive and making inappropriate inflammatory responses. Please be careful in how you add probiotics. If your gut is leaky, this bacteria can actually leak through to blood stream and cause septicemia! I cannot stress enough to go slowly….

    December 5th, 2012 4:21 pm Reply
    • Gina

      Jeanette – Yes, going slow with probiotics is very important!

      December 6th, 2012 9:49 am Reply
  • Gina

    Amina – Thanks for your comment and for sharing your daughter’s story. I am on the same page with natural approaches. Healing is the only approach – not covering up symptoms. Wishing your daughter continued health and healing!

    November 30th, 2012 11:12 am Reply
  • amina

    Hi everyone…
    and thank you Gina for sharing these valuable info with us. I have a daughter who wad diagnosed with UC in 2010. her cramping bleeding, diarrhea and gas were affecting every aspects of her life. As a parent I agreed on everything doctors said. She was on Aceocol for few months. after taking it for a month, all bleeding stopped and she seemed was smooth year, as she wasn’t experiencing any new symptoms. Until Spring this year. But as a mother you know you can’t just mask whatever is happening .. you research and look for better natural alternatives to go deep into the problem. That’s why, I started taking Herbal classes last year because of her. I learned a lot of new approaches and ways to heal our bodies naturally. I can proudly said that because whatever I learned, I applied in my family. We did not go to Dr. almost two yaers now. I am not going deeply into my herbal experience, but I would like to share soemthing I found in April this year, when she started developing the same symptoms as two yaers ago. I found Renew life company with herbs and supplements combined to pretty much help heal the intestines and help them regain the strength and healthy look. Actually in July this year her Dr called me asking me if I will bring her for required check up and colonoscopy again. My daughter refused to go back to hospital, and promised will take anything I give her. So we started with Intestinew… and within a week she stopped bleeding, cramps and diarrhea all together, that lasted for few months. She regained an immunity, her blood count rose and inflammation count went down…. I believe in nature and all things natural. Is amazing how much slippery elm bark, marshmallow, ginger can do to our body… we just need to put right herbs and food in our body and body will heal itself. I am so thankful I found this info as I pinned it to my pinterest.. LOL:) thanks again Gina for sharing…wish you all natural awakenings and healing..
    I hope I wont need drastically to change her diet in future and that all flareups (if they happen) will be treated with nature.
    feel free to check this supplement as I am more than thrilled I found it…
    wishing you all relief of this nightmare… great health ya all!!!

    November 28th, 2012 11:43 am Reply
  • Gina

    Hi Sierra – I really encourage you to start dietary changes…The Mayo Clinic is great but nutrition and food, most times in any conventional medical practice, is not in the tool box! If you were my client, I would work with you towards a “paleo” way of eating first. Gradually work on this. I think that would be your best first step. Traveling is completely doable with Paleo. If you need some support or further guidance, we could surely work together by phone. GAPS could be something for the future when you have the ability to control more and when you aren’t traveling so much and when you can make that leap. Concepts of paleo are definitely first steps in healing. Honestly though, once you are comfortable with paleo concepts, the transition to SCD and GAPS will be less of a leap:) Wishing you great health!

    November 21st, 2012 12:26 pm Reply
  • Sierra Shaugabay

    Hi Gina,
    Your story was very encouraging, what a testimony!
    I was recently diagnosed with UC. It seems to be pretty mild compared to some of the stories above, but I do experience A LOT of blood loss and urgency to go to the bathroom. There are definately good days and bad. I am currently on Asecol, 6 pills twice a day. I am being treated at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. I feel very blessed to be able to get my medical attention through the Mayo, but I am still interested in starting a diet. I am unsure of where to start. I have heard that the Paleo diet works, the SCD, and the GAPS. I have gathered that the GAPS is the most intense diet of the 3. I am willing to try what it takes, but I also have to take into consideration my job. I travel for work and I am usually at hotels or exteneded stay places for a month or two at a time. It really makes it difficult for cooking. My question to you is, do you think the paleo diet is one to consider when dealing with ulceritive colitis? Or do I need to take the big leap and try the GAPS diet? The only reason I am asking about the Paleo is because I know my symptoms are still pretty mild.

    November 21st, 2012 8:32 am Reply
  • Julie Sanders

    Gina, what a great story! My 17 yo son is a little past a year with his severe UC/Crohn’s diagnosis. We are just about a year into GAPS.

    His story is very similar to yours with Remicade as the only ticket out of the hospital, 20+ pounds lost. We have transitioned from Remicade to 6-MP and Asacol for now, but are still wanting to get off all drugs before he goes to college (he’s a junior in high school this year).

    How did you gauge your progress with GAPS while weaning off drugs. I feel that it’s a challenge to know how he’s doing on the “inside” since I think the drugs mask many of the symptoms.

    I have to say, I’m so glad to read your success story, though. I loved reading the GAPS book, but NCM doesn’t write much about the purely physiological symptoms. It seems like the book focuses on the psychological symptoms more. It’s very encouraging for me to see all the comments on this post from people who have had success with GAPS for IBDs.

    Here’s to real health!

