I quit GAPS

Well, I quit GAPS intro….I listened to my body and my declining mental state and decided to chuck in the towel. This was a personal journey and a very personal decision but I think it is important to share.

I guess I should say that I actually quit the GAPS intro diet – not gaps in general but that doesn’t make nearly as good a title!

Here is the reason why….

Firstly let me say that doing the gaps intro has taught me a lot:

  • It taught me that I can be strong and persevere for a lot longer than I thought I could.
  • It taught (or reminded) me that planning is everything and relying on willpower doesn’t work.
  • It taught me how important it is to understand what you are doing and believe in it 100%.
  • It taught me that I can live without chocolate (not that I plan to do this permanently)!
  • It taught me that people are very understanding and supportive when you explain things to them (like why you are eating soup for breakfast).
  • It taught me that even if you can’t do something 100% perfectly, that is not a reason not to – I had no choice but to microwave my food at work as I wasn’t willing to eat/drink cold broth. I could have let this stop me from even bothering to try but I accepted this and got over it.
  • It taught me that sometimes you need to look outside the square for your answers and can’t put all of your eggs in one basket.
  • It taught me how important it is to listen to your body and be aware of your mental state and make changes accordingly rather than blindly following what someone else says.

So, why have I quit?

A few weeks into the gaps intro I was doing really well. The sickness had ended, I regained the weight I lost in the first 3 weeks and my gut was settling nicely. However, it soon became apparent that almost every time I added in a new food I would react badly to it. This would see me back to just broths, meat and cooked veggies. This cycle continued and then after a while nothing I did seemed to get my gut back on track. I persevered. It was like a continuous cycle of one step forward, ten steps back. It was getting out of hand and I was starting to struggle.

About 11 weeks in I met an amazing chiropractor and applied kinesiologist who assessed me and showed me how there were several different issues that were affecting my gut health. Diet alone was not going to fix this. I decided to continue on the intro diet and start working with her.

Then, 12 weeks in and still mostly living on broths with a bit of roast meat, goats kefir and some cooked apples with ghee, I broke. My family was eating my very delicious spaghetti bolognese for dinner and I was eating a serious slow cooker failure that I had chucked in the slow cooker that morning. The bolognese sauce is gaps legal (even for the intro) if you eat it with zucchini pasta but I was petrified of trying tomato as I didn’t know if I would react badly to it. I have previously (when on the full gaps diet) been able to eat this without any problems.

After dinner I was close to tears. My mood was low, I was scared to try any new foods and I knew that this was heading in a very bad direction – depression? eating disorder? Both were definite possibilities. I talked to my husband and we agreed that enough was enough. The risks were no longer worth it and I clearly needed to do more than this diet to get me well.

I decided to go back onto the full gaps diet which had worked so well for me for a long time. The full gaps is really quite easy and has much more variety. You can eat out and feel like a normal person! I am happy not to eat grains and starches and probably never will again. Same goes for processed foods and refined sugar. My way of eating is likely to remain gaps/paleo style unless my body and mind decide otherwise at some point.

As soon as I made that decision I felt the most overwhelming sense of relief. My mood lifted, my body relaxed. I made a raspberry mousse and enjoyed every bite. I decided to wait a while to reintroduce cacao and raw veggies but to go back to eating other things that are allowed on the full diet.

My take home message to you: Listen to your body and be aware of your mental state. Regardless of how great the success stories are and how much you believe that something is the right option for you, if it is not working for you and/or it is affecting you mentally then you need to heed that warning sign. Nothing is worth that risk. We are all individuals and there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to health. Keep seeking answers until you find what works for you.

Much love, health and happiness,

Monique

 

p.s. A little update since I originally wrote this post.

I have been working with my chiro/kinesiologist and using homeopathic drops for about 2 weeks now and my gut has improved enormously to the point where it is giving me no issues and I am comfortably eating a full gaps diet and am back on some chocolate and Crio Bru! I am still a firm believer in GAPS but clearly there were other issues that needed to be treated for me to heal.

My kids were thrilled that I had stopped the intro diet and that I was now able to eat the same meals as the rest of the family. I hadn’t realised how much my diet was affecting them too. A much happier household now.

 

Another update over 2 years later:

Apart from a flare that resulted from a pretty large lack of regard for what I ate during the first half of a 3 month caravan trip around Australia my gut has remained well. As soon as my gut health started to decline during our trip I pulled things right back, added in gelatin and broth several times a day and stuck with what I know works for me. It settled faster than any previous flares and I have been well ever since that time. I have been able to reintroduce a few starches like occasional sweet potato and tapioca and also some potato chips cooked in coconut or avocado oil every now and then. I am much less stressed about food and am coping with having added in a doctorate to my already busy life! I still see the chiro on a monthly basis as well as my naturopath who I have worked with for 15 years. I now stick to yoga as my exercise which seems to work better for my body and have added daily meditation to the mix. Food and lifestyle really are the most amazing medicine!

