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Gaps Diet--Thoughts? Challenges? Suggestions?
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I'm considering embarking on the GAPS diet for gut-healing. I have developed multiple intolerances and still have many flare-ups--I never know if it's residual gut damage/antibodies or CC (I've only been gluten-free since July). In either case, I'm thinking I need to do something more intensive and I'm considering GAPS. What are your experiences with GAPS? What challenges did you face? What methods made things easier? Did you stick to the full diet plan?

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I'm on GAPS and have been for almost a month. I'm trying to help depression, apathy, brain fog, and autoimmunity. I'm feeling better too. I have more good days than bad now, which is nice. My asthma seems to be milder, and some bladder pain that was troubling me has vanished.

I wasn't having constant stomach problems, only intermittent ones, so I started with full GAPS minus dairy. Dairy has been a problem for me in the past and I've been meaning to eliminate it. I've been strict on the diet except for one piece of Halloween candy and a sushi dinner out with friends. It didn't seem to bother me.

Challenges? Lots. I hope you like cooking! :lol: Since I started GAPS I've spent much of my weekends in the kitchen. I cook on the weekend and freeze food for the work week. You'll want a crockpot for making broth, canning jars for your fermented veggies, and a yogurt maker if you tolerate milk. Home-fermented foods are a huge part of the diet. I dug my food processor out for the first time in years, and I'm considering buying a juicer and/or dehydrator. GAPS is also expensive if you follow the recommendations for grass-fed beef, organic chicken, pastured eggs, and organic produce (at least for the "dirty dozen"). At a bare minimum, you must be sure all your meat, fish, and eggs are free of antibiotics, which means no normal grocery store meat. If you want to try baking, almond flour is $10 for a bag that only does two batches of muffins. Coconut flour is more cost effective since you use so little in a recipe.

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Skylark, thanks for the feedback! I'm already spending a lot of time cooking, so that will be ok. I rather like the idea of having meals prepared for the week, anyway. I had been concerned about the cost, given that cooking gluten/dairy/nightshade free has already been somewhat cost-prohibitive, so it's helpful to know what to plan for. I'm not sure whether GAPS or SCD is better--or paleo? When you're talking about so much effort and money, it seems like a major decision! But thank you for the info, it gets me one step closer to a decision.

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GAPS is a modern version of SCD. Elaine Gottschall picked up the old SCD and publicized it again. SCD is interesting - it was developed by Dr. Sidney Haas in the 1930s and '40s for pretty much all GI trouble. They knew back then that folks with celiac and IBS (it was all lumped together) didn't tolerate starch well. The gluten connection for celiac was discovered in 1952 and we were told to eat rice and corn again. That may have been a mistake.

Dr. Campbell-McBride has used her considerable training and clinical experience to further extend and improve SCD into GAPS. GAPS has more emphasis on bone broth and fermented vegetables as well as the 24-hour SCD yogurt but the food lists are pretty much the same. GAPS addresses modern food supply problems like trans-fats, corn-fed beef, poor quality dairy, and processed foods. I would highly recommend you read the GAPS book becasue it's packed full of great information.

There is a LOT of overlap with GAPS/SCD and paleo, and the permitted food lists are extremely close, with the big exception of low-lactose dairy on GAPS. Full GAPS also allows a few specific, soaked legumes, while paleo prohibits legumes and grains entirely. I don't think a few soaked lentils or some green beans will matter much either way. :lol: The other big difference between the diets concerns saturated fats, and since fats and oils are a substantial part of your calories on a low-carb diet it's an important distinction. I think Dr. Cordain has a better grasp on long-term adult nutrition than Dr. Campbell-McBride, so long-term I will be shifting towards paleo with lower saturated fat. I think it's very straightforward to start on GAPS for healing and transition to paleo for long-term cardiovascular health.

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Wow, very informative. Thank you Skylark! I'll read the GAPS book right away.

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I spent 3 months on the strict GAPS then another three months on a slightly less strict version. I would highly recommend it. I was having ongoing non-resolved GI issues that began clearing up within a couple weeks. Are you preparing food for more than just yourself (i.e. kids, significant other)? If so I have some suggestions. :)

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Are you preparing food for more than just yourself (i.e. kids, significant other)? If so I have some suggestions. :)

No, I'm cooking for myself--my household is not gluten-free. However, if I could cook up some delicious GAPS food, anyone will eat it--they don't care!--and it's easier to cook for a few than to cook for 1. So if you have suggestions, lay them on me! One of the biggest barriers I have faced is that I don't know how to cook, and I have multiple intolerances, plus severe reactive hypoglycemia, so I have to eat high-protein foods every 2 hours. This makes GAPS rather scary. I'm starting to learn and having fun, but I go hungry a lot because I really don't know how to do this yet. Every weekend I try a new recipe (or 2!). I'm determined, so I'll get there!

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Going off starches and sugar has helped my reactive hypoglycemia tremendously. I used to literally fall asleep after eating white rice.

The Internal Bliss cookbook has some nice recipes. It also has directions for the bone broth. Once you have broth, you can add meat and just about any veggies you want to make soup. There are recipes in the GAPS book. I've also gotten recipes at these sites:

http://www.scdrecipe.com/home/

http://www.scdiet.org/2recipes/index.html

http://milkforthemorningcake.blogspot.com/

http://nourishedkitchen.com

I also have noticed GAPS meal plans at http://nourishedkitchen.com and http://www.wellfedhomestead.com. I don't know anything about them but it's something that might help you.

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    • Another link: http://naldc.nal.usda.gov/download/7351/PDF
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