    November 19th, 2012 11:43 pm Reply
    • Gina

      Hi Julie! I am so happy that you and your son found GAPS so early on! I am also ecstatic about all the successful comments from my story. Gauging progress is super tough when you are on medications, especially those like Remicade. I went into it pretty blind, which was scary, but the best way to do it. I have several clients that are in the same boat and they do express that it’s very helpful to know that I’ve been down the same road. The big picture is that it’s all about setting up that environment so when the time comes for the body to figure out what to do without the medication, it will be the strongest possible. That being said, it’s definitely scary! My body definitely juggled quite a bit. I would encourage you and your son to reach out to a doctor (Dr. Cowan for example) who could advise on HOW exactly to wean off the Remicade according to your son’s particular situation. Best of luck and I wish your son continued success! Yes to REAL HEALTH!!!

      November 20th, 2012 3:51 pm Reply
  • Chris

    Everytime I hear a story like yours I’m very pleased to also remind myself of all the hundreds of thousands Johnson and Johnson just lost.

    October 21st, 2012 7:52 pm Reply
    • Gina

      Chris – agreed!

      October 21st, 2012 11:00 pm Reply
  • Chris

    I too got off Remicade but unlike you, it did not work at all for me at all. Today I am med free and it’s great not having toxic rat proteins poured into my body.

    October 21st, 2012 12:45 pm Reply
    • Gina

      Chris – so good to hear! Congratulations on your success. Yes, hooray for no more rat poisons! If I go through a little bump, which is very common in healing, I tell myself those very words!

      October 21st, 2012 7:46 pm Reply
  • Wendy Thomander

    Thank you for sharing your story!! I feel validated. Your story rings true in so many ways to my experience. I want you to know that you are not alone.

    I was diagnosed with UC and Autoimmune Hepatitis in 1997. So many times the doctor’s told me the same things about drugs (prednisone/Imuran) for the conditions, that I would “have to be on them for life”. I too didn’t believe them and KNEW that nutrition was key, to not just controlling the symptoms but also to achieving the health I needed to be a mother to my four kids.

    I didn’t know about GAPS then or Weston A. Price. (I will look into it!) I follow an anti-candida diet called Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates with some adjustments. I’m sure there is an anti-candida element to what your doing too as it seems to be key. Oiy! Those feelings of there not being anything to eat and having to change my diet and prepare SO MUCH, especially when the rest of the family is eating the bread I make and burrito bowls, etc. I do love transitioning them to healthier eating but it hurts still when I cannot partake with them. I am SO grateful that after 15 months my diet is easy to me and I don’t have to think about it so much. I’m especially grateful that I love it, really. I feel great and I’m happier, so it is endearing to me instead of feeling bitter toward it. I hope this helps you and others as well. We are not alone!

    June 22nd, 2012 4:33 pm Reply
    • Wendy Thomander

      Oh, and I was gonna mention: energy work has been key to releasing stuck emotions and getting around “heart walls”. Trauma, anger, anxiety, and depression have colored my life too much in the past. Prayer, scripture study, releasing blocked emotions (as detailed in Dr. Bradley Nelson’s Emotion Code), foot zone therapy, and daily essential oil applications have helped raise my bodily frequency. And now my thoughts are creating a new spiritual me which makes the physical body much easier to redeem. Life is beautiful; I’m coloring it in a new way: playing with my kids, beautifying my home, and laughing more with my husband than ever before.

      June 22nd, 2012 4:39 pm Reply
      • Gina

        That is so great to hear Wendy – yes we are not alone with true healing:) Best!

        October 21st, 2012 7:44 pm Reply
  • Caitlyn

    Besides feeling better (which I understand would be a huge indicator {I have UC, which is why I am on this site in the first place}), what evidence do you have that your colon has healed, or that the disease is in a state of remission? I am under the care of a very kind and reasonable MD who believes food has nothing to do with it, and a wonderful husband who just doesn’t want to go down this road of healing. I’m not sure how to convince them that *any* diet is worth trying without pretty good evidence that it works. And this is coming from someone who is convinced that eating real foods is best (ever since reading Nina Planck’s “Real Food” 5 years ago), and has kicked and screamed before taking each prescribed medicine.

    May 1st, 2012 5:03 pm Reply
    • Wendy Thomander

      My wonderful doctor’s told me the same thing. But they don’t have an education in nutrition. And nutrition is huge. Especially for gut disorders… because the gut is SO connected to every aspect of food so of course it is important.

      For me, on an anti-candida diet, I am not flaring at all – even in high stress. And this is without drugs. There are so many other indicators though, for me. I don’t have indigestion, I’m not an emotional eater anymore, I have more peace in my body after eating… its hard to explain but you don’t know what it feels like until you make the sacrifices to change and experience it. It’s just an inner peace and calm, even at the cellular level.

      June 22nd, 2012 4:53 pm Reply
    • Gina

      Hi Caitlyn, Sorry for the delayed response. My proof is that I no longer have stomach cramps, no bleeding – my main UC symptoms. I would encourage you not to think of this as a diet but a healing program. The concepts of GAPS are important for EVERYONE not just someone with a “diagnosed disease”. Your entire family’s health will benefit from it. This will set the stage for better health now and for the future. I can’t express that enough!

