After 2-1/2 years on the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet my 5-1/2 year old is finally done! It was a wild amazing journey and I’m so thankful I had the support of internet communities, and the book by Dr. Natasha! It took us a few rounds through intro, and trials of removing other foods (dairy, nuts, eggs, fruit, carbs) to see what was needed to get the most healing, but I think we’re finally done!
What does ‘Done’ mean?
To me, being done with GAPS is when I don’t see changes being on it vs being off. If she’s not showing that she needs to be on GAPS, I’m assuming her gut is healed and we have other things to work on now.
For the past 6 months, since she had been on GAPS for 2 years I had been trying to introduce more foods- non GAPS foods. She did okay with occasional potatoes, popcorn, commercial dairy, but I couldn’t get her to stop reacting to fruit, honey, and grains. She also continued to obsessively crave these items, by 2 years in she knew what she could and could not eat, but I could tell she still craved fruits, sweetners, and breads. Part of the transition of her being done with GAPS is she no longer seems to have these cravings- she still enjoys sweets (who doesn’t?) but it’s the same way that I do now, rather than an obsessive I’m-going-to-do-anything-possible-to-get-that-banana-that’s-on-top-of-the-fridge thing.
Because I felt we were just stuck in our progress on GAPS after 2 years I kept her on the foods she was okay with, and started exploring other options. KST Chiropractic helped with her balance, emotions, and mood, but it was really a fantastic traditional Chinese medicine practioner who was able to help her body continue healing to where what she eats now does not show any physical or emotional changes.
As far as autism goes, I think that most of her autism ‘symptoms’ are gone (the obsessiveness on certain objects, being unable to focus, not wanting to interact with peers, inability to learn, sensory issues, night wakings) but what is left is still a pretty significant developmental delay- her brain was so *busy* with the toxins and sensory input that she has spent most of the previous 5-1/2 years not learning typically, and so she is behind- developmentally around 2-3 I’d estimate in most areas. So my next task is to focus even more on helping her catch up :) Chinese medicine is going to continue helping us in this area I hope.
What does that mean for our family?
Our life just got a lot simpler :) We visited family last week and I didn’t have to worry that someone was offering her a slice of zucchini bread. We could eat out without quizzing the restaurant on every ingredient in each dish.
There are some things I picked up from serving GAPS foods that I love- I’m going to continue keeping the focus on protein and veggies at each meal, and it’s easy to do that since we don’t really crave starches or sweets any more. (seriously, I’m still really enjoying this whole ‘off GAPS’ thing and bought my kids each one of those single serving Haagen Daz ice creams— they each took a couple bites and then forgot about them, they don’t crave sweets!). I’m looking forward to the help grains will have on my grocery bill- GAPS is expensive.
I took a picture of the lunch I packed for my kids today- a big portion of cooked chicken, snow peas, mushoroms, and garlic; a ‘cookie’ made of dried apricots, cooked buckwheat, maple syrup, and oats; and a side of jasmine rice cooked with 1/2 coconut milk and 1/2 water (just replace half the water in the directions with coconut milk)
Other than occasional sourdough and pizza night, and whatever when we eat out, I think at this point I am going to continue keeping our house mostly gluten free. It’s easy enough to do for me, and since gluten is still fairly controversial I’ll error on the side of caution for right now.
What does that mean for Health, Home, and Happiness?
Because we found so much help with the GAPS diet (seriously. Before GAPS my life was so overwhelming. She and I didn’t sleep in more than 2 hour stretches and my little one’s world was so frustrating to her- life with a special needs little one is HARD) I do want to keep the focus here on GAPS and healing the gut, at least until I feel like I’ve covered everything I can so you all have all the references you need :)
I may post recipes occasionally if I come up with something amazing that isn’t’ GAPS, but for the most part I’d like to still be an encouragement to those who are eating grain free for whatever reason.
I’m still working on the GAPS freezer cooking e-book that will be done by August (you can order it pre-sale here at a discounted price), and I’d like to add on to the Best of the Grain Free Meal Plans Cookbook with other favorites.
Also, I’m going to continue with the natural health posts, and am going to try to start a series on stress reduction and other happy lifestyle articles.