On GAPS™ to Avoid Common Maladies

My 3 Year Anniversary on GAPS

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My Before and After Photos

I started on GAPS on December 6th, 2009.

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

On GAPS™ to Avoid 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.

Genetic Mutations

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?

Autoimmune Disease

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 [affiliate link]. 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?



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19 thoughts on “My 3 Year Anniversary on GAPS

  1. Congrats, Starlene! Very exciting to have that much time (and healing) behind you. Wonderful!! I have been on Gaps for 3 years also (3 1/2 to be exact) and I also need to look into the cherries on top. The latest things I’ll be trying are iodine therapy and niacin therapy. They are pretty affordable, so I’m hopeful I can do these to continue to heal. I read about Niacin on Baden’s blog and in one of the comments I read about iodine from Gerald. I too have MTHFR but I haven’t been tested. And I think I have pyroluria, so have started supplementing with P-5-P and zinc. I have really enjoyed your radio show and your blog. Thanks for all you do!

  2. Thanks for sharing Starlene! You are amazing the way you push on with all those cherries on top 🙂

    I agree that adults would need longer on GAPS- it makes sense that your healing would take longer. And then I agree with all the reasons you have for being on GAPS long term or even forever. It’s good food so why give it up?

    Congratulations on making it to 3 years. You’re an inspiration!

  3. Looking good, Starlene!
    I myself generally need more than just GAPS, and more than just homeopathy, and more than just any one thing.
    Right now I am simply grateful to have a better level of health than I would have had I not done anything but continued to eat vegetarian SAD.
    I find that when I discover and pursue my passions, whether it be for dance, yoga, theater performance, open water swimming, a love relationship, or intuitive/meditation practices, then I find myself happy and energized and vital. Being able to live like this is what defines health for me.

  4. starlene, what a wonderful post! you look downright sexy! i’m so proud of all you’ve done and love your blog so much. congratulations!

    i’m right behind you. i began gaps june 2010, 6 months after you. i am feeling better all the time. like you, i am in the 20% who needs more time for the cherries on top. i also have many amalgams that i need removed. i’ve had them since i was younger than 10. i have three remaining health issues that i wish to clear up: 1) eczema 2) bloating after eating almost anything and pretty much all the time 3) extreme fatigue after eating starches, dairy, broth or stock, any coconut products (and gluten, but i don’t eat that any more). extreme, like i’m drugged and fall into an immediate sleep for hours.

    the improvements are that, as long as i avoid said foods, my energy is great! i sleep wonderfully, my bowel movements are text book perfect. my blood, urine, and hormone tests are off the charts amazing, i am happy, healthy, and pain-free. my depression is gone.

    i, too, plan to stay on gaps. i do wonder about adding “safe starches” like rice and potatoes. chris kresser, whom i admire very much, feels that gaps people should add these foods to avoid thyroid and adrenal issues and to get enough fuel for energy. what do you think?

  5. I’ve always heard that GAPS is supposed to be a *temporary* diet to permanently heal the gut, so that one could, say, eat a WAPF diet without any maladies. Do you think that just depends on the person?

  6. So happy for you Starlene. You are an inspiration!
    How did you end up treating the MTHFR? In terms of supplements? I’m going to order yasko testing soon to help me treat my mutation (which is the same as yours) because I can’t tolerate the recommended supps. I got off GAPS about 6 months ago and am wanting to get back on it after Christmas. Are you still active on the yahoo group?

  7. Hi Karen! Congratulations to you too! It is such a challenge trying to figure this all out. I posted on Facebook a while back that I wish we could create a doctor for ourselves, you know Star Trek style? Program in the knowledge bases we want the doc to glean from and go from there. Seems it would be easier than trying to make all these guesses on our own! I’m glad you enjoy the radio show and blog, I’m trying to line up some more guests. I might take a break in December and focus on January. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  8. Aw, thanks Patty. It’s the clothing for sure. I’m amazed at how some outfits make me look slender, while others make me look chubby.

  9. Thank you, Renee. It is hard to believe three years have gone by, to tell you the truth! Here’s to another year toward healing and health!

  10. Hi Churyl! So good to hear from you! Thank you so much for the kind words. My hubby is very happy with the slimmer me to be sure and agrees with your statement wholeheartedly! 🙂 Well, it sounds like you found your answer by avoiding the foods you mention. I know it would be great to be able to eat the other things but maybe one day your body will allow you to slowly reintroduce. Let’s hope! Dr. Natasha does say that new potatoes are an advanced food. I have not tried them yet myself. Do you think Chris is talking about white rice or brown rice? I try to keep up with his blog but haven’t read that he recommends these to GAPS patients. I just seem to do much better when I stay low on my carbohydrates. I don’t think I have fructose malabsportion either. I think I forgot to post an update on that but I am back to eating all the foods I was avoiding and I really don’t think they are affecting me negatively, at least not anything that jumps out at me. Stay in touch and here’s to continued healing! ~Starlene

  11. Hi Megan, I do think it depends on the person. I know that Dr. Natasha told me she keeps her family on GAPS but maybe if she told people they had to stay on GAPS forever it would be way too intimidating. Hah! When I started GAPS, I was prepared for a 10 day experiment over the time I would be home from work. I’m glad I stuck with it though. So so glad my feet no longer ache like they used to. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  12. Wow! That’s so awesome that you’ve made such progress. I am about to start GAPS. It doesn’t really seem daunting to me because I have cut out (almost) every thing possible!!! Gluten, dairy, soy, corn, eggs, tree nuts, flax, sesame, and several other things. Just finished the GAPS book, and I’m convinced grains are the source of my adrenal fatigue, thyroid problems, skin issues, severe asthma and allergies. If I could just lessen my symptoms, I’d be very pleased. I also feel drugged after eating wild rice. i could have easily fallen asleep driving today! im ready to start. Thanks for the hope!

  13. Thank you very much for sharing your 3 year journey! My family and I have been following the GAPS protocol for 7 months now and it was encouraging to read your post. I too am feeling much better, my thyroid function is improving, and hope I never revert to the ‘old’ way of life before GAPS. I think my biggest challenge has been to reprogram the brain when it comes to meal planning and preparations. I have cooked the same way for last 20 some years. It’s gettings easier with time as I learn about new ideas and dishes that our family enjoys! Hurray to your success and strength and accomplishments Starlene!

  14. Pingback: Four Years on GAPS

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