      July 30th, 2012 9:54 am Reply
  • Pamela

    Hi Julian,
    I don’t know too much about enzymes; I am in the early stages of learning. I am sure that Gina will answer you; however, I do know that they are very important to all, especially those of us with digestive issues. I am drinking kefir – it is supposed to be great for balancing the flora in the gut ie: good bacteria. I am not familiar with the SCD diet, as I am following only the GAPS diet and combining it with the philosophy of the Maker’s Diet (which is only whole, raw, real, organic foods….that in which we are instructed to eat in the Bible, not the man-made fake food that our fast-paced society has grown so dependant on and accustomed too, which I believe is making us sick. Julian, my suggestion would be to read up on those two diets. Also, you lost alot of weight, was that from colitis? I have had alot of discomfort and bloating, but no weight loss, perhaps I have not been as uncomfortable or in as much pain as some of you. I lost only 5 pounds, but I attributed that to just eating smaller portions and lots of broth from my GAPS diet soup stocks (they are soooo healing). Takes a while to grasp onto, but well worth it once you get a handle on the do’s and don’ts. Last night I received my first home delivery of fresh foods off the farm. I live in a very citified area of NJ, but a farm in PA delivers here, so I am really on it and happy to be! Looking forward to all of our good reports of wellness by taking charge of our own health! Blessings, Pam

    April 12th, 2012 8:33 am Reply
  • Julian

    Hi i found this testimonial off of Crohns Boy’s website, i a friends with him, i found out abotu the SCD diet from his videos on youtube, i have been on it since January 2012 and i am doing great, i dont know if my colitis was severe or not, i just found out about it in Sep 2011, and didnt have symptoms before then, i wonder if im healing faster becuase i caught it sooner, i have changed the way i eat but i am looking into the GAPS diet because i want to gain some more wieght, i am at 153lbs up from 149lbs 34yrs old..and 6months ago i was 185lbs, i need to add more fats into my diet, i am back in the gym lifting weights and i have pretty good bm’s no D and slight bleeding sometimes, what do you think about digestive enzymes, i take VIT D3 8,000 iu a day(drops) and a multivitamin from Freeda vitamins and 2-3 acidulphilus capsules with meals everyday, Barleans pharmacutical grade fish oil, and drink lots of alkaline or steam distilled water, Lucy from Lucy’s kitchen told me to stay away from enzymes and colloidal silver, but i heard it was good for me, can someone comment on my questions?

    April 11th, 2012 5:54 pm Reply
    • Gina

      Hi Julian, sorry for the delayed response so I hope you get this! I would personally start and emphasize fermented foods and broths before thinking about digestive enzymes. What is your fermented foods intake like?

      July 30th, 2012 9:49 am Reply
  • Pamela

    Hi Gina,
    Well it has been several weeks since we last spoke and I am happy to say that I started on my GAPS diet journey on March 27th (I ordered the book on the 20th and started as soon as I received it). The first few days were a little challenging, as I had to figure our where to buy organic foods and the entire style of eating (according to the GAPS diet) was foreign to me, especially the FAT stuff! I have avoided fatty foods my entire life; the thought of it disgusted me. However, I must say, I truly loved the stock – the brothe is delicious. After alot of online research and a lot of reading and re-reading of the GAPS book, my husband Joe and I finally got a handle on it as the days passed. It has been almost three weeks and almost immediately my stomach and abdomen were relieved of pain, while only eating the brothe and the kefir. I am now about to venture into stage three, so we shall see how tomorrow goes. I am very uplifted these days and soooooo happy that my friend found you and your story and that my dear husband Joey was good enough to brave the storm with me. We have learned alot and he too has committed to a life-style change in our diets. I will keep you posted. Blessings, Pam …..oh, p.s. I am also feeling better with my anxiety! For seven years since my nervous break-down I have watched the clock in anticipation of my next dose of medicine to calm my nerves and stomach and now, I actually go over time. So proof positive that the diet does affect the mind and the entire person. I am hopeful that perhaps in time, I will heal to the degree of getting off of my anti-anxiety and anti-depression meds. Perhaps my low-fat lifestyle for 40 years is what brought me to the nervous state to begin with and subsequently the IBS and ulcerative colitis. LOOKING FORWARD TO A HEALTHY BEGINNING. OKAY, NOW I AM REALLY SAYING GOOD BYE FOR NOW:) PAM

    April 10th, 2012 9:15 pm Reply
    • Gina

      Pam, that’s wonderful! Keep going and I will be thinking of you!

      July 30th, 2012 9:45 am Reply
  • Lisa

    Wow- inspiring story, Gina. I applaud you! Continued success, health, and blessings…

    March 21st, 2012 11:33 pm Reply
  • Joy

    Hi Gina, I haven’t heard of GAP before. I have had crohn’s since I was 8 but wasn’t dx’d till 1998. I started Remicade in Jan 2000, I have since been on Humira, Cimzia, and now Stelara – plus a host of other drugs (I have 26 medications, not including my daily vitamins. I round out my day around 45 pills. I am just 33 now. I have all the complications of crohn’s including arthritis, pyroderma, e nodosum, cataracts, glaucoma, etc. A total of 21 different dx’s – most are side effects of medication (like diabetes and high blood pressure).

    I would love to know more about GAP and how to cure the crohn’s and UC (I have both)

    Thanks and God bless

    March 20th, 2012 7:19 pm Reply
    • Gina

      Hi Joy – your body sure is going through a lot!! I am 31 . When I decided to go down this self-healing path, I thought the same thing – that I was only in my late 20s and I was taking such strong meds……I wanted to heal to ward off the related complications and diseases. I don’t think it’s impossible for you to take back your health. We all deserve that. Please email me privately and we can talk more. Take care.

      March 21st, 2012 3:22 pm Reply
    • Ydnar

      Hi Joy, please search for Russell Martini, and his book “Healing Digestive Illness”

      April 3rd, 2014 12:00 pm Reply
  • pamela

    Gina and Nicole,
    Thank you both for getting back to me; I am going to check out the today and purchase the book. I need to get on the road to healing asap.
    Blessings and good health to you both. Will check back in from time to time.

