Top Ten Reasons I’m Starting the GAPS Diet

Jar of gut-healing meat stock

Jar of gut-healing meat stock

My son and I are not autistic, but soon we will embark on Dr. Natasha Campbell-Mcbride’s GAPS Diet. GAPS is short for Gut and Psychology Syndrome, or in our case, Gut and Physiology Syndrome Diet. My eight-year old son has pink allergic shiners under his eyes, food allergies and eczema. We’ve seen better, happier, more present behavior now that he’s really off gluten, but the other grains (read: rice, as in rice bread and rice milk and rice cereal) are allergenic for us too. I know that mercury is a big problem for us, and my thinking is that if we heal the gut – at least somewhat – we’ll have an easier second attempt at chelation.

When it comes to starting new diets, I’ve been around the block. So this time I’m going to do a bang-up job in the preparation department. The Intro GAPS menu offers tons of meat broths including things like liver and bone marrow, so I’ll be spending some energy finding farms to purchase grass-fed animals. I want to make lots of broth and freeze it so that there’s always something to eat. Here is what NCM says about the power of the stocks:

Meat and fish stocks provide building blocks for the rapidly growing cells of the gut lining and they have a soothing effect on any areas of inflammation in the gut. That is why they aid digestion and have been known for centuries as healing folk remedies for the digestive tract.

But before we even start on that…My plan is to introduce The Body Ecology Diet author Donna Gates’ young coconut kefir (yck), which is powerful probiotic stuff. We’ll start at one tablespoon per day for Harry and ¼ cup for me. Question Number One: Do I need to chop coconuts every time or can I kefir starter some store-bought coconut water? The latter would be much easier, although I would miss the coconut kefir pudding that you make from the meat of the coconuts. (Actually, I’ve got that one answered – please see this Body Ecology site page that explains your four coconut kefir options.)

After we’ve built up our tolerance to the yck and it is no longer causing die-off reactions (and I know that it does this because I used to make it years ago), I’ll start on the homemade sauerkraut. Again, building slowly up in amounts eaten each day. Question Number Two: Can a leaky gut begin its healing on these probiotic foods while still eating some gluten-free grains?

Top Ten Reasons I’m Starting the GAPS Diet

1. My finger joints are swollen.

2. Harry has food allergies and eczema.

3. We’re both heavy metal toxic.

4. My hair has been falling out.

5. My energy is quite low.

6. I react to foods.

7. I bloat after eating.

8. I’m way too stiff.

9. A Microbial Ecology test said I had no good bacteria.

10. I know we can feel better than this.

Lab test showing very elevated mercury levels

Last summer I used the Andy Cutler protocol to chelate mercury (here’s a recent test that showed off the chart Hg levels). I thought I went slow and low enough – 6.25 – 25 mg of DMSA for some rounds, 12.5 mg of ALA for others. But after 25 three day rounds I began to get more symptoms, not less, and I know now that I went too fast too soon.

Here’s a question that I’d like reliably answered. Who’s right, Andy Cutler or Dr. Natasha Campbell-Mcbride? Do you need to chelate using DMSA or DMPS and ALA before you heal the gut, as Andy recommends? Or do you do the GAPS diet for 1-2 years so that your healed gut will chelate the heavy metals out for you? I wish I knew. But I do know that my chiropractor, who used the AC chelation for herself, and Dr. Pampas, an Andy Cutler protégé, both strongly insist on having their patients get on some sort of non-allergenic, grains-free diet before attempting to chelate. The ones who do this can take much greater amounts of the chelators with less side effects. Thusly, my plan: yck, sauerkraut, and a Paleo/GAPS diet combo.

Here’s another question I need answered. It, too, sparks controversy. What exactly is the relationship between yeast and mercury? Does yeast really grow when you’ve been exposed to mercury, like when you have your fillings drilled out, or during chelation/redistribution, to protect the body from this incredibly poisonous substance? I could easily believe this, because every time I try to kill yeast – with antifungals or probiotics (which I was happy to read that NCM says really do cause die-off), I get severely depressed, which to me means a re-exposure to Hg. I could be wrong but that’s what it feels like. But I don’t think that Cutler believes that mercury is released when yeast is killed.

One thing I like about NCM’s GAPS ideology is that you’re not guessing at what supplements your body needs. For 12 years I’ve had scores of supplement bottles standing at the ready for me to take from. Let’s see, today I’ll take Vitamin B Complex four times a day even though yesterday I only took it once, and tomorrow when more D comes I’ll get on the 5000 mg dosage again (up from 1000 mg) even though I’m out of A which some say you’re supposed to take so that the E will have an effect….That’s right, with the supplements I’m guessing. But our bodies know.

Here’s a great site that gives seekers like myself some hope. It also sells the 30 Days on GAPS Intro Handbook, which I ordered and printed and follow. I am finding it very helpful. Click here to see it.

I’ll check back in on this soon.

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7 Responses to Top Ten Reasons I’m Starting the GAPS Diet

  1. Heather says:

    I can’t tell when this was written so maybe you have some good answers now… Anyhow I was on GAPS a year and a half before I was mercury poisoned, felt great, now since chelating I am totally set back and my gut is a disaster again. I am wondering whether or not to stay on GAPS for now, but maybe you’re right about keeping to a grain free/low sugar diet. Going to check out the site link you gave now…thanks and good luck! P.S. it looks like you and I take the same test from Genova Diagnostics. Do you do it through a practitioner or on your own?

    • Amanda says:

      Wow that is great information you are sharing, although painful for you! I’m talking about how you felt great on GAPS for over a year, then chelated and things went downhill. Totally relate. It’s exactly why Chris Shade and others talk about needing to be so careful about chelation in terms of gut inflammation. What protocol did you use to try to get rid of the mercury? My body tells me that paleo works best – i.e. when I eat grains my fingers are apt to say something. Ditto gluten and dairy. Even raw dairy. For now, I always say (I absolutely love raw milk). Good for you for being so good on Campbell-McBride’s diet! No easy feat. I still make chicken broth all the time.

      The Genova I did with a practitioner. I am still unsure as to whether food allergy tests, even blood, are accurate in letting you know which foods not to eat. For example, gluten and milk showed up as having no reaction (I am referring to the most recent blood test I did), and I know I react to those, whereas walnuts and sesame showed up as high, and I never eat those.

  2. Michelle says:

    Thank you for sharing this insightful information! I am curious about where you got the lab test that showed your toxic elements done. Right now I am trying to find a reliable lab for testing and am not really sure what type of testing is most reliable, blood, urine, or hair analysis.

  3. belinda says:

    hey Amanda did you try the GAPS diet after doing dr wilsons protocol? which would you suggest to try? thanks , Belinda

    • Amanda says:

      The GAPS diet is similar to Wilson’s…I found that I needed more carbs and sugar. But everyone’s different. Personally I eat Ray Peat style and feel warmest eating this way. I know it includes food that GAPS and Wilson would never allow, but I like it. I’m researching iodine now. Without iodized salt (I use sea salt) or seafood (mercury) I haven’t been getting enough. Thank you Belinda and best of luck to you.

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