Around 5 years ago, I was diagnosed with a gut infection, food allergies, PCOS, and many other issues. I was blessed with doctors who were able to help me with a lot of the issues, but my digestion still needed help!
Since I didn’t get much in the way of dietary advice, I started studying healing diets. One diet that came up over and over in my research was the GAPS diet. With the help of this diet, many people had overcome conditions that were supposedly incurable.
I was so impressed by the healing stories I read, that I decided to work on transitioning to the GAPS diet myself. Today I’m sharing my experiences to help others decide if GAPS is right for them.
Transitioning to GAPS
Before GAPS I had been eating white rice as my main carb source. (I had already eliminated all other grains.) Since one of the main tenants of the GAPS diet is the elimination of all grains, I knew I needed to eliminate the rice as well and replace it with a GAPS approved carb. Some people go low-carb to fulfill the grain free requirement, however I feel much better if I have adequate carbs, so I chose to replace the rice with white navy beans.
I ate white navy beans at every meal for a day or so. My results were not good! I got heartburn that wouldn’t go away and my stomach really burned. I didn’t know at the time that I had small intestinal bacterial overgrowth which was probably the reason I reacted so badly to the beans – but I was eventually diagnosed with it. (Many people with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth react very badly to beans. If you want to know why you can read more about the science in this post.)
On another occasion, I decided to add fermented foods. Actually, I tried a few different times to add in fermented food, but every time my bloating would get worse. Sometimes my stomach would really hurt and I could tell I didn’t feel as well overall.
I would try to push through because I thought maybe I was just having a detox reaction. However, I don’t think it was because it never went away. I would eventually listen to my digestive system and just stop eating the fermented foods.
My intolerance to fermented foods could have been because I already had too many bacteria in my small intestine from the small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, or it could have been from an intolerance to histamines.
Histamine intolerance may have also been playing a part in my failed broth experiment. I decided to add lots of beef broth to my diet. Broth is a staple of many digestive healing diets including the GAPS diet. When I dramatically increased the beef broth in my diet, my stomach burned really bad. I got really bloated, and would feel so bad that I would go and lay down.
After all of these bad experiences, you may wonder if I would advise the GAPS diet for anyone! Actually, I would. My niece had dramatic results from the SCD diet which is very similar to GAPS. (In fact, the GAPS diet is based on the SCD diet.)
As a side note, my niece probably would have gotten diagnosed with SIBO as well. However, I have come to believe through my experience and the experiences of others that SIBO (or IBS) can be from many different causes. From years of reading about other’s experiences with digestion problems, there seems to be certain types of SIBO that respond wonderfully to the GAPS diet.
The GAPS diet really can have extraordinary results. In fact, I have written about people who have healed from “incurable” conditions through the use of the GAPS diet. It is a wonderful diet for many.
Unless you are like I was and have histamine intolerance or certain types of SIBO!
I hope by writing about my experiences, I can help others to decide if the GAPS diet would be healing for them. Today, my digestion continues to get better and better. There is always hope even if you decide like me not to do the GAPS diet!