    March 20th, 2012 12:01 pm Reply
  • Gina

    Theresa – That’s great that you are doing well. I have heard about the J Pouch surgery and know a few people that have had the surgery. For them it wasn’t a cure-all. They still struggle with issues that probably could be addressed with the right foods and restoring the gut, which is what GAPS does. The surgery road was brought up to me by doctors in the past. I think the general tone of the comments from my post are aimed at finding a more natural way to get to the root cause, avoiding conventional medications and procedures. I don’t think they are clueless but just want a different path aside from conventional management of symptoms. For many, procedures and surgeries are not the desired route, as in my situation and belief……Wish you continued good health!

    March 18th, 2012 9:34 pm Reply
    • Suzanne

      My son’s Gi doctor did discuss the J-pouch surgery in conjunction with the colectomy, explaining that this procedure does indeed have its own issues, such as frequent, though controllable, bowel movements (ie. 5 to 6 a day), and some people do develop inflammation in the pouch, I think because the underlying cause of the UC is not addressed when removing the colon. Another big concern is that some people diagnosed with UC actually have Crohn’s colitis, so removing the colon just causes the inflammation to move to another part of the digestive tract; my son’s doctor estimated they make that misdiagnosis about 10% of the time.

      March 19th, 2012 3:33 pm Reply
  • theresa daum

    I am suprised that NO one on here has mentioned the J Pouch surgery? I find that odd, unless those comments have been deleted? I had the J Pouch surgery in 2004. After 3 years of recovery from the surger (yes, it’s as bad or worse than the disease itself) I am fine. I play tennis, eat what I want and live a normal life. Would I recommend it to everyone? NO . But it is worth discussing and I find it odd that everyone on here seems clueless about it. Maybe you are not connected with a GI doctor in a larger city and they don’t realize there is a surgery out there? Strange.

    March 18th, 2012 11:46 am Reply
  • Kristi Farrell

    Hello Gina,
    This post comes at a very crucial time for our family. Our son is 8 yeas old and was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis May 2011. He initially experienced all the typical symptoms associated with the disease. We asked the doctors if diet plays a role in the disease and the answer was “let him eat whatever he wants” Being in the health field we new good nutrition is always helpful. With attention to his diet we have been able to decrease those symptoms. He is currently on Pentasa and VSL#3 (Prednisone has been given sparingly). He has shown improvement and yet his GI doctors want to start Remicade. This just doesn’t feel right!! You could say we need to look for new doctors but with the restriction of insurance and the knowledge that this Pediatric GI group is known to be the best in two counties, where do you go from here?? We decided to do our own research. My husband and I bought every book out there remotely associated with the disease. We have joined countless forums. We have educated ourselves and believe diet is the answer to managing his UC and give him some quality of life back.
    Deciding on what diet to try is a big decision because it has to be enforced. Our son is a great kid, but that’s the issue, he’s just a kid and if it was up to him he would forgo any diet no matter how many talks with him about his health. The advice I need from anyone who is experiencing this are some tricks of the trade. I understand you have to prepare many foods, no problem, I love to cook. I need the quick fixes when in a bind or replacement ideas for the pizza, cake, birthday parties we attend. Not to mention the classroom celebrations with tons of crap offered to the kids ALL the time!!! A good 90% of the time I bring a cooler every where we go but what happens if I don’t follow the plan for a meal or a snack, do we start from square one again? Also, any suggestions on replacing cereal in the morning. I not only have a child with UC but he happens to be my picky eater. I have tried every replacement form on the market, soy, coconut, rice, almond milk and he doesn’t care for any of them. It sounds as though this diet does not include dairy (even lactose free?) Any suggestions welcome and greatly appreciated! I will save the psychological side of UC for another discussion :-)

    March 17th, 2012 7:15 am Reply
    • Gina

      Hi Kristi – Please trust your gut that the Remicade doesn’t seem right. If you can’t find someone in your area that will support you with what you want for your son, you could work with Dr. Cowan in CA (telephone sessions).

      Because GAPS is such a nourishing program with all real foods and no processed foods, I wouldn’t say that there are complete “quick-fix” replacements for those things that you mention – pizza, cake. That is why it’s so healing! No one sells GAPS pizza nor GAPS desserts. BUT, you CAN make grain free pizzas using nut flours or coconut flour for the crust. And there are PLENTY of scrumptious deserts. I had a major sweet tooth before GAPS and GAPS has helped to normalize it. However, I definitely have not felt deprived at all with my occasional GAPS desserts. The diet allows some cheeses, yogurt that has fermented for 24 hours, and butter (dairy is slowly introduced back in) but no liquid dairy because that contains milk sugar, lactose. How about eggs for breakfast? There are many ways to make them, like egg muffins, that could appeal to a picky eater. Or perhaps a smoothie with coconut milk, avocado and banana? Hope this helps! There are many GAPS meals that I think are super appealing to younger kids. – Feel free to email me privately.

      March 18th, 2012 9:21 pm Reply
  • corrie

    Hi Gina! just wondering. did you have to stop exercising while you were doing the diet?

    March 16th, 2012 1:31 pm Reply
    • Gina

      Hi Corrie! Yes, I actually did have to stop exercising for some time but not the entire time. I am actually now slowly getting back to my workout routines. I really didn’t anticipate having to stop and so it was extremely hard for me to not workout. However, when my body was telling me that it needed time to rest and not exert more energy than what was needed, I knew I had to listen and rest.