 

 

 

 

16 thoughts on “I quit GAPS”

  1. Monique i am so happy for you that you have found what works for you. I think that you are SO right that no one size fits all. I think we need to use these ideas as a base to start from and then do what works for you personally.
    Sue 🙂

  2. Wonderful to hear of successes and failures. I am a very focussed person and always give 150% to what I do and over the past 7 months I have had trial and error with both my own healthy eating and the rest of the family. Had epic fail after fail in Melbourne over last weekend traveling with the kids mads me realize I couldn’t transfer our healthy eating while traveling! I think I have made the kids too accustomed to eating breakfast muffins, zucchini slice etc for breakfast that there just wasn’t anything they liked to eat at the hotel and it felt stressful each morning knowing they weren’t having a nutritious start to the day. I still don’t have an answer on how to keep healthy while travelling. I was too scared to eat most given I follow low carb high fat diet (best for my ibs) any tips would be much appreciated did when we travel again in October. Well done and enjoy eating with your family x

    • Thanks Anna!
      It is hard when travelling and I think the best tip is to just do the best that you can and not worry too much about the rest. Enjoy your travels and you can always get back on track when you get home.
      It is not worth spoiling your trip over. x

  3. Wow…I have literally just experienced the same thing a few weeks ago. The biggest lesson for me also was that yoy can’t put all your focus onto one area of your body, say your gut health and then neglect another area like your mental health. To achieve complete health within yourself you need to take a holistic approach. If one part starts to suffer..it won’t be long before everything else also falls to it’s knees. The different parts and organs within our bodies are so interconnected and can only work when working together…not separately.
    It makes sense that we need to do the same. I wasn’t doing GAPs but I was doing a strict elimination diet…one that I became completely controlled by. Something that was meant to last 3 weeks…ended up lasting over 2 months and started to become my way of life rather than just a short term trial. I got to a point where I became stuck…I was too scared to introduce new foods, was constantly anxious and distressed
    and couldn’t see a way forward. I couldn’t enjoy meals with my family for dinner or go out with friends and became very aware of how revolved our lives are around food. I was starting to become depressed and feeling very deprived of not just food…but of social experiences too. The turning point came for me when I made the realisation that I was now more scared about where my life was heading than I was about introducing new foods. And so overnight…i made the decision to come off the diet (still eating clean/Paleo style) but not being restriced and I began listening to my body again. I was terrified of coming off it as that had become my norm for the past two months. But I took the approach of pretending it was all just a bad dream..and when I woke up the next morning – I was going to be back to my old self. And that seemed to work. I still experience anxiety around eating but I’m working on it and I will never let myself become that obsessed and controlled by food again. Thankyou for sharing your story Monique…it was so encouraging to hear another’s experience. And I’m really proud of you for taking that courageous step…I know it wouldn’t have been easy.
    🙂
    Abbey recently posted…YOU are entirely up to you…My Profile

    • Thank you so much Abbey.
      I am really glad that you have made the same decision and I hope that they anxiety reduces.
      My kids were so happy when I stopped the diet. I hadn’t realised how much it was affecting them too.

  4. Thank you for sharing. I have had to make similar decisions about my family’s healthy eating lifestyle when I realised it was affecting our psychological wellbeing. I, like you, still follow a paleo inspired diet, but am kinder on myself and my family when we have less healthy options.

  5. I am way too scared to do GAPS – it’s so bloody daunting! The sheer volume of work & how restrictive it is turns me off.
    I understand why people do it though – tummy issues can be so debilitating!
    Mine are mostly caused by stress – frustrating!

    • Full GAPS is really not hard at all or restrictive really, especially if you already come from a paleo style diet like I did.
      The intro is hard work though but worth it if it works. I would absolutely do it again if I needed to.

      Are you working on learning to manage your stress?

  6. SUCH a good story 🙂 Have you tried supplementing for gut healing too? Minerals, colostrum & good probiotics 🙂

    • Sure have!
      I take the GAPS recommended probiotics, make fermented veggies, kefir and kombucha, colostrum seemed to upset my stomach (but can’t be sure that it was the actual problem). Have taken various minerals as recommended by my naturopath at various times, plus loads of bone broth.

      The thing that is working brilliantly at the moment is chiro, kinesiology, a course of 2 homeopathic drops for bacteria and fungus and now I am on a 10 day course of some herbal tablets. My gut health has improved so much! I am amazed at how quickly I have seen results too. Plus I am still on the full GAPS diet.

  7. Such a nice article Monique! I am glad to know that you are following an amazing chiropractor who suggested you right diet. Once I also had got the back injury and because of that I was unable to take proper diet and my condition was same as yours; then I consulted to a chiropractor who helps me a lot healing all my injuries. Now I am absolutely fit and fine. Thank you for sharing this blog and keep sharing your experiences.
    chiropractor jacksonville recently posted…Chocolate Coated Cherry and Strawberry DessertMy Profile

  8. interesting articles and this is my first first reading a very interesting article thanks for this article that fits with the theme news.
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