It’s rare that I find somebody who really should give up on the GAPS Diet™.
Sometimes people come to see me as a last resort because they feel like GAPS isn’t working, but they’re worried that they’ll regret it if they haven’t explored every possibility. Even though I don’t always have the perfect solution, I have yet to work with anybody where I couldn’t help them feel a bit better and gain confidence about their next steps.
Take Colleen. She and her two teenage kids had been following the GAPS Diet for 7 months and still found themselves with many food sensitivities and unable to progress past Stage 2 of the Intro Diet. What she saw as food issues, I recognized as detox and candida issues. We were able to pull back on certain foods (honey), add more of others (fats), step up some detox activities, and the result was that we got more food variety in short order. Over the course of the following month I suspected that she and her son may have an MTHFR genetic variation that was hindering their detoxification. They ordered testing with a specialist, and sure enough, that was true. She was able to use supplements to compensate for this and felt tremendously better very quickly. Her anxiety dropped from a 9 to a 2 in a matter of days – which was the most dramatic relief she’d ever felt!
If you’ve been on GAPS a while and you’re not seeing the results you expect, here are my top three suggestions on what to try before you give up on GAPS.
See a GAPS Practitioner. I know I’m biased on this point, but I have a lot of experience with the GAPS Diet and I’m able to find solutions for people that they’ve often overlooked. If you’ve been going it alone or even if you’ve worked with a GAPS Practitioner in the past (Colleen had), you need to find someone with greater expertise. This might be somebody who’s an expert in the GAPS Diet itself, or it might be somebody who is an expert in your specific health condition. There are often tweaks that need to be made to suit you as an individual. Having somebody weigh in on a few adjustments can make all the difference in seeing results from GAPS.
Try supplements. If you’ve been following GAPS with only the basic foods, probiotics, and cod liver oil and you’re still not seeing results you may actually be someone who needs supplemental support. Especially if you still have digestive symptoms, consider taking digestive support supplements. Your body might very well need the kickstart that these supplements provide in order to get to the next layer of healing. Digestive supplements include support for stomach acid, digestive enzymes, and fat digestion. In addition, if you know that you have low functioning adrenals or thyroid, supporting those with some type of supplement can really help boost you and get you on the path to making the most of the GAPS Diet.
Get genetic testing. In some cases there are parts of the GAPS Diet that aren’t really helpful to you as an individual because you have a genetic factor working against you. This is a complex subject so I won’t talk about all the types of genetic variations that can cause issues, but to give you a couple basic examples, you might have a gene that makes it difficult for you to process the sulfur in cruciferous vegetables. Or, like Colleen and her son, you might have a gene variation that makes it difficult for your liver to process certain vitamins, which hinders your detoxification. In these cases certain foods that are supposed to be detoxifying and health giving will actually make you feel kind of terrible. Figuring those things out with genetic testing can also help you alter the GAPS Diet to make it work for you and get you back on the path to healing. The cheapest genetic testing available is through 23andme.com.
The GAPS Diet works. And while it seems like such a simple plan where if you just follow the instructions in the book everything in your life will improve, sometimes it’s just not that easy because we’re all individuals. Don’t equate your specific frustrations with the idea that there’s something wrong with the GAPS Diet itself. It’s a matter of customizing it and understanding your own body and your own conditions to help you get the most benefits out of GAPS.
I really feel that the most important thing you can do is a consultation with a GAPS Diet Practitioner before you give up to find out if there’s a few more things you can try, or just peace of mind knowing that you truly gave it your best shot.
Were you about to give up on GAPS and then figured out whatever you needed to help you stick with it and get results again? Please share your insights and findings in the comments.