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Ily has been 3 years on the GAPS diet and found healing from eczema, IBS, and Sjogren’s, and significantly reduced his symptoms of Raynauds’ Syndrome. The photo is a picture of his cat who has not been on the GAPS diet but none the less seems to be quite healthy.
1. How long have you been on the GAPS diet?
Three years ago, I started by wading into certain components of the GAPS Diet instead of diving right into the Intro or Full programs.
2. What was going on that made you decide to pursue the diet?
I was born with Raynaud Phenomenon. However the symptoms were not anything you could see until four years ago, when one by one all of my fingers turned bright red! I went to a rheumatologist who said “You have severe Raynaud.” She handed me a prescription, but instead of driving straight to a pharmacy to get it filled, I drove to Whole Foods Market, where I bought some kefir. Two days later, the redness on my left hand had diminished by 50% and the right hand 30%. A month later, the left hand showed no symptoms and the right hand had improved by 70%. I was a believer in the power of fermented foods!
3. Did you start with Full GAPS or Intro first? How long have you been on each?
I then added sauerkraut to my diet and saw a GAPS Practitioner who gave me some pointers. By then, I was attracted to GAPS because I felt that my autoimmune condition (Raynaud) could be improved if not cured completely by healing and resealing my leaky gut. I did not have any proof that I had leaky gut, but the whole Dr. McBride premise behind leaky gut syndrome being the root problem of virtually all autoimmune diseases resonated with me. I also began to drink raw milk, eat avocadoes, and also raw egg yolks for breakfast. So I was slowly becoming more GAPS-like without diving into Intro. I simply would choose foods that I liked, and then I made sure they were GAPS-friendly by checking Dr. McBride’s FAQ section of her site.
4. What kind of progress or healing have you seen?
About two years ago, I developed eczema in several places on my body. The itchiness was annoying. Six months later, I decided it was time to get serious with my diet. At that point, I was maybe 90% organic and the rest processed food. I then went to 100% organic and zero processed food. One month later, my eczema went away for good. About a year ago, I decided to add bone broth on a daily basis. I did this because it is known to accelerate the process of sealing the gut lining. Well, after one day of bone broth, the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) that I’d had for about a year disappeared for good. And after one month of drinking two cups of bone broth a day, my Sjogren’s Syndrome went away. So I’ve been able to get rid of eczema, IBS, and Sjogren’s, and reduce the symptoms of a fourth autoimmune disorder, Raynaud, by about 90%.
5. What other strategies have you implemented along with GAPS? Why?
Another part of my health plan is LDN (low dose naltrexone). It is and FDA-approved medication that is very useful for modulating the immune system and reducing inflammation. The FDA approved it years ago (the ‘Eighties, I believe) in a 50mg dose for use by alcoholics and heroin addicts to help with their detox. Since then, a doctor discovered that at a much lower dose of 4.5mg it reduced symptoms experienced by sufferers of autoimmune diseases. No one has ever died from LDN and the only side effects are interrupted sleep and vivid dreams, both of which normally only last a week or so, initially. Most doctors are unaware of it. It requires a prescription that can only be filled at a compounding pharmacy. Plenty of people take it as a prophylactic (preventative). Other parts of my health plan include sleeping in a grounded bedsheet, making sure my Vitamin D level is > 50 ng/ml, and taking curcumin (anti-inflammatory), among other things. I also juice vegetables every day, which is an amazing way to get lots more veggies in your body than if you were to eat them.
6. Are you off the GAPs diet?
I remain on the GAPS Diet so that I can remain free of autoimmune disorders. Once you’re on it, you realize how much healthier you feel, so you don’t feel like going off it and returning to your prior state.
7. Are there areas where you have not seen healing so far?
Every area I wanted to see healed was healed by GAPS.
8. What has been the hardest thing about following the GAPS diet?
The hardest part of GAPS was giving up bread and cereal. However Dr McBride says that after being on the diet for some time it is acceptable to eat seeds like quinoa and millet. I have found bread made with these two seeds and no grains, so I no longer have to do without bread.
9. What has been the best thing about following the GAPS diet?
The best part of GAPS is seeing my autoimmune conditions heal, and realizing I did it the healthy way, not the way most people do it, which is to take medications – nearly all of which have side effects.
10. Do you have any advice for a person considering going on the GAPS diet?
My advice to anyone contemplating the GAPS Diet, and even those who are on it, is to make sure you follow the instructions. This means you absolutely must have the Big Three Foundations of GAPS: 1) fermented foods, 2) healthful fats, and 3) bone broth. More than likely, some who claim the diet did not help them did not consume all three foundations.