For something that could potentially take a solid commitment of two years (with no cheating), this decision isn’t taken lightly. In fact, you might be wondering why I would consider this worth it. I don’t have serious health problems. I get some mild acne here and there, I get mild indigestion and stomach aches from time to time…. I get a little anxious and moody… but who doesn’t?? My symptoms are hardly severe, and they don’t interfere with my quality of life much.
So is that really worth two years out of my life?
For most people it wouldn’t be worth it, no matter how bad their problems, and that is more than fine! We are all very different people. In fact, when I first heard about GAPS, I was like ‘nooo way buddy’. Well.. that’s not entirely true. I saw the definite merit in it, but I was like… nuh uh. Maybe in the far flung future sometime.
But I couldn’t help reading more and more about it and deeper and deeper into it. It captured my attention big time, to the point where I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The more I learned, the more I realized that I believed in this protocol and felt more strongly about it than ANY health plan I had ever, EVER come across.
Why is this?
Well, I’ve been studying health for quite a while now. Before I had ever heard about the GAPS, I had very much learned that digestive problems were a major root cause of so many diseases, including acne, and learned the mechanisms of how that worked (ie. low stomach acid, leaky gut, and improper gut flora). I had also learned of the strong nutritional benefits of eating a Weston A Price style traditional diet, and very much believed in that dietary approach.
I felt I had a good grasp on this stuff, and a very clear picture, but that I still didn’t have all the answers. There were still some random questions that were mysteries to me.
One mystery was “why is it that no matter HOW I eat, whether it’s vegan, vegetarian, paleo, or traditional that I can’t seem to have PERFECT health!?’
Don’t get me wrong, I feel much better than I did when I ate the SAD diet and didn’t care about my health. And obviously my skin agrees. (See my before and after pictures for proof!)
But no matter how strict I have eaten on any of these diets, the on and off mild acne, digestive symptoms, and anxiety remain. I always hear about these people finding their one diet that made them feel like a bajillion dollars! Why can’t I find that diet for me that gets me jumping out of bed in the morning with energy and feeling rad all the time?
I also had other random unanswered questions floating around my head such as “Why is it that paleo people think all grains are the devil for everyone, yet the people Weston A Price studied all ate properly prepared whole grains and enjoyed perfect health. What’s up with that? Are grains really bad or not??”.
So anyway.. despite knowing that digestion played a major role in most diseases including acne, and despite knowing full well I didn’t have perfect digestion, I was still a bit in denial that that was MY problem. Mostly because I wasn’t really sure what to do about it. If none of the diets I had ever tried fully worked, and all the digestive supplements I ever tried didn’t do much of anything, then what am I gonna do?
Yet, I wasn’t gonna give up. I’ll be honest, having mild acne really pisses me off. I have a blog dedicated to getting rid of acne. Every time I get a pimple… it feels like a big “you suck”.
I knew the answer was out there. I was going to find it. I don’t really feel desperate about my acne or health problems anymore since they are so minimal, so I wasn’t desperate for an immediate solution, buuut…. I did want to find it one day.
Health is my hobby. I study and read about it SO much, that finding that missing link has become almost like a little game to me that I feel compelled to not just give up on it…. it’s like this big mind bending puzzle – a riddle to solve. The riddle drives me crazy, and I just. want. the. answer.
And the answer was out there. I could FEEL it was out there. The more I learned the more I felt I was close. The more I learned about traditional foods, the more I felt I was close. The more I learned about the digestive system, the more I felt I was close to finding the answers.
And then just like that, I found GAPS.
The key! The thing I had been looking for this ENTIRE time. Just sitting there. It has tied everything together for me.
All the health principles that I believed in were there: Weston A Price style eating, a tried and true digestive healing plan with logical steps that follow what I had already learned, and real people getting serious results with it on really tough diseases. Here it was. What I’d been looking for.
And I finally came to understand:
THAT is why no diet has ever brought me perfect health. For some people, they find a great diet that works with their body, they begin to digest it properly, and they feel like a million dollars. But unfortunately for some some people (and I guess I am one of them), switching to a healthy diet does not completely reverse what has happened to your digestive system beforehand. To come into perfect health, it actually needs to be specifically targeted and healed, so that it can digest the healthy food you are eating and make you feel great.
It also solved my Paleo vs Weston A Price existential question about grains…. ARE grains bad?? Are any whole foods ACTUALLY bad? And the answer is NO! But lots of people’s guts are pretty bad! If what Dr. Campbell-McBride says about a weakened gut wall not being able to break apart double sugar disaccharides (starch as in grains) very easily, then it would make sense that all these paleo followers feel so amazing without grains in their diet. It’s not so much the grains, it’s their guts. (note: this last paragraph is totally just speculation).