      March 16th, 2012 3:50 pm Reply
  • Pamela

    Forgive me, I meant to thank you for your story, help, advice and to say that I am so happy for you that you are on the mend! Also, in further poking around I have found and am hopeful I will find the instructions for the diet there.

    March 16th, 2012 8:19 am Reply
    • Gina

      Great you found one of the sites!

      March 16th, 2012 2:09 pm Reply
  • Pamela Pisarri

    Hello Gina,
    I was diagnosed one month ago with actue/chronic UC; which currently is concentrated to the rectum area, thank God. However, I am having an awful time with it….the bloating and pain; the frequent bowl movements countered with bouts of constipation; the depression that comes with it. I have also been struggling with generalized anxiety and IBS for the last 7 years and I think that this disease is directly correlated, although it doesn’t seem that studies absolutely prove my thoughts to be true. I am overwhelmed and I feel hopeless and frightened for my immediate and long-term future even with my strong faith in God and healings. I would like to try your GAPS diet; however, in all the readings above, I did not see where I could purchase, read or research in any way, the diet. Also, in all the comments above I didn’t see that anyone mentioned much about the mental struggle that is going on inside of me, am I the only one who is crying all the time? Can you help me please? Pam in NY/NJ

    March 16th, 2012 7:21 am Reply
    • Gina

      Pam, you are definitely not alone with the crying and mental anguish! I mentioned a little about that but perhaps I should have shared more. This journey has DEFINITELY been tough mentally. I still go through some of it but it is less intense as before. I think anxiety/depression is greatly related to IBS/UC. A lot of of the feel-good chemicals originate in the gut. You can find out more about the diet at and You can purchase the book on amazon. Pam, feel free to email me personally if you’d like.

      March 16th, 2012 1:15 pm Reply
    • Nicole, The Non-Toxic Nurse

      Pamela, you can buy the book from You can view the food lists on that site prior to buying the book. I can tell you that I feel much more emotionally stable on the GAPS diet and so does my husband. The neurotransmitters that help to control your mood will not be in balance (or even produced adequately) if you are not taking in AND absorbing adequate nutrients. GAPS heals the gut, which improves absorption of nutrients, and this will help your body make the correct neurotransmitters and hormones too. In my experience, GAPS will do wonders for the “mental struggle” you mention. We started to feel better mentally after only a month or so.

      March 16th, 2012 3:21 pm Reply
  • Suzanne

    Thank you for this post, it’s so encouraging!!! My son is coming home from his first year of university late next month and I am hoping to get him on board with the SCD diet. He was diagnosed with UC at the start of his senior year in high school. He was on 6MP for 8 months (with intermittent prednisone for breakthough flares) but had to come off it when his liver showed signs of inflammation. He is currently on prednisone and Remicade, but not in remission, though has been doing well enough to make it through freshman year of college away from home (and on a dorm meal plan!). He had one hospitalization for kidney stones as a result of dehydration and is struggling to gain weight. He has cleaned up his diet a lot and is lifting weights to try to bulk up…he would love to do one of the university’s study-abroad programs but that just isn’t possible health-wise at this point… his GI doctor mentioned a colectomy at his last appointment but my son said no (he’s only 19!!). I’m not really familiar with GAPS but have been reading books on SCD and Paleo and am really hoping I can get him on board this summer when he’s home. What’s the main difference between SCD and GAPS? There have been some posts on Robb Wolf’s site from people who have healed UC with a strict Paleo diet too…after this last discouraging appointment it’s so encouraging to hear that diet-induced cure is possible. Thank you for sharing your story!

    March 16th, 2012 7:02 am Reply
    • Gina

      Hi Suzanne – GAPS has an Introduction period and stresses ferments, homemade stocks and fats throughout the entire program. Food is our fuel and our gut is our body’s roots! The right fuel will rebuild our body slowly as well as prevent future problems. I hope your son finds some meaning in my story. I was his age when my UC showed it’s ugly face. I remember a lot from that time period so I know it is a tough time.

      March 16th, 2012 1:07 pm Reply
      • Suzanne

        Hi Gina

        I’ll definitely check the GAPS diet out. I guess in a way I’m thankful the Remicade has not worked that well, as it makes it easier to look for alternatives and eventually discontinue the infusions. Even the GI doctor said it was not a long-term solution and that’s why he brought up the colectomy. It takes a lot of courage and conviction to stop conventional treatment that is working, most people can’t do it, especially when their physician is so strongly against it. Thank you again for sharing your experience in overcoming such a challenging condition.

        March 17th, 2012 9:17 am Reply
  • Jackie

    Just wanted to add that I had my doc appt today and they (once again) told me I was fine and its in my head… and so I told them that I just wanted the blood draw to get my stats and then I would be trying this diet. the doc asked what diet it was so I told her – and I told her about our switch to whole foods. and she wrote down the name of GAPS and the Weston A Price foundation because she said something is wrong with this generation… the sad thing is that the head doc there is a gastro doc!!!!! but maybe some good will come of it. ?

    March 15th, 2012 9:25 pm Reply
  • Isabelle

    Love this post. Thanks so much for sharing. I am so happy for you Gina! You inspire me. I have rheumatoid arthritis and I so GET it about the uneasiness when taking the TNF meds. Everytime I had to do an injection I would cry and just knew in my soul that this was not the right path. GAPS is hard but feels right. I hope I will be writing a post like this one day. :o)


    March 15th, 2012 5:03 pm Reply
    • Gina

      I am happy for you too Isabelle! You sound like you are on your way!

