Tag Archives: Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride

Activism GAPS Healthy Living Real Food

GAPS Diet Basics & Getting Started

www.mypicshares.com

Looking for GAPS resources as a way to improve your health?

started the GAPS diet in May of 2011 as a way to eliminate symptoms of panic, anxiety, and insomnia. I’ve read and heard many, many testimonials from people who have healed on GAPS.

I’ve been health coaching for almost 3 years with an emphasis in GAPS by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride and related protocols. I have also provided GAPS workshops in my local community and educating people about how beneficial the basic foods that are used in GAPS are for lifetime health.

For these reasons, I thought it would be a good idea to put together a basic reference page for GAPS fundamentals and resources.

It’s been profound to learn about the healing power of traditional foods – the very same foods that Dr. Weston A. Price discovered in his world travels to isolated cultures who were consuming nutrient-rich foods that contained up to TEN times the amount of fat-soluble vitamins that we currently consume in our modern diets – A, D, E, and K2.

My health problems were chronic and spanned for over 2 decades of time. Things only got worse the older I got, with panic and anxiety like symptoms that I was told were connected to gallbladder problems (I had my gallbladder removed in 2001), and also thyroid (hormonal issues).

It wasn’t until I started GAPS that I saw an abrupt ending come to these symptoms I’d suffered through for at least half my life: racing heart, jitteryness, chronic fatigue, digestive problems of varying kinds, general feelings of doom and negativity, muscle weakness, nausea, and general malaise. I also experienced frequent colds and flus – especially in the winter time.

What is the GAPS diet?

Dr. McBride developed the protocol out of a lack of resources and need to resolve her own son’s issues who was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. Through both trial and error and diligent research, she discovered that many diseases including autism happen due to digestive breakdown which leads to nutritional deficiencies throughout the body.

Starches, grains, and sugar all contribute to breaking down lining in the gut and generate pathogenic bacteria. The gut lining becomes permeable due to poor dietary and lifestyle habits – processed foods, stress, use of antibiotics, steroids, NSAIDs, and birth control, lack of adequate rest, exposure to environmental toxins, etc.

When undigested foods and other substances penetrate the intestinal lining and go into the bloodstream. This causes an auto-immune response. Undigested substances that reach the blood-brain barrier cause additional issues:

These deficiencies are responsible for a variety of health issues including autism, hyperactivity, ADD, eczema, depression, dyspraxia, and many others that may be seemingly unrelated.

The common link in all of these disorders is breakdown of the mucosal lining in the intestinal tract from poor lifestyle and dietary choices – stress, environmental toxins, processed foods, and a lack of essential nutrients which are necessary to maintaining overall health and well-being.

Not only do nutritional deficiencies cause a wide array of symptoms which point to various health problems, many of these problems are the same in many people yet manifest themselves in unique ways.

Symptoms include:

  • Asthma
  • Eczema
  • Thyroid and hormonal problems
  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Dyspraxia (motor movement issues)
  • Autism
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Diabetes and insulin- resistance
  • Digestive disorders such a colitis, Crohn’s Disease, IBS
  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation (or both)
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent infections
  • Joint stiffness or pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chemical sensitivities
  • Food sensitivities

For example, a child with autism or hyperactivity could have the same basic physiological problems and experience symptoms of autism or hyperactivity, while an adult with similar issues might exhibit symptoms of chronic panic or anxiety. An elderly person could experience symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease – a condition that is linked to the presence of heavy metals in the body and nutritional deficiencies – especially of minerals since heavy metals displace minerals in the body. All conditions are exacerbated by heavy metal toxicity and not enough minerals in the body.

Although GAPS is an extremely beneficial and healing protocol that can help a variety of health issues, it is not a cure-all or guaranteed way to improve your health. If you have tried GAPS and aren’t healing or improving the way you need, check out these resources:

If GAPS hasn’t worked for you or yours, read this – Nourishing Our Children.

The GAP in GAPS? What you need to know – Nourishing Hope, Julie Matthews

General resource links

GAPS is based on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) created by Elaine Gottschall. Here is her book, Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet.

What can I eat on the GAPS diet?  Printable sheet reference guide showing what you can eat on the GAPS diet to hang in your kitchen or keep in a place where you have easy access

FAQ GAPS diet questions - from the Gut and Psychology Syndrome site

GAPS Diet Journey – testimonials, interviews, resources, and links

Gut and Psychology Syndrome/GAPS Diet Facebook page – great resource and forum for those getting started and for those looking for a place to interact and ask questions.

