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Today is my three year anniversary on GAPS! Tomorrow I'll be starting a giveaway to celebrate so be sure to come back and see what I'm going to be giving away.
You may have read or heard that GAPS is a temporary diet or that two years is the time frame to expect for complete healing, so you may be wondering why I'm still on GAPS after all this time.
I have several reasons, and I'd be glad to share why, as well as why I expect to remain on GAPS for the foreseeable future.
Avoiding Common Maladies
When I interviewed Dr. Natasha, she told me that she keeps her family on GAPS to avoid common maladies. When I heard that, I thought to myself if it's good enough for Dr. Natasha, it's good enough for me. Here is an excerpt from the interview I did with Dr. Natasha where she explains why she keeps her family on GAPS.
You hear all the time that diets don't work, or perhaps they do, but within five years most gain back the weight.
One of the reasons that happens is because the person embarked on a “diet” for a period of time, and then they went right back to what they were eating prior to losing the weight. If eating those foods made you fat and sick to begin with, why would you want to go back to them?
I do not ever want to gain back the weight I lost, or resume those aches and pains. If it means changing the foods I eat forever, then I am willing to stick with what is working for me. It's not really that difficult since the food is so delicious. 🙂
Some People Need More Time and “Cherries”
If you've read my blog for any length of time, you know that I am seeking the “cherries on top” which Dr. Natasha refers to as the other healing modalities, like detoxing, chelation, herbs, etc. I've done the Leptin Reset (and continue with a modified version of it), have been tested for MTHFR, and have tried Cold Thermogenesis, just to name a couple of things. Now that the weather has cooled down, I've considered trying the cold thermogenesis again – specifically cold showers, but wowee, I hate cold showers! Also, there are some sources that say cold showers are not beneficial if you have adrenal fatigue.
Here is an excerpt from our interview where Dr. Natasha talks about those cherries on top.
She says in her experience about 80% of people will heal perfectly on GAPS, but the other 20% need to seek out a GAPS practitioner and look to additional methods for healing. I think especially when the person is an adult they need to be willing to give the body time to heal – it takes time for healing to take place.
There is a long list of conditions that stem from the genetic mutation MTHFR. Autism is one of them, as well as many digestive problems. I suspect that many people who come to GAPS have a form of this genetic mutation. According to some sources, 30 to 50% of the population of the world does. I learned that I have the most challenging mutation, two copies of C677T. In order to maintain good health, I should remain on a diet like GAPS – for the rest of my life. Why make it harder on my body?
The GAPS Diet is a great way to address autoimmune disease since the full diet eliminates most allergens. This gives the body a chance to heal, instead of being constantly assaulted with the wrong kinds of foods, like grains, gluten, starches, chemicals, preservatives and many more.
I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis which is an autoimmune disease. According to Dr. Datis Kharrazian, people with Hashimoto's must avoid gluten:
I advise my patients with Hashimoto’s to give up gluten completely if they wish to preserve their thyroid gland. Eating just a little bit is not OK, since even a small amount will cause irreversible thyroid tissue death. I also remind them to avoid cross-contamination in restaurants, packaged foods, and their own kitchens.(pp. 31-32). Morgan James Publishing. Kindle Edition.
That alone is reason enough to keep me off gluten for the rest of my life. I'd rather not cause irreversible thyroid tissue death, thank you very much.
My Son Needs to Be on GAPS
My son Matthew has Down Syndrome. He has alopecia areata which is an autoimmune disease. People with Down Syndrome are prone to having thyroid problems. It took me a very long time to persuade my husband that our son should not have gluten or grains. I think he is finally on the same page. Our youngest son moved out in July which gave me the opportunity to remove all GAPS illegal foods from the house (well for the most part as my husband still eats Little Debbie Swiss Rolls by the box). I would say Matt has been on full GAPS for about one year or maybe a bit longer. We did eliminate pasta and dairy from his diet early on, and in the three years that I have been on GAPS, Matt has lost weight and feels so much better. It would never work for me to resume eating gluten, grains and potatoes, etc. and expect Matt to abstain.
No More Torture Around Food
In the months before starting GAPS I had come to the conclusion that white flour products made me tired after eating them. I would feel like I had to take a nap after meals, and I would feel lethargic even on the next day. So that alone has been wonderful to no longer feel drugged after eating.