      March 15th, 2012 9:24 pm Reply
  • Abi Haddad via Facebook

    just passed it on to a friend with u.c. i’m treating my severe crohn’s with gaps & have seen some improvement too! praise God!!

    March 15th, 2012 4:24 pm Reply
  • Nicki

    Thanks for this encouraging story. My father was diagnosed with UC when he was a teenager. He died in 2001 at 50 years old with a ruined liver that the doctor said was caused by UC. Hopefully more people will hear your story and UC won’t be a “death sentence.”

    March 15th, 2012 3:36 pm Reply
  • Amanda

    THANK YOU for writing this!!!!! My husband has UC and I’ve been wanting to do the GAPS protocol with him for quite some time. I need to really do some planning and get prepared for it, but he needs to get on board first. I may have him read this and see what he thinks. I’m always worried about him because he has a history of colon cancer in his family. You guys are amazing!!!!! Thank you!

    March 15th, 2012 2:53 pm Reply
    • Gina

      Yes, planning and preparation is big! Please share this with him because he must be 100% in it and dedicated. It only makes sense to be completely dedicated to yourself for true healing. We deserve to give ourselves that chance. Wishing him well!

      March 15th, 2012 9:22 pm Reply
  • Jennifer

    Thanks so much for sharing your story.

    I have interstitial cystitis, which is kind of like uc but in the bladder. I also suffur with fybromalgia and ibs. I am wanting to try this diet but know it will be a huge change as I am a big milk drinker. Glad to know I could have cheese though. My husband has uc but is currently in remission, don’t know how. My oldest, who is almost 3, has just been referred to GI for not growing and stomach issues. My youngest, 13m still breastfed, has been having reoccurring high fevers over the last few months. We leave near New Orleans where food is so much a part of who we are. This diet will be the hardest thing ever but if we all start feeling better will be worth it.
    What advice can you give a food lover starting this diet?

    March 15th, 2012 2:23 pm Reply
    • Eileen

      We started GAPS over 2 years ago and I was an avid foodies and milk/cereal eater. It was tough, but the way I feel on GAPS far outweights the deliciousness of the food I ate before.

      I started small and just took out sugar, artificial ingredients, gluten, and non GAPS dairy. That made a huge difference in us and that motivated me to continue to transition to GAPS. It took us 5 months to transition to GAPS. My kids now thank me for doing this diet because it has improved our lives so much. I have so much hope for issues that looked so grim before. Your taste buds will change and you will start to really taste the delicious foods that God has given us…the way it was meant to be.

      Try it for a month and see how you feel. I could tell in 1 month that we were on to something and wanted to pursue more.

      March 15th, 2012 4:02 pm Reply
    • Gina

      Jennifer – I am a huge food lover! Seriously! We are big “nourishing traditions” foodies. Our food is so scrumptious – it’s tastier than my Pre-GAPS foods! Food is a very important part of who we are also. I actually am not into full dairy yet (the dairy progression is different for everyone) but I have had some raw butter recently and no problems so far:) That has been tough but like you said – worth it! I agree with Eileen that your palate will change as you gradually incorporate these nourishing foods consistently in your meals. I see it all the time when I’m working with my clients. GAPS food is far from bland, if you are creative. Plus, depending on what foods you are accustomed to eating, they could be part of the problem! It really sounds like some gut healing is in need for your family! My advice would be to start small, first going gluten free (if you aren’t already) and eliminate all sugar, using only natural sweeteners, and get comfortable with lots of FAT FAT FAT! Feel free to email me with any more questions! Good luck!

      March 15th, 2012 9:20 pm Reply
  • Nancy

    So inspiring! Thanks for sharing your story.

    March 15th, 2012 2:12 pm Reply
  • Homebirth Mama

    My husband nearly died from UC about 10 years ago. He did the whole prednisone/mercaptopurine thing for awhile. He was hospitalized several times due to the severe bleeding. At one point his blood count went down to about 6. A team of “highly specialized” doctors told him the only way he would survive is if they removed his colon and most of his small intestine. He said he would rather die than live with a colostomy bag. He had been in so much pain from the cramping that he was on morphine. He made the connection himself that the morphine was making him bleed more (duh! doctors, it’s a blood thinner!). He stopped the morphine and his blood count went back up, so he was able to be released two days later. Long story short,

    I healed his colitis through food and a natural lifestyle. I wish I had known about GAPS back then. The biggest problem he has now is that because UC is an immune system disorder tat also attacks other parts of the body, he has debilitating joint pain. He is in constant pain. I wish there was some way to help him get his joints rebuilt. He’s only 34, and it’s horrible to see him like this.

    March 15th, 2012 1:34 pm Reply
    • Isabelle

      Homebirth Mama GAPS helps with all autoimmune conditions. I have rheumatoid arthritis and it is helping me. I’ve a long ways to go but am confident this will help. Please try this with your husband. It is not a quick fix however. I can’t do any dairy or legumes yet. It’s only been a month. I have hope I will get there. I have way more energy, feel optimistic instead of depressed, and less joint pain.