Explanation of GAPS dietary protocol including the Intro stages – additional information to supplement the book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome, for the Intro part of the GAPS diet, 6 stages

5 most common mistakes made on GAPS – Healthy Home Economist

10 reasons GAPS is better than gluten-free – Well Fed Homestead

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Is GAPS safe during breastfeeding? - Health, Home, Happiness

Recipes

Internal Bliss - GAPS Cookbook

9 reasons to make bone broth  - health benefits and recipe for broth

GAPS-friendly recipes – The Liberated Kitchen

GAPS-friendly recipes – GAPS Diet Journey

GAPS recipes – MyGutsy

Recipes and ideas for what to eat on the GAPS Introduction Diet – Keeper of the Home

GAPS-friendly, grain-free pancakes w/vanilla, cinnamon, and raw honey

Cookbooks, guides, & cooking e-courses

Grain-free meal plans (menu mailers) – Health, Home, Happiness

GAPS Freezer Cooking Guide – Health, Home, Happiness

What Can I Eat Now? 30 Days on the GAPS Diet – Cara Comini, Health, Home, Happiness

Beyond Grain & Dairy Cookbook - Starlene Stewart, GAPS Diet Journey

Go Grain-Free Online Class – Real Food Forager

Guide to Grain-Free, Dairy Free Baking, Sweets and Treats – Nourished Kitchen

Get Cultured Cooking Class – Nourished Kitchen (How to create fermented foods)

Interviews and related

Dr. Mercola interviews Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride

My GAPS experience for panic disorder and GAPS radio interview

My interview on GAPS Diet Journey – Empowered Sustenance

GAPS Diet Journey Radio Interview – Loving Our Guts

 

Healthy Living Real Food

My GAPS Experience for Panic Disorder & GAPS Radio Interview

www.mypicshares.com
Over the last year I’ve been on the GAPS protocol created by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride.  GAPS is a healing protocol developed to correct digestive compromise and nutritional deficiencies in the body as a result of poor lifestyle and dietary habits. Last January, I started experiencing terrible panic-like symptoms that were keeping me awake at night.

This went on for over 3 months, and I was a complete wreck. I tried everything I could think of to stop these symptoms from happening which included a racing heart, constant jitters or feeling of internal shaking, extreme fatigue, and pretty constant thoughts of doom and sadness, diarrhea, chills, and difficulty breathing.

Throughout my life I’ve had chronic insomnia and panic disorder symptoms, which I later learned were signs of my overall health issues. I spent many years going to doctors and being told nothing was wrong and advised to to go on anti-anxiety medication. I was always terrified to take prescriptions given to me because I worried about becoming dependent on them, side effects…and of course, my biggest fear was that my problem wouldn’t be resolved.

Last year, I consulted with many different people and practitioners, and got a lot of different opinions. One person told me I was suffering from heavy metal issues, another from thyroid problems. I also had some conversations long-distance and online with a few friends to whom I am forever grateful for their balanced advice and suggestions. My level of sanity during those months was very much on the edge and I appreciate those who reached out to help me during that time. I am especially grateful to those who reinforced what I already knew – that I should be using food to heal myself and cut way back on supplements. It was difficult at best for me to think clearly during this time. My body was so frazzled and I was so stressed out, I couldn’t reason and rationalize things normally.

I thought my diet was healthy because I wasn’t eating processed foods and was eating traditional, real foods every day. What I didn’t take into account was that our family has been under enormous stress over the last 3 years, which had a profoundly negative effect on my health. In 2009, my husband was laid off from his programming job and we decided to take our retirement money to open a solar business. The business was my husband’s dream, and we both really wanted it to succeed.

Unfortunately, with the economy being what it has for the last 5 years and the poor climate for renewable energy in our state ( ID), life had other ideas for us. As a result, we closed our business down last year. This caused me to be in an almost constant state of stress and worry. That’s no way to live, but we were constantly having to watch every penny we spent, and the debt we were trying to pay down looked like it would never get there. Looking back I can see this has had an enormous impact on my health and ability to retain nutrients from the nourishing foods I’ve eaten over the last 7+ years when I initially changed my diet.