Another problem I had for years was that I could not stop myself from overeating. It felt as if I was possessed any time I sat down to eat. I would shovel the food in and would barely take time to chew my food. It just seemed to taste better that way. I was known for eating super fast. I tried for years to just stop eating once I felt satisfied, but I never could. I was always compelled to eat one more bite, two more bites, three more bites, oh let me just eat the rest. And then I felt stuffed and my stomach ached. I loathe tossing my cookies – once it is down, it's staying down. And so that uncomfortable feeling lasted until my food digested somewhat.
I no longer do that. I believe it was the food I was eating caused me to eat in an addictive manner. And those same foods which I thought I could never, ever live without? I don't miss them. I found that when I stopped eating them altogether any cravings were eliminated. And so, if I were to go off GAPS, and reintroduce these foods I feel confident that the same addictive behaviors would come back.
It is wonderful having a “normal” relationship with food. I definitely enjoy the foods I eat now, but they don't wield control over me. I don't go back again and again and again for one more bite. It is wonderful.
Consists of Real Food
What is wrong with the GAPS full list of foods? Meats, vegetables, fats, fruits, ferments – these are all healthy foods to eat, and allow the human body to regenerate, heal, and thrive. I have heard stories about people who were told they had to stop eating gluten, and they felt like their world had ended. Add the avoidance of grains and people panic. A few weeks ago when I was taste testing a dessert at my job, a coworker of mine (who is not in the office a lot and has seen that I've lost weight but has no idea how or why) upon hearing that I don't eat gluten, grains, potatoes, sugar and more stood literally with her mouth hanging open with a look of horror. She was stunned at the mere thought, even while she ate the dessert and proclaimed it was delicious. With foods like that, what's to be horrified over? I sometimes think I'm thought of as a freak… how backwards is that? I'm eating real food. My food is not commercially processed, but it's tasty and delicious.
How Do I Feel After 3 Years on GAPS?
I would love to say that I'm 100% healed and full of energy, but I cannot say that and be truthful. I had hoped that GAPS would be all I needed to heal but it appears I'm in the 20% who need to seek out the cherries. In 2011 we went through an extremely stressful time, and there was the Jalapeno Incident which pushed me over the edge. I have been recovering from the crashing of my adrenals since last year in October.
In addition to the slow recovery of my adrenals, I have 11 amalgams which I need to have removed. I've found a holistic dentist that I like, but I have not been able to secure the funds to have the work done. The base cost is around $5000 and that doesn't include any additional work that needs to be done. I have several very deep fillings which might be more expensive to fix. I am unable to eat all organic foods and grass fed meats and butter. I have thyroid issues and adrenal fatigue, and it appears I am entering menopause so my hormones are declining. However, in spite of these little pitfalls, I do feel better than I did three years ago before I started GAPS.
- My feet remain healthy and pain-free, if you look closely at my before and after photos you can see the high heels I am wearing, so cute! Love them!
- If I don't get enough sleep at night, I'm still able to function and I never drink coffee. Before GAPS I would find myself falling asleep driving and I never experience that any more.
- Sticking with full GAPS gets easier and easier. I don't miss the foods I used to eat years ago, it is wonderful to attend a function with those foods and have no desire or sad feelings over not being able to have them.
- I am on the computer a lot, and no sign of Carpal Tunnel syndrome or joint pain. That's important, since I spend a lot of time here!
- When I visited my sister for her Thanksgiving dinner, I spent most of my time there washing dishes! I am pretty sure I've *never* voluntarily washed dishes at her house on a holiday, so that has to say something about my energy level. And that was after cooking my own Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, cooking the entire day on my feet, then cooking more food for Matt and I on Saturday, to bring with me to my sister's house to eat on Sunday.
- I continue to lose weight, slowly but it is staying off. For the most part I eat what I want to – which makes me very happy. When I say I eat what I want, of course I mean within the full GAPS list of allowed foods. I loathe counting calories, and portion control. I want to just eat my food and not be worried about how much or not having seconds. I do find that I feel better if I stick to a lower carbohydrate version of GAPS.
Those are just a few things that come to mind. You can see my list of conditions which cleared up in six months into GAPS.
Celebration and Giveaway!
To celebrate my 3 years on GAPS, I will be having a celebration giveaway. Come back and visit tomorrow to see what I'll be giving away.
There will be seven winners in all.
As in the past, subscribers to my newsletter will receive a newsletter edition announcing the giveaway, and within the announcement you will find a special code which will allow you to earn an extra ten points. If you aren't already subscribed, sign up now so that you will be sure to get the newsletter with the special code (you must be subscribed to my newsletter prior to the giveaway beginning).
Tell me where you are in your GAPS journey? Are you just beginning? Are you in for the long haul looking for the cherries for your GAPS cake, like me?