      March 15th, 2012 4:58 pm Reply
    • Gina

      Homebirth Mama – When I was admitted to the ER for my awful flare in ’06, they put me on morphine too! The on-call GI doc from the office I was working with at the time, stormed in and yelled at the ER team saying “You NEVER put someone with UC on morphine!” I remember hearing that through all the morphine fuzziness…..When I moved towards GAPS, my chronic knee pain drastically decreased. I have worked with a RA client whose joint pain was greatly decreased by moving towards GAPS (on SCD currently). Stocks would be huge help for his joints! GAPS works to rebuild the gut, therefore rebuilding the immune system, addressing those issues……It would never be too late to do GAPS…..

      March 15th, 2012 5:41 pm Reply
    • Jody

      Glad GAPS is making a positive difference in people’s lives!!

      Just for clarification: morphine is NOT a blood thinner. In fact, it has no impact on blood count, platelets or coagulation. The reason it’s used with caution in people with UC, or any bowel diease for that matter, is because it slows gut movement (peristalsis) which can lead to colonic perforation. Perforation isn’t terribly common but it is a risk factor.

      March 15th, 2012 7:32 pm Reply
    • Chris

      I truly believe that UC, Crohn’s, and any arthritis is caused by unknown pathogens. Please look into Ionic Silver for him as I have read many testimonials of RA going into spontaneous remission. It also put my Crohn’s into remission.

      October 21st, 2012 1:01 pm Reply
  • Charanne Graham via Facebook

    My naturopath reccommended the GAPS diet as a digestive detox for 1 mos. It’s been 3 weeks and I’ve lost 8 lbs and feel great. My goal is another 8-13 lbs to be back at my ideal weight. GAPS won’t be a diet, but a lifestyle, along with organic & chemical free/non-toxic living.

    March 15th, 2012 1:14 pm Reply
  • Mary

    Wow…this could have been my story. I was diagnosed with UC in 1998 and finally in 2002, after being told many times by GI doctors that “diet had nothing to do with it”, I went on a massive internet research to find a way to heal naturally. I found the SCD diet by Elaine Gottschall and started immediately. I understand it is very similar to GAPS. I slowly weaned off my Asacol and have been able to keep things under control thru diet. I did have a set back in 2011 after being free of medication and flare-ups for 4 years. My own theory is that going thru menopause and having some hormonal issues may have kicked everything in…but who knows. I also went through the Institue for Integrative Nutrition last year in an attempt to learn more and help others. Loved it! I plan to get the GAPS book and learn even more. Thanks for your story and encouragement!!

    March 15th, 2012 12:23 pm Reply
    • Gina

      Mary – Congratulations on your healing so far! GAPS is just a little more intense than SCD. You can do it!

      March 15th, 2012 4:22 pm Reply
    • Chris

      Mary, try combining a natural anti-biotic with the SCD diet and you will see amazing results as IBD is potentially caused by a Mycobacterium or other stealth pathogen undetected by doctors. This is why some mysteriously go in remission after antibiotic treatment. There is also a clinical study underway for a triple antibiotic therapy in AUS. I have had great success with combining SCD and taking Ionic Silver which is proven to disable 650 known pathogens. Another one is enteric coated Oil of Oregano and Peppermint Oil.

      October 21st, 2012 12:57 pm Reply
  • Nicole, The Non-Toxic Nurse

    It is wonderful to hear your story of healing! The GAPS Diet has helped my family overcome a variety of health problems. I never tire of hearing of the healing possible with the program. From your writing it is difficult to tell whether or not you have stopped Remicade at this point. If you have (or when you do), please visit or write a letter to your gastroenterologist telling him of your recovery using GAPS. As a BSN-level Registered Nurse, who also has a BA in psychology (relevant to this discussion because I was trained to pick up on behavioral patterns and body language), I can tell you that Western-trained doctors are indeed human, and that many of them continue to think of your suffering even after you have left the office/hospital. The blinders they wear are not a result of their wanting to keep their patients sick, as some on the Web suggest. Their blinders are a function of the tight paradigm of evidence-based practice now taught in all allopathic medical schools, which says: if something has not been studied via a double-blind randomized controlled trial, then it is not a treatment worthy of consideration. The good news is that the more they hear about the miraculous successes of lesser-studied (to-date) programs like GAPS, the more curious they will become. Many allopathic physicians are just as disillusioned with symptomatic treatment methodologies as are their patients. If we heal ourselves with programs like GAPS, and then report it to our doctors, we are indeed helping to educate them. They may be able to write a couple of us off as “nuts,” but when a gastroenterologist has more than one patient who takes him/herself off of Remicade and/or other pharmaceuticals, trust me, the doctor will be curious and do some reading to see what the program is all about. If you speak with Western-trained MDs and DOs who have gone back to school to learn functional medicine, many of them will tell you that it was a patient’s success with an alternative therapy addressing root causes that led them to go back to school and change the way they practice.

    March 15th, 2012 12:09 pm Reply
    • Gina

      Nicole – Thanks for your input and yes I never get tired of hearing all the healing stories either! I do plan on writing to my former GI doctor to share my story soon. I AM completely off Remicade now. It’s been almost a year since my last infusion. I hope that he will hear me and look more into it so that he can mention it to other patients.

      March 15th, 2012 4:18 pm Reply
      • Nicole, The Non-Toxic Nurse

        That is fabulous that you are off of Remicade! I am very happy that you plan to let your doctor know:-)

        March 16th, 2012 2:58 pm Reply
  • Jackie

    Thank you!!!! I am about to start this diet in a few weeks ( I have to order out for the foods that I am needing!!!) I needed this today as I stood in tears with yet another migraine and stomach issues and two kids to chase and no energy to do it. I cannot wait (and at the same time am dreading) to start!!!!
    Sarah- I read through the book and there are a few things that I was wondering about. The recipes she has for ketchup and mayo and fermenting are different from yours. Is it ok to use your recipes? and she makes her chicken stock in 2 hours… why is yours longer? can I still use all the stuff on your blog and get the same results?

    March 15th, 2012 11:34 am Reply
    • Gina

      Jackie – I’m so glad that sharing my story has provided some encouragement for you! Sounds like it was good timing. Stay strong and focused! Best wishes on your healing journey!

      March 15th, 2012 4:11 pm Reply
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  • Monica

    Thank you for sharing your story! Despite following a strict gluten free diet for 6 years due to celiac disease, I continued to have symptoms and decided to start GAPS 5 months ago. This is the first winter in many years that I have not experienced the depression I normally do., which I believe is due to GAPS. I wish you continued healing on your GAPS journey.

    March 15th, 2012 10:41 am Reply
    • Gina

      Monica – Congratulations on your journey! That is so great to hear!

      March 15th, 2012 4:09 pm Reply
  • Brietta

    We’ve had some great testimonials of people with colities taking ganoderma – research it! It really is an amazing herb! We have it at our chiropractic office and is helping people in so many ways. What a great story this is though – my cousin suffered with colitis and ended up having her colon removed at 18 years old. So sad!

    March 15th, 2012 10:35 am Reply
  • Gail

    Thank you for posting this. I was hospitalized in December 2011 for five days and diagnosed with collagenous colitis. I have refused all drugs and am trying to manage my flares naturally, with some success. I will be checking out the GAPS diet to see if it might help me as well.

    March 15th, 2012 10:35 am Reply
    • Gina

      Gail, I hope you find true healing. If GAPS turns out to be your path, it is a good one!

      March 15th, 2012 4:07 pm Reply
      • Gina

        Gail – I forgot to say that if you choose GAPS and need support and guidance, I am here for you.

        March 15th, 2012 4:12 pm Reply
    • Cynthia Stempel

      Gail, I was diagnosed with collagenous colitis as well in 2007. None of the medications have worked for me – even steroids do little, if anything, to help. Let me know how this diet works for you – I may try it also. Most people do not realize what this disease is and really don’t know how to treat it. I have been to at least five gastroenterologists (sp?) and none of them have helped. I am presently just taking immodium and Acidophilus. It seems that this recipe has served me better than all the other medications.

      March 16th, 2012 11:19 pm Reply
  • Kelly

    Congratulations! I was diagnosed with Crohn’s in 2000 and I’ve been on Remicade since 2002 – 10 years this summer. I have also been thinking about trying to wean off of it with GAPS, but it is a little scary like you said. Are you completely off of Remicade now?

    March 15th, 2012 10:15 am Reply
    • Gina

      Kelly – Yes, I am completely off of Remicade! This April, it will have been one full year since my last infusion. Trust me, I understand your fear COMPLETELY. It is SUPER scary but it’s really the way to true healing. Feel free to email privately. Take care!

      March 15th, 2012 4:06 pm Reply
    • Susan

      Hi Kelly,
      I have had Crohn’s since 1985 and was on Humira (similar to Remicade) to keep me in remission after surgery I had had 2 years ago. At the end of 2011, I was really sick of being fatigued all the time and not having energy for my kids and I decided I needed to find some answers for myself.

      I decided to try GAPS after researching various alternatives and started on the diet in Jan 2011. I stopped the Humira in Feb – I just felt it wasn’t doing me any good and was infact making my fatigue worse.

      I know I am not 100% healed yet, but I am so much better already it is remarkable. I am digesting foods properly, no pain, skin conditions have cleared up and I have more energy. This all happened in the first 3 months.

      I would encourage you to give it a try. I must say though that I have found I need to stick to it fairly strictly to get results. I have wasted some time because i have tried to digress a bit before I was ready. I would recommend GAPS to anyone – hard but worth it.

      June 21st, 2012 11:33 pm Reply
      • Ryan

        I am on GAPS too and have a question. Were fermented foods a detriment to anyone’s healing? I am trying to heal “Leaky Gut” but have not been eating fermented foods nor taking probiotic supplements. Is this the part that will push my healing to the positive because it feels as if it has halted a little for me.
        Chronic Knee pain
        Slow Healing
        Memory Loss/sluggish
        Dry skin
        Loss of hair (all over)
        More to list

        December 20th, 2012 8:59 pm Reply
        • Susan

          Definitely, definitely do fermented foods and probiotics, especially kefir. It’s really important to repopulate your bowel with good bacteria.

          January 17th, 2013 7:32 am Reply
        • M Stormont BS,RN

          Hi- I am an RN and had UC for many years. I only took meds for about 2 years and refused to take them anymore. I have been taking Usana now for several years and have not had a flare-up since. Check out my website- and you can read what it has done for me. Contact me as I am positive I can help you with most of your symptoms, as I had many of the same and they are all resolved now. You can contact me from my website. You have nothing to lose! Mary

          March 14th, 2013 9:20 am Reply
  • Lori

    My mom had ulcerative colitis over 45 years ago. The doctors told her there was no cure. She went to a health farm that fasted her on water for 30 days then put her on raw fruit and vegetable juices. She stayed away from all meat and dairy until it was completely healed. She is 81 now and in great shape. Her colon has been healed for many years. Doctors tell you somethingis incurable if drugs and surgery won’t heal you. Keep searching for a cure when they tell you that!

    March 15th, 2012 9:32 am Reply
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