What GAPS did for me

Within 5 days of starting GAPS, I was getting more sleep than I had in months. Within about 6 weeks, I was sleeping through the night again, without interruption.  I’ve never had such noticeable and dramatic results with anything else I’ve ever done.

It has become very clear to me that the answer for health problems is not in supplements – and certainly not medications – but in a real food diet, stress management, getting out in the sunshine and adequate rest. Nothing is ever caused by just one factor, it’s always from many different things going on around us.

It’s also true that since most people have digestive issues, this is really the root of most health problems. Because most people can’t digest the food they eat – even if it is healthy – this presents a challenge in trying to overcome health problems for almost everyone.

Do supplements work?

I took a lot of supplements for many years. Supplements are not always accepted by the body, and are often hard to absorb. They also contain many fillers and extra ingredients that can be toxic. I’m not saying all supplements are harmful, but if you use them, you should be very certain that you are eating the healthiest diet possible. Sometimes even with a healthy diet, because of soil depletion and chemicals in the environment and our food, even this might not solve the problem.

Deep down I knew nutrients are made bio-available in the GAPS protocol. And I knew I was depleted in many different aspects, and thought that by mega-dosing on high quality supplements I’d be doing myself a favor. After all, I did this some years ago and it seemed to help tremendously.

The supplements I was taking didn’t do the job this time. As it turned out, I wasn’t even absorbing the fermented cod liver oil I had been taking for over a year. My digestion was not in good enough shape to accomplish this. Dr. McBride talks about taking supplements in liquid form as one of the best choices, and I agree. I took a liquid multi-vitamin supplement about 6 5 years ago for over a year, and I do think it made a difference in my health. Liquid nutrients from real food can be highly absorbed, and some products are highly concentrated enough to provide what you need if you are depleted.

You should definitely be careful about what you take, if anything. Many products claim to be potent, safe, easy to absorb, and high quality. From my experience, taking a lot of supplements can cause liver toxicity and can be too much for the body, and won’t solve your deficiency problem on its own. I have learned that liquid supplements are some of the most effective because they absorb well.

One of the best products I’ve ever used is called Eniva, a concentrated, whole-food liquid supplement that is non-GMO, not pasteurized, irradiated, nor treated with any chemicals or pesticides. I’m only recommending this because I took it for over a year’s time and it did make a big difference in my health (during 2007-2008), and because it’s comprised only of real food. If you need something extra and you haven’t had luck with juicing (as recommended by Dr. Natasha’s protocol in her book), give this product a try. There is Eniva Vibe for adults and Eniva Vibe Kids.

This is why GAPS is important and why it works. It provides the necessary nutrients needed by the body, and in the most digestible format possible: through broths, cultured and fermented foods and beverages, juicing, healthy fats, and well-cooked vegetables and meats.

My GAPS/Weston A. Price interview

Earlier this year I was asked to do an interview with my friend Kim Metez who runs a weekly show on Radio Boise, a local, independent radio station, called Chew On This. Kim and I have really connected over local food and healing with real foods, and I’m tickled that Kim has started this show to raise awareness about important issues in food, farming, and sustainability.

Our interview focuses on the importance of real food with an emphasis on how the work of Dr. Weston A. Price revealed the nature of the traditional diets eaten by isolated pockets of people all over the world, as well as the GAPS diet.

Here are parts I and II of our interviews:

Part I of my GAPS/Weston A. Price interview with Kim Metez of Chew On This

Part II of my GAPS/Weston A. Price interview

I can say with absolute certainty that GAPS is effective for more than just digestive issues, food allergies, chronic infections, skin problems, and fatigue. Just as the name implies – Gut and Psychology Syndrome – this protocol really can get to the root of many so-called “psychological”, “anxiety”, and “emotional” issues.

Dr. McBride talks in depth about how the GAPS syndrome encompasses conditions such as depression, hyperactivity, ADD, and even schizophrenia. From the amazing experience I’ve had, it makes perfect sense that it would be useful for those suffering with anxiety, panic, and other related issues. It’s done a world of good for me.

More information: 

Reducing symptoms of ADD/ADHD through dietary changes - how dietary changes can make a difference for children and adults experiencing the symptoms of ADD/ADHD and related issues

So, what do you eat? - Our Nourishing Journey describes a day in the life of eating for her autistic son and the benefit it has given him

Recipes and ideas for what to eat on the GAPS Introduction dietKeeper of the Home

Online GAPS resourcesNourished and Nurtured