Whether that last part is true or not, it got me excited to maybe eat gluten again. And not worry about eating healthy foods and wondering if I’m actually allergic to them or not.
My big reasons for doing it are:
- I don’t want to have acne ever again. I want to feel happy and peaceful all the time. I dislike indigestion. Plus I’m interested to see what kind of random problems go away that I don’t even notice I have. I have constantly come across people listing off completely out-there things that they have cleared up with this program, like this woman here. And here is the full list of conditions that have been addressed with the GAPS.
- Many people in my family have a lot of health problems as they’ve gotten older (very much GAPS related ones, in my opinion) – I’d really like to just nip it in the bud as soon as possible
- I believe in this so much that I can’t just not try it. It’s been on my mind constantly for the last few months.
- I want to try it, not only to satisfy my own never ending riddle of health, but also so that I can experience it in order to help you guys out with it if any of you want to do it. I don’t want to just say “heey… do this diet” when I have never tried it myself. And the knowledge I am gaining from this will help me help those on my candida cleanse program better.
- And then there is the reason in that I would simply love to not have to avoid any particular group of foods. Right now, I consciously avoid most dairy, gluten, the majority of grains. I worry too much if I don’t eat the way I want for more than a few days. I don’t want to do this. I want room to breathe.
And here is my actual biggest reason that this is worth it to me at this point in my life, and it’s not about acne, or food, or anything like that:
It makes sense that all of us adults are so sick and our digestive systems are so bad. We’ve had time to eat terribly, build up toxins, and take mounds of antibiotics.
But what about the kids in their short little lives? How are all the kids so SICK these days? How did their gut get so bad in such a short time? Why are the incidences of allergies, eczema, autism, ADD, behavioural problems, and asthma increasing exponentially?
It’s because you inherit your gut flora profile from your mom. Our guts are actually sterile when we are born, and a baby swallows its first gulp of bacteria as its going through the birth canal. If your mother has got messed up flora and yeast problems, she passes that onto you, and then also with her breast milk. Her digestive system becomes yours.
This is why more and more children are getting sicker and sicker. The problem is getting compounded with each generation.
Personally, as a woman of child bearing age who is thinking of having children at some point in the next 5 years (probably), I’d like to get my gut all spic and span for my baby. I don’t want to pass on any problems to my kid. I don’t want to pass them the acne curse! And I certainly don’t want them to have autism, asthma, or anything else. This is out of love for them… and it’s certainly more convenient for me to not have a child with ADHD!
I just keep hearing time and time again about mothers who wish they had known about this whole gut thing BEFORE having children, and it’s become very clear to me that it’s important for me to do this before I get pregnant. So yes, this is a long commitment, but I’d rather do it myself now instead of potentially having to put my entire family on the GAPS later.
… and THAT my friends, is why the GAPS is worth it to me.
I will also say that I am at a bit of an advantage here than some people for implementing this due to my personal situation being fairly ideal. In fact, I actually do not think the full GAPS diet will be difficult for me at all, really. I’m a bit of a homebody by nature, and the way I was eating before this was very GAPS-like already. I’m accustomed to spending a lot of time in the kitchen, and I work from home. My boyfriend is supportive too, which helps. And, as I’ve said before, I’m sick of moving house, so I’m actually grateful this will help me to stay put for a while.
Plus, I feel there’s a wide range of delicious food to eat on the diet and the full diet is really not horribly restrictive (from my point of view anyway). And I have been teaching myself over a long while how to do all the stuff I need to know how to do – make ferments, bone broths, whatever.
The thing that scares me is just the staying on it through thick and thin.
It means no traveling beyond a short weekend away (if well prepared), and only with my boyfriend or a close friend because I’d feel very uncomfortable doing weird food things around people I didn’t know well. And perhaps other awkward social situations if they revolve around food, like if someone invited me over for dinner, or out for dinner. Speaking of which, eating at restaurants is pretty much out.
And then there’s people not really understanding why it’s so important to me to not cheat. “Is it REALLY going to hurt you if you eat this ONE thing this ONE time?”. Or People saying things like “YOU’RE ON A DIET?? OMG WHAT ARE YOU ON A DIET FOR? YOU DON”T NEED TO LOSE WEEEIIGHT!”. You know…?
But hey. It is what it is.
Also, I’d like to note here that as much as I believe in this protocol, there is still a chance it won’t work. There is no diet or health plan out there that works for every single person, and people do run into problems with the GAPS. The biggest one I keep hearing about is that while GAPS is not intended to be a low carbohydrate diet, people accidentally go too low carb and end up losing energy after some months on the diet.
For other people… it just plain doesn’t work for whatever problems they were trying to solve. Maybe it would have with some tweaking, but they never figured it out.
So… I would be disappointed if it didn’t work for me. But I’m extremely hopeful that it will.
And that’s that folks. What do you think of all this? Do you think I